Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in India

In India, over 26.8 million people experience some form of disability.

Of those, 7.8 million are children.  

Picture taken in our Bhalobasha centre for children with disabilities in West Bengal.

The link between poverty and disability  

The communities we serve are largely in poverty-affected areas. Poverty is not only linked to higher levels of disability in general, but presents financial barriers, limits education opportunities and decreases accessible travel to treatment. According to the World Health Organisation, of the 15% of the global population that have disabilities, 80% of those belong to middle to low-income countries. 

Social stigma in the community and education 

Due to social stigma, children with disabilities are often excluded from their local community and from education. In India, only 17% of schools having accessible toilets while 62.9% of people with disabilities aged 3-35 have never attended mainstream school.  

At Karuna, we support projects which work alongside schools to increase teacher awareness and provide accessible facilities for excluded children. 

The work we are doing to support children with disabilities in India 

Our work supports children and young adults with disabilities. They are given a space to learn, play and receive life-changing, holistic treatment from specialists, while the parents can form connections with one another and build community. 

Falah playing!

Falah is 4 years old and has been coming to our project site, Bhalobasha (loving home), for 2 years now after receiving outreach care during the pandemic. He lives at home with his mother and his father, who is an agricultural labourer. 

Before coming to the project, he hadn’t received regular medical attention. His parents didn’t know why he was unresponsive or how best to support him. He was unable to sit or roll himself over and he couldn’t speak at all. He couldn’t even recognise his parents. 

When his mother brought him to the project, he was given a thorough assessment by the therapists based there. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a learning disability. The team supplied a complete package of support for Falah, including specialised education, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy, including exercises which his mum could do with him at home.  

During his time with Bhalobasha, he has made excellent progress. He can now walk with a frame and can speak a little to express his needs. His cognitive capacity has greatly improved, and he can now recognise his family. He loves to spend time with his friends at the centre. 

 Falah’s mother says: 

“My son was bedridden but now he can sit independently and can walk with the moderate support of a walker. We all are tremendously grateful to Bhalobasha for giving our son a new life.” 

You can find out more about this project here.  

To donate to our Christmas appeal, which is fundraising to extend our support of children with disabilities, click here.  

Parent and child in our centre

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