Founded in 1979 in response to the desperate need for services for spinal injured patients, the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) has developed into an internationally respected organisation. CRP focuses on a holistic approach to rehabilitation, recognising that all aspects of the rehabilitation process are vital for its success:
- Physical rehabilitation: through medical and therapeutic interventions and the provision of appropriate mobility aids
- Psychological rehabilitation: through counselling and sharing of experiences
- Economic rehabilitation: through vocational re-training and assistance in securing micro-credit loans
- Planned discharge: for a successful reintegration into the community, ensuring that the home environment is as safe and accessible as possible and that local residents are educated about disability, its causes and consequences
The holistic nature of CRP's work is reflected in the fact that its work covers several areas of development including human rights, poverty alleviation, health care provision and education.
CRP's headquarters is in Savar with an additional three functioning sub-centres throughout Bangladesh. CRP-Gonokbari is a residential vocational re-training centre for disabled women and girls, CRP-Gobindapur is a centre for out-patient and community based services in Sylhet Division and CRP-Mirpur is a thirteen-storey centre in Dhaka which provides medical, therapy and diagnostic services in addition to having several floors available for rent.
In addition to its work providing rehabilitation services for disabled people, CRP's academic institute, the Bangladesh Health Professions Institute (BHPI), has pioneered the training of relevant health professionals in Bangladesh. Courses are run up to BSc. Honours Degree level and affiliated with renowned institutions including Dhaka University and the Bangladesh State Medical Faculty. Some courses are the only ones of their kind in the country. BHPI is a national resource of Bangladesh, without which the quality of health services throughout the country and the future of vital health professions would be seriously compromised.
People throughout Bangladesh are touched by the work of CRP. Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) projects operate in 13 districts of the country. Accident and disability prevention programmes include research components and aim to educate vulnerable groups on safe working and living practises. Advocacy and networking activities bring CRP's work to the attention of relevant officials and promote improved co-ordination among the many organisation with which CRP works. Awareness raising and publicity campaigns inform the population of relevant issues and attempt to break down the barriers, superstitions and stigmas which prevent disabled people from enjoying equal rights and opportunities.
CRP is the only organisation of its kind in Bangladesh, a country with a population of 140 million. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10% of the population in Bangladesh are disabled.