Param Shah, Taking the First Step-Orthotics and Gait Trainers for Rural India

Param Shah, an American-born young man of Indian descent, has always tried to keep in touch with his Indian heritage.  He became passionate about disability rights issues as President of “Wolfpack”, a club at his school that brought together special and general education students to create a fun environment together, supporting the learning needs of both populations.

In the US, children with disabilities receive far more care and support relative to children the same age in India who are simply neglected, often hidden from society. Param founded the Lotus Life Foundation to show the blooming potential of these children lives, and made it his goal to remove the stigma associated with disability in India.

The Lotus Life Foundation strives to improve the lives of children with disabilities in India through medical intervention and education, while giving the children the means to contribute to their community.

Their medical team provides assistive devices to children with a range of diseases, including Cerebral Palsy, to ease the conditions associated with their illness. They seek to take the program, established in the Himalayan region of India, to apply it to a new location in South India. The project involves creating an orthotics manufacturing lab and training local volunteers to produce cost-efficient assistive devices. In conjunction with the lab, they will create a Research and Development team to “re-design” medical devices that can be cost-efficiently reproduced by craftsmen in rural villages.

To learn more about the Lotus Life Foundation and their project, visit their website and Facebook page.

GRANT AWARD DATE: MAY 8, 2015