During this COVID-19 period, people across the world are struggling with the limitations of movement and communication. But it's very usual for all people with disabilities in India as they face this in their daily lives with public infrastructure largely inaccessible.
A group of 55 people who use wheelchairs from across the country have come up together and have started a WhatsApp group, where they share videos to the differently-abled community informing them about accessibility, some life hacks, and how assistive technologies can help them during this lockdown. The group of differently-abled people calls themselves The 'Differently Able NextGen'. Among the 55 wheelchair users, most of them have a history in para-sports.
As a team, their goal is to make a better awareness about building an accessible world, since they think that this message is very important during this time when everyone, people with and people without disabilities is forced into lockdown.
“Two of our group members, Nisha Gupta and Oliver D’souza came up with a concept where people in wheelchairs spread an awareness message to the world about staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 along with making the country more accessible for everyone. This is the best way for us to showcase that we are not behind anyone in the fight against COVID-19 but are equal stakeholders in society, ” says Birju Patel who is a trustee at the Lions Blind Girls Welfare Centre Trust and Brand Ambassador of the Vadodara International Marathon.
There are short videos which give simple messages are made by twenty people who are from various background some are officegoers, job seekers, others are work from home, and students as well.
The group aims to make everyone understand that trains, footpaths, roads, buses, and infrastructure, in general, should also accessible for wheelchair users. The President of the Para Wheelchair Cricket Association, Maharashtra, Nisha said, till all these basics things are not made accessible the world will perceive India a nation that doesn't care about people with disabilities.
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