Capacity Building


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APD provides financial, technical and management advice to several community organizations that work as viable interfaces between persons with disability and local authorities. This includes the generic State Disability Collective and three disability specific federations that focus on special needs.

The far reaching effects of this community leadership programme became apparent when five members of the disability federation in Sindangi Taluk in Bijapur District, came forward to contest in the Village Panchayat elections. Two candidates, both with locomotor disability, were elected as panchayat members.

Not only did this change their lives – giving them recognition, confidence and dignity, but they immediately began to take on issues relating to PWDs, promoting rights under the Disability Act and ensuring access to government schemes. More importantly, their success changed perceptions about PWDs amongst the villagers.

Sindangi Taluk has four activists from the State Disability Collective working with over 1200 PWDs across 96 villages. APD played a crucial role in motivating the candidates and helping them in the campaign process, instructing them on the importance of having PWDs in representative positions and bringing forth examples of other PWDs who had become panchyath members. A classic case of “helping the people help themselves”.

State Disability Collective

With over 6000 members, the State Disability Collective is active in the districts of Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bijapur and Davangere in Karnataka. Conceived, in collaboration with CRY, as a forum to promote leadership and self advocacy among the rural PWDs, it now operates through a hierarchical network of Village, Panchayat, Taluk and District Federations. APD has helped the collective build resources and skills to work in the following areas:

  • Address specific needs of children with disability through Child Rights Groups that orient children about their rights, and interact with anganawadis and the school system
  • Promote inclusive education and barrier-free infrastructure together with the Education Department, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Samajik Parivartan Janandolan
  • Participate in protests and demonstrations directed at government officials, to get support for local schools that have CWDs
  • Assist PWDs in receiving entitlements and concessions under various schemes
  • Represent people in issues relating to Panchayat reservations, Denial of Health and Denial of Rights
  • Use the RTI Act effectively to urge government institutions to be more responsive
  • Lobby for home based education for the severely disabled, admission of CWDs and re-enrolment of drop outs

Spinal Injury Association

Lobbying for the rights of persons with spinal injury, the association has reached nearly 700 beneficiaries in five districts in Karnataka. The focus is on ensuring mobility, access to health care and entitlements under prevailing legislations.

Through the efforts of the Spinal Injury Association:

  • Several people in Chikkaballapur and Ramnagar now exercise their legal right to receive monetary support from the government to meet monthly medical expenses
  • Members get access to therapeutic intervention, mobility aids, home accessibility or surgical referrals
  • Disabled friendly transportation, access audits, health kits and physiotherapy units were made possible in many districts through stringent lobbying with different departments of the Government
  • A memorandum has been submitted to the Director of Health, Department of Disabled Welfare and Department of Women & Child Welfare to seek support for health, social security, access to public places and access to employment for people with spinal injury

Persons with Mental Illness and Caregivers Association

The statistics are brutal.

Estimates claim that about 1% of the Indian population suffers from some form of mental illness. Any average highway village is supposed to have 3-4 people with mental illness. And there are reportedly just 3500 psychiatrists and 2600 other mental health professionals including psychologists and nurses available in the system.

Bengaluru, Garden city turned Silicon Valley, ranks #1 in suicide rates in the country- a sober manifestation of severe mental illness. The answer however, does not lie in finding these people and locking them away in institutions. More and more, it has being proved that sensitized communities are the ideal place for healing and rehabilitating PWMIs. The Persons with mental illness and Caregivers Association supports over 800 people in Bengaluru and Kolar. The association:

  • Creates mass awareness through street plays, wall writing and hand-outs
  • Works hard to erode the stigma attached to PWMI across different sections of society
  • Has ensured psychiatric services are available in 4 additional hospitals in Bengaluru
  • Collaborates to develop standards for measuring and certifying mental illness so PWMIs can avail benefits and entitlements
  • Has worked with the government to bring mental health services to Kolar under the District Health Programme
  • Has brought issues relating to mental illness into the forefront, sensitizing senior officials in the health ministry
  • Enables caregivers to collaborate and share their learning and understand Government schemes
  • Conducts community mental health camps together with the District Psychiatric Department.

State Deaf Federation

Recently APD initiated the State Deaf Federation to kick start activities relating to the special needs of people with Speech and Hearing impairment.

Critical issues such as the non availability of sign language interpreters in the community and lack of access to audiology equipment and clinics will be address by the federation as it strengthens its network and presence in the community.

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