Keystone Institute India

Toward a More Inclusive India

We are part of a dynamic, growing national movement toward a more just and inclusive Indian society where all people are valued and belong, and people with disability have opportunities to step into valued roles and access the good things in life.

Keystone Institute India, a project of Keystone Human Services International, serves as a catalyst for developing supportive services in India that better serves people’s true needs, respects the voices and perspectives of people with disability and their families, and facilitates India’s movement toward a society where all people matter and have the opportunity to build the lives they want to live.

A Movement of Change

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Read the blog: Seeking the Way

We seek partners and collaborators to work alongside us and with people with developmental and psychosocial disabilities. Together, we join a movement of change and provide opportunities for people to experience home, friends, family, work, and full participation in the community. Keystone Institute India provides extensive consultation and education around developing responsive, effective, and inclusive supports to help move toward belonging, acceptance, and a rich community life.

Jhalak

Ideas have consequences. We work with partners across India to assist in translating powerful ideas into potent, effective action. Take a glimpse into some of the actions happening across India to create a more inclusive Indian society.

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Education Opportunities to Create Inclusive Communities

Learn about Social Role Valorization, person-centered supports, and other inclusive practices.

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Education in Inclusive Practice
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We offer intensive workshops and presentations on promising practices and ideas, and offer ongoing consultation and guidance in implementation strategies. As part of Keystone Human Services, we have decades of technical expertise and practical experience in community-based services for people with disability. Our faculty and associate faculty bring rich knowledge and experience in developing culturally relevant services and supports and envisioning all the possibilities of a full life where people with disability enjoy all the good things the come with home, school, livelihoods, and participation in the community.

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The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Developmental Disability and their Families: Perceptions of Families, Allies, Advocates, and Professionals

The COVID-19 pandemic poses both great threat and great opportunity for people with developmental disability, their families, allies, advocates, professionals, and service agencies. On the one hand, people face heightened vulnerabilities and marginalization during the lockdown, and many existing service agencies face the possibility of scaling back or closing down. However, this health crisis has also revealed unexpected gains and advantages for people with disability and presents an opportunity to redesign support to be individualized, relevant, and integrated into typical life.

Through a series of study groups and a forum, as well as partnerships with organizations and families across India, Keystone Institute India has developed a report identifying major themes and further questions for study and action as we all seek to understand the impact of COVID-19 and build a better, more inclusive India.

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Staff

Elizabeth “Betsy” Neuville

Betsy Neuville serves dual roles as Executive Director of the Keystone Institute, a US-based educational Institute, and Director of Keystone Institute India. She has well over 30 years of experience within Keystone Human Services as a human service worker, administrator, agency director, evaluator, educator, and personal advocate, as well as extensive experience in designing and developing supports for very vulnerable people, meaningful quality measurements, and extraordinary employee development programs. She has been working in India for over 4 years, heading up significant national change efforts at inclusive practice, respectful and personalized service strategies, and building community capacity to create a society where there is a place for everyone.

She has designed and created responsive residential services alongside literally hundreds of people with developmental and psychosocial disabilities across the United States over her decades of committed change work. Betsy has worked extensively with the ideas of Normalization and Social Role Valorization, and provides training and consultation internationally, with extensive experience in Central and Eastern Europe, and, in recent years, India. She is fully accredited by the North American Social Role Valorization Council as a senior trainer of SRV, and co-founded the International SRV Association in 2015. She has led SRV and person-directed practice initiatives in Canada, across the United States, India, Ireland, UK, France, Holland, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Romania, and the Republic of Moldova. She studied under the mentorship of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger, the developer and foremost proponent of Social Role Valorization, and has, in turn, mentored and supported a generation of people committed to personal human service to others. She remains closely personally connected to people who are vulnerable, and holds particular interest in the historical treatment of people with disabilities.

She has led the creation of a community of practice of Social Role Valorization across India, as well as a strong base of those skilled in person directed planning and approaches, mentoring next generation leaders and practitioners.

Betsy divides her time equally between India and the US, making her home in both Delhi, India, and Pennsylvania, United States.

Geeta Mondol

Ms. Geeta Mondol serves as the Interim Director of Administration and the Project Leader for Keystone Institute India, providing consultation and education in our many programs and events. Geeta has decades of experience in working with, and being with, people with disabilities, and is also a parent of two young men, one of whom experiences autism.

Geeta leads programmatic aspects of a pilot project which assists women with developmental disability who have been abandoned in institutions to reestablish themselves as valued and contributing members of their communities.

She has been involved in conducting training on inclusion and integration of people with disabilities with many organizations in various parts of the country and abroad. Her early years involved working in a mainstream school helping include those with disabilities in the mainstream classrooms. Currently, she works closely with families and individuals with disability in empowering and equipping them with knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help them to integrate in society as contributing citizens.

She also works with faith leaders and faith-based organizations to assist them to include people with disabilities in their communities. She is a partner with Engage Disability, a network of faith-based organizations, and facilitates capacity building of member organizations to effectively respond to the needs of people with disabilities.

Geeta successfully completed an extensive Social Role Valorization (SRV) training course at the inaugural Indian course in 2016, and has worked to implement SRV within many organizations and in the life of her own family. She has taught SRV across India in English and Hindi, and has participated in pilot planning projects using person-directed planning. She has attended formative events in person-directed approaches, and has participated as a member of multiple planning circles, both in training simulations and in bona fide planning sessions.

Leela Raj

Ms. Leela Raj is the Project Leader for multiple change initiatives within Keystone Institute India. Leela has a passion for education and change agentry, and is committed to collaborative work building capacity and awareness. She first connected with the ideas of Social Role Valorization during her Masters work in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Kentucky, and has been working closely with us since her return to her home city of Mumbai. Her portfolio at KII includes developing high quality curricula for the development and formation of direct service workers as a developing role in India. Leela will also design curricula rooted in inclusive practice and Social Role Valorization for professional coursework in disciplines like Psychology, Special Education, and Social Work. In addition, Leela heads up our supported employment initiative in 2020. Leela brings a great deal of experience and commitment with her, as a mentor, counselor, advocate, and activist working alongside young adults with developmental disability and their families.

Rachit Pandey

Mr. Rachit Pandey serves as the Educational Events Coordinator for Keystone Institute India, managing all aspects of our national and state-level training events, and providing strategic support across all projects within Keystone Institute India. Rachit joined KHSI with over 8 years of experience in training, strategic communication, engagement events, and projects within the corporate sector.

He has been engaged in change work by, with, and for people with disability for over a decade as a volunteer, consultant, and in the areas of event management and fundraising in his home city of Lucknow. He joins the Delhi office team of KII, and brings his focus, energy, warmth, and hospitality to our critical work.

Rachit is pursuing his master’s degree in political science while working full-time. He strongly believes in inclusion and diversity, personal human service, integrity, and giving back to the community.

Genevieve Fitzgibbon

Genevieve Fitzgibbon is the Deputy Director for Keystone Human Services International (KHSI), serves as US Team Lead for KHSI’s work in India, and is a member of the senior leadership group of Keystone Human Services (KHS), of which KHSI is a subsidiary. She has over two decades of experience in the development of innovative supports for people with intellectual disability, autism, and those who use mental health services. Genevieve has devoted her entire professional career toward the full community inclusion of people with disability, and the fight for recognition of equal rights for all people, especially those who are most deeply marginalized.

Genevieve has been involved with Keystone Institute India since its inception. She also was deeply engaged in the formative stages of Keystone’s ongoing work in the Republic of Moldova, and remains engaged there from a home-office leadership position. Genevieve has provided guidance and oversight to inclusion consultation activities in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Romania, and Russia. She has published and presented on a number of related topics, including evidence-based practices in mental health and rehabilitation, recovery self-management, and community-based supports; advance directives for mental health care; self-determination and technology utilization; school to work transitioning for youth with emotional/behavioral challenges; and participatory action research methodologies. Genevieve has a specific interest in disability policy and systems issues, advocacy and rights-based approaches, program assessment and design, and individualized planning methodologies.

Shalini Ekka

Ms. Shalini Ekka serves as Administrative Assistant at Keystone Institute India and she plays a vital role in human resources, administration, coordination of events, and finance. Shalini is a capable, determined, confident, and well-organized administrative assistant, with extensive experience in supporting mid and senior-level managers by providing them with consistent clerical support and a highly approachable individual who has a pleasant attitude and a willingness to make a positive mark. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration with almost 3+ years’ experience in administration. Shalini has worked with Keystone Institute India since 2017, where she is increasing her knowledge on disability issues and contributing to Keystone vision and mission.

Suhaib Ansari

Mr. Suhaib Ansari serves as Administrative Assistant for Keystone Institute India, and joined the Keystone Team in August of 2019. He provides all types of administrative support to the organization by managing day-to-day operations and providing high-level administrative support by conducting research, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls and financial reports. He has over 8 years of experience in management and administration. Suhaib completed his MBA in HR in 2010. As a professional, he has strong communication skills, builds strong relationships, and enjoys helping people. An avid learner, Suhaib is a certificate holder from the intensive course in Social Role Valorization held in Delhi in 2019.

Associate Faculty

Faisal Ashraf

Mr. Faisal Ashraf joins the Keystone Institute India team as an educator and facilitator after several years of working together collaboratively. Faisal is well known for his work as an innovator for technological adaptations, a disability rights activist, and a powerful advocate for the advancement of people with disability into valued work roles. He completed intensive training in Social Role Valorization principles in 2017 and is an extraordinary facilitator and a natural community builder.

His post-graduate degree from Jamia Milia Islamia University in 2013 in social exclusion and inclusive policy prepares him well for this work. He has extensive experience working in the commercial sector in accessibility and inclusion for Indigo Airlines, as well as heading up several employment initiatives to assist people with disability to have work roles and to serve as a change agent in workplace mindsets around disability and inclusion. He worked for the Cheshire Home India Delhi Unit within a Livelihood Projects supported by the European Union, where he supported people with disabilities in employment and vocational training, as well as assistive technology. He currently works with V-shesh, providing support for people with disability to find employment.

As an athlete, Faisal has won a gold medal in the wheelchair 100mt race in the Delhi State Athletic Powerlifting and Table Tennis Championships in 2017-2018. He won bronze medals in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2016 and 2017. In the Reverse-Trike project with IIT Delhi, he is customizing motorbikes for people with disabilities.

We are so fortunate that Faisal has joined KII’s change agentry initiative.

Dr. Nidhi Singhal

Dr. Nidhi Singhal is a researcher, master trainer, and psychologist who has dedicated her career to working to create opportunities for good lives for people with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families. Dr. Singhal is passionate about creating supports for vulnerable people which are respectful and assist people to have valued roles as contributing members of society, with full, rich, and meaningful lives. She graduated from the inaugural intensive SRV course held in Delhi in 2016 and has been teaching and using the ideas, and has begun incorporating them into other bodies of knowledge. She is personally connected with people experiencing disability in her personal and professional life, and has served as a pioneer in learning about and using Social Role Valorization in India.  She attended a PASSING service evaluation course in the United States and has participated on a PASSING test evaluation in India. She has represented India in the International SRV Association.

In addition to being an expert clinician and counsellor, she is committed to working towards inclusive practice and using Social Role Valorization as a way to promote good lives. Dr. Singhal has extensive experience working with people with autism and their families, as well as professionals in the field, and works for Action for Autism, the National Centre for Autism located in New Delhi, currently serving as Director of Training and Research. She conducts screening and diagnostic assessments, counsels adults with autism, designs and executes individual and group programs for parents, and addresses the impact of autism in the person, marriage, and family, social, and work relationships.

Dr. Singhal serves on several committees, including the International Steering Committee developing a WHO ICF Core Set for ASD, and is recognized as an expert on autism by the Rehabilitation Council of India. She provides consultation and training as an expert consultant and associate faculty for KII.

Dr. Neelam Sodhi

Dr. Neelam Sodhi has been a trailblazer in establishing parent-led supports and services in her home state of Punjab. She was drawn to engage in the work of creating possibilities for people with disability by the birth of her son, who has cerebral palsy. In 1999, she led the development of the North India Cerebral Palsy Association to advocate, and Ashirwaad was created to provide early intervention and other supports and services in Ludhiana.

She has served on the board of the National Trust for Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, and Multiple Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, providing significant national level training, and serves as a coach and mentor to many, many families trying to create pathways to help their disabled sons and daughters take a valued place in society. She is also a member of Training Resource Group, RBSK, Ministry of Health. She regularly conducts Adolescence Education Programs in schools and works for awareness against female feticide.

She became involved with our work back in 2016, and has been developing and presenting materials based on her strong values base, a firm belief in social justice for all, and a passion for teaching and mentoring.

Arpita Yadav

Ms. Arpita Yadav envisions the creation of an alternative path of development and inclusion using creative platforms wherein theater, dance, drama, and other participatory activities lay the foundation for an inclusive society, and a society that is more accessible, tolerant, non-judgmental, and consequently, more fulfilling. The mother of a teenage boy, Nirbhay, who was born with a rare neuro-metabolic disorder, Arpita chose to look upon this event as an invitation to chart out a survival path for Nirbhay. Within this journey, she found her calling to support all those with special needs and their families. Arpita realized first hand that the greatest fear of a parent of a child with special needs is the uncertainty of who will care for their child when they are gone. She envisions an inclusive residential arrangement where people with disabilities live alongside typical people and all work to support each other.

Arpita brings expertise in coaching and counseling those with learning disabilities. She launched Learning Aspirations, where she serves as Director. Arpita has served as a special educator with AADI (Action for Ability Development and Inclusion), followed by a multi-dimensional role with DISHA, a resource center for multiple disabilities, Jaipur, Rajasthan, in addition to various independent consulting assignments and appointments in the private and public sector domain covering women and child welfare and development. She engaged with the government as part of a policy formation team for the newly instituted “Persons with Disability Act.”

She was introduced to Social Role Valorization in an intensive course in 2017, graduated from the course, and has been both teaching and using the ideas ever since, as well as mentoring others. She is a member of the informal Rajasthan SRV Leadership Circle, working to strengthen SRV use and expertise across the state and serving as national and state-wide resources. She has recently relocated to the Delhi area.

Learn about Social Role Valorization and Inclusive Practices