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How would I want to see disability organizations in India? – a personal prospective

Last updated on August 26, 2020

Disclaimer: Views expressed on this post are of my personal and does not reflect views of my employer and do not intend to hurt anyone.

Update: Although, still there are many organizations who need to improve way they function, it’s heartening to see there are several organizations that are putting in great efforts in spite of pendamic situation of COVID-19. Many organizations are leveraging on technology and doing their best to empower people with disabilities. There are a lot of innovations taking place by organization. For example, The National Association for the Blind, India have published videos about how one can offer support to people with vision impairment keeping social distance in mind. NAB Delhi hosted series of webinars on variety of innovative topics. Deeksuchi for Persons with Disabilities are hosting webinars to aid students with disabilities introducing various career opportunities. Many more organizations are doing wonderful initiatives despite they are struggling to meet saliries of their employees. While some organizations are unfortunately given a paid holiday to their employees just because their employees are resistant to accept new normal.

In general, disability organizations play an innovative role in the rehabilitation process of persons with disabilities. Let’s analyze the situations for last two decades.

Early 90’s there was almost no awareness towards disability and when someone see a disability, they just show sympathy towards them and go away. Lately, a few organizations started working to rehabilitate people with disabilities by providing self employment activities such as re-caning of the chairs, candle making etc. Late 90’s a few organizations started teaching how to use Coputers with assistive technologies such as screen readers but at a very basic level such as word processing. Then the problem was where to get employment for them. Those days, I have seen many companies who didn’t even let people with disabilities appear for the interview. Seen so circumstances, where people called in for interview, but actually, when they reach respective office, they have been sent back by security personnel by saying “you are blind, you cannot attend an interview”.

I must say, 2000 onwards there is a rapid development in the araa of technology and there’s almost nothing that a person with disability cannot do. They can write software, work in banking sector, corporate industry, education sector and you name it, they work on it. Even there is a blind person who is a pilot, there are people with mobility impairment, who design fantastic graphics, there are blind people who does the photography. What more, people who are deaf blind uses computer… What a rapid development.

On the other side, the problem is that in spite having enough technology that a person with disability can work with the integral community, most of the office infrastructure and intranet is not accessible. Hence, many people do not get jobs that they can actually perform.

In my humble opinion, it’s the responsibility of all of us including the disability organizations to create awareness about accessibility and assistive technologies. This is the space where NGOs need to be more active and desciminate information about accessibility and keep track of the progress. For instance, National Federation of the Blind does a fantastic work in this space where they go and sensitize companies towards accessibility and as well they file law suits on issues related to accessibility.

So folks, this is what kind of NGOs I would like to see in India! I want organizations to move on from the history and run main stream activities.

Can I see this change? comments welcome.

Srinivasu is an accessibility evangelist with 16+ years of experience. Currently works as Senior Accessibility Program Manager at Watermark. Previousely held several positions at companies like BarrierBreak, Yahoo, PayPal, Deque, HCL etc., He believes in the teachings of Shri. Adi Sankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda. He is also Founder of ServeOM Inclusion - a platform to pormote accessibility.

One Comment

  1. Nice in-depth point of view. Actually, it’s not just the job of NGO’s but the big corp.’s too should support the great cause.

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