Caresociety's Blog

Launching of “CBR – Handbook”

Posted on: April 1, 2013

Community Based Rehabilitation –  “Reducing the impact of disability for an individual, enabling him or her to achieve independence, social integration, a better quality of life and self – actualization.”

Care Society is a local non-government organization working with the aim to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Maldives. Disability services have grown since the founding of Care Society in 1998, with many services centralizing in the capital city, Male’. However the majority of the population lives in the outer atolls of Maldives where access to services and facilities are very limited.


Rehabilitation : Rehabilitation includes all measures aimed at reducing the impact of disability for an individual, enabling him or her to achieve independence, social integration, a better quality of life and self – actualization. Rehabilitation can no longer be seen as a product to be dispensed; rather rehabilitation should be offered as a process in which all participants are actively and closely involved.

 What is Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR)?

Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy within general community development which aims to deliver rehabilitation services in less developed countries. CBR programmes see the need to change attitudes and behavior and promote social inclusion, to make services accessible and remove barriers to equalization of opportunities.

Why CBR?

Institutional Rehabilitation provides excellent services to address the problems of individual persons with disabilities and is often available only for a small number at a very high cost. Institutional overheads and other major infra structural expenses make the process very expensive. Moreover, the endeavor in an institution is often out of context to the felt needs of the people with disabilities, and thus falls short of their expectations. The fact that this person comes from a particular background and cultural setting is often ignored. The institutional culture is imposed on the person with disabilities and they are often expected to function as advised by the “experts”. In an institutional rehabilitation programme, the community is not linked with the process. Hence, when the person with disabilities return home, it may become difficult for them to integrate into their community.

Many institutions follow community-oriented approaches. In this method of approach, the services are provided at the level of community through an outreach clinic or camp based approach. The program is guided by the institution and directed by the availability of the resources. The patients and community are only the beneficiaries. e.g. as and when appliances like wheelchair, tricycle, or calipers become available, they get distributed whether it is appropriate or not. However, these strategies are inadequate to respond to the needs and expectations of the disabled and their community. Whereas rehabilitation based in the community ensures community participation, uses locally available resources and learns from existing innovative approaches in the community.

 Community Based Rehabilitation is defined as a strategy within community development, for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities and social integration of all people with disabilities.

Community Based Rehabilitation is implemented through the combined efforts of the disabled people themselves, their families and communities along with medical and other experts as appropriate, incorporating health education, vocational and social services (ILO, UNESCO & WHO, 1994, Community Based Rehabilitation – For and with people with disabilities – a joint position paper). Accomplishing this involves creation of awareness in the community regarding disability, value of disability prevention, and rehabilitation methods. In order to base the rehabilitation in the community it is of prime importance to inspire the community and recruit volunteers for this task. This is not an easy process. An education and training model was found to be a compromise approach, which is likely to succeed, as will be explained subsequently. The volunteers need to be trained to identify and intervene appropriately to deliver rehabilitation services in the community.

History of CBR in Maldives

With the support from various donor agencies, Care Society has been able to conduct CBR program in various islands in Maldives and form CBR groups in those target islands. In the year 2007, CBR of Maldives has been partnered with South Asian CBR Network and in 2009 partnered with Asia Pacific CBR Network, which are international networks working towards networking of all CBR activities in the field of disability. CBR Network uses Community Based Rehabilitation as a strategy to approach the community and the government for the rehabilitation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all developmental programmes and protection of their human rights particularly to promote UNCRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). In 2011, representative from Care Society was elected as one of the executive member of the Asia Pacific CBR Network.

Care Society has conducted trainings in some islands to implement the CBR programs. To conduct center based activities two centers have also been established. One center is in South Huvadhoo Atoll Thinadhoo (Heeds Learning Center) and the other in Addu Atoll Hithadhoo (Association for Disabilities Rehabilitation Care). Also, CBR workshops have been conducted in North Thiladhunmathi Maarandhoo and South Thiladhunmathi Hanimaadhoo. In these workshops, CBR volunteers have been trained to carry out CBR related activities within the islands. However, the efforts to retain these trained volunteers have been a challenge Care Society has been facing for the past years. The difficulties faced include, issues with financing, lack of support from stakeholders and the lack of a physical structure to conduct CBR programs.


With the support from the stakeholders, Care Society hopes to improve the quality of life of person with disability and the sustainability of the CBR activities in the islands. Care Society also welcomes new approaches to build a better inclusive communities.

A handbook on CBR has been launched on the 28th of March by the former president of the Maldives, Uz. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Other government officials, NGos, parents and students of CDC, with staff, volunteers and participants from the Disability Management Training participated.

The function was held at Asaree Maalam, and in his speech the chief guest suggested the importance of having statistics about disabilities in the Maldives and also highlighted the importance of NGOs working together.

With the launch of this handbook Care Society hopes that the work in this area will be more established and the book serves as part of the contribution to the area of disability in the Maldives.

Below we have included the contents of the handbook for our reference.

Table of Contents (Community Based Rehabilitation Handbook)

Introduction of the Manual

What is Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Program?

·        CBR at Individual Level

·        CBR at Community Level

·        CBR at National Level

How to plan and execute a CBR Program

·        Formulating a CBR structure

·        System to run a CBR Program

·        Sustaining a CBR Program

-Strong Leadership


-Community Leadership

-Utilizing Community Resources

-Adapting to the local culture

-Building the Community Capacity

-Fund Raising

-Government Support

Stages of Implementing a CBR Program

·        Situation Assessment of the island to gather information

·        Potential Stakeholders to partner with the CBR Program at Island Level with their roles indentified

-Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and the role of their families

-The role of Volunteers of a CBR Program

-NGO participation & their roles

-Participation of Disabled People’s Organizations (DPO) & their roles

-Participation & roles of Government Organizations

-Roles of CBR Managers & Workers

·        Services that can be provided through CBR

-Home Visiting

-Centre Based Activities

-Social Activities for Children & Persons with Disabilities

-Parent Support Groups

·        Vocation Skills Building Program for PWDs

·        Information on Disability

-What is Disability?

-Types of Disabilities seen in Maldives (signs, how to work with them)

-Skill Building through Play Activities





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  • Care Soceity: Yes, students can volunteer at Care Society. Please fill in the necessary forms. We will post them on the blog soon. Thank you
  • Care Soceity: I will share the volunteer form on the blog. Thank you for your initiation.
  • rooza: hi, I would like to voluntarily work with you. What should I do. and where could I find the forms.


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