ASHWINI CENTRE FOR THE DIFFERENTLY ABLED
The centre was established in December 2014 with the support of The National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD). The Rotary Club of Gudalur valley partnered in this project. A physiotherapist and a special education teacher were appointed. Camps were organised and hearing aids, prosthesis etc were distributed to needy people. A dialogue was started with district and taluk level officials to ensure our client’s accessibility to social security schemes.
The Government support lasted for three years.We realized that this method of providing services with qualified staff appointed as per Government norms was not reaching the tribals.
In 2018, the centre moved to the hospital premises. With the support of The Welton Foundation, UK, a new building was constructed. Activities were integrated into ASHWINI’s programs.
There is a focus on speech and hearing activities at the centre. The expertise provided by long term volunteers Dr Ramesh, an ENT surgeon and his wife Laveena, a social worker has helped us to develop this specialty. Ms Angela Harding, a speech therapist volunteer from gave the work a big boost. The funding from “The Speech and Hearing Foundation, UK” has made the program financially viable.
Some of the staff have been trained in newborn screening, audiometry, making ear molds and fitting hearing aids. Basic speech therapy as appropriate for some of the clients is also done by the staff.
Hearing screening is done for all newborns in the hospital.Primary audiology testing is also done at the hospital. A visiting audiologist confirms the findings when there is an abnormality. Free hearing aids of good quality are given to those in need.
Meenakshy, one of the nurses, is a full time staff at the centre. She organises trips to the areas, and with the support of health animators and other staff does village visits to see tribal clients and provides care at the centre.
The centre remains open on all days except Sunday from 9am to 4pm.
It seeks to be a centre of excellence towards ensuring equal rights, opportunities, education and rehabilitation of persons with disability in the area by providing appropriate, accessible and affordable services.
The mission of the centre is to ensure that people with disability gain dignity, equity, acceptable and affordable interventions at an appropriate time. The centre aims to cater to both tribal and non tribal population within its coverage area i.e. the Gudalur and Pandalur Taluk.
It also aims to work towards advocacy of rights of people with disabilities and aspires to create awareness about disability among the tribal population.
- Screen the tribal population for people with disability.
- Advocate for their social entitlements laid out under the Tamil Nadu Government Scheme for people with disability (disability card, allowance, scholarship, etc).
- Provide special education for persons with Multiple Disabilities.
- Sensitise the community about the challenges and special needs of persons with disability.
- Make the services accessible to people to them through outreach programs.
- To promote and conduct research in all areas relating to Multiple Disabilities.