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Monday, 30 June 2014


Source :  Indian Railways

Police distributes cricket kits among specially-abled youth : SRINAGAR

District police Srinagar today organized a function at district police lines Srinagar for distribution of cricket kits and other accessories among the members of J and K cricket association of the deaf.

Inspector General of Police A.G. Mir was the chief guest on the occasion.

While addressing the gathering through a speech interpreter, the IGP said that the specially-abled students have shown that despite many difficulties, “we can fulfill our dreams.”

He said, “These students present here have shown a way to all the youth that if we work hard, we can achieve whatever we wish.”

He said that by their achievements in studies and sports, the specially-abled youth have become torch bearers for all the young population.

The IGP latter interacted with the members of the association and took keen interest in knowing about the studies, professions and sports engagements.

Sports kits worth Rs 1.5 lakh were distributed among the association members.

It is pertinent to mention that J and K cricket association of the deaf has about 150 members across the valley. Some members are professionals while most of them are students studying in colleges across valley. 

Source : Rising Kashmir , 28th June 2014

No turning deaf ears to childrens' hearing problems - Bangalore

This 29-year-old entrepreneur’s invention could well revolutionise the diagnosis of hearing problems in newborns.
There are 26 million newborns in the country each year and early detection of hearing problems is key to preventing them.

Neeti Kailas has devised ‘Hearing Screen Device,’ which is five times cheaper than those available in the market (which cost above Rs 29,000 a piece).

She has bagged the prestigious Rolex award for the invention.

“It is ideal that the examination is done within six months of a child’s birth. With the new device, this is possible,” she told Deccan Herald. 

This entrepreneur from Chennai has a Bangalore-based laboratory called Sohum Innovation Lab.

She works on various other projects that involve ensuring minimal cost healthcare, along with her co-founder Nitin Sisodia.

Kailas said that her motive to create affordable healthcare for all sparked the idea for creating the device.

“In counties like the UK and US, screening happens at an early stage. Here, with the cost factor coming to the fore, neonatal care takes a back step,” she said. In most cases, it is too late by the time the disability is identified, Kailas said.

The device is likely to be a boon in Indian conditions as it has an inbuilt feature that can filter out the ambience sound, thus making it easy to use it even in noisy places.

The device picks up signals from the brain and helps detect hearing problems in newborns. It is portable and does not require expertise to be handled.

“It is a user-friendly device. With very little training, a person can use it,” Kailas said.

The researchers have partnered with AIIMS, New Delhi, St Johns Medical College, Bangalore, Manipal University and other institutions for the  project. “We will soon have clinical trials. 

Source : Deccan Herald , 28th June 2014

Govt non-serious; committee yet to be constituted - Hike in old age pension : JAMMU

The state government has failed to meet the assurance of increasing the monthly pension of old aged, widows and disabled persons given on the floor of the house during last budget session.

Sharing the concern of the members that needy people are getting meager pension in the present time of high inflation, the Minster for Higher Education, Muhammad Akbar Lone, on the behalf of Minster for Social Welfare, Sakina Itoo, had assured the Legislative Assembly (LA) that a departmental committee would be constituted to explore feasibility for enhancing financial assistance to old-aged, widows and disabled persons and report would be submitted in the next session.

The government assurance had come after CPI-M legislator M Y Targami decided to press the private member resolution seeking increase in the financial assistance to the widows, old-aged people and other persons.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Minister for Social Welfare claimed that a departmental committee constituted earlier has already examined the financial implications for enhancing pensions.

However, she said that the state government doesn’t have funds to enhance the pensions immediately.

“Main component of various types of pensions disbursed through social welfare department is given by Government of India (GOI). We took the issue with the Centre to enhance the funds several times but they did not give any response,” she claimed and added that the state government will submit a revised proposal shortly. 

Source : Greater kashmir , 30th June 2014

Buds school making strides : KHIZAKKAMBALAM

At a time, when some BUDS special schools across the state are facing a crisis, the one under Kizhakkambalam panchayat has gone an extra mile by introducing ‘Speech Therapy’. It is the first buds school among  31 buds schools registered under People with Disabilities Act in the state to introduce speech therapy.

Buds special school at Kizhakkambalam panchayat | Express

              Buds special school at Kizhakkambalam panchayat

 BUDS special school for the mentally challenged is a prominent venture of the Kudumbashree, set up on the basis of community surveys and health assessment done by local governments. The children who learn here battle with disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and speech impairments due to cleft palates.

Merly Thomas, Principal in-charge, said that most students suffer from speech disability and they were in dire need of a speech therapist. “It is difficult to find a good hand as there is a dearth of speech therapists,” she said. It has been a few months since they introduced speech therapy in the school. The speech therapist tutors students twice a week. The school got a grant so `4 lakh the previous year and this year, they received `5 lakh.

The quality of education imparted here draws students from nearby panchayats especially Edathala panchayat to undergo training. “The special schools functioning in nearby areas are run by private managements and the fee is not affordable. Most mentally and physically challenged children in the panchayat belong to the lower strata of society,” Merly Thomas said. 

She said three of their students have successfully completed fourth equivalency examination. “Many have found a suitable vocation and are earning a living,” she said. 

But she said shortage of vehicles was a big hurdle. Since the vehicle has to cover a large area, it has to start early but returns late. “We have only one vehicle to fetch students. The bus which leaves at 8.15 am returns at 10 am which is a bit late. It would helpful if someone sponsors a vehicle,” she said.

Source : The New Indian Express , 30th June 2014

Braille library to cater to over 10,000 : NASHIK

Marathi litterateur Kavita Mahajan inaugurated the library for the blind in the city on Friday on the occasion of the birth anniversary Helen Keller.

Also present on the occasion were Balasaheb Joshi, former district governor of Rotary Club, Ramesh Meher, president of Rotary Nashik (West) and Megha Pawaskar, a senior member of the National Association of the Blind (NAB).

The library, which has around 500 books by various authors and poets in Braille, has been set up at the NAB office in the Satpur MIDC area in joint association with Rotary Club of Nashik (West). The Rotary Club has sponsored books worth Rs 1 lakh. 

Source : TOI , 28th June 2014

A plea from a hapless pedestrian

Dear SUV man:
You have a very nice and sturdy vehicle. I’ve hardly seen a finer automobile ever before. And I’m certain you take a great deal of care of this magnificent vehicle you own. Not a spot on it would escape your Aviator-clad eyes.

However, what your eyes fail to see is … me. Standing five feet and a few inches tall, I do not make for a striking figure. But yes, I’m tall enough to be visible, unless the beholder is blind. Blind, you surely are not. But what puzzles me is how you manage to almost knock me down on the road every alternate day, despite my walking only when the lights for me go green and yours, red. Agreed, you own a mean machine, but you are no Nico Rosberg, and the road you drive on, is not a Buddh International Circuit track.

I concede I’m a novice on the roads of your beautiful city, but I’m sure the traffic rules that were taught to you and me in kindergarten are the same and still hold true. Maybe you need a little refresher course, so I suggest you go read up some traffic rule handbook. Or if that is too much trouble, then keep a lawyer on your speed-dial, because some day your driving is going to end up causing me some serious harm and inviting a police case and lawsuit against you.

I humbly pray thee to take some time and think over what I’ve said, before you settle into that driver’s seat ever again.

Yours faithfully,

Innocent Pedestrian 

Source  : The Hindu , 29th June 2014  

Human Trafficing of the Mentally and Physically Disabled Peoples

There are few facets of human trafficking that are more desperately evil than the exploitation of the mentally and physically disabled. It has been a subject that we have touched on at COH before. But since that time there have been numerous documented cases of the trafficking of disabled persons. Whether this is a testament to the added scrutiny from governmental and non-governmental agencies in chronicling the phenomena or it is the rate at which these truly vulnerable people are being exploited, is not clear. What is painfully clear is this is one of the most gut-wrenching, cruel and horrific injustices in the world today.

In the 2012 T.I.P. report the US State Department outlines the issue this way:

"This Report includes recent reports of the abuse of deaf domestic workers in the United Kingdom, addicts forced to labor in fields in the United States, people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities enslaved in Chinese kilns, and persons with developmental disabilities forced to work as peddlers on the streets of India. Persons with disabilities remain one of the groups most at risk of being trafficked. Due to disability-based discrimination and exclusion common in many places, however, governments often ignore this risk factor or fail to make provisions for persons with disabilities as part of anti-trafficking efforts.

The stigma and marginalization of a person with disabilities creates a particular vulnerability. For example, parents who see no hope of jobs or marriage for their disabled children may place those children in exploitative situations with the intent of shedding a “burden” or seeking income. Where schools fail to accommodate students with disabilities, high drop-out rates leave them on the streets and at much higher risk of being trafficked in forced begging or other criminal activities. The commonly held view that persons with disabilities are not sexually active increases the risk of sex trafficking for persons with disabilities, especially disabled women and girls. For example, a Global HIV/AIDS survey conducted by the World Bank and Yale University showed that women and girls with disabilities were assumed to be virgins and thus targeted for forced sex, including by HIV-positive individuals who believed that having sex with a virgin would cure them.

Societal barriers limit the access of persons with disabilities to systems of justice. Lack of training of police, prosecutors, and judges on how to accommodate persons with disabilities (through, for example, sign language interpreters, plain language, and physical access) can leave victims with disabilities unable to provide effective statements and report the abuse they have endured. Laws expressly prohibiting people with disabilities from being witnesses, especially those who are blind, deaf, or have mental or developmental disabilities, leave such victims excluded from processes that should provide them with redress. Even when the justice system is not to blame, societal prejudices that devalue or discount the experiences of persons with disabilities can mean that their evidence is given less weight, and that sentences given to perpetrators may be lower than comparable cases where non-disabled people are the victims. This exclusion of persons with disabilities from the justice system in turn contributes to their being targeted by traffickers, who might assume that such victims will be less likely to raise an alarm or seek help."

In 2011 Newsline online reported "a 20-year-old disabled man Sajad Chadar was rescued by the Khairpur police as he was being kidnapped. Chadar was the victim of a gang involved in the abduction of individuals with disabilities for purposes of trafficking to Iran and other Gulf countries where they are forced into beggary." What police found was over two hundred disabled and child trafficking victims.

 Sajad Chadar, 20, abducted from Pakistan and forced to beg in Iran.
Mujahid Shaikh, a 25-year-old disabled man was also trafficked to Iran, but managed to return to Pakistan. He recounted for police “The kidnappers are ruthless; ...[t]here are hundreds of people with disabilities, including children, living in the custody of Kashmir Jafri in Iran."

The article goes on to state: "Shockingly, often the very people who are ostensibly the caregivers of the handicapped victims are themselves guilty of complicity in their ordeal. There is a standard modus operandus. After a disabled candidate has been identified – usually hailing from an impoverished family – the trafficker will develop a link with his parents or guardian, and entice them to partner with him in a business enterprise involving their son/charge. He offers them money – that too in advance – for their compliance."

In 2009 Chinese authorities arrested 10 men for trafficking 32 individuals with physical disabilities and forcing them to work in brick kilns in the Anhui province. (2010 T.I.P. Report) "The report echoes a major scandal in 2007, when Chinese media found least 1,000 people forced to work as slaves in brick kilns in Shanxi province, following a father''s desperate search for his missing teenage son. Many of the brick kiln slaves were mentally handicapped people, some of whom were so confused they did not know where they had come from, media reported at the time." (DNA)

UNICEF reports, “[s]ocial beliefs about disability include the fear that disability is associated with evil, witchcraft or infidelity, which serve to entrench the marginalization of disabled people”  As a result, these children wind up in orphanages where they are much more susceptible to violence. Women and girls with disabilities are especially vulnerable to physical and sexual violence which puts them in danger of unplanned pregnancies due to sexual exploitation.

A child who requires assistance with washing, dressing and other intimate care activities may be particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. Perpetrators can include caretakers, attendants, family members, peers or anyone who enjoys a position of trust and power (UNICEF, 2007).

Not only are disabled children dumped off into the system and stripped of their inalienable human rights, but as they grow up they are blacklisted from employment. (UNIAP, 2007).  In Cornell University’s 2007 Disability Status Report, they show that the employment gap between individuals with and without disabilities is 42.8%, in the United States alone (Baker, 2008). This enormous gap in employment exacerbates the vulnerability of poverty that these individuals experience by denying them access to a self-sustaining life with gainful employment. (

Along with superstition, religious pretense has often been used as a justification for exploitation. In India the devadasi are young girls given to the temple of the goddess Yellamma to serve as sex slaves. The disabled fall victim to similar practices of religious exploitation.

"Outside a Muslim shrine in a dusty Pakistani city, a "rat woman" with a tiny head sits on a filthy mattress and takes money from worshipers who cling to an ancient fertility rite.  Nadia, 25, is one of hundreds of young microcephalics -- people born with small skulls and protruding noses and ears because of a genetic mutation -- who can be found on the streets of Gujrat, in central Punjab province.  Officials say many of them have been sold off by their families to begging mafias, who exploit a tradition that the "rat children" are sacred offerings to Shah Daula, the shrine's 17th century Sufi saint.

Nadia, 25, and a microcephalic, seen here in July 2008, sits outside the Shah Daula's shrine in Gujrat, in central Punjab province. Nadia was just a young child when she was dumped at the shrine 20 years ago in the dead of the night. Her parents were never traced. (

In Danny Boyle's movie Slumdog Millionaire criminals take homeless children and force them to beg. And to add to the sympathy factor some of the children are forcibly blinded. This fictional account resembles all to closely the reality and embodiment of the philosophy behind the trafficking of persons into forced begging. A child or homeless person may elicit certain sympathies and a few pennies from a stranger but add to that dynamic a disability and the sympathy and spare change grow.

In her book Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name author Iveta Cherneva states that in forced begging situations a handicapped child earns three times more than a healthy child. A survey by the Stop Child Begging Project in Thailand found that disabled children earn as much as 1000 baht a day, as opposed to a healthy child beggar who earns 300 baht a day. Well over 3 times as much.

While forced begging makes up a large percentage of the exploitation the disabled face around the world, sex-trafficking is also a very real, deeply disturbing reality for persons with disabilities. 

In a sex slavery case that U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips called "among the most horrific ever prosecuted". Four Missouri men who paid a fifth man to either watch him torture a mentally disabled woman online or torture her themselves; sexual and physical torture that lasted five years, until one of her abusers induced a heart attack while suffocating and electrically shocking her on Feb. 27, 2009. It is deeply disturbing and NOT for the weak at heart. And reveals that the victim was 16 at the time her abuse began.

This March another Missouri man pled guilty to sex trafficking two women into prostitution, including a mentally disabled woman. Federal prosecutors say 26-year-old Carl Mathews of Breckenridge Hills forced the women into sex in the St. Louis area from 2010 through October 2012. Authorities say the mentally disabled woman was forced to sleep and use the bathroom in a closet, and was supplied with little food. The woman was also beaten and set on fire. ( Associated Press)

In a case study from the 2012 T.I.P. report Saeeda, a deaf Pakistani woman, was ten years old when she left Pakistan for Manchester, England for a job as a domestic worker. For nearly a decade, she was abused, raped, and beaten by her employers, a Pakistani couple. Now in her 20s, Saeeda told the courts that she was confined to a cellar and forced to work as a slave.

During the four years that investigative journalist Benjamin Skinner researched modern-day slavery for his book, "A Crime So Monstrous," he posed as a buyer at illegal brothels on several continents and says he is most haunted by an experience in a brothel in Bucharest, Romania, where he was offered a young woman with Down syndrome in exchange for a used car.

According to local legend, infertile women who pray at Shah Daula's shrine will be granted children, but at a terrible price. The first child will be born microcephalic and must be given to the shrine, or else any further children will have the same deformity.

"Some of these children, the handicapped ones especially, are accompanied by relatives," he told AFP. "But begging gangs also look for poor parents who will sell them because they are a burden to feed and shelter."  Sohail said his department had busted more than 30 gangs across the province involved in exploiting street children, some of which had broken the limbs of children so that they would earn more as beggars." (AFP)

With current refugee crises around the world the disabled find themselves at extreme risk for trafficking. "Migrating may be particularly challenging for a person with a disability. In the context of forced migration, persons with a physical or mental disability may benefit less from early warning systems and may also be more easily disoriented during the process of flight. Assistive devices may be lost or left behind, creating another layer of vulnerability in an already dire situation. In addition, although denying an immigration application solely on grounds of disability (and leaving a disabled person isolated or permanently separated from their group) is a human rights violation , such cases have been recorded in different countries of the world." (The International Organization for Migration)

s always, from all of us at COH, thank you for being a voice for the voiceless. And when it comes to the most vulnerable among us, the children and the mentally and physically disabled, please let your voice be ever loud, ever clear, and ceaseless in its resolve. This evil must end, and in our lifetime. Please call the National Human Trafficking hotline 1-888-3737-888 if you suspect trafficking. Do not be afraid to ask questions or to speak up if something just doesn't seem right. And in the cases of the disabled remember their ability to communicate or even appreciate the severity and urgency of their situation may be severely inhibited or even totally compromised. 

Source : Global Human Trafficking Watch  ,25th June 2014

Woes of the disabled not heard

The recent abuse of a 15-year old boy in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan shocked Malaysians to the core when they saw photographs of the victim who was just a bag of skin and bones.


Physically and mentally handicapped, he was severely malnourished, naked and filthy when discovered by immigration officers who were doing their routine checks to weed out illegal workers in the area.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim clearly upset and saddened over the incident had promised to do everything she could to ensure that the disabled boy’s rights and welfare would be protected.

Welfare department partly to blame?

Whilst investigations into the real story of what happened to the teenager to cause such an abuse is still ongoing, I can’t help but think about the mother’s initial remarks.

She was reported to have said that she had never neglected her child, claiming that she did not know where to go for support and when she finally approached the welfare department, support and assistance was not forthcoming.

If her claim is true, then this case should send out loud and clear warning sirens to those at the top of our welfare department.

For many of us who work as NGO leaders for the disabled, complaints about the welfare department are common.

Even though the top brass of the welfare department are some of the most sensitive and helpful people we know, this however does not seem to translate the same way when it comes to the downline staff.

This is especially so in the rural area welfare offices where the staff do not give out the required information and some are not even armed with the knowledge.

Then there are the frontline team and local directors who often treat the disabled with disdain and are rude.

These welfare personnel have forgotten the precious role they are supposed to play for the disabled by being rude, patronising and demoralising the very people they are meant to help.

Welfare document not recognised ?

jpj OKU

Last week a group of about 40 physically disabled drivers from five NGO’s held a protest in Kuala Lumpur, against the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) sudden new ruling stating that the renewal of drivers’ licenses now require a government doctor’s letter to confirm their disability.

“Why the need for a doctor’s letter when the Welfare Department has already given us a beautiful identification card (JKM) confirming the very same thing?” a disabled driver asked at the press conference.

“Shouldn’t the objective of the government departments be to make our lives easier and hassle-free instead of putting up red tape which is totally unnecessary?” he concluded.

Another disabled driver had to make several trips to JPJ KL and to JPJ Putrajaya just so he could qualify for the RM30 discount on his driver’s license fee. But he was asked to submit a fresh medical report from a doctor.

In a separate incident, a handicapped Malaysian woman was asked to re-sit a full driving test despite her having had a valid one done some years ago.

“Not only did I have to get a new medical report, but I was forced to pay almost RM1,000 for my lessons and test, money I badly need for my provisions and living expenses.”

“In the end, I had to borrow money and I am still paying back what I owe,” she said.

When we turned up at the Wangsa Maju JPJ office we were not entertained by the staff. We had hoped for JPJ senior officers to meet with us so that we could share our problems with them but that did not happen.

Wheelchair woes

The wheelchair ramps built at various buildings throughout the city are actually unsuitable and dangerous .Wheelchair senator Bathmavathi Krishnan has so far shown no interest and her actions will not make a difference to all the handicapped in the country.

Good news from welfare minister

Some of us had the opportunity to meet with Rohani Abdul Karim last week and she has promised to look into the matter with JPJ and ask them to accept the welfare card (JKM) for driving licence renewals.

Rohani also assured us that she will direct the JKM staff to prepare the renewal cards three months before expiry to ensure no interruptions in the workers’ monthly allowance.

She told us that we are the experts on the needs of the disabled and that she would support and work with us to raise our quality of life for the future.

The NGO’s that took part in the JPJ protest included the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) Malaysia in Rawang and the Malaysian Spinal Cord Injury Association (MASIA) based in Balakong.

Source : Free Malaysia Today , 25th June 2014

NGO distributes free artificial limbs in Kolkata

Dozens of physically disabled people in Kolkata are distributed artificial limbs and are further made to indulge in preparing the same for those facing similar trouble. Mahavir Seva Sadan, a self help group, employs nearly thirty such disabled people to manufacture prosthesis for those sharing the same dais.

Mahavir Seva Sadan enrolls people for designing and making artificial limbs.


Mahavir Seva Sadan enrolls people for designing and making artificial limbs.

With an objective to distribute artificial limbs to physically challenged people, Mahavir Seva Sadan, a social organisation, enrolls such people for designing and making artificial limbs after bestowing them with the same. In an attempt to help those who wish to regain their movements, the organisation runs the social service absolute free of cost.

"Our prime objective is to make them self sufficient after getting these new legs. We have about thirty technicians working here who themselves are handicapped. They had initially come in order to get artificial legs, but now they are under our employment making these legs. Our objective is to bring them into the mainstream because they have lost all hopes after losing their limbs. We try to make them regain their confidence," says Vijay Chaudaria, president, Mahavir Seva Sadan.

"I met with an accident in 2001. I stayed at the hospital for a year. When I returned home, I was told about Mahavir Seva Sadan. After coming here, I received an artificial leg and a hand free of cost. I did not have to spend a single penny for the facility. I was also given a job here. And I make it a point to make my own living and live a normal live. The life time facility is provided to us free of cost," says Gopal Roy, one of the beneficiaries currently working as the lift guard at the premises.

A pioneer in Eastern India for organising workshops to meet the requirement of orthopaedically handicapped persons, this voluntary organization was initially originated in 1985 at the basement of a multi storeyed property, but now runs several departments at a five storeyed building with the support of several employees and sponsors.

"We have never approached anyone for money. We began this by coming together and making contributions. If anyone wants to sponsor in his name, he is most welcome. People come on their own to sponsor," says J.S. Mehta, founder of the organisation.

Rendering quality services to its beneficiaries without charging a penny at its own diagnostic and pathology facility centre, Mahavir Seva Sadan houses most of the modern machineries to provide grade treatments by offering artificial limbs, calipers, molded shoes, wheelchairs, tricycles and other accessories to its patients. Moreover, under the supervision of experienced orthopaedic doctors, prosthetic engineers, physiotherapists and several dedicated volunteers, it also provides free consultancy and medications to all beneficiaries as well as the general public.

In order to ensure that the facility is available to those residing at rural areas, Mahavir Seva Sadan organises full-fledged camps across various districts in the country and has even held camps abroad.

"We have been holding camps throughout India that is fully equipped with whatever we have here. We travel with generators and legs are manufactured on spot. We have also visited outside India like Kuala Lumpur, Nepal, Ireland, and South Africa. We respond to invitations and visit these places. In Malaysia, they have developed a liking for our work. They like our technicians from Kolkata", says J.S. Mehta.

Interestingly, solely providing limbs to the disabled does not seem to suffice the interests of the body. For the institution believes in establishing a person capable enough to run his own livelihood.

"We have a vocational training center where we give them training such as computer training, stitching training, bag making training. We have employed teachers in order to give them this training. They can use this training to get jobs or start their own business. We even provide them with micro finance that will enable them to start a business", says Vijay Chaudaria.

"I have been associated with Mahavir Seva for the last 19 years. They contribute artificial legs to those in need. It is very comfortable to move around them wearing them. Now they are providing us with vocational training where we are taught how to make paper bags and many other items. I get paid on a monthly basis. Mahavir Seva Sadan provides us with a lot of assistance. They help us during times of trouble," says Loknath Yadav, another beneficiary.

Moreover, the society also shelters a separate department for differently-abled children, providing them with affirmative inspiration to survive with the mainstream society.

"During my visit to Ahmedabad, I saw Celebral Palsy children being treated at an institution. They are mentally retarded and physically institution. In Kolkata, there wasn't any such institution providing free services. We have four people taking care of the department inclusive of speech, occupational therapist and a physiotherapist," says J.S. Mehta.

The employees in the organisation may be physically challenged but that does not refrain them from contributing to society. Their strength of character and will to surpass all odds is something that helps them to lead a normal life.

Source : India Today , 24th June 2014

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Differently abled Odisha girl clears civil services exam in first attempt

Not letting her disability come in the way of reaching her goals has become Sarika Jain’s second nature. The polio stricken Odisha woman

Differently abled Odisha girl clears civil services exam in first attempt

Not letting her disability come in the way of reaching her goals has become Sarika Jain’s second nature. The polio stricken Odisha woman has cleared the civil service examination in her first attempt, two years after qualifying the tough Chartered Accountancy exam.

Sarika Jain, a differently abled girl from Kantabanji town in Odisha’s Balangir district, has cleared the UPSC examination. (HT Photo)

Jain, 29, was ranked 527 among the 1,122 candidates who cleared the civil services examinations (2013) conducted by Union Public Service Commission.

“I am extremely happy about the result, though I expected a better rank. I owe my success to my parents and all members of our joint family,” Sarika told HT.

She added she would take a second shot at the exam if not short-listed in the Indian Administrative Service, the most coveted among the civil services.

Jain, who was afflicted with polio in her right leg with 50% disability since the age of two despite taking polio drops, hails from Kantabanji, a small town in Balangir district, about 400 km west of Bhubaneswar. Her father Sadhuram Jain is a small time trader of sanitary fittings.

Third among three sisters and a brother, Sarika studied in local Saraswati Sishu Mandir and later completed her bachelor’s degree in commerce from Kantabanji Women’s College. After completing her Chartered Accountancy (CA) in 2012, Sarika decided to appear for the civil services.

“I prepared for six months in Kantabanji and another six months in New Delhi, studying 12 hours a day all the time,” she said.

Sadhuram is very happy with his daughter’s accomplishment.

“She had put in hard labour into her studies. It is the grace of Lord Jagannath that she has cleared the exam and I wish she will serve the people,” he said.

Source : Report India , 12th June 2014

The Tankchair: An ATV for people who can’t walk !

When you think wheelchair, the image of a tank probably doesn’t pop into your mind. Most people think wheelchairs are designed for flat, basic environments. The Tankchair, however, has disrupted this traditional image.

tankchair_waterAfter his wife Liz was paralyzed in an auto accident and couldn’t go camping in a traditional wheelchair, Brad Soden created the Tankchair. Without any formal engineering training, Soden created a chair for Liz so she could still do the things she loved before tragedy struck. The platform for the Tankchair had begun.

tankchair_farmTankchair LLC is a family run business out of a small industrial garage in North Phoenix. The company includes Brad, Liz, and Brad’s parents Jo-Ann and Vic Soden. The family builds, services, and delivers Tankchairs to about 200 customers worldwide. The chairs aren’t just business for Brad though, instead they’re more of an improvement to someone’s lifestyle with unique customization based on client needs.

Tankchairs are used on terrains from sand and mud to snow and even water up to two feet deep. This ability to wheel over different terrains allows those with disabilities hindering mobility to work and go places that aren’t typically wheelchair accessible, like farms and beaches. The Tankchair is perfect for people like Betty Jean Hamman (pictured at right), who still need to manage their farms and other outdoor work on their own and is great for those who need a little extra help getting around to enjoy a day at the beach or a weekend camping with their family.

Source : Medcity News , 14th June 2014

Physically handicapped person will kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

A paralysed person will kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup. According to various news reports, a paralysed person wearing a brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton will kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup during the opening ceremony in Brazil.

A paralysed person will kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Part of the "Walk Again Project", an international collaboration of more than 100 scientists, eight Brazilian patients who are paralysed from the waist down have been training for months to use the exoskeleton, researchers said.

"The system works by recording electrical activity in the patient's brain, recognising his or her intention – such as to take a step or kick a ball – and translating that to action," explained professor Miguel Nicolelis of US-based Duke University and the International Institute for Neurosciences of Natal, Brazil. The system is also designed to give the patient tactile feedback using sensitive artificial skin.

A sense of touch would be essential for the patient's emotional comfort as well as control over the exoskeleton.

"Thus the challenge was to give a paralysed person, together with the ability to walk, the feeling of touching the ground," added Gordon Cheng, head of the Institute for Cognitive Systems at the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM), Germany. As part of the "CellulARSkin" technology, the basic exoskeleton unit is a flat, six-sided package of electronic components including a low-power-consumption microprocessor.

It has sensors that detect pre-touch proximity, pressure, vibration, temperature, and even movement in three-dimensional space.

Any number of these individual "cells" can be networked together in a honeycomb pattern, protected in the current prototype by a rubbery skin of molded elastomer.

According to Cheng, "It is not just the sensor that is important. The intelligence of the sensor is even more important."

Cheng views the FIFA event as a public demonstration of what science can do for people.  "Also, I see it as a great tribute to all the patients' hard work and their bravery!" he added.

Source : Sports Keeda , 11th June 2014

Don't transfer employees with differently abled kids: Govt

Government employees who have differently-abled children to take care of will be exempted from routine transfers and they will not be asked to take voluntary retirement on refusing such postings, the Centre has said.

A government employee with a disabled-child serves as the main caregiver and any displacement of such employee will have
a bearing on the systemic rehabilitation of the child since the new environment or set up could prove to be a hindrance for rehabilitation process, it said.

'Therefore, a government servant who is also a caregiver of disabled child may be exempted from the routine exercise of transfer or rotational transfer subject to the administrative constraints,' the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT)
said in an order.

The word 'disabled' includes blindness or low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disability or cerebral palsy, leprosy, mental retardation, mental illness and multiple disabilities, it said.

'Upbringing and rehabilitation of disabled child require financial support. Making the government employee to choose voluntary retirement on the pretext of routine transfer or rotation transfer would have adverse impact on the rehabilitation process of the disabled child,' the DoPT said in its directive issued to all central government ministries and departments for compliance.

The move comes in the wake of demand that a government employee who is a caregiver of the disabled child should not suffer due to displacement by means of routine transfer or rotational transfers.

'This demand has been made on the ground that a government employee raises a kind of support system for his or her disabled child over a period of time in the locality where he or she resides which helps them in the rehabilitation,' it said.

The matter was examined by the DoPT which found that rehabilitation is a process aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to reach and maintain their optimal physical, sensory, intellectual, and psychiatric or a social functional level.

'The support system comprises preferred linguistic zone, school or academic level, administration, neighbours, tutors or special educators, friends, medical care including hospitals, therapists and doctors, etc. Thus, rehabilitation is a continuous process and creation of such support system takes years together,' the DoPT said. PTI

Source : Matra Bhoomi , 10 June 2014

Odisha govt to provide free tech education to physically challenged students - Bhubaneshwar

Differently-abled students in Odisha would henceforth be entitled to pursue technical education in government as well as private institutions free of cost. This was announced by the state government on Monday, revealed a press communiqué from the chief minister’s office.

Though there is no need for these students to pay any admission/tuition charges in government institutions, the state government would reimburse the fees paid by these students in private colleges and universities. The state government would reimburse the fees based on the decisions of the fee committee, revealed the release.

Source : Odhisha Samaya , 9th June 2014

62-year-old held for molesting minor girl - COIMBATORE

A 62-year-old physically-challenged person was arrested on Saturday for molesting a 13-year-old school girl at Arivozhi Nagar near Madukkarai on the outskirts of the city, a few days ago. Police have sent the girl to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) for medical examination on Sunday.

The arrested has been identified as K Serumalai from Arivozhi Nagar at Madukkarai. Police said Serumalai was physically-challenged and was engaged in scrap business.
The arrested has been identified as K Serumalai from Arivozhi Nagar at Madukkarai. Police said Serumalai was physically-challenged and was engaged in scrap business. He owned a shop close to his house. Serumalai's wife and his four children were separated from him a few years ago and he was living alone at his house.

His neighbour was helping Serumalai collect scraps from various areas. On June 6, the neigbhour got drunk and did not go to work. Instead he sent his daughter to Serumalai's shop to buy beedi. He asked the girl to go to his house and a few minutes later he also reached home and locked the door from inside. He tried to molest the girl. However, she raised an alarm and the locals came to rescue her and broke open the door. They rescued the girl and Serumalai was beaten up by the residents. Later he was handed over to Madukkarai police.

The girl's mother lodged a complaint with Perur all women police inspector Indirani Shobia on Saturday and a case was registered against Serumalai under Section 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012.

Police arrested Serumalai and remanded him to judicial custody. He has been lodged at Coimbatore Central Prison.

Source : Times of India , 9th June 2014

No country for physically challenged - Kathmandu

Ram Bahadur Tamang of Thimi in Bhaktapur still has a vivid memory of how his friends visited his house and how they had fun together. Only three years ago, the-31-year-old was making decent living selling vegetables in the capital valley. But a bus accident one fine day suddenly changed course of his life forever.

He suffered spinal cord injury, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. As a result, he is now in a wheelchair. And it has left him struggling for rest of his life. “I was not only disabled by the accident, but it also crippled my social and economic life,” says Tamang, who no more sells vegetables. He said his life has witnessed a sea change after the tragedy.

“When I earned good money, my friends and relatives often visited me. And they even invited me to their home. But any of my old friends hardly care about me now,” adds he, adding, he feels lonely now that all his friends and relatives have forsaken him.

He was returning from Khasa, a Tibetan town that borders with Nepal, to Kathmandu on that fated day. “As the bus was jam-packed, I was just leaning on the door. Suddenly the bus veered off the road, leaving me along with other passengers severely injured,” he recounts the ordeal.

He was the sole bread earner of his family; but his physical disability has worsened his family´s economic condition. “First, I cannot do what I want to do due to my physical condition. Second, physical infrastructures like road and buildings are not disable friendly, which makes almost impossible to apply for any job,” he complains.

The only respite he now has is that Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center at Sanga in Bhaktapur has appointed him as a motivational counselor who gives motivational speeches to patients living with spinal cord injuries. He also teaches spinal cord injury patients various income generating skills like bag weaving and candle making, among others.

But the fact remains that the one who tries to motivate others to carry on with life continues to languish in loneliness and economic hardship

“Life is too difficult with disability as, tragically, only a small section of people understand us,” says he. Sarangi, a traditional Nepali musical instrument, has been his best friend in his largely lonely life.
Tamang is not alone to suffer serious injury in road accidents in the country.

Over the past nine years, cases of serious injury are rising alarmingly. Around 4,000 people are suffering serious injury in road accidents since last three years, making majority of them physically disabled for life.
Like Tamang, the physically challenged people are facing various social, economic, mental and emotional crises.

The data provided by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division of the last ten fiscal years shows that the number of seriously injured people in road accidents is alarmingly increasing since 2008.

In the fiscal year 2012-13, staggering 3,986 people had suffered serious injuries in the 13,582 accidents that the traffic police have recorded. And in the fiscal year 2011-12, people suffering serious injuries were slightly highly – altogether 4,018 people in total 14,297 accidents. The same number of people were seriously injured in road mishaps in the fiscal year 2010-11, according to the police data.

According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety-2013 prepared by the World Health Organization, those who are most vulnerable to road traffic accidents are motorcyclists followed by pedestrians and buses in the developing countries such as Nepal.

Prakash Shrestha, administrative chief of the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center, said majority of the seriously injured people suffer from spinal cord injuries followed by amputation of body parts especially of the hands and legs, and head injuries. “Among the vehicle users, motorcyclists suffer the most when it comes to spinal cord injuries in road accidents.

“People are being handicapped for the rest of their life in road mishaps. Every year, a large number of working force of the country is becoming physically disabled. However, the government is least concerned about protecting the working force,” said Mukunda Raj Satyal, a public transport management expert.
Majority of the traffic road victims facing severe injuries are in the economically valuable age group of 15-40 years, according to WHO report. Population of the age-group is the active population of the country.

National Road Safety Council yet to be revived

Though the government has envisioned reestablishment of the National Road Safety Council under its ten-year Road Safety Action Plan, it is yet to establish the council for improving traffic management and ensure road safety in the country.

A National Road Safety Council was set up during the nineties but the body has been defunct for quite some years now.

The government had then mulled reviving the council as part of the Road Safety Action Plan in line with the decision of UN Road Safety Collaboration, a multilateral body to address road safety issues globally, to observe the Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2011 to 2020.

As Nepal is a active member of the United Nations, the government has already prepared its own Road Safety Action Plan 2013-20. The action plan has proposed a detailed plan of road safety.

“Unlike the agency in the past, the proposed council is likely to be a high-level road management board set up to improve traffic management and enhance road safety in the country,” said Sudharshan Prasad Adhikari, former Director General of Department of Transportation Management (DoTM). He has been replaced by Kashi Raj Dahal to the post recently.

According to officials at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, the council will include all the line ministries and departments such as the Home Ministry, Finance Ministry, Department of Roads and DoTM among others which are directly and indirectly responsible for traffic management in the country.
The council will also have expanded jurisdiction and resources and develop a national road-safety strategy and implementation modality for reducing road accidents.

Mukunda Raj Satyal, a public transportation engineer, said that the government should immediately set up the council as road accidents are haphazardly increasing in the country with the expansion of roads and development of other infrastructures.

“It is the high time the government establish the council. It will show that the government is serious about minimizing road accidents in the country,” added he.

Source : Sarokar , 7th June 2014

Sunday, 8 June 2014

ATDUM demands hike in marriage incentive award - MANIPUR

Differently abled persons in Manipur have demanded the State Government to raise the marriage incentive from Rs 5000 to Rs 30,000 .

In its memorandum submitted to Social Welfare Minister A.K Mirabai, All Tribal Disabled Union, Manipur (ATDUM) said that the marriage incentive award for the disabled persons should be raised to Rs 30,000 .

According to ATDUM, the Social Welfare Department has initiated the "Marriage Incentive Award 2013-2014" for the physically challenged persons.

Accordingly, handicapped persons who have already got married applied for the said award.

But in order to fulfil certain mandatory requirements such as duly sworn affidavit by either of the spouses; Marriage Certificate; and bank account number etc., and for procuring/arranging the same, a candidate has to spend more than Rs.3000, pointed out ATDUM in its memorandum.

Apart from this, it is learnt that each awardee is entitled the incentive to the tune of only Rs.5000."If this is the situation then the Social Welfare Department, Government of Manipur is in fact doing more harm than to help to those poor and helpless handicapped persons who entered marital lives and the scheme put forth by the department is meaningless," ATDUM rued.

ATDUM then recalled the reported declaration made by the the Minister of Social Welfare on World Disabled Day Celebration held on December 3, 2013, wherein announcement was made for payment of Rs.30,000 to those married handicapped persons as 'Marriage Incentive Award, 2013-2014'."However, in spite of such assurance and announcement made by your goodself (minister), the concerned authorities of your good department are not implementing it," ATDUM added.

ATDUM memorandum then alleged that the total number of around 175 applicants have been shortlisted for the incentive from the valley districts against a negligible number of around 22 applicants from the hill districts reflects biasness in the selection process.

The number of applicants short listed in district wise are that two each from Chandel, Tamenglong and Ukhrul, four from Sadar Hills, around nine from Churachandpur, around three from Senapati, around 60 from Imphal East, around 30 from Imphal West, 10 from Bishnupur and 75 from Thoubal districts.

It also alleged that shortlisted candidates of the said scheme include a number of government employees thereby depriving the deserving candidates from availing the benefit.

It then lamented that a meagre amount of Rs.5000 per beneficiary under the Marriage Incentive Award is not worth a scheme at all.

ATDUM then alleged that at the time of selecting beneficiaries of the said scheme, the authorities concerned were doing 'pick and choose policy' from each district which is very much contrary to the interest of all the disabled persons living in the State of Manipur.

"We sincerely feel that there should be uniformity in selecting beneficiaries from each district proportionate to the number of married disabled persons living in the districts," it stated.

Source : E- Pao , 7th June 2014

Changhua plans tours for the elderly, handicapped : Taipei , Taiwan

The Changhua County government will organize nine bus tour itineraries around the county from later in June to November, with two specifically planned for the physically challenged and senior citizens.

The guided tours have nine different themes, taking visitors to Taiwan's largest jasmine field in Huatan Township, a sock tourism factory in Ershui Township or historic family compounds in Xiushui Township, among others.

In designing the tours this year — the fifth year of the initiative — the county government put together tours targeting the elderly and physically challenged.

Among them, elderly participants will be shown around a forest park in Shetou Township and take a hot spring bath at another recreation area in the township before visiting a huge garden in Xizhou Township that was modeled after the acclaimed Fitzroy Gardens of Melbourne, Australia.

The bus tours, to be held from June 21 to Nov. 30, include half-day trips, one-day trips and two-day tours.  

Source : The China Post , 8th June 2014

Physically-challenged Woman Gangraped in Uttar Pradesh

A 25-year-old physically- challenged woman was allegedly gangraped by four youths at Kairana town in the neighboring Shamli district, police said Tuesday.

The incident which occurred about eight months ago, came to light when the victim was found pregnant by her relatives, to whom she narrated the matter, police said.

A case was registered yesterday by the relatives against the four accused identified as Meboob, Mobin, Munawwer and Noor Mohd, who are absconding, police said, adding the victim has been sent for medical examination.

Source : The New Indian Express , 3rd June 2014

Mentally challenged woman burnt after gang rape in Tripura

In a case of horrific brutality, a mentally challenged woman was burnt to death after being gang raped in Tripura, police said Saturday.
"Alorani Deb was gang raped by three men. They then burnt her to death in Harina village in southern Tripura Thursday night," a police spokesman told reporters here. The village is located about 155 km from here.
The woman, 42, a mother of two, was mentally challenged.

Police arrested the three culprits, all construction workers, and a probe is on.

Various political parties, including the ruling Communist Party of India- Marxist, have demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits.

Source : Yahoo News via IANS  , 7th June 2014

Sri Lanka Election Commissioner to provide more facilities to the disabled people - COLOMBO

Sri Lanka's Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says that measures are underway to provide more facilities to the disabled persons for voting.

It has been brought to his attention that the disabled people face many difficulties when visiting polling centers for voting as many of the polling centers in Sri Lanka are at public places like schools, temples and community centers where there are no access for the disabled.

The Election Commissioner said that a survey would be conducted regarding the location of polling centers.

In the future, the Commissioner expects to select places which are more accessible to the disabled people as polling centers. He further said that the disabled persons who are on wheel chairs will be provided facilities to cast their vote before a polling officer in the polling station.

Source : Colombo Page , 8th June 2014

25¢ Church project pays big for differently-abled persons : Manila , Phillipines

Pondo ng Pinoy, the poverty alleviation program initiated by  former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales, will mark its 10th year this week by showcasing a project that provides livelihood to persons with disabilities and promotes the environment.

                                                                 Gaudencio Rosales


The eco-uling project, one of the many projects sponsored by Pondo ng Pinoy, is run by around 20 persons with disabilities and their young Muslim friends in Barangay Calsada, Taguig City.

They produce charcoal briquettes from a combination of water lilies, coconut husks and shells. They operate the project, from the gathering of the materials and technical production to marketing.

The project will be the highlight of this year’s Pondo ng Pinoy anniversary celebration, which will begin with a Mass on June 12 officiated by current Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

Some 1,000 delegates from 21 Pondo ng Pinoy member-dioceses are expected to attend the celebration, which will include a demonstration on charcoal briquette production.

According to the Archdiocese of Manila, the eco-uling project has enabled disabled persons to earn a living.
Also, the project is able to utilize the water lily, which is a nuisance because its proliferation in rivers often leads to clogging and flooding during the rainy season.

Pondo ng Pinoy initially granted P300,000  for the project and gave an additional P280,000 to expand operations.

Pondo ng Pinoy, which encourages Catholics to drop 25 centavos a day in donation boxes in churches and schools, is proof of the people’s love and compassion for each other, Rosales said.

“Cardinal Rosales saw in Pondo ng Pinoy a way by which every person, ‘no matter how poor, no matter how humble, has the freedom to give, to help and live fully.’  Pondo ng Pinoy aims to cultivate the culture of giving and helping another,” the Archdiocese of Manila said in a statement.

Pondo ng Pinoy is guided by its maxim: “Anumang maliit, basta malimit ay patungong langit (A good act, no matter how small, if done often will eventually lead to heaven).”

“Little acts of kindness, if sustained by similar constant little acts, can grow into great expressions of daily charity and compassion,” Rosales said.

To date, Pondo ng Pinoy has sponsored more than 300 projects on health, nutrition, livelihood and development, alternative learning and housing amounting to more than P200 million.

The Pondo ng Pinoy movement operates through the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation. Aside from the Archdiocese of Manila, 18 dioceses, two apostolic vicariates and the Military Ordinariate are part of the program.

Source : Inquirer , 8th June 2014

101 disabled couples to tie the knot in mass wedding - New Delhi

As many as 101 disabled couples from across the country will take marriage vows in a mass wedding at Ramleela grounds here on June 15.

The mass wedding, organised by an Udaipur based not-for profit organisation 'Narayan Sewa Sansthan', will witness couples including Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs participate in the ceremony which is to be held in accordance with their religious rituals.

To solemnise the ceremony an Imam and 115 Pandits have been engaged through the day.

"We've given treatment and vocational training to our patients. But by getting them married we are aiding in completing their family set up," said Narayan Sewa Sansthan president Prashant Aggarwal.

The event is touted to see visitors not only from India but also guests from USA, South Africa, Belgium and Nepal are expected to witness the mass wedding.

As a part of preparations for the wedding, a huge tent has been set up in the venue which will be open for all on that day. There will be a Control Room along with a medical desk set up to avoid any untoward incident.

In accordance with Indian traditions, there will be an elaborate 'heena' ceremony before the wedding day, Aggarwal said.

Organisers have made the families of the couples sign an agreement which permits the NGO to facilitate the marriages on account of the legalities.

A substantial number of disabled persons participating in the wedding comprise of patients who have been given medical aid by the NGO's charitable surgery hospital in Udaipur.

Many of these disabled persons have been placed in mobile repairing industry by the NGO, which enables them to earning a living for their families.

Source : Business Standard Via PTI  , 5th June 2014