There is very little support and intense social stigma around children with disabilities in India. Mothers bear the stress alone, and this often results in severe depression. Things that we take for granted - like medical care, a listening ear, a babysitter when you need to run errands, funds to pay for transportation to the hospital, friends who will empathize, family who will help around the house - aren't available to mothers of children with disabilities in countries around the world.
Mothers are assessed for depression severity and social support levels. The entire household is assessed for family health needs (health practices and availability of clean water, toilets, nutritious and balanced meals, etc.) and known risk factors such as alcohol abuse or domestic violence. Immediate needs are addressed and mothers receive a monthly cash stipend. They join a social support group, begin health/parenting education and counseling, choose a job skill, and train together.
Mothers will no longer be isolated, in extreme poverty, and at risk for depression and suicide. Their children's health needs will be better met and their own health needs as women and primary caregivers will also be addressed. They will feel confident in how to care for special needs children and have the economic power and skills to earn income for their families. They will have strong social support networks - friends, mentors, and allies to encourage them as they rise out of poverty.
This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).
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