CELEBRATION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, President Droupadi Murmu, in a grand ceremony in New Delhi, bestowed the National Awards for the Empowerment of Divyangjan 2023 upon 21 individuals and 9 institutions for their exemplary con tributions across various fields.
President Smt. Murmu, addressing the audience, reiterated the significance of prioritizing the empowerment of Divyangjan, constituting 15 percent of the global population. She applauded their inspirational struggles and achievements, recognizing them as a source of inspiration for all citizens.
The President proudly declared the new parliament building as accessible and a reflection of inclusivity and empathy, demonstrating the Government’s dedication to creating an environment that accommodates Divyangjan. Stressing the importance of both physical and digital access, she highlighted the necessity of fostering an inclusive ecosystem aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
On this prestigious occasion, 30 outstanding Individuals, Institutions, Organizations, States, and Districts were honored for their remarkable achievements and contributions to the empowerment of Divyangjan.
VISIT OF SHRI RAJ KUMAR MAKKAD, STATE COMMISSIONER DISABILITY HARYANA AT A SPECIAL SCHOOL FOR MENTALLY CHALLENGED STUDENTS IN ARMY CANTONMENT AT HISAR
NGOs SHAPING A MORE INCLUSIVE TOMORROW
As India navigates the path towards a more equitable society, NGOs such as Ek Koshish Special School, SPARC-India, and Sense India stand as guiding lights, illuminating a future where diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated, and where every individual, regardless of their abilities, has the opportunity to shine. By Anshul Gautam
In the vast canvas of India’s social landscape, a silent revolution is underway. It’s led not by the powerful, but by those committed to empowering the often-overlooked segments of our society – individuals with diverse abilities. In this narrative, three NGOs stand out, each weaving a distinct thread into the tapestry of inclusivity. Ek Koshish Special School, SPARC-India, and Sense India are beacons of change, working tirelessly to reshape lives affected by disability. Their stories intersect, creating a mosaic that paints a picture of resilience, innovation, and the transformative power of inclusivity.
In the heart of transformative education lies Ek Koshish Special School, a testament to the belief that inclusive learning has the power to reshape lives. Founded in 2005 by Mridul Singh, the school emerged from the pressing need for quality rehabilitation services. Singh, a former faculty member, recognised the gaps in individualised educational support and embarked on a courageous journey to provide tailored education to those with different abilities.
The institute’s unwavering dedication has not gone unnoticed, receiving accolades such as NCR’s top-ranked International school award from VSSD in 2022 and commendations from Ladli Foundation and Lions Club Veg the following year. Ek Koshish focuses on the betterment of individuals with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, and neurological complications through personalised teaching methods. Prioritising holistic treatment approaches, including sensory association and professional therapeutic support, underscores their commitment to enhancing the overall well-being of students.
While Ek Koshish diligently addresses challenges in securing sponsors for underprivileged students and ensuring consistent funds for travel, their special attention to talent development programmes sets them apart. These initiatives involve creating handcrafted items from paper, candles, decoratives, and gemstones carved out from cardboard boxes. Beyond honing practical skills, these programmes instill confidence among individuals facing specific needs.
Nurturing potential, igniting change Nestled in the expansive landscapes of Uttar Pradesh, SPARC-India stands tall as a symbol of empowerment under the visionary leadership of Dr. Amitabh Mehrotra. Since its inception in 1997, this organisation has garnered praise for its unwavering commitment, positively impacting the lives of over 30,000 people, including children with disabilities. Operating across more than 30 districts, their programmes have reached a population exceeding 1,50,000.
Dr. Mehrotra, the founder, himself living with cerebral palsy, embodies the spirit of inclusivity. He is driven by personal experiences and a profound understanding of the neglect surrounding disability issues. Hence, SPARC-India employs a multifaceted approach, focusing on skill development, promoting equal access to education, and offering career-focused training programmes primarily tailored for differently-abled children.
The Jyoti Kiran School, a special school for children with cerebral palsy, established in 2003, exemplifies their dedication. Currently, the school accommodates 45 students with various disabilities, aiming to strengthen their education and mobility. In their Community-Based Rehabilitation Programme, the NGO reaches out to 30 children with disabilities and 80 persons with disabilities in both urban and rural areas. This programme strives to provide better education, health facilities, livelihood options, and other entitlements.
Their Skill Development and Placement Programme (SDP) is a three month residential training programme for Youth with Disabilities (YwD). This initiative covers life skills, communication skills, basic computer training, personality development, and trade-specific skills like Retail/BPO/ Data Entry Operator. The programme ensures that youths with disabilities have enhanced skills, diversified livelihood options, and job security.
The Vocational Programme by SPARC India focuses on providing training to challenged and non-challenged marginalised women. Through the “Vocational & Placement Centre,” a unit established in 2005, the organisation addresses the critical issue of job security for Women with Disabilities (WwDs) and non challenged marginalized women. In Lucknow, SPARC-India’s Inclusive Education Programme collaborates with government primary schools to promote inclusive practices.
Despite challenges such as limited funding, bureaucratic hurdles, and cultural differences, SPARC-India remains resilient. The NGO navigates difficulties like motivation and education gaps in communities, lack of accessible infrastructure, and uncooperative family members. Their ongoing commitment to balancing short term goals with long-term sustainability and adapting to dynamic environments showcases dedication to inclusivity and empowerment.
Sense India: Illuminating paths in silence
In the labyrinth of challenges presented by deafblindness, Sense India stands tall as a unique beacon of empowerment. Since 1997, Sense India has devoted itself to addressing the intricate needs of individuals grappling with this multi sensory disability. It proudly holds the distinction of being the sole national level organisation committed to providing comprehensive support and awareness for those dealing with deafblindness and multiple disabilities, along with their families.
At the core of their impactful initiatives lies specialised expertise spanning deafblind communication, mobility, accessible information, assistive devices, and rehabilitation. The organisation adopts a multifaceted approach, not only offering technical assistance to partner NGOs but also directly training their staff to adeptly work with children and adults navigating the challenges of deafblindness and multiple disabilities. Over the past 23 years, Sense India’s well-orchestrated efforts, coupled with a network of grassroots organisations, have touched the lives of over 78,000 individuals with deafblindness. Through a partnership-driven strategy, collaborating directly with local organisations, the NGO has successfully implemented 61 projects in 23 states, exemplifying its cost effective and innovative service delivery model.
Accredited to the United Nations, Sense India enjoys consultative status on deafblindness, and its outreach extends to South-Asian countries.
In unity and diversity, these NGOs forge ahead, transforming challenges into opportunities, and silhouettes into success stories. Together, they paint a vibrant canvas of a world where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can contribute, thrive, and be celebrated.