Wheelchair users in Bengaluru come out to raise disability awareness
On 1 March, celebrated as International Wheelchair Day, 300 people in Bengaluru held a rally. Out of this, 70 of them were wheelchair users. The rally was held from Queen’s Statue to Cubbon Park metro station. The event was aimed to raise awareness about disabilities and urge for an accessible Bengaluru city.
1 March was celebrated as International Wheelchair Day. Even today, wheelchair users across India struggle to move around independently due to lack of accessible and disabled friendly public spaces. In spite of the central government introducing ‘Accessible India’ campaign, nothing substantial has been done till date. Last Sunday, over 300 people, out of which almost 70 were wheelchair users, participated in an awareness event. They held a wheelchair rally from Queen’s Statue to Cubbon Park metro station to raise disability awareness and need for an accessible Bengaluru city.
Celebrating International Wheelchair Day
The event was organized by Special Educators and Rehab Professionals Association (SERPA). The event was flagged off by wheelchair user Padmashree Malathi K Holla. Malathi is an active disability rights activist from Karnataka. She highlighted on the importance of inclusion and having accessible places. Wheelchair users from Bengaluru and nearby districts participated in the event.
Uma Hrishi from SERPA told the Times of India, “Creating awareness and accepting disabled people in our midst are the first steps towards making public places more accessible. It is essential to ensure that offices, schools, roads, buses, footpaths etc are accessible for disabled people. Such places pose a huge accessibility problem for the wheelchair bound”.
The urgent need for accessibility
In order for wheelchair users to become part of mainstream society, places must be made disabled friendly. Moreover, society must change their attitudes towards disabled people. By participating in the rally, wheelchair users wanted to spread this message.
Dileep Kumar Gowda, a wheelchair user and para tennis player says that such rallies are important to spread the right messages.
“I feel most of the places are accessible to a large extent. But there is still a long way to go. For instance, Bengaluru metro is disabled friendly and wheelchair users can travel independently. But what about other public transport systems like our buses? There is no awareness about disabilities amongst concerned officials too”, says Dilip.
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