The LRF awareness team conducts community outreach to sensitize people about the rights of people with special needs. We do it to break myths surrounding special needs, to identify persons with disabilities, to provide information about how to access the facilities they need. We do it for all these reasons and more.
Any interaction with the public to spread the word about your cause is community outreach.
You can conduct community outreach by conducting camps, going door to door, sitting in at public meetings, holding public hearings on issues of concern to the people you work with, etc. You will have to adapt your program according to the situation and the audience. But there are a few things you should always keep in mind.
- Build a relationship with the community. You will not be welcome if you do not understand them and their needs. Make friends with someone from the community and ask that person to introduce you to others. Learn as much as possible about the community. A few basic but useful words in the local language always helps.
- Dress appropriately.
- Do not use words or phrases that may be offensive to the community.
- Be respectful. There may be many customs or beliefs that may seem strange to you – you can be sure they will feel the same way about your customs and beliefs. Don’t judge; don’t act surprised or amused.
- Learn to listen. Even if the talk has nothing to do with your cause and may seem , listen respectfully. You never know how much information you will get when the conversation starts to flow.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Change takes time. Don’t give up.