Summit for differently-abled promises new paths

Top activists, speakers and representatives from national and international NGOs are set to descend in Bangalore this weekend for the two-day India Inclusion Summit (IIS), starting on November 29.

Published: 26th November 2013 11:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2013 11:18 AM   |  A+A-

Kalam

Top activists, speakers and representatives from national and international NGOs are set to descend in Bangalore this weekend for the two-day India Inclusion Summit (IIS), starting on November 29. The second edition of IIS aims to bring together stakeholders working in the field of inclusion and chart a flightpath to tap different talents available in society. Prominent among the speakers are Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Justice Santosh Hegde, Kiran Bedi, Anita Nair, Thorkil Sonne, Devdutt Pattanaik, Malathi Holla, among others.

Speaking to City Express on Monday, V R Ferose one of the brains behind IIS, said the main focus of the event is to spread awareness on the issues being faced by the differently-abled people. “Every year, we observe December 3 as ‘International Day of People with Disability’ aimed to promote understanding of disability, its issues and to gather support for the well-being of people with disabilities. During the inaugural session of IIS last year, we deliberated upon the need for a platform to identify and discuss roles and responsibilities organisations, individuals and communities could play to help people with disabilities. We need to realise the full potential of the differently abled and drive inclusivity into the system,” says Ferose, senior vice president, Globalization Services, SAP AG.

He said various participants from NGOs working in this space to parents of special children and volunteers from corporates will be participating at ISS to capture the sensitive issues. “The summit will stand up to spread awareness of disability through media, movies, sports, books, music, arts and the like. This year we have special performances by Ustad Fayaz Khan and his son Sarfaraz Khan, in addition to some live action by famed speed artist Vilas Nayak,” Ferose said.

The summit believes that change in the society will be visible when corporates, community and culture come together. “IIS is an amazing conglomeration of people who have contributed to the disability sector. It’s a day when  ideas and actions come together. Each year a host of ideas and projects in the space of inclusion are looked at and probably seeded through fund grants,” adds Ferose.

Kiran Bedi, a key figure backing all IIS initiatives, said that the change in society will be visible when everyone comes together. “The summit features an amazing variety of people who have contributed towards furthering the message of inclusion. Through this platform we will identify, discuss roles and responsibilities organisations and communities could play to help people with disabilities so that they realize their full potential and drive inclusivity into the society,” says Kiran Bedi.

The summit, though funded and supported by SAP, is designed as an ‘open source’ event owned and run by the community. “I am excited to be part of IIS this time because it aspires to deepen the engagement with the community and various corporates by starting multiple inclusivity projects to be undertaken through the year. This is a positive step and we the differently-abled people need no sympathy, but empathy,” says paralympian Malathi K Holla.

This year, the summit proposes to start the following initiatives:

  Support EnAble India’s creation of a virtual academy for differently-abled.

  Setup two new labs of Project Prayas by the Autism Society of India.

  Help scale Sampoorna Music Therapy School for children with autism.

  Help provide jobs for differently abled through Association for Rehabilitation under National trust Initiative of Marketing.

A fund raising charity dinner-cum-auction is scheduled on November 29 at Ritz Carlton, the venue of this year’s ISS.

Leading corporates including SAP, Goldman Sachs, Wipro, Accenture, Cisco and EMC2 have confirmed their participation promising a helping hand.

Auction items include Vilas Nayak’s signed painting of Dr Kalam, an autographed German national soccer team t-shirt, a cricket bat signed by the IPL 6 winning Mumbai Indians team, an Anil Kumble autographed print painted by Yusuf Arakkal as a tribute to his famous 10-wicket haul and a Bhaag Milka Bhaag poster signed by Farhan Akhtar, among others.

“In most developing countries, including India, disability is viewed with sympathy, which makes the disabled feel marginalized from the mainstream of the society. The IIS is about making people aware of disability and creating an equal world where everybody contributes, lives a full-life happily by doing what they can do to the best of their abilities,” says Vidya Venkatesh, who is actively involved in helping parents with differently-abled children.

(For more details, visit: www.indiainclusionsummit.com)

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