Swarga Foundation launches sixth edition of ‘I’am Special’ calendar featuring people with disabilities
Coimbatore-based NGO Swarga Foundation launched this year’s edition of their calendar ‘I’am Special’ featuring models with disabilities from different walks of life. A virtual launch of the calendar was held on 3 October.
Over years, people with disabilities have been sidelined when it comes active participation in mainstream activities. Attitudes of society towards disabled people are slowly changing now. There is better awareness about inclusion too. Coimbatore-based NGO Swarga Foundation that works towards empowering disabled people is making it stronger. They recently launched the sixth edition of their calendar ‘Iam Special’ for the year 2021. In a virtual launch event held on 3 October, people from different walks of life participated.
Swarga Foundation, empowering disabled people since 2014
Swarga Foundation, brainchild of Swarnalatha J, was founded in the year 2014. Swarnalatha, who is a wheelchair user, is an active social worker who works closely with the disabled community.
Over years, the NGO has been instrumental in empowering the disabled community by introducing scholarships, educational programs and even handling medical expenses for those in need. Swarga Foundation has also promoted para-sports. Through their various activities, thousands of disabled people have benefitted.
Swarnalatha and her team has ensured that they work towards accessibility as well.
‘I’am Special’, celebrating inclusion
The team comes up with the ‘I’am Special’ calendar towards the end of every year. The calendar features people with determination who have achieved laurels in national and international forums to become youth icons.
According to team at Swarga, this endeavor helps to bring about awareness. Society needs to be inclusive and must appreciate abilities rather than focus on the physical disability of a person.
160 applicants had applied out of which 20 were shortlisted as finalists. Out of this, 12 were selected by a six member jury panel from across India.
Prateel Khandelwal, Venkatachalam, Pranav Bakshi, Dr Sai Kaustav Dasgupta, Satendra Singh Lohiya, Tinkesh Kaushik, Prathishtha Deveshwar, Divya Sharma, Virali Modi, Swarnalatha J, Nishtha Dudeja and Priya Bhargava are the talented personalities who featured in the ‘I’am Special’ calendar this year.
Much appreciated initiative
“There is much being done by this minority community across the world to whom society needs to look up to with inspiration. That is what the calendar focusses on. The fact that a pandemic did not deter them from participating for the event must be appreciated”, says Dinesh Kumar, active volunteer with Swarga Foundation.
“I liked the concept in which Swarga Foundation publishes pictures of people with disabilities who have achieved something in different fields along with a small write-up about them. Every year, they come up with different concepts, but what remains the same is their focus on the disabled community. I have been a muse to a few organizations before. This time, I wanted to have a picture with a different pose without sitting on a wheelchair. I explored it and I did enjoy it too! I hope this will open some more ventures for people with disabilities in future, especially in fashion and modelling industry”, says Priya Bhargava, one amongst those who was featured.
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