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COMMUNITY-BASED INITIATIVES

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Over this decade, CARENIDHI’S vision and mission were at the heart of all its community-based work. Its vision is to integrate disability-related initiatives into community development and its mission is to play a promotional role in empowering the community careproviders with the necessary knowledge and skills required for the optimal care of children with different disabilities in India.

When we started work in Seelampur for a disability related health research initiative in 2002, little did our members realize that we would move on to more challenging tasks in this peri-urban community. Keen on seeing that these children do not remain mere statistics on paper, the initiative was built up to include participatory learning for careprovider training (including professional and family education for services in the community). The challenges before us were many—the first being the sheer magnitude of the task ahead. In a community with meagre resources, we decided to start with what people have their own knowledge and the enthusiasm to learn.

Urban health problems and disability are rooted in several social causes. Our first step was to make the careproviders aware of their needs and strengths and later to help them participate in the process of improving the lives of their children with special needs. Empowerment is the process of gaining vision, knowledge, skills and confidence that prepares people to carry out sustainable development by prioritizing issues. Workshops, self-esteem building exercises for families, study circles and need-based training activities for the community workers and orientation talks with doctors and teachers are some of the initiatives.

CARENIDHI has taken initiatives to improve care provision for children with disabilities. We have made a good beginning. Families are slowly acknowledging that their children have rights too, and that there is a bigger world beyond the little world they inhabit. Motivating them to access the services that could help them grow to be a part of the same world as citizens with dignity has been CARENIDHI’s endeavour. Some success has been achieved with support from all in the community and with the inputs of friends and well-wishers. Much more needs to be done to help these children craft their own futures. The reading room for the children and young adults in the community, inaugurated by Smt.Priyanka Gandhi Vadara, and the recent additions of the livelihood programmes, coupled with functional academics and prevocational skill development, are significant milestones in our journey. The community-based initiative has evolved from being primarily a disability related health research initiative to a resource centre for families and children with special needs, in response to the changing needs.
 
 
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