Disability is Human Diversity; Let’s Appreciate it!
Smile Foundation organized a walk for Deafblind Children on December 3, the World Disability Day, in New Delhi. After completion of the Walk, a charter of demand on behalf of the Special Children was sent to be submitted to the The Ho’ble President of India.
Ms. Aloka Guha, Chairperson, National Trust, was the Chief Guest and flagged off the Walk. Ms. Prabha Shah, celebrated painter, was the Special Guest for the occasion. Ms. Shah was, incidentally, despite being born with an impaired auditory perception, took to painting and made a name for her. “My mother would cry when she realized I would never speak,” Prabha gesticulates. “She stopped when she realized I was alert and with a healthy imagination.” Prabha Shah took to painting and created a world of her own.
Around 650 children from 10 Schools in Delhi and NCR, apart from 250 adult supporter of the cause, participated in the walk.
Schedule for the Walk was as follows:
Date : December 3, 2005, Saturday
Time : Starting at 10:00 A. M.
Route : From ITO (Bahdur Shah Zafar Marg) to Rajghat.
Objectives behind the Walk:
1. Demand for a nation-wide study, survey and census on deaf-and-blind people.
2. To press for a proper policy regarding special education, rehabilitation, employment and involvement of the deafblind in the mainstream.
3. Make vaccination for ‘Rubella’, which is major reason behind the disability, a compulsory government programme in the line of pulse polio.
4. Setting up of proper teachers’ training programmes and introduction of a standardized curriculum.
Smile Foundation advocates for recognizing disability as a part of human diversity rather than as a medical problem. We have problems in accepting them rather than they are having problems in coming into the mainstream. A positive approach in our society will help the specially-able people come out of an insular discrete minority.
Segregation is a major cause of society’s widespread prejudice against the disabled. We must endeavour to educate children to embrace this diversity as a first step to change their discriminatory attitude towards the specially-able people; thus creating a fairer society.
Incidentally, education for the differently-able is one of Smile Foundation’s thrust areas. Smile Foundation has been supporting ‘Adharsheela’, an organization which is running a special school for deafblind children in Chamoli district, Uttaranchal for four years now.