It’s the joy of the journey that matter most….
DevInsights completed three years of an exciting journey yesterday (3rd December 2018) and hops into the fourth year today. In the last three years, with a modest team and very limited resources, DevInsights has been able position itself as one of the leading Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) firm operating in the social development fraternity for which, empowerment, inclusiveness and equality are three key pillars of existence.
This was yet another year filled with lovely experiences, great learning and growth, for which I must thank to all our clients and members of the DI family who have helped make DevInsights a success so far. The year threw a lot of challenges, both internally and externally, but we as a team gathered the strength to deal with them and do justice with them. And when I peep into the path traveled thus far, it reinforces the fact that it’s the joy of the journey that matters most! The learning and the change that one has been able to bring in, is what matters the most! We look forward to another great year ahead as we aim to get the best outcomes for our society, clients and partners.
This date (3rd December) coincides with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and the theme for year 2018 is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. In true sense, empowering the PWD and further ensuring inclusiveness and ensuring equality is a mammoth task but not impossible. As a group of data enthusiasts, we tried to understand the issue of PWD with the help of the data available. In the Indian context, out of the 1.21 billion population, about 26.8 million persons are ‘disabled’ which is 2.21% of the total population according to Census of India, 2011. Amongst all the disabled persons, highest proportion was reported from Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Types of disability: Further, the loco-motor disability was reported as the biggest form disability (20%), followed by blindness and hearing impairment (19% each). Mental illness plus mental retardation was reported by a sizeable 9% persons.
Literacy and Employment: Literacy is considered to be the key to empowerment and appropriate employment would ensure inclusion and equality. Amongst the disabled persons, just about half of them reported to be literate and only one-third were employed. Status of females on both the parameters were worse than the male folks.
PWD friendly infrastructure/services: We had conducted a qualitative study last year on the issue of disability where amongst others, we tried to understand the reasons for not taking an employment or reasons for quitting their jobs. The chief reason cited was due to the lack of PWD friendly transportation system for commuting to the workplace.
To really have to understand the challenges faced by the PWDs, to imagine the situation or circumstances of the PWDs, one should try to stand in their shoes. This will help us to understand or empathize with the perspective, opinion, or point of views of the PWDs. Last month I met with a small accident and had my ankle ligament fractured. Although the doctors advised three weeks bed rest, but for the kind of work we are into, I had to travel with help of walkers and sticks. It opened my eyes – my toilet is not PWD friendly; the parks are not PWD friendly; the airports are not PWD friendly; some of the people are insensitive when it comes to dealing with the PWDs. Things must change!
I would like to conclude with Stephen Hawking’s statement, which says “People with disabilities are vulnerable because of the many barriers we face: attitudinal, physical, and financial. Addressing these barriers is within our reach and we have a moral duty to do so…… But most important, addressing these barriers will unlock the potential of so many people with so much to contribute to the world. Governments everywhere can no longer overlook the hundreds of millions of people with disabilities who are denied access to health, rehabilitation, support, education, and employment—and never get the chance to shine.”