Communitybased projects help disabled persons but need more funding UN reports

Community-based rehabilitation programmes have a profoundly positive impact on disabled persons but are too small and under-resourced to make a qualitative difference in the lives of more than a fraction of those in developing countries, according to a report released today by the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).The report, conducted in collaboration with the Swedish Organizations of Disabled Persons International Aid Association and launched in conjunction with the International Day of Disabled Persons, is based on interviews with those concerned in Ghana, Guyana and Nepal.In general, the report notes that community-based rehabilitation programmes seek to foster the equalization of opportunities and social integration of children and adults with physical, sensorial, psychological and mental disabilities. The programmes also aim to eliminate stigma and increase the recognition of disabled persons as resourceful members of societies.The study calls for increased participation of disabled persons as role models, self-advocates and employed experts in these programmes, noting that such plans “largely continue to regard persons with disabilities as beneficiaries and not as participants with a voice and a choice.”In addition, it points out that the limited participation in school, work and social activities experienced by disabled people is largely a result of societal barriers, and calls for combined efforts of community members, policy makers and legislators to improve conditions for persons with disabilities.

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