The Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project in Khujand, Tajikistan focuses on early intervention and a preschool for children with disabilities. Staff members of the project have learnt how to help children with disabilities and how to advocate for them. They are constantly being challenged to learn and develop themselves. Here is what one staff member said:
“I am the mother of two children with severe disabilities, but I am grateful because it is because of them that I am now able to work in this project. I use my own experiences to speak to other mothers who are new to the centre. This is not always easy as I need to find the right words for each situation. I give advice to new people and explore their expectations, and then I try to give them the right consultation and counselling. I enjoy this part of my work the most.
“Many parents of children with disabilities don’t know their rights or what services are available to them. Some don’t know how to access the disability pension. If we don’t speak to them, they will remain at home and not go anywhere in their community. I helped a mother to get transport services for free, and now they can come to us regularly and their child can receive the rehabilitation services.
“I constantly try to be a better leader. I have tried to be better in delegation and in keeping an eye on the work I must do. I have seen that if I delegate better, then we see better results in the work. In the past I have got used to being in a low position, but now I am learning step by step not to remain on a low level, but to speak my thoughts out loud and to speak up about my children. I can see progress in how our local staff work with Children with Disabilities (CWDs). Each staff member can assess CWDs very well and identify their goals and activities. I also see mothers learning from this and applying what we show them at home. I want to continue delegating to the mothers’ groups and to strengthen these groups. I want all our staff to continue learning new skills and to keep abreast of new ways of working.
“I love my work! I love speaking to new mothers that come in for the first time and giving them advice and counselling them. I love seeing the change that this brings into a family. I like seeing family relationships improve. Now relatives seem to be more accepting of a child with a disability, and many have now seen some of our work on TV. I would love to see more information on TV as this will help people to know where to go and encourage them not hide their children with disabilities at home anymore”.