‘Never-the-less’ by Fourth Wave Foundation is a campaign to generate awareness for the disabled in our society and address issues like education, jobs and their livelihoods.
Campaign working towards a disability inclusive society Photo: Fourthwave Foundation
Owing to lack of knowledge, educational
access and technology, disabled children were initially segregated from other children in schools. However in recent times there has been a shift towards having children with disabilities attend the same schools as non-disabled children. ‘Never-the-less’ is a campaign for inclusion of people with disability which will engage 6, 00,000 school and college students along with corporate employees and management, and local communities. The goal is to create awareness and sensitize people about inclusion of persons with disability in their immediate environments. The campaign across 6000 government, aided and private schools in urban and rural Bangalore will be conducted in partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
“The campaign is to promote as a matter of law or policy, the principle of inclusive education and society. The basic premise is that the school should meet the educational needs of all children irrespective of their disabilities or limitations. Inclusive education is nothing but `Making the programme for disabled children as an integral part of the general educational system rather than a system within general education.” explains Diana Vincent Joseph, Director, Fourthwave Foundation.
Diana Joseph, Director, Fourthwave Foundation with College students
The campaign is an initiative of the Fourthwave Foundation which has been working to address inclusion of persons with disabilities through specially designed projects such as Nanagu Shaale which involves all segments of society and the Government to enable significant transition from segregated to inclusive education. “A small change of perception can make big difference in the life of persons with special needs and disabilities. If we could walk hand-in-hand, provide the same opportunities and conveniences, it can make life less of a battle and more of a healthy challenge for all. In addition to physical infrastructure for the disabled, the cornerstone of this idea for inclusion is you and me. It is up to us to open our minds to people with disability and understand them for what they are. Never-the-less is a movement to make us
look beyond their disability and the see them for what they are capable of.”
Over 6,00,000 children will be engaged at their respective schools through an art activity, skits, audio-visual screenings on the theme of ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ and interaction with persons with disabilities. The school activity is being coordinated by hundreds of employee volunteers with the active support of corporate and through NASSCOM. Student volunteers from colleges will reach out in their campus and in public places through experiential activities, exhibitions and audio-visual screenings to create awareness about the barriers and battles persons with disability face, in their day-to-day lives.
The campaign will also invite college students to contribute suggestions and solutions through mobile video clips on simple ways of removing barriers that will make their lives less of a challenge so that they may participate in mainstream society. 70 million people in India (6% of our population) are estimated as persons with disabilities, but sadly only 2% of them have seen through School and only 1 % gainfully employed. Our ignorance of what persons with disability can and cannot do and lack of facilities that make life simpler comes as a barrier for them to live a productive life with dignity.