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CareTech Foundation Launch Partnership with MAITS to Deliver Life-changing Empowerment Training Programme

MAITS is an international disability charity working alongside local professionals and caregivers in low-resource countries to help them meet the health, development and educational needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. Our mission is to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest children living with disabilities, through better access to therapeutic and education support.

Message by the Chairperson, “MAITS was established in 2008 and since then our team has provided training to 6952 individuals in over 23 countries benefitting over 1,350,000 children with disabilities and their families. (MAITS Annual Report 2020-21)

Our flagship Community Health Worker (CHW) Empowerment training targets hard-to-reach families who have limited access to specialist therapists and therapy centres, and who rely on the skill and dedication of community workers to enhance the lives of their children with disabilities and their families and communities. This grassroot training enables timely specialist referrals to be made and enables the provision of targeted home support to promote children’s development, health and wellbeing, using MAITS expertly designed training packages and tools. The programme is successfully running in 5 countries and our resource package has been recommended by  A.I.F.I Italian Association of Physiotherapy   (Training Packages)

We are delighted to partner with the CareTech Foundation to deliver MAITS lifechanging CHW Empowerment Programme in Pakistan and Bangladesh. On behalf of the Board, I would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you!’ to the Foundation, for sharing our commitment to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people within society.

Meheen Rangoonwala

Message by CareTech Foundation, CEO, Jonathan Freeman MBE:

“We are delighted to partner with MAITS to deliver their impressive CHW Empowerment Programme. With support from the Foundation, this training will reach families who have limited access to therapists and help to enhance the lives of children with disabilities.  We are confident that this programme will have a huge impact and reach some of the most vulnerable people in Pakistan and Bangladesh.”

In 2021, Farah, who runs a special school in Karachi, received our training. Farah shared that “After receiving MAITS training, I learnt a lot about seating and positioning of children with Cerebral Palsy and in return I supported a 13-year-old girl who is a severe case of CP. The girl is now comfortable to sit in her wheelchair and carry out several activities that wasn’t possible before.”

With the support from the Foundation, MAITS has been able to extend our training programme in Pakistan and India. Here is a glimpse of our current training at Al-Umeed Rehabilitation Association, Karachi, where we trained 8 therapists and 32 Community Health Workers who will benefit over 250 children in the first year of receiving training.

We are also producing FREE to ACCESS video resources, which will provide basic guidance to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. A sample video can be viewed here which will be a part of the series when the resource is released to the general public.

Trainer Spotlight: Shabnam Rangwala is a paediatric occupational therapist in India. She is our lead trainer on the programme.

“MAITS came into my life at a time when I was exploring avenues to do more and give back to the field that I had been working with for over 25 years. Since then, MAITS has offered ongoing support for my work and helped me to support families of children in low-resource settings,” explained Shabnam about her experience with MAITS.

Shabnam believes in the saying that “helping others is helping yourself” when she faces any crossroads in life.

Jane training in Ghana

In Spring 2020, expert MAITS volunteer and speech and language therapist (SLT), Jane, was travelled to Ghana to deliver a four month training programme at the University of Ghana Korle-Bu teaching hospital. The programme was 50 Korle-Bu SLTs, from both the first cohort of graduates and the second year of undergraduates. The training focused on strengthening how the SLTs support, assess and manage their patients with disabilities and other complications, as well as incorporating the SLT department into the fabric of the hospital.

Trainees attending a workshop on making therapy applicable to a person’s everyday life
Jane with trainees

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as international borders went into lockdown, Jane returned to the UK. However, this has not stopped her, the Korle-Bu teaching hospital, and the trainees rallying together to continue with the remaining modules in the programme for the last 12 trainees of the course.

Online Speech and Language Therapy with the University of Ghana

Jane has been delivering the training on Zoom over the last three weeks. Jane said that the training will help the SLT team at Korle-Bu “feel equipped to know what to do when presented with a patient and how to proceed with assessment and management.” She went on to say: “I was so relieved that it proved possible to deliver training via Zoom. It has been a learning curve for both sides. As the sessions have progressed, I feel I have got to know the participants better and … they at least feel equipped to know what to do when presented with a patient and how to proceed with assessment and management.”

MAITS is so grateful to Jane and the team at the University of Ghana for their determination in pushing forward with the training and making it happen.

We would love to hear from you if you are looking for online disability training, as part of the MAITS’ COVID-19 Digital Response training. We are also continuing to recruit volunteer disability trainers who would like to share their skills to support people overseas.

“Stop press! MAITS is offering free disability training and recruiting volunteer trainers now!”

We hope first and foremost that this message finds you and your families in good health, both physically and emotionally.

Many of you will have been affected in different ways by the Coronavirus pandemic. For some of you will be busier than ever and for others this is a time when you may be in lock down at home and feeling like you would like to do something positive and use your skills to make a difference.

I wanted to reach out to all of you and have recorded a video message.

Myself and all the team at MAITS wanted to share with you how we are continuing to support vulnerable families and to ask for your help to become involved, if you can.  We have a number of volunteers from around the world, who have offered to provide training online, or develop training programmes and we would love to hear from you if this is something you would like to do.  Also if you would like to receive training for your team at this time, this is a good opportunity whilst normal activities are suspended to benefit from online training. 

Please do get in contact at info@maits.org.uk

MAITS volunteer wins Bond International Development Award for Volunteering!

We are delighted to report that MAITS’ volunteer Dr Shabnam Rangwala, has won the Bond International Development Awards 2020 for her voluntary work with MAITS. Shabnam has been a long-standing MAITS volunteer and in the since last year alone, she has run the MAITS’ Community Health Worker training in Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka. Shabnam was instrumental in getting the Indian Government to fund the roll out of MAITS’ Community Health Worker training amongst their therapists in the whole of the state of Himachal Pradesh and she was also a key part of an earlier project in Jamaica which won a merit  in the World Cerebral Palsy Awards 2018. Many congratulations to Shabnam, and thanks for her tireless work for MAITS.

Click here to see the results on BOND International

Two training programmes collide in Ghana

Worlds collided recently in Accra, Ghana, where two training programmes were being delivered at the same place, at the same time, and our fantastic volunteers were able to meet! Jane, who was delivering training to the Speech and Language Therapy cohort at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, was able to go along to David and Diane’s training workshop. The pair were visiting Korle Bu to deliver training in creating low resource, adaptable paper-based therapy equipment, as part of their training in 3 different organisations. Jane took along two of trainees from her course, who can you see pictured here: From left to right, 2 Speech and Language Therapy students, Jane and Diane.

Community Health Worker training in Cambodia

In December 2019, expert trainers, Dr Shabnam Rangwala and Ali Punjabi travelled to Cambodia. They delivered MAITS’ transformative Community Healthworker Training at CARITAS Cambodia’s Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, an NGO providing support for children with disabilities. 9 different organisations including CARITAS brought together 25 trainees from different fields, all working with people with disabilities. The trainees loved the interactive, hands-on training and that they were “all taking away lots of practical strategies to help children with disabilities in each of their own settings.”

COVID-19 MAITS STATEMENT

With the current situation of the spreading of Coronavirus, MAITS takes health and safety very seriously for all our team and volunteers. We are following regularly the updates regarding the latest information and advice from the UK government GOV.UK.

MAITS has put in place a standard hygiene practice. Regular assessment is being made for all staff and volunteers to ensure the employees’ health and safety.

We are still encouraging applicants to apply for grants, and we advise them to apply for travel insurance as soon as they book their flight. We do a risk assessment for all our applicants close to the time of travel and we implement the advice of the official government foreign travel and World Health Organisation.

MAITS TRAINING GRANTS ARE NOW OPEN!

**Our grant applications for 2019-2020 are open! Deadline Sunday 15th December 2019!**

If you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering for MAITS, to share your skills with those caring for people with developmental disabilities, it couldn’t be easier.

MAITS helps to facilitate training projects in developing countries. This year our work has included:

A special educational needs educator trained 116 teachers, parents and students at a centre for children with autism in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A speech and language therapist trained 26 graduate speech and language therapists at the University of Ghana.

Our award-winning trainers taught 12 community health workers to build affordable and adaptable rehabilitation therapy equipment from paper and card in Bangladesh.

How it works:

MAITS offers a modest contribution towards training programmes, to cover the costs of your travel and accommodation.

There are a few ways you can get involved:

  1. If you are already registered as a MAITS volunteer and you have an organisation that would like to receive training in mind, please fill out the Grant to Provide Training form by clicking here and submit to info@maits.org.uk. The deadline for applying for grants is Sunday 15th December 2019.
  2. If you are a specialist in neuro-developmental disabilities (either in healthcare, mental health or education) and you meet the following criteria, you can to register as a volunteer:

* You have a least 4 years post-qualification experience
* You have some experience in developing countries
* You have previous training or teaching experience

Once you are registered, we can match you up with an organisation that is seeking training in your field.

For more information, you can e-mail us on emily@maits.org.uk to arrange to have a chat or register at http://www.maits.org.uk/register/

Janet & John delivered APT Training at CRP!

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.

MAITS Master Trainers at CP, Lanka

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.

Our Master Trainer at CP, Lanka