This year, the theme of International Day of Disabled Persons 2018 aims to empower people with disabilities and ensure inclusiveness and equality. It is also a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which pledges to “leave no one behind“.
While there will be many drafts and guidelines to point out how to make India disabled friendly, here are 9 ways that can contribute to a barrier-free environment.
Equipping classrooms with proper facilities, training teachers and other staffs to promote equality among children can help everyone to develop compassion for one another.
Provide specially-abled people with employment. It is a myth that they can’t be productive. Give them a chance to prove themselves and help them live a dignified life. Further, the elevators can have instructions written in braille or voice instructions to guide them while they move inside the building. Career progression should not be limited to these people.
Having bathrooms equipped with proper facilities and at least one unisex bathroom on each floor of educational institutions, hostels or other residential accommodations and offices will make daily struggle easy to some extent for these people.
Reading becomes difficult for these people because of visual and hearing impairment. Storing abundance of braille version of books in a special room will surely make a difference.
Assembly Halls/Movie Theatres/ Sports Centres
Having proper ramps for wheelchair users will be quite helpful because climbing stairs are almost impossible for them. Providing proper seats for the disabled friendly will help them feel inclusive in the society. Giving them proper instruction in case of emergency will make them feel safe to some extent.
Special seats for disabled people and proper assistance can make their dining experience better. Proper exit and entry points will make it more convenient. You can also assist them with pre-recorded customized messages so that they can ask for help if need be.
It is difficult for people with a physical deformity to travel but that doesn’t diminish their desire to visit interesting places. Therefore, minimum 2 rooms in hotels or motels, preferably on the ground floor will make it less difficult for them, particularly for the wheelchair users.
Crowded places make it much more difficult for both physically and mentally disabled people to travel conveniently and cases of accidents increase in case they do not have someone to guide them. Sidewalks can be replaced with ramps. Introducing driverless cars and a personal navigation device for them can be life-changing.
Making devices for disabled people at affordable rates that will benefit people from the rural belt as well. It lowers dependency and boost self-confidence in them. To give them a life of dignity. In this way barrier to social inclusion can be diminished.
No one knows how much time will it take to ensure that specially-abled people from rural as well as urban belt of this country to be fully equipped, but we all can draw inspiration from Jimmy Dean, who once said- “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”