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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2018

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3rd December is observed as International Day of Persons with Disabilities.Theme for this year is Empower people with disabilities and ensuring inclusion & equality.This theme certainly falls in-line with our vision to build an inclusive world. Here are a few ways that one could mark this auspicious day. It’s not necessary that one needs to work in the area of people with disabilities are having prior association to people with disabilities. Anyone could celebrate. It’s all about building awareness. Empowerment happens through raising awareness. 

How you can celebrate:

  1. Bring together a group of people and talk to them how people with disabilities could lead an independent life. 
  2. Ask people to close their eyes and walk around for a few minutes. This will give them an experinece how the world is for people with vision impairment
  3. If you know of a person with disability, invite them and hear their story..
  4. Initiatie a discussion about hiring persons with disabilities and ensuring accessibility as part of business (if not exist already)
  5. Spread the word about inclusion using social media
  6. Visit Big Bazar stores to experience their effort for inclusive shopping
  7. Read about disability and inclusion
  8. Talk to government around you about implementation of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (India)
  9. Create a small video about what disability / inclusion means to you.

These are not only the ways you could celebrate but you can mark the day in any way you want. Let’s together spread the word about disability, inclusion and accessibility. 

If you would like me to be part of your celebration and through your journey of inclusion, drop me an email or comment on this post. Will be happy to help. 

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3rd December

3rd December of every year is observed as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Objective of observing this day is to raise awareness about people with disabilities and bring them to the mainstream. As we are gearing up to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I would like to spend a few minutes and pen my thoughts how lives of people with disabilities have changed over a few years.

Before technology came into existence, people with disabilities has to depend on support for almost everything. May it be a blind person who would like to read a printed material, may it be a person loco-motor disability who wish to go for shopping, person with hearing impairment, who wish to communicate etc.,

Technology has addressed a lot of problems and brought independence to lives of people with disabilities. Today person with blindness can have access to digital books, convert any printed material to digital format and read independently, there are libraries like Bookshare and Sugamya Pusthakalaya, who brings together efforts of accessible books, access the wealth of information around the world, communicate to their friends and relatives using digital channels. Through the advancement in technology, opportunities for employment in the mainstream have been increased.

Again, with the advancement of technology and evolving e-commerce industry, it has become lives of people with loco motor disabilities more independent. Most of the shopping malls are inaccessible to wheel chair users; though a few brands have recently introduced Shopping Assist programs, it is still not as joyful as shopping independently. Online shopping has made this possible whereby users can shop from their location and things get delivered. Most importantly, online marketplaces may have more options than those available in the physical stores.

But what is lacking is that though there are advancement in assistive technologies that enable people with disabilities to access the technology, most of the technologies remains inaccessible; this is because due to lack of awareness about accessibility. There are enough resources available but what is important is that introduce those resources to developers at the stage when they actually learn to code! Accessibility and standards should be incorporated in the mainstream technological courses at school, college or whoever offer technological courses.

There is also a part that has to be played by users with disabilities. When user finds something unusable, write a detailed note to the app developer and keep following up until there is a response. While reporting, ensure to include some resources that helps them in resolving the issue. Another advantage of providing resources is that adds encouragement for developers to investigate the issue.

To conclude, here is an idea – starting this month, let’s meet one developer a month and educate them about accessibility and let’s see how many people we could impact by International Day of Persons with Disabiolities in 2018.

Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities – theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2015

The United Nations has announced this years theme as Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities. This is certainly an area that we all care about and work for.

Background on International Day of persons with disabilities

he International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. The Day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.
Source; The United Nations Website

About theme and sub themes

As per the United nations, approximately there are about a billion people living with different disabilities across the world. How many of them are part of mainstream society? Some examples of exclusion:

  • Are people with disabilities allowed to study in mainstream schools across the world?
  • Do all of our environment such as schools, offices, railway stations, bus stations, airports, universities, entertainment places, restaurants, movie theaters are built in a way that people with disabilities can use?
  • Most people think people with hearing impairment may lead an easy life and just that they can’t hear… How many people with hearing impairment are able to get quality basic education? How many of them are making to collage?
  • To day everything is going digital and mobile first concept is growing. How many websites and apps are accessible to people with disabilities?
  • Let’s not go so far; can our own house accommodate a guest who uses a wheel chair?

  • If there is a person with disability in any conference, why do people look at them as someone special?
  • Can people with disabilities shop independently at a grocery store?

Ah… there would be no end to this list. But we should step-up and look into these aspects if we really respect the occasion of marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Just hosting a few events with big speeches doesn’t really makes any difference. An action plan is needed and that too a meaningful one.

Sub themes:

  • Making cities inclusive and accessible for all
  • Improving disability data and statistics
  • Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development

I think these are pretty reasonable and essential tasks for any human to lead a life with dignity. To make this occasion a real success, a few things that we can do:

  • Identify barriers within and around our house, work place or school and report to concerned authorities. Report in a way that our feedback is constructive, include rational and possible recommendations
  • Actively follow up on issues that we have reported
  • If you work in digital space, make sure whatever you develop is accessible and meet with accessibility standards.
  • Spread the word about inclusion and accessibility
  • Educate schools on how they can include people with disabilities
  • If you live in India, promote and join hands to make Accessible India Campaign (PDF) a grand success

There are several initiatives happening across the world to make it a better place to live for all and theme set by The United Nations is certainly a good fit. Let’s contribute and make our world accessible.

Regards,
Srinivasu