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Project to integrate post-tsunami reconstruction with rehabilitation of disabled people

DNIS News Network - Vidya Sagar, a Chennai-based civil society organisation, State partner of National Disability Network, has proposed a project to integrate post-tsunami reconstruction process in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with the rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

The project proposes to improve inclusion of disabled people and co-ordination with them in all development initiatives. The aim is to build capacity of stakeholders to involve disabled people, organisations and families in decision-making, management and monitoring of education, rehabilitation and accessibility initiatives.

A hundred families will benefit from identification and assessment camps planned in Port Blair and Middle Andaman. In addition to this, 100 persons with disabilities will be involved in network building, along with teachers, media professionals and architects.

The project also plans to proactively engage the government machinery, by sensitising functionaries on existing legal acts and programmes, including the National Trust Act, Persons With Disability Act (1995) and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (Education for All Campaign). Perspective building workshops will also be held to sensitise different stakeholders about accessibility of public spaces, buildings and housing.

According to 2001 census, there are 7,057 disabled people living on the islands, but as per the commonly accepted prevalence rate of five per cent, the figure would be about 20,000 people. These people have been severely affected by the tsunami, despite which they have not been receiving attention in the planning and administration of the rehabilitation process. There was not much focus on disability issues on the islands even before the disaster, and now is an opportunity to remedy this past mistake.The multi-stakeholder project will span over a year at an estimated cost of Rs. 10 lakh.