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Global Accessibility Awareness Day: beyond digital accessibility

It’s true that most of the events being planned to observe Global Accessibility Awareness Day are focused on digital accessibility. This is not because someone doesn’t like about other aspects. It is happening just due to most people who are involved or hosting GAAD are from technology background. There is no restriction to observe GAAD only in the area of digital space.

Here are a few ideas as to how GAAD can be observed in many other ways:

  1. Get your neighbours together and do analysis to see if your apartment / house / township is usable and accessible to people with disabilities and elderly. Is your elevator accessible to users with blindness? Is your common areas accessible to users with wheelchair? If you invite a guest with disability, can they stay with comfort at your house? Would you be able to help them using toilet?
  2. Go to nearby schools and have a conversation around how education is important and so is true for people with disabilities too. Most schools are reluctant to admit children with disabilities. Help them understand how technologies are evolved and come as aid to people with disabilities to learn science, maths, etc.,
  3. Visit nearby hospitals and do a talk about advancement life and technology and how they should advice when something cannot be cured with medical efforts.
  4. Talk to disability organizations around you and if needed, mentor them to understand real means of rehabilitation. I have seen scenarios where people at mid-age develops disability, they were asked to enrol for courses like chair caning, candle making etc., instead working towards putting them back into the area where client have worked for a long time. This needs to be changed.
  5. Talk to restaurants around you and help them to make their hotels and services accessible.

There would be many more ideas that one can look at.

Let’s think through!

Big Bazar launches comfortable shopping experiences to people with disabilities: My experience

Big Bazar has launched an initiative to provide wonderful shopping experience to people with disabilities and we have just visited to its store in Koramangala, Bangalore. It was an awesome experience and definitely a good beginning to their journey of inclusive shopping experience. Here is our experience.

Their assistance program web page has a form where customer needs to fill in  a form choosing city, location, date and time slot of choice. On submission, we have received a text message and email confirming our request to visit the store. Email was also stated that an Accessibility Champion will get in touch with us shortly, but in our case it did not happen.

We have called up the store; operator said she did not have complete information about the initiative but she was aware something special is happening in the store; she has provided me with the hand phone number of store Manager. He was indeed aware of the initiative and keen to have us at their store.

When we have visited the store, we have called the Manager and he has received us and introduced to two of his team members. They have asked us to choose from a couple of options. One is to just give them our shopping list and they will shop for us and another is they would take us around the store and we can pick the products that we needed. We have opted for the later. They have immediately picked a cart for us and we started walking. They have called out each and every product to us and given us a choice to select. As we select a product, they were adding it to the card. They were even willing to carry our child too (though he declined!).

They have taken us to all the departments; even told us about available freebies such as a sample drink etc., and helped us having the same. It took about an hour for shopping and their personnel were always with us. At the end of the shopping, we were attended by a priority cash counter. There were seats available for us to sit incase if we want. Then we got dropped at our cab. Even our shopping bags were kept inside the cab by their personnel. It was absolutely a wonderful experience.

The store that we have visited is one of the very old stores hence store did not have escalator or elevator but staff were indeed helpful. Our advice to customers with wheel chair or anyone who cannot use stairs is that it would be good to with your desired shopping list. Alternatively, store personnel can give you a store catalogue and you can choose products that you need.

Thank you, Big Bazar for this initiative. Sure, this would add mutual benefit to you and your customers.

Overview – The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016

During the winter session of Rajya Sabha and Loksabha (houses in Indian parliament) has passed long pending Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and named it as The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 [PDF].

This Act of the parliament received assent of the President on The 27th December, 2016.

This is an Act to give effect to United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities [PDF] which was adopted by the United Nations on 13th December, 2006. India happened to be one of the first signatories of this convention but not signed the optional protocol. India has ratified the convention on 1st October, 2007.

The UN Convention has laid down the following principles:

  • Respect for inherent dignity
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective participation in the society
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women
  • Respect for evolving capacities for children with disabilities

Through series of posts, I’ll be writing my interpretation of this Act and my personal opinions how this would benefit people with disabilities and at some instances, I’ll also be discussing the areas of improvements.

Stay tuned!

International Day of Persons with Disabilities – what's happening in India?

We recently posted about Theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. As we are gearing up to mark the occasion tomorrow, here is a quick list of a few events that are happening in India.

In addition, there are several events happening across the country and I’m happy to see awareness towards inclusion is growing.

Way to go and greetings to everyone on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.