BENGALURU: Hundreds of differently-abled and special children and students from across the state gathered in the city on Friday to meet the authorities concerned and tell them about the challenges they face. Incidentally, Friday was the silver jubilee of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights held a meet, titled ‘Voice of Special Children’, as part of the ‘Children Silver Festival’. The children, who were accompanied by their parents, complained about the absence of child-friendly facilities in schools, hospitals, buses and other places. Lack of facilities to travel to schools and absence of ayahs, inaccessibility to medicines were among their complaints.
Nusrat (name changed), a parent whose child suffers from severe disability in both legs, said the school where the child studies doesn’t have anybody to help him. “I have to visit the school at regular intervals to help him use the toilet,” she said.
She also said the primary school students at Hegganahalli Government School in the city sit on the floor; this is very painful for differently-abled children. “I request the state to provide special chairs for such children to sit in classrooms,” she said.
The biggest grouse of the parents was the lack of proper transport facilities. Supriya (name changed), a student from Chikballapur, requested the officials to provide special buses for children like her to commute to school.
Krishna Nayak of Grameena Abhyudaya Samsthe said, “For instance, children suffering from polio cannot even get into buses as there is no facility (for them). In most districts and taluks, people mostly depend on private buses. One can only imagine the sensitivity of the crew or co-passengers.”
Many also described the annual assessment camp taken up by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as a waste. The representatives come once a year, take measurements for hearing aids, limbs, wheelchair etc., and do not provide the aids for the next six months. By then, the child has grown a little and the aids don’t fit, said Taj Bano.
The day-long event was marked by the conspicuous absence of government officials from major departments. It was only after calls were made to the offices that officials from the Health and Family Welfare, Revenue, Education, Welfare of Disabilities departments and BBMP came to the event.