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PIA Press Release

"CHILD" turns 3 years old

by Rachelle Nessia

Dumaguete City (7 September) -- The Great Physician (GP) Rehabilitation Foundation will mark the third year anniversary of its CHILD project on September 10, 2007.

CHILD is an acronym for Caring Hands to Inspire and Link with Children with Disabilities, a children's habilitation project started in 2007 in the Metro Dumaguete areas.

From only 20 in 2004, CHILD now has 100 children-beneficiaries, out of which 32 are attending regular schools and eight in special education centers.

CHILD's beneficiaries include children with cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation and other conditions. It also operates a workshop where adjustable children's wheelchairs are manufactured.

"We are now using the term habilitation instead of rehabilitation to describe the work that we do with children," said Analou Suan, CHILD Project Director, adding that habilitate means to enable while rehabilitate means to restore.

In CHILD, children with various disabilities from marginalized families in Valencia, Bacong, Sibulan and Dumaguete are given free habilitation services in order to prepare them for eventual placement in regular schools. Transport costs of these children to and from the GP Rehab Center in Calindagan are also covered by the project.

Article 23 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children states that a disabled child has the right to education, training, health care services and rehabilitation services to enable him to achieve social integration and individual development, Suan explained. "It is just very unfortunate that the habilitation services like physical therapy, occupational therapy and even special education which CHILD is providing its children-beneficiaries with should not be viewed as the end in themselves."

Suan stressed that the ultimate goal is for the children to have access to learning and social opportunities that their non-disabled counterparts have. "Giving them these opportunities now at this point in their lives will prepare them for a life of independence in their adulthood," she said. (PIA) [top]

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