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India Inclusion Summit 2017 - Time to celebrate success stories in the field of disability

Over the next few days, leaders from the field of inclusion will gather in Bengaluru to strategise, discuss and take forward ways to create awareness about disability rights and promote ways to enable the disabled realise their full potential.

The occasion is the India Inclusion Summit 2017, a platform that seeks to help organisations and communities drive inclusion.

Among the world leaders who will gather is Senator Harkin, American politician, attorney and author, who played a key role in pushing the Americans with Disabilities Act through the United States Senate. Another keynote speaker is former Union Minister Arun Shourie, who has written movingly about his experiences raising a disabled son.

The IIS started in 2012 under the leadership of V R Ferose, who is regarded by many as a champion of disability rights in India. Ferose believes that technology has the potential to transform the lives of the disabled. "The onus is on us to make that happen as fast as possible. Technology can build communities, engagement and scale", says Ferose.

One of the key aspects is The Inclusion Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind fellowship that supports upcoming entrepreneurs, artists, policymakers and anyone working in the disability space to promote inclusion. Fellows receive seed money of up to Rs 2,50,000 and exposure to support their project.

The 2017 Fellows are Aditi Agarwal of Gudgudee, an organisation that builds sensory playgrounds for disabled kids, Chandni Rajendran, creator of an inclusive educational tool for vision impaired kids called Tactopus, Dhruv Agarwal, co-founder of Altius Biomedical, which is working on bionic limbs for amputees, Johan Dhinakaran, who is working to improve the life of spinal cord injury patients, Prateek Kaul, of GiftAbled, which works on self employment of the disabled and Shaswat Ranjan Jena, who works on Eye-D devices that help empower the blind with technology.

Experts say that IIS plays an important role in the inclusion space. "It showcases a lot of positive stories, positive role models, which is needed in India and the world", says Shilpi Kapoor, founder and CEO of Barrier Break, an organisation that is playing a significant role in opening doors for people with disabilities and companies to be inclusive.

This year the IIS will take place on 11 and 12 November at the Park Plaza in Bengaluru. The second day is open to all, when achievers in the disability space will share their stories with the world.

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