Volume 3 Issue 20 - October 15, 2005

Convergence India: Making disability part of every development initiative

D.N.I.S. News Network – Stakeholders active in the disability sector and organisations dealing with other developmental initiatives came together at a meeting in Hyderabad to share ideas and forge new grounds to give disability a developmental perspective.

“The goal of the disability movement has always been to be completely integrated and included into the mainstream of society. It is our belief that the benefits of networking between NGOs, which are focusing solely on disability, and the ones that are not directly involved in disability, will in the long run be the key to creating an inclusive society,” said Arun Rao, Executive Director, Deaf Way.

He said this at a meeting held on 8 October, Convergence India, which he had organised in association with Network of People with Disabilities Organisation (N.P.D.O.), National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) and the Human Rights Law Network (H.R.L.N.), Andhra Pradesh Unit.

Rama Chari, Senior Programme Officer, N.C.P.E.D.P., congratulating the organisers for bringing together an excellent mix of participants, representing different disabilities, social sector organisations, scientists, academicians and officials from different Government departments, emphasised on the need for proactive involvement of the like minded people to ensure that disability becomes part of every development effort.

The Chief Guest of the Inaugural Session, D. Srinivas, Minister of Rural Development said that the Andhra Pradesh Government has taken convergence as the motto in order to avoid duplication of efforts.

Amita Dhanda, an expert in Disability & Law, lamented that “even though there is now a lot of talk about rights approach but our action continues to be charity oriented. There has to be greater convergence between what we are saying and doing”. Pointing out the difference between human rights & welfare approach, she said, “ There is a humanity angle in welfare approach also. However, it is the humanity of the giver and the not the recipient that is at the focus”. She said that disability law only provides for Socio Economic Rights. However, disabled citizens should also demand right to life, liberty, non-discrimination, etc. which are the civil political rights of every citizen.

N.P.D.O. has been has been quite effective in networking with other human rights, social and political movements. The spreading disability movement in Andhra was quite visible by the turn out of people at the Meeting, even though it was organised during the festival time.

The other dignitaries present at the Meeting were Ramanachari, Commissioner Information and Public Relations and Sundar Vadan, Commissioner Disabilities. The recommendations emerged from the Meeting to carry forward the agenda of Convergence will be submitted to the Government.

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