Get-hooked January 1, 2021
Hello 2021, Goodbye 2020 – Newz Hook readers share wish list for the new year
2020 saw many setbacks from the perspective of the disabled community. But there were many gains as well which will hopefully get built on in the new year. We passed the hat around and asked people from across the disability space about the positive takeaways from the old year and their expectations for 2021.
Priority with Covid Vaccine. – Nipun Malhotra, CEO, Nipman Foundation
“2020 saw work from home policies come into place, something that people with disabilities had been asking for but were told by the corporate world it was not possible. This has opened opportunities for the community but having said people with disabilities should not be labelled as wanting to work only from home”.
“2020 also showed unity in the disability sector that we haven’t seen for years. Take the whole movement against the order to close regional centres of National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities or the move to decriminalise the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016“.
“2021 is the year of the Covid vaccine and I hope people with disabilities are prioritised as they are most affected. Social distancing is tough for us so vaccine first.”
Global Standards in Disability Accommodations. – Dr Satendra Singh, Co-founder, Doctors with Disabilities
“The launch of KiRAN-24×7, the toll-free mental health rehabilitation helpline created by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment was the best thing about 2020.”
“Awaiting in 2021 is the creation of the International Council on Inclusive Medical Education moving towards the framing of global standards on disability accommodation. This will address the discriminatory guidelines prevailing in some countries like India as we shall formulate an international benchmark of standards to address disability inclusion in health professions’ education.”
Acceptance & Inclusion. – Shampa Sengupta, Founder, Sruti Disability Rights Centre
“2020 was a difficult and unpredictable year. In India, the disability sector had to fight pandemic related problems and push back as the government tried to amend/dilute three laws that affect us. What stands out are the protests these moves. It gave me a sense of inclusion of disability as an issue within society.”
“For 2021, we need to carry forward open discussions about mental health problems that is now acceptable in the larger society. It is sad that it took a pandemic to accept mental health as a serious issue. As a person with mood disorder, I felt more accepted as many are talking about same in 2020”.
Build Community Support Structures. – Smita Sadasivam, Disability Rights Advocate
“I would like to see community support structures and networks in place for all vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities. This can lead to real inclusion as well as help celebrate diversity”.
Community should be Sensitised. – Dhanya Ravi, Founder, Aasman Foundation
“Getting equal opportunities to people with disabilities will make them a part of the social mainstream. Universal infrastructure environment, equal access to education and training that leads to career opportunities and growth brings individuals more value in the family. Community should embrace and know about challenges and learn a different way of living/ Disability touches every person and the situation to live with dignity is to acknowledge and evolve with love and belief to face a tomorrow which is meant for us together”.
Accessibility. – Jomy Joseph, Disability Rights Advocate, Kerala
“The RPWD Act was implemented to a large extent in 2020 in Kerala which is a positive”.
“Going ahead, accessibility for all should be implemented. Technology has developed and more innovative ones are going to come but we need to check how accessible it is for vision impaired people as well as those who are deaf and hard of hearing”.
Disability Sector Came Together. – Gopinath Ramakrishnan, Co-founder-Managing Trustee, Special Child Assistance Network
“The disability sector came together in 2020 to fight against injustice like the rollback of the proposed changes to the RPWD Act and the court battle in Kerala for regulation of therapy centres. Many disability organisations did a stellar job of helping others, both disabled and non-disabled. We saw food being organised for the homeless, migrant workers, masks being made and distributed, medicines delivered to those who were stuck at homes and so many more wonderful contributions”.
Good Health & Prosperity for All. – Ekta Bhyan, Paralympian
“Tokyo Paralympics was just six months away when the virus arrived in India. It was unpredictable and the Paralympics was postponed. Initially it felt disappointing taking it on positive note, all players have got one more year for preparation. I made all arrangements of my exercises at home, started working from home and have followed my interests of writing and painting”.
“In 2021, I wish we will be back to our same lives before the pandemic. Everyone should get the vaccine and all sports events should be organised as usual with stadiums packed. I wish 2021 will bring good health, Happiness and prosperity to everyone”.
Courts of Law must become fully accessible – Subhash Chandra Vashisht, Access & Inclusion Specialist
“I have been advocating incorporation of systemic changes in the courts and legal profession to make it inclusive for legal practitioners with blindness, especially filing of cases and pleadings- simply, how can we ensure that blind person can function as Judge, Lawyer, Litigant, witness or as an employee of the court. The recent letter of the Chief Justice of India to all high courts to ensure systemic accessibility is a huge shot in the arm.”
“2020 also gave a great push to volunteerism and teamwork in times of distress. The diverse disability sector got together on a WhatsApp group in Delhi and helped undertake relief work during the pandemic to help people with disabilities in need.”
“In 2021, I wish for courts of law to become fully accessible, with all pleadings in E-pub format. Court websites have no visual captchas to access or download information. The judiciary should become more aware of the rights of persons with disabilities.”