Children with Disabilities urge PM Modi to Accessible India

Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: 24-year-old Rekha Kumari from Delhi may have been on a wheelchair since she was two years old after she was struck with polio but today she stands tall as the key campaigner for standing up to call for access to equal rights and opportunities for children and youth living with disabilities across the country. For Rekha accessing education and even the basic necessities has been a struggle. When in school she was asked to withdraw as assistance was required for taking her to the toilet or to drink water. Even getting a disability certificate has been a challenge.

Rekha along with other children and youth with disabilities voiced their concerns at a national consultation held at Vishwa Yuva Kendra in Delhi today. The three-day-long consultation was jointly organized by World Vision India and other NGO partners working on disability.

While lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s recently launched Accessible India campaign the children also expressed their concerns on the successful implementation of the campaign. The campaign aims to make public places, transport and communication technology in India disabled friendly. “Despite the Disability Act in place, accessibility to our rights is still a far cry. The government should ensure not only the implementation of the Act but also effective monitoring so as to help create a disabled free environment, “said Rekha Kumari.

The consultation also discussed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have a special focus on disability. Children came up with a charter of demands to be taken forward with the policy makers. 

 “World Vision India has been consistently working with children and youth with disability in the country to ensure they can enjoy their rights in all aspects of their lives. There are thousands of people with disabilities who are still unaware of the legal framework especially designed for their care and with this consultation, World Vision India aims to shed a light on the situation by bringing together the various stakeholders, including government officials, children and youth with disability as well as NGOs, among others, who can ensure that necessary action is taken in the right direction,” said Mr. Cherian Thomas, CEO and National Director, World Vision India.

The consultation was inaugurated by Prof. P.J. Kurian, Dy. Chairman, Rajyasabha, on Monday, December 14, 2015. The children and youth who gathered at the national-level consultation to represent people with disability have addressed at several international forums, including the United Nations General Assembly, under the guidance of World Vision India.

 Following are the charter of demands drafted by the children:
1.       All children with disability (CWDs) should receive quality education in mainstream schools by qualified and special teachers, and modern technology should be adopted
2.       Immunization, safe drinking water, health camp for PWDs and quality rehabilitation services are available free of cost for all PWDs
3.       PWDs trained on appropriate skills and supported for sustainable livelihood
4.       PWDs not to be discriminated on ground of gender and disability, and no suicide because of disability
5.       Accessible public places, schools and communications where PWDs live confidently
6.       PWDs actively participate in policy, decision making and recreational activities
7.       Rights of PWDs are protected and implemented effortlessly
8.       Data on disability is well maintained in all developmental activities/programmesAdvertisement.

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