This is a guest post written by my colleagues, Ms. Rachel Belda Raj who serves as a Project Officer in the Community Based Rehabilitation Project. This is in response to mails from readers about what Community Based Rehabilitation exactly is. Ms. Rachel is a Masters in Social Work from the Madras Christian Collge and has served at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Christian Medical College, Vellore before joining NJH
Disability has been an age old problem in our societies and would continue to be present. People with Disabilities(PWDs) have always been excluded from the mainstream society. As human rights developed, PWDs started raising their voices for their rights but it has been limited to the educated society who are aware of their rights but the majority continue to live in ignorance of their rights and under discrimination. But approaches to disability have evolved and view of disability have changed from giving charities to a medical perspective and finally to an empowerment model. Hence the development of the Community Based Rehabilitation.
The Community Based Rehabilitation Project, as the name suggests involves in working in the community using the community resources as opposed to an institutional based rehabilitation where more focus is on the medical condition. Hence, CBR involves Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), along with their families, community they live in and the respective government including policy makers and implementers. The dream of the CBR project would be to facilitate a just society where PWDs are given equal opportunities in all spheres of life. The first step towards this goal would be for PWDs to know and access their rights and move forward into the mainstream society.
This project facilitated by Nav Jivan Hospital is the first of its kind in the area and covers a area of 10 blocks with a population of approximately 1.5 million. The initial feel from the field reveals that ideas about disability are still very raw. Therefore a community based project would be a good start in dealing with disability in the area.