Rotary Service Opportunities Program: Disabled Person Concerns

An overview

 According to the World Health Organization, nearly 600 million people worldwide are disabled. Of those, nearly 80 percent live in developing countries where access to proper medical care, vocational training, and employment is limited. What’s more, WHO predicts these numbers will continue to rise as a result of population growth and increases in the incidence of AIDS, birth defects, cancer, diabetes, and violence.
But there are ways to help. Providing equal opportunities for education and employment is one. Making public venues accessible and providing assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, and prostheses, are others. Educating communities to eliminate prejudices ensures that people with disabilities receive adequate medical care, rehabilitation, and support services. Efforts to prevent many of the causes of disability, such as war, disease, violence, and accidents, can lead to long-term improvements in the overall quality of life for people around the globe.

Rotary’s approach:

Since 1913, when the Rotary Club of Syracuse, New York, USA, created a disabled children’s committee, Rotarians have shown their commitment to providing people with disabilities equal access to education, employment, and essential services. Today, Rotary clubs perform community service projects that

  • Promote the dignity and inclusion of all people regardless of disability
  • Remove barriers that prevent the equal participation of people with disabilities in community activities
  • Create and expand opportunities for steady jobs and reliable incomes for people with disabilities
  • Improve essential medical care, rehabilitation, and support services for people with disabilities

Take action

  • Learn what barriers exist in your community and around the world that restrict people with disabilities.
  • Examine how people in your community view the disabled.
  • Determine how your club can resolve issues negatively affecting the disabled.
  • Learn how other individuals, community groups, and nongovernmental and governmental organizations approach these issues.
  • Discover what resources exist in your community for helping people with disabilities.
  • Involve people with disabilities in addressing these issues.
  • Build on existing community resources to improve opportunities that empower people with disabilities.

From the Field
Clubfoot, a congenital birth defect that can lead to severe disability if left untreated, is a major problem in Honduras. After learning about the plight of children in their community with the disability, the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa decided to help. Aided by Rotary clubs in California, USA, the Tegucigalpa club arranged for a nongovernmental organization (NGO) with experience treating clubfoot to visit their city. The goal of the project: empower community members to treat clubfoot with locally available resources and reduce the disability’s long-term effects. California Rotarians, NGO representatives, and Tegucigalpa club members trained 30 local doctors to screen potential patients, perform reconstructive surgeries on 110 patients with clubfoot, and care for patients after surgery. These surgeries and the medical training provided will help ensure that everyone is able to participate equally in the community for years to come.

How can Oberon Rotary be involved in the Disabled Concerns Program?
Rotarians are encouraged to help prevent disabilities through measures taken against malnutrition, environmental pollution, and inadequate prenatal and postnatal care. Additionally Rotarians work on barriers to employment, providing job training to persons with disabilities.
Any ideas on how Oberon Rotary can be involved?? Donations?  Fred Hollows Foundation? PolioPlus? Donations in Kind? Assistance to local community member?


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