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India Inclusion Summit 2017 draws support from diverse faces & voices across the disability spectrum

November 16, 2017

From dancers to designers, statesman to entrepreneurs, the India Inclusion Summit 2017 held in Bengaluru on Sunday, brought together a wide variety of faces and voices from around the world, all speaking passionately for the need to create an inclusive society for all.

Apart from speeches, there were dance performances, songs and art displays that showcased the many in which people with disabilities can express themselves, when given the opportunity.

Among the keynote speakers was Senator Tom Harkin, who was one of the main authors of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. The audience was captivated by his account of how he was driven to make inclusion a way of life. Harkin said that "The fundamental way to create an inclusive society is to clear a path for people with special needs, which clears the path for everyone."

Among the highlights of the Summit was the first person accounts shared on stage from many in the disabled community of their struggles and learnings to fight for access and equal rights.

There was Ummul Kher, now in the Indian Revenue Service, whose brittle bones did not come in the way of a strong spirit. Despite no parental support, she persisted and cracked the Civil Service exams.

Lawyer Rahul Bajaj spoke about how he never lost hope and faith even when people around him did not believe that he could overcome his vision impairment and make a success of his life. "According to me, inclusion means to unlock everyone's unlimited potential", he said.

The India Inclusion Foundation, which is behind this annual summit, is the brainchild of Ferose V R. Ferose who started the Summit in 2012 to bring the topic of inclusion to the foreground in India. The foundation is a community driven initiative that brings together thought leaders from the field of disability to discuss ways to take forward the diverse talents available in India.

Over the last five years, it has grown to involve 12 corporates, six NGO's, 300 volunteers and 5,000 participants.

Our mission is to build an inclusive India by 2030. An India of our dreams that celebrates human spirit. An India where everyone thrives at what they are good at. An India that is inclusive and accessible in every sense!

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