‘Divyangjan don’t need our sympathy, they deserve every opportunity to develop to their full potential’: Vice President

New Delhi : The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for a change in people’s mindset towards the Divyangjan community or the differently-abled and asserted that it is the responsibility of the government and society at large to prevent any kind of discrimination against them. He stressed the need for creating  an environment for them to thrive and excel. “They do not need our sympathy, they rightfully deserve every opportunity to develop to their full potential”, he added.

The Vice President was speaking at the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NIEPID) in Hyderabad during his visit to the institute. Shri Naidu appreciated NIEPID for its work in empowering persons with Intellectual Disability and their families.

Underlining that accessibility is an important area of intervention for the differently abled, Shri Naidu noted the positive  impact of the ‘Accessible India’ campaign and called for more interventions in the areas of environment, transport, information and communication systems.

Emphasising the need to make public spaces, transport and private buildings more accessible, Shri Naidu said that it was also important to sensitise teachers and non-teaching staff in schools to the needs of the differently-abled children.

Suggesting that it was important “to ensure that technology does not exclude differently-abled people”, he urged national institutions and universities in India to accelerate their work relating to accessible smart technology.

Shri Naidu called for all-round efforts to make the Divyangjan people financially independent by identifying and honing their skills from a young age. Reminding that the core values of India are those of ‘Sarvejana Sukhino Bhavantu’ and ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, he called upon everyone – including the government, private sector, civil society and families to take initiatives to empower the differently abled and fulfil their duty or ‘dharma’.

The Vice President stressed the importance of early detection and identification of children at risk for disability conditions and called for opening up more such centres such as the newly established Cross-Disability Early Intervention Service Center (CDEISC) in all states. He also suggested to NIEPID to have a tie-up with institutions like the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for early detection of disability risk among children. He underlined the need for  counselling parents in case of early detection of the risk for disabilities among children. Shri Naidu suggested more collaboration between organisations such as NIEPID and Centre For Cellular And Molecular Biology (CCMB) for early detection and prevention of genetic disorders.

On this occasion, Shri Naidu expressed his appreciation for parents of differently-abled children who motivate and provide emotional support to them. “I salute you for nurturing these special children to develop their potential to the maximum extent. You all are true embodiments of hope and unconditional love”, he said.

Shri Naidu appreciated the staff and management of NIEPID and said that people working in the field of rehabilitation should do their duty as a ‘mission’. He also distributed aids and appliances to a few beneficiaries.

Prior to the event, the Vice President visited the Cross Disability Early Intervention Centre, the Special Education Centre at NIEPID and also visited stalls of various organisations working in the field of disability.

Shri Rajeev Sharma, Joint Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Shri B V Ram Kumar, Director, NIEPID, faculty and students of NIEPID, parents and others were present during the event.

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