‘Disabled people are givers too’. – Powerful message from disability groups during Daan Utsav
Daan Utsav, the annual festival of giving is here. Among the highlights of 2020 is that disability groups are leading many initiatives to give back to the larger community.
We all could do with some Pyaar Bhari Gupshup in these anxiety-filled times. And no one needs warm and loving conversations more than elderly people who are hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown.
Warmth, love and music is what the Blind Graduates Forum of India (BGFI) is offering through the month of October. BGFI, which works to empower people who are blind and low vision, is holding online interactions every weekend called Pyaar Bhari Gupshup. This is being done in partnership with homes for the elderly in New Delhi and Mumbai.
The first interaction was held on 4 October with three old age homes .The series is coinciding with the ongoing festival of giving, Daan Utsav.
Sharing love with the most vulnerable
“At BGFI, we not only believe in empowering persons with disabilities, but are strongly committed to give something back to the society at large which has empowered us”, says Turab Chimthanwala, a visually impaired company secretary.
We regularly conduct events where we felicitate readers and writers for their contribution towards empowering people with vision impairments. Like that we want to do some activities for elderly to respect the older generation who supported us when we were young. The main aim is to challenge the perception that disabled people are takers, not givers.- Turab Chimthanwala, Member, Blind Graduates Forum of India
From musical performances to just regular conversations where people get to know each other, these online sessions promise to bring cheer and companionship. A group of eight to 10 BGFI members have come together to conduct them.
A similar initiative is being organised in Vasai outside Mumbai the NGO Vasaicha Raja.
Spotlight on real heroes
“When you put the TV on, you are always seeing celebrities being projected for doing social causes”, says Rahul Bhandarkar, Founder, Vaisaicha Raja. His team plans to put the spotlight on everyday heroes who go about doing their work quietly.
“There is a senior citizen who is actively promoting organ donation in the community, addressing the taboos around it”, explains Rahul. “Another senior citizen has been going to people’s homes collecting face masks and disposing them off safely. These are the stories we want to share in our online sessions”.
The sessions are conducted a team of senior citizens and visually impaired people on Zoom. “They will share their perspectives with their different groups and people can share questions in advance”, says Rahul.
Such interactions are the only way to change stereotypes,believes Rahul. “They will understand that disabled people are not looking for handouts or sympathy but are standing on their feet, just like everyone else”.
“We can give too”, that’s the message going out”, says Turab. “We can give and more importantly, are willing to give”.
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