Disability rights activist Prajith Jaipal to hit the road to promote awareness
Prajith Jaipal, a wheelchair user and disability rights activist from Kerala, is gearing up to go on a world tour titled Drive 4 Disabled (D4D). The drive, which aims to promote awareness about disabilities across the world, will also be the first ever drive across the world by a quadriplegic.
Prajith Jaipal, a disability rights activist and founder of the NGO Divyang Foundation Trust, is always on a mission. He is committed to find ways to empower people with disabilities. His upcoming project is a tour across 123 countries to promote awareness about disabilities.
In 2018, Prajith was at the United States Ability Expo from where he was inspired to do something similar in India. He wants to hold an exclusive fair for accessibility and assistive technologies in India in 2020.
In April 2018, Prajith embarked on a journey from Kozhikode to New Delhi, driving his own customised car in a drive titled Drive 2 Delhi (D2D). Prajith met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed matters regarding disability. The drive boosted his confidence to do a world tour. Prajith will be accompanied by a doctor-cum-caretaker.
Prajith aims to create awareness about the many things wheelchair users are capable of. He also wants to meet NGOs and organisations that work for disabled people across the world and bring them to India for the 2020 expo. Prajith has the support of Centre in this.
After my successful drive to Delhi, many people asked me why I can't go for a world tour in a car. The thought has been ringing in my mind for a while. I believe the time has come. My main aim to spread the message about International Ability Expo 2020 far and wide so that interested parties can come down to India. We are going to break many records through D4D. I have been getting a lot of support from many NGO's and interested sponsors too. -Prajith Jaipal, Disability rights activist
D4D will be flagged off from Kozhikode in December and Prajith hopes to complete the drive in a year. He has tied up with Junior Chamber International as a travel partner and Rotary Club is providing him with ample support as well. Trans Asia will handle the shipping for him. The complete itinerary of the trip is being prepared by Suresh Joseph, who has already gone on a world tour in a car a few years back. Tata, Toyota and Jaguar automobile companies have approached Prajith to sponsor their cars for 'D4D'.
"Electric wheelchairs, that make life easier are very expensive in India. When companies that manufacture these come down to India, they will know how important it is to sell them at a reduced costs because not everyone can afford a 700 dollars wheelchair. That is what Ability Expo aims at, says Prajith.
D4D will cover 80,000 kms across six continents in 365 days. Brinu J, an Ayurvedic medical officer who will be accompanying Prajith. "This is my first time for a world tour and I am very excited. Moreover, I am happy to accompany Prajith to promote a great cause. We hope D4D will reach out to many people and break records, says Brinu.