Vibha Krishnamurthy is creating an integrated family-centered support system for children with developmental disabilities in India. Vibha’s organisation, Ummeed is changing the way families and communities understand and care for children with developmental disabilities.
Vibha is building a comprehensive model that empowers families to care for their children with fewer resources, and a diminished reliance on expensive doctors and therapists. Ummeed is a first-of-its kind center where early and accurate diagnosis of developmental disabilities is followed by in-house professional medical and therapeutic care. Since 2001, Ummeed has been involved in developing, using and documenting best practices to care for children with disabilities and their families, including those who live in environments that lack resources. These practices are constantly embedded into their training curricula aimed at parents, community workers and a wide range of professionals. Ummeed’s flagship program, the Child Development Aide imparts skills to community workers that help them promote good child development practices, identify children with disabilities and teach their families simple interventions. The training programs alone reach out to over 30,000 children, indirectly each year. While, Umeed continues to provide clinical services to almost 1200 children with developmental disabilities every year, it also builds skills of trainers in other CSOs and the government to create access to medical and therapeutic services. It’s goal is to train 100 partner organizations and work towards training trainers from at least 5 of these in the near future.
Ummeed professionals engage in advocacy nationally and internationally, to implement best practices at various levels of the society. While, they build awareness in communities, they also sensitize policy makers to the importance of early childhood development and the needs of children with disability. Presently, Ummeed is part of a four-country research project, funded by the National Institute of Health, USA to standardize a tool for monitoring child development for children upto the age of 3 years. This tool will be ready for use in India and other low and middle income countries in 2014. Ummeed plans to use this standardized tool, “The International Guide for Monitoring Child Development” (IGMCD), for a nation-wide monitoring of child development for children under 3 years in India. This monitoring will reveal the real situation that exists in India and help both CSOs and the government to respond better.
Vibha’s involvement at the international level, where she is part of 3 different WHO groups that influence policy for Children with disabilities and Early Childhood Development has strengthened interventions on the ground.
Vibha intends to continue the development and documentation of best practices for children with disability and their families in resource-poor environments. She also continues to build awareness and influence policy in the area of early childhood development and disability.
Note: This was updated in December, 2013. Read on for the ELECTION profile