Delhi celebrates World Disability Day, 2018

Many thousands of people with disabilities congregated at the India Gate Amar Jawan Jyoti to celebrate the World Disability Day or the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as it is now known. Organized by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in partnership with American India Foundation (AIF) on December 03 annually, with music and dance at this historical venue, the Walk to Freedom is an enthusiastic reminder of the struggles of the disability rights movement.

Delhi celebrates World Disability Day, 2018

With ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’ as declared by the UN this year, NCPEDP and the American India Foundation (AIF) unveiled a short report on the status of implementation across all states and Union Territories. Also released was the NCPEDP-AIF Manual on the RPWD Act that explains provisions of this Act as per various stakeholders.

The event saw energetic performances by students from the National Association of the Blind, Muskaan School and SNS Foundation while a group of wheelchair dancers – We are One- held the audience spell bound with their pirouettes. The event also included a panel discussion to debate “ Is India inclusive and equal”? Panelists included students of law and activists with disabilities who came together to assess ground reality and suggest solutions.

Member of Parliament, Mr. Manoj Tiwari flagged off the NCPEDP – AIF Walk to Freedom. Mr. Tiwari said ‘This Government under the leadership of  our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, is committed to ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities.’

Speaking at the occasion Mr Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP said “Today is an important day – it is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we are just round the corner from the second anniversary of the enactment of the RPWD act. Yet even after all this, people with disabilities remain excluded from all rights based discourses, other human rights movements and also the mainstream development agenda. All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights but when it comes to disability, the fragmentation and the acute lack of awareness about issues concerning people with disabilities, makes us realize that unless we, the people with disabilities, take control, take the leadership role and push for due realization of our rights, collaborating where we can and confronting where we must, we will continue to remain recipients of charity and dole”.

Addressing the audience, AIF’s Country Director Mathew Joseph said, “AIF is proud to partner with NCPEDP in the Walk to Freedom at India Gate to commemorate World Disability Day. The release of the MANUAL on RPWD Act 2016 is a momentous occasion for us and will go a long way in advocacy for the cause. AIF’s ABLE program aims to create the necessary changes to bring persons with disabilities into the mainstream and open up employment opportunities for them, in alignment with SDGs 8, 10 and 17. It is one’s ability, not disability that defines any individual.  We hope that a special event like this will lead to a collective voice for inclusion of persons with disabilities”.

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