James Ridley meeting people in India

James works with SAAHAS founder Rahul Kumar, from Uttar Pradesh police, to complete ‘health passports’ for people with learning disabilities.

An expert in learning disability nursing from Edge Hill University has lent his support to a ground-breaking project in India, designed to help some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

James Ridley, Senior Lecturer in Nurse Education (Learning Disability) won a grant from the Liverpool Royal Infirmary Nurses League to share his expertise with the SAAHAS project, a support programme for people with learning disabilities and their families.

Based in the Uttar Pradesh region of India the SAAHAS initiative is run by the region’s police service and aims to help people with learning disabilities access education, health and welfare services, as well as protecting them from becoming victims of crimes such as trafficking, organ theft and sexual exploitation.

James travelled to India to run a series of training courses about understanding the needs of people with learning disabilities. He shared his ideas and experience with health and education professionals and trainee police officers involved in the programme and spent time talking to people with learning disabilities and their families in the rural, economically challenged areas of Rampur and Moradabad.

As well as delivering training courses, James also worked closely with SAAHAS founder, Rahul Kumar, helping his team complete ‘health passports’ for some of the 24,000 disabled people registered with the programme.

James said:

Running the training courses has been an amazing experience. The aim of the programme is to make the invisible visible in this region of India, and it’s been a privilege to be involved.”

An account of James’ time in India is due to be published by the Liverpool Royal Infirmary Nurses League in May.