Founder's Note on ACCESSIBILITY

VaccesS is a very appropriate event being organised, as it represents Vidya Sagar’s constant and persistent efforts towards Accessibility for persons with disabilities.

In the past, this was understood only as the need for physical access. It meant building ramps, having railings, pathways for people with visual impairments, special features in toilets, broader doors and switches at wheelchair heights.

However, now Accessibility is a norm for all domains of life. Access in Communication can range from a sign language interpreter to audio books, books in braille, and all the fascinating features of information technology. A person with learning disability or visual impairment can become independent in reading by the text to speech and vice versa applications, that are now available. A non-verbal person with autism or cerebral palsy can access a range of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. This has led to a revolution in access to information, knowledge and opportunities.

As citizens people with disabilities are looking for access in areas like banking, availing of loans and all entitlements of the State. This must lead to access in employment, promotions and holding office. Now, the need is to ensure access to justice, to political participation and to all the rights as enshrined in our Constitution.

Disabled people have been traditionally segregated and isolated, accessibility will ensure for them the opportunities of friendship, relationships, to marry and raise a family and most importantly will provide access to self- determination, dignity, autonomy and leading a creative and fulfilled life.

Each person with disability may have a different need, however, an understanding that Accessibility must unlock that specific and important door for each person, will lead to the development of each citizen, who otherwise may remain left out and marginalised.