Friday, February 10, 2023

APD Is Planning To Reach “14,885 Villages Across Karnataka To Help Spinal Cord Injuries Victims Lead A Meaningful Life”

* Cot to Community: A mission to help spinal cord injuries victims to lead a meaningful life 

About 1.5 million people in India live with spinal cord injuries (SCI), with an addition of 20,000 new cases every year. Nearly 78% of those affected are from rural India. Unfortunately, the cases are the highest in the highly productive age group of 18-30 years. The high treatment cost often causes financial stress on the families of the victims. This also leads to the physical, mental, and social isolation of the victims.  

The Association of People with Disability (APD), was founded in 1959 in Bengaluru by the late N.S. Hema, started an innovative project called “Cot to Community” in 2001 to help socio-economically underprivileged people with spinal cord injuries. The project aims to facilitate early identification and rehabilitation of an SCI victim, thus enhancing the person’s functional independence and aiding in leading a meaningful life. It also seeks to improve the health and well-being, financial security, and social participation of the person while easing the strain of being a caregiver. This approach increases their chances of getting an education, finding employment and being a part of social engagements.  

APD received a grant of ?5 crores in 2022 through HCL Grant, a CSR commitment by HCL Foundation, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of HCLTech, to implement the project across 14,885 villages in Karnataka. The project aims to reach 2,962 patients with spinal cord injuries as well as 33,924 diverse stakeholders.  

In the last 10 months, saturated coverage of 18 districts was made possible through 44 dedicated staff serving 1512 Persons with Spinal cord Injury and 14412 stakeholders on Spinal cord Injury prevention and Management.62 beneficiaries underwent livelihood training for the entrepreneurship model, 236 Persons with Spinal cord Injury received assistive devices to achieve functional independence and 320  beneficiaries were extended with medical intervention supports to prevent and manage secondary complications after spinal cord Injury. The project also paved a tremendous inclusion opportunity through para-sports, where 30 beneficiaries were professionally trained in sporting events like Wheelchair basketball, para kayaking, para climbing, wheelchair badminton, and archery. 12 beneficiaries bagged 43 state-level and national-level medals. The impact of the project was also presented at two international forums, the Asian Spinal cord Injury Conference 2022 in New Delhi and the International Spinal Cord Injury Society Conference 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. 

APD has built a distinctive E3 model that enables, equips, and empowers the specially abled, using a robust community-focused approach. APD helps patients achieve a holistic quality of life by giving them access to multiple services including physical, social, psychological, accessibility, sports, recreation, and community re-integration.  

“Every human being has the right to live with dignity and have equal opportunities. To assist survivors to become independent and valued members of society, we need to develop the ecosystem via awareness, capacity building, and sensitization. The Association of People with Disabilities is engaged in a monumental mission by ensuring that people with disability have access to equal opportunities, entitlements, empathy, and integration,” said Dr. Nidhi Pundhir, Vice-President, Global CSR, HCL Foundation, while praising the Cot to Community project. 

APD is the pioneer organization in India offering comprehensive SCI rehabilitation. The charitable society supports children and adults with a range of disabilities including locomotor problems, spinal cord injury, speech and hearing impairment, cerebral palsy as well as mental issues through its various programs in rural and urban Karnataka. So far it has impacted the lives of over 5,00,000 PWDs from underserved neighborhoods.  

APD received the NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Award in 2019, the Award for contribution to Mental Health from NIMHANS and the E-Innovation Award from MUGU International Foundation in 2018. 

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