Translate The Content in Your Local Language

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Enabling India: Invisible Barriers

There are some barriers that are visible and others that are invisible. People with disabilities face not just physical but also attitudinal barriers when they travel. Because of a lack of public awareness, it often becomes their biggest challenge. Take for instance the simple things that travellers take for granted, like going shopping or eating out at restaurants. These activities are impossible for people with disabilities and their families.

Parents of children with special needs recall how insensitive and offensive comments have ruined their vacations. Ruchika Sethi, whose daughter has special needs, said, "You are on the beach, or your room at the hotel or you are at an eatery,  and people think it is their right to come and ask you what the problem is? And at that time it reduces your entire trip down to that. Am I travelling with a problem or am I travelling with a joy? She is a little person with thoughts and ideas and emotions and love within her."

However, there are stories of change too. Gita Dang tells us of the time she took her daughter Kanika shopping in Delhi for her sister's wedding. Kanika has Down's syndrome and has faced attitudinal barriers in public places. This time the experience was positive. Kanika was treated with dignity like any other customer by an attentive and professional shop assistant.

Gita Dang said, "I saw Kanika engaging with the sales guy about the lehngas she might like to buy for her sister's wedding. And it was a solid 45 minutes conversation where he helped her shop and shortlist. Everybody should be able to have those experiences, whether or not I'm there. I just feel that there are a lot of sales people who don't know how to react because they are not seeing our children out there. Our children are all isolated."

Shopowner Rajeev Tandon of Ushnak Mall said, "Should you not be friendly? After all everybody is human. They have a special need, that doesn't matter. You have to welcome everyone. You have to honour your customer no matter what."

According to Anil Dang, Kanika's father, "Really and truly, it is just natural, and this should be taken as such. But I guess people don't have adequate exposure to it. The moment they start having exposure to it, I think our society is very adaptive and it learns very rapidly."

According to analysts, the best solution for bringing in positive attitudes is familiarity. This can be achieved by getting people with and without disabilities to mingle.

Source: ND TV , 23rd June 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment