Stories From the Field: Community-Based Rehabilitation

Jobin Kurian, CNEWA programs officer based in Ernakulam, visited with beneficiaries of the Voluntary Organization for Social Action and Rural Development program in Idukki, India.

Jobin Kurian, CNEWA programs officer based in Ernakulam, visited the Voluntary Organization for Social Action and Rural Development (VOSARD) in Idukki, in India’s southern state of Kerala, as part of his survey of CNEWA-supported programs in the middle of May.

VOSARD was established by the Carmelite Fathers of Mary Immaculate of St. Joseph’s Province in 1998 to care for the poor and marginalized, regardless of their caste or faith. The organization’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program, founded in 2002, serves more than 200 children and youth with physical, intellectual and developmental special needs across Idukki.

VOSARD does not operate an institutional center, said Mr. Kurian. “Instead, they take care of the children at their homes, which allows these special needs children to grow with their parents and siblings.”

In the spirit of VOSARD, he visited with three beneficiaries and their families at their homes.

Mr. Kurian met Feba, an eighth grade girl with a developmental disability who lives with her parents, who also have special needs, and her younger brother.

He met Adarash, a fifth grade boy with a developmental disability whose family is unable to afford his education or treatments.

Jobin Kurian, CNEWA programs officer based in Ernakulam, far left, visits with 2-year-old Aibel, a VOSARD beneficiary, and his family, 17 May. (photo: CNEWA India)

Last, he met 2-year-old Aibel. Due to health issues, Aibel has undergone multiple brain surgeries with more anticipated in the coming months to reconstruct his skull.

VOSARD provides these children and their families with essential support. Through its education, physiotherapy and health care services, beneficiaries are equipped with resources that help them secure a better future.

The organization also works to strengthen beneficiaries’ skills through livelihood support and skills training, as well as connecting them with self-help groups, government services and financial institutions to encourage them to take responsibility for and actively work toward their personal development.

VOSARD aims to foster a society that empowers marginalized and underprivileged populations to affect positive change in their life. Since starting its work in 1998 in 10 villages in Idukki, the organization has since grown and is operational in Idukki and in other parts of Kerala.

Olivia Poust is assistant editor of ONE.

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