Ensuring RPWD 2016 reaches every corner of India. This was Javed Abidi's mission
In an interview to Newz Hook two days before his sudden and tragic death, disability rights leader Javed Abidi shared his plans for the future.
He was full of hope about the ongoing campaign by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). The campaign is taking the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016 to different states.
Mr Abidi was convinced that the Act was a game changer, provided the message went to the public.
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 was passed after a lot of struggle and drama. We had tears in our eyes and thought everything would be alright. We became complacent. But the government passed a law, and then totally forgot about it! Again, we had to create a tamasha every time we needed access to something - Javed Abidi, Late disability rights leader
A situation he was determined to not repeat with RPWD 2016. "The Act is full of legalese. It can be understood only by lawyers and judges. How does an average boy or girl get it?", he asked.
To ensure the message gets to the public, the NCPEDP published a handbook and manual, that presents the RPWD 2016 Act in easy-to-understand English. This will be translated into 10 regional Indian languages. Some versions in Assamese, Gujarati, and Kannada are already out. They were released at state-level seminars over the last few weeks.
To begin with, 1,000 copies of each version are being printed. These are being given away for free. In many states like Gujarat and Assam, the copies were sold out within days. Something Mr Abidi took great heart from.
The release of the regional language versions is being done at state-level seminars, where leading disability leaders of the state are invited. Experts are present to discuss the finer points of the law. These leaders are then expected to go back to their areas and spread the details to the public.
Mr Abidi's dream was to ensure that the word of the law reach every nook and corner in India.
It is very simple. Unless people know what their rights are, they will not demand those rights. To make each and everyone aware, that is the vision and the plan - Javed Abidi, Late disability rights leader
A vision that is within reach, thanks to a man who worked tirelessly all his life to bring together people with different disabilities under one platform.
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