Rising Flame joined Project Samarthya created by Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences and UNFPA Odisha. Our mandate was to understand the needs and requirements of adolescents with disabilities and review the teaching and learning tools developed as part of UNFPA Supported LSE Project. Project Samarthya is a project working across 167 special schools in Odisha reaching 8700 children and young persons with disabilities. Project Samarthya teaches life skills including sexual and reproductive health that is age appropriate and context specific to disabled children and youth. Rising flame brought its expertise in understanding the needs and contexts of the children and youth in special schools in Odisha.
We conducted a needs assessment of the children and youth with disabilities across three disability groups of blind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, and those with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. Our needs assessment spoke to adolescents with these disabilities, teachers of the students with disabilities and parents of the adolescents with disabilities. Our needs assessment also supported the review of the materials created. We played a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the needs of the children and youth and the visioning and execution of Project Samarthya and resources proposed to be used. We worked on the structure, design and content of the teacher and parent facilitation guide and training material. We provided expert recommendations on the way forward to provide support in sharpening the training material for greater effectiveness and improve pedagogical tools and processes to enhance absorption of the information for these 8700 children and adolescents.