There are 6 million disabled people in Ethiopia, nearly 8% of the population. As there is little understanding and education about the many causes of disability, it is often viewed as a curse from god. This leads to people with disabilities being rejected by their families and denied access to their most basic rights such as an education.
ETHIOPIAID'S AIM: To give those affected by disability the opportunity to lead a full life, to be fully included members of Ethiopian society.
We have partnered with Cheshire Services - a local independent organiation staffed by Ethiopians - who enhance the social functioning of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia. Their vision is to see a world where avoidable disability is prevented and people with disabilities are treated equally in society. Conditions that are currently treated include club feet, cerebral palsy and cognitive impairments, such as autism. The following servi ces are provided by Cheshire Services:
Cheshire has two rehabilitation centres, their aim is simple - every person will be able to walk home. This is achieved through corrective surgery, physiotherapy and the provision of prosthetic limbs and mobility aids. The walking aids and prosthetics are made in the centre's workshop which also provides vocational training to the disabled. The centres work to repair the shattered confidence of every child. More than 60 children are resident in the home at any one time and each one receives tuition, skills development and sports training along side their treatment. Patients are identified via Cheshire's mobile outreach service.
Mobile Outreach Service
Access to rehabilitation services is difficult for people living with disabilities in rural and isolated areas. Therefore, Cheshire has implemented a mobile outreach service, reaching 38 posts in different regions. The mobile outreach team consists of physiotherapists, orthopedic technologist and a social worker so that immediate assessment and rehabilitation can take place. Additionally, the mobile outreach team also provides a follow up service for those children that have been discharged form the rehabilitation centres to replace worn out walking aids and devices.
Wheelchairs are the most commonly used devices for enhancing personal mobility. They restore independence, dignity and access to education and employment. An appropriate, well designed and fitted wheelchair is the first step towards inclusion and enabling physically disabled people to be productive members of society. The wheelchair project has three objectives: 1) Support and strengthen the wheelchair provision; 2) Improve the capabilities, quality and appropriateness of wheelchair production; and 3) Support income activities of wheelchair users. In order to widen wheelchair provision outlets, Cheshire has created a strategy of linking the wheelchair provision with its regular mobile outreach service.
Community Based Programmes
The focus of the community based programme is to strengthen the support structure surrounding people with disabilities. This includes enhancing the physical and psychological well being of the caregiver and providing vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities. Cheshire services visit families, schools and communities, providing advice on how to support those with disabilities. They deliver information on the potential impairments associated with certain conditions, such as self care, communication, social interaction and independent living. This increases community awareness so that there is a quality support network surrounding individuals with disabilities. Additionally, Cheshire provides funds to people with disabilities, in order to help them develop their own micro-businesses. Through generating their own income, people with disabilities can take control of their own lives and be more self sufficient.
- Over 35,000 disabled children and young people provided with walking aids, skills training and life-changing surgery
- In 2013, 852 wheelchairs were administered to people with physical disabilities
- The mobile outreach service ensured that over 9200 children and young people with disabilities were provided with assistive devices such as crutches, orthopedic shoes and braces during 2013
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