FST has forayed into the disability sector last year. FST felt that there was a need to work on the issue.In an effort to include marginalized groups on issues that align with our thematic areas, but not hitherto covered by others in the field, and in response to the increasing incidence of violence against women with disabilities, we chose to undertake a study on youth with disabilities in Assam, with active support and help from National Foundation of India.
Taking the importance of the issue as a matter of consideration FST started the process towards addressing the concern and took the first step to facilitate a discourse on the issue of SHSR of youth with disability with support from National Foundation for India (NFI). In the year 2015-16, FST carried out a situational analysis entitled “Understanding Sexual Health and Rights of Youth with Disabilities in Assam”. Besides this, as part of the project, FST worked closely with organizations which are providing care and service towards youth with disabilities, where FST facilitated trainings with the NGO workers, Special Educator, SSA Teachers and build their capacities and understanding on SHSR of youth with disabilities. FST worked with four Community Based Organizations (CBOs) namely Shishu Sarothi (Guwahati), Prerona Pratibandhi Shishu Bikash Kendra (Jorhat), Sanjivani Trust (Tezpur) and Mrinaljyoti Rehabilitation Centre (Duliajan).
FST has recently organized a dissemination and sharing meeting on ‘Understanding Sexuality, Sexual Health and Rights amongst youth with disabilities in Assam’. This meeting focused on the following aspects:
• Disseminate the project learning and also bring together different civil society organizations, academician, doctor, lawyer, media persons, policy maker, parents, and students for a dialogue process and taking it forward.
• While in implementation phase FST found that there is neither any platform nor resources for parents, teachers and care givers to deal with concerns and issues related to SHSR of Youth with Disabilities in Assam, and much of this could be attributed to the prevailing stigma, myth, lack of resources and skills. Keeping this in mind, FST has developed a pictorial booklet on Sexual Health and Rights of Youth with Disabilities entitled- “Growing up with Disabilities”: A Journey of a girl with intellectual disability from adolescence to adulthood”. The meeting is also aimed at presenting this pictorial book to the larger society.The meeting which was followed by a series of discussions with expert in allied fields of Social Work, Academics, Media etc. A pictorial handbook titled Growing up with difficulties was released in the event.