Mainstream disability in community development – rights, opportunities and priorities
Disability and issues related to it continue to be a major public health challenge and a complex socio-economic barrier. The prevalence rates of disability are on rise globally. According to a World Bank estimate, One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, and disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.
Disability also has a direct connect with poverty leading to under-development. Lack of attention on programmes focused on disability and poor efforts on mainstreaming disability into the overall developmental scene has left a large population of disability behind and neglected.
In India, over 22 million people or about 2% of the population suffers from various forms of disability. Over the years, disability has remained a poorly attended priority in the planning of various programmes and policies in India. Hence, the impact on disabled populations has also been very limited in the context of mainstreaming them into community development. The situation is of particular concern in the remote and rural parts of the country, and for the women living disabilities.
GRAVIS working in the Thar Desert and several other regions of India does take disability related aspects very seriously in its work and in its holistic community development approach. GRAVIS has been implementing a number of targeted interventions focused on training and capacity building of disabled people as well as on providing basic servi9ces such healthcare and vocational training support.
Most importantly, GRAVIS has been making sincere efforts to ensure that disabled are involved in the processes of planning, implementation and monitoring and to continue to advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities. Our efforts reach out to most remote areas and most marginalized communities. We are keen on mainstreaming disability in the process of community development.
While many priorities occupying global development thinking, disability deserves adequate attention and due space.
*Dr. Prakash Tyagi, Executive Director