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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Wills On Wheels Overcomes The Disability Challenge

WOW envisions every person with physical disability to lead a dignified and a productive life
Following the Gandhian philosophy of ‘Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomitable Will’; an NGO was founded by two pair of siblings amongst whom three are on wheelchair. This organization called ‘Wills on Wheels’ is based in Mumbai and it aims to enable and empower physically disabled people in our society.

The first thought that comes in our mind whenever we see a physically disabled person is – ‘Oh Bechara!’and that’s how our sympathy cripples them further! Because it is not sympathy that will help them; it is the courage and confidence in their ability or some moral support that will empower them in reality. With a vision to see every person with physical disability leading a dignified and a productive life, Wills on Wheels was founded. Priti Shetty, one of the founder members herself joins Halabol platform and shares her thoughts.

“Wills On Wheels Foundation is a non-profit organization run and enabled by people on wheels for people on wheels At Wills On Wheels (W.O.W) we aim to Engage, Educate and Empower physically disabled in our society.”
Priti herself confesses that it isn’t an easy job considering the orthodox mentality of our society. But they are also aware of the fact that most of the people are compassionate and understanding by nature and wish to see the physically disabled people doing well in their life. That’s why W.O.W tries to reach out to masses through effective communication so to garner support for various initiatives and projects they do for the physically disabled people.

“Wills on Wheels (W.O.W) has formed a vibrant online community to engage people on wheels. W.O.W publishes e-newsletter everymonth to circulate amongst its members. W.O.W also has a Facebook page which posts news and events related to differently abled people. Only recently, W.O.W has started a discussion forum on its website. We aim to empower people on wheelchair, and thus disburse information regarding the rights and laws laid by government for differently-abled. W.O.W members also provide counseling service to people on wheel chair to boost their confidence and morale.”
Life hasn’t been easy for Priti as well. She has experienced the problems associated with physical disability herself. But kudos to her spirit as she admits that life is as tough or good for her as it is for any normal person. The only difference is that they have to struggle harder for their existence in society and to be seen and appreciated.

“As individuals, we empathize with the challenges faced by differently-abled. And hence we choose to be responsible and improve the quality of life of people on wheels. This underlying principle motivates us to work for the cause. I see lots of talent and goodness in many differently-abled people and all we need is a good way to harness their positive energy. I wish to see such people expressing their innate talent through W.O.W.”
The two other founder-members of W.O.W – Maitri Shah and Prasad Shetty have been facing the problems related to physical disability but so strong have been their attitude that they braved all problems and are now fully involved in W.O.W activities and projects. They see W.O.W as a unique organization shaping up the future of the people on wheels.

“We envision every person with physical disability to lead a dignified and a productive life in our society. For the same our specific goals are to provide education and employment opportunities to people on wheels, to provide counseling for families of people on wheels so that they support him or her emotionally and to create awareness and sensitize the masses and society on physical disability. In order to support people on wheels in their educational pursuit, W.O.W plans to give scholarship in future.”


Priti also told us about the participation of its members in Mumbai Marathon, an event organized in December 2012 for the physically challenged people.

“The enthusiasm and the will of people of wheels to participate in a sporting event highlight a positive attitude towards life, which encouraged W.O.W to participate in Mumbai Marathon. W.O.W participated in Marathon for the first time. The response to Mumbai Marathon was excellent and overwhelming indeed. Our members emerged highly motivated after the event and have resolved to participate in higher numbers next time. W.O.W members also interacted with fellow participants on wheelchair and made friends with each other.”
Priti has always been very concerned about the rights of physically disabled population and she would like the Government of India to not only adopt U.N convention on the rights of person with disabilities but also implement it in true spirit.
It is worth mentioning that Priti has worked in corporate world with big names like TCSAccenture and Aero Pharma and holds keen interest in singing, dubbing and writing poems. She was also the playback singer for a television serial ‘Baatein raaz ki’ - aired on DD National in 2009. She is a very active person on Facebook as well.

 “W.O.W has earned a good name for itself all through word-of-mouth publicity and social media. Our whole team feels that the new technology can bring a great change in our society. Look at the good work done by Facebook and sites like Halabol. Differently-abled people are now connecting with the whole world with an open and free attitude, all thanks to the new-age media.”
Team Halabol acknowledges the efforts done by W.O.W and supports them in all their future endeavours. We would like our readers to pool in their thoughts on to how a progressive society can provide a platform for such people to share their life experiences and learn from each other. 

Source : Halabol Voices , 10th Sep 2014 

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