CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "a strategy within community development for the rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities, and social integration of all people with disabilities. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of disabled people themselves, their families and communities, and the appropriate health, education, vocational and social services."
CBR was introduced by WHO in 1978 after the declaration of Alma-Ata, USSR and has been adopted as the national strategy in over 80 principally low-income countries.
Although CBR is an international strategy, it is recognized that, because all communities differ in socio-economic conditions, terrain, cultures and political systems, there cannot be a single model of CBR for the world. In countries like Nepal where government resources are scarce, services for disabled children are extremely limited. CBR therefore shifts the emphasis from institutions or hospitals only offering medical rehabilitation, to the community in order to work with people with disabilities in achieving equal opportunities, equal rights and dignity. In much of Nepal, CBR is the only viable approach to reach thousands of otherwise-unreachable disabled persons.
Comprehensive CBR was introduced into Nepal in 1985, and has since been adopted by organisations within a number of districts:
- Bhaktapur - 1985
- Kirtipur - 1986 (now not in existence)
- Baglung and Chautara - 1991
- Biratnagar - 1992
- Pokhara - 1993
- Nepalgunj - 1992
- Lalitpur (Patan) - 1995
- Palpa - 1995
As well as these broad-based organizations, there are now countless specialist projects using elements of the CBR strategy.