Opportunity, Possibility, and a Powerful Role

Opportunity, Possibility, and a Powerful Role

By Dr. Naval Pant, parent, co-founder-PYSSUM, SRV leader

Social Role Valorization (SRV) teaches us about the power of valued social roles and how such roles contribute to giving people access to the good things of life. One of those good things of life is a strong self-image and a valued image in the community.

Prasanna, a 22-year-old adult, joined PYSSUM Vocational Training and Rehabilitation Centre as a trainee in 2022. Initially he seemed to be non-expressive and disinterested in his immediate environment. He was being trained in different sections of the vocational center.

Prasanna is not able to express himself clearly through speech. However, we observed that he is at his best when he is with people, and he worked enthusiastically if he was given an assignment. Whether it was arranging the chairs or dusting the tables, he worked with precision. Gradually he was involved in the grinding section of the workshop, and also operated a photocopy machine, and made gift items.

As the person in-charge of the media and publication division, I capture all events in PYSSUM which evoke the vibrant environment we strive for. On one such occasion when I had taken out my professional camera, I noticed Prasanna looking at the camera. He seemed to be hesitantly attempting to touch the camera. My first thought was, “Oh my! He is going to drop the bag and break the lenses in there.” But then another thought followed: “Maybe not.” Good sense prevailed as I chose to be positive and started observing him. I noticed that he seemed interested in looking at the camera but was cautious and careful about touching it. He looked around as if he wanted permission to take it out of the bag. He noticed that I was watching him, and he stepped back. I had finished my work, so I went to him and encouraged him to pick up the bag. After initial hesitation, he picked up the bag, but was confused about what I was trying to do. I asked him to follow me and taking him to a workstation, I asked him to put down the bag carefully. I then asked him to open the bag and take out the camera. He hesitated once again but, on my request, he removed the camera himself, and took the camera out with trepidation and great care. I then asked him to hang the camera around his neck. He followed my instructions exactly the way I wanted. He then smiled. I looked into his eyes and asked him, “Do you want to click a picture?” I am so happy I asked that question. He shook his head to convey affirmation.


I later recalled the head of the center asking me to hire an assistant to click the pictures whenever I was busy with other chores. That day, when Prasanna consented by shaking his head, I knew I had found my assistant. Now Prasanna clicks the pictures for us besides doing other work tasks. Though he’s still learning, he has started displaying confidence in using the camera. I am sure my assistant will soon have a photo exhibition as he grows in his new role as an assistant photographer at PYSSUM. Indeed, being mindful and watchful to notice and, indeed see, the possibilities of those around us is a powerful way to be sure everyone gets to offer their gifts.