2019 Trustee Visit
We were really impressed with the work taking place in the Early Intervention Centres and with the Disabled People's Groups. Here are some of our thoughts from our visit in 2019:
Juttowala Early Intervention Centre
There are 12 children registered at this centre which has been open since 2017. We saw 10 with two not attending due to fever.
Four of the children were working with Divya who provided a variety of different activities for them throughout the morning (writing, play dough, puzzles, threading etc)
The rest were attending with their mothers and receiving physio therapy one by one. While they waited for their physio input, they too worked on various activities, supported by their mother.
The physio included the parent with all the physio exercises too.
Ganga and the physiotherapist visit the EI centre twice a week. Otherwise it is Divya who manages the room of children with the support of the parents.
The room has been given by the education department after an application was made by Raphael for this purpose. It is in the school grounds with an angawadi room adjacent to it.
Three of the children attending are enrolled in the school and so are provided with meal, uniform, shoes and some finances.
There are 3 homebased children in this area who we visited on our way back. One of whom the parents both work in the field and so have not brought him (10 year old boy with suspected autism).
Ganga asked what would help to bring him and suggested a wheel chair (as a bit of an incentive). She said they could get a wheelchair if they bring him as well as government initiatives if he becomes enrolled.
Another child lived further along the road and needed physio input. Here the physio worked very closely with the grandparents as they are the main Carers and so needed to know how to put on the splints etc.
Early Intervention Centre in Mehuwala
8 children are here with one new case identified just yesterday.
Nirmala was working on the verandah with a group of children. The parents arrived with physically disabled children and went into the small room themselves to carry out the physio exercises. These are displayed clearly on the wall for each child. Nirmala supported some parents with the physio exercises and gave advice and support regarding these being carried out correctly.
I immediately recognised Ashma and Ishan who were in the class next door and are fully integrated now in the 1st year class (as are other ex EI children, in other classes in the school). Really good to see this progression from EI Intervention to full school integration. Ganga reported that some teachers are more accepting and supportive of these students than others. What we saw was very promising.
This was a thriving centre with lots of activity as different parents arrived throughout the morning with their children. Lots of life and activity taking place. Megha did not come with us today as she is involved in a government assessment morning. So we got to see the EI centre how it would run on the 3 days a week when no involvement from specialist team which was good. Teachers of both adjoining rooms seemed very open and friendly to the EI Intervention and the children involved.
Afterwards we visited two sisters who both have disabilities and are currently receiving homebased programme. Ganga explained there is a nearby special school that she is liaising with regarding these two sisters as there are two other children in the family and so it is hard for them to care for both girls every day.
We then attended an assessment morning that Raphael are doing with the government where Megha and Mangli carry out physio and special education assessments at a certain location where the government district resource person has arranged. They can then recommend Intervention and equipment that is needed and the resource lady can request that.
This is the model that is now being proposed by the government for primary and pre primary aged children in the six blocks of Dehradun. However in four of the blocks the follow up will be much more regularly than the MOP – possibly 2-3 times per week.
DPG Meeting In Badripur
This group has been meeting now for 4 years. Officially they meet every month but they see each other informally too. The monthly meetings are used to discuss and agree plans for the future and to assess what has already been carried out.
So far they have had training and experimented with mushroom growing, sewing, candle making, earrings, aprons, and organic compost. They now want to focus on mushroom growing and sewing as they have been most successful. Their idea is to try to grow the mushrooms on a larger scale. They also do some poultry and goat rearing.
The people that we met were part of the DPG leadership team. There are 160 in the group in total with 40 active members and 30 paying members. The members live in the villages from Nayagaon to Badripur, which is an area of 20 Km.. They would like to extend the group reach to include a further 15 Kim’s further on from Badripur.
They have given out their contact numbers and people join through coming to Badripur as well as the group actively seeking out other members..
Their focus is now on establishing livelihood schemes but they also get involved in supporting disabled people on the shimla by pass road around disability certificates and pensions.
They find out about the government schemes for disabled people through the news, social welfare department and NGOS. They did not know about the mobile food scheme that we had read about at Raphael.
The ethos of this group is around strength in numbers so part of the focus here is growing the group and working together.
Their plan around growing the mushroom cultivation scheme is to gather some funds to allow them to expand. They are starting through using one piece of land and growing together there as they used to do it individually. They are using the money collected from the monthly fees. There is a local market on the Friday where they are able to sell the mushrooms as well as to a fruit and veg shop.
Currently the profit made from each livelihood scheme goes to each individual who has taken part and it is calculated individually. They are looking at different models for how this might work in the future but following a cooperative type model mainly.
The group operates as an incorporated organisation with minutes being taken each time. Ideas can be brought to the meeting, they are then considered and discussed. They then consider the budget, market etc before making a decision whether to try that livelihood as an option.
They then look at what is needed in terms of training and local organisations as well as private training options. They have gone through this method with incense stick making.
The issue they have come up against is trying to find livelihood options for everyone in the group. Different people at bale to different jobs depending on their ability, resources, situation etc. How to meet the needs of all 160 members. Their idea is to start with the 30-40 more active members and expand to the larger group. The idea is that every members pays Rs10-20. However only about 30 members actively pay that amount. This fee is not compulsory and depends on a persons income. They are scared that they might loose members of the group around the livelihood issues.
They are keen to get support from NGOs around advice and suggestions, especially regarding the loopholes that they might be faced with in terms of managing the group as a whole. They want to focus on ideas as well a livelihood to build numbers. The training is offered to everyone in the group and those that are interested/able then take it up.
We wondered for those on lower income whether they could donate some money to the group after they have received training and earned some money from that skill?
The leadership team are from different villages along the road, so they are able to notify other members after each meeting either through:
Speaking to members in their village
Sharing info on their WhatsApp group
Hope Centre village workers share information when doing 1:1 work in the villages.
They are just in the process of setting up a bank account for the DPG as the documents have been submitted so they are waiting for the account to be opened.
There are now 5 DPGs in the area of Dehradun most of whom are less than 160 in number. Pratima has been instrumental in setting this group up when she was based at the Hope Centre. She is a useful link for them but they see her less regularly now she is working for the CHGN (Community Health Global Network) as she travels to other blocks now.