DNIS News Network – National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) in association with Vidya Sagar, Chennai, organised the South Zone Partners’ Meet in Chennai on 10 July, 2005. The Meet was attended by thirty National Disability Network (N.D.N.) State and District Partners from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry.
The Partners’ Meet was organised with a view to discuss the issues concerning various States and Union Territories and to create a Zonal Plan for N.D.N. in the South Zone. The objective of the meeting was also to discuss ways to not only strengthen the Network but also to expand its reach to all the districts of the South Zone.
All the Partners present reiterated their commitment to keep the Network alive and shared views on their successes and also discussed the difficulties they face in achieving the goals of N.D.N. While Andhra Pradesh had made leaps in not only expanding the network but also in converging disability with other social movements as in Dalit Rights, Tribals, Fishermen, Naxalite Movement and thus set example for others, Karnataka, despite at one time being the disability capital had only one representative. The non-availability of information and other material in local languages was highlighted as a key difficulty in disseminating information at the local level.
An attempt was also made to gauge Partners’ receptivity to the idea of a Separate Ministry for Disability Affairs. It appeared that a majority of them were in favour of a Separate Ministry.
The meeting ended with all the Partners submitting their Action Plan for the next one year.