The Creative Self Help Centre in Madang, Papua New Guinea:
- improves access to quality education for people with disabilities
- improves access to community based rehabilitation services
- ensures that people with disabilities are central to any interventions affecting their lives
- promotes policy development that support people with disabilites
A special education programme aims, where possible, to integrate special needs children into the mainstream school system and provide support with centre teachers. A centre-based programme caters for those unable to attend the mainstream school programme. An inclusive education programme caters for children in local schools and the community. There are 6 teachers (5 teachers and a teacher aid) and an average enrollment of 100 which includes children with vision, hearing, physical, mental and emotional problems. There is also a six week sign language course being conducted at the centre for community volunteers and teachers at the low primary each week.
A new education classroom, resource library, office and store space was completed in 2002 and is now in use and an extension was erected with the cement slab (and if the funding permits) to cater for computer room and the sound proof room for screening of ear and eye.
Community rehabilitation services
The Centre is a base for community outreach programmes and aims to rehabilitate disabled people back into the community. At present there are approximately 650 clients registered on the community based programme, which covers 5 established outreach zones. The programme covers people who are disabled from birth or through accident or illness. People referred to the Centre are put on an individual programme of exercise and occupational therapy in their own homes to develop their physical skills and to help them become independent in activities in daily living.
Nothing about us, nothing without us
CSHC follows the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’. They believe that People with Disabilities should wherever possible be the drivers of any intervention that is working towards a more inclusive society. They follow a rights based approach to all their work. They strive to ensure the centre is increasingly run and supported by people with disabilities. They focus our work on giving people with disabilities the skills and knowledge to take control of decisions affecting their lives.
Promotion of policies that support people with disabilities
CSHC understands the importance of promoting inclusive policies. It is critical that the services they provide are backed up by structural changes at the policy level. An inclusive society can only happen through a combination of providing good and well-funded services, alongside changes at the political level that reduce the institutional barriers that are faced by many people living with disabilities.
In order to push for political change they support people in advocating for their rights, through the development of disabled people organisations (DPOs), lobbying local and national leaders, and joining partners in awareness raising events, like World Sight Day.They will continue push the Papua New Guinean Government to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.