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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 77-84

A comprehensive study of community-based inclusion, rehabilitation, and multidisciplinary approach toward cross-disabilities in panchayats of North India

CBIR Program, CORD Training Centre, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Narender Paul
CORD Training Centre, Kangra - 176 057, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_17_19

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Background: Demonstrated multidisciplinary, scalable, and replicable panchayat models for effective inclusion of persons with disabilities (PwDs) are much needed in a developing country like India, with its 70% of population being rural. Literature on disability suggests a shift in policy thinking from the charity-, medical-, and institutional-based models of disability to social, community-based rehabilitation (CBR), and rights-based models. This study explored in-depth the Community-Based Inclusion and Rehabilitation (CBIR) program model of the Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD), a nongovernmental organization working with 1800 PwDs in 100 panchayats of Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Objectives: The objectives were to identify PwDs with all types of disabilities in ten selected panchayats associated under the CORD's CBIR program as per the definitions of disabilities under the PWD Act, 1995, and the National Trust Act, 1999, and to explore multidisciplinary, scalable, and replicable aspects and interventions under the CBIR as a model for inclusion of all types of PwDs in rural India with reference to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) CBR matrix. Study Design: This is a descriptive, qualitative, and quantitative study conducted on the CORD's CBIR model with reference to the WHO's CBR matrix. Methods: A convenient sample of ten panchayats out of 100 panchayats under the CORD's CBIR interventions was studied. The principal investigator with a team of two co-researchers and five field facilitators worked as a team to conduct this study. A baseline format with reference to the WHO's CBR matrix was developed and administered for the collection of primary data besides related interviews of PwDs, their families, and related stakeholders. The CORD's CBIR program data, narratives, and focus group discussions were used to supplement the outcomes of this study. Results: This study observed that availability of disabilities specific, disaggregated and recorded government data on PwDs at the panchayat level was poor and non-existent. Primary data of 124 (100%) PwDs among the 4487 households with a total population of 22,438 in ten panchayats were collected and further investigated from April 2017 to March 2018. The findings highlighted 87 (70%) PwDs newly identified during the study, 60 (48%) PwDs below poverty line, and 113 (91%) marginal and socially backward PwDs. The program interventions enrolled 26 (21%) PwDs in schools, 72 (58%) mothers and women with disabilities in community groups, and 44 (35%) PwDs in productive livelihoods locally. Conclusion: There was evident marginalization of PwDs in multiple ways varying from data to dignity issues at the panchayat level. The CORD's CBIR model promotes the “empowering inclusion and development” of PwDs in the mainstream community at the panchayat level. The recent enactment of the comprehensive Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, covering 21 types of disabilities, further share an opportunity for effective inclusion of PwDs within the existing policies, programs, and development agenda in rural India as well as globally.

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