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Saturday, 5 April 2014

'Disabled continue to face obstacles accessing resources' : New Delhi

Physically challenged people, whose population is estimated at 70 million in the country, continue to face obstacles in accessing resources at school, colleges and work places, according to experts.

"Less than one per cent children attending schools in India are disabled, and they drop out more frequently due to lack of infrastructure," says Javed Abidi, of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

Over the past two decades, especially after the passage of the Disability Act of 1995, opportunities such as education and employment have opened up for the people with disabilities.

However, Abidi points out that despite implementation of several schemes for the disabled students, there has not been a single school constructed in the capital for the last ten years, which is disabled friendly.

"Not even a single government school is accessible to them. Even if a school gives them admission, then how will the child survive the classroom? The schools and colleges are open to them, but not accessible. What's the use?"

Abidi was participating in second edition of the National Convention for Youth with Disabilities held here recently.

The consultation witnessed participation of over 50 young people with disabilities from around 33 institutions including the IITs, Benaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University and University of Hyderabad addressing day-to-day problems encountered at their work places.

While some participants felt that accessibility continues to remain an issue in schools more than the colleges or work places, others differed saying that the "quality of training and its implementation" takes an upper hand.

"The problem is the quality training. If there is no proper training. A typical college does not have all the tools for accessibility," says Amarjay a visually challenged lawyer based out of Mumbai.

"I think the best way to counter it is to equip schools and colleges with support teams. There are libraries on the nth floor, but no lift. There are pavements but no planks. They must understand that we don't need their support 24x7, but just need their assistance somewhere in the backdrop," he says.

Source : Business Standard , 2nd April 2014

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