More than six years after its creation in Kullu town (Himachal Pradesh, India), the Handimachal programme for disabled children can be roughly summarized and quantified as follows:
- a local multi-disciplinary team of Indian professionals gradually organized since March 2009, including a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a special educator, a speech therapist (from time to time), a nursery assistant and a young clerk;
- more than 300 children registered in the Handimachal Unit: children with cerebral palsy, autistic disorders, Down Syndrom, muscular dystrophy and other incapacitating disorders, hearing and language disorders, etc.
- an average of 10 children receive sessions in the Unit every day, with various frequency patterns;
- 25 children with severe disabilities receive sessions in their homes once a week, in sometimes high up villages, thanks to our three “CBR workers”, a trio of local young women who received a specific training to deliver such treatment sessions in the frame of a community-based rehabilitation programme;
- around 40 volunteers, both Indians and foreign, joined the programme to support the local team and deliver training sessions dedicated to our team members and to parents or local caretakers: occupational therapists, speech therapists, physiotherapist, APA volunteers (adapted physical activities), psychologists; all these volunteers worked without salaries, for a duration of sometimes one week, but usually 3 to 4 months;
- a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation approach which is quite unique in Northern India, benefiting from the latest models developed by specialists worldwide, thanks to the expertise and novelties brought by very experienced volunteers;
- a parents’ association formed in 2015 by disabled children’s families, in order to support our efforts, organize awareness or publicity activities, and generally become more visible to local authorities;
- an annual budget of euros 21,000, total financed by donations, including a few donations collected in India;
- hours and hours spent behind my computer at home, on Skype or telephone, in order to follow progresses on a daily basis, give directions, find volunteers and funds, and attempt to hand over the programme to a local institution in due time;
- three weeks’ “holidays” in Kullu spent in visits, observation, meetings, discussions, planning, but also in harvesting tons of smiles from parents and kids - natural inhibitors to doubt and discouragement.
Contact in France:
Mrs. Dominique Dufau
Tel: +33 679 110 223
President, Association Handimachal (France)
Vice-President, La maison des Himalayas (France)