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In India, disability issues have traditionally been addressed as acts of charity. Persons with disabilities have suffered from a relative invisibility, and tended to be viewed as objects of protection, treatment and assistance rather than subjects of rights. Equal access to basic rights and fundamental freedoms, including access to health care, employment, education, participation in cultural activities that most people take for granted, have frequently been denied to them.

Over the past two decades, a dramatic shift in perspective has taken place and persons with disabilities have started to be viewed as holders of rights.

In MMBA's operational area of Barmer, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur and Jalore district, the status of the disabled is miserable. About 75 per cent disabled do not have access to the services for the welfare of the disabled, nor they are aware about these services. They are dependent on others economically and socially and it is necessary to link them with various rehabilitation activities to retrain their self-respect.

For each type of disability MMBA takes up a different approach in working with the person concerned, according to his/her needs. The approach depends on the level of impairment of the disabled, his/her needs, abilities and limits. In this process, it works in partnership with the parents and families. It does regular home-based programmes, carries out follow up and helps the parents and family members to learn the activity, as one of its primary intentions is to make the family aware of the ongoing programme and also be an active part of it.

Educational Rehabilitation

One of the primary goals of MMBA's work with the disabled is working with children with disabilities through integrated education. For MMBA the first step towards a successful inclusion is sensitising and creating awareness among the parents and community so they support the process and understand its necessity. Therefore, we try to make the issue of disability as something they can identify with or feel for.

MMBA doing advocacy for qualitative education of children with disabilities by running four Integrated Education Units with 32 visually challenged/low vision children education by trained itinerant teachers. The itinerant teachers visit the home and school and counsel the family and teachers on the need and importance of education for the disabled children.

Services

Through its efforts, MMBA helped almost 1,800 disabled in accessing facilities and services for them. These include disability certificates, bus pass, train pass, pension, benefits of Vishwas Scheme, Astha Card, kiosk scheme, counselling, school admission, scholarship, aids and appliances, surgery for polio correction, etc. It has also promoted 10 SHGs of the disabled.

Rights-based Approach

MMBA has from the very start upheld a rights-based approach in all its activities for the persons with disabilities. For this it has formed community based organisation – Marwar Viklang Adhikar Manch and also set up Disability Resource Centre. Additionally, it is networking with other NGOs on the disability issue.

Marwar Viklang Adhikar Manch

MMBA formed a forum named Marwar Viklang Adhikar Manch to espouse for the rights of the disabled in Marwar region of Rajasthan. It is active in Barmer, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur and Jalore districts. Under this project, the organisation tries to generate awareness and sensitise the people and the disabled persons about the issues concerning the disability sector. Information about the different laws/acts in force for the disabled is provided in an interactive manner.

According to the Disability Act, 1995, every disabled has the right to education and employment even though 95 per cent disabled are deprived from these fundamental rights. Orthopedic disabled have got some facilities whereas other seven types of disabled are very far from the facilities. Medical rehabilitation is the base of development for the disabled, but facilities at village level have not been established. On one side education and health has been given as the fundamental right, but in reality they are far off from the disabled.

In these circumstances Marwar Viklang Adhikar Manch is widely advocating over the issue to facilitate their rights.

Disability Resource Centre

Disability Resource Centre is being run for and by the people with disabilities. The main aim of the resource center is to empower persons of all ages with all types of disabilities to reach their highest level of independence, including community inclusion and employment. The main activities of the center are:

  • Promotion of the philosophy of independent living through community-based programmes and individually through personal contact with consumers
  • Establishment of the foundation for self-determination by teaching and providing advocacy, establishing peer support and counseling, developing and maintaining an information and referral network, and provision of training for independent living skills
  • Increase access to social pension schemes and other benefits for all the disabled persons in the district

Networking with NGOs over Disability

Under this activity, a network of NGOs working on the disability has been established at Barmer, Jaiselmer, Jodhpur and Jalore of Jodhpur region. The network is advocating on the disability related issues:

  • Disability and views of the society
  • Status of the disabled in the society
  • Government services for the disabled
  • Drafting the strategy for solving problems of the disabled

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