AGRA CONVENTION 2014
Blind Stars Beyond Facebook Bridging The Gap
7th to 9th November, 2014
Beyond Facebook Bridging the Gap: Challenges and Opportunity
The session began with an opening address by Dr. Mukul Srivastava, Senior Professor, Institute of Social Sciences. He pointed out the following areas of concern:-
- Self Sustenance – Dr. Mukul Srivastava noted that the very ideology of Social Work was embodied in this effort of ‘Blind Stars’ which is, that the groups with specific problems could be made self sufficient enough to solve their own problems. A group of visually challenged people working to achieve inclusion in all aspects of life for themselves and creating discourses to prevent marginalization of the lesser privileged people of the same group is a myth shattering example of self- sustenance.
- Social Security – Dr. Mukul Srivastava discussed the lack of Social Security provided by the state for people with disabilities. Marginalization of people with disabilities could not be checked unless there is a Social Security mechanism in place for them. Minimum survival conditions have to be ensured by the state for all.
- Awareness – Victimization and marginalization of a disabled person begins at home and that turns into a collective effort of the society to marginalize that person. This is because of lack of sensitization and awareness. The social sector catering to the needs of such people lacks the core competencies to deal with such issues. It is a topic of introspection if such state agencies and institutions are driven by conscious enlightenment to contribute to such issues or the mere availability of funds provided by the state. Lastly, the importance of networking was highlighted to bridge the gap between the various stakeholders.
There was a brief round of introduction after which the delegates were given a chance to put forward their suggestions and concerns. The following issues emerged as major concerns:
- The issue of discrimination against visually impaired women in matters of marriage.
- Absence of facility of providing scribes in various places for writing exams.
- The appointment of regional representatives by the group to conduct periodic meetings on various issues.
- The establishment of a helpline for the members of the Facebook group and other visually impaired people to seek help on various issues. A panel of experts in various fields would answer the queries in a stipulated time. The official phone line of Antardishti was decided to be used as the helpline.
It was decided to use the group as a platform for addressing all of the problems discussed by the delegates.
Read the report – Agra Convention 2014 – Report – HTML with Audio/Video