Home Spiritmails
125ste Spiritmail

Never-say-die, that's their spirit

By Karmayogi

CHENNAI: ‘‘We will live, we will demonstrate it.''  There is nothing unusual about this slogan unless you see 22-year-old Saktivel, who lost his legs in an accident, use his hands to walk upside down at the Government Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (IGRM) premises on World Disability Day.

Or watch neurologically impaired children Anjana V S and M Abhishek from Vidya Sagar enthusiastically perform in a skit at the Landmark outlet in
Spencer Plaza on Wednesday to remind the world to not dismiss them as just people on wheelchairs.

  World Disability Day celebrations in the city were marked by the survival spirit of these physically challenged people despite the lack of any concrete and comprehensive official policy to deal with their problems.

  The celebrations started in the morning with more than 1,200 children from 19 schools for the disabled acting, singing and dancing at Kalaivanar Arangam. The function, organised by the Office of the Special Commissioner for the Disabled, also saw Social Welfare Minister P Valarmathi congratulating the self-help groups that set up stalls to sell their products such as fruit preserves and juices.

  Later in the day, Senthil Kumar from
Government Higher Secondary School for the Blind at Poonamallee and S Akilandeswari from Government Higher Secondary School for the Blind at Puthur received a cash prize of Rs 600 and merit certificate from the minister for excelling in the SSLC examinations. The minister also distributed tricycles, wheel chairs, callipers and other aids worth more than Rs 3 lakh.

 At the Government Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (IGRM) at K K Nagar, Health Minister Thalavai Sundaram said the government had allotted more than Rs 1 crore to IGRM last year to help the disabled patients. For this year, the minister inaugurated a new ambulance.

 However, according to a doctor at IGRM, the need of the hour was to equip the patients with the more comfortable ‘fibre incorporated callipers' than go about distributing the traditional aids and appliances. ‘‘But to implement such advanced materials and train the doctors in the field, there should be more allocation of funds,'' the doctor added.

  However, it was the offer of money that put off the volunteers and students of Vidya Sagar, an organisation which deals with people having neurological impairments.

  Different teams had set up ‘solidarity booths' at the Landmark outlet at
Spencer Plaza, the Central Railway Station and the airport. They were armed with placards announcing ‘Inclusion is our mission', a skit which focussed on their ability to interact and survive in the society and a pledge re-inforcing the potential of disabled people to be part of mainstream activities.

 ‘‘The response is pretty depressing,'' said special educator Ezhil Mathi who was with the
Spencer Plaza team. Mathi and her colleagues say most of the people who visited their booth missed the message – inclusion of the disabled in the mainstream – but were busy offering the children money or gifts.

Contact: info [@] sriaurobindo.nl