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Services for Children with Disabilities in West Bengal

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West Bengal

Services for Children with Disabilities in West Bengal

What are the challenges?

Children with disabilities in rural India face huge levels of discrimination, sometimes even within their own families. Caring for a child with disabilities can place an additional strain on families already burdened by poverty and discrimination and mothers are often arbitrarily blamed for their child’s disability in India. Their children are commonly shunned and hidden away, deprived of social contact and stimulation. Malnourishment is common for these children, and they are at increased risk of physical and sexual abuse. Many children who could make significant progress suffer unnecessarily due to lack of attention and informed support, while parent’s poverty prevents them from seeking out specialists.

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What is the aim of the project?

This project aims to provide free holistic support and encouragement for children with disabilities and their families. All services run from their daycare centre are free, and targeted at the poorest families. Qualified professionals provide an ongoing programme of speech and physical therapy and special education with input from the project’s medical and therapeutic teams. Parents are also supported to be involved in their child’s therapy and awareness-raising activities are run in the community.

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What are the main activities?

  • Children are assessed and offered an ongoing package of medical and therapeutic support by experienced professionals which is regularly monitored
  • Children and their families are provided with nutritious food
  • Special sessions are run for both mothers and fathers to emotional and practical support
  • Parents are also supported to claim practical and financial support for their children such a state benefits, and aids and adaptations such as wheelchairs and equipment to support their child at home
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