Training to build adapted furniture for children with several disabilities

To train SERC’s staff to enhance their capacity to make adapted and adaptive furniture for their students.

SERC has two staff members in the school who are currently producing adapted furniture for the children: the technical support staff and the general manager of the school.

They have both attended 2 training courses in carpentry to develop furniture for the children:

- The first one was a course of 2 months in basic carpentry.

- The second one was a specific carpentry training to build adapted furniture in wood, organised by the “Foundation flying furniture makers” from Netherlands.

Currently these two staffs are producing furniture with wood but realized that the use of new material will make the furniture easier to use, will be more adapted for the children and adaptive according to the use and/or as the children grow up.

In Nepal there are no companies providing adapted furniture for the persons with disability.

Therefore, the two staffs are trying their best to make it. By adapted, SERC means furniture which is tailored for the exact needs of a disabled child, e.g. chairs which maintain the child upright or which are shaped according to a child’s deformity…

The furniture produced nowadays by SERC does not respond to the exact particular needs of each child. These two staffs are expecting the Planète Urgence trainer(s) to support them to improve their technique to produce this adapted and adaptive furniture with wood and help them to develop and improve the furniture with new material available locally as plastic, aluminium, and so on.

The aim of this training is to make the utilization of the furniture easier and as much as possible adapted to each child.

They also expect the trainer to help them to adapt the regular furniture that the families have in their homes to make the children’s life at home easier, as well as for their family.

They provide this kind of support for people outside the centre as well, if they request it. If the volunteer(s) have ideas about improvements which might help make the environment of the school more disabled-friendly, it will also be welcomed.
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The volunteer(s) will first have to observe the current adapted furniture made in the centre and will then have to identified, with the help of SERC’s staffs, the material available locally and the techniques to shape/mold these materials.

The volunteer(s) will afterwards develop with the staff new elements to incorporate in the current furniture and/or propose new designs and techniques to develop new ones.

Several missions may be required. After the missions SERC is expecting the following results:

For the participants
One of the best attribute of the staff currently employed in SERC is they are all very much involved in their work and willing to improve their skills and effectiveness of the support they provide to the children.

The 2 staffs involved in this training will get more knowledge to make adapted and adaptive furniture and in general odd jobs..

The training will help them produce adapted and adaptive furniture. This intervention will also help them to develop the curriculum of the future carpentry/ furniture making vocational training programme.

If possible, they will also learn how to adapt regular furniture that the children’s families use at home to improve the children’s life outside of school as well.

For the organization The children will study in better conditions. The “handling” of the children will be easier for the staff of SERC. One of the vocational training programmes will be reinforcing to start a new department in the school.

SERC does not have for the moment separate staff members for vocational training. They want to train themselves to be able to organise vocational training and hopefully start a new department in the school to develop several vocational trainings.
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SERC is looking for trainer(s) who can share their techniques in designing adapted and adaptive furniture according to needs of person with disability, and advise them on the use of new material that might be more adapted than wood and will make the utilization easier (see pictures).

The volunteer(s) might have a carpentry background and strong experience to make furniture, or strong skills in odd jobs. Ideally the volunteer(s) has experience to make adapted furniture.

The mission can happen anytime expect during national holidays: Dashain and Tihar (weeks 40 and 43). Daily transportation will be done by taxi (10 to 15 minutes). The volunteer(s) will work from 10am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. He/she can work on Sunday as well, which is a working day in Nepal. Volunteer(s) can have lunches in the centre. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken outside in restaurants.
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Staff members of the school
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The mission will be organized for two staff members of the school: the technical support staff and the general manager of the school, who have college degrees.

The participants already received two trainings in carpentry:

- 2 months in basic carpentry.

- A specific carpentry training to build adapted furniture in wood organised by the “Foundation flying furniture makers” from Netherlands.
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Congé Solidaire;Mission Solidaire
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SERC (Special Education and Rehabilitation Centre) is a NGO created in September 2009 by Kalpana Basnet. She is a Paediatric Physiotherapist who works with children with various disorders and helps them overcome their physical disabilities. Initially, Kalpana worked in Handicap International for 5 years as a physiotherapist. Handicap International helps people with disabilities with many devices and support. However, while working on their programmes, she realised that there were very few facilities that accepted children with disabilities. Especially, schools refused to enrol them as they do not have special education in their curriculum. Therefore, Kalpana saw that despite all the support given to them, many children with disabilities were wasting their lives due to this lack of educational facilities, adapted to them. So she decided to start a special school for children with several disabilities. SERC school primarily is a special school providing education and rehabilitation services to children with mild to severe disabilities. Geographically, they operate in Kathmandu, but the children come from many parts of Nepal. In the recent census it was shown that approximately 3% of the population of Nepal are living with disability and require special education. The main issue is that ‘special education’ in Nepal is a very recent concept. People do not always realize that there are institutions or specialized service providers, who can help these children live a better life in the future. Manpower is one of the most difficult issues for SERC to resolve. There are not enough specialized people in Nepal who work with disabled children. Socially, there is still religious and personal stigma associated with disability. .SERC was created to reply to the need in providing quality education and rehabilitation services to children in one institution. Most of the time the school does not provide the rehabilitative services and the rehabilitation centres do not provide educational services. Because of this, many children were facing difficulties to attend both the institutions. SERC School provides both of these services under one roof. SERC does not necessarily implement individual projects. It is primarily a service provider. In March 2014, there is around 81 children coming to the school regularly. The number of children keeps changing by about 10% all the time since a lot of these children go to hospitals in Nepal or abroad for considerable period of time. SERC also has admissions all year round so the numbers of children also change month by month. SERC is also affiliated with many organizations to provide rehabilitative services to the children with mild to severe disabilities. Among thos 81 children, 22 come during day time in the centre and go back home or in an orphanage at the end of the day. SERC has a school van for the transportation of the children coming from orphanages. SERC also had a hostel. 14 of the 81 children going to SERC school were staying in a hostel, as they don’t have family in the valley and their home is too far. However, the hostel is in the process of shutting down because its landlord is selling the building and gave the children a notice to vacate the premises. 10 children have gone to their homes outside the valley already and the 4 children left remain with SERC for the moment. SERC has made a temporary arrangement for them to stay in SERC’s staff's homes as paying guests, but the children will have to go back to their homes eventually until new arrangements can be made. The hostel will be closed until SERC constructs its own building. For this purpose, SERC has acquired in February 2014 a piece of land about 1100 Sqm very close to Kathmandu Durbar Square for the construction of the hostel, and a new school complex. The construction will start from 15th April 2014. The current activities of the organization are: a. Education a. Mainstream education b. Special education c. Vocational education Vocational education in SERC is mostly informal education for older students. There are classes of sewing/tailoring for older girls, some short courses on candle making (3 days), paper envelope and cards making (2 days), etc. However, SERC wants to establish a regular vocational program in the school to benefit to all the children. It will mainly include painting (starting from March 2014), plumbing, carpentry, cooking and sewing/tailoring. The staffs hope to be able to open a proper training centre in the coming months. d. Skills Training By skills training, it is meant that the children learn some very vital life skills. The skills range from eating, bathing, toileting, brushing, grooming, shopping to more complicated skills like arts and crafts, music, dance etc. e. Sports and games b. Rehabilitative services a. Physical Therapy b. Speech Therapy c. Multisensory therapy d. Occupational therapy e. Music and dance therapy Every child or youth follow these activities depending on their needs and their disability. Every beneficiary has a schedule which is decided individually every week or month, deciding on which class to follow. SERC has 7 different teaching rooms and one “Therapy room”. The older children follow vocational training courses if their disability allows them do so. The total number of children supported in March 2014 is: a. Current full time students: ~75 children b. Part time students: 6 children c. Total children enrolled so far: ~260 full time and part time students The children come and go in the different classes according to their weekly or monthly established schedule, so it is not possible to detail how many children are in each class. The children from the centre have: - mental retardation and delayed development - down's syndrome - cerebral Palsy - hearing impairment - vision impairment - speech impairment - autism - spinal Bifida - learning disorders Many of them have two or more of the above disabilities. The current children are spread between 7 categories: - Group A: severe disorders. Age 8 years to 21 years. 9 children with Autism, Cerebral palsy or severe mental retardation. - Group C1: moderate to severe disorders. Age: 8-16 years. 12 children. Mostly cerebral Palsy. - Group C2: mild to moderate disorders. Age 12-14. 8 children. Mostly autistic children. - Group C3: mild to moderate disorders. Age: 3-8 years. 12 children. Mostly delayed development and mental retardation. - Group D1: mild to moderate disorders. Age 12-16 years. 8 children Mostly delayed development and higher functioning mental retardation. - Group D2: mild disorders. Age 7-12 years. 14 children. Delayed development, hearing/vision/speech disorders. - Group D3: borderline disorders. Age 12-16 years. 12 children. Hearing/vision/speech disorders, learning disorders, spinal bifida, congenital deformities. .As each class has its own expertise, the 6 children attending school part time are not assigned to any classes in particular and go to different classes for different reasons. On top of that some are too young to attend class so they just come for the rehabilitation. SERC School is primarily funded by the fees paid for the services provided by the school. All funds provided to the school are in the form of scholarships for children or for implementation of particular activities for the children. Almost half of the children receive financial support for their school fees and necessary material … The financial support is provided by various organisations and individuals. These include: Liliane Fonds and De Vliegende Meubelmakers (Netherlands), Queen’s University (Canada), Nepal Children’s Trust (United Kingdom), ASHA Foundation (Australia), EcoHimal (Nepal/Germany) and Disabled Newlife Center (Nepal). There has been very low government support. The staffs have triedto obtain some government grants but it has not been successful so far.. SERC has 24 employees and 20 volunteers: 1 Managing Director, 1 General Manager, 1 SEN (Special Education Needs) Coordinator, 1 Accountant, 1 Physiotherapist, 1 PT Assistant, 1 Speech Assistant, 1 Multisensory Assistant, 7 Teachers, 5 Teaching Assistants, 3 Drivers, 1 Cook. They are all Nepalese.
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The volunteer(s) will be welcome by a staff member in a private car.
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Kathmandu [Tribhuvan]
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Volunteer(s) will stay at a guesthouse in an individual room with private bathroom, electricity and free wifi. The guesthouse will be located in the touristic area of Kathmandu, Thamel.
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Volunteer(s) will work in the centre in Baluwatar, in the carpentry workshop. SERC has a carpentry workshop with all the carpentry tools needed. If some materials are missing its purchase will be planned in the preparation of the mission. SERC now has an electricity back-up system so there is not problem of load shedding to use the electric tools. They also have tools with battery. They have internet and computers in the office room. Volunteer(s) can use any of the material available in the centre.
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