People’s Action for Rural Awakening in collaboration with CHAI-LF organised the “We Ring the Bell” campaign across two Telugu States Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on March 13, 2019. Around 1,000 people, including head masters, teachers, PARA staff and differently-abed children and committee members actively participated.
On the occasion, Community-based Rehabilitation worker B Mahima Rao underlined that 9 out of 10 children with a disability were dropping out of schools due to lack of minimum facilities for their condition and hence are left behind at home. He added that it was time for everybody to come together and draw the attention of government towards the problems faced by differently-abled children at schools by sounding the alarm bell.
Lauding the services of PARA, Teacher Murali said that there were two differently-abled students in their school who attend the school without a miss. On the occasion, he asked if PARA staff could help to provide a wheelchair to Sajeev Rao, a student of the school.
Shouting slogans that they need schools to be differently-abled-friendly, the children indicated 10 action points that persons with disabilities need to facilitate their education. These included ramps, restrooms, transport facility, good guidance, and so on. To show their solidarity, teachers, committee members and others observed the occasion by signing the manifesto, and joined the children in shouting slogans, blowing whistles and waving pom-poms.
On December 10, 2018, 70th International Human Rights Day was celebrated at Chinthaluru village in Alamuru Mandal of East Godavari District in a very special way. The village president, G. Venkata Narayana Murthy and others observed Differently-Abled People’s Day to understand their rights as people with disabilities.
The programme was animated by Ms. Subbayamma, Liliane Fonds Project Coordinator at PARA, Ravulapalem. She began with a discussion on the etymology of the word differently able. Earlier the word handicapped was being used. This word originated in the late 15th century. King Henry VII of England had asked the disabled veterans to make a living with their ‘cap in hand’, begging for coins. Today the situation has changed. We look at people from a rights perspective. We are not depending on the mercies of the rulers or anyone else. Every citizen has a set of rights which others need to respect. The so-called handicapped, were first seen as those who are disabled, then as physically or mentally challenged, and now as those with different abilities. Now in India, we refer to them as Divyang.
The project coordinator took the opportunity to create awareness on government schemes for differently-abled people and also how they could avail them online. The Mandal Self Help Groups Assistant Programme Manager who was also present, informed the gathering that they could form group of 10 people and save some money, unlike others who need to have 30 members in a group. Once the group was formed the members have the right to receive loans from the government. The village president G Venkata Narayana Murthy, a Divyang, promised that he would do everything in his capacities to help the differently-abled people in the mandal.
Around 35 differently-abled persons participated in the event. The day brought great joy to the group and their families to see life from a very positive and hope-filled perspective. Kudos to the organisers of this unique event.