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Divyang-Mitra: Does the first of its kind CBID rehabilitation programme for PWDs promote inclusivity?

A six-month scheme for rehabilitation for Persons with Disability was recently unveiled by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot. The programme is a  Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) programme with an aim to develop trained manpower for rehabilitation and development of a Person with Disabilities in the country.

What is the aim of the programme?

The scheme aims to train and equip the workers at the ground level with sufficient knowledge, skills and competency so that they are able to successfully discharge their duties and help in the rehabilitation process of PWDs. Moreover, through this programme and with the help of already existing manpower at the ground level, the government wishes to create a pool of grassroot rehabilitation workers at the community level. They can work alongside the ASHA and Anganwadi workers to handle cross-disability issues and facilitate the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society. These skilled workers, trained under this scheme will be known as “Divyang-Mitra”.

The content of the programme is developed in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, and it will be initially launched as a pilot programme for two batches in seven national institutes of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and some voluntary organisations having experience in the field. Initially, the programme will be available in English, Hindi and seven regional languages, namely, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Garo. The classes are expected to commence by August while the mode of training for this course would be both offline/online taking into account the prevailing Covid scenario, according to a report by daily pioneer.

What is CBID?

Community-Based Inclusive Development (CBID) is an approach that involves working at the local level, amongst groups, and with a focus on each person of the community. The approach is found to be effective in bringing change in the lives of people with disabilities. Apart from this, CBID programmes address challenges experienced by people with disabilities, their families and communities in practical ways. For example, it offers opportunities to join community-based self-help groups and livelihoods activities. 

Further, it promotes the participation and voice of people with disabilities in decision-making processes at the local level, and it aims to ensure services, such as health, education, livelihood, and social, are accessible to all people with disabilities, whether women, men, boys, or girls.

How will the programme help in the rehabilitation of PWDs?

The programme made in consultation with the University of Melbourne will help in sensitizing and training a local workforce at the grassroots level, who will provide help to PWDs within their local communities and groups. The CBID approach involves helping in better implementation of the six-month-long programme, as per the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Speaking to daily pioneer about the programme, Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, “Due to the pandemic situation, the requirement of first-hand counsellor/guide for Divyangjan has become further relevant and there is a need to roll out this programme as early as possible. This programme will be first of its kind which will create trained manpower in identifying risk cases, apprising the parents/guardians about the nearest early intervention centres, and guiding them for availing Government benefits for the sector.”

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