From the Mentor’s Desk: Ummeed

Ummeed, meaning ‘hope’ in Hindi, is a non-profit clinic that treats children with a wide range of developmental disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, Learning Disability, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and speech, motor coordination, behavioral, and emotional disorders.  There are over 35 Million in India with developmental disabilities and over 650,000 in Mumbai alone.[1] The quantity of care for such children is very limited, and even where it exists, the quality is variable.

At Ummeed, our vision is to help children with disabilities, or at high risk for disabilities, reach their maximum potential and be included in society.

We are delighted to welcome Ambar Mehta, an MIT undergraduate and American India Foundation Clinton Fellow. One of our hopes in hosting a Clinton Fellow is for direct support of our mental health team, who are busy conducting training programs for staff of other NGOs working in the area of mental health with children and families. Some of the organizations include The Anchorage, working with adults with MR and other MH or DD diagnoses; Aangan Trust, working with children in conflict with the law and strengthening protective mechanisms for vulnerable children; and CSED, Central Society for Education of the Deaf.

These training programs have to be customized to meet the varying needs of these organizations- as they serve very different populations. One of Ambar’s main responsibilities will be to help the team assess impact of their trainings and document their work.

Jehanzeb Baldiwala is the Director of Programs and Outreach at Ummeed Child Development Center, an organization that works with children with a wide range of developmental disabilities.


[1] Because the prevalence rate of developmental disabilities in India is unknown, the figure of 35 million is extrapolated from India’s current population of children under 17 and the low estimate of prevalence rate of 10% in developed countries (Benedict, R. E., and A. M. Farel. 2003. “Identifying Children in Need of Ancillary and Enabling Services: A Population Approach.” Social Science and Medicine 57 (11): 2035–47.).

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