Janet and John returned to CRP, Bangladesh to provide training in the skills of Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT). The training was attended by twelve students from six different countries from the SAARC group. These students are studying at CRP for their MSc in Rehabilitation Science, which commenced in July 2018 for a period of two years. The countries represented are; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The students come from a variety of professions, including physiotherapy, nursing, and doctors.
The 12 participants were also trained to be able to measure a child for a chair and to be able to a transfer these measurements to the cardboard.
The aim of the training was to equip the participants with the knowledge and skills of APT to produce chairs for children, and also therapeutic and educational equipment using low/no cost materials, and the confidence to be able to train others.
Shabnam, Aasiya and Ali, MAITS CHW Master Trainers, delivered training to approximately 35 participants (33 Tamil-speaking and 2 Sinhala-speaking who understood Tamil). These participants were employees of the Government of Sri Lanka from the Eastern and Northern Provinces. The participants came from two different departments of the Government namely the Department of Health and Department of Social Services. The Department of Social Services was represented by Community Social Workers (CSWs) , some from Provincial level posts and others from District level posts. Within the structure of the Department of Social Services it appears that these CSWs are responsible for the direct monitoring of services for children with special circumstances. The other trainees were Public Health Midwives (PHM) from the Department of Health. The PHMs have direct access to all families with young children for the first year of the child’s life and are typically the referral source to the CSWs in the event that they suspect that the child may have special needs. There were two primary interpreters, both Physical Therapists, who translated into Tamil on a consecutive basis, while the Trainers presented. The 8-day training was covered over 6 days using the MAITS resource: Working with Children with Developmental Disabilities and their Caregivers – A Training programme for Non Specialists in Low Resource Settings. The topics covered were divided into two two main parts: Part 1 which included Child Growth and Development; Introduction to Childhood Disabilities; Supporting the Family and Child & Beliefs and Perspectives on Disabilities and Part 2 which included Play; Physical Management and Activities of Daily Living; Communication and Behaviour; Eating and Drinking; Child Assessment and Working with Caregivers using MAITSGuide for Parents. The training methodology included a mix of presentations from the Training Manual using Microsoft and hands-on practical sessions.
The sessions were very interactive, with a lot of participation from the trainees. The participants were constantly kept engaged in discussions and discussions were framed around the current context of their country.
Part 1 was covered in a day and a half with all the three trainers presenting their pre-assigned sections. Part 2 again followed a similar methodology but included extensive practical work through real case studies or video case presentations followed by discussions. The trainees were very interactive and they summarized at the end of the training that they had gained a lot of practical strategies to manage children with special needs in their respective settings. The trainers also enhanced their personal knowledge of disability management within the context of Sri Lanka.
This training has enhanced the knowledge and skills in the area of disability management of field level employees who work within the administrative system of Sri Lanka and have direct access to families of children with special needs. The training will help in better identification of children with special needs in Eastern and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka. It has given practical strategies of management, which can directly be implemented by the field workers within their respective areas.
We brought together six Master
Trainers from Pakistan who were trained in Nepal, alongside their Nepalese
counterparts, which enabled both sets of trainers to see how things were done
in neighbouring countries and enabled them to interact with other therapists
who worked in a different context to them.
The Master Trainers came from Aga Khan University Hospital, Ziauddin
University Hospital and the two local NGOs ACELP and MEANS Institute. A local
coordinator in Pakistan has been recruited to arrange the logistics and
organise the first eight-day training of the Lady Health Workers. The six Master Trainers that were trained in
Karachi planned the initial roll-out in Karachi to organisations running
community programmes. Currently, 15 community health workers are receiving training
and have identified families with special needs children who can benefit from
the newly acquired skills.
Bakhtawar, one of the
Occupational Therapists from Pakistan that undertook the training in Nepal
said: “I learnt a lot more about the relevant standards and simpler ways of
management techniques for cerebral palsy and developmental disorders. I feel
pretty well-equipped with knowledge of how to manage these cases at home and I
am confident enough that I can deliver the gained knowledge to our community
health workers and implement the disability management rules in our
underprivileged areas. The MAITS’
trainer got the learning message across by breaking everything down into simplified
sections. She gave a complete manual of managing criteria and had a very good
knowledge of the standards. I must say, a very good mixture of theoretical and
Translations of resources for
parents, which teach families more about their child’s disability and
techniques they can use to support their children ranging from exercises to
feeding techniques will be made available in the local language, Urdu.
This resource will also be available on the MAITS’ website in our resources
section in Urdu where we have a library of resources in different languages to
MAITS funded a five-day Forum Theatre event facilitated via a
collaboration between Sharing Stories (www.sharingstoriesventure.com) and Odd
Arts (www.oddarts.co.uk). The project took place in Kampala, Uganda, in July
2018. The trainers were joined by the individuals with experience of mental
health difficulties, including users of mental health services, mental health
professionals and carers. The project included the development and performance
of a Forum Theatre production to a public audience, and a training workshop
around Forum Theatre and Creative Leadership techniques.
The workshops in the first three days introduced Forum
Theatre to the participants. Using a range of group exercises, the trainers
began the process of developing a drama about stigma and mental health, using
many of the participants’ personal experiences of mental health as inspiration
for the characters and story. On the
third evening, the workshop participants performed their Forum Theatre piece to
an audience at the National Theatre, as part of an event which included showing
films about previous Sharing Stories events, a recent Forum Theatre project in
the UK, and interviews with mental health professionals and service users about
their experiences of stigma. The final
two days were devoted to training a group of the participants in the use of
Forum Theatre techniques to use and disseminate within their local communities
and networks, to support sustainable and ongoing change beyond the end of the
Feedback from participants and audience members indicates
that this project achieved and indeed went beyond the initial objectives
identified. People were engaged and trained in use of Forum Theatre techniques,
contributing to change at social and community levels. Drawing on the lived
experience of people with mental health problems, a powerful performance was
written and delivered to an audience at the National Theatre. The audience
members left with an improved awareness of mental health and stigma, and were
empowered by thinking about things they could do to contribute in an active way
to challenging negative perceptions and stereotypes. The training provided
focused on generalizable and transferable learning outcomes, enabling
participants to utilise and adapt the techniques for use within their own
communities and organisations. The shared learning between group members from
UK and Uganda promoted powerful cross-cultural reflection, development and
understanding, leading to wide ranging and sustainable change across both
Kashmira Medhekar along with her colleague Shirley Warren conducted a
workshop based on Appropriate Paper Technology for over 4 days at the National
Association for the Blind, India. The basics of APT to make positioning
equipment were taught to a group of 14 teachers from NAB from different cities
across India. Community workers from Orissa, Varnasi, and Lukhnow have 8 children
each on their caseload. Community Worker Poonam Singh from Uttar Pradesh has 20
children on her caseload. NAB Mumbai has 110 children on their caseload which
makes a total of 174 children who will potentially benefit from the training that
was delivered by MAITS trainers. We aim that a further 30 to 40 children shall
be able to receive positioning equipment if the trainees from out skirts of
Mumbai are successful in passing on their new skills and knowledge in APT to
In May 2017, the APT training
conducted by our trainers at NAB demonstrated taking measurements of a chair
and standing frame and trained community workers in transferring measurements
onto the cardboard and making a chair, standing frame, corner seat and a few
toys. MAITS trainers aim to continue their support to NAB by organisation a
further workshop next year where community workers and families will be invited
to help make own equipment.
So far, we have received excellent
response and feedback. Our trainers left
India with a feeling of a job well done. Trainees are now expected to continue
to practice new skills learnt and liaise with Kashmira and Shirley for any
MAITS’ CEO went to visit one of our long-term partners, the National
Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Developmental Disorders
(NCCCPDD), who we have been working with for a number of years, providing
different types of training when requested. The NCCCPDD provides training to
others and calls upon MAITS to provide training in the areas of greatest need
and they are typical of the kind of organisation that we are proud to partner with.
Here, Esther explains a bit more…
National Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Developmental
On arriving at the NCCCPDD and meeting the director Gopi Kitnasamy and
his wife…. It is hard not to be completely blown away by their story and what
they have achieved.
“I am a Physiotherapist by profession and at the beginning of my career
had been considering whether to do a degree in Dental Sciences or
Physiotherapy. I chose Physiotherapy and only later on did I come to understand
why this was such a significant choice. Our son, Danush, is now 19 years
old and has cerebral palsy. Due to my profession, I was able to work to support
him, but when it came to time to send him to school, I was told that there were
many options. My wife and I went along to school after school only to find that
the reality was somewhat different. Each school we visited, either did
not want to know, because he is in a wheelchair, or they were not accessible,
with no ramps and just lots of stairs so he would not have been able to access
the buildings. After much pushing, my wife and I realised that the best thing
we could do would be to set up a school ourselves.
So that is what we did. We set up the Cerebral Palsy Lanka
Foundation and the Dream Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and in the
beginning; it was just my son and two of his friends who also had cerebral
palsy. As time went on, the centrel grew and within time, we had the blessing
of partnering with the MJF Foundation which is the charitable foundation for
the Dilmah tea company.”He chuckled, “if you came to Sri Lanka via Sri Lankan
airlines and had the tea, you would have had Dilmah tea!”
And so now here we are… We now have five MJF centres across Sri Lanka
and the dream (vision) is to have a centre in all the districts in Sri Lanka.”
Gopi is extremely modest about all his centres have achieved, but when
you visit, the facts speak for themselves. Between them, MAITS trainers and our
CEO visited the centre everyday for 6 days to carry out the training. In
this time, we were able to meet the dedicated staff team, many of whom have
family members who have cerebral palsy and who have been able to take back home
what they have learnt and put it into practice there, as well as at work. We
met about 15 parents, one grandparent and their children and saw the children
in school, undertaking a range of activities, including hydrotherapy,
physiotherapy and sessions with the parents and teachers. We also saw
them at play in the wonderful playground that was developed for the centre,
where the equipment is designed for children to use in their wheelchairs. This
included a swing, merry-go-round and a see-saw that children could get into in
their wheelchairs and strapped in to enjoy the fun. What I really loved was
that they had made sure that another swing suitable for children in wheelchairs
has also been built for Viharamahadevi park, a public park near the town hall
in Colombo, so that families can take their children on a day out and they will
not be left out.
So many parents came up to speak to me whilst I visited to tell me just
how much difference the school had made to their children’s lives and how it
had been life-changing.
One mother came up to me and told me how much she had liked the sessions
she got to participate in with our training team and how she was grateful
everyday that her son attended the National Centre for Cerebral Palsy.
She said “before my son started there, I cried everyday, not knowing how to support
him. His condition was relatively mild and therefore, he had not been diagnosed
straight away. When he started the school, I received so much support and
advice and he really started to do well.” The tears welled up in her eyes as
she spoke and she told me “I was blessed to have a son with this condition,
because he opened my eyes to how to be a better person, to learn to be grateful
for what we do have. I have met other parents and made friends who understand
our family. I believe God gives these special children to parents and gives
them the strength to help them. I am happy to have found this place where my
son can get help and I am so grateful to have such a special child, for he is
special, they all are.”
She was just one of many parents who spoke to me about how life-changing
the National Centre for Cerebral Palsy has been for her family. MAITS is
proud to work with Gopi and his team and it reinforces our belief in our
approach which is to be there to serve and support fantastic, local
organisations. We could not do the work that they do better than they do,
we could not know what their community needs better than they do. But we
are there, to support with training needs, in areas that they and all our other
local partners have identified. We bring volunteer trainers who give freely of
their time, support their costs and contribute modest amounts to enable
trainees from out of area to get transport and accommodation where needed so
that they can attend training.
We are proud to maintain an ongoing relationship with so many wonderful
local organisations, who can benefit free of charge from our training and who,
most importantly, we maintain an ongoing partnership with.
As I walked around the centre, day after day, between the training
sessions that I was observing, whilst meeting parents and staff, I kept looking
around and thinking “this place is amazing, all this is because of two people,
two parents, who knew that not just their child, but so many more, deserved so
much better. And then they made it happen.” And we are very proud to walk
alongside them on their journey.
The National Centre for Cerebral Palsy is just one of our wonderful local partners. We work with many amazing organisations and have worked in 20 countries around the world through our team of qualified volunteers.