on the details of
Makhla Muktadhara Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled [MMRCD] has been working since 1998 to address issues related to disabled children and their rehabilitation within the society. Having begun with programs in few select villages in one Panchayat, today Makhla works in 109 villages spread across 16 Panchayats and 1 Municipality under 3 Blocks. The Project Holder, Malay Kumar Sen, is an experienced development worker in the field of Disability and related activism. Through his efforts, he has established strong working links with the local government and non-government institutions and has also developed technical expertise in the area of disability and addressing community rehabilitation issues. The aim of the intervention is to create a disabled-friendly environment where distinctions between People with Disabilities (PWDs) and mainstream community will be eliminated and to restore the Rights of the Children with Disabilities (CWDs) in the larger gamut of Child Rights.
Disability is closely linked with exclusion and poverty. Not only are the disabled segregated because of their disability, but the segregation or isolation and inequity increases in case of the poor. The poor are not able to access quality modes of treatment nor do they have adequate education or knowledge base to demand their rights from the government. Women with disability face different social stigma in comparison to men, who also face stigma because they become economic burdens. The disabled, often being gauged as non productive or incompetent, lie outside the family system and economic system, and if to this a layer of caste is added, then the degree of being treated as outcastes becomes worse. Looking at the policy aspects one sees that the practices of the ICDS by and large do not include disabled children. Late detection and lack of follow up of disability further aggravates the situation. The government passed the People’s with Disabilities Act in 1994 which covers issues of integrated education, vocational training, employment and housing and even leisure activities. The Act covers almost all problems related to the disabled; however there are no legal commitments or redressal mechanisms of ensuring these rights. This continues to be a serious advocacy issue.
The coverage area of the project is 46 revenue villages of 8-Gram Panchayats of three blocks of Hooghly District. The people of the operational area are mostly dependent on agriculture and allied activities as their source of livelihood. Since it is mostly single cropping, the agriculture does not support the life system fully. Hence, a majority of the people are poor. Low income and poverty prevailing in the area happens to be a major reason for malnutrition resulting in malnourished pregnant women giving birth to under-weight babies growing up with disabilities.
- To establish a barrier-free environment for children with disabilities (CWDs) in rural areas under Serampore Sub-division in Hooghly district.
- To empower CWDs and PWDs through collective action to ensure fulfillment of their basic entitlements.
- To sustain campaigns and processes for facilitating birth certificate, ration card, handicapped certificates for the affected – all to ensure proper legal identity of the disabled community.
- To Strengthen Health & ICDS system & processes in the delivering of quality services to the CWDs.
- Ensure inclusive and quality Education to CWDs in ICDS Centres, Schools.
- Ensure protection from physical and mental violence, injury,neglect, maltreatement, economic exploitation and abuse involving peer groups, parents’ groups and Activist Groups, PRI members, Govt. Officials, Police and Media.
Review and Impact
In the period of CRY support, MMRCD has proved the credibility and required potential for working towards mainstreaming disability, taking up disability issues to larger forums. In the period of crisis when the Project Holder has taken seriously ill and is undergoing treatments, members of the Governing Body (GB) and the staffs have taken the Programmatic and Organisational actions, decisions and responsibility of holding the Organisation. The second-line leadership has been developed and has taken organisational responsibilities ably. The project’s work has impacted a fairly large area covering 109 villages and all the 3 blocks of Uttarpara-Serampore sub-division. The Organisation has been able to garner support from the locality by sensitizing the masses on the disability issue. The programmes of Makhla have impacted the lives of CWDs as well as PWD s and their inclusion, not just mainstreaming, in the larger society is being visible in the operational area.
- 26 children with disability were issued birth certificates, 153 CWD s were issued disability certificates and 14d CWDs were given identity cards.
- 72 CWDs mainstreamed in formal schools, 20 CWDs mainstreamed in ICDS Centres, 40 CWDs mainstreamed in Primary Schools and 65 CWDs attached with SSA.
- 132 children with disabilities were given Home Package (IHP) at houses involving Parents and Care-givers.
- 206 CWDs receiving regular therapeutic interventions, 113 receiving Physio-Occupational Therapy.
- 118 CWDs were covered under Group Package Program (GPP) at activity units involving Parents’ Group, Core Groups’, DPO Group members.
- Social development by the group & straighten the right concept activities & Information Act - 150 Core-team members attended the training programme.
- 45 group meetings were organized for motivating program of ICDS Workers.
- To facilitate easy processing in obtaining birth certificate, ration card, handicapped certificate, identity card and identify by name not by disability.
- Sustaining & strengthening Panchayat level Core Groups involving Parents, Adult PWDs, the family members of CWDs, and other stakeholders and ensuring their active participation in advocating for entitlements of CWDs.
- Organise awareness generation through informative materials on disability issue.
- To link disabled children with hospitals and NGOS to ensure corrective services, therapy aids and scholarship availability.
- To ensure inclusive and Quality Education to CWDs in ICDS Centres and Schools utilizing SSA.
- Ensure protection from physical and mental violence, injury, neglect, maltreatment, economic exploitation and abuse involving different stakeholders.
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