Disability News India (DNI)
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Disability News India – October Issue
- Disabled teacher, students thrown off private bus near Esplanade
- Autism is 'misunderstood'
- Rs. 75 lakh allotted to fund social security schemes for disabled people
- Meet will discuss impact of religion on woman's sexual rights
- How disabled–friendly are the facilities?
- Talking PC that helps you fight obesity
- Mentally disabled children take vocational training in Orissa
- Helping hand to ensure a full participation
- Nominations invited National awards for visually impaired
- 'Destiny'– a New Digital Aid for Indian Market by Starkey
- Photograph competition for disabled persons
- Parents of disabled students to be trained in Siliguri
- Low cost software developed for visually impaired
- 255 cases of polio virus detected this year in India
- HC judge visits home for disabled people
- Special children win over everyone with their zeal and zest
- 'With help from tech, you can make it big anywhere'
- Disability issue finds place in political manifestoes
- 'Focus Schools' to educate disabled students
- Speaking books for visually–impaired
- Disabled people seek implementation of Central Act
- Private sector drags its feet on hiring disabled people
- Disabled people Rally in Patna; Reservation in Jobs Desired
- Scholarships distributed to needy students
- 'State failed in empowering disabled people'
- 'Sound of the silent' set to allure the hearing impaired
- Govt to provide Rs 2 crore for NISH
- News channel on rehabilitating disabled persons launched
- Abilityfest 2007 features films that show disability in the "right light"
- 'Sexuality of disabled people being ignored'
- Disability screening sees near stampede
- Girl from Vasai dies of polio
- Visually impaired dancers present a visual feast
- Disabled Kashmir children keen to be self–reliant, learn martial arts
- India to ratify U.N. Convention on rights of disabled people
- UT to construct homes for mentally and disabled children
- TV channel for deaf people
Kolkata, October 29: Disabled teacher and her two students, both hearing impaired, were thrown off a private bus by the conductor near Esplanade today.
The victims, who were injured in the incident, later lodged a complaint at the New Market police station, after which the driver and conductor were arrested.
Nandini Sengupta, a national award–winning teacher at the Behala Deaf School, and her two students ? Satyabrata Mukherjee and Bapi Mukherjee ? boarded a private bus on route 241A from Taratolla crossing around 11 am. They were supposed to get down at Esplanade.
A few minutes after boarding the bus, the trio showed their special concession passes for disabled people to the conductor Tapan Das.
But he reportedly demanded money and an argument ensued. The trio later bought tickets to avoid confrontation.
When the bus reached Esplanade around noon, the driver did not stop the bus while the conductor pushed her off, alleged Nandini in her complaint. Satyabrata and Bapi were allegedly pushed off next.
The teacher and her students, who sustained minor injuries, were rushed to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital where they were treated and discharged subsequently.
"We have arrested the driver Swapan Mondol and conductor Tapan Mondol," said Vinit Goyal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Headquarters).
Nandini is a resident of Budge Budge while Satyabrata and Bapi are residents of Tollygunge and Haridebpur respectively.
Source: http://www.expressindia.comBack to Top
Widespread misconceptions about autism could be damaging for people living with the disability, a new report has suggested.
The Think Differently – Act Positively report, based on a survey of 2,024 people across the UK, showed that the vast majority of the public is uninformed about the condition, and unaware of how common it is.
The survey, commissioned by the National Autistic Society (NAS), showed that 27% of those who had heard of autism mistakenly believed it mostly affects children, and less than half – only 39% – were aware that there is no cure.
In addition, 39% thought that most people with autism had special abilities, for example in maths or art. In fact, such abilities are extremely rare. Furthermore, the vast majority of people surveyed – 90% – did not know how common autism is. The condition is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people in the UK.
More positively, respondents said they would be far more willing to engage with people with autism if they understood more about the condition.
A total of 84% of parents or grandparents said they would not be concerned about a child with autism joining their child's class and more than two thirds (67%) would be happy to work with someone with autism.
Benet Middleton, Director of Communications at The National Autistic Society, said: "As a lifelong social and communication disability, living with autism can often be an isolating experience.
"By encouraging people to think differently and understand more about autism, the NAS hopes to improve the lives of thousands of people with the condition.
"We are calling on the public, professionals and Government to act positively to ensure people with autism have the same rights and freedoms as the rest of society."
Source: http://ukpress.google.com/articleBack to Top
CHENNAI: A sum of Rs. 75 lakh has been allotted to fund social security schemes for persons with disabilities, Social Welfare Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna said on Monday.
The Government has drawn up schemes to provide solatium for accidental death, loss of limb or loss of faculties, support for pension, marriage, education of children of persons with disabilities, and during maternity. All these schemes will be implemented through the Tamil Nadu Welfare Board for the Disabled, she added. Some of the money would also be spent on supplying aids and appliances for persons with disabilities.
NGOs to be monitored
Also, non–governmental organisations that are receiving funding from the department to implement welfare schemes for disabled people will be monitored, and punitive action taken against those that are not functioning as per the requirements. The licences of those not measuring up could even be suspended, Dr. Poongothai said.
Speaking to presspersons after attending the second meeting of the Welfare Board, she said that about 60 to 70 per cent of the number of disabled people in Tamil Nadu had been given ID cards, and work was on to provide the cards to the others too. Reacting to a complaint from members of the Board that disabled students were getting a raw deal in colleges, she said that she had already spoken of the issue to the Higher Education Minister, who had assured her that he would write to the universities to treat them with more sympathy.
The Early Intervention Centres of the State Government ? to detect hearing impairment and mental retardation early in childhood ? had so far provided mixed results. However, she said, she was hopeful that the centres would improve over time. Early detection of visual impairment would also be introduced at the centres next year, she said. She will also write to the Chief Minister about starting a protection mechanism for children who have undergone sexual abuse, Dr. Poongothai said.
Demands were also made during the meeting to provide soft skills training for professionals with disabilities, to increase the powers of the Commissionerate for the welfare of the disabled, and to increase the pay scale of special educators.
Social Welfare secretary N.S. Palaniappan and State Commissioner for the disabled V.K. Jeyakodi participated in the meeting, along with other board members.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/30/stories/2007103058280200.htmBack to Top
HYDERABAD: The impact of religious fundamentalism on woman's sexual and
reproductive health and rights will be one of the issues to be debated
at the Fourth Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health and
Rights (APCRSH) that begins here on Monday.
The issue is expected to produce a lively debate, considering religion has an impact on sexual behaviour of women and limits their access to health care and sexual choices.
The activism of the Church in the West, Islamic tenets on matters like sodomy, and homosexuality and prevailing concepts of child marriage and male child preferences will be discussed threadbare.
Talking to reporters on the eve of the three–day conference, Terence Hull, Professor of demography at the Australian national University said the debate surrounding child marriages, adolescent sexuality and abortion policy and maintaining traditional values against what the policy makers perceive as globalisation and Westernisation would be put before for the participants to express their opinions.
As against the four billion people in Asia, the Pacific region has a population of just 35 million.
The problems of sex ratio at birth that daunted policy makers in India and China did not exist in the countries of the Pacific though they were home to the diaspora from these countries, Prof. Hull said.
Pointing out thousands of million died in India due during abortions though it was legalised but the procedures adopted were unsafe.
There was also a need to educate the youth about sexuality and provide them adequate services including preventive tools.
To give the conference a political touch, 10 members of Parliament and Parliamentarians from different countries of this region will come together under the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.
"Sexuality does not operate in isolation. It intersects gender, class, caste, religion, economics, law, culture and many other variables. We need to acknowledge that all people are not heterosexual and can have different preferences. Everyone including lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, transsexual have a right to be safe from violence and discrimination and enjoy their sexuality," Radhika Chandiramani, executive director of TARSHI told reporters.
"Disabled people have rights too"
"People with disabilities have rights too and there have always been deep and persistent negative stereotypes, prejudices and fears about people living with disability and particularly about their sexuality. There are 650 million people in the world living with a disability and this figure is increasing. These prejudices are consistent across most countries and cultures and in many cultures, to have a disability and to be a sexual being is a double taboo," said Jane Chivers, manager Family Planning NSW, Australia.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/29/stories/2007102956271300.htmBack to Top
CHENNAI: The pavement that runs around Ranjit Road in Kotturpuram has large signboards at regular intervals: "User–friendly pavement for disabled people: Corporation of Chennai."
The ruts, gaping holes and broken–off edges, however, make it hard to imagine how it could be user–friendly even for a person without disabilities.
"They set it up two years ago," says assistant coordinator of non–governmental organisation Vidya Sagar's Disability Legislation Unit (South), B. Meenakshi. "Since then, it hasn't been maintained. And there is no facility for us to get off the pavement at any point."
Facilities for disabled persons, despite awareness campaigns, remain abysmally low. Banks, ATM centres and government offices still lack many of the facilities that could help persons with disabilities move about independently. At almost every place, a physically challenged person requires somebody's assistance, activists point out.
To more than 16 lakh people in the State almost 1 lakh in Chennai, who are either physically or mentally disabled people, access is an everyday battle. Of the 2,815 buses operating in the city, only around 10 have facilities for persons with disabilities.
At the Central Station, there are a toilet and a parking lot exclusively for persons with disabilities, but disabled people find it difficult to get into the station despite the ramp. The station has 130 wheelchairs but they remain in a room that not many know of. Someone accompanying disabled people has to go and request for one.
"Sometimes I end up paying a porter almost as much as the fare just to have a wheelchair brought to the entrance," said S.S. Smitha, of Vidya Sagar.
A senior official at the Central Station admits that this is a problem but says that placing wheelchairs outside would lead to their damage and misuse. "We have nominated a special coach for disabled people in some trains. Now we are considering introducing this in all trains," he said.
Toilets in public places
Availability of toilets in public places is another major issue.
"How many government offices have toilets for disabled people ?" asked C. Govindakrishnan, head of Nethrodaya, an organisation that caters to the needs of disabled people. State Commissioner for the Disabled V. K. Jeyakodi says the government has been taking several steps to make public places disabled–friendly. "Two disabled–friendly lifts will be installed in the High Court buildings," he said. Also, 15 traffic signals in the city will soon have audio facilities announcing the colour of the light for the benefit of the visually–impaired. "We will write to commercial banks asking them to put up ramps," he added.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/27/stories/2007102760490400.htmBack to Top
LONDON: Tired of checking your weight on that scale in the bathroom. Well, now there is a computerised scale that will talk you and help you in that lonely battle against obesity.
The machine, called a mandometer, helps one lose weight by weighing the food and encouraging one to eat it slowly, one mouthful at a time. It also chides people if they eat too fast.
A teenager from Horfield in Bristol has proclaimed the computerised scale, being tested on 120 volunteers by the Childhood Obesity Clinic at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in UK, effective in ensuring that his diet stays on track.
Sixteen–year–old Laurence Willshire, who used to weigh about 133 kg, has shed about 25 kg since he turned to the mandometer.
The computer is connected to a set of scales with a plate in which the volunteers fill their food. It records and stores the weight loss from the plate as the volunteers eat, and tell them when they have more than they should. The device also measures how quickly a person eats his meals. If the person carries on eating after it has decided that he has had enough it asks him: Are you still hungry?
"I used to eat very fast. I could eat a very large meal in about three minutes. Now I take about 16 minutes," the Daily Mail quoted Laurence as saying.
"The treatment has given me so much confidence. I feel very good about myself now," he added.
Ian Probert, a spokesman for the hospital, said the gadget worked by training the patient to eat at a slower rate.
"A lot of obese people bolt their food so quickly the stomach doesn't have time to tell the brain its full. The mandometer tells them when they can eat and when they can have their next mouthful. It slows the rate of consumption and by having gaps between mouthfuls it trains the patient to control their rate of eating, the rate slows down and the amount of food they consume diminishes."
Laurence began putting on weight when he was 8 and was bullied at school. His lack of self–esteem led to comfort eating and he would eat whole packets of biscuits and multipacks of crisps.
His parents, Lydia, 47, and Roy, 48, tried to stop his bingeing but at his peak Laurence, who is 6ft 7in, had a 60–inch chest. His mother said that the weight loss had had a dramatic effect on her son's personality.
"Hes confident, hes going out, which he never used to do, and he's got a great sense of humour. I don't think we've ever really known the real Laurence until now and it's brilliant," she said.
The mandometer was developed in Sweden to encourage anorexics to speed up their eating. It has been reprogrammed to persuade fat people to slow down.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.comBack to Top
Koraput (Orissa), Oct.26 : At least 56 children with various intellectual disabilities are taking vocational training at a special centre in Orissa's Koraput to be self–reliant and prove wrong those who doubted their potential.
At the Manas Education and Vocational Training Centre for the Mentally disabled people, operated under the aegis of Koraput district administration since 2001, training is imparted to children between 6 to 18 years of age.
Dinabandhu Daria, a student at the institute, had joined Manas in 2002. He went on to win a gold medal in cricket during Special Olympics held in 2006.
"People in my village used to call me a mad. My condition improved after visiting this place. I learnt to cricket and went to Mumbai for a cricket match. We played against teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa. Today, my villagers are very happy to see me.
I want to open a tailoring shop," said Dinabandhu Daria, a student.
Today, Dinabandhu not only plays good cricket, but is also good at tailoring. He stitches nearly dozen mosquito nets everyday.
The institute provides an opportunity to students to develop their hobbies besides attending the inmates for their mental and physical disorders. Student can learn stitching, candle making, spices packing, book–binding and other similar works.
Fourteen of the students at Manas, who had a harrowing time in their immediate society, now are earning a handsome amount of money.
"Here we stitch mosquito nets and sell them in markets. I will take it as a vocation. If I was in my village my life would have been ruined," said Dinesh Sarika, a student.
According to Bidyadhar Paramanik, Principal of Manas Education and Vocational Training Centre for Mentally disabled people, the centre is facing financial constraint.
"We have started this school with the objective of looking after such mentally disabled children who are not usually accepted by the society. We gather these children from different villages and provide them with right health treatment and vocational training so as to make them self–sufficient," Paramanik said.
"Although much is being done by this institution, it is facing financial constraints. The Centre provides 75 per cent funds for this school. The rest is borne by the district administration. We need at least Rs. 65,000 a year, but we get much less," he said.
Although funds supply is regular but the money doesn't suffice in updating the facilities at Manas, he added.
Items prepared by the students are marketed by the institution that shares the profit earned with the students.
Source: http://www.topnews.inBack to Top
BANGALORE: The first comprehensive assistive technology centre that will enable children and adults with any disability to learn, communicate and participate comprehensively in all walks of life will come up in Bangalore by early 2008. The centre is a joint venture of the Spastic Society of Karnataka, PACER Centre and IBM India.
The Spastics Society of Karnataka Assistive Technology Centre for Education and Life Skills Training has been modelled after PACER Centre's Simon Technology Centre. Assistive technology is specialised hardware or software that is used to help increase, maintain or assist the functional capabilities of people with disabilities, a release said.
Mary Pawlenty, wife of the Governor of Minnesota in the U.S., Tim Pawlenty, on Wednesday visited the Spastics Society and unveiled the first plaque for the centre. Ms. Pawlenty said: "It is wonderful to see this global collaboration to advance the opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. I am proud of the work done in Minnesota and Karnataka, and I know that as this collaboration grows, with the support of corporate partners such as IBM, we will see great benefits for all."
"The technology centre will promote inclusiveness and education aimed at reaching out to many children and adults with disabilities. This endeavour is a result of the hard work done by all the volunteers and support offered by the PACER Centre and IBM," said Rukmini Krishnaswamy, Director, Spastics Society of Karnataka.
PACER Centre will provide training for the Spastics Society staff. It has solicited corporate donors and assistive technology vendors to contribute technology, financial gifts, and volunteer time to help build and support the centre. IBM has donated the hardware and Accessibility Works software. IBM consultants and volunteers will also help support this centre.
The centre will work towards making the benefits of technology more accessible to children and adults with disabilities. Through a collaborated effort involving parents, professionals and consumers, the centre will provide numerous services such as technology consultations, workshops on technology–related topics, individual training and library facilities.
Shanker Annaswamy, Managing Director of IBM India, and Bridget Ames, Coordinator of PACER's Simon Technology Centre, were present.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/26/stories/2007102653120600.htmBack to Top
In spite of being a sightless if you think that you have achieved an enviable position in your life against all odds and touched the pinnacle of glory, then you are the person whom the Central India Research Institute and Management Services (CRIMS) and Akhil Bharatiya Drishtihin Kalyan Sangh (ABDKS) are looking for four prestigious national awards. The ABDKS in association with CRIMS has announced four national awards Sant Surdas Social Award for eminence, Sant Gulabrao Maharaj Master Award, Bhakt Kannappa Sports Award and ABDKS award for institute or individual working for visually challenged. Each award carries a citation, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. The awards will be given only to a visually challenged person.
According to Shri Avinash Sagwai, general secretary of ABDKS, these awards would be presented at a function to be held in May 2008. Entries have been invited for all the four awards at the address 139, Parag Apartment, New Ramdas Peth, Nagpur–440 010 by December 31, 2007.
Shri Sagwai has demanded the government to declare the birth anniversary of Sant Surdas as Rashtriya Netraheen Kalyan Diwas. He said Sant Surdas social award for eminence would be given for exemplary achievements of a visually challenged person who has not only overcome great odds towards achievement but has also contributed significantly to the society. Sant Gulabrao Maharaj mastery award will be given to a visually challenged person in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in the field of his choice be it art, film, medicine, science, industry, technology, education, community development, human rights or more. Bhakta Kannappa sports award will be given to a visually impaired person in recognition of his extraordinary achievement in the field of sports. The award for institute or individual working for visually challenged will be given to an institute working for all round development of a visually impaired.
Shri Sagwai further said the ABDKS is of the opinion that sightless people are not burden but are part of the society playing active role in promoting socio–economic welfare of the country and thus helping to strengthen the backbone of the nation. Like sighted, sightless can also be equally self–independent and are able to contribute to the development of the society thereby shaping the future of the nation. He said social ambassadors of the ABDKS have been working tirelessly for the uplift of the sightless.
Source: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.phpBack to Top
US–based global hearing solutions company, Starkey, would enter the Indian market with its digital hearing aid called 'Destiny' by November this year. The aid is specifically targeted at children.
Till then, it is involved in distributing 'Destiny' to thousands of children as a part of its CSR activity. Says Dr Girija Sundar, Director of Business Development, Starkey, "The USP of this product is that it brings down the 'whistle effect' dramatically. The effect is cut down with the help of active feedback interrupt. Also, it has a directional microphone that accepts telephonic sound without the distortion." In this era of digitisation, the company feels that the market is apt. "About 92 per cent hearing aids sold in the US are digital," informs Sundar.
Costing between Rs 10,000–Rs 50,000, the shelf life of the product would be four to seven years in India. The product is re–programmable and can be re–used.
However, the biggest concern is that there are not many qualified audiologists in India and hence awareness is low. Said Rohit Misra, Managing Director, Starkey, "Compared to the Western countries, the number of qualified audiologists is abysmally low. We have just around 1,200 professionals for a country of billion people. Hence, awareness needs to be stepped up."
In a panel discussion, organised by Starkey, the issues, problems and challenges faced by the hearing impaired were also raised. Commenting on the increasing vulnerability of the youth, Dr Prashant Kamble, Audiologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, cautioned, "Listening to I–pods, playing video–games and exposure to loud music in discos are common today. Little do they realise about the significant impact it can have on their hearing." On the same ground, agreed Dr R Oza, Audiologist and HOD, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, "There are many aspiring youngsters who come for the audiometric test which is mandatory for being a pilot, but at least 20 per cent of them fail this test."
Source: http://www.expresshealthcaremgmt.com/200710/market17.shtmlBack to Top
With the objective of promoting understanding and their right to decent work, the International Labour Organisation, Disabled Peoples' International and Irish Aid are jointly organising an Asia–Pacific photograph competition under the theme "Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities" to raise awareness of the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons on the 3 rd December 2007.
According to a statement by ILO the competition is open to everyone aged over 18 residing in the Asia–Pacific Region. The first prize carries the cash purse of US$1,000. The closing date for entries is noon on the 21 st November 2007.
"The competition has been created with the aim of promoting an understanding within the Asia–Pacific region of people with disabilities and their right to decent work," states the statement.
Photographs must include disabled people in the work environment, including those who are self–employed, and be linked to the concept of decent work or of people advocating their rights to decent work.
Decent work is productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity and has also been defined by Mr. Juan Somavia, Director General, ILO, as "work that meets people's basic aspirations, not only for income, but for security for themselves and their families, without discrimination or harassment, and providing equal treatment for women and men with and without a disability."
"Entries for the competition will only be accepted in digital format and must have a file size of no less than 1 megabyte. Photographs should be no more than 2 years old, and must not have won prizes in any other photographic competition. Submissions must include a caption explaining the disability of the subject and the link to decent work."
The photographs will be judged by a panel of experts comprising leading photographers, the International Labour Organization, Disabled People's International, employers', trade union and disabled persons' representatives.
The "Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities" photograph competition will be open for submissions from the 25th October to the 21 st November 2007. Submissions can also be made via the competition website: www.jigsaw–communications.com/ilo.
Source: http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2007/oct/oct25/news16.phpBack to Top
SILIGURI, Oct. 24: Officials of the Sarva Sikha Mission are planning to
train parents of the disabled students studying in various primary
schools and Sishu Shiksha Kendras under the Siliguri Education District.
The proposed training programme is aimed at helping the parents to take
care of their children in a proper way.
According to the SSM officials, the resource persons of the department would start the training programme from 5 November. Under the proposed programme, parents would be taught on how to take care of their disabled children. The training programme would be organised in every panchayat areas of the Siliguri education district.
On the opening day, the department would organise a training camp at Buraganj and Raniganj in Kharibari. "It is necessary to take proper care of the special students at home. If the parents fail to communicate with their children, it would be absolutely difficult for them to understand their needs. The communication gap would also affect the studies of such children. In an attempt to solve the problem, the SSM has decided to train the proper techniques to the parents of physically challenged children," the coordinator of the SSM, Siliguri, Mr Pradip Adhikari, said.
Source: http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.phpBack to Top
CHENNAI: A city–based visually impaired software professional has come
out with an 'open source voice–enabled software' based on LINUX system,
for the benefit of visually impaired.
Krishnakant said here that the ORCA software which allows development of a free (open source) software, is comparatively cheap as it require no licence.
IT companies at present are reluctant to recruit visually impaired as they have to install proprietary software, the licence of which costs a minimum of Rs 70,000 for each computer, he said.
C Umashankar, Managing Director, Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu, which is promoting the software, said Rs 5 lakh investment is needed to install a proprietary software, to be shared by five visually impaired people. But, using the new software, 22 computers can be installed with the same amount.
Krishnakant hoped that with the introduction of the new software, there will be a dramatic improvement in recruitment of visually impaired by IT companies.
The new product has all the facilities similar to any Windows–based software, he said. All business functions and calculations apart from browsing and e–mail facilities are available. It will read not only what appeared on the screen, but also each function carried out by the user.
The software can be modified as per the needs of the user and also be re –distributed, he said. The English accent can be modified, language changed and any regional language introduced without altering basic programming code.
"I took it as a challenge and vowed to help all visually impaired people to work on computers", he said people at first ridiculed him when he chose the profession.
"My parents admitted me to a regular school in Mumbai, as they did not want me to join a school for the blind," he said adding he underwent a three–year diploma course in software, after completing graduation in Economics.
Krishnakant said he will be visiting all the states to create awareness about the software. He has already visited Karnataka and will be going to Gujarat soon.
Uma Shankar said ELCOT will recommend the software to all rehabilitation and blind schools and will take the responsibility of installing them.
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.comBack to Top
Kishanganj: The scourge of polio continues to haunt the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh even as the battle for its total eradication made significant breakthroughs this year.
The surveillance medical officer (SMO) of the National Polio Surveillance Programme (NPSP), World Health Organisation (WHO), disclosed here today that altogether 255 cases of polio virus affliction (61 cases of P1 type and 194 cases of P3 type) were detected this year across the country as compared to a total of 667 cases from across 114 districts during last year.
Of the present 255 cases this year, Uttar Pradesh registered the maximum number of polio cases with 201 cases (20 cases of P1 and 181 cases of P3). Meanwhile, Bihar registered 39 cases (30 cases of P1 and 9 cases of P3).
Five cases were reported from Andhra Pradesh, followed by three from Uttarakhand, two each from Harayana and Maharashtra and one each from Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
''P2 cases have virtually been eliminated and banished,'' the SMO disclosed. The P1 polio virus is potentially more dangerous and serious than the others. Therefore, its outbreak in virulent epidemic form since last year has proved to be a cause of serious concern among the medical fraternity.
However, a concerted drive against polio has yielded rich dividends so far, the SMO said. The sudden resurgence in P3 polio cases in Bihar was attributed to the overall flood situation throughout the state, he added.
Massive drives were being launched in 41 blocks of the state to combat the sudden eruption in P3 cases, he said.
Meanwhile, Sub Regional Team Leader (SRTL) Anjani Kumar said the though the districts of Purnia division were free from the polio virus at the moment, Madhepura and Saharsa were worst–afflicted with seven and six cases respectively.
Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Munger had registered three cases each and Samastipur, Bhagalpur, Supaul and Bhojpur reported two cases each while Begusarai, West Champaran, Gopalganj, Khagaria, Nalanda, Rohtas, Patna and Sitamarhi recorded one case each.
Kishanganj District Magistrate (DM) M Saravanan patted the medical officers for keeping the district free from polio for five consecutive years and motivated them to keep up the good work while Civil Surgeon I D Ranjan asked the doctors and vaccinators to take up the programme in all earnestness
Source: http://www.newkerala.com/oct.phpBack to Top
SILIGURI, Oct. 23: The Calcutta High Court judge and the chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, Mr Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, today visited Anubhav, a home for disabled children in Siliguri. The visit was undertaken as part of an SLSA drive to take stock of the functioning of various disabled centres across the state. Mr Ghosh was accompanied by the SLSA registrar cum deputy secretary, Mr Sovan Kumar Mukhapadhyay, Darjeeling district judge Mr Barun Pal, Siliguri ACJM Ms Rajashree Basu Adhikari and the ADSJ Mr Pinaki Ranjan Jha.
During the brief stay at Anubhav this morning, Mr Justice Ghosh spent time with the disabled children and also interacted with the volunteers there. He assured the Anubhav volunteers all possible help in carrying forward the charity service in a better way.
Talking to reporters, the High Court judge said that the SLSA has taken up the monitoring drive from early this month and he personally has so far visited six disabled centres in the state, including Anubhav.
Source: http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.phpBack to Top
Ludhiana, October 23: It was a special day for some 250 children with special needs ? students of government and private schools in the district, they had gathered to participate in a sports event organised by Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Keeping in mind their special requirements, the organisers had arranged for 58 events. The enthusiasm and confidence of these young students made one realise that given the will power, a person could achieve anything.
His broad smile said it all, Yadwinder Singh, a speech and hearing impaired student of Class III of Government Primary School Jassowal, said he was very happy participating in the event.
Thirteen–year–old Dulari, from Government Primary School Number 5, who is visually impaired, said, "I am here to participate in a race. This is the first time that I am participating in such a event and it makes me feel good." Dulari's father, who was accompanying her, said, "She suffers from a very complex problem of squint. I cannot afford the kind of money that is required for the corrective surgery she needs."
Eagerly waiting for his turn for short–put, Jatinder Singh, a 12–year–old student of Government Primary School Lulkan, said, "It is a big day for me, I will throw the farthest in the short–put event."
The sports event was organised under the supervision of Varinder Sharma, District Education Officer(Elementary). He said, "After meeting these children, I felt that we had succeeded in our mission which was to make them confident. To encourage them, all participating children have been gifted with a 'tiffin'. Those finishing in the first three positions in each event have been awarded gold, silver and bronze medals."
Baldev Mangat, Primary Education Officer of Ludhiana Block–1, said, "Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib has provided free langar, Master Jarnail Singh Yadgari Trust, Swaddin Kalan, has provided tents free of charge and the State Bank of India provided students with drinking water."
Source: http://www.expressindia.com/Back to Top
With the current churn in the technology space, the pace can get really hectic for a human resource professional in a technology firm. But Rajesh Mehta has taken it in his stride. Attending conferences, giving presentations and training 100s of fresh recruits is all part of a days work for him.
Mehta, career development manager with IBM India, went blind at age eight, but you wouldn't know it judging from his work?which is exactly how he wants it. Using the text–based Lynx browser, Mobile Speak, and a JAWS (Job Access With Voice) screen reader to read out the screen, Mehta currently handles training sessions that are dense with information for new recruits.
Mehta denies any special credit. "There are many other colleagues of mine, here in IBM itself, who are doing brilliant work despite being visually impaired," he says.
With a little help from technology and of course the drive and confidence, visual impairment need not be a hurdle to grow in the corporate world. "There are technologies available that can provide an equal opportunity in any profession," says Kanchan Pamnani, a solicitor with the Mumbai High court, who is also visually impaired.
Screen readers: Screen reader software like Job Access With Speech (www.freedomscientific.com/fs_products/software_jaws.asp) read out aloud everything that is on the monitor, thus ensuring effective computer navigation. JAWS is probably one of the more robust solutions available for screen reading, though at $1,000 (approx Rs 39,590) it's probably also the most expensive.
There are other cheaper options such as Screen Access For All (safa.sourceforge.net) which comes with a free basic version and an Indian language patch called Vachak.
OCR software: To read printed paper, you can use a scanner and an optical character recognition (OCR) software. All you need to do is, scan the printed page and then run it through an OCR software, which will then store a digital version of the copy that you can edit. One such tool is Kurzweil 1000 OCR (blinksoft.biz/products/ocr/ kurzweil.html). It will also let you make a copy into Braille.
Mobile screen readers: To navigate through a mobile phone, Pamnani uses Mobile Speak (www.codefactory.es/mobile_speak/mspeak.htm) ?it reads out everything on your phone.
Audio book readers: There are plenty of audio books available on the internet which can be downloaded and loaded on MP3 players. You can then listen to them at leisure. Browsing the net and the TV: Lynx browser (lynx.browser.org) edits web pages and displays them in text–only mode. You can then use a screen reader to browse the internet. Likewise, Sara Reading machine is a stand–alone reading machine which you can connect to a TV. It can also magnify printed material.
Braille programs: There are several electronic and mechanical tools that help students type notes in Braille. Tools like TGD PRO (www. duxburysystems.com/tgd.asp?choice=pro) help in drawing computerised Braille diagrams. Handy they might be, but these tools usually come with a heavy price tag, says Sam Taraporevala, director, Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), who himself has successfully battled visual problems. "Many companies are ready to employ visually impaired people. Unfortunately, due to a lack of knowledge of the technology available, or a lack of access to these tools, the number of employable people is still very limited," says Taraporevala. XRCVC gives free access to these tools and increases awareness through seminars that bring together successful people who have battled visual disability. The organisation is also involved in building products to facilitate day–to–day activities for the visually impaired. One such project is a thumbprint recognition software for cheques, which they are developing with CMC. This will allow the visually impaired to use cheques while banking. There are many similar projects in the pipeline, says Taraporevala, "I just want (visually impaired) people to know that there are diverse professions available for them?it's not just about candle making and telephone operators. With a bit of help from technology and the right training you can make it big in any profession today."
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.comBack to Top
Shimla, October 19: Making a history of sorts, the three main political parties in Himachal Pradesh have finally recognised disability as an issue which deserves a mention in their election manifestoes.
During a brainstorming session organsied by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS) today, the leaders of Congress, BJP and CPIM assured that the rights and opportunities of disabled people will be kept in mind while framing the manifestoes for the upcoming Assembly polls.
Though a consensus could not emerge on how the subject should be treated in their respective manifestoes, member of the state secretariat of the CPIM Tikender Panwar emphasised on the need for a macro–level policy to deal with this issue. He said, "Individual efforts of voluntary organisations alone will not help; the subject needs a bigger policy like the ones in health and education sectors and we would advocate it in our manifesto."
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Kuldeep Rathaur and BJP general secretary Khushi Ram Balnahata denied making disability a political issue. But, at the same time, talking in so many words, both agreed on "adding some element on this subject in their manifestoes." Both are members of the manifesto committee of their parties.
Rathaur said, "Whatever may be the outcome, but one positive move is that disability will be discussed for the first time in the Congress manifesto committee." Though he kept emphasizing that Congress has implemented many schemes for disabled people, he, however, tried to evade some issues by saying that the implementation has not been good because of communication gap with the bureaucracy.
On the suggestion of SDRS chairman Ajai Srivastava, Rathaur agreed that the Congress would contemplate on forming a separate wing of the disabled in the party. Balnahata said, "This issue should not be linked with votes, it needs a sensitive treatment." When one of the representatives of voluntary organisation working for the disabled asked him, "Is it because the votes of disabled people are not much in the state," he denied it. "This subject can better be related to sensitisation than politics," he said.
Source: http://www.expressindia.com/Back to Top
New Delhi: The Government of Delhi has decided to develop 25 'focus schools' which will educate students with disabilities in the capital.
The Government will train school teachers as special educators who will learn class room lessons thoroughly to educate these students with special needs.
The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has been assigned the task of preparing manuals with the help of special educators of Department of Education (DoE) to train teachers as special educators.
At present, the DoE has only six special educators who can teach students with physical disabilities.
As per the plan, at least 25 teachers will be provided training programs to sensitize staff in integrated (or focus schools) schools.
The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) will provide training program to these special educators. The special educators will receive certificate from Bhojpur University after the completion of three months training program.
The schools which are identified as focus schools will be provided with proper infrastructure facility for disabled people.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/06/stories/2007100662770400.htmBack to Top
PUNE: If the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams are
an all–important milestone in the lives of students, they
are all the more challenging for the visually impaired
students who have to rely heavily on Braille books for
Keeping this in mind, a group of volunteers under the aegis of Rotary Club of Poona Downtown (RCPD) have come up with a unique solution that will go a long way in their SSC preparations.
The volunteers have recorded the entire Marathi medium syllabus of SSC along with the text books and respective guides on a single CD.
On the occasion of World White Cane Day on October 15, as many as 80 schools for the visually impaired in the state will get the unique gift of this CD. School principals agreed that it was a better option for the students than the Braille books which are expensive, heavy and do not last long.
The idea struck when Sangeeta Wagh, an ophthalmologist, during her interactions with blind students, came to know about the students ' difficulties due to the non–availability of Braille text books.
"Moreover, the life of Braille books is also short because of the constant abrasion. The schools for visually impaired occasionally hire 'readers' to read aloud the textbooks for the benefit of blind students. These services are too expensive and are not readily available. Hence, this project was initiated to provide a solution to this problem, " said Wagh.
The process began with interactions with principals and teachers of various schools for the visually impaired. After the overall feedback was collected, work on the project started in July this year. All the CDs will be given free of cost to every school.
Interestingly, professionals from all fields came together to record the books. "All the people who have recorded the textbooks and guides are amateurs and have never even stepped into a sound recording studio before. All they had was a will to do something for the visually impaired, " said Jitu Mehta, entrepreneur and president of the RCPD.
Sakina Bedi, spokesperson of Jagriti School for Blind Girls, who has been giving constant inputs for the project said, "The CDs are ready and we will be getting them in the next week or so. This is a very unique project for visually impaired students as before this, people have only been recording random lessons or subjects, not the entire syllabus. Also, having the original lesson and the guide for the lesson one after the other in a single CD is going to be very helpful for our girls. The students can use the CD on their own if they have a CD player. "
The problem of non–availability of guides and self–reference books will also find a solution in the form of the CD. "We intend to provide CD sets for all the standards in the coming years, " Mehta said.
Puducherry: The Puducherry Physically Handicapped Welfare
Association on Tuesday called upon the territorial government to
implement the provisions of the 'Persons With Disability Act 1995' in
letter and spirit.
This step would ensue earmarking of a quota of three per cent for disabled people for employment in government departments here as envisaged by the Central legislation, the president of the Association, Narayanan, told reporters here.
He alleged that while posting 164 people as construction helpers in 2002, the Electricity Department had not adopted the quota for disabled persons.
A disabled candidate S.Raju had since moved the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities appointed by the territorial government under the Act for a directive to the department to offer him the job.
The Commissioner, after considering the petition and also the views of the officials of the Departments of Electricity and Social Welfare, had issued an order on May 9 last directing the Electricity Department to appoint the applicant in the post of construction helper, he said.
Narayanan alleged that the order was yet to be implemented. This was accentuating the agony of the candidate, he said.
Narayanan appealed to the territorial government to enforce the Commissioner`s order and offer the job to the candidate and also earmark a three per cent quota for disabled people in jobs as per the Central Act.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/405200710091423.htmBack to Top
Bangalore: Corporate responsibility towards persons with disabilities may be the mantra that many IT companies in the city are chanting, but when it comes to ground reality the picture is slightly different.
Even though quite a few IT/ITES companies here are consciously employing persons with disabilities, the actual numbers comprise only a minuscule of their entire workforce, according to a study conducted by the non–profit organisation, Partners in Change.
According to the study, Employability of disabled people in the IT and IT–Enabled Services Sector, of the 18 companies involved in the survey, 15 were employing persons with various disabilities while three were not. The number of persons employed from the disability sector ranged from two to 89 people, with some large companies with a workforce of more than 5,000 employing less than 0.1 per cent or none at all, while a few companies with a smaller workforce employing as many as 5 per cent disabled people.
These findings were presented during a consultation organised by Partners in Change here on Friday, attended by representatives from the disability sector, industry, voluntary organisations and the Government. Most of the disabled persons employed (88 per cent) were physically challenged while only six per cent were visually impaired and another six per cent were speech–impaired. Ninety–four per cent of the companies said they were equal opportunity employers. It was also found in the study that only 33 per cent had audited the company's physical access while the rest had not.
Das Suryawanshi, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, stressed the need for more private sector companies to be open to employing disabled persons.
Vedamurthy, Director for Welfare of Disabled, spoke about the various government schemes to provide employment to disabled persons.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/06/stories/2007100662770400.htmBack to Top
Patna,8 Oct: Bihar disability Rights Forum, staged a demonstration in Patna on Monday to press for their 21–point demands by taking out a rally from Patna radio station to the District Magistrate's office near Gandhi Maidan.
A charter of demands were handed over to Dr. B. Rajendra, Patna District Magistrate, that asked for 3% reservation for disabled people of Bihar, a formation of a commission to look into the interests of disabled people, and issuance of certificates of handicaps by setting up camps at block level, among others.
Addressing the rally, protestors said the state government needed to take a hard look at those who were disabled people but mentally as fit as anyone to do any kind of job. They also lamented the slow implementation of several disabled people related laws and rules saying there was a dire need to look into these issues and many others affecting disabled people men and women of all ages.
Several children also participated in today's rally.
Source: http://www.patnadaily.comBack to Top
CHENNAI: For S. Kumaran, a visually impaired student of Presidency College, the scholarship would make a big difference to pursue his academic dreams further. He was among the 1,080 needy students who were provided educational scholarships by the Jaigopal Garodia Scholarships Centre in Anna Nagar on Monday.
Students of 124 colleges across the State received scholarships worth a total of about Rs. 12 lakh from the centre, which is a wing of the Jaigopal Garodia Vivekananda Vidyalaya (JGVV) Trust.
Kumaran, who aspires to become an advocate, plans to buy books with the scholarship amount.
Presenting the scholarships to representatives of various colleges, Additional Director–General of Police (Administration) Letika Saran commended the efforts of the trust, which was founded in 2003 to help the needy students.
Ms. Saran said talented students must reach out to other less fortunate students and share their knowledge.
The centre's co–ordinator, K.S. Kesavan, said it was established to encourage education of girl children and also support physically challenged students. that besides the 920 economically backward girl students, as many as 220 physically disabled students were given scholarships this year.
In a bid to reach out to more candidates, the annual scholarship amount has also been increased from Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 12 lakh over the past five years, he added.
JGVV school principal G. Vijayakumar highlighted the other activities of the trust, which included the setting up of a charitable book bank, and talent development academies and free coaching centres for professional courses entrance examinations.
The trust has also adopted eight government schools in various areas, including Choolai, Manali, Madhavaram and Nanganallur, he said. The trustee of JGVV Trust, Ashok Kedia, and the school's vice principal Sukanya Bhaskaran participated in the function.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/09/stories/2007100959260200.htmBack to Top
Bangalore: The Government and some activists working for the cause of people with disabilities have failed in empowering them because of their "charity" and "welfare" approach, rather than focussing on a rights–based framework while formulating policies, says G.N. Karna, honorary president of the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi.
Dr. Karna , who is Chairman of the Working Group on Empowering the Disabled for the 11th Five Year Plan (2007–2012) constituted by the Planning Commission, told The Hindu that promotion of disability studies in all major universities could go a long way in creating awareness and positive understanding of disability issues. He was in the city to participate in a national symposium on sexual empowerment of disabled women in India. One of the major recommendations of the Planning Commission's Working Group is to set up centres for disability studies in universities.
"This proposal was made to the Ministry of Human Resource Development two years ago and the Ministry had directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to take necessary steps.
But till date, the UGC has not even constituted a model curriculum committee for disability studies," Dr. Karna said.
He said that the Working Group had recommended the setting up of a National Commission for Disabilities and an Indian Council of Disability and Rehabilitation Research to promote research on disability. "We have also recommended the creation of a Ministry for disability affairs.
The Working Group has also suggested amendments to the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, for reservation in employment and education for persons with autism, dyslexia and few other disabilities not yet included in the reservation category," Dr. Karna said.
The recommendations made by the working group have been cleared by the steering committee of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council will meet to discuss the issue on December 9.
Miffed with the lackadaisical approach of the policy makers and the lack of interest among a few "elitist activists" towards empowerment of persons with disabilities, Dr. Karna advocates the mainstreaming of disabled persons in society.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/09/stories/2007100961190400.htmBack to Top
COIMBATORE: A tele–serial exclusively for the hearing impaired will soon
capture the aesthetic interests of the hearing impaired country–wide.
A brainchild of K. Murali, Director of Deaf Leaders, an organisation working for the empowerment of the hearing impaired in Coimbatore, "Sound of the Silent" would feature success stories of hearing impaired individuals.
Speaking to The Hindu before his visit to Japan for a "Leadership Training for Deaf Persons," Mr. Murali said that he had met Government officials in New Delhi and Doordarshan to get a 28–minute slot once a week on the national channel. Mr. Murali was expecting a positive response from the Centre in two to three months.
A compact disc on the lives of two hearing impaired people from Madurai and Coimbatore had also been released by him, which would be used as material for the programme.
Insufficient funds were slowing down the process. The camera and related equipment were expensive and finding professionals to undertake the production work was also difficult.
Mr. Murali was expecting technical assistance from Japan and planned to get equipment required for shooting videos from there.
With movies on hearing impairment having begun to be accepted in mainstream cinema, the hearing impaired community would feel less excluded, he said. Such movies should be encouraged as they did not portray the hearing impaired as seeking public sympathy, but empowered citizens contributing to society. Through "Sound of the Silent," he aimed at motivate those of his ilk to empower themselves and contribute to society.
He is the only person from the country who has been selected by the Government of Japan to attend the training programme, which would mainly concentrate on improving communication skills for international sign languages and formulate an action plan to resolve the problems faced by hearing impaired people.
On his return from Japan, he would conduct conferences to impart the information to other organisations.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/08/stories/2007100857910100.htmBack to Top
T'PURAM: The State Government will provide Rs 2 crore for improving the
facilities at National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), Minister
for Health and Social Welfare P.K.Sreemathi has said. She was speaking
while visiting the new NISH campus at Aakkulam in connection with the
10th anniversary celebrations of the institute on Saturday.
Early detection and intervention will help hearing impaired children to develop their speaking abilities. Here lies the relevance of institutes like NISH, the Minister said. ''The institute is a blessing for many hearing impaired children to live in this world like normal people,'' she said.
NISH is setting up early detection centres for hearing impaired in the district hospitals at Manjeri and Kannur. ''We are celebrating the 10 years as part of creating an awareness among the public about this institution,'' NISH director G. Vijayaraghavan said. The institute which was started in 1997 under the State Social Welfare Department has completed a decade in total rehabilitation and education of the hearing impaired.
The institution also has plans to start new degree courses like BSc (Computer Science), BFA (Applied Arts) and BSc (Hotel Management and Catering) for the hearing impaired.
NISH is one of the very few institutions in India having the facility to test the hearing sensitivity in newborns within a few hours of birth. ''Deficiency in speech and language is due to lack of early detection and timely intervention.
Therefore testing of hearing sensitivity in newborn babies has great significance,'' said Dr K.N. Pavithran, executive director of the institution.
Source: http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.aspBack to Top
New Delhi, Oct 5: A news channel dedicated to rehabilitation of persons with disabilities was today launched with a view to transform the way physically disabled persons are being educated in the country.
A collaborative effort of the Rehabilitation Council of India and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the channel will use modern technology to connect more than 300 study centres via satellite as well as disseminate information and improve the quality of training in the field of disability rehabilitation and special education in the country.
"This programme will in a way enable us to reach all the two crore people with disability of whom more than 1.6 crore live in rural areas," Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar said at the inauguration of the channel.
The disability channel can be a very effective means of disseminating information, she said, adding "there is a need to create awareness on various issues related to disability".
Kumar said that the reach of the channel should gradually expand and it should cover every district of the country eventually.
"The RCI has to develop a strategy to meet the large unmet demand of professionals at various places. The council has to ensure that persons with disabilities throughout the country get the best possible service with in a reasonable cost," she said.
In fact this facility should go down to even at the block and village level, she added.
Source: http://www.ptinews.comBack to Top
CHENNAI: The cinematic experience is both powerful and inspiring. Yet, the medium remains alien to those with no access to its magic. Theatres in India remain inaccessible to those with disabilities and the films themselves are insensitive to the special needs of this segment of the population.
Abilityfest 2007, India International Disability Film Festival, is a film festival focussed on the special needs and abilities of the differently–abled.
Addressing press persons here on Friday, on behalf of the organisers of the film festival Ability Foundation, actor and vice chairperson of Abilityfest Revathy said the festival was one that would feature films that spoke about or showed disability in the "right light."
"All the films either deal with some issue about disability or have actors or filmmakers who are disabled people," she added. The films screened would be fully accessible to those with any form of physical disability.
"All the films have captions and subtitles for those who cannot hear. They also have audio descriptions of scenes, so that those who cannot see will be able to follow," she said.
One of the highlights of the film festival was a component called '60 seconds to fame'. "People all over India were invited to make a one–minute film on the theme of 'celebrating diversity'. We received 208 entries of which 39 were shortlisted and viewed by a jury. The jury then selected three winners."
Mr. Nihalani said film festivals such as these were important for the awareness that they created on the issues, and as attempts to change the attitudes of people.
Mr. Prakash Raj said the experience of watching the films and judging them gave him an insight into many things that he had not seen. "As actors, who people look up to, it is important for us to also understand the issues," he said.
Ms. Neenu said that the medium of films was a strong one to spread awareness to the masses.
Also present at the briefing were Ability Foundation executive director Jayshree Raveendran, president of Abilityfest and chairman and managing director of Cavin Kare C.K. Ranganathan and Director of Abilityfest P.K. Nair.
The film festival will go on for four days beginning Friday.
The venues will be Woodlands Theatre in Royapettah and the South India Film Chamber on Anna Salai.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/06/stories/2007100659020200.htmBack to Top
BANGALORE: "To be human is to be sexual. But sexuality, for disabled
people, has been an area of distress and exclusion and self–doubt for so
long that it is sometimes easier not to consider it."
Citing these stark, insightful comments by renowned sociologist Tom Shakespeare, Anita Ghai from Delhi University attempted a cultural explanation of the challenge facing the disabled. "In a culture (read Indian) where any deviation from a normally accepted archetype is seen as a marked deviation, the impaired body becomes a symbol of imperfection," she said.
At a national symposium here on "Sexual Empowerment of Disabled Women in India," Dr. Ghai used the "media onslaught" and instances in Indian mythology to justify her point. "The myth of the beautiful/ athletic/perfect body defines the impaired body as unacceptable and undesirable. The roots of such thinking are found in Indian mythological instances, where Lakshmana cuts off the nose of Shurpanaka, who is interested in him."
In Lakshmana's act of disfiguring the 'ugly female monster', Dr. Ghai found proof of how the Indian psyche equates disability and de–sexing. "Consequently," she observed, "the recognition that sexuality can and does play a significant role in forging personal and social identities is often overlooked."
Dr. Ghai blamed even active advocates of the cause of disability for overlooking the sexuality angle and being part of a "conspiracy of silence". "Within the normative society, it has not been rated as being a high priority issue. Scholars who have engaged with the issues of sexuality have not deliberated on its intersection with disability. The cultural devaluation and the extent to which the juxtaposition of sexuality and disability is silenced make it all the more difficult for disabled people to have a positive self–identity," she said.
Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary, Department of Women and Child Welfare, said disability issues had to be first tackled before the issue of sexuality came in. She went on to list her department's initiatives to address disability concerns.
The department, she said, had undertaken a house–to–house survey of all disabled people in the State. This was expected to help route pensions, employment and other benefits to an identified group of people.
Also on the department's agenda was a website to monitor the status of the surveyed people, and another job portal such as Naukri.com to help disabled people find employment according to their skill levels. This website would be launched in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, she said.
The department had also written to all the universities in the State to include disability studies in their curriculum. Besides, provision had been made to issue disability certificates at the taluk level and through primary health centres.
The symposium was organised by the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, New Delhi, in collaboration with the Bangalore– based National Association for the Blind and Social Action and Research Foundation, New Delhi. The meet will continue through Thursday.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/03/stories/2007100358040400.htmBack to Top
Khammam, October 04: The district headquarters hospital here witnessed
frenzied activity as some 6,000 physically disabled persons turned up
for certification of their disability on Wednesday morning.
They lined up all along the corridors, leaving the hospital administration, which was not prepared to meet such a heavy rush, in a fix. The hospital had just one civil surgeon handling the job of impairment certification besides attending to emergency cases. Tough task
Many families thronged the hospital with their handicapped children in view of the reports about possible hike in pension for disabled people. There was near stampede at the screening counter. The authorities called in the police to control the crowds. They called in students from a private nursing college for assistance. Paramedical staff from other departments of the hospital was also engaged on special duty and three additional counters were set up for screening job. Certification
The certification was usually undertaken at the hospital only on two days – first and fourth Wednesdays of the month. The turn–up was never more than 100 on any day in the past seven to eight years. But this time, the crowd was unprecedented.
There was no drinking water available so many people in the hospital, said A. Lingamurthy, Khammam district unit president of Vikalangula Hakkula Porata Samiti.
Some 6,000 persons, on a long wait for grant of pension, were identified in 320 habitations of Khammam division alone.
Source: http://www.siasat.com/english/index.phpBack to Top
MUMBAI, 3 Oct: Despite the 10–round blitzkrieg of Pulse Polio rounds across the city and its extended suburbs over the last year, a new case of polio has been added to the state's 2007 health statistics. A four–year–old girl from the Janakipada settlement of Vasai has been declared as Maharashtra's second polio case though she died soon after the diagnosis was made in her native village in Bihar in the first week of August, said state health officials.
The first case of polio in the state was detected in Amravati earlier this year. "The Vasai child has been included in the polio list (P1 virus) as a retrospective case," said Dr P Doke, state DG of health services.
The child had been detected during one of the pulse polio rounds in July, Dr Doke said. The Vasai team had, on examination, found the girl's extremities paralysed and that she had been running temperature for the last 75 days.
However, the family chose to leave Vasai for their native village in Bihar on July 29. The girl died after hospitalisation in the second week of August.
In this period, the child's stool samples were tested. "The local authorities couldn't detect the polio virus," says deputy health director Dr D S Dakure. The Bihar team also tested the stool of five of the child's siblings and found the P1 virus in two samples. "They then correlated that the Vasai child had polio," said Dr Dakhure.
While WHO rules demand that stool samples be tested twice for confirmation of the polio virus, this couldn't be done as the child passed away.
Incidentally, stool samples collected from kids who had been in close proximity with the Vasai child haven't tested positive for the virus, said Dr Dakure.
Considering that the child had lived in Vasai for the past two–and–half–years and had died in Bihar before the incubation period for the polio affliction, she has been marked as a 'Maharashtra' case.
Maharashtra had five polio cases last year, with health officials deducing that this was the result of migration from the high–incidence states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. So, when the central government's health team decided to hold an unusual 10–round drive in these states, it was adopted for Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts as well. This year, 255 cases of polio have been detected across the country as compared to 676 during last year's outbreak.
In Mumbai, however, authorities are not worried. According to BMC's Dr U Ubale, "There are no cases in Mumbai and we will hold another round of pulse polio,"
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Back to Top
Srinagar, Oct 2 : Disabled children in Jammu and Kashmir are being given training in martial arts to boost their confidence and make them self–reliant.
Following the initiative of a voluntary organization, about 25 enthusiastic girls and boys suffering from hearing and speech impairment have enrolled themselves for the programme.
"Children are interested and they are coming in huge numbers. There is a shortage of space and equipment so I take classes indoors also," said Iqbal Ahmed, the instructor.
Beginning with the basics of the art, this training is also aimed at building talent for national and international competitions.
The children undergoing the training said they are more confident.
"Self defense is important for girls as it will give them courage," said Iqra, a disabled student, motioning through sign language.
About two per cent of India's one billion plus population is disabled and lives on the fringes of society, struggling to make a living.
But help groups put the figure at five to six percent of the population, or 50 to 60 million people.
Though India enacted a legislation to give a host of rights to disabled people in 1995, its implementation has been slow and tardy.
Indian laws make it mandatory for all schools to give complete educational facilities to special children, at par with those given to regular students.
Source: http://www.newkerala.com/oct.phpBack to Top
After witnessing the dancing dexterity and synchronicity of five Visually impaired artistes of Bangalore's Articulate Troupe at a cultural programme at the Foothill College in California's Los Altos Hills, I think I need another category to convey my reaction of awe and delight.
The Roshni–Natyotsav, for which I fall short of words, was organised Sep 15 by the Sankara Eye Foundation as part of its fund–raising initiatives for its various eye hospitals in India. The show by blind artistes appropriately blended with the cause of vision 20/20 by the year 2020 set by the foundation.
Mysore Nagaraj, the troupe director, beautifully choreographed and led his troupe of 12 dancers in the two–part programme highlighting multiple dance forms of India.
He blended the life stories of the five Visually impaired artistes within the dances and articulated their life struggles due to the handicap to their eventual development as self–sufficient individuals and accomplished dancers.
"The performing art forms have not only helped them direct their energies but have also helped them in seeking purpose and leading a life of self–sufficiency and respect," Nagaraj opined.
The first part of the programme commenced with Ganesh stuti and Shiva stuti (invocation to Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva) by the five artistes. They mesmerised the audience with their spellbinding and beautifully synchronized performance.
The second part of the show was titled Panchavaktram (Five faces of Lord Shiva) based on the belief that to create the universe Lord Shiva in association with his female power Shakti created the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space. He then lets the sound from his drums fuse these elements to form the universe.
Classical dance forms, including Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, and the theatre dance style Yakshagana, Perini and the art of Bahuroopiyas were blended to present the five different forms of Shiva in his myriad moods and energies. The portrayal of the Shiva–Shakti manifestations in a singular form by Nagaraj himself was another high of the show.
The holistic impact of the recital was enchanting and entertaining and, like any united effort, it was the dancing adroitness and synchronicity of the entire group including the recorded melodies that produced the deserved standing ovation from the audience.
Yet, above all, the endeavours of the Visually impaired were the highlight of the show and had to be seen to be believed. The artistes truly danced the wise words – a human mind can overcome any and every handicap with determination and hard work.
In between the two portions of the show, Sankara Eye Foundation president Murali Krishnamurthi applauded the performance and spoke about the cause of the non–profit organisation in eradication of curable blindness in India.
He said that the Sankara Eye Hospital in Bangalore would be inaugurated Dec 9 and the second phase of the facility in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, would be completed by the year–end. Hospitals in Anand and Shimoga would be set up by mid–2008.
Source: http://www.newkerala.comBack to Top
New York: Home to an estimated 70 million disabled people, India will ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Monday.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would submit the instruments of ratification for the Convention, the world body said on Sunday.
The Convention, termed first human rights treaty of the 21st Century, provides the states ratifying it to enact laws and other measures to improve disability rights, and also abolish legislation, customs and practices that discriminate against persons with disabilities.
So far, 115 countries have signed the convention, which was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly on December 13, 2006 and opened for signature on March 30, 2007.
Twenty ratifications or accessions are necessary for the treaty to come into force, and so far five countries have ratified it Jamaica, Hungary, Panama, Croatia and Cuba.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention has been signed by 64 countries.
The Protocol will come into force when the Convention does, and after 10 ratifications or accessions.
Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/01/stories/2007100155831300.htmBack to Top
Chandigarh, The UT Administrator Gen S F Rodrigues said that the UT Administration plans to construct a home, that will house nearly 900 street children in Maloya. He added that a home for disabled people and a home for mentally disabled children is also being constructed to ensure their productive rehabilitation in society. He was speaking at a function organised to observe World Habitat Day, on Sunday.
He called for launching a crusade against urban decay and social discrimination, by restructuring our policies and plans and implementing them, for bridging the massive gulf between the rich and poor. "It is our collective responsibility to meet the housing needs of the homeless and improve their quality of life," he added. Rodrigues said that the administration has launched a Slum Rehabilitation Project to make the city slum free. Under the scheme, the work on constructing 25,000 small flats to rehabilitate all slum dwellers in the city has been launched under the "Small Flats Scheme – 2006".
The sites identified for construction of these flats are Maloya, Dhanas, Manimajra, Ram Darbar, Mauli Jagran and Sector 38 (West) and 49. He said that the UT administration had undertaken the programme to provide decent living standards at affordable rates to the under–privileged citizens in the city. Based on the socio–economic survey, the paying capacity of slum dwellers has been estimated at Rs1, 000/– per month.
He added that plans to improve basic civic amenities in various re–settlement colonies has been launched to ensure availability of tapped water supply, proper sewerage facilities, repair of pavements, streets and internal roads in most of the settlements. Rodrigues said that construction work had began at Bapu Dham.
Source: http://www.expressindia.com/Back to Top
COIMBATORE: 'Sound of the Silent,' the first proposed television
channel for the hearing impaired in the country, is likely to be delayed,
all because of a financial crunch, for now.
The idea had occurred to K Murali, a hearing impaired professional, a year ago to telecast inspirational programmes of interviews with successful hearing impaired personalities and shows for children.
He has released a CD containing similar programmes. Such exclusive television channels are functioning in countries like Germany and the United States of America (USA).
However, the launch of the channel had been delayed in India due to problems with the funding.
Murali, who had approached the Union Government for assistance, was optimistic and expected to launch the channel on his return from a trip to Japan.
He was the only person from India to be selected to conduct a training programme for the hearing impaired between October 9 and November 24, by the Japanese Federation for the Deaf, Government of Japan.
Murali, who is the director of Deaf Empowerment Activities for Literacy, Education, Accessible Development, Rehabilitation and Sports (DEAF LEADERS), would learn about communication skills for international sign languages, understand the concept and current situation of the hearing impaired community and its organisations in Japan, understand the system of sign language interpretation, analyse and compare the situation of the hearing impaired with participating countries.
With his daughter, Sneha, as an interpreter, in an interview with 'this website's News Paper,' he said that the short messaging service (SMS) and the internet were the most useful technologies for the hearing impaired.
In developed countries like the USA and the United Kingdom, the hearing impaired had facilities through which they could watch movies and understand with the help of a screen, which would have a person giving an explanation in sign language, Murali explained.
Unlike India, in Japan, all the associations for the hearing impaired are united. This helped them avail of assistance from the government, he added.
There were also only a few interpreters in India, which made it difficult for the hearing impaired to communicate, Murali noted.
The organisation, DEAF LEADERS, was taking steps to improve the lives of the hearing impaired and obtain help from the Japanese government.
Source: http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.aspBack to Top
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