A first step towards an inclusive communityFeb 22 2017
The project Community for all! has come to an end, after 3 years and over 9000 people involved, we now get ready to take stock of this itinerary made with the community of Son Dong.
The project was meant to contribute to the implementation of social and scholastic inclusion of disabled children coming from ethnic minorities of North Vietnam. The project is part of a multi-year program articulated on 3 parts: preventions, rehabilitation and inclusion - following an intervention strategy based on the methodology of Community Based Rehabilitation. The CBR, rehabilitation based on the community, takes advantage not only of professional figures, but of the entire community to improve life conditions of disabled people. Along with the training of technical and specialized staff, there was then a cross work on information and raising awareness in all the community, from schools to families, to foster social inclusion.
What has been done?
Prevention. In many cases, the cause of the arise of problems in children are incorrect behavior from parents during pregnancy or during the first months of life of the babies and little preparation of health personnel in early diagnosis. This is why training was a fundamental part of the project.
60 doctors, obstetricians, gynecologists, nurses and 171 health care professionals were trained to prevention and early diagnosis of disability.
More than 6000 people were reached by the awareness campaign for prevention and inclusion.
Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is fundamental to allow children a development as balanced as possible, both physical and psychological. In the rural contest of Son Dong reaching specialized centers is often difficult and expensive, in this part of the project it has been made the decision to create specific spaces at local level, furnished with specialized equipment usable for rehabilitation. Following the CBR approach, two training course were organized for the local health personnel, along with mutual-help groups put together by the families.
3 rehabilitation center were furnished with specialized equipment
72 health care professionals were trained in early diagnosis and community-based rehabilitation and 20 families were supported in the creation of mutual-help groups
19 children had access to specialized treatment thanks to “rehabilitation sponsorships” for the stay and medical expenses.
Inclusion. Inclusion is fundamental, too, in order to facilitate the development of children both with and without disabilities. It is important that the community learns to be open and to value abilities and inclinations of all its members. School is in this sense a strategic place where to start this work and this is why we decided to start from the teachers training.
320 teachers were trained to scholastic inclusion, to work with disabled children and to plan inclusive activities
9 schools were involved in the organization of inclusive extracurricular activities, with the involvement of more than 2000 children and teenagers
With more than 9000 people involved, this project allowed the beginning of an inclusive community in the district of Son Dong. There is still a long way to go but with this project the community had the chance to receive the first basic instruments to keep on this path. During training there was a focus on TOT (training of trainers) modalities, that provided for training of key people and particularly active that can become trainers themselves. During raisin awareness we tried to create captivating and useful material in order to be effective in the transfered materials. For what concerns the work with families, we worked closely with the local leaders and we facilitate networking among the families themselves.
And we GTV, what did we learn?
Distance of families from specialized hospitals and the big costs of transports, care and stay are a huge obstacle for the families. Some of them have never brought their children to an hospital for this reason. The project, through the mutual-help groups, facilitated the exchange of experiences and contacts among families with similar difficulties. In some cases, children rehabilitation could occur because families traveled together.
The lack of information on procedures, available help, diseases and possible cures is also another main obstacle to the access to cure themselves. Thanks to the project, many families had the chance to inform themselves, to be guided by GTV Staff, by local leaders appointed (?) to this role and other families with similar problems and in this way in the districts where we worked with families families are more aware and they learned about all the available possibilities. Information is essential.
The interactive and participatory methodologies are the most appropriate choice in order to increase knowledge of adults. From some testimonies of the first courses started in the medical field, we learned that capable and engaging trainers do most of the work in this way.
Extracurricular activities play a vital role in helping disabled children to integrate better into the class group. Through games and group work, in some way they forget their disability, enhance each skill for the good of the group and, of course, have fun together!
Working in a community means working alongside local authorities who feel the project as their own only if they are involved effectively in the management of the project: we made sure that many of the activities were to be carried out directly from them, that made possible achieving consistently all results of the project.
If you want to know more please read:
The project was carried out with the precious contribution of the Autonomous Province of Trento, CIAI - Italian Center Italian Center in support of childhood and the Tavola Valdese.