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Stories of Change

Persons With Disabilities

We Can Fly!

 
 
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  •   Seeing differently

    Seeing differently

    Nisha Lobo’s story has helped change mindsets, says her mother

  •   Accessible Gwalior

    Accessible Gwalior

    The district can now boast about being 95% barrier-free

  •   Learning together

    Learning together

    Many institutions contacted Amar Jyoti School to learn more about inclusive education

   
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    Antarctica becomes disabled-friendly

    Sai Prasad Vishwanathan undertakes the journey of a lifetime

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    Antarctica becomes disabled-friendly
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    Not yet barrier-free

    Sanjeev Sachdeva says that though there is greater awareness about the disabled, the law on disability rights is yet to be passed.

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    Not yet barrier-free
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    Leading the way

    For two years, authorities in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, have been trying to make the district accessible for the physically challenged. It is an objective that District Collector P. Narahari says they have nearly met.

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    Leading the way
  •  

    NGOs YOU SUPPORTED: AMAR JYOTI CHARITABLE TRUST & FAMILY OF DISABLED

    Realizing the dream of inclusion

    How do we make Indian society treat the abled and the disabled equally? From the many NGOs working towards this dream of inclusion, Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust and Family of Disabled in Delhi have recently expanded the reach of their activities. The former has added a wing to its barrier-free school in Gwalior, while the latter has begun the construction of a training centre in Najafgarh.

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    NGOs YOU SUPPORTED: AMAR JYOTI CHARITABLE TRUST &  FAMILY OF DISABLED
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    Your Story

    Read experiences shared by viewers

     

    I have a Niece who is a CP ( Cerebral Palsy ) Child and cannot walk properly due to muscles problem below waist area. After the episode of Satyamave Jayte aired on June 10th 2012 ( Person with disabilities) , I now see the difference in attitude of our neighbors’ even children toward her. They now do not see her sympathetically, rather they are accepting her as normal among them.

    Sir, I salute you for the remarkable efforts that you and your team are putting into, to change the accustomed perception of people in lieu of our social issues I have a Niece who is a CP ( Cerebral Palsy ) Child and cannot walk properly due to muscles problem below waist area. After the episode of Satyamave Jayte aired on June 10th 2012 ( Person with disabilities) , I now see the difference in attitude of our neighbors’ even children toward her . They now do not see her sympathetically, rather they are accepting her as normal among them. To encourage the disabled children and other people , I have one suggestion here to make. It is said that charity begins at Home. I see lots of film/Cinema/business award functions, where eminent guests from different walks of life (like cinema , corporate business , politicians , artists etc.) are gathered and for entertainment or show their talents the celebrities (actor/actresses) give their performances which are very much appreciated by the people . But these platforms can be used to create more awareness in such audiences about these disabled people capabilities. It will not only encourage such disabled children/adults to make a place in our society but also motivate the eminent people sitting in the audience ( who are capable of giving their time/resources) to think of creating more opportunities for them. It’s a humble request. Thank you once again and all the best for coming episodes. Regards Jaya Bhatia New Delhi Mobile : 9810067874

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    made me guilty that we all wer so unjust to them....including me...What we wer doing to them...ignoring them and the ir difficulties in daily life....i cant imagine it happening to me...Really need to change. I have pledged i WILL!

    @smjindia brought tears in my eyes...their every move in the dance at teh end of the show made me guilty that we all wer so unjust to them....including me...What we wer doing to them...ignoring them and the ir difficulties in daily life....i cant imagine it happening to me...Really need to change. I have pledged i WILL! I was earlier sympathetic but not as much sensitive as I shud have been towards the Disabled! They are more abled than the MOST ABLED lyk us! I also hesitated to touch ppl who wer lyk nisha. May b coz i thot they r ugly and was scared to touch them. I AM SORRY TO ALL THE NISHA's I have been ignorant and cruel by nt being sensitive towards them. But never did sumthing insane and cruel lyk the women in the mall...It really shocked me. I will never be hesitant to hug them now on.SMJ thanks for making me sensitive towards them. Dis episode really changed the way i look at the MOST ABLED ppl! :)

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    She is our regular girl next door who loves street food and pastries and enjoys a good day out with friends. I can't even begin to express how lucky I am to have a friend like her! We became good friends because she said she liked being around me as I never treated her as different or special. I just wanted to share my story because the latest episode got me thinking of my friend who is a true hero.

    I would like to share a story about my friend and classmate. She is unsighted by birth. But that is the last thing that leaves an impression on you when you get to know her better. When in school, she used to carry her brailer along and take down notes fater than any of us could write. When she sings, she leaves you mesmerised by her voice. She can fluently speak Malyalam, Tamil, Marathi, Nepali and English. Each of the languages in their respective accent. We also went on an 18km trek together, without any special support. She trekked the nilgiris just by placing both hands on my shoulders and replicating my movements. We climbed hills and crossed streams! She has done a special course i nteaching unsighted people and is earning and living independently. And all of this she has achieved on her own! She is our regular girl next door who loves street food and pastries and enjoys a good day out with friends. I can't even begin to express how lucky I am to have a friend like her! We became good friends because she said she liked being around me as I never treated her as different or special. I just wanted to share my story because the latest episode got me thinking of my friend who is a true hero.

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    My mother too has faced infrastructural difficulties in this country. She has bluntly been asked not to attend family functions or events sometimes. One of the other big problems is something as simple as the loo. She often does not go out for events of long duration since she cannot visit a toilet there. Abroad, my wheel chair bound mother went para-sailing in Thailand and Sir – the whole beach erupted in applause.

    Dear Sir, My name is Priyanshi Poddar and I am 19 year old college student. I have just watched your show about person with disabilities and I would like to share the story of my mother. Sir, in most shows and articles the focus is on children, students or the youth. My mother developed her problem after I was born, when she was in her early 20s. She has been suffering from muscular dystrophy for about 15 years now. We are Marwaris and form a conservative and orthodox sect in society. No deviation from normalcy is tolerated easily. My mother has been treated very badly and harshly by our family. And this was extremely upsetting, especially so since she is a woman who was bought up with traditional orthodox values. At weddings or family functions she would often be left sitting alone because no one would realize that she cannot move and come to wherever the group is sitting. It was not just the family, it was friends as well. In a large number of ways she was treated as an outcaste. No one would want to take vacations with our family. My nani, maasi and both mamas went on a vacation and they just left out our side of the family. For someone like my mother, who is a part of the old generation rooted in family bonding – it was very very difficult. The family and friends who sympathise with children on your show blindly overlook the effect they have had on my mother. Sir, my brother is partially dyslexic. Your movie – Taare Zameen Par, opened our eyes and we got him tested. Sir, it is very difficult to handle a situation like this. His school has not been co-operative. My brother failed a year. My mother tries to teach him at home but her situation is frustrating enough. She cannot even lift her arms up to tie up her own hair and she teaches a dyslexic child. Teaching my brother requires a large amount of patience. One cannot blame my mother for losing her cool so many times on him. I left the city to study in a college in Delhi. The family members had alo o say about how I shouldn’t leave my mother in such a situation. They have never offered any help whatsoever themselves. Watching your show bought tears to all our eyes. My mother too has faced infrastructural difficulties in this country. She has bluntly been asked not to attend family functions or events sometimes. One of the other big problems is something as simple as the loo. She often does not go out for events of long duration since she cannot visit a toilet there. Abroad, my wheel chair bound mother went para-sailing in Thailand and Sir – the whole beach erupted in applause. The concept of your show is amazing sir. My mother has the most amount of will power and courage that I have ever seen. Even if she does not get a chance to be on your show, any form of acknowledgement or support from your side would mean a lot to her. I want to help her in every way possible and give her reasons to be happy when everything seems to have failed her. Like the boy said on your show – why should she be punished and made to feel that it was just her Fate that has led to this. Her disability is the lack of concern by people around her. Everybody stares when we go out to a mall or movie or travel on a plane. Why? People need to realize that is a horrible thing to do. Thank you for reading this letter Sir. And thank you for a movie like Tare Zameen Par and a show like Satyamev Jayate. Priyanshi Poddar. 3 S R Das Road, Arati Nilay, 5 B Kolkata – 700026 priyanshi53@hotmail.com

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    What was most inspirational was that he never let his 'disability' affect his life. He worked for 25 years, brought up three loving daughters, got on with day to day living (driving a car, doing the shopping, repairing technical faults within the house!)

    I've been watching Satyamev Jayate religiously all the way from London. I’ve been an advocate of the show and its unique way of bringing about social change within India. A few years into my parents’ marriage, my father suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with a disability which is now medically referred to as Scoliosis or muscular dystrophy. He has a curvature of the spine which has consequently affected his nervous system and an involuntary movement of his muscles. This happened before I was born and I grew up seeing my father in immense pain, but what was most inspirational was that he never let his 'disability' affect his life. He worked for 25 years, brought up three loving daughters, got on with day to day living (driving a car, doing the shopping, repairing technical faults within the house!) and sitting quietly behind it all is my mother. My mother has been my father's rock. Stuck by him, through all the hospital appointments and looking for ways to make life more accessible for him and never allowing him to fall short of receiving the best. I feel so fortunate to be living in a country which is disabled-friendly, making life accessible and independent for such people, to such a degree that I often take it for granted. Thank you Aamir Khan. You have been a true inspiration and have been brave to take on such a majestic challenge in bringing about positive changes in India bringing it on par with countries such as the UK and USA. It goes without saying that these changes will not happen overnight, but I am sure it will be an organic process. Thank you once again for taking out the time to read my story and let’s make it an international movement for India.!!
    - Kathak

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    My mother is suffering from disability due to polio ever since she was 10 years old. She has a crippled leg and bent spinal cord, and so she cannot walk without crutches.

    I have been living in US since last 12 years. I have a fascinating story to share about an amazing woman that is my mother Mrs. Saroj Chhaya. My mother is suffering from disability due to polio ever since she was 10 years old. She has a crippled leg and bent spinal cord, and so she cannot walk without crutches. In spite of these physical conditions and being the oldest daughter among her seven brothers and sisters, she had been able to successfully provide financial, moral and emotional support to her family which she continued doing so even after getting married to my father (which was a love marriage. She used to walk to her work with crutches one and half kilometers every day before she bought a hand-driven tricycle back in the 70's in India. Not only she managed to provide education to her younger brothers and sisters, she also helped them in pursuing their dream to settle in the US and financially supported her parents in their poor economical conditions even for quite some time after her marriage. She is a superwoman and a true inspiration to me and my family members who has successfully looked after her siblings and has given an excellent upbringing to her own children, myself and my older brother. Now, 72 and having worked for almost 40 years, she retired over 12 years ago. Even though, she continues to do her daily chores in the house and is keenly awaiting to be a grandmother as me and my wife are soon expecting a baby girl.
    Chirag Chhaya

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    I am blessed with 2 handicapped children (they are 17 years now) and approach is same - if I can take care of 2 such children, God may help me to help hundreds of such children

    Dear Aamir, Salute to your efforts and depth of research for all the issues brought up to the world. I have polio with both the legs since age of 4. You are absolutely right that my parents and family accepted me, invested into me and lucky to have studied in great schools in Ahmedabad in late 70s and 80s - along with normal students, which gave me tremendous confidence to compete with normal people, everyday! I did not accept perceived limitations, I believe that this attitude is key to my journey so far. Sharing my story, I did Electronics Engineering, MBA then grew up the corporate ladder in India (Arvind Mills) as well now in the US, serving currently as a General Manager in world's 6th largest IT services company. Key to all this is self-confidence and remaining competitive. I am blessed with 2 handicapped children (they are 17 years now) and approach is same - if I can take care of 2 such children, God may help me to help hundreds of such children and their parents in future and learn from the given personal situations to lead such efforts at a larger scale. Such efforts of yours are tremendous contribution and much needed to change the mindset of 50% of the Indian population - accept the disable community as a mainstream population. 3% grant shd be used for disabled people per 1997 supreme court guideline - if that is implemented and compliance is monitored, a lot can change in next 5-10 years.

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    My mother, despite of all the physical challenges, brought us up with pride and dignity. It hurts when I see her struggling at an old age, for basic requirements due to lack of facilities in our country.

    Dear Amir, I salute you for putting together this show SJ which reveals many truths of our country which we all know and see every day but fail to do anything about them! I am a proud daughter of a 65 year old retired and physically challenged but mentally very strong woman who has suffered from polio all her life. My father who was physically fit accepted her the way she was and loved her unconditionally but unfortunately, he passed away when I was 7 and my sister was 5. My mother, despite of all the physical challenges, brought us up with pride and dignity. It hurts when I see her struggling at an old age, for basic requirements due to lack of facilities in our country. One such example is an inaccessibility to visit the one and only orthopedic appliance store in our city - Jamnagar. The last time when she tried to visit this shop to order her special knee caliper to be replaced with an old rusted caliper, she just couldn’t access the shop and the bed for giving measurements. It was really impairing when I saw that she could climb up on her scooter with little help and drive it with two extra wheels but could not access an orthopedic shop with few steps going down at the entrance (nothing to hold on either sides) and an extra ordinarily high bed (for her reach) with steps to climb over for measurements which was compulsory to give measurements, if she wanted to get another pair of calipers. I wonder if this type of the shop which is meant for physically handicapped people is not designed as per their requirements, what else is accessible to this special category of people.
    Pooja Vaya

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    We (4 wheelchair users) took up a project titled, ‘Beyond Barriers-Incredible India Tour’ and travelled whole India by road covering 19000 km in 84 days. We visited 28 state capitals and more than 40 cities.

    Kudos to episode No 6 on Disability. You hit the nail on the head by touching upon the most crucial issues within disability sector and projected them so articulately. Set your heart on something and see the powers beyond the known, making it come true for you… this is what we (4 wheelchair users) did last year. We took up a project titled, ‘Beyond Barriers-Incredible India Tour’ and travelled whole India by road covering 19000 km in 84 days. We visited 28 state capitals and more than 40 cities. Our mission is to see our beautiful country barrier free for all by 2015. The purpose of this challenging tour was to sensitize the concerned agencies like the Ministry of Tourism, NGOs, hospitality sector, heritage committee and the society at large, about the challenges people with disability face while travelling. We also visited the state universities to raise awareness about the importance of higher education for students with disabilities. Your program has gone a long way in creating mass awareness, this campaign needs to be a sustained effort along with periodic follow up.

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    My uncle gathered, recruited, trained and funded a team of 11 passionate disabled, yet very “specially-abled” individuals. They now represent Pakistan in international games and recently won the first ‘International Disabled Cricket Series’ against England

    I am a Pakistani, currently studying for my PhD in the University of Leeds. My uncle (chacho) developed polio in his left leg at a very young age. However, he was very passionate about the game of Cricket. He used to play cricket with his friends and was a very active player. He then had a vision of founding a cricket team for the disabled. Despite, having virtually no support from the government, he gathered, recruited, trained and funded a team of 11 passionate disabled, yet very “specially-abled” individuals. They now represent Pakistan in international games and recently won the first ‘International Disabled Cricket Series’ against England when they won the opening Twenty20 match by 14 runs at the ICC Global Cricket Academy. The current captain 'Saleem Karim' (my chacho) who is the founder and current Captain of the Pakistani disabled cricket team. This teams much attention from the media and the press and the government to come out support these exceptionally talented individuals. There is a story behind all of these cricketers that needs to be shared with the world! Hopefully, that day will come when they would be respected, interviewed, welcomed and saluted the same way like our mainstream cricketers and even more!
    Nousheen Zakaria, Doctoral Researcher, University of Leeds.

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    I have resided in a foreign country and the difference in approach regarding disabled persons in those countries is uncomparable to our country. Life there for a person like me is extremely easy and there are also numerous work opportunities.

    I am unable to walk and need to use a wheelchair out of home, but inspite of this I have been living a pretty normal life, thanks to my parents who were very adamant in giving me a normal life. I studied in a top regular school amongst hundreds of normal girls, and inspite of a few difficulties like proper arrangement for reaching into my class and going to washrooms, I completed my schooling with the help of my parents and some very friendly classmates and kind teachers. Due to regular education, I developed a sense of self confidence, right attitude and freedom. I also completed my B. Com degree subsequently. I always wanted to be into designing, but due to lack of infrastructure facilities in the design schools in my city, I chose to study design completely online from a design college in U.S.A and today I'm a Graphic Designer and freelancer. I have resided in a foreign country and the difference in approach regarding disabled persons in those countries is uncomparable to our country. Life there for a person like me is extremely easy and there are also numerous work opportunities. But I choose to remain hopeful and believe that through your programme and sincere efforts of people and organizations like Designmate, things will change for the better! And as NIck Vujicic, the motivational speaker says... if you add G to DISABLE, it becomes GOD IS ABLE, hence anything is possible and Together, We can make a Difference!

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    Getting into a school proved to be a herculean task for me. My parents wanted me to study in a regular school. Unfortunately, most of the famous schools in Chennai were not keen on taking on the responsibility of a disabled child.

    My parents and I watched your episode titled “Persons with Disabilities”. We realized that what we were seeding on your show was a reflection of what we had gone through. I am a physically challenged girl and I have been disabled since birth. I have completed my Masters in Mass Communication at Women’s Christian College, Chennai. I currently work as a Copy Writer in an ad agency. All this would not have been possible without my initial education. However, getting into a school proved to be a herculean task for me. My parents wanted me to study in a regular school. Unfortunately, most of the famous schools in Chennai were not keen on taking on the responsibility of a disabled child. Every school my parents approached for my admission had only one question to ask – “Why don’t you put your child in a special school?” After facing rejection time and again, one of the popular schools in Chennai- Union Christian Matriculation Higher Secondary School finally opened the doors for me. The school did not hesitate to take me in. My principal, teachers and friends never treated me differently and they made my school life memorable. My principal also made sure that my classroom was on the ground floor every year. Generally life for a person like me is a struggle against the system. Once I finished my degree and masters, the next big hurdle I faced was while finding a job. Many companies are not forthcoming, when it comes to offering a job to a disabled person. A couple of years ago, I went to a multi-national company called Lason India, for a job interview. I was appalled when they turned me down without even taking a look at my qualifications and experience simply because I happened to be disabled. Their excuse was that they generally do not recruit disabled people in their company. A few years back I also attended a bank exam where the disabled people were seated on the second floor. Some people had to be carried up as they could not climb the stairs. After great difficulty I have managed to find a job that is in line with my qualifications as a Copy Writer. All this was possible because my parents are well educated and financially sound. Sadly not everyone is as fortunate as I have been. I shudder to think of the fate of the disabled people who do not have access to facilities. It is really sad that our country is so insensitive to needs of the physically challenged. Kudos to you for throwing light on the problems faced by people like me!

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    In my schooling days I had a senior who is a victim of polio. No one discouraged her, she was accepted by everybody as a normal girl and she used to say "Don’t show me sympathy" she was a brilliant student throughout.

    HI, I appreciate the work being done by Aamir Sir and the SMJ team. Thank you for showing this episode. In my schooling days I had a senior who is a victim of polio. No one discouraged her, she was accepted by everybody as a normal girl and she used to say "Don’t show me sympathy" she was a brilliant student throughout. Even during my college days I had a friend who didn’t have a leg and he never felt bad about it. He was a motivation for us, because he always stood by, to help others. He participated in blood donation camps and when there was an emergency in requirement of a rare blood group, he came back 200 km from his relatives place... Try to learn from such people as they teach you that even though they are phc, their attitude towards life is beautiful. How many people are there in the world who can stay without complaining for a single time throughout the day? My ans would be NONE. But seeing this episode made me realise that these people teach you how to live your life to the fullest... Satyamev Jayate!!!

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