The value of things is known the most when we have difficulty getting them. Often things which are taken for granted by one set of people make life of another set of people very miserable. But, the former set of people is the majority and hence the minority suffer. This applies very well to the disabled people. The regular society access that we have, we feel it is the best and it doesn’t have any drawbacks, but in the true essence, most of it not accessible easily for the People with Disabilities (PwD). Just think of the beach road of Vizag, probably the most accessed place of recreation in Vizag. We feel it’s very accessible to us. Now think of the same from the perspective of people in a wheel chair. Is it really accessible to them? Can they go on their own from The Park side of the beach road to the Kali Temple side, without any assistance? I am sure they can’t. This has to change. We might not be able to make each and every building accessible to them, but at least our public places and government buildings should be made accessible to them. It is only then that we will be able to prove to them and to the world that we care for them.
Recently our Director, Ms. Vani Gannamani, interacted with a group of PwDs from Sampoorna organization. Here are a few of the points they mentioned, where in they have difficulty:
Cattle Traps – these are often placed at the entrances and exits of colonies, to avoid entry of cattle into the colony. But, these things are a major hurdle for PwDs as well as aged people. Their canes and crutches slip off and cause a problem. The probable solution is to provide ample space at one side for their entry.
Steep Slopes of Apartments – In order to save space inside the apartment, we make steep slopes for entrance. While this seems to be a good solution to us, it makes the whole building difficult to access for PwDs. This should be taken care of at all government buildings.
Speed Breakers – The PwDs doesn’t have much difficulty in crossing a single speed breaker, but multiple speed breakers is very difficult for them to cross. The wheel chair gets stuck in them and it becomes very difficult to cross it.
Bathroom Commodes – Western Commodes are easily accessible to PwDs that Indian Commodes
Door Bells and Gate latches – often we put our doorbells and gate latches at around 5-6 ft high so that it is only accessible to adults. But, while making it in accessible to children, we forget that we also make it inaccessible to PwDs also.
These are just a few things shared by the people at Sampoorna. If we delve deeper and see the world through their perspective, we will get to know more difficulties they face, and eventually we can make Vizag a disabled friendly country, and set an example for other cities in India to follow us.
The Govt. of India has come up with Accessible India Campaign, where in different cities selected form different states will be making changes to their infrastructure making it disabled friendly. The campaign didn’t reach public as much as the other campaign, I just hope it reaches more people and we succeed in creating/changing communities and cities into disabled friendly very soon.
Sampoorna is a self-sustainable organization. The PwDs present their make candles, diyas, bags etc and it runs solely on the profit generated from their products. If anyone is interested to know more about their products or buy any of them please contact them at 9959 151 666 or 9000 990 185