In rural India a child born with a disability is destined for a life of dependency. For the poor this burden can be extreme. Disabled children can be a social, financial, mental and physical burden to their families. Through lack of knowledge and skills of the family, the children do not get the appropriate help they need. The children do not go to school and hardly leave their homes. therefore, they are not challenged and do not develop mentally or physically. Families will often favor a healthy child over a disabled child, when it comes to food and attention.
Medical and rehabilitation treatment does not reach the disabled children in the poor villages. Due to the high level of illiteracy in villages, the families do not understand or know what benefits the government provides. In addition, villages are far from medical or rehabilitation centers; therefore transportation cost is another obstacle.
The children who don’t have to be carried, can sit up straight and behave in a group can go to a government school. In these schools they will have a place amongst 30-40 other children and if they cannot follow, there will be not much extra attention for them. The children will have a hard time finding friends to play with because they are not understood. Special education is rare but through a so called IED teacher, most schools get weekly support by a special teacher that visits schools that have enrolled disabled children.
Synthika trust believes that the desired changes in the lives of such children will come only when more and more privileged people start participating proactively in finding a solution. The Trust also believes that the only way to ensure a better future for these children is by educating them. That is because education is both the means as well as the end; it empowers these children and evolves them as better citizens.
Based on our door to door study and furthered with our close relationship developed with those affected families we are confident to state that given to their present socio – economic and cultural conditions of living, looking after their alternatively abled children and providing them a good future by themselves are beyond their means and even dreams. They are, therefore, restricted to face only either of the two of the following options: a) to create all the possible situations indirectly to make those children die naturally as early as possible (or) b) to keep them at home without providing any opportunities for future development (as they are beyond their means) blaming on the fate.
We were able to identify and take stock of some more such children in these villages but they have already been admitted into some well established homes in the towns as their parents could meet the costs involved from their income. We identified also some families who are not willing to admit their children into any such homes despite their poor socio-economic conditions because they are being restricted under the pretexts of misconceptions, stigma, sentiments and criticisms from their own kith and kins.
Therefore the needs of the proposed project identified by our Convent after taking into consideration several factors are : a) to accommodate and provide the required basic skills and special education to those 34 disabled children meeting all their personal and social needs as they do not have any support either from their parents or relatives or communities. b) to equip and empower these children with some production skills according to their capabilities to enable them to stand on their own legs after leaving our home and c) to facilitate them to become masters of their own destinies by providing the required finance to establish and run their own production centers.
Synthika trust had identified and selected 10 villages in Pullambadi Block of Tiruchirapalli District as they are adjacent to each other.
The children who are affected with one or more of the disabilities are generally found among the lower middle class and scheduled caste families who are mostly landless and dependent on the labor in the unorganized sectors like agriculture, construction of roads and houses, casual labor etc., for their subsistence living. Since majority of them are illiterate they are not equipped also with any other alternate production skills. Therefore these families and their disabled children have become the primary beneficiaries of trust.
The failure of seasonal rains and the introduction of mechanization into agricultural operations added with the availability of more human labor than its demand due to population explosion have thrown many such dependents out of regular employment and income. These people are not able to find their employment and income in other alternate sectors like construction of houses, roads, bridges, small and cottage industries etc., also as those fields also have started to give more preference for machineries than human labor.
The target group for the project will be children in the age of 0-15 with a visually impaired children,hearing impaired children,mentally retarded children ,physically challenged children,orphan and semi orphan children in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu, South India, who live in poor needy families that cannot afford care and support for their children.
The overall goal of the project is to improve the quality of life for the differently abled children in poor families
The major and the only objective of this proposed project is to rehabilitate in the mainstream of life 34 differently abled children by providing them the basic skills and special education through institutional care and support through empowering them with the skills to produce things according to their calibers and thereby to enable them to stand on their own legs without any further dependence either on their parents or communities as they have already rejected them.
Monitoring will be done throughout the project. The trust members will have continuous supervision on the project activities. The project activities will be monitored based on the expected outcome of the project. The aim of the evaluation and assessment is to study the effectiveness of the home for the differently abled children and to study the relevance and scope of continuing the programs.
The methodology to be followed will be participatory ie. Involving the children, staff and the people concerned. Target-centered reflective approach shall be adopted to evaluate and assess the programs. It shall be organized during the midterm of the project and at the end of the programme, so that the stakeholders shall be able to look into the adequate experience which they can share and look forward to continuing with the program.
To inspire the development and sustainability of the project will involve all stake-holders particularly those with disability, in the planning and implementation process.
Community involvement at all stages of the project ensures good levels of sustainability. Programme Staff build capacity through the project at the individual and family levels. Sustainability of the project will be ensured through community participation.
The Synthika trust will establish close network with the heads of the village, panchayat administration and other people of good in order to work for the differently abled children. It involves all the agents – like project implementing agency, educators, parents, local people and local institutions - as responsible for the community based rehabilitation programme. In this way, participation is open to all who contribute their dedicated services to the noble cause. Furthermore, the parents will be constantly encouraged and motivated to promote awareness among the people in the neighborhoods. Also the project will be under the direct support of the project implementing agency. The collaboration and the relationship with the community and other likeminded organization will be ensured from the beginning. Strong networking will be established with the resource organization in and around Trichy and a linkage will be designed for continuous support. This will ensure the goal of achieving “sustainability“ of the project activities.