MFEWO, in partnership with the Gilgit Education and Rehabilitation Center (GERC), developed a project with the following objectives: to develop low cost technological aids and supply these to children with disabilities, to create a community based registration system of children with disabilities, and to provide community based care and advisory services for such children. We recognized that community based management of children with disabilities is a new concept in Pakistan, which has previously focused on institution based education. We decided to work with community-based organizations which have existed in the area for the last 20 years but which have not focused on disabilities. These organizations were initially established with help from the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), but have now become independent cluster organizations or local support organizations. Low cost technological aids could be generated indigenously using locally available materials.
The activities of the project are as follows:
- Awareness creation in communities about children with disabilities by involving grass roots organizations such as village and womens’ organizations and local support organizations
- Training local volunteer community special needs workers for each village
- Establishing a low cost technological aids production unit
- Developing a mobile supervision unit in the MFSEC/GERC to supervise community workers
Funding was obtained through a generous grant from the Taraqee Bazar (Pakistan Development Market Place), World Bank, Islamabad.