Simon of Cyrene has been CBM Philippines' partner since 1983. The organisation aims to empower persons with disabilities for them to improve their quality of life and help them become proactive members of society.
Simon of Cyrene Community Rehabilitation and Development Foundation, Inc (SCCRDFI) is one of CBM Philippines’ partners in its Community-based Inclusive Development (CBID) Programme. Based in Daraga, Albay (459 km south of Manila), the organisation aims to empower persons with disabilities to be active members of society through a Community-based Inclusive Development Programme in partnership with various stakeholders.
From a children’s home to a foundation
The organisation started in 1982 as a children’s home for the rehabilitation of children with orthopedic impairments. The pastoral council of the Catholic Church of Daraga led the initiative in coordination with Lingap Pangkabataan, Inc. (LPI) under the fostership program of Kindernothilfe (KNH) Duisburg, Germany. It operated as a residential home before embracing the family-based approach in order to involve the family in the rehabilitation program.
In 1983, CBM became a project partner and has since then provided steady support. To serve more persons with disabilities, the foundation adopted the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program (CBRP) in 1987. CBM then seconded Karen Heinicke-Motsch to support this move, which paved the way in establishing the CBRP.
The programme reached out to persons with disabilities, their families, and communities. The organisation provided rehabilitation, disability prevention campaign, health and nutrition, formal and non-formal education, and capital and technical assistance in livelihood projects. With the provision of comprehensive services, SIMON OF CYRENE CHILDREN’S REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION, INC. (SCCRDFI) grew from a children’s home to a full-fledged foundation in 1990.
Towards an inclusive society
Today, Simon of Cyrene is working hard to be a dynamic and resource institution working with persons with disabilities toward a compassionate, just, and inclusive society. The CBR Programme has given a great impact to the lives of persons with disabilities, their families, and communities. Through its comprehensive programmes, persons with disabilities developed self-confidence, gained higher self-esteem, and acquired skills. The organisation has helped persons with disabilities to become core leaders in the community and to network with local government units and agencies as well.
Meanwhile, families of persons with disabilities are also involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of programmes. Through their participation in meetings, their facilitation skills are also enhanced along the way. Parents are also given educational assistance for children and support for livelihood activities.
The organisation also works closely with the local government units to raise awareness in the implementation of CBR in 33 municipalities in the area. The collaboration has resulted to the local government unit’s provision of annual budget allocation, linkage with other agencies, expansion of services for persons with disabilities, support for the People’s Organisation’s activities, and enhancement of skills of CBR implementers.
Inspired to keep going
Simon of Cyrene’s future direction heads toward advocacy, capacity building of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), and partnership development. The organisation is inspired to keep moving forward and create changes in the lives of persons with disabilities. What motivates them is their strong partnership with local government units and other line agencies, a desire to empower DPOs (CBR Volunteers, parents, and persons with disabilities), and their committed board of trustees, management and staff. Simon of Cyrene is inspired by the unwavering commitment of their funding partners, the changes in attitudes of the people in the community, and a positive response among the legislators in its advocacy towards an accessible environment.