(November 7, 2016 – Harrisburg, PA) Leaders from The Hans Foundation (THF) are visiting Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA from November 7-11. Shweta Rawat, Chairperson of The Hans Foundation; General Surinder Mehta, CEO; Dr. G.V. Rao, Executive Director; and Paul Glick, Director of Grant Management are visiting Keystone Human Services (KHS) and meeting with Charles Hooker III, President and CEO of Keystone Human Services; Dennis Felty, Founding President of KHS; Betsy Neuville, Director of Keystone Institute India; Genevieve Fitzgibbon, Director of Grants and Special Projects; and Bindu Sengar, Administrative Coordinator as part of a planning retreat about our collaboration to advance the rights of people with disability in India.
Over the past 12 months, THF and Keystone Human Services International have partnered in the development of Keystone Institute India, a national educational institute on disability, community, and innovation in India. There are more than 27 million people living with a disability in India, and for many, living with a disability means being separated from family and community and leading a life marked by isolation, rejection, stigmatization, and even brutality and danger. Keystone Institute India has a mission to focus on social change around disability issues, providing training and consultation related to creating responsive community supports for men, women, and children living with disability in India.
This November visit marks the launch of the next phase of these organizations’ committed partnership. During the first year, Keystone Institute India has been building a network of allied organizations, families, self-advocates, and leaders who are dedicated to creating a more inclusive society for all people in India. Keystone Institute India and other experts from around the world have shared the concepts of Social Role Valorization and person-centered planning with these change makers and together, explored what it means to support individuals with disabilities to fully participate in society.
The first two days of the visit in PA are dedicated to discussion of the progress that has been made since the partnership’s last strategic planning meeting in February 2016, and charting the next steps toward creating a strong, truly impactful program together.
On November 9-10, leaders will visit several programs within Keystone Human Services, including services for people with autism, mental health services, supported employment, family living, supported living, community homes, and a transitional program. They will have the opportunity to meet some of the people who use these services and hear how these community-based services support individuals to live full lives in the community. Leaders from THF will also visit Millersville University and meet with Dr. Thomas Neuville and students in the Career & Life Studies program, a fully inclusive university program for students with intellectual disabilities.
On November 10, leaders will have the opportunity to attend Keystone’s Annual Meeting.
Keystone Human Services is a not-for-profit organization that has been committed to creating environments where all people are valued and contributing members of their community for almost 45 years. Established in 1972, Keystone Human Services provides community-based services for individuals with intellectual disabilities, autism, and mental illness, as well as children’s services, Capital Area Head Start, and Susquehanna Service Dogs. Keystone provides services throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware, as well as the Republic of Moldova and India, and has provided consultation and education in a number of countries, including Kazakhstan, Romania, Azerbaijan, and Russia.
The Hans Foundation (THF) is a charitable trust fund created to provide a source of charitable funds for nonprofit organizations in India. THF is committed to strengthening India by addressing the areas of health care, education, and disability. It holds a powerful vision of an India where human suffering is alleviated and a strong foundation for the future is built.