Little Humans is a volunteer driven photo-project based on the belief that the littlest people have the biggest stories to tell. You can contribute too. Follow us on instagram and facebook to know more.
Why do we always view ‘disability’ as a physical or mental limitation – that hinders our thoughts, movements, senses, or daily activities? Unlike most of us living average, normal lives, people with disabilities go to school, work, have families, laugh, cry, play like everyone else, despite their disabilities. Doesn’t that mean they are more special? Then, why does the world see people with disabilities as liabilities?
One of my friends in school, who recently finished giving his board exams, is a person with disability – he can walk, but he is slow and often needs a helping hand. He can write, but not very quick. But, he’s very intelligent and loves drawing.
For him to complete his boards, my school arranged a scribe (from among 8th and 9th graders). All of us, in some way or other, were involved in helping him give his exams. In that sense, my school set a wonderful example to ensure each of us had a positive attitude towards disability. The school was very supportive right from the beginning – from the school management to the helpers who help him carry his belongings from and to class every day, to his friends and classmates. The school ensured it promoted inclusiveness.
There are few schools as positive and as inclusive as mine, in India, but as a nation, we have a long way to go. People’s attitudes towards children with special-needs needs to shift from sympathy and pity to empathy.
More importantly, the government must work towards ensuring barrier-free spaces and environments for students with disabilities to learn from. Simply taking a step to ensure people with disabilities aren’t taught in separate classrooms; rather integrated into the mainstream education system can help.
The government also needs to ensure more funds are allocated to schools to make them disabled-friendly, by building ramps and separate toilets – that’s how we can really ensure schools are more inclusive and child-friendly.
As Indians, we should demand reservation for people with disabilities, in schools, institutions and workplaces. That would create an inclusive India, in the truest sense.
Bharadwaj is 14 years old and is currently studying in 10th grade at Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir, Mumbai.