IT has been nearly one and a half years since COVID-19 hit India and it continues to cause devastation and loss. Many Indians have faced immense hardships; the challenges have been daunting for the differently abled, too. Persons with disabilities in India constitute 2.2% of the population or almost 3 crore citizens. Besides pre-existing conditions and impairments, they face attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers.
According to a report Locked Down and Left Behind by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), 67% of people with disabilities who were interviewed had no access to doorstep delivery of essentials by the government, and only 22% had access to the delivery of essentials. The hardships faced by them only got worse as it was revealed that 57% of respondents faced a financial crisis during the pandemic, further validating that the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on differently abled persons in India.
But NGOs did not forsake their duty of care and have worked right through these tough times for the welfare of the differently abled people. Here are 5 NGOs who are working for this section of the society:
Prayas is an NGO that has a range of initiatives in energy, health, learning and parenthood. It comprises professionals working to protect and promote the interests of the disadvantaged sections of society.
Presently, it is carrying out a project to help differently abled youth become more self-reliant and productive. Prayas aims to reach out to 500 disabled young people and organize mobility training programs for them as well as other functional life skills. They hope to start a helpline for this segment of society for quick redressal of their problems.
You can donate towards Prayas’ initiative here.
This voluntary organisation which has been working towards improving the lives of those with disabilities since 1992. Its primary aim is to fill the void which exists in the lives of the differently abled by making them self-reliant.
Family of Disabled has initiated several unique schemes such as Apna Rozgaar, Gyanpath and Newspaper Pencils. Another innovative initiative by the NGO is known as Beyond Limits, a first of its kind art exhibition with a difference, which showcases the artwork of the disabled and provides them with a platform to display their talent. You can support their various initiatives by donating here.
Delhi-based Deepalaya aims to foster self-reliance in the lives of underprivileged children and help them rise above their societal limitations. It is operational in nine states and has so far enabled over 4,300 differently abled children with community-based rehabilitation.
The organisation has a special unit in the slums of South Delhi that provides help for children with different disabilities. They train parents and teachers on how to manage children with disabilities. Another initiative carried out by them is called Therapy on Wheels which educates disabled children with commuting problems via home-schooling. You can contribute towards Deepalaya’s efforts by donating here.
BWS strives to empower visually impaired Indian girls through various projects undertaken in the fields of education, employment and rehabilitation. The NGO aims to create an environment where visually impaired girls can have independence, access to education, equal opportunity, social security and overall quality of life.
They continue to expand their programmes and adapt to meet the needs of the community they serve. Currently, BWS is home to 40 girls and is improving the lives of many more. You can support their cause by donating here.
Founded in 1984, Helpers of the Handicapped is a Kolhapur-based NGO that rehabilitates persons with disabilities. It undertakes initiatives in the areas of physical and educational rehabilitation, sports and culture, vocational training, paraplegic camps and others.
One of its projects is known as Samarth Vidya Mandir, which provides hostel facilities and free education to 593 physically challenged young students. Another such project, Gharonda, is a hostel and rehab centre which houses 110 persons with disabilities. You can donate towards Helpers of the Handicapped’s projects here.
While we continue to try and cope with this global health crisis, it is vital for us not to turn a blind eye towards those who may need us, specifically the differently abled in our country. One way of doing it is by contributing to organisations that are working in the field.
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Naina is a student currently completing her 12th grade. She enjoys reading, watching Netflix and has a keen interest in Economics. Naina likes to travel, play with her dog, and is an avid foodie!