I would like to share my experience from a project I worked on in the last two years in India. It did not start as a green care project (in fact I didn’t know about green care at the beginning) but it naturally evolved in it, though the facility we developed is not a typical green care farm as there are in Europe. The main topic of the project was promoting conservation through livelihood improvement in the Kodagu district in Western Ghats in India. One of our partners was Swastha – special school for disabled children which provides education and vocational training to children with all sorts of disabilities and which is pretty much the only such school in the district.
During the project we achieved a deep insight into the situation of people with disabilities (PWD’s) which involves some of the issues that have been mentioned here. As George Kent mentioned, in a well-functioning community there is mutual care that exists naturally. We could observe this in Kodagu where the traditional family ties are very strong and for example old people are treated with a great respect and – care. However, due to the religious beliefs, people with any kind of disability are ostracized and their involvement in the community is minimal or none. In addition to the religious aspect, another reason why they are considered as a curse or a burden to their families is because they are not financially productive. As Dr Turmusani mentioned, financial inclusion is extremely important. It is one of the basic ways to gain respect and become part of the community. Though, for people who cannot receive any education or training because of lack of facilities and will of the society to provide those, it is virtually inaccessible.
I attach a paper about the part of our project in which we established a butterfly garden, of about 4 acres, that will be used for therapeutic and training reasons by the disabled students who will receive practical gardening training to be able to be hired outside the school to earn their living. The garden will also be used as an environmental education centre and thus visited by school children and public who will have a chance to see the work of the disabled and this will hopefully positively influence their way of seeing the PWD’s.
As I mentioned at the beginning, our garden is not a green care farm as they are in Europe. We shared the same scope but adjusted the form to the local conditions.
Similar experiences from developing countries: