A first-hand battle with her son’s disability — global developmental delay — is what led founder Indira Bodani to work on setting up The Gateway School of Mumbai. The 31,000 square foot campus in Chembur, dedicated to students with learning disabilities, is a sister school of the renowned New York institute by the same name.
On the lines of the 46-year-old award-winning school, this one, set to commence its first term in August this year, will also boast of world-class facilities and technology. Libraries, computer labs, therapy centres, sensory and indoor sports gyms are all part of the plan.
Following her son’s diagnosis when he was barely two years old, Bodani had moved to New York so she could provide him the best facilities and expert guidance. It was when the family moved back that she realised the large void in the quality of services available in India. And this prompted her to work towards starting her own school here.
“I’d approached The Gateway School of New York since I knew them, and this wouldn’t have been possible without a collaboration,” explains Bodani, adding, “Americans have expertise in special education. Plus, they’d seen me move countries for my son’s education and had appreciated the dedication, so they were excited to help.”
The school, touted as a non-profit institution, will charge its students an annual tuition fee of approximately Rs 3 lakh a year, which apparently does not even cover the cost incurred by the school for one child. The school is dedicated to students with learning disabilities, between the ages of 3-20 years. But in its first year, it is currently enrolling only those in the age group of 6-13 years.
Do expansion plans include setting up other branches? “We’d love that. We’re very ambitious, but since this is our pilot project, we want to take one step at a time,” says Bodani. “The more kids that benefit, the better it is. My dream is to start a school in a little village.”