KSSS working with differently-abled people for positive change…..
When we look back, at our 24 years of service, towards the differently-abled people. We have been blessed with the smiles of thousands of such differently-abled who made a mark in the society beyond their expectation. We are proud to state that we are motivated and inspired by our achievements, by keeping up our aim of bringing a positive impact in the life’s of our brothers and sisters who are the victim of physical and mental disability.
Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) has been advocated by KSSS for more than 23 years as the core strategy to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy within community development for the rehabilitation, equalization and social integration of all children and adults with disabilities. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of differently-abled people, their families, communities, appropriate health, education, vocational and social services. KSSS promotes the notion of ‘Community Based Rehabilitation’ with the aim to create positive attitude towards people with disabilities and to motivate community members to support and participate in CBR activities.
Every year has been a challenge in our journey; we retained our focus on our vision to build a world in which all differently-abled can live a full and active life, like the other members of the society. People with disability are always our priority and we are honored to be able to walk along side with them in their journey.
As part of CBR programme,KSSS has three day care centers and State Learning Centre for rehabilitation of Deafblind Persons. The Major programmes of Community Based Rehabilitation Programme are the following:
As part of the community based rehabilitation programmes, we have been organizing SHGs for the differently-abled people in our operational villages. They meet once in two weeks, share their problems, offer mutual support, and start income generation programmes for self-sufficiency. The SHG members include the disabled persons and their parents. So far we have organized 60 SHGs for the Disabled people in 60 villages of our operational districts
The district wise profiles of SHGs of people living with disabilities promoted by KSSS are as follows:
|District||No: of Villages||No.of SHGs||Women||Men||Total|
The selection of group leaders in CBR SHGs in a democratic process. From each group 5 members were elected to be office bearers or leaders. These elected leaders were given 3 days residential orientation. Special training was given to write reports and maintain books of accounts in the groups. The trained and empowered leaders gradually take charge of the group programmes and lead the differently-abled to the main stream of the society. The leadership training helped the leaders to acquire more skill in-group management Federation of CBR groups is an essential component for the networking of groups in project level. The five elected members in the group are executive members in the federations. There are totally 200 such executives members from 40 villages. The project level federation leaders are selected to monitor and evaluate the CBR activities.
Every year a state level symposium was organized with an objective to give awareness on CBR and to promote the same for the integral development of the differently-abled children. The direction and coordinators of all institutions involved in the care of differently-abled were the participants of CBR. Discussions and planning sessions were organized in which their responsibility and role were discussed. For the better coordination of programme in the state level we formed a committee of the participants named “SAMANWAYA” which means convergence. It helps them to gather together periodically and work together and bring out better results. It helps them to bring collective published our documentary regarding CBR. We published it in the malayalam and English Languages.
The concept of community-based rehabilitation is new to the villagers. To introduce CBR programme and to create an attitudinal change towards the wrong conception towards disability, we organized community awareness programmes for all the villagers. The various causes and type of disability and its preventive measures behavior problems, problems faced by parents were explained to the villagers in detail. This changed the perception of the villagers. Also the community awareness programmes helped to ensure the community involvement and participation in the effective implementation of the programme.
Every year we are organizing awareness programmes in the villages and schools in the project village. Along with students teachers are also included in the training. The present education systems make students more materialistic .Teachers has forgotten the role of molding a good citizen. It is an age of unhealthy competition in all the aspects of education .As a result of it’s they ignore the fellow human beings. The relationship among siblings is broken due to the impatience which arises from the competition. The differently-abled children are always disregarded as they are not competitive with normal children. Along with students teachers were also included in the training. The programme was mainly focused on the children who are in 9th to 12th standard .Through the programme the teachers and students were got awareness on communication with differently-abled children, what are disability and its causes and what they can do for differently-abled .The classes were handled by the KSSS team members who is having more experience in the subjects.
We are conducting mother and child health programmes combining two villages each. All the SHG members, especially mothers of young women were focused in the training. We organized Mother and Child Health camps in all project villages. The programme was organized in association with Little Lourdes Hospital, Kidangoor and Caritas Hospital, Thellakom, local PHC and the doctors took classes for the participants. All the SHG members, especially mothers of young women were focused in the training. Mothers were enriched with care and precautions in pregnancy, prenatal, and Postnatal. They were also trained in preparation of nutritious food and immunization programmes for children. The programme also helped us to identify the differently-abled in the villages. Subjects like care of pregnant mothers, child rearing, care of lactating period and preparation of nutritious food for children.
We also mobilized all young children below the age of five for the free vaccination organized by the government.
We have organized central level medical camp for the mentally retarded children as well as physically handicapped children.299 Mentally Retarded children and 212 physically handicapped children were participated in the camp. The doctors from Caritas Hospital, Thellakom were taken the leading role in medical assessment of the children. Those who need further treatment were referred to the Hospital. They have been getting treatment assistance from concerned department. During the medical camps parents also were invited and they were given awareness through the documentary prepared by KSSS on disability.
As a step to rehabilitate the disabled we have taken steps to overcome the problems or to arrange alternatives to rectify the disability. In order to provide mobility for the differently-abled, we help the differently-abled to conduct surgery and provide mobility devices. The surgery was conducted at medical college, Kottayam. The hearing aid improved the capacity of the beneficiary. In this reporting period 103 people are under gone surgeries and all of them showed good improvement after the operation. One of the client’s needs a follow up surgery for the complete rehabilitation. Due to the financial constrain differently-abled often denied of proper medical assistance, which can rectify their disability.
As an integration of differently-abled along with the normal children are resource corners in the village normal schools. This differently-abled children those who are self-dependable got a chance to study normal school along with normal children. From there they got special training in the separate class. The children got more time to mingle with normal children and learn from them .This helped the differently-abled to grow better and to changed the wrong attitude and fear of normal children towards disabled.
KSSS as a step to promote the advocacy for the differently-abled has celebrated World Disabled Day on December 3rd .The group members organized various competitions and cultural programmes to make the day more colorful. In the afternoon we organized a seminar on disability and rehabilitation .Rally with placards organized by the group was a great means for awareness creation. CBR meet organized in the regional level also was a mean to bring the differently-abled to the mainstream of the society.
As a step to rehabilitate the differently-abled we have taken steps to overcome the problems or to arrange alternatives to rectify the disability. In order to provide mobility for the disabled, we help the disabled to conduct surgery and provide mobility devices. We conducted 56 locomotion disability and 99-cataract operation. Also we have provided 106 hearing aids and 79 caliper shoes for the differently-abled for their mobility. The surgery was conducted at medical college, Kottayam. The hearing aid improved the capacity of the beneficiary.
Worker is visiting her every client periodically. Training is planned for each client depends on the density of the disability. Worker visits a child minimum once in a week and number of visits increases based on the need. As the parents and siblings of the client’s get skilled in training worker reduces the number of visits and concentrates new clients. During the house visit, the field workers made village surveys for finding out the differently-abled in the villages and they shared the concept of CBR to the family members.
Professional level training is very essential for those who are involving in CBR activities. They need deep knowledge on various aspects of disability. The fieldworkers got training of different aspects of disability such as Personality Development, Mental Illness, Pachayath Raj Act, Role of a CBR worker, Persons With Disability Act, Development-A modern perspective, Assessment of CBR SHGs Besides, they were given follow up training so that they could update their knowledge and approach. Persons with Disability Act, Mental Health Act, Right Based approach, National Trust Act, Psycho-social problems of family members of a disabled person were discussed in the training.
Income generation programmes like petty shops, fishing net and boat, sale of fish, quail rearing, poultry, cow, goat and pig rearing, making of newspaper packets, tailoring, boiling rice and marketing and production of soft toys. With regards to the goat rearing we have given the goat freely and the beneficiary has to give its kid to another group member and it is continued among the group members. Grants from Panchayath and donation from villagers also was used by the village development committee for the promotion of IGP.
KSSS learned from the past experience that the reasons behind the failure of the micro enterprises and other livelihood initiatives were lacking of scientific, process oriented and result based approaches & practices. Systematic planning and timely monitoring coupled with support services are essential right from the beginning of an income generation project. The major topics intend to covered under the programs were rural entrepreneurship development and action research, Assessment of unemployment and mitigation measures, Qualities of an entrepreneur, Planning and development of a micro-enterprise, Participatory study on opportunities and resource flow, Situational and market study, Project planning, Accounting and book keeping, Monitoring process and tools, Planning of the mitigation measures to address various issues, Agencies, institutions and organizations promoting micro enterprises, Syllabus of Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP), Feasibility study, Counselling. Etc. After four months, two-day follow-up training programmes also were organized to study and evaluate the success of the programme.
A livable shelter is one of the most basic amenities in human life. KSSS has been working in the project villages for the last 15 years. We have identified that many members in the Disabled community do not have livable houses and that this affects their normal life and their health. Even though they have houses, it lacks disabled-friendly facilities, which make the disabled members in that house immobile. We have supported 50 differently-abled members for upgrading their house as disabled friendly. The beneficiaries were the members of the SHGs of Disabled promoted by KSSS. We were constructed houses with co-operation of panchayath under the scheme of “SUVARNA YOJANA” Self. KSSS provided technical guidance regarding the construction aspects and also training programme for panchayath officials. The beneficiaries adopted their own innovative and indigenous techniques at various stages of the works to make the repair processes cost-effective. The Self-help group members shared their knowledge in the construction aspects and rendered possible support by the labour to the partner self-help group’s members.
Most of the differently-abled community members in the project villages lack sanitation facilities, which are friendly to them. This always creates problem in carrying out the routine tasks of daily living. We were assisted 50 selected members from the differently-abled community in the project villages for the construction or upgrading of latrines as disabled friendly. This was done by the panchayath itself; we were providing training to the panchayath officials for construction of disabled friendly latrines.
We gave assistive devices such as wheelchairs, caliper shoes, crutches, walkers and three-wheeler cycles to the disabled persons. But on evaluation of the usage of assistive devices; we came to know that most of the differently-abled persons are not using assistive devices because of absence of ramps in the houses and handrails in the toilets. So in this context we were constructed ramps, paths, and handrails for the needy differently-abled. We were constructed ramps, paths, handrails with the support of the Panchayaths; 50% of the total cost would be taken by the panchayaths and remaining would be taken by KSSS as part of local contribution.
Accessible means able to be reached or used. Accessibility is an important issue for all concerned with the built environment, especially for differently-abled people. An accessible environment is one, which allows people to move around safely, independently, and without restriction. This will increase their productivity and encourage their self-reliance. We have supplied assistive devices to the selected members to make them accessible. The assistive devices include wheel chairs, caliper shoes, wheelchairs, etc. These helped the recipients to move and to take part in social gatherings. It also helped them to contribute in the household matters and for doing their own personal things.
KSSS organized Minnaminni Camp on May 21st & 22nd, 2018 under the Community Based Rehabilitation Programme. The camp was organized to provide the participants barrier free outdoor experiences that would foster their personal growth and independence. The first day included Ice breaking session and Sex Education classes. As part of the exposure visit, the differently abled children visited Shri. V Mohammad Rafeq (Superintendent of Police, Kottayam). They had interface meet with the police head and shared questions regarding crimes against Persons with disability and service of police toward them. The children also exhibited their talents in front of the police team. The District police superintendent distributed sweets to them. The interface meet concluded with a group photo. The meeting with Shri. V Muhammad Rafeeq was like a dream come true to the differently-abled children.
They also visited Janamaythri Police station. The other activities of the camp were vocational training; the children were taken for a movie as well. Later gifts were distributed to all the participants.
Special Gramasabha was conducted at Njeezhoor, Uzhavoor and Manjoor villages region. The main objective of the meeting was to conscientize the villagers on the provisions for ensuring the rights of the differently—abled in the respective Panchayaths future action plans were discussed and planning of projects. Members who were part of this special meeting were Panchayath Presidents, members, Panchayath Secretary and CBR staff. It was an interactive session and included especially parents of the differently-abled members of KSSS’ CBR groups.
Navachaithanya Federation consists of 8 Executive Leaders from CBR Groups who work for the Advocacy Group of KSSS’ CBR. The main aim of the group is to continually strive for excellence in care and service of differently-abled persons. The meeting is organized once in every month. They discuss about the policies and future course of action. The meeting keeps them updated about opportunities for action and promotion of rights of people with disabilities.
Kottayam Social Service Society always committed to address the inequalities faced by the people with disability. During the year, KSSS organized ‘We Ring the Bell’ campaign by joining hands with Catholic Health Association of India at St. Margeret UP School, (Kaipuzha), Mariabhavan English Medium School (Kumarakom) and Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan School (Kidangoor). The program aimed to sensitize the differently-abled children regarding their Right of Education. After the introductory and motivational class, students of the respective CBR schools performed cultural and musical programme on the theme “Welcome to School”. The programme concluded with clapping hands of all students and making sounds as mark of their acceptance and support for the differently-abled friends. The love and sharing they showed mutually was a heart-touching moment.
As part of Community Based Rehabilitation Program, KSSS organized ‘Eye Camp’ for differently-abled people at Chaithanya Pastoral Centre in association with Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly. Around forty eight differently-abled people from the operational areas of KSSS had undergone an ophthalmological screening and 78 members were diagnosed with eye problem and referred for further treatment.
KSSS organized a three day state level comic training programme at Chaithanya campus for the differently- abled. Shri. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (MLA) inaugurated the programme conducted as part of the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programme. The objective of the training was to train the differently-abled children in comic creation as a means of expressing their talents. Through this the children will be able to sensitize the public on their needs and talents. The class was led by Mr. Ignatius Xavier (Cartoonist). His long experience in the area made the programme more attractive and useful. Over 100 children from 15 CBR implemented institutions across Kerala attended the programme. Mr. KM Raju (Programme Manager, Catholic Health Association of India) coordinated the programme.
KSSS provided free cycles to children with special abilities amidst a special function organized at Chaithanya Pastoral Centre, Thellakom. Mar Mathew Moolakatt (Archbishop, Kottayam) inaugurated the cycle distribution that was organized as part of the Community Based Rehabilitation program of KSSS for the sustainable development of the differently-abled. Fr. Sunil Perumannoor (Executive Director, KSSS), Fr. Mathews Valiyaputhenpurayil (Asst. Director, KSSS), Fr. Graceson Vengalil and KSSS Staff graced the occasion.
KSSS in association with the Catholic Health Association of India and Liliane Foundation distributed financial aid for the health, education and welfare activities of the differently-abled children. Fr. Sunil Perumanoor (Secretary, KSSS) inaugurated the distribution programme. Mrs. Babitha T.Jessil (Programme Officer, KSSS), Mrs. Shaila Thomas (Project Officer, KSSS), Sr.Simi (Special Educator, DCPB), Mrs. Saly Mathew (CBR Staff), Mrs. Saji Jacob(CBR Staff), Mrs. Sherly Jose (CBR Staff) delivered speeches on the occasion.257 differently-abled children benefitted from the programme.
The Ardram Welfare programme for differently-abled envisaging food security and development of basic amenities was inaugurated by the Archbishop of Kottayam – Mar Mathew Moolakkatt at Chaithanya Pastoral Centre, Thellakom. As part of the programme, financial aid was distributed to 45 families for goat rearing, 21 families of differently-abled were given assistance for house renovation, 16 children received caliper shoes, 6 children got hearing aids and 2 commode chairs and 1 CP Chair were given away. Financial aid for starting other income generation programmes was also provided.
21 March, is observed to create a global awareness on Down syndrome-a genetic condition which usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability. Mar Gheevarghese Mar Aprem (Auxiliary Bishop,Kottayam Archeparchy) inaugurated the event organized by the Kottayam Social Service Society to observe World Down Syndrome Day, held at Chaithanya Pastoral Centre, Thellakom. Smt Arya Rajan (president, Ettumanoor Block Panchayat), Smt Alice Joseph (Vice-President, Athirampuzha Grampanchayath), Fr. Sunil Perumanoor (Executive Director, Kottayam Social Service Society), and Fr. Mathews Valiyaputhenpurayil( Asst. Director, Kottayam Social Service Society) spoke at the event. The event which was organized in collaboration with the Catholic Health Association of India was attended by children with Down syndrome and their parents. Along with games and other leisure activities arranged for the children, a seminar was also organized for the parents as part of the event.