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Fun, meaningful ways that World Disability Day was celebrated across India

December 5, 2018

Like every year, World Disability Day was marked by events in different Indian cities. Here are some events that stood out.

Inclusion through Art - Ahmedabad

At Pearl Special Needs Foundation School in Ahmadabad, the celebration was held a day earlier where children with and without disabilities came together for an inclusive art mela. Over 70 children from different walks of life participated in this.

We wanted to provide a platform where children with and without disabilities could come together and all the kids had a great time. But I wouldn't say that it was a cakewalk and we realized that there is a need to spread awareness about disabilities among children. Such events actually enlighten us about the importance of inclusion. Children with and without disabilities must support each other. Only the education system can help to bridge this barrier. - Dr Griva Shah, Co-founder, Pearl Special Needs Foundation

Dog therapy - Pune

Two organizations in Pune, Artsphere and Soulsphere came together for an event where the star attraction was therapy dog Theo. Under holistic pet therapist Neha Nageshkar's close watch children petted and fed Theo, who is a golden retriever. There were sessions by psychologist and art-based therapy facilitator Raksha Agarwal while Nandita Saxena Paul, a special needs educator, and remedial teacher spoke to parents about ways to engage with their child at home.

"Children should never come with labels. That is what we at Artsphere strive to highlight! Inclusion should be meaningful and help to bring about a positive change in the community. All our sessions are focused on that. We aim to create a society which sees people beyond disabilities", said Nandita Saxena Paul.

Truly, an evening filled with a lot of discussion, topped with Theo and art!

Celebrating RPWD Act 2016 - New Delhi

A group of disabled people and activists came together in the national capital to discuss the Rights of People with Disabilities Act, 2016 and its proper implementation. The event organized by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled people (NCPDEP) saw people discussing the rights of disabled people. Some of the speakers were Maitreya Shah who is a blind law student, disability rights activists Smita Sadasivan and Zamir Dhale and Ummul Kher, an IAS official.

"We all know that disabled people are still being discriminated", said Shah. "I go to an inaccessible court building to raise my complaints about inaccessibility. How is that fair? There are lot of provisions in the Act. But they are not being rightly implemented. For instance, the Act stresses that a complaint be raised if a disabled person is discriminated against. But where do we go to complain? A larger policy change is the need of the hour".

Kochi Ability Fest

After devastating floods, Kerala is slowly getting back to its feet. People with disabilities faced many hurdles too and are getting their spirits back together. The Sahayatra Ability Fest 2018 brought together people with all kinds of disabilities under one roof. Over 250 people, parents, NGO representatives and teachers took part in the event.

"It was a great event where all of us could come together under one roof. People spoke about the day to day challenges that they faced. We also discussed how we could create awareness and there were entertainment programs by disabled children as we;;. More people with disabilities must come to the forefront and showcase their skills and talents", said Anjurani Joy, who was a part of the organizing team.

This nine-day event will conclude on the end of this week and there will be events all over the state.

ALSO READ: Big Bazaar leads the way with a Quiet Hour for shoppers on the autism spectrum, a World Disability Day special

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