December 5, 2016
Bengaluru: “We don’t celebrate World Disability Day. It is strange to ‘celebrate’ someone’s disability. We recognise world special ability day,” clarifies Jenny Dsouza, community leader, Sandesh, the NGO for children with special needs, when she speaks about Disability Day, which falls on December 3.
“Having a day set aside for those with disabilities spreads awareness, but also, we need more than a day’s thought. We need policies that puts us on par with everybody, offering us wings to realise our dreams and respect for our abilities,” says R Shrivaths, an IT consultant who lost both legs in an accident.
The frustration is palpable, but Babu S, Assistant Director of strategy at the Association of People with Disability thinks ‘Disability Day’ is a big step towards awareness. “It has provided space for recognition, dignity and self-respect for all disabled people.”
Apparently in India, NGOs and individuals working with people with disabilities are quite active in organising events based on themes proposed by United Nations; the theme this year is, ‘Achieving 17 Sustainable Goals for the future; creating an inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities’.
Is the government sensitive to the needs of the disabled? “In the recent years, opportunities in jobs, education and sports have seen an increase. The Karnataka government is proactive towards people with disabilities, with the State spending more than Rs 100 crore to provide facilities for them, including monthly pensions for 7.71 lakh people,” says Babu.
Agreeing that the scenario has changed for the better, Jenny feels a lot more needs to be done. “We need to recognise them as individuals with potential and give them the platform, dignity and respect as a society, and not look at them with disdain. We are all disabled in some way.”