Resettlement

Settling in to the community through productive work.

  Habilitation

Involving person in learning new skills and techniques.

  Repatriation

Settling in to the community through productive work.

The Journey from Nowhere Person to now being part of the Mainstream Life

Since the inception of Iswar Sankalpa, working with an urban homeless population with psychosocial disability has furthered the organisation’s realisation of the demands of this sector of work, as well the variety of efforts which are critically required on behalf of the organisation. One significant goal of Iswar Sankalpa’s intervention in the lives of these ‘nowhere’ people is the eventual re-integration of the person back into the community – and if there is one – the family.

The philosophy behind the restoration process is to facilitate and foster independent community living of our clients, so that they may live a productive, dignified life in society, and are able to become contributing members of the society.

While working towards the restoration of the clients, the organisation came to comprehend that this part of our work and services will have to be approached in multiple manners and envisage a project model which would be able to cater to the different situations which arise as part of the restoration process.

For example, often families cannot be located – in such a case, alternative ways of re-integration into the community needs to be thought of. Sometimes, families or clients do not want to go back to their homes, even when located but rather want to continue living in the community. In such cases also, alternative ways need to be thought through.

Given the circumstances and including Iswar Sankalpa’s experiences through the years, the Restoration process is divided into a three-way approach, each an inalienable part of the entire process –

  • Habilitation activities
  • Repatriation back home
  • Resettlement into the community

Given below is a flow chart which explains how these approaches work in collaboration with each other

 

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Outcomes
Through our restoration efforts, we have reached out to about 192 persons with psychosocial disabilities since 2007. Given below are the details of the same, from the period June 2007 till August 2014–

Year

Numbers

2007

3

2008

13

2009

12

2010

33

2011

29

2012

44

2013

58

2014

10

Total

202

This table provides a detail on the current status of these 202 individuals –

Status

Numbers

Living with siblings/children/parents/spouses

128

Living alone

4

Living in other NGOs/homes

10

Living in employer’s home

1

Re-admitted to shelter home

6

Re-admitted to outreach

1

Information not known

24

Missing from family

21

Expired

7

Total

202

Challenges
Restoration is a complex process involving a variety of factors which often lead to multiple challenges as elucidated below

1. Working on a trans-national scale:

Having encountered clients from the different states of India, the process of repatriation is a long and lengthy one. Difficulties range from communication issues to locating small obscure unheard of places, make the challenge of repatriation even greater.

2. Ensuring greater therapeutic compliance:

A great challenge which needs to be further looked into is clients’ continuation of treatment and medication post-repatriation, which can often be interfered with due to lack of access and availability of health services and/or the financial burdens of it. This may lead to some clients going missing from homes again post repatriation.

3. Combating Rejection and ensuring Re-acceptance of client back into family/community:

Often the stigma of mental illness follows an individual back home or to their work place; this is especially worse in the case of women. The need for continued campaigning and awareness initiatives regarding mental health and illness, in both local communities as well as on a larger national wide scope, is tantamount to tackling this challenge. This can be aided by ensuring that the clients do not become a liability and are self-supporting members of the family and community through appropriate trainings.

4. Explore more tailored vocational and occupational skills trainings, so as to provide greater supportive and employment opportunities for the clients’ eventual resettlement/repatriation and reintegration.

5. Arrange for an appropriate long stay home accommodation for those clients who in the long run will not/cannot be restored back to their homes and families.

6. Sometimes, the family members move base or change numbers making it almost impossible for the team to stay in regular touch to ensure follow-up of the repatriated client

7. In some cases, the community caregivers often are willing to help provide some work engagement for the client but are often unwilling to pay or pay very little money, instead providing free clothes, food and shelter. Although this is important for the client, the monetary income helps to strengthen their resolve to re-integrate successfully and to think of independent lives for themselves. In the absence of monetary incomes, the clients have a danger of being completely dependent on that community caregiver and not being able to explore other options. This needs to be checked by the team.

8. Working towards re-integrating the client in mainstream society through a variety of habilitation activities and through repatriation and resettlement involves coordination with multiple government and local bodies and consistent and sustainable awareness strategies on mental health and illness. Often, due to gaps in one or the other place in this extensive network, the client is often at a receiving end – for example, the confusion regarding which department the client needs to approach to get a disability card and its entitlements – the disability department or the social welfare department given that they are homeless.

It is a continuous endeavour of the part of Iswar Sankalpa to find solutions to these challenges and work in partnership with other government and local bodies so as to provide the most appropriate services to the clients we serve as part of the Restoration process.