I am Ma Hlaing, I’m working as a Community Based Rehabilitator (CBR) with New Humanity Myanmar since 2005. I completed CBR course at Youth Training Center, recognized by Department of Social Welfare, in Yangon in November 2004. Immediately after that I started working for New Humanity Myanmar in 2005, I’ve been assigned as CBR in 18 villages of Kong Lon Village Tract, Taunggyi Township.
At the beginning of Community Based Rehabilitation Project in my assigned area, I have encountered DIFFERENT CHALLENGES. First of all was that the community have very limited knowledge on community development program and there were no NOGs, INGOs interventions in this area. Thus, the villagers were afraid of meeting us and didn’t trust our project. Secondly, poor accessibility to the project areas is also one of the challenges: roads to villages were very rough and stony, it was not accessible by car and motorbike like nowadays. Thirdly, difficult for collecting Baseline Data for the project. And finally, parents of children with disabilities also feel ashamed and uncomfortable for accepting our visit. The community and the family itself thought that disability was punishment by God, to be hidden from others.
I have struggled and worked very hard to overcome all those difficulties trying to meet all village heads and explain about CBR project, organizing meetings with all villages for Public Awareness. After the village heads have clear information through awareness meetings, I could conduct baseline data assessment through cooperation with all stakeholders in community (by travelling with bicycle one village to another, such an hard work).
After having all data and information, with the help of village heads, there were 32 children with disabilities from my assigned area. With close collaboration with Physiotherapist, we visited one household to another for assistance of Community Based Rehabilitation. We encouraged parents for awareness of disabilities and provide care giver training, step by step parents warmly welcome our visit. Now they accept the reality of the situation and collaborate for assisting exercises and learning activities for their children. It’s not easy for trust building process with village heads and parents of special needs children as it took up to 3 years. They can see the improvements of children’s situation and moreover, we encourage more social inclusion for those children.
Together with Program Manager, we could support more activities for children with special needs in those years, such as participating in different campaigns for people with disabilities, Special Olympics, International Day for Persons with Disabilities etc… Parents and children are more confident now as they have better knowledge on disabilities, how to help their children for better improvement. There are 13 families with disabilities in Kong Lon Village Tract and 43 in Nan Haung village tract that 2 other CBRs, physiotherapist and me are giving support for Home Based Care. We provide food & hygiene materials provision monthly, regular medical and dental check-ups, support for education and income generating activities for families of children with special needs.
It is my passion to help those children with special needs whom are the most disadvantaged and neediest in the community. I love my children and I feel happy working with them. I feel much satisfaction when I could see their little improvements. I couldn’t imagine how their lives would be without my support. I could not stop working with them as I don’t know if someone will love and take care of my children as much as I could. Thinking about this, I thank New Humanity for this opportunity and I will continue working with them for the sake of those children in needs.