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Political and cultural attitudes to tackling coronavirus forget those who are already isolated due to age, disability and illness.Madeline Williams, a former secondary school teacher, can barely make it from her bed to the sofa. Some days, she has to crawl. She lives with symptoms of a condition known as dysautonomia trifecta, which causes severe dizziness and unstable joints. Before she fell ill, she says, her “students were my world”. She finds the “loss of autonomy” worse than the pain she experiences from her condition.
The news is rife with stories of isolation at the moment. The jaunty ableism of newspaper columnists (“Self-isolation sounds like heaven” ) is fading into fear, as we realise that we can’t dress isolation up as an artistic retreat. Not hugging another person for weeks is grim. Leaving the house only at rare and restricted times is frightening. It’s a life that housebound and disabled people have experienced, invisibly, for decades.
Except that it isn’t really what housebound and disabled people have experienced. Because the experience of healthy people self-isolating for a few weeks is not comparable to the abuse, disbelief and financial punishment many chronically ill people face while cut off from society.
In a press briefing on the 8 April, Rishi Sunak called the coronavirus “indiscriminate” in who it attacks. But many people with disabilities now also face death, as the lockdown obliterates already grossly underfunded social care. The inequalities of regular society are reproduced in the world of Covid-19, subjecting disabled people to even worse outcomes than before.
Anna Tyler, chair of the board of trustees for Vision Foundation, tells me about a deaf-blind woman who, after testing positive for Covid-19, was refused care. “She needed to see a GP, but there was no interpreter available, because it’s a tactile occupation,” she says. “So this woman had no access to health services. The GP just said, ‘Sorry, can’t help.’”
Jon Abrams, campaigns and justice officer for Inclusion London, tells me that disabled people are struggling to get food. Many who relied on online food deliveries for years are now unable to get slots. “Unless you’re on the medically high-risk government register, it’s very hard to get priority registration”, he says. “But what if you’re visually impaired? Trying to navigate a supermarket and social distancing puts you at risk.”
Abrams tells me about people who need assistance with eating, washing and dressing now losing their carers due to the government’s call to self-isolate.“We’re beginning to see gruesome reports on the lack of personal protective equipment going to carers and disabled people. But if you need help washing and eating, which is close-contact, you don’t have any choice. You can’t avoid the risk”.
It’s clear, as the virus increases its grip, that the government has not envisioned a world in which people can’t leave their houses and go to the supermarket once a week. It has not considered situations in which people rely on daily carers for the basics of life, and that those carers need protective equipment to halt the spread of the disease.
“This idea that we’re protecting the vulnerable is utter nonsense,” says Tyler. “The shutdown of services has put disabled people at even greater peril.”
She tells me about disabled people who have now lost their only contact with the world – a phone call with a volunteer once a week. About blind people who, instead of their usual services, are getting letters from the council which they can’t read, telling them to call a number which is permanently engaged. She speaks of older, disabled people, with no access to the internet, who are relying only on old-style radios and televisions for company.
“If they press the wrong button, or the tuning gets messed up, there’s no one to come round and fix it,” she says. “So what do they do instead? They sit at home, and they rot. They’re condemned to weeks of silence.”
Tyler is afraid, she says, because the disabled people who will suffer the most from the shutdown of services are the ones with the least recourse to complain afterwards (if they survive). She recalls the doctor who told her, as a partially sighted woman, “With your eyesight, it’s better not to live too long”, and she wonders: who decides the value of a disabled person’s life, if they’re hospitalised with Covid-19?
The speed at which we’ve moved whole cultures online in the Covid-19 crisis is astonishing, and frustrating for the disabled people who have routinely been denied such accommodations. Online book clubs, churches and pubs are springing up, attempting to alleviate the loneliness of people stuck inside. Within hours of the government’s call for social distancing, companies moved meetings and communications to Skype and Zoom.
“Why does it take a whole nation to be in lockdown for these things to happen?” asks Chris Nixon. A former social worker, she’s been mainly housebound with chronic illness for 15 years. “Are the chronically ill and housebound not deserving of these things in their own right?”
Jenny Rowbory, a poet and blogger who has experienced symptoms of ME and Ehlers Danlos syndrome for 15 years, echoes this. “All the things that I haven’t had access to while bed-bound are suddenly magically possible now that abled people want them.
“Plays are available for streaming online. Universal Pictures are making cinema releases to watch at home. It’s upsetting, because before coronavirus, there was already a whole population of people who needed these things.”
There’s a flood of advice on surviving lockdown at the moment, from everyone from astronauts to psychologists, and people who have had a week alone in their flat. Yet very few of us can imagine real isolation.
“I’m invisible, behind closed doors. I’m incarcerated in my own body,” says Nikki Clarke, who fell ill with an unnamed neurological condition thought to be genetic, when she was a student at Central Saint Martin’s in London.
“This government has taken so much away from disabled people. You’re made to feel redundant. So many sick and disabled people have been driven to suicide, or had their conditions worsened from stress.”
We’re missing the crucial voices of the elderly and those isolated through chronic and mental illness – many of whom have lived a solitary life for far longer than a few weeks – with only the television to substitute as a human voice.
“Now that everyone else is in this situation, I’m not noticing any consultation with disabled people,” observes Tanya Marlow, author of Those Who Wait, who has only been able to go out every two weeks in a wheelchair for a decade.
“Imagine that society is this great, walled city which disabled and chronically ill people are shut out of. We’ve had to make our own temporary lodgings outside. Now, the people who’ve said, repeatedly, ‘No we can’t bring our services into your tent’ have now flooded our tent. They’re taking over the organisation of it, and ignoring the expertise of the people who live there.”
“When Boris Johnson introduced herd immunity, to people like us, it felt like culling”, says Clarke. “I called it the ‘culling phase’. And there’s this collective fear among people with disabilities about whether we’ll get the care we need in hospital. It felt like we were dispensable – but no life is dispensable.”
“Later this year, most people will walk away from social isolation,” adds Williams. “I won’t. So many others won’t. I’m guessing that, at the moment, most of the world is anxious to return to their life. I plead that the world remembers that some of us have felt that same ache for years and decades. This isolation will never be over for us.”

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Over 60 people with disabilities have signed up for a wheelchair racing training camp in Chennai. This is the first of its kind in India and aims to offer disabled people an opportunity to try out different sporting activities.
People with disabilities are eager for opportunities to check out different sports but don’t get the opportunity. That’s what Thiramai 2020 aims to change. This is India’s first ever wheelchair racing training camp which is being held in Chennai.

Few opportunities for disabled when it comes to sports:

64 disabled people have signed up for Thiramai 2020 and the event offers them a chance to participate in a range of sporting activities apart from wheelchair racing like shotput, discus, club throws and rifle shooting. The force behind the event is Justin Jesudas, a keen para sportsperson who excels at a range of sporting activities like shooting and swimming.The finals will be held on 16 February in Chennai and leading up to that we are organising training camps where participants can get try their hand out at various sports. The event is being supported by the United States Department of State Global Sports Mentoring Program and v-shesh. – Justin Jesudas, Para sportsperson
Among the participants is Dhivya Krishnaswamy. A Chennai resident, 32-year-old Dhivya has spina bifida, a birth defect and uses a wheelchair. “I never got the opportunity to take part in any sports and when I read about this camp, I was really eager to try out. In the camp, I tried wheelchair racing, javelin and discus throw and I am very excited about the final next Sunday”.

Put India on world map of wheelchair racing:

Putting the participants through the paces is Paralympian Vijay Sarathy. Vijay is India’s first wheelchair racer and has represented the country in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. “In the first day of camp, we taught them how to handle the wheelchair on the track and the second day was focused on racing”.Vijay’s dream is to have more Indians take part in international wheelchair racing competitions. “There are over 18 competitions worldwide in wheelchair racing and from India we have just one participant. I want more people to take part. That is the dream Justin and I share”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Karnataka government to start 6 early intervention centres for disabled kids
The government of Karnataka is all set to introduce six new District Early Intervention Centres (DEIC) in the state. This will benefit many children with developmental disabilities, especially from economically backward families. Officials stated that the centres will be open from early March this year.
Early intervention can benefit children with developmental disabilities in numerous ways. Over the years, experts have pointed out the need for diagnosis and intervention so that the child can lead an independent life. The Department of Health and Family Welfare (HFW) of Karnataka is gearing up to set up six new District Early Intervention Centres (DEIC) across the state which already has existing 13 centres. Officials have pointed out that the centres will be open by early March.
Centres to identify developmental disabilities early
The prime objective behind setting up the DEIC’s is to identify developmental disabilities in children and providing them with training skills at the earliest. It will also help to reduce the infant mortality rate in the state. Experts have also identified that these existing DEIC’s have benefitted thousands of families. That is what prompted them to set up more centers. Many children from economically backward families can benefit from such centres.
New centres will be set up at Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Udupi, Chamrajnagar, Koppal and Yadgal by the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK). Dr Veena, Deputy Director of RBSK section of HFW has been quoted saying to The New Indian Express, “The RBSK team will screen children from child delivery to anganwadi and to the school. If there is any deficiency or developmental delays, they are referred to the DEIC immediately from where they can sought the treatment with a team trained and specialised for the DIEC’s”.
According to officials, the centres will provide the best facilities to young children. They will have speech therapists, doctors, counsellors, paediatricians, nurses and dentists who will reach out to the children. All the trained staffs will be provided with the best equipment’s as well.
Officials who work with the disability sector in Karnataka hopes that these centres will also provide better awareness about disabilities amongst parents in rural areas. It is high time that more disabled people come forward to demand for their rights.
Sarbani Mallick, Founder, Bubbles Centre for Autism in Bengaluru says there is an urgent need for new centres and for facilities at existing centres to be upgraded. “We started an outreach programme at our centre around six months back and realised how people are not even aware of disabilities, especially parents. There are very few services given to children with developmental disabilities. There needs to be better awareness about therapies too. Some places don’t even have diagnoses. The Karnataka State Disabilities Commissioner VS Basavaraju is a very efficient man. Hence, I am hopeful of the best this time”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Delhi government launches Mission NEEV for early treatment of babies
Ahead of the Delhi elections Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government launched Mission NEEV. NEEV stands for Neonatal Early Evaluation Vision programme and will cover around 1.5 lakh newborn babies.
Tackling visible functional and metabolic defects in babies – that’s the goal of Mission NEEV. NEEV stands for Neonatal Early Evaluation Vision and the programme will cover newborn babies.
Early screening prevents irreversible disorders in many kids
Newborn screening is the practice of testing all babies in the first days of life for certain disorders and conditions that can hinder their normal development. The Newborn Screening (NBS) is a health strategy for your newborn that prevents irreversible disorder in right after birth.
The NEEV programme will start with 31 birthing facilities that face the highest load. This will later be extended to include all delivery points and other birthing facilities.
Seema Kapoor, Director, NEEV, said the goal of the programme was to pick up disorders early so interventions can start at the right stage. “Taking into account, that these disorders are associated with high mortality and morbidity, this is likely to come down with the implementation of the program. The message that the program aims to give is that being proactive rather than reactive is the right approach.”
The NEEV programme will be supported by the Delhi government and Delhi State Health Mission under the Rashtriya Baal Swasthya Karyakram.
Newborn Screening (NBS) is a set of laboratory tests that identify serious diseases or disorders that significantly impair the health of newborns. These children generally appear normal at birth but have an inherent condition that will lead to disability or death without early detection and intervention. Several complications such as brain damage, retardation, speech skills problems, seizures, hearing loss, stunted growth, muscle weakness, feeding difficulties are some of the irreversible symptoms that can be avoided with prompt treatment. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
In #TechThursday, we feature Arise, the Standing Wheelchair launched by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Arise is India's first indigenously designed Standing Wheelchair and has been tested on over 50 people with spinal cord injuries.
A standing wheelchair that allows the user to shift positions independently and in a controlled manner. That's what Arise designed by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras promises.
Arise has been launched in India with the support of United Kingdom-based foundation Wellcome and is all set for commercial production in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems.
The Standing Wheelchair was launched at the IIT Madras Research Park in the presence of Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.
Arise was designed developed by the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras. Since 2015 the R2D2 has been involved in research related to human movement, influence of orthotic and prosthetic devices on human movement, and the design and development of mechanisms, products and assistive devices for people with disabilities. The commercialisation of the Standing Wheelchair technology was made possible with the support of Wellcome, which brought together the research and manufacturing partners. What's even better is that thanks to a novel mass-manufacturable mechanical design, Arise will be made available at affordable prices.
Advantages of AriseUsers of conventional wheelchairs face many difficulties. Being seated for long periods can lead to secondary health problems such as poor blood circulation and pressure sores. They need considerable effort, aids and assistance to stand and this makes them avoid doing so as frequently as they need to or wish to.
This is where standing wheelchairs can play a critical role as users can arise from the seated position to a standing position by themselves and vice versa.
Praising the work done by R2D2, Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras said, "The Centre and Phoenix Medical Systems are to be congratulated for their persistent efforts to make the device user-friendly and affordable."
Arise was designed in three stages. In the first stage, a hand-operated, linkage-based mechanism was developed to achieve the standing functionality. A proof-of-concept prototype was used to validate the functioning of the standing mechanism. Arise was designed such that the user can propel it independently and in a controlled manner by using their arms. The effort required is no more than that required to propel the wheelchair. A gas-spring helps reduce the effort required by the user.
"We are delighted to have been able to support this new, affordable and accessible innovation, which will be crucial to improving the lives of wheelchair users across India", said Philip Jordan, Partner, Wellcome Innovations Team. "The standing wheelchairs can help reduce the health problems associated with sitting wheelchairs. They can also empower users to be more independent in daily life, opening more opportunities and improving mental health."
Highlighting the safety features of Arise, Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Phoenix Medical Systems, said the interlocking mechanism ensures that the wheelchair remains in a locked state if the knee block is not in position. "The dimensions of Arise were made adjustable and adequate safety features were incorporated."
Testing partners include NGOs, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, individuals who provided inputs. Rigorous mechanical testing ensured that the device would be rugged and of high quality.
"A one-time custom-fitting of Arise is necessary to provide maximum benefit to the user", said Professor Sujatha Srinivasan, Founder-Head, R2D2."To maximise impact of our devices, R2D2 will work to create awareness about their suitability, availability, and necessary fitting and training".
At the end of the third stage, Arise was tested by more than 50 people with spinal injuries. Their feedback was positive with a couple of them pointing out that they were able to stand independently after three years, thanks to Arise. Another person said that, with Arise, he found it easier to stand compared with using callipers. Arise was found to be stable even in outdoor use in rural areas, on uneven terrain.
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The difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled workers stands at about 30 percentage points. This has barely changed in ten years and it is a stain on the conscience of the nation Read More
In a bid to keep young people with disabilities out of aged care facilities, an organisation in Melbourne has launched a new type of portable house. Read More
Some new emojis - including a wheelchair user, people with walking sticks and a hearing aid - have been revealed Read More
Tuesday 25 June, UK
Consultations will be launched on helping employers meet the needs of those with disabilities.
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Disability inclusion is not only a fundamental human right, it is “central to the promise” of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the annual conference on the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which began on Tuesday.

"Together, we can raise awareness and remove barriers" – UN chief Read More
Carol Burgos is worried her neighbors think she is bringing the neighborhood down. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window

Oklahoma! actress Ali Stroker has become the first wheelchair user to be nominated for, and win, a Tony Award.

She won best featured actress for her role as Ado Annie in the Broadway play.

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The Leprosy Mission Regional Vocational Training Center! Read More
Introductory camp on Wheelchair Basketball

Event Date: 3th March, 2019 09.30am 4th March, 2019 – 12.30pm.
Venue : Labon Sports Club, Indoor sports stadium, Labon Sports Club , Shillong , Meghalaya India

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Job Fair in Chennai by We are Your Voice on 26th February 2017 for Persons with Disabilities Read More
Opportunity for Self Employment - Government of India
PWD-Pradhan Manthri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
3 Km Marathon was organised by Cheshire Homes Bengaluru as an awareness programme on abilities of persons with disabilities on World Disability Day, December 3rd, 2016 Read More

Deccan Chronicle | Joyeeta Chakravorty | Published Dec 5, 2016

Accenture’s “Skills to Succeed” initiative supports Leonard Cheshire Disability’s “Access to Livelihoods” program, which builds the skills and confidence of persons with disabilities globally. Read More

ILO Newsletter

Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilty (PWD)-2015 at Hindustan Copper Limited (A Govt. of India Enterprise) .. A Link through website ( for online submission of application shall be open from  12.11.2015 to 05.12.2015. Thus, the closing date for online submission of application shall be 05.12.2015 Read More
Soulful prayer and cultural show by people with disabilities marked the 50th anniversary celebration of Cheshire Homes India’s Mangaluru unit on Sunday. Read More

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment on Thursday launched Accessible India campaign to make public buildings, public transportation, signage accessible to Persons with Disabilities.

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NTPC is launching Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilities in the area of Operation & Maintenance (O&M), Civil Construction & Finance at the levels of E1/E2/E3 levels for its Projects/ Stations Read More
Around 120 participants from 30 countries took part in the summit held in July. It aimed to bring young minds together to help make social impact through their ideas. Wheelchair-bound Khan represented Pakistan in the summit with her project My Super Mom and Dad. She secured a spot among the top five participants at the summit. Read More
V-sesh assisting job seekers by providing information about jobs and offering skill development programmes that are aligned with employer’s requirements.. The organization is conducting employability training in Bangaluru next week. Read More
In collaboration with National Skill Development Council (NSDC) of Government of India, 5 Lakh PwDs are to be trained in next 3 years by NGOs and other Training Providers partnering with Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). Read More
CSIR Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilities in Hyderabad, Last date of receipt of application is 12-6-2015 Read more... Link opens up in New Tab or Window |
The Ministry of Capital Administration & Development (CAD) has taken notice of non-implementation of the cabinet’s decision to grant 50 percent concessions in airfares to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and 25 percent to their attendants, and requested the defence ministry to direct all airlines to follow the decision. Read more... Link opens up in New Tab or Window |
Special Recruitment Drive for Person's with Disabilities by NEYVELI LIGNITE CORPORATION LIMITED, Neyveli, Tamil Nadu, India Read More
A CSR Initiative of HDFC Bank - Educational Crisis Scholarship Support (ECSS) to provide interim education support to children facing a personal or financial exigency Read More

Shri Gehlot said that the National Action Plan is a partnership between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability for skilling 2.5 million Person with Disability (PwD) over seven years.

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