Set up in 1995, Community Based Rehabilitation network or CBR NETWORK is an international NGO working towards the networking of all NGOs active in the field of CBR and the education of persons with disabilities. The network has about 750 members from various states of India. At the international level, it is linked to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  It believes that such a network will evolve a process that is relevant to local conditions and empower differently-abled persons through CBR leading to mainstream inclusion.  With a staff of 15, CBR Network is also directly involved in the training of caregivers and teachers in the field of ECCD.  

Supported by the state government’s department of Women and Child Development, CBR Network has embarked on two projects: Udisha-Portage project on early identification of disability; and joyful inclusion.  The former involves the early identification, intervention and stimulation of children with disabilities in the ICDS programme.  For this, CBR Network has trained ICDS personnel in 16 districts.  So far, 28 facilitators, 345 supervisors and 6878 anganwadi workers have been trained.  The joyful inclusion project involves the creation of a classroom for all, including children with disabilities. Using individualized teaching methods, adapted curricula, and tailor-made teaching aids and materials, children with special needs can study along with other children in a school nearest to them.  Teachers need to be oriented to child-focused learning from pre-school to primary level.  CBR Network has trained 30 schoolteachers of three-gram panchayats; 15 people including schoolteachers, village resource persons and block resource persons from Chamarajnagar district; and 15 NGOs from the all India level.  Each of these training programmes are of varied duration. Its key focus area in ECCD pokie machine games online is the holistic development of the child from 0-6 years.

Being a network, CBR Network has attempted to identify some of the steps in the process of networking leading to full-fledged networking activities.  In the first phase, it has initiated setting up a nodal agency; creating a database of NGOs in the field of disability and other development sectors; collecting information on the government’s grant in aid assistance; and starting a CBR Partnership market whereby offers and requests of NGOs are identified and matched.  It organizes regular meetings of the network users and publishes a newsletter, CBR Frontline Digest/CBR Fact Sheets, in the local language. In the second phase, it has identified developing advocacy fora for the implementation of the disability act; and getting government agencies to recognize the need for community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and seeking technical support from CBR Network in planning such programmes. And in the final phase, the network should promote action research in issues concerning disability, publish literature in local languages, establish linkages using the internet, and strengthen advocacy activities and play an active role in public policy.                                  

In the past, it has conducted a pilot programme on the implementation of the Portage package in Manvi taluk of Raichur district.

With a population of 200,000, Manvi was the most underdeveloped area with the highest incidence of disabilities.  It trained a range of functionaries, from the grass-root worker to government functionaries to the members of the local self-government.  Over 700 children with special needs were identified and integrated to pre-schools and many received medical rehabilitation.  The programme continues with support from local bodies.

CBR Network plans to complete implementing the Udisha-Portage project in all the districts by training the ICDS personnel: facilitators, supervisors and anganwadi workers.  The resources it has to offer are: a Portage book, CDs as communication material, and training in Portage and Inclusive Education.

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