Helpline by ASTHA

Project Brief: A Helpline [An Information, Communication And Counselling Unit] for persons with disabilities and their families. In the past three years this unit has been supporting the work of Astha's community programmes as well as the centre for children.
Project Type: Disabilities (description)
Primary Focus: children with disabilities (description)

Secondary Focus: creating resources

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Irvine
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Mansi Kasliwal
Project Partner(s): Gagan Chopra
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , S-268,,Greater Kailash-II,,
DELHI  110048
Tel: 91-11- 26074733/24961112
Stewarding Chapter: Irvine
Oct 2008IrvineUSD 2000
May 2008IrvineUSD 2000
Apr 2007IrvineUSD 2000

Total = $6000

Asha Irvine has decided to release $2000 in May 2007 to Helpline by Astha. Part of Trigger Proposal submitted to WAH
Total Budget for this component: $7300

INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND COUNSELING UNIT

ASTHA strongly believes that direct provision of services to persons with disabilities, must be backed by research, communication and the dissemination of information in the field.

The information and counseling unit produces material-both audio-visual and print-in the field of disability.

Through this Information helpline and counseling unit ASTHA would be able to reach out to large numbers of people by focusing on
- Providing referrals and information in hospitals since these are places that all families of children with special needs access. Conducting workshops with doctors in low income areas, providing information and
referrals to them.
- Reaching out to government and low income schools with
information and referrals.
- Reaching out to people within the city through the help-line
- Reaching out to organizations that do not deal with disability but work in allied areas to provide information.

The aims of this unit are:
- To generate information in the area of disabilities, relevant to the Indian environment.
- To provided information and counseling to families and person with disabilities.
- To conduct research on issues that directly affects the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
- The focus on information collection will be on the following disability areas
* Mental retardation
* Motor disabilities
* Vision impairment
* Hearing impairment
* Speech impairment
* Autism
* Cerebral palsy
* Specific learning difficulties
* Multiple disabilities
* Degenerative conditions

The information for the help-line will be provided by counselors who are aware of the needs of people in the area of disability. The provision of information would require follow-up.

In the first year ASTHA will focus on collecting information on the most urgently required areas. The most urgent need that emerges from our work with children with disability and their families is the need to collect information on service organizations available for children and persons with disability. Within this ASTHA would focus on collecting information on hostels and residential facilities available for homeless and destitute people and children with disability, particularly, children with mental disability.

ASTHA would create simple referrals in Hindi which would be shared with organizations, schools and hospitals after creating linkages with them.

ASTHA would work further in understanding the information needs of families and persons with disability by conducting focus group discussions through community based projects in different parts of the city.

ASTHA's has existing linkages with all major organizations in areas of Advocacy, health and provision of medical services, schools, other helplines working in the areas of child rights, legal groups, and parent associations.
Through this project it is our endeavour to:
-Link families to medical, educational, and therapeutic services
-Provide couselling to familiesand persons with disabilities
-Ensure that families have information or recourse to information, on the various schemes started by the government, the facilities offered, legal rights of persons with disabilities etc.
-To make available an information base that families can tap at any given time.
-Enable families to connect with each other and be empowered through information to become advocates and be able to ask for their rights.

At Astha we believe that each and every person in society, however severelly disabled he may be] has a right to equal oppurtunity in every institution of society and a right to develop his full potential.

Our long term objectives include:
-To be known for the 'quality' of work rather than 'quantity'
-To be recognized as a resource centre for multiple disabilities.
-To undertake research in areas that are of concern
-To create a facility where information is available , issues are researched, to be shared with people and organizations within the city and country - with a special focus on the urban poor.
ASTHA is a registered charitable trust providing services to children with disabilities for the past ten years. Registered in July 1992, the trust is managed by a group of five trustees.

Over the last few years the trust has initiated the following 4 services- provision programs:
-Center For Children With Special Needs (CCSN)
-Community Based Rehabilitation Program
-Information, Communication And Counseling Unit
-Areas For Corporate Intervention

Astha's Aims:
Initiate an intensive outreach program to rehabilitate children with different disabilities.
Work with children and people with disabilities (such as orthopedic visual, speech and hearing disabilities as well as mental retardation)
Focus on areas of early detection and early intervention
Rehabilitate older children who have already become disabled
Integrate children in general schools and in society - Astha's team will support the child and the school in terms of training the teachers to work with the child, providing relevant information to the school as well as sensitizing other students in the childs school and class.
Sensitize members of the community towards disabilities - they plan to work with the Astha's communication division to provide the relevant info and raise awareness.
Train parents and community workers in the area of disability
Build resources of the community to be utilized for the benefit of the disabled members
Establish a network of referral services
Network with other NGOs and government bodies working this area
Work towards prevention of disabilities in the community