Friday, Sep 17 2021 | Time 15:44 Hrs(IST)

State advocacy & networks meeting on deaf- blindness held

State advocacy & networks meeting on deaf- blindness held

Panaji, Aug 31 (UNI) Caritas Goa organised a state level advocacy meeting to advocate for the speedy formulation of the rules to the new Rights of Persons with Disability (RPWD) Act 2016 on August 30.
There were senior officials present from different Government departments, including the Chief Election Officer, Goa, to deliberate on the Goa specific needs of the disabled.
Speaking as the Chief Guest, Shashwat G Ray, Editor, Gomantak Times, enumerated the several gaps that exist in the service of the disabled as the Rules were yet to be notified.
He stressed on the lack of accessibility and employment for the disabled and lamented that even two years later Goa had not yet launched the Accessible India Campaign.
'We do not have a Disability Commissioner for the past eight months,' he informed and stressed on the need of everyone to be sensitive by expressing empathy rather than being apathetic.
AvelinoD’Sa, President, DRAG, explained the salient features of the Act and suggested several ways of enabling the disabled towards achieving independence in life and livelihood.
Mr Parag, Head of Advocacy, Sense India International, shared about the networks that are initiated of Uddan (for adult deafblind), Abhiprerna (for special educators) and Prayas ( for Parents) to lobby for the disabled, particularly the deafblind.
Persons with Deafblindness face discrimination and neglect, related to very basic rights such as right to food, shelter or even right to life. The scale of exclusion due to disabilities is dramatic. A number of children with disabilities receive limited formal education whereas adults with disabilities have little access to professional training. In addition to these they also have to face negative attitudes of the society.
The parent of a Deafblind child Ms Maya shared the difficulties she encounters as she accessesthe government facilities.
Transportation is a nightmare for the parents of the disabled children, she insisted. Another parent also informed that even reserved parking for the disabled is not respected by the public. Moreover, it was stated that the services are loaded with too much of regulations which de-motivates the disabled applicants.
Earlier welcoming the guests, Fr Maverick Fernandes, Director Caritas, Goa, informed that Caritas Goa besides providing services was actively involved in assisting the disabled to claim for their rights.
He shared that though Deafblindness is recognised as a disability after much lobbying,identification of persons is essential to ensure their appropriate rehabilitation through health and education services followed by vocational rehabilitation. He appealed to the participants to raise the demand for a speedy notification of the Rules to the Act.
Caritas Goa has been serving, for the past six years, the Deafblind children / young adults and multisensory impaired children. The expansion of services for deafblind persons of Caritas-Goa is supported by Sense India International and funded by The HANS Foundation, New Delhi, he further informed.
Incidentally, several state governments have already framed their Rules concerning the Act. It is a challenge for all those in the disability sector to advocate for the same in our state. State Advocacy meeting aims at making government, service providers and organisations aware and accountable. There was State meeting of Parents Network on August 29, 2018, to motivate them to become a strong advocacy and lobbying group.
UNI AKM 1012

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