New Delhi: Corporates and Entrepreneurs would do well to think in terms of making their products accessible to India’s 70-100 million persons with disabilities. Because one of the biggest challenges faced by people with disabilities is accessibility.
Accessibility not only means access to physical spaces but also means access to information, technology, transport, services, aids, appliances and so on. Access, therefore, is an issue that cuts across disabilities and sectors and forms the very basis of empowerment of people with disabilities.
Over the years, Accessibility has come to occupy the most identifiable cause that has unified the global approach towards disability – across social, political and economic lives of people with disabilities.
“Accessibility is the bedrock of a disabled person’s empowerment. Without basic accessibility, a disabled boy or a girl can’t even go to school and disabled youth can’t attend college or university. Even if educated or skilled, a job remains a far fetched dream unless the workforce is barrier free and one can reach there in terms of transportation, etc. No access means no freedom as far as we are concerned,” said Javed Abidi, the Honorary Director of NCPEDP who himself is also a wheelchair user.
One key concept which is intrinsic to any kind of access is Universal Design, a design that is usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation. Therefore, to bring awareness to the issue of accessibility and to promote the concept of Universal Design, NCPEDP in association with Mphasis constituted ‘The NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards’ in the year 2010 to honour individuals and organizations doing exemplary work in the area of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
“Our journey towards making India accessible is positively witnessing early success; be it individuals striving to make beaches in Valsad accessible or museums in Jaipur. We at Mphasis are really proud and happy to see this award as a beacon for institutions, professionals and individuals with disabilities across the length and breadth of the country. Over ninety applications this year is a testimony to the success of this award that is in its 8th year now.” said Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, VP & Head-Corporate Social Responsibility, Mphasis.