How Accessible Is Your Home Or Workplace?

So someone asked me to write a few articles on ‘discrimination and lack of accessibility for persons with disability’. And then it hit me. I’ve already made peace with everything. When I’m very much disturbed or annoyed, I shitpost on the internet and forget about it. But does it mean that discrimination is no longer there? Is everything accessible now? Now people like me are called “Divyaangs“, all thanks to our Prime Minister. Has it changed things? Has it made things accessible for us? Lots of love for you if you think it has.

Let me ask you a question. How many of you can tell me about 5 inaccessible places around you and your workplace? No, many of you can’t even answer this small question. I had asked the same question from candidates who were standing for the Presidential election in my college and they were not able to tell me. My college is one of the most accessible places, but still, there are many places which are not accessible. And these people had no idea about the inaccessible places. No, it’s not something I was expecting from them and I’m not calling them out or anything. Sorry if it felt so.

How many of you can tell me about 5 inaccessible places around you and your workplace? Representational image.

So after my accident and being rehabilitated after a year or so, I thought I’ll work to change things, like every teenager. And I faced defeat in many places. And then, the boiling teenage blood was replaced by irritated twenties.

The inaccessibility started at my home. I couldn’t get into the washroom. I couldn’t come out of my room because of a big step just in front of the door. I couldn’t get down from the first floor, and even getting me down by lifting me with the wheelchair was tough because of the narrow platforms. I couldn’t get out to get sunlight to help me with my pain. (Vitamin D and warmth of sunlight helps with neuropathic pain).

I couldn’t do a lot of things and the way I used to do things had to be changed. And it was still ok because you cannot break a house now to make it accessible so they broke/modified my wheelchair instead so that I could get inside the washroom. My parents were not expecting me to become crippled anyway. But, does it hurt to make stairs with a bigger platform? Does it hurt to keep doors two centimeters wider? Does it hurt to not to make unnecessary steps?

After making things manageable at home, I had to start my studies. I got admission in one of the so-called most ‘prestigious’ colleges in my city where my seniors used to tell me to stop ranting about the professors or the college or the exams on the internet because the college is the best, and I shouldn’t say otherwise even if I have a different opinion. But, they never came forward to help me make the place accessible. And also, it was not surprising.

Two principals changed and they kept assuring me that a ramp will be made, at least, in front of the department. It’s been 5 years and the stairs are still there. Representational image. Source: Getty Images.

There were a few set of stairs just in front of my department. There was a step-like thing, or you can call it a door post/jamb in front of every classroom. I once fell down because of it (it still gives me chills when I think about it) but, did it bring any change? NO! Folks from my college were happy to lift me, and help me, and show pity, but no one had any interest in making things accessible there.

Two principals changed and they kept assuring me that a ramp will be made, at least, in front of the department. It’s been 5 years and the stairs are still there.

I didn’t have to worry about going to the computer lab which was on the first floor. And I didn’t have to worry about going to first floor for the 3rd-year classes either as I stopped going to college in the first year itself.

There are many such experiences. And when you’ll look around, you’ll find that I cannot use the table that’s in your room because there’s no leg space. You’ll find that your washroom is not accessible for a person on a wheelchair. Your sink/basin is out of my reach. I cannot go and serve me food. There’s no leg space in the table where you work in your office. I fear if I’ll be able to get to the table itself.

I wonder if you know that making things accessible for a wheelchair user doesn’t add any discomfort to your home/workplace/life. Should I tell you about travel experiences too? I’ll keep it for the next post. Hope you’ll now be able to identify 5 inaccessible places around you.

Featured image for representation only.
Similar Posts

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below