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Apeejay International sensitises future citizens on the challenges before the specially-abled

School hosts guest lecture by development specialist Bhaswati Das to empower as well as enlighten students

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Renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman had once said, “This machine, the wheelchair, I can go all over the place, but you need a place without stairs to get in.”  It is unfortunate to note that despite big strides in technology, literacy and transportation, the life of the differently abled is still full of hurdles created by our disabled-unfriendly society.  

Taking this thought further, Apeejay School International organised an awareness session on the occasion of International Day for Persons with Disability, observed annually on December 3. The school invited Ms. Bhaswati Das, development specialist and management strategist to both sensitise as well as empower the students to help create a world of equal footing for all.

Ms. Das commenced the session by contesting society’s prejudiced view of the differently abled. “As the years run their course, all people are likely to acquire some or the other form of sensory or cognitive impairment,” she said. “Therefore, one must develop sensitivity towards the needs of others around,” she added.  
Ms Das reminded students to cultivate an attitude of empathy and not sympathy towards the physically challenged.   She also emphasised upon the importance of acceptance and on the imperative for a well-developed inclusion policy at every sphere of the society.  “Disability does not limit ability. It surely is an impediment but certainly not a dead end,” asserted Ms Das.
 To substantiate her argument, she engaged students in an interactive quiz activity and showed them pictures of iconic personalities with disabilities, asking them to guess their names. She also highlighted the success stories of these personalities with disabilities namely mountaineer Arunima Sinha, iconic scientist Stephen Hawking, Nobel laureate and celebrated mathematician John Nash, scientist Albert Einstein, former US President George Washington, disability rights activist and writer Helen Keller, composer Ludwig van Beethoven, dancer Sudha Chandran and Paralympic champion and IAS officer Suhas L Yathiraj.
The guest speaker then focused on some of the challenges the differently abled face in their everyday life emphasising how everything from our public transport, to government buildings, banks and ATMs are disabled unfriendly and inaccessible.  
She also taught the students the basics of sign language making the session very engaging.
Towards the end of the session, Ms. Bhaswati recommended names of a few organisations such as Noida Deaf Society, Enable India, Deepalaya and Sarthak that students can collaborate with for their community-service related tasks and encouraged them to make their contribution as responsible citizens of the world.   

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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