Studies in National and International Development


National and International Development

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International community-based rehabilitation: Building on local strengths to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, their families, and their communities

Heather Aldersey

Queen’s National Scholar, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University


The World Health Organization estimates that globally 1 billion people are affected by disability. Often, people with disabilities and their families face the greatest barriers in accessing healthcare and other services worldwide; and disability is increasingly recognized as an important development issue (United Nations, 2013). Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy for the development and delivery of training and support to the community to equalize opportunities and promote the inclusion and human rights of persons with disabilities. In this presentation, Dr. Aldersey will discuss the principles and practice of international CBR. She will outline the ongoing CBR work conducted by Queen’s University, with a focus on projects in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Heather Aldersey

About the Speaker: Dr. Aldersey's research program focuses on the social construction of disability across cultures, support for people with disabilities and their families, public policy, family innovation, and family quality of life. Within this program, she has particularly focused on experiences of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in African contexts. The ultimate goal of Dr. Aldersey's scholarship is to draw upon local strengths and capabilities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and their families globally.