Accessibility is a word that has been heavily used and emphasized upon by all and sundry but it still remains a bone of contention. Accessibility to us might seem like just a protocol to follow or something that should be done but if not done, can be overlooked. For some others accessibility is not just a right that been deprived from them, it is the need without which they cannot acquire education or employment and even movement in some cases.
Imagine a life where waking up and going to the bathroom is a feat in itself and imagine a life where you cannot even go to the university because your class is on the 4th floor and imagine a life where you cannot get the job that you deserve because the organization doesn’t want to build a few inches long ramp so that you can wheel your wheelchair inside and settle on your desk.
NOWPDP has been making painstaking efforts to create awareness and push for restructuring and accessibility to bring people with disabilities from the margins to the mainstream. A multitude of companies have already brought change to accommodate people with disabilities to their workforce while working with us and we applaud them.
This brings us to another important facet of accessibility: Public Events. Events that can broaden your horizons and can give you a voice to speak or make policies are direly important but what is the point if they are not accessible to you. For a deaf, not having an interpreter to understand and communicate is the same as being voiceless and invisible. For somebody with a physical disability, not being able to go to a room to speak your mind is the most tragic of all. Therefore, events need to be accessible and NOWPDP has been working on this too. Following are some examples that elucidate how simple ensuring accessibility is.
NOWPDP partnered with IBA’s conference MUNIK as disability inclusion experts. NOWPDP arranged Pakistan’s first-ever inclusive committee ‘Council for Disability Inclusion’ in which people of all disabilities took part and engaged in fruitful debate. NOWPDP also ensured accessibility of the venue by having guides for people with visual and physical disabilities and sign language interpreters for people with hearing and speech disabilities. The content was also catered to be accessible to all through NOWPDP’s expertise as well as feedback of all people with disabilities as to their own expectations. We organized Disability Awareness sessions at all committees, thus reaching out to a total audience of 700 individuals.
Another major event that NOWPDP helped make accessible was the “Aurat March” which took place on the International Women’s Day. NOWPDP partnered with the organizing team of Aurat March as the partners in disability inclusion to ensure that the cause of Aurat March becomes inclusive for people with disabilities as well. NOWPDP ensured inclusion of disability rights in the manifesto, accessibility of online campaign, accessibility of the March venue (Frere Hall), presence of sign language interpreters at the venue, and also provided rickshaws through The Rickshaw Project to ensure ease of mobility to people with disabilities, elderly, and children.