By: Rakesh Pawar
Shimla: In a unique initiative, the Himachal chapter of Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS) has instituted two awards for rehabilitation work and good reporting on disabilities in the state. The award would also commemorate the centenary year of Satyagrah.
The Mahatma Gandhi awards, named after the father of the nation, and for his exemplary work in empowering the disabled, would be given to an individual or an NGO for outstanding work in the field of disability; and to a media person for his/her outstanding contribution in creating awareness about the various issues related to disability. Each award will carry a cash reward of Rs 11,000 along with a citation.
Speaking to HimVani, Ajai Srivastava, Chairman, SDRS, Himachal chapter, said, “SDRS is trying to create a strong disability rights movement in the state. For that purpose, the role of NGOs working for the disabled and media is very crucial. The awards have been instituted in the centenary year of Satyagrah as the struggle to achieve the rights of the disabled is nothing less than a Satyagrah. Himachal Pradesh has done exceedingly well in many fields but quite surprisingly it has been found wanting in addressing the concerns of the disabled. Here, the disabled are the most neglected part of our society.”
The awards would be given annually and persons/NGOs and media persons working in Himachal Pradesh will be eligible for the awards. Entries for the same for this year will be invited very shortly. A committee consisting of eminent social activists and journalists has been constituted to select the awardees.
Since its inception in September, 2006, the Himachal chapter of SDRS has been creating awareness about disability rights. It has taken up some cases of disabled persons with the State Commissioner for the persons with disabilities and got success in delivering justice to them.
Srivastava has also been associated actively with HimVani and helped getting aid from the Chief Minister’s Relief fund for an open heart surgery of a slum girl – Surti. The campaign was run on HimVani as well.