The Militha (“inclusion”) programme was initiated in 2004 with the goal of ensuring that persons with disabilities are included and integrated as valuable members of their families and of society, and gain respect as equal citizens while living with dignity, self respect, and fulfillment. The overarching strategy is the establishment of and support to a sustainable Federation of Cross Disability Groups (CDGs or sanghas), comprising of persons with disabilities and their caretakers, to undertake thrift and credit activities (to advance their financial status), and for advocacy and lobbying for their rights and entitlements. The Militha programme supports the CDGs in undertaking discussions, identifying solutions and resources and making them available to the community, and providing training and capacity building to effect a change in their lives.  Children with disabilities are a key stakeholder group – the programme provides home-based therapy and rehabilitation support to around 230 children.

Activities:

    • Support to the Prathibha Cooperative in undertaking monthly member savings, provision of livelihood loans, and conducting Sangha meetings, leaders’ meetings, Branch Directors’ meetings and Cooperative Directors’ meetings.
    • Conducting training and capacity building sessions for Cooperative members, Leaders, Directors.
    • Facilitating easy and timely access to entitlements – Disability Certificate, travel passes, pensions, appliances and equipment, housing etc.
    • Home-based therapy and rehabilitation for children with disability; additional support in home adaptation, access to appliances and medicine, conducting camps for children with disabilities and training for parents/caretakers.
    • Organizing disability assessment camps and referrals with hospitals for surgery and treatment.
    • Undertaking skill development and livelihood enhance activities. Militha Jeevanopadhula Sangam (MJS), the soap making unit of persons with disabilities behind the brand ‘Timbaktu Handcrafted Soap’ is an important outcome of this activity.
    • Community engagement and sensitization on disability rights.

History:

The Collective considered taking up the cause of the disabled in its working area based on the request of some of its stakeholders in 2001. To start with, the Collective’s staff working on other projects undertook a survey on disability across 30 villages. Around 400 persons with disabilities were identified, and this was the impetus to start a specific programme on disability. By 2013, the Collective consolidated the programme to cover all persons with disabilities in its working area.

Updated statistics as on November 2018:

Membership: 1,567 individuals across 141 CDGs in 109 villages.

Consolidated capital base: Rs. 1,05,69,540/-.

Total loans with members: Rs. 86,98,983/-.

Loan repayment rate: 92%, no defaulters.