Present at India inclusion Summit(IIS) 2018. Thanks to Feroze and team to receive invitation to me to attend the event. Event started with songs by T.V Gopalakrishnan and troupe (tamil, Purandaradasa). They ended sharing about running Academy of music that includes everyone who is interested to learn art, irrespective of their backgrounds.
Zoyeb Zia shared his learning from journey with “ataxia” a medical condition, calls himself Champion for Rare diseases. Learning includes “I should have come earlier and asked for help, instead of shutting down” and “Disability no more comes in the way of things that I love”. Everyone at my school and college helped me to perform/achieve and I want to help others. Thanked and gave full credit to his father who quit his job to take care and brings Zoyeb to current state. Zoyeb is Asst Professor of Zoology in Chennai and pursues PhD now
Brij Kothari came to talk of mass literacy and emphasized need to see literacy coverage as weak literates, Literates and Illiterates. While one can claims that we have more literates than illiterates, the weak literates form more than 60% of literate’s population. His plan to reduce weak literacy segment.
The more we have subtitles in TV programs and movies, the reading practice of audience increases and enables weak literates to become literates. When one starts reading, one continues to read and 3 hour movies can lead to 3 hours of reading practice. The same subtitle enables hearing impairment segment of people.
Brij shared that English TV channels have started to sub-title and the same needs to get followed by Indian channels and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 Section 29(h) already mentions “ensuring that persons with hearing impairment can have access to television programs with sign language interpretation or sub-title”.
Suchitra Shenoyemphasized that ” inclusion” refers to “society” andpointed to background of Latika Roy Foundation thatstarted with family adoption of a little girl named Moy Moy,differently enabled child and today has ended creating livelihoodand employment of people. Suchitra ended up with ” Everyone hassomething to give”.
RajniBakshi started with sharing of Indian Tradition for inclusion,quoting Ramayana where Rama’s army is made of monkeys and other animals andvery few human beings and story of Indian squirrel to emphasize ” Nobodyis too small for any task”. He compares us to like Hanuman deprived ofknowledge and IIS 2018 makes us aware of our traditional knowledge. Rajni endedwith Virender Kumar pointing of what we can learn from making of Dahi orYogurt.
- To make Dahi, the input needed is also Dahi along with milk.
- The milk and Dahi needs to be mixed in right proportion and else Dahi may not comes good.
- Once cannot just leave and should be ready to stir things. Be more assertive.
- One needs to be patient. if you poke Dahi, it will melt
All tha above needs to be done with complete faith, not disheartened with failures and not overjoyed due to success.
Shubha came to talk about losing her job for the reason of being disabled and how she has turned herself to creating Swarga Foundation that now employees people, support education and also publishes “I am special” calendar. In Coimbatore, they enabled some government schools to create disabled friendly toilets, (also maintain them clean), enabling more children to come back to school. While thanking her husband for support to take care of her and her children, Shubha shared her learning as “Turn every adversity in to an opportunity” and ended saying that “ what I have created is only a limited edition” and it looked like a challenge to all normal people including me to create better editions of the product called society.
Vaibhav Kothari was first speaker to speak in Sign language and must be interpreted for others (like me) in English by translator. Vaibhav started with childhood journey with “Accept up with what you have/reality” and “Be grateful to parents”. Vaibhav shared where parents can enable their deaf children in best way explaining that 90% of deaf are born to hearing parents and only 15% of those parents learn to communicate with their children in sign language. Hence communicating with their deaf child in the sign language brings confidence in the child.
Vaibhav proposed an intriguing concept called “Deaf-Gain” where his family moved to Delhi to provide son with best access to facilities and all what they did was due to the fact that they had deaf son, may be they would not have relocated if they have a normal child and positioned that differently enabled people have ability to influence the people around them in positive way. Vaibhav also studied in USA and returned to India. Vaibhav created documentary video “Not Anymore” to show how Indian Deaf person can successfully works as a leader in a dynamic and challenging profession like in infrastructure sector and has produced/created 20 minute talk shows where conversation is in SIGN language.
Follows dialogue between Suhasini Maniratnam and Swarnalatha. The most striking term for Suhasini is “inclusion”and shared her nostalgia where she was the one girl learning photography with more than 60 boys. She talked about Manthil Uruthi Vendumand the lead role Nadini. For me, who has seen movie, Nandini character is most humble character that stands out for service to others. She comments,”Magic happens in IIS!”. Suhasini shared the magic that she met man in this trip to Bangalore who owns group of restaurants in Bangalore that rhymes with Nandini and shared that role inspired owner create restaurant and she shared that Nandini role has larger impact.
When asked whether movie industry encourage people with disabilities, Suhasini shared that Tamil film industry has female playback singer, differently enabled and a movie director, physically challenged and it is for audience to fins them. When asked what it means to perform role of mother, Suhasini response was there is no difference whether it is mother, sister or wife and it is just a role that I perform.
Followed by Jerry White, a Nobel Peace co-winner for banning the land mines, claims, “We need each other for resilience. I find my missing piece in all the people in IIS”, “We all are one. All are in me. Together we are a whole”.
Facing disabilities for both her mother and herself, Devika Malik, the International Para Athlete, learned to be different. In her childhood, she felt the urge to break the rumor that “Mother passed to the child” and pushed herself to achieve everything. Her mother Deepa Malik is also Paralympic medalist. In early childhood, she took courage to explain other children in her school “ why she was different” and created her own friends for life. Effectively she attempts to transform situations from being “Laughed at “ to “Laughed with” and also has established the Wheeling Happiness Foundation. She completes with “We differently enables can perform everything, until society enables us, rather than disabling us”.
The next speaker was Yetnebersh Nigussie Lawyer and Disability Rights Activist, Recipient of Right Livelihood Award. Yetnebersch… means where have you been in Ethiopian! She said that she got benefited being blind as that send her to school, instead of pushing to be married. She called everyone to have “Open mind to embrace diversity” and called herself billionaire as she has billion friends who take care of her.
The next speaker Rupert Isaacson, a parent of a child with autistic spectrum has produced “The Horse Boy – a documentary feature film“ which won the 2009 Feature Film Audience Award for the Lone Star States. Rupert talked about his exposure to inclusion and shared his learnings of how to parent differently enabled child and called “Autism is not a catastrophe… its an adventure!” Rupert emphasized need for self-compassion and self-care that parents needs to develop to better care for their special child. Rupert asked these parents to “Setup yourself for success” first to “Setup your child for success” and emphasized importance of spending significant time with special child. Rupert Isaacson shares wisdom in 3 pointers and shared the website https://ntls.co/ for detailed reference.
- Follow your child
- Follow him/her emotionally
- Follow him/her intellectually
Caroline Casey – Irish Activist, Founder of Valuable, WEF Young Global Leader emphasized importance of business to be in conversation with disability and called upon each one of us to follow twitter hashtag “ #valuable – A global call to business to recognize the value of 1 billion people with disability”. She shared her 3 principles (below) and ended her talk with the connect “Everyone has story to tell. None of us is better than others. Every person is equally valuable. You can be the best that you can be.”
- Freedom to be who you are
- Believe in magic of possibility
- Freedom to love and connect.
Caroline shared her dad saying “ Be yourself because everyone else is taken.”
Chithra,playback singer graced the occasion be being present in person and performed some beautiful songs in multiple Indian languages. Raghavendra Hegde, sand art artist creates magic(see below) and was followed with announcement on India Inclusion fellowship winners 2018.
Feroze took to session end saying “Everybody is good at something and everyone can be great at giving” and followed by volunteer dance