Logo of Disability News and Information Service (DNIS)


‘Jeena’ gives disabled immigrant children a new ray of hope

DNIS News Network -- Situated in the United States, this non-governmental organisation is America’s first-ever network of parents of Indian-American mentally disabled children.

IT professional and Indian Immigrant, Rajni Madan faced her worst challenge when her first child was born with an unidentified neurological degenerative disorder. The baby girl, Gina, lived for barely 15 months before she could succumb to her illness. Helpless and heart-broken Rajni found her new calling as a social worker and, with the help of her husband, she set up ‘Jeena’, America’s first organisation for Indian-American children with a wide range of disabilities, from autism to cerebral palsy, extreme allergies and genetic disorders.

Jeena’s kids range in age from three months to 18 years, with most of them in the five-nine years age group. Not only do these children feel isolated from mainstream American society and culture, their deformities make it impossible for them to prove their worth on scholastic levels.

Jeena provides the parents with specialised training and tips on how to lobby with insurance and government programmes. Jeena offers an opportunity of friendship and comfort, a home away from home.

Not restricting herself to the west, Rajni is bringing some of the West’s best treatment and methodologies, for rehabilitating developmentally disabled children, to India. Working with Amitesh Narayan of the Kasturba Medical College in Mangalore, Jeena helps to train paediatricians, physical therapists and other practitioners in the latest techniques.