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December 4, 2006

NGOs urged to reach out to rural areas

From: Hindu - Chennai,India - Dec 4, 2006

Tamil Nadu - Chennai

Special Correspondent

80 per cent of the disabled live in villages, says Poongothai

* Government will give them help if they help out rural people
* Few voluntary organisations evince interest in caring for those with multiple disability
* Government will introduce two degree courses for the deaf in the next academic year

CHENNAI: Minister for Social Welfare Poongothai on Sunday appealed to non-governmental organisations working for the welfare of physically and mentally challenged to reach out to rural areas, where such persons lived in large numbers.

Addressing a function got up to mark the "International Day of the Disabled" here, she said though 80 per cent of the disabled lived in villages, 75 per cent of the NGOs functioned in urban areas. If these NGOs were willing to go out to villages, the Government would give them all help.

Ms. Poongothai said though many NGOs sought the Government's permission to start institutions for the deaf and the visually impaired, few voluntary outfits evinced interest in caring for those with multiple disability and spastic children.

She asked the managements of the rehabilitation homes run by NGOs to admit beneficiaries after ascertaining that they did not suffer from any serious ailment such as cardiac problems.

The Government would introduce degree courses — Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Computer Science — for the deaf in the next academic year, she said.

The Government was considering distribution of motorised tricycles to the physically challenged. The monthly assistance for the disabled had been enhanced to Rs.500 from Rs.300; the number of beneficiaries had gone up to 10,000 from 8,600, she said. Stressing the need for tackling disability as a social problem, she said the rate of literacy and employment among the physically and mentally challenged was lower than the State average.

N.S.Palaniappan, Secretary, Social Welfare and Noon Meal, said that out of 16 lakh disabled persons in the State, identity cards had been issued to nine lakh. The cards were being issued to the other seven lakh.

Commissioner for the Disabled V.K. Jeyakodi said rehabilitation assistance and appliances worth Rs.7.75 lakh were distributed at the function. Ms. Poongothai distributed prizes for the disabled children who participated in the cultural programmes conducted as part of the International Day.

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