About Atmavishwas Vocational Training Center for People with Special Needs. Verna, Goa India

About Atmavishwas Vocational Training Center for People with Special Needs. Verna, Goa India

‘Atmavishwas’ means “self-confidence” and it is the aim of ‘Atmavishwas – The Vocational Training Center’ to increase the participant’s self-esteem and respect by offering an opportunity to make a useful social contribution. Vocational Curriculum usually emphasizes work skills for the areas of employment within the service facility. It exposes the challenged person to many demands and disciplines found in real work situations. It is therefore, very essential to inculcate appropriate discipline, and working conditions during the training. The other aim is to empower the trainee to be independent, grasp the skills of his/her choice to achieve the goal of rehabilitation or an occupation either in their family enterprise or in a co-operative environment. This also provides an opportunity for developing the personality, self-confidence and sense of satisfaction both in the trainee and his/her family.

Atmavishwas- The Trust was created in the year 2000 in Mumbai city. It was created to be of service to people with disabilities. In 2003 Atmavishwas the Vocational Training Centre was created out of a need for Vocational Training for a young man, the son of a Trustee that would keep him occupied as well as train him to be independent. The Centre then grew to 12 students and has been very successful. To expand its reach and offer more services, Atmavishwas moved to Goa in the year 2005. Atmavishwas the Vocational Centre functions out of a Portuguese mansion made available by the Trustees. The Vocational Centre is based in the village of Verna that lies equidistant between the major cities of Panjim and Margao. It is only 20 minutes south of the airport and 45 minutes north of the railway station at Margao. It is at present a Day Centre with the ultimate vision of becoming a Residential Facility, a Home away from Home for People with intellectual disabilities.

Atmavishwas works on the principle that every single person is a human being. Rather than working on the disabilities, Atmavishwas works on the abilities of each person at their centre. It works with a 3 fold aspect whereby it understands the student in three parts namely Body, Soul and Spirit. This gives a complete picture of the student and assists in creating programs that strengthen areas that might need work. It emphasises good interpersonal relations and promotes inter dependence. It creates an environment wherein each person has to contribute for the center to work, and each person has to have an equal responsibility. They are also taught that each action has a reaction and each duty has a responsibility. They are encouraged to have friends among their peers.

Offer dignity, not pity
Rights, not charity
Equality, not dependence
Participation, not segregation

Vision: The vision of Atmavishwas is reflected in its belief that all individuals in the society, irrespective of their abilities and /or Sociocultural identities, have the right to equal opportunities for their personal growth & development.

Mission: The mission of Atmavishwas is to reduce & limit the consequences of disabilities through training for capacity building and facilitation of opportunities & support structures for integrated development of special individuals in the society.

History: Started on August 26th 2002, with just 2 students. Slowly grew to 10 (incl.Year begun) students, with 8 students to date. Encouraged by activities in Mumbai, the Trustees decided to expand its activities to Goa.

1) All Bombay Special Schools Talent Contest. 1999
2) Go-Getters camp to Goa - 2002
3) The Vocational Centre, Mumbai - 2002
4) The Vocational Centre,Miramar - Goa - Oct' 2004
5) The "Residence" at Verna, Goa - Proposed Mar 2005

About the founder

Liane da Gama has a degree in Pscychology followed by a bachelors in education specialising in special education. She then went to America to Camphill Village Copake, for 1.5 years to work as a volunteer in an Intentional Residential Community for adults with disabilities.

Using her 10 years plus experience in the field of special education she has opened Atmavishwas - The Vocational Training Centre at Verna, Goa. Her approach is student centred and based on the belief that each person is a human being. It is a wholesome education that encompasses not only academics, but all aspects of life.