DHRISTIKONE, Level Up Strategy 2020 For Disability Empowerment To Initiate A Dialogue With National & International Leaders

This 3 month-long series of virtual symposiums organized by Sarthak Educational Trust will give the much-needed impetus to the problems faced by PwDs during COVID-19.

Sarthak Educational Trust and National Abilympics Association of India in collaboration with flagged off - Dhristikone: Level up Strategy 2020 for Disability Empowerment to initiate a dialogue with national and international leaders to give an impetus on required initiatives to empower the disability sector. The advocacy campaign focusses on combating the effects of COVID-19 on various segments of disability namely healthcare, Inclusive Education, vocational skilling and Employment. The panel of key speakers from NITI Aayog, NSDC and representative from GOI came together to address 12 years Journey of Inclusion and Empowerment which highlighted the journey of Sarthak Educational Trust and the developments in the disability sector in the verticals of healthcare, inclusive education, vocational skilling, sustainable employment, advocacy and Abilympics.

This 3 month-long series of virtual symposiums organized by Sarthak Educational Trust will give the much-needed impetus to the problems faced by PwDs during COVID-19. The campaign will highlight CSR support for strengthening disability sector and Global Prospective of COVID-19 on disabled community Era of online Intervention Services for Children with Special Needs and Road map to strengthen Inclusive Education and ending with topics like Dharma for Persons with Disability, Parental Role in shaping future of a Person with Disability and RDSM: Collaborative Action towards empowered nation).

“People with disabilities can positively contribute to the national economy if they are provided with resources and adequate opportunities to build themselves”, shared Dr Jitender Aggarwal, Founder CEO, Sarthak Educational Trust. He further unfolded the road ahead for disability empowerment in the country across East, West, South and North zone of the country. “21 million people with disability in India are at higher risk of developing the severe complications of COVID-19 due to physical condition and medical comorbidities. We at Sarthak, have devised a line of approach to support persons with disability so they can also live their life with dignity and respect”. The virtual event saw the launch of Laptop Distribution Campaign for people with disability in rural India for taking full advantage of e-learning platform. “The initiative will boost hundreds of PwD’s through its rural empowerment project. We also appeal to likeminded people to join the campaign and donate old or new laptops for people with disability.

Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman Niti Aayog shared, "We are keen to support the social movement started by Sarthak. We should adapt new technology which will enable PwDs to learn new skills and overcome challenges. NITI Aayog will fully support the drive to get laptops by reaching out to corporates and other entities on behalf of Sarthak. We also take into consideration the special requirements for PwDs in the Census 2021. This is more of a social movement which we all have to drive, with or without any legal bindings. Its high time people, corporates become inclusive and think about Divyangjan at each step. An informative monthly E-newsletter also is needed for more awareness".

Dr Aggarwal further added, “Sarthak’s response to COVID-19 is a knowledge sharing and generating awareness to combat COVID-19 considering all spheres and segments of disability. Persons with disability in India face many challenges in gaining meaningful employment. According to a survey conducted by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP), the percentage of PwDs in multinational companies is as low as 0.05% of the total workforce. Although it is a mandate for Government organisations to have three % of the total workforce reserved for people with disabilities, the actual percentage which is occupied is only 0.54%, and with Covid-19 pandemic, this figure is further drifting at an all-time low,” he stated.

“During the lockdown phase, Sarthak has been conducting online counselling and therapy session for children requiring early intervention. Sarthak has also facilitated Skill-building training of 1200 PwD’s who are now waiting for jobs. Around 50 corporates have openings in customer care executive jobs and we are in the process of placements.  A Mobile App is also being developed for PwDs to have easy access to information on schemes, jobs and seek real-time help when required. Additionally, Sarthak is in process of building a global e-learning platform for PwDs and also collaborating with international organising for empowering disability sector globally”, he added.

Major announcements were made on MoU between Sarthak and CII – India Business Disability Network(IBDN) a certificate training course on “Creating Diversity Champions & Leaders at Workplace” specially designed for diversity and Inclusion leaders of corporate houses. The event also saw the launch of Sarthak G5 group, a dedicated group for disability empowerment by involving working closely with Corporate CSR, National & International Employers, Media, CSO, Persons with disability and International Agencies.

An appeal was also made to highlight Sarthaks Crowdfunding campaign on Impact Guru for raising funds for providing sustainable job opportunities to people with disability who lost jobs in COVID-19.

This July, Sarthak Educational Trust completes 12 years of its efforts towards empowering persons with disability. The organization has consistently voiced the concern that differently-abled are not disabled by their impairment, but by the barriers in the community that prevent them from gaining equal access and opportunities.

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