As the name suggests, community integration refers to welcoming people with disabilities into the larger community. It enables persons with disabilities to fully participate in life at the same level as nondisabled individuals. This participation can take place in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, large gatherings, community centers, etc. it is vitally important to the overall health and wellbeing of a community.
In many cases, persons with disabilities are isolated and kept away from their nondisabled peers.
But successful community integration gives people with disabilities a strong community presence without having to label them in terms of their disability.
Community integration includes helping people with disabilities enjoy full lives within their communities. In order to maintain a long term and successful community integration, it is essential to maintain citizenship and civic engagement, education, employment, healthcare, housing, peer support, recreation and leisure activities, spirituality and religion, important social roles (marriage, parenting, etc.). It is important that community integration should take place across an individual’s lifespan and be expanded to their stage of life and interests, regardless of age. And people with disabilities should fully understand the available support and services available to them in order to encourage them to participate in community integration activities.
Unfortunately there are some factors that are responsible but are not limited to allowing persons to take part in community integration activities like severity of their disability or impairment, accessibility (or lack of knowledge about their surroundings, availability of assistive technologies and devices, underlying cultural and political influences or expectations in their area, degree of support from their family and overall community. If these issues can be addressed, community integration can become one of the major activities for persons with disabilities.
Disability Entrepreneurship And Leadership (DEAL) Foundation works across the districts of Gadag and Bengaluru to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities. We firmly believe in community integration and hence promote awareness on the importance of community integration for persons with disabilities.
In order to promote awareness, we conduct trainings and seminars which enable both the disabled and nondisabled people understand it’s importance and participate in community integration activities or initiate one at their place of residence.
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To know more about the work we do, please log on to www.deal-foundation.com.