Over the last 2 years SEWA UK has undertaken a complete review of all its activities, systems and procedures, resulting in many improvements and changes.

SEWA UK’s regular projects are handled by a dedicated projects team based at its Birmingham offices. A review of current projects established that SEWA UK was lacking in 3 areas:

  1. Making a measurable difference to the beneficiaries
  2. There were no identifiable outcomes
  3. The donors were provided sketchy information

The review of projects concluded that a fresh with a new project where all the shortcomings from the existing projects are addressed was the way forward.

After exploring many options the team decided

  • To support projects that deal with People with Disabilities (PWDs) and issues surrounding disability.
  • To focus on projects that pay particular attention to the MAINSTREAMING of PWDs.
  • To pay attention to the need for robust reporting – to include a detailed analysis of the demographic situation, ethnic mix, age groups, levels of disability
  • To identify work done by other agencies
  • To conclude on outcomes achieved

Disability in India

The “invisibility and isolation” of people with disabilities are caused by stigma, discrimination, myths, misconceptions, and ignorance.

A new World Bank report finds people with disabilities among the most excluded in Indian society Low literacy and employment rates and widespread social stigma are leaving disabled people behind

The report finds that people with disabilities are subject to multiple deprivations. Households with disabled members are significantly poorer than average, with lower consumption and fewer assets. Children living with disability are around 4 to 5 times less likely to be in school than Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste children. Disabled adults also have far lower employment rates than the general population – and this fell from 43 % in 1991 to 38% in 2002, even in the midst of economic growth.

Social attitudes and stigma play an important role in limiting the opportunities of disabled people for full participation in social and economic life, often even within their own families. For example, in surveys carried out for the report, around 50 percent of households saw the cause of disability as a “curse of God”. Women with disabilities face numerous additional challenges

Some findings by the World Bank

  • India has some 40 – 80 million disabled people
  • At least one in twelve has a mamber with disability
  • Illiteracy, unemployment and poverty among the disabled is high
  • Children with disabilities are 5 times more likely to be out of school than average
  • Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka have adopted many good practise

Current statistics for India

According to the Census 2001, there are 21.9m people with disabilities in India who constitute 2.13 per cent of the total population. This includes persons with visual, hearing, speech, locomotors and mental disabilities.

Seventy five per cent of persons with disabilities live in rural areas, 49 per cent of disabled population is literate and only 34 per cent are employed. The earlier emphasis on medical rehabilitation has now been replaced by an emphasis on social rehabilitation.

Table1DisabilitySpecificDataFig1DisabilitySpecificData

Sewa UK wishes to establish a project to help those with mental and physical disabilities in India. From the initial first project we desire to have such a project in every state of India. As our knowledge of the situation and needs develops working in partnership with local communities and NGO’s, we will extend our scope and commitment further.

We will look at ways to provide suitable education, physiotherapy, vocational training and life skills to help those affected to achieve skills and confidence to enable them to independently care for themselves or become less reliant on their families.

Sewa UK’s aspiration is to work towards

  • Eradicating the stigma of disability by providing an education to the disabled as well as the family.
  • Provide an education suitable to the child’s need and ability and training and education on lifestyle skills to an adult.
  • To have a team that works with local government, industry and private sector to encourage work places to accept disabled people more readily.
  • Our long term ambition is to establish a Disability Resource Centre which will provide training and qualifications to those working with PWD (people with disabilities).
  • To maintain records and reports that demonstrate outcomes which are to the highest standard and thus generate reports that can be used to present to various national and international bodies and so encourage more involvement from these bodies to help eradicate the stigma of disability.