Work We Do

Research Grants

Support from Ratan Tata Trust – 2009-2010

Holistic Program for addressing the needs of physically challenged girls in Pune The Ratan Tata Trust project for one year looked at processing and development of rehabilitative technology framework for maximization full integration, employment, independent living and economic and social self sufficiency of physically challenged adolescent girls residing already at Helplife and in addition addressing the needs of new adolescent girls enrolled at Helplife. The girls at Helplife in addition to being physically challenged (ie: orthopedically) are also from poor socio economic strata (rural or urban slums) and show some potential and desire to study further as assessed by the organization psychologist. Through the trust girls received support for nutrition, education, English and computer courses, vocational, computer and professional courses. Eight new girls were added into the program during the project tenure and support was provided on the above stated issues. A knowledge attitude behavior practice survey was also administered in the community – some of the key findings included poor knowledge, many misconceptions, attitudes of family members and stigma faced by disabled. Community health education was also done based on the findings using appropriate flip charts. Networking with other organizations working with disability was also undertaken. Outcomes were in the form of monitoring girls overall in terms of social skill and behavior, responsibilities, academic outcomes, English speaking, girls successfully finishing professional courses and placement for jobs. Some of the lessons learnt included a need for Helpline and community based rehabilitation for disability, community awareness and advocacy; addressing role of family and addressing social and psychological issues in girls.

Support from ICMR – 2010-2011
Understanding the needs of Differently Abled Adolescents and Young Adults with a focus on addressing stigma and discrimination in Rural and Urban Sites in Maharashtra India.
This exploratory study undertaken in four districts in Maharashtra looked at exploring the needs of disabled youth and their parents and coping mechanism for stigma experienced in a sample of 400 youth and parents each. Data collected was both qualitative and quantitative. The findings in this study indicate a number of lacunae seen in disability needs.
The need for advocacy from youth and parents for disability friendly transport facilities; need for setting up disability networks for access; need to increase awareness about available programs for disability and increased awareness about structures for disability also advocacy for better means of access.
Primarily among females and area of advocacy is the rights of females with disability one because of lack of registration and two stigma of disability with a marked gender divide being observed. In addition data indicates disabled youth and parents expressed the same did face a significant amount of psychological issues this pointing towards possibly considering a greater amount of psychological support to those with disability and this could be considered as a possible intervention through mental health counseling.
There was a considerable amount of misconceptions regarding disability causation in parents and youth which needs to be addressed in the community so appropriate preventive methods may be considered for intervention.
There are various limitations for disabled people like mobility, traveling, employment and they face problems in mixing with society because of stigma. There are more problems for girls and boys. There are problems in getting married, getting proper education and employment as seen in the qualitative data. Need for vocational training or need based education, loan facility and right was expressed by respondents. There were also suggestions for home based work for disabled.

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