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On World Cerebral Palsy Day, ADAPT honours achievements of people with CP & their families

Every year, since 2012, the ADAPT Achievement Awards honour people with cerebral palsy across a range of fields. The theme of this year's awards was 'Together we are ChamPions' and were given to people from across India.

People with cerebral palsy share the same dreams, hopes, and aspirations like everyone else. The motor disorder makes communication and mobility harder for them, but they are as capable as everyone else, if not more. The annual ADAPT Achievement Awards is a powerful reminder of that.

Instituted in 2012, the awards recognise the efforts of people and families who have overcome the challenges of living with cerebral palsy to become achievers in their respective fields. These are presented on the occasion of World Cerebral Palsy (WCP) Day, a global event to increase awareness about cerebral palsy.

The theme of the 2019 ADAPT Achievement Awards, was 'Together we are ChamPions" and they were given to achievers with cerebral palsy from across India. The hallmark of this year's ceremony was the lighting up of the Bandra Worli Sea Link in green, which is the colour associated with cerebral palsy.

The awards are across three categories - Individuals with cerebral palsy, organisations who work for people with cerebral palsy and people without disability who have contributed and supported to enhance the quality of life of people with cerebral palsy. There were 40 applicants and the jury this year had experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.

Among the 2019 winners in the field of academics is Shorya Sood, a political science student from Delhi University (DU) and activist, who made a powerful call to action on stage calling upon the audience, "Don't let others define you".

The roll call of achievers this year is:

  • Shorya Sood - Activist.
  • Vinayana Khurana - Poet and activist.
  • Anushka - Second year student in Delhi.
  • Pramod Patel - Actor, dancer and founder of disability non-profit.
  • Rohit Jain - Motivational speaker and para sportsperson.
  • Ramakrishna - Artist who paints with his feet.
  • Om Vyas - Record holder for knowledge of shlokas.
  • Shree Bidada Sarvodya Trust - Kutch-based NGO that provides subsidised healthcare services to people with disabilities.
  • Tamahar Trust - For services to children with cerebral palsy.
  • Mrinal Shah - A teacher with cerebral palsy who works with children with cerebral palsy.
  • Alexander Goundar - For supporting his mother in the upbringing of his sister with cerebral palsy.

Awardee Vinayana said the award made her feel proud. "This award encourages me a lot to keep on fighting throughout my life. Receiving an award on the occasion of World CP Day, motivates me and encourages to be successful in my life".

A multiple disability, there are nearly one million people living with cerebral palsy in India. Dr Mithu Alur, Founder-Chairperson, ADAPT, formerly The Spastics Society of India pioneered services for people with cerebral palsy in India as she believed that people with multiple disability can be educated and become contributing members to society. The models set up by Dr Alur have been replicated across India.

While she is happy with the increasing focus on inclusion especially at the workplace, Dr Alur hopes there is a need for more emphasis on implementation.

There is not enough proper training. I have introduced selective training selective placement for inclusive employment a new term I have introduced. The main barriers are the lack of training, parents themselves not wanting employment, and companies not having disability as part of their CSR policy. Although the government's manual on CSR mandate has included disability in every company's policy, that 2-5% must be taken, companies have not positioned disabled people as part of their policy mandate. There is no inspection or punitive action and no accountability". - Dr Mithu Alur, Founder-Chairperson, ADAPT

Another major shortfall is the lack of accessible facilities like disabled-friendly toilets, ramps, and above all a change in attitudes, adds Dr Alur.

There were performances by people with disabilities at the event as well with a wheelchair dance presented by well-known author-activist Malini Chib, who is also the Chair-Trustee of the ADAPT Rights Group.

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