#InclusionChamps – Award will motivate disabled people to come to the forefront, says M Karpagam, Winner, Javed Abidi Public Policy Award 2020
The NCPEDP – Mphasis Javed Abidi Public Policy Awards for Universal Design recognise those who are carrying forward the legacy of the late disability rights leader. Among the two winners of the 2020 award is M Karpagam, the first visually impaired woman lawyer in the Madras High Court.
As a woman with disability, M Karpagam has faced many barriers from childhood. That has honed the activist in her.
From fighting for greater accessibility in temples in Tamil Nadu to spearheading the launch of Chennai’s first sign language only restaurant, Karpagam’s activism is a combination of a do or die spirit and empathy. Qualities she shares with Javed Abidi, the late disability rights leader.
Which makes it fitting that M Karpagam has been honoured with the Javed Abidi Public Policy Award for 2020. As the first visually impaired female lawyer in Madras High Court, Karpagam cuts an inspiring figure for people, especially women, with disabilities in India.
Outstanding academic record
I am really happy and overwhelmed to receive the award. The award will be a morale booster to face more challenges and reach new heights. This recognition will surely motivate me and many people with disabilities to claim their rightful position in the society and come to the forefront. – M Karpagam, Winner, NCPEDP–Mphasis Javed Abidi Public Policy Awards
Karpagam says her journey to becoming an empowered person with disability has been possible due to her family, which has supported her throughout. Her mentor, R Prabhakaran, Chair, Pravda Associates, with whom she works closely, has also played a major role in guiding her.
Founder of NGO for disabled
When she is not arguing in court, Karpagam is busy with Voice for the Voiceless Indian People (VVIP) Foundation, an organisation she started to help disabled people from marginalised backgrounds.
“We started VVIP foundation with a motto called 6E – Empathy, Education, Employment, Empowerment, Enlightenment and Equality”, she says. “I want to work towards achieving the above goals particularly in the sphere of disability. My aim is to realise the rights of disabled people though advocacy and litigation”.
Watch in Sign Language
- M Karpagam, a visually impaired lawyer at Madras High Court, is known for her keen focus & fighting spirit
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