BUDS Rehabilitation Centres (BRCs) are day care centres for mentally challenged persons of 16 or above years of age. BRCs are part of a Kudumbashree initiative to fill a gap in the State’s existing system for providing care to the mentally challenged that caters only to persons up to 18 years of age. BRCs unlike BUDS Schools, do not have special education; the centres are meant for those who have already undergone special education through BUDS Schools or other centres. However, centres are also open to mentally challenged children who are unable to attend schools.
Persons enrolling in BRC should be certified by the Medical Board as mentally challenged.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights, and Full Participation)Act 1995 defines rehabilitation as ‘a process aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric, or social functional levels’.
BRCs that way form the logical next-step in the BUDS School system. BRCs are meant to train and support persons with special needs for equipping them with skills that make them employable. BRCs have adopted Community Based Participatory Rehabilitation (CBPR) as their methodology in partnership with local bodies.
Objectives of BRCs
- To set up rural centres for training, day care, and health care of mentally challenged persons (mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, multiple disability) above 18 years of age
- To enable mentally challenged persons to lead a life as self-contained as possible within their familial and social context.
- To set up vocational training centres
- Arrange for alternative education for mentally challenged persons below 18 years of age also if they are with little possibility for school education
- To organise vocational training, day care, and income generation activities with the support of special NHGs and management committee
- Arrange for health care, noon meals, and physiotherapy (where required)
- To ensure social support for social rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons.
By March 2015, Kudumbashree Mission had given Rs 2 lakh each as grant to willing LSGs for starting BRCs. A total of 119 LSGs have availed this grant; 80 have already started BRCs, others are in the process.
As ‘employment is the ultimate aim for education of mentally challenged’, BRCs train the persons with mental disabilities in skills that their capacities allow. However, attempts in rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons after training has been fraught with serious challenges and hazards.
- Many mentally challenged persons can meaningfully engage in supportive commercial work; however, teasing by insensitive persons at work places typically affect their mainstreaming into such roles.
- There had been cases where persons under apprenticeship in workshops were tempted by toffees and sweets and made to indulge in dangerous activities under the encouragement of the perpetrators of trouble.
- There is even possibility of these persons getting drugged by criminals and being subjected to sexual abuse or exhibition of socially unacceptable behaviours.
Realising these challenges, Kudumbashree Mission has formed Parents’ Support Groups around BRCs. An agreement between potential employer and BRC had been proposed before employing the persons on test basis.
Community Based Participatory Rehabilitation (CBPR) is the methodology that BRCs have adopted. Internationally, community based rehabilitation (CBR) is the common methodology used. In Kerala’s case, CBPR methodology had been developed by bringing in local government institutions as sustainable partners, leveraging on the strengths of the Panchayat Raj system in the State.
The State Government issued guidelines for setting up a BRC in every local body based on the CBPR methodology proposed by Kudumbashree Mission.
As per the guidelines, the objectives of BRCs are the following.
- To ensure the possibility of rehabilitation of every mentally challenged person capable of travelling by providing them adequate day care, health care, and vocational training.
- To provide for the empowerment of the families of mentally challenged persons.
- To plan for activities for ensuring education, health care, nutrition, and social life of mentally challenged persons.
- To lead the mentally challenged persons to possible employment avenues with the support of neighbourhood groups, make them self-dependent, and contribute to enhancing their dignity.
- To provide all possible support for the education of persons who cannot be enrolled in schools.
- To create avenues for remedial education of school going persons as well as those who have completed their schooling.
Guidelines insist on the following standards for infrastructure and facilities.
- At least 30 square feet of built up area per every person enrolled; building should be pukka construction with sanitation and a minimum of 750 square feet of built up area in total.
- There should be more than 6 cents of appurtenant land and the plot should have compound wall and gate.
- There should be one toilet/bath for every ten persons, separately for male and female members; toilets for girls should have facilities for disposal of sanitary napkins.
- If the building is in the form of a hall, there should be adequate partition to ensure space for separate activities.
- Safe and accident free maintenance and upkeep of training equipment and tools should be ensured.
- Clean kitchen, provision for keeping utensils and vessels, clean utensils and vessels, proper disposal of waste water, proper storage of food, hand wash facility, and dining table should be provided.
- Trussed sheds should be provided for vocational training.
Guidelines proposed the following staff members for each centre.
- Rehabilitation worker cum care taker (Woman, Qualified –Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI))
- Nurse cum cook
- Vocational trainer
Vocational trainer has to be hired on an hourly basis. Services of therapist under the available government schemes have to be utilised.
Guidelines also specify the required furniture for the centres; each centre is also to have adequate equipment and tools for health care support, vocational training, and leisure.
- Adult living skills
- Vocational training
- Adaptive skills
Guidelines proposes provision of noon meals and health care for the incumbents. People’s participation has been advised in the provision of all services.
Guidelines also advise on finding employment avenues for the rehabilitated persons with the support of Neighbourhood Groups of parents. Self-employment and home-based employment should also be encouraged.