Persons with disabilities are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. They are facing different challenge or problems, especially psychological problems such as trauma, depression and isolation that need immediate support and services. These challenges and problems come into existence when a person, for the first time, who acquires disability as a result of mine expulsion, isolation or other accidents.
To address the psychological challenges of persons with disabilities and survivors, ALSO started providing peer support counseling service for persons with disabilities and survivors towards inclusion in society. The people who acquire disability for the first, he or she suffers from deep trauma and emotional shocks that need immediate cadre and support. However, peer support counseling service is not limited to mine expulsion survivors; it is delivered for persons with different type of disabilities who are in isolation and depression.
The peer support approach is very efficient and experienced successfully in other countries. ALSO believes that it is necessary and essential in Afghan context, as in Afghanistan less attention is usually paid to psychological services and peer supports issues for persons with disabilities who are traumatized and are in isolation from social lives. Peer support can help to bring out the traumatized, isolated and depressed people towards inclusions in the community. Peer support falls under psycho-social support theme.
Peer support is a simple and effective way of assistance to empower persons with disabilities. It is provided by those persons with disabilities who have overcome similar difficulties and challenges to gain autonomy and self-confidence aiming to empower person with disability who lives in trauma or isolation by transferring his or her experiences. These people are called peer supporters.
First, peer supporters assess the needs of persons with disabilities or survivors. Then they develop a peer support counseling plan for the beneficiaries based on the needs of the beneficiaries. Once a person received peer counseling services, he/she is refereed to other available services such as education, vocational training, healthcare, orthopedic and other services in different centers
Since 2007, ALSO has been able to provide peer support services for over 3484 persons with disabilities including ERW and landmine survivor – 1250 female and 1850 male – whose self-reliance, self confidence improved and included into society.