Children Rehabilitation and Education Resource Center

Project Background

Beyond the challenges of  their physical or mental impairments, children with disabilities in Nepal suffer from the barriers presented by society that exclude and disadvantage them by not recognizing their rights, needs and potentials.

In regions like Humla, where poverty is widespread, children with disabilities are the most disadvantaged. Very limited numbers of children with disabilities have access to basic services such as health, education and almost 95% people with disabilities are illiterate. The stigma attached to disability prevents participation in social and community life and also impacts family members.

In the targeted area of Humla, problems linked to ensuring the an inclusive education of children with disabilities include: •       

  • Negative attitude of family members and community who think that the children with disabilities are cursed and shameful, also they cannot contribute to the family and society
  • Lack of awareness of children with disabilities and their families on their rights including free education and how to access them
  • Lack of awareness and capacities of duty bearers (newly formed local government-RMs who are still struggling to realize their roles and responsibilities) for ensuring the rights of persons/children with disabilities
  • Low prioritization from local service providers (health offices) in identification/registration of children with disabilities via disability screening outreach (‘camps’)
  • Lack of disability focused public schools that can provide qualified and accessible education for children with disabilities.
  • Lack of enabling school environment for children with disabilities such as accessible school physical infrastructure and class environment. 
  • Lack of well facilitated and equipped residential educational centers that can accommodates the special and regular needs of children with disabilities. 
  • Low income of the families of persons with disabilities. 
  •  Poor organization and capacity of children with disabilities and like-minded CSOs to advocate for the rights of children with disabilities

With this difficult situation, Head Nepal has been working with the children with disabilities in Humla district since 2011 in order to bring them into mainstream education through inclusive and integrated interventions. In the year 2011, 2016, and 2018 Head Nepal ran the Head Mobile Blind School, an outreach program for blind and partially sighted kids and their parents.

Later on in May 2012 a residential training center called the Head Vision Home was established, where currently 25 children with visual impairment are being trained and educated. Likewise in September 2016 the 2nd home for 25 children with physical disability was set up. Initially HEAD had a rented house. Then as more children were identified as needing residential support a second house was acquired and rented.  The current facilities have allowed HEAD Nepal to provide as good and reliable services for the students as they can provide, however the buildings do present noticeable lacks when it comes to basic requirements, necessary for children with disabilities. There is also a chance of the houses reclaim by the owners at any time. HEAD Nepal is also not allowed to make any necessary changes/modification to the houses. The house rent is continuous recurring cost for the organization. There are a lot of issues when it comes to accessibility for an enabling environment for children with disabilities. These two houses cannot accommodate the increasing numbers of children identifying from the remote villages through the outreach intervention of Mobile School.

In this case, the residential facilities for children with disabilities becomes more complicated. The above reasons and gaps show the clear need for purpose new build for a rehabilitation/Educational Center for Children with Disabilities to support them in ensuring an enabling environment for   qualified and inclusive education and health care facilities. Need of Purpose New Built: Considering the problems and the gap above, HEAD Nepal sees an urgent need of the construction of a new residential resource center for children with disabilities to continue the services of the HEAD Vision Home for the blind and partially students and Head Enable Home for the children with physical disability for long run and also to improve the currently available services provided for the children. Aiming to establish a model disability rehabilitation center in Karnali province, HEAD Nepal will coordinate with all three level of government and also to local, national and international funding agencies, individuals, clubs, including corporates sectors to collect funds and construct 100% disability friendly accessible building and furnished and equipped with highly beneficial facilities and services for overall development of the children with disabilities coming from the remote mountain communities of the Himalayan region of Nepal. The building is planned in three floors (see the Annex II, Drawing for Floor Plans) with complete package that can well accommodate the children and at the same time provide adequate enabling environment for their overall development including health and education. The direct beneficiaries of the residential resource center are blind or partially sighted and physically disabled children in Humla district. Their parents and family members and the community at large are the indirect target group of the project.

The residential resource center in Simikot for the children with disabilities is to equip blind/partially sighted and physically impaired children with the necessary tools for successful integration in a mainstream school. For young children the center will be a preparation for mainstream education. For children who are already in school, the center and its facilities will be a supplementary course to provide them with effective methods for their successful studies. Apart from Education, the center will also cover health facilities including physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Through our existing centers of HVH/HEH, so far 50 children with disabilities from different Rural Municipalities are being trained in the center. The residential centers have already graduated 13 children from the center after successful completion of Secondary Education Examination (SEE).

The major services and facilities which will be delivered from the newly built resource center include but not limited to: 

A.      Free food and Accommodation Facilities: The model disability resource center will have capacity of accommodating 64 children (32 girls and 32 boys) with disabilities at once. The ground floor will be for common kitchen store and dining facilities whereas There will be separate floor for separate gender; such as the first floor is planned for the boys and the second floor is for the girls. Both floors will have a teacher room and also a guest room for the volunteers. In the both floors there will be an open living areas and also a classroom. All the children enrolled will receive free locally available foods for three times and additional tea/snacks every day. Because of poverty, most of the parents and family members cannot afford expenses for their child’s foods cost in the center. The government of Nepal provides a regular scholarship to cover their food cost at the center.

B.      Support for Regular Study with Free Stationaries: The center will support the children for their regular study in the community school as they are prepared for a successful integration and inclusion into mainstream education. During extra times, the center also supports the students with specific subject based coaching/extra classes. For all the children with physical disabilities and those children who have partial eye sight require regular stationaries to continue their regular study. Similarly for those children who are totally blind need Braille paper for their study. The resource center will meet the need of stationaries of the children enrolled. 

Beside the residential (food, accommodation) service and regular school study, we also train the students in different skills and subjects as per their specialized needs. The other facilities and services will be available in the following areas: 

  • Braille literacy in different languages (Nepali and English) for children with visual impairment.
  • Orientation and mobility training: independent movement with the use of the white cane for children with visual impairment. 
  • Daily living skills such as personal care, hygiene, and some housework skills for both children with physical and visual disabilities. 
  • Computer skill training for the students (with the use of screen reading software for blind and partially sighted children). •       Learning and practice of tactile drawings for children with visual impairment. 
  • Opportunity of accessing to a Braille library with different class book, magazine, newsletter stories etc. 
  • Basic health care facility for the children and regular physiotherapy service for children with physical/mobility disability. 
  •  Provide the children with supportive/assistive devices according to the need of the children based on their age and disability to support their study and daily tasks. 
  • Disability management, self-confidence and communication training to accept the disability and respond to challenge and discrimination.

Along with the above mentioned activities, every day in the morning and evening and on holidays as well, the children enrolled in the center get engaged in regular study and other so many of extra-curricular activities such as, music, computer training with screen reader software, games, dancing gardening etc. The children with disabilities who have severe disability affecting their inclusion and integration into mainstream education and society requiring specialized and extensive care and support will be supported and facilitated with full-time home-parent/warden, well-trained housemothers, specialized teachers, health care professionals, etc.

After one to two years of intensive training, students will be successfully integrated into the regular mainstream schools using knowledge and methods they acquired during the program at HEAD Nepal resource center. However, we aim to support them until their grade 12 depending on their specialized individual needs. The center will be well equipped and infrastructure as discussed above. Along with this a mutual coordination and collaboration with a community school is very important for their regular education and successful inclusion and integration with their regular friends and mainstream education.

The following will be the advantages in setting up a residential resource center or centered based training/education for these children: 

  1. The center will have full attention and support for the home and the children enrolled rather than spreading the support throughout the villages to support a single or fewer number of kids.
  2.  It saves a lot of resources and time 
  3. As the physical modification or rebuilding of school and home infrastructures in order to make a disabled friendly environment are highly expensive, we can do this only for single school and a resource center where the children study and stay.
  4. The children will build their confident and learn together by feeling that they are not alone with their disability. 
  5. As Humla district is generally with a tough geographical setting and almost all schools are inaccessible and are not disabled friendly specially for the children with physical impairment, Head Nepal will cooperate with two of the local community schools in Simikot to make the school’s physical setting friendly for such children along with this residential resource center.

Project Objective

The Head Nepal residential rehabilitation center for children with disabilities will be a holistic integrated development approach for a successful integration and inclusion of children with disabilities in Humla district. The overall objective of the project, “building a Residential Resource Center” is to promote inclusive/integrated health and education for children with disabilities in remote mountain region of Nepal. We will construct a permanent rehabilitation center building and improving/upgrading the current services/facilities at the rented buildings of HVH/HEH through creating an enabling, adequate, qualified health and educational environment and extending additional support services for children with disabilities.

However, the following are the specific, achievable outcomes of the project:

  • A model resource center for the integrated educational and health intervention for children with disabilities in Karnali province is developed/established.
  • A better special educational service along with other facilities for children with disabilities are delivered through the resource center.
  • Easy, comfortable stay and enabling environment for the children with disabilities is created.
  • Academic and non-academic performance of the children in regular school are improved.
  • The educational status of people with disabilities in remote mountain region of Nepal is improved.
  • To The children with disabilities in remote mountain region of Nepal are prepared as an active, capacitated and contributing members of the society.
  • Promoted the inclusion and integration of children with disabilities into mainstream education and society at large.
  • In long run the wholistic integrated intervention approach for children with disabilities through a well equipped and structured resource center will be acknowledged as the model intervention by the government and other DPOs and the same approach will be replicated throughout the different provinces.

The Target Group (Beneficiaries) of the Project:

The 25 children with visual impaired and 25 children with physical disability aged between 5 and 15, currently enrolled at HVHHEH are the direct beneficiaries of this project. However, other children with disabilities all over Humla district and Karnali province will be the target group in the long run. The center will have a capacity to enroll 70 children. Similarly, the parents/family members of the children will be the indirect target group of the project.

Those people with disabilities in general, who are most-marginalized sector of the population in term of their poor economic situation, limited access to nutritious food, their limited access to government services-education, health etc and high social stigma. One third of them are children, whereas majority are under 60 years old. They are split mostly equally male – female. Also their families, who are also affected by i) the stigma attached to having a family member with disabilities and ii) the material impact of having a family member with disabilities which is compounded by the lack of services and support.

Project Strategy

HEAD Nepal has obtained a piece of land in Simkot, district headquarter of Humla in 2018. We collaborated with federal, province local gov. and others and built the ground floor of the building in 2020. To continue the rest construction work, we will coordinate as many supporters as possible to raise fund and build an earthquake resistance residential educational/resource center for children with disabilities in Simkot, the district headquarter of Humla district. Currently available facilities and services in Head Vision Home and Enable Home will be shifted to the same building and The purpose new build will further developed and updated as per the need of the children with disabilities and it will provide regular qualified and integrated educational, health and other rehabilitative facilities/services for children with disabilities for their overall development and full integration/inclusion in society.

Long-term Strategic Plan of the Rehabilitation Center:

The Karnali region of Mid-West Nepal is one of the most remote regions in Nepal and has the worst human development and poverty indicators. The project district of Humla (in northern Karnali, bordering Tibet) is mountainous, arid and isolated. Disabilities are treated as shameful, and children with disabilities tend to be hidden and neglected. HEAD Nepal partnering with the local, provincial and federal government and also with likeminded funding partners will complete the construction of the model residential rehabilitation center in Simkot.

Continuing its existing partnership and collaboration with local government, community schools and other partners, HEAD Nepal will upgrade the facilities at the center to enable children with disabilities to access their health and educational rights (registration, benefits and free services) and ultimately to integrate in community. Targeting children with disabilities and their families in the Rural mountain villages of Humla, the project will expand its service scope around Karnali Province. Ultimately this project aims to deliver a model integrated disability intervention in Karnali province and the other disabled People Organizations (DPOs) and government of Nepal will be expected to replicate the approaches and services of the resource center.

Accepting the well structured integrated disability intervention for inclusion and rehabilitation program, we expect the federal and provincial government to establish the similar resource centers in other parts of the province and country in coming days.

Request for Support

As it gives a high cost to complete the construction works and establish fully equipped and well designed structured facilities and services to the children with disabilities, we believe that this can be accomplished step-by-step support and actions. As a result, till April 2021, , we already completed the footing, foundation, and ground floor construction work. The first floor construction is currently under process and this will be completed by May 2022 with the financial support from Wilde Ganzen Foundation and Nepal Gives Foundation in the Netherlands. Understanding of large amount required to complete the project, we aim to involve various technical and financial supporters. We appreciate any kind/amount of further/additional support for this wonderful lifechanging model residential resource center project in remote mountain region of Simkot. To complete the second floor of the building we need about Euro. 75,000.00 which is planned for 2022-23.

If you are interested, you also may support whole or partial amount of total budget. For any inquiry about the budget and support, please contact Mr. Chhitup Lama, the Executive Director  at chhitup@headnepal.org.

To Support this initiative, Please Donate