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Mumbaikar Karan Shahh honoured with Bharat Prerna Award 2019

Karan S Shahh, just 20 years old, has been recognised for his campaign highlighting the need for accessible toilets. The youngster who has spinal muscular atrophy, regularly takes up causes that affect people with disabilities in India.

A certified canine trainer and behaviorist, Karan loves working with dogs and training them. When he is not working, he spends his time creating awareness and fighting for greater accessibility for people with disabilities.

As part of his awareness campaigns, Karan travels around the city with his dog Angel giving motivational talks in schools, NGOs, old age homes etc. His work is focused on helping disabled people lead happier, better lives with the help of pet animals.

It was during his travels that Karan realised how there was a huge shortage of accessible public toilets.

When I travel around for my seminars and workshops I am always disappointed by the lack of proper infrastructure. There are hardly any accessible public toilets in the city of Mumbai, making it a real challenge for the disabled people.

Most public toilets are not accessible for wheelchair users, few have ramps and none are designed for disabled people. After facing this frequently, Karan decided to raise his voice and started an online campaign to highlight the issue. The campaign got much support and has won Karan the Bharat Prerna Award 2019 instituted by the NGO Ample Mission. This year is the third edition of the awards that recognises exceptional abilities of people with disabilities.

The Mumbai-based NGO has been working for the empowerment of those in need through various projects and events like helping underprivileged children, outreach campaigns, and awards.

"I am very happy to be receiving this honor as it recognises the stand I took and has motivated me to keep raising voice for the rights of people with disabilities, says Karan.

The awards ceremony is on 23 June and present with Karan will be his mother. "I am a proud mother and feel fulfilled as a parent", says Pratima Sunil Shah. "I feel on the top of the world and also that we have succeeded as parents. Knowing that my son has braved the odds and not let adversity bog him down gives me much happiness. I am now confident that he can lead is life independently and also bring about change in the lives of other people. The parents of children with disabilities learn so much about life and the need to have a positive perspective towards it".

ALSO READ: Accessible toilets remain a distant dream for India's disabled community

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