Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Aditi Verma – Entrepreneur With Down Syndrome

The greatest happiness that any teacher feels is when her students achieves success in life. When the student is special with downs syndrome, the happiness is ten fold.

Normally the first reaction that the parents get when they get a special child  with down syndrome is  one of shock and confusion. They feel their world has fallen apart, they are frightened for the future. But after few years, they begin to understand their child and learn that children with down syndrome are really very talented. If trained under special care, they are as capable of leading a normal life as any other normal person, only a little bit slower and may need supervision.

Aditi Verma beat disability and became entrepreneur when her parents gifted her with eatery on new year’s day last year.

On my recent visit to school at CBD, Belapur, I decided to spend one afternoon at Bhoomi Mall at CBD after school hours. Bhoomi mall is still new, with many shops waiting to find its owner, but three floors upstairs is a small eatery called ‘Aditi’s Corner’ that sells chocolates, drinks and snacks and is run by Aditi Verma who has Down Syndrome.

What will you have?” She asks as soon as we settle on the chair outside the eatery. I want to give her business so I ask her what on menu. The dish of the day is ‘Vegetarian Briyani’

Everyday is different lunch” she explains. The food is cooked at home and the servings are just heated in microwave at the stall. There are many offices in this mall that patronise her café.

I glance into her eatery and see chocolates, wafers, biscuits, Maggi packets, soft drinks along with sandwiches. There is a small fridge in one corner, a coffee and tea making machine on the other side. I am not really hungry and cannot decide what to order.

Will you have corn pattice?” she offers. I order for one dish that I share with my friend. The frozen corn pattice are removed from fridge and heated on hot grill and served with tomato sauce and mint chutney. It tastes good. She has two staff members, Sardar Paramjit who takes care of cooking at the café and Ram, the delivery boy, who carries the deliveries to the offices in the mall.

She sits down with us for a friendly chat and I am impressed. During her days at our school at Swami Brahmamand Prathisthan, Maths was her favorite subject, and she had won the ‘Best Student Award’ in 2010 for her overall performance. Besides academics, Aditi loved dancing and dramatics and in an inter-school competition in 2012, won the ‘Best Actress Award’

Phone rings and she takes pen and jots down the order. Some one in the mall wants sandwiches and coffee. She repeats the order to her delivery boy and then turns her attention back to us and talks about herself. At 6pm she will go home.

Will you go home alone? I ask

Yes, I will take autorickshaw” she says

She is quite independent and confident. Aditi Verma has taken her initiative further. She represented Maharastra as an entrepreneur in the Self Advocate Forum of India (SAFI) at Bangaluru on December 9, 2016

I even gave a lecture on my initiative and my desire to expand it.” she has been nominated as the State representative for SAFI

Later, we go one floor down the mall to meet her father who owns an office in the same building. He is one proud father who speak fondly of her achievements.

Hope is re-kindled for other special children too.

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