Making the change possible
Makhla Muktadhara Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled (MMRCD), a CRY America supported project
aims to establish a barrier-free environment for children with disabilities.
Step 1: Beginning with the home
The staff members of MMRCD, began by identifying children with disabilities in the detection camps organized by the Department of Health and started visiting each of these children's homes, where they would sensitize the family members about the issue of Disability, thus helping dispel myths and establish the larger context of child rights.
They also provided regular physio-occupational therapies, speech therapies and mobility training to the children through the Individual Home Package Program. The parents were also taught to administer the therapy enabling them to continue the therapy even in the absence of the MMRCD staff.
Step 2: Sensitizing the community
MMRCD staff knew the need to sensitize the community, which was done by forming peer groups so that these groups could understand and work towards ensuring Disability Rights for the children.
Taking it further, MMRCD formed Neighbourhood groups, Parents' groups and Caregivers' groups to ensure that Disability Rights get established, while core groups comprising of parents and members from village education councils participated regularly in Gram Sabhas and Gram Sansads (village groups) to highlight the issues.
These groups have been empowered with knowledge on issues pertaining to disability as well as the science and myths surrounding disability, thus bringing about a change with rational and compassionate thinking.
These groups now have become active in nudging the administration as well as the parents to demand birth certificates, ration cards and disability certificates for children and people with disabilities
Step 3: Roping in the schools
MMRCD knows that the task would be incomplete without the active involvement of the schools. With regular and necessary technical support to the teachers and schools, MMRCD managed to break the fear of accountability and ignorance. Soon teachers and pre-school workers started going from house to house enquiring about the well-being of the children and discussing their progress with their parents, sometime escorting these children to schools and even dropping them back home.
In such an environment, fellow school-mates also started recognizing the needs of their mates with disabilities and began to help them e.g. by pushing their wheel chairs and tricycles up the ramp into their respective classes or assisting them inside the classroom. Now, all the children play together during the break and even perform and participate in games and sports during school functions.
Now, the Pre-school workers take care of the educational, health and nutritional needs of the children enrolled in school, even going from house to house to discuss the child's development and encourage other parents of children with disability to enrol their children and often playing the role of mentors by helping the parents with information and guidance.
The Situation now
There is a big change in the attitude of the community and the parents. Children with disabilities have become self-reliant and open, attending schools, participating in family and social functions and events regularly.
Their eagerness and enthusiasm is unmistakable as they draw, paint, recite poems and perform on the stage. Many of them even help their parents in the day-to-day work at home, thus contributing to their own dignity and joy.
CRY America and MMRCD
CRY America supports MMRCD in the following ways:
- Funding basis plans and community needs
- Capacity Building for Project staff towards effective implementation of programs
- Perspective building on children's rights
- Chalking out program & budget details that tackle the root of problem & ensure change in the lives of children & communities
- Organizing need based trainings for grassroots workers & project staff
- Overseeing & reviewing ongoing progress to measure efficacy & impact