People with disabilities are no different when it comes to conquering the world through their achievements. Exemplifying this fact is 26-year-old Manikandan Kumar, who inspite of suffering from polio won the gold in Para climbing in IFSC Para climbing World Championship held in Paris recently.
But yes, people like Manikandan need a little support to boost their confidence. The government has made enough policies favouring them, but as far as implementation is concerned, there is a huge gap. The regular schools do not educate them citing lack of trained teachers and companies do not employ them stating their lack of required skills among the candidates.
City Express visited one of the associations working with the disabled, the Association of People with Disability (APD) in Lingarajapuram. APD runs a school that consists of 20 percent normal children and remaining 80 per cent, with some form of disability. Louise Paris, the principal of the school had served for 20 long years in Dubai in an inclusive school. She says, “The authorities have a long way to go in meeting the needs of the disabled children. The procedures and formalities of the government are so complex they make life very difficult, sometimes. There are changes all the time and there is no one to inform us. The government should appoint a representative to inform about the changes and also to direct about the procedures,” she said adding, “Right to education created such a hullabaloo but no one seems to be implementing it. Moreover, we have been applying for government grants for the school for quite some time now but have been turned down every time.”
Allowance: As per the rule, the government provides maintenance allowance to differently abled. Those with 40 to 74 per cent disability are given a maintenance allowance of `400 per month and those with 75 per cent and more disability are given maintenance allowance of `1000 per month. Dhriti Bhardwaj, a resident of Uttarahalli says, “The maintenance allowance is not regular. My cousin, Shailaza, who is a mentally challenged person was receiving `400 per month. It was always irregular and we often had to write letters to Social Welfare Department. Since the last three months the allowance has stopped altogether.”
Employment: Although many private companies have taken interest to employ and train people with disability, the percentage is very less. Around 70 million people in India have disabilities, according to a study by India’s National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People. But only 1,00,000 of these disabled have found employment in India. Some service industries like Cafe Coffee Day, Costa Coffee, and Jindal group of companies have started employing people with disability.
Home schooling: The Right to Education Act introduced home-based schooling to children with severe disabilities. However, the emphasis on home-based education garnered huge criticism from all sections as the act make it easier for schools to deny admission to a disabled child and recommend home-based schooling.
Even Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has provision for home-based education. Vipul Bansal, state project director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan says, “There are home based programmes for people with 75 per cent of disability. They are not taught the regular text books but it is more of a playful study. We have staff trained and qualified to teach such special children.”