Independent Living

Roukiatou was born with deformed legs. A community-based rehabilitation worker supported her in getting the treatment she needed: The basis for mobility and an independent future.

Photo: Roukiatou with her family

Towards an independent life

Light for the World supports community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programmes in economically deprived regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In this model of rehabilitation, a disabled child's social environment is involved and works together, making CBR a successful way of providing children with disabilities not only with mobility but also with a social network.

Children receive regular visits from our rehabilitation assistants in their homes rather than getting treatment in institutions, away from familiar surroundings. CBR workers evaluate the individual needs of children, for example the child might require immediate medical attention, physiotherapy, crutches, or wheelchairs. In addition, CBR workers show parents how they can support and strengthen their child with specific physiotherapy exercises.

CBR also has a positive impact on the inclusion of disabled people within a community. The programmes take place directly in the village, in order to involve parents, friends, and neighbours.

What we do

  • We provide individual treatment in children's homes
  • We involve parents, neighbours and friends
  • We support the inclusion of people within their community
  • We support people with disabilities in finding a job

Livelihood programmes

Our livelihood programmes, which are closely intertwined with our CBR work, ensure that people with disabilities successfully integrate in the job market. The aim of our rehabilitation, inclusive education, and livelihood programmes is to guarantee that people with disabilities are able to live independently, make a living for themselves and their families, and be an equal part of society.

In October 2010, WHO, UNESCO, ILO, and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) approved a new set of Guidelines. As part of IDDC, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD was involved in developing these guidelines. We have produced a CBR Guidelines Training Manual. CBR can also have a global impact by contributing to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Media reports on our CBR work


Portrait of Marieke Boersma. Credit: Jaco Klamer

Senior Advisor on CBR: Marieke Boersma

+251 920 65 65 11
m.boersma [at]

What we do

Photo: Nefissa Bedru flashes a smile after her successful trachomatic trichiasis surgery. Credit: Ulrich Eigner

Nefissa's smile has returned. Thanks to Light for the World's medical outreach programme she is once again in charge of her daily life. Cataract surgery has enabled her to care for her children again.

Martine Bilgo gives interviews Photo: M.Bron

Martine once was a client in one of our CBR projects. She successfully graduated to become a teacher. Today she works in a school which is linked to a LIGHT FOR THE WORLD CBR project.

Igliassu is playing with his school friends

A year ago, Igliassu could not even walk because one of his legs was much shorter than the other. LIGHT FOR THE WORLD helped him enrol in an inclusive school together with his peers.