A support group for people with disabilities - My Take
I lived the first 24 years of my life as an able-bodied person. I did my engineering from Kerala and was in Bengaluru pursuing my IT career.
Suddenly on my way back from work one day, I met with a bus accident and lost my left leg above the knee. Thus, started my life as an amputee and a person with a physical disability.
Living with a physical disability can feel lonely at times. Due to lack of accessible infrastructure, and the stigma around disability, you never see others like you in public.
Also, you feel like you are facing these challenges all by yourself. I believe that a problem shared is a problem half-solved and I felt the need to connect to others who were going through a similar journey.
One Step at a Time, OSAAT, started as a support group in mid-2015, where a group of people with physical disabilities met in the city and connected with each other. We shared tips and resources on living with a disability. This was a great help, and it really made a difference to the lives of many.
But I also felt that there was more to do. There were a common set of challenges that PwDs face in India, that limit our full participation in life - social stigma, , inaccessible infrastructure, trouble finding love, lack of fitness, rehabilitation and leisure facilities, and job discrimination.
These challenges were areas where I felt an organization could bring in lasting change. So, OSAAT the non-profit, was formed in mid-2016.
In less than a year, we have held advocacy projects to create accessible tourism in Kerala, accessible entertainment for people with disabilities and accessible courts.
In dance and fitness, we have held classes and workshops. We have also done dance performances to spread disability awareness.
About the Writer
Hema Subhash is the founder and director of One step at a Time, an amputee mom and continuous learner.