The German chemical company BASF, in association with UN-Habitat and implementation partner Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) launched the Disability Resource Centre at Saraswathi Nagar (Manakkuppam Village) in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu last week
L to R: Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman, BASF Companies in India & Head South Asia, Dr. Hartmut Under, Managing Director, BASF Social Foundation and Mr. P.M.John, Chairman, Regional Council, LCD (South Asia) at the inaugural ceremony of the Disability Resource Centre at Saraswathi Nagar (Manakkuppam Village) in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. The initiative is an extension of the ongoing disability project started by BASF, UN-HABITAT and LCD to support people with disabilities and aims to benefit over 2000 people in and around Cuddalore. © BASF
The event marked the high point of joint project initiative that aimed at supporting over 2000 people with disabilities residing in Cuddalore and neighbouring districts in all possible ways to help them lead a better life.
In December 2004, Tsunami waves caused extensive damage to the life and property of the people in the southern and eastern coastal areas of India, including Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. BASF Social Foundation (BSF) and UN-Habitat joined hands to support post-tsunami reconstruction works in the affected areas of Cuddalore District. As part of this initiative, more than 11,500 people from 16 villages have benefitted from improved water supply and sanitation facilities and 1,337 people with disabilities from 106 villages have been identified and supported with disable-friendly facilities. In this process, a Disability Resource Centre (DRC) equipped with orthopaedic, speech therapy and physiotherapy facilities for the disabled persons has been established. The Centre will provide one stop solution for persons with disability and will provide physical and vocational rehabilitation services including the provision of prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, audio-visual aids, physiotherapy and psycho social care to the people with disabilities; and impart training to improve their livelihood opportunities. It will also promote community based rehabilitation services through community workers trained by the DRC; inclusive education by working with local schools, education ministries, teachers, students, parents and the community to improve the attendance of children with disabilities in schools.
Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman, BASF Companies in India & Head South Asia inaugurated the facility in presence of Mr. Rajendra Ratnoo, IAS and District Collector of Cuddalore District, Dr Hartmut Unger, Head-BASF Social Foundation, Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar, Regional Technical Advisor (South Asia), UN-HABITAT and Mr. P.M. John, Chairman, Regional Council, LCD (South Asia) and other dignitaries. The function witnessed the presence of over 150 beneficiaries, local panchayat, officials of the Education, Social & Welfare Department from the district and members of the community.
Mr. Chandran in his inaugural speech said "While BASF frequently supports communities affected by natural disasters, this project in particular aimed to provide relief and rehabilitation support to the inhabitants of the disaster affected regions where aid did not reach. The project was designed to address the pressing needs of local communities, especially the disabled, the most vulnerable section of society. I am happy that DRC will be able to fulfill the need of such section of the society on a sustained basis".
Mr. Ratnoo expressed his happiness over the fulfillment of the need of the people. He assured that he will do his best in his capacity as the District Collector to provide support for the sustenance of the DRC as well as any initiative that would be launched by the DRC for the benefit of the people of the region.
Dr Unger, while expressing his satisfaction over the establishment of DRC, said "I am happy to see that the fund contributed by thousands of employees of BASF have been utilised for the noble cause of benefitting the people with disabilities in the region."
Expressing his contentment over achieving the milestone, Mr. Bhushan Tuladhar, said, "We are proud to see the results of this unique partnership between BASF, a local non-government organization, government bodies and nearby communities, and we look forward to seeing a lively center that engages proactively with people with disabilities as well as the entire community."