Udaan, a School for differently abled children was started as part of Op Sadbhavana in April 2010 at Drugmulla Tehsil, Kupwara under the aegis of Northern Command of Indian Army. Kupwara District has more than 39000 differently-abled persons. The basic social infrastructure and an institutionalized mechanism for rehabilitation and upliftment of this marginalized section was lacking. To ameliorate the suffering of this section of society who remain neglected, Udaan School was conceived as a School and Rehabilitation Centre for the differently-abled children from in and around Drugmulla. Udaan remains the only school in the complete North Kashmir valley undertaking this great social cause. The school is presently run by the Thunderbolt Brigade of the Vajra Division and is attended by 20 students.
The school endeavours to impart training to the students to help them cope with their daily activities and further enhance their physical and mental abilities through monitoring and providing them with the conducive environment under the supervision of staff. The school infrastructure includes a classroom with adequate seating and audio-visual teaching aids. There is also lab for teaching activities in daily living wherein the staff assists the children to learn hygiene and sanitation related activities, thereby making them self reliant. The school has further added a 'Physiotherapy Lab' which houses physiotherapy equipments, Braille Machine and Audio meter thereby endeavouring to assist the children with various disabilities. The school also organises the counselling of parents, recreational activities for the children and celebration of national and religious festivals with the aim to nurture the children in the positive direction.
The Army's efforts in this direction have been widely lauded by the local population and civil administration. The Army in its untiring effort is looking forward to further expand the school and involve the local authorities in this noble mission. Towards this end the first step of registering the Udaan School as a society in accordance with J & K Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act 1998 has been completed in May 2017. The Army now is in the process of collaborating with an NGO to further upgrade the school infrastructure and provision facilities of qualified trainers as per disabilities of children. Referal facilities to various hospitals and qualified doctors for children as per their disabilities will also be ensured. Concurrently it is also envisaged to involve the local government authorities for requisite support and financial assistance.
The Udaan School is an endeavor of the Army to contribute meaning fully towards social welfare cause and Nation building. It will not only go a long way in ensuring integration of marginalised sections of society into the mainstream but will also bring civic populace in touch with soft power of armed forces aimed at normalising the environment in the troubled district of Kupwara and State of J&K.