Thousands of people gather at India Gate in New Delhi for World Disability Day celebrations
People with and without disabilities gathered at India Gate in New Delhi to celebrate World Disability Day. The event was organised by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) along with American India Foundation (AIF).
The historic India Gate was the venue of the 2019 World Disability Day celebrations. The event was organised by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and the American India Foundation (AIF).
The event ended with a Walk to Freedom. The walk was supported by National Association of the Deaf, Disability Rights Group, Disabled People’s International and Volunteers for the Blind.
We are One, a dance group made up of people with and without disabilities, performed for the audience. This was followed by a show by students of NGO Muskaan. Blind student Diwakar Sharma entertained the audience with his songs and Arushi from the National Thalassemia Welfare Society gave a beautiful kathak performance.
A S Narayanan, President, National Association of the Deaf spoke about the need to push for the inclusion of Indian Sign Language. “Indian Sign Language should be recognised as the 23rd official language of India. We have sent petitions to the Ministry demanding an amendment in the Constitution to include Indian Sign Language as a mandate”.
Accessibility remains a challenge
The theme for 2019 is The Future is Accessible, a call to prioritise equity and accessibility.
We are just around the corner from the third anniversary of the enactment of the RPWD Act. Yet, people with disabilities face discrimination. They do not have access to fundamental rights. Accessibility remains the biggest hurdle. There is a lot of noise around disability, it is yet to get its rightful place in the development space. If the future needs to be accessible, we should ensure that we are leaving no one behind. – Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People
Mathew Joseph, Country Director, AIF talked about the need for an attitude change. “Ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities means more than building ramps and accessible restrooms. It calls for a change in basic attitudes. Small initiatives that can make a difference on the ground need to be started now, so that we can make the change happen. Only when people with disabilities can live their lives free of unjust barriers, will the work be done”.
The event ended with the release of yellow and blue balloons. These are the international colours of disability and symbolise freedom.