Vocational Rehabilitation of Youngsters with Intellectual Deficiency for Biological Agriculture
Vocational Rehabilitation of Youngsters with Intellectual Deficiency for Biological Agriculture
Project Summary
The overall objective of the project is to provide vocational rehabilitation services to a group of young women and men with moderate to severe intellectual disability through biological agriculture. Training in a secure environment and a real work situation will surely help the young adults with intellectual disability to overcome many of the specific difficulties caused by their impairment and to promote their professional and social integration.

More people are becoming aware of the benefits of biological agricultural products in Mauritius. During these past years, APEIM with the help of some partners such as SGP and FORENA has been able to initiate biological agriculture activities on two sites in Mauritius; Flacq and Trianon. These activities led APEIM to a certification from Eco-Cert and have been of critical importance in the rehabilitation process APEIM is carrying out towards the young women and men with intellectual deficiency and their families.

Through this project, APEIM intends to consolidate and extend its activities in biological agriculture. Some plots of land need still to be developed in Flacq and Trianon and furthermore we intend to set up a new workshop for vocational rehabilitation in Curepipe.
In Trianon, we still have a plot of land of 300 square meters to be developed; in Flacq 250 square meters and in Curepipe 300 square meters. We also intend to produce biological seeds for vegetables. People are asking for more biological seeds in Mauritius.

Biological agriculture with all its inherent activities is an appropriate rehabilitation and training tool for many young people with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency. The specific difficulties caused by intellectual deficiency on young can be summarized as follows:-
• Reduced capacity for independent living and self care
• Difficulties for learning skills and self direction acquisition
• Limited skills in receptive and expressive language.

The proposed activities in the production of biological vegetables, fruits and biological seeds will help maintain and reinforce the acquired skills of these persons and will surely prevent as far as possible these young people from developing secondary impairments. The implementation of this project will also help to optimize the mindset of many regarding biological vegetables and fruits people in Mauritius. We intend also through this project to set up an organic seed bank in the workshops with support from FORENA and under the aegis of the National Parks and Conservation Service. Support from AREU will also be sought.

Actually in Trianon, 20 young women and men are receiving rehabilitation and training services in biological agriculture; 15 of them in Flacq and we estimate to accommodate 15 of them in Curepipe.

1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project
APEIM as a Non Governmental Organization is an association of parents with children and young adults bearing an intellectual deficiency. The NGO association was established and registered in 1970. Since then, APEIM has always worked towards the well being people suffering from moderate to severe intellectual deficiency and their family members.

We believe that young people suffering from intellectual disability can be in a position to overcome many of the difficulties caused by their specific impairment if they receive the proper training and care. Without proper training and care, the difficulties of these disabled young women and men will worsen and they will develop secondary impairments. This will impact negatively on their future development and evolution.

In 1977, APEIM has set up a vocational training and rehabilitation program in a real work situation for young adults with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency. During these past years, APEIM has shown that with the appropriate care and training, young intellectually disabled adults can master the necessary skills which will help them to integrate the society. They can also after training obtain and secure a job in the community and work along with co-workers who are not disabled.

The main activities of the workshops of APEIM are; biological production of vegetables and fruits; food preparation; handicraft; sewing and laundry. Each activity is under the supervision and run by one or two trained teacher-trainers.

Because of the various and specific difficulties young women and men with intellectual deficiency have to bear, their vocational training and rehabilitation process has to be carried out in a real work situation. In a real work situation, there exists high expectations from trainees regarding quality and quantity of work to be produced, and there also exists high expectations from trainees regarding work habits. These habits are namely; attitude towards work; attitude towards co-workers; criticism and attitude towards supervision. Staff members of APEIM always make sure that these expectations exist and are respected in the workshops because they are essential in the skills acquisition process. Assessment and evaluation of the disabled adults is carried out regularly in order to monitor the training and rehabilitation process.

As mentioned earlier, APEIM has already with the help of GEF SGP (MAR SGP/OP4/RAF/07/04) and FORENA started biological cultivation of vegetables and fruits in two workshops in Trianon and Flacq. Many vegetables and fruits have been produced by our disabled beneficiaries. In 2011, APEIM was among the first NGOs to obtain recognition and certification from Eco-Cert. However APEIM is one of the few NGOs that are providing training and rehabilitation services to young women and men with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency. This leads to a situation where we are receiving more adults beneficiaries in our workshops. Actually, in Trianon and Flacq, we have some portions of land that have not been used yet.

With the help of GEF SGP, we want to consolidate and extend our biological agriculture workshops in Trianon and Flacq. We also intend to set up a new workshop in Curepipe where we wish to start biological agriculture and organic seed production as one of the main activities on the existing land of more than 300 square meters. This will consolidate the first GEF SGP investment in our project.

The implementation of the project will be during 2 years and it will be under the supervision on the workshop manager of APEIM and one assistant. The day to day activities of the biological agriculture workshops will be run by the teacher-trainers; 3 in Trianon; 2 in Flacq and 1 in Curepipe.

Organizational structure of APEIM
Through a general assembly, the parents elect 9 members to chair the association. The president delegates to the direction the running of all the services. APEIM includes the following services:-
• Administration and Direction
1 Director, 1 Head Secretary and 2 Secretaries, 1 Accountant and 1 Assistant. APEIM follow the rules of the registrar of Associations. The accounts are audited each year before the General Assembly.

• Medical and Paramedical Service
1 medical doctor; 1 speech therapist; 1 psychologist; 1 occupational therapist; 1 nurse officer and 1 physiotherapist. This part time team help to diagnose; evaluate; guide; heal and provide support to the beneficiaries and their parents.


• Early Intervention Unit
This team is composed of 5 specialized teachers. They care for 150 young children and their parents. The Early Intervention Unit also promotes the integration of young children with intellectual disability in regular kindergarten and primary schools. Today, there are some 100 children with intellectual disability in regular kindergartens and primary schools.

• Specialised Schools
9 schools for special education in different regions of Mauritius. They are run by 6 head teachers and 42 teachers. They take care of 323 children with intellectual disability by providing training in intellectual, creative and social skills.

• Home Visits
2 specialised staff members are assigned to the regular visit and the care of 115 multi handicapped and bed ridden.

• Adult Services
This is the Service concerned in this project. We have 4 workshops in Port-Louis; in Flacq; in Mahebourg; in Trianon and we are opening one in Curepipe. 17 staff members provide vocational rehabilitation services through training and work placement. Today, we have 110 women and men with intellectual disability in the workshops. The workshops produce decorative candles and mirrors; food stuffs; laundry work and biological agriculture products.
Team assigned to this service comprise 1 workshop manager; 1 assistant; 16 teacher-trainers; 1 psychologist (part time); 1 Speech therapist (part time); 1 occupational therapist (part time) and 1 medical doctor (part time).

1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results
The problem statement or challenge the project intends to address
We really want to achieve three finalities with this project.
• On one side, we want to increase biological crop production. This will be done through empowerment of a group of women and men with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency through the biological cultivation and the marketing of vegetables and fruits, thus promoting the professional and social integration of these persons.
• We also want to produce organic seeds and set up an organic seed bank in the workshops of APEIM.
• And finally, we want to sensitize people about the benefits of consuming and growing biological vegetables and fruits where the very nature of the different plants and the environment itself is being respected and honored

The primary objective of the project can therefore be stated as follows:-
Vocational training and rehabilitation for young women and men with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency through sustainable eco-friendly agriculture.

The specific objectives of the project are:-
• To produce vegetables and fruits on the premises of APEIM using biological techniques
• To produce organic seeds and to set up an organic seed bank
• To implement a vocational and rehabilitation program for intellectually disabled adults through biological agriculture
• To obtain and maintain the necessary biological certification

During these past years, APEIM has been able with the help of the GEF SGP and FORENA to demonstrate that we can produce good quality fruits and vegetables in Mauritius using the biological techniques. Though this production was quite on a small basis, people from APEIM have been invited to deliver talks and to share the experience with many other institutions. Vegetables and fruits grown biologically are far more of better quality than those conventionally grown. Through its program “Maurice Ile Durable”, the Government of Mauritius calls for more respect towards our biodiversity and environment. Biological agriculture is surely a very small contribution to this concept, but we believe that it is a good one.
More and more persons want to buy the agricultural products of the workshops of APEIM. These persons also understand that this production is also a rehabilitation tool to empower and to enhance the recognition of many young women and men with a moderate to severe intellectual disability. Young adults with moderate to severe intellectual disability bear different degrees of developmental delays thus limiting their learning process and their acquisition of skills such as adaptive behavior and self help skills. The young women and men with this disability who do not receive the proper training and care will develop secondary impairments and they will see their disability worsen.
Being active in a real work situation in biological agriculture is an excellent rehabilitation tool for many of these persons. This project will allow APEIM to extend its activities in biological agriculture; to utilize more land; to propose more biological products on the market. We also wish to become a provider of organic seeds for the whole island.

The specific results or outcomes:
In the next two coming years and through this project, APEIM will extend its portions of land it is actually using for biological agriculture. Currently, on a surface of 2 hectares in Trianon, 300 square meters are being used for biological agriculture. In Flacq, on a surface of 1.5 hectare, 1000 square meters are being used for biological agriculture. We will extend these areas by 80 square meters in Trianon and 80 square meters in Flacq. We will also set up a workshop in Curepipe where a portion of land of 70 to 80 square meters will be used to accommodate biological agriculture.

The land being used to cultivate biological fruits such as bananas; guavas; mandarins; mangoes and litchis will be increased by 50% and the land used to grow biological vegetables will be increased by 50%.

We will have set up an organic seed production facility which would be available to all those who are involved in organic production on the island. Necessary authorization will be sought for seeds conservation facilities to be made available through our partner FORENA at the seed bank of the National Parks and Conservation.

We also plan that within the next two coming years some 100 young women and men with moderate to severe intellectual deficiency will receive training and rehabilitation services in biological agriculture in our workshops.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Association de Parents d’Enfants Inadaptés de l’Ile Maurice
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Land Degradation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 122,192.95
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 69,501.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/YR3/STAR/BD/14/09
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
Growing fruits and vegetables using biological techniques is an integrated activity of the workshops of APEIM since 2009. As mentioned earlier APEIM is an association of parents and benevolent registered as a Non Governmental Organization since 1970. We actually have 900 members registered. All the members of the association and its partners are committed to the activities of APEIM. This project forms part of the whole rehabilitation program the association is carrying for the well being and the rehabilitation for persons with intellectual deficiency and their family members. The committee of APEIM and the different partners will follow closely the project implementation and its evaluation.
Gender Focus
Women and men are involved equally in the implementation of the project. Among the direct beneficiaries, we currently have some 15 women with intellectual deficiency and 20 men. The workshop of Flacq is under the direct supervision of two women as teacher-trainers. We also expect an increase in the number of our beneficiaries in the two coming years.
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Partnership

FORENA, National Parks & Conservation Services

Grantee Contact

Mr. Jean-Marie Hyacinthe
Phone: 696 4400/ 696 5365
Fax: 696 7166
Email: apeim@intnet.mu
 

Address

39, Route St Paul
Phoenix ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website