Changing lives of disabled people for the better, the Swabhiman way
Started in 2001, Swabhiman, an NGO in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, has emerged as a leading voice speaking up for the empowerment of people with disabilities.
The founder Dr Sruti Mohapatra has a clear mission - to break down the barriers that exist for people with disabilities and create a world without discrimination. 'To enjoy, give joy to others' is the belief that inspires all the initiatives.
Swabhiman is a State Disability Information and Resource Centre that provides various services and much needed support and guidance to the disabled community.
Various programs are run by Swabhiman and these cover a range areas including laws and policies, education, health, sports, employment and accessibility, general awareness, to name a few.
Mihir Mohanty has been associated with Swabhiman for years. "I am happy to be a part of this positive movement through Swabhiman. The work we do is so fulfilling and raises our hopes about creating a truly inclusive society in the near future around us " says Mohanty, who is the Program Director.
Given the huge numbers of disabled people and the lack of facilities for them, Swabhiman is taking a multifaceted approach to bridge the gaps. It has a special focus on children and young adults so that future generations have a better chance at inclusion.
With this aim, Swabhiman has undertaken several projects with a holistic vision.
- Anjali - Promotes inclusion through music and arts.
- Adhyayan -Multi-faceted approach towards education.
- YLTEP - Youth leadership Training and Empowerment Program.
- Sandhan - Create responsible citizens.
- Saksham - Dedicated to the welfare of children with disabilities in Bhubaneswar slums.
- Sashakt - Awareness about rights and laws.
"I joined Swabhiman seven years ago as a volunteer," says Jyoti Prasanna Patnaik, who is a Senior Program Manager. "The time I have spent here has changed my perception about people with disabilities. I have learned a lot about skills, and most importantly the role of accessibility in the lives of disabled people.
It is this sense of awareness and empathy that Swabhiman is working to bring in the public at large.