International Disability Day was marked all over the world last week. It was a day that reminded us that each human being is different and in these differences lies the joy of life.
We always knew that the journey to get the differently-abled their rights is going to be a long, arduous one. The society is slowly but surely becoming more inclusive and tolerant. However, the single-most important pillar of that journey are the family and caregivers – A constituency often overlooked.
The siblings, specifically play a huge role in helping their brothers and sisters with different and special abilities, gain confidence and be themselves in the society, which so often tags and judges people at face value.
The siblings need a space to feel comfortable, boost their self-esteem and through their engagement empower their parents. We are trying to bring such an effort to the forefront. It is being driven through partnerships with schools like The Shri Ram School, the others are in pipeline. The mediums of expression is through music, movement, art and casual conversations.
So we decided to launch ‘In For The Cause’ – an initiative of Awareness For Inclusion Foundation that was founded in August, 2017. The objective was to provide an equal opportunity for our country’s largest minority. The organisation with its lean team of passionate members has been focused on demystifying the 21 disabilities under the Disability Act, 2016. They started their work by focusing on creating infographics, writing blogs and videos on differing abilities during their first phase of scaling up.
The website was outsourced to an individual with muscular dystrophy. As the product line started to take shape, work started
- A Canvas Of Expression: A medium for artistic expression. It is a muslin cloth that is sourced from Chandni Chowk, it is hemmed and enhanced by Priya, a lady from underserved section. It is a multi-purpose cloth that can be used either as a table mat, a lady’s stole, a wall hanging or a roti cloth. Those who work on the cloth are people with differing abilities. Corporates have buddied with our partners (differing abilities) to work on the Canvas Of Expression thereby getting over their initial hesitation of how they should be around individuals with varied conditions.
- Inspired by John’s Crazy Socks, Melville New York, the we brought out awareness socks in the market. Two socks of the four have 10 symbols representing the 21 disabilities. The idea was to pick a need-based product, each time a consumer wears the sock they inadvertently become awareness agents. A part of the proceeds goes back to the individual who contributed to the Canvas Of Expression.
- A Box Of Happiness contains a bookmark, a Canvas of Expression, a personalised note, company’s brochure and 4 pairs of socks. The objective behind the Box Of Happiness is to create employment for differing abilities. Ranging from assembling of the box to inventory management of the socks to becoming advocates through displaying capacities while working on the Canvas of Expression are roles evolving as the project establishes itself in the market.
- Creating opportunities for families with differing abilities on various fronts. Sheroes, a safe virtual community for women is one of the partners to drive home the need for sharing experiences for peer learning or to find solutions in case someone finds a block. The collaboration has curated “Moms Know – No Limits”, a community for mothers of kids with disabilities which has over 30,000 members. They recently held their first on ground event at the Sheroes office to motivate mothers, allies, siblings and differing abilities to have a fun space.
(Madhavi Gupta is the founder of In For A Cause. The views expressed are her own)
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