Badhte Kadam – II

BadhteKadam is a noble programme organized every year since 2009 by theNational Trust, New Delhi with an aim to create awareness among the people about the persons with disabilities who need care compassion, cooperation and protection of their rights. It also aims at sensitizing the family members of the persons with disabilities and those with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities in particular as they are the most neglected lot with lots of myths surrounding their condition in the families and the community that need to be removed and replaced with correct and appropriate information. In the year 2010, OLS as the State Nodal Agency Centre (SNAC) joined hands with the National Trust in organizing the “BadhteKadam – II” programme to proliferate the movement of generating awareness through rallies and seminars in 8 districts of Odisha. The theme of the event was “ACCEPT, RESPECT and ACCOMMODATE”.

OLS conducted a huge rally in the morning of 19th November 2010 at Bhubaneswar that was flagged off from Master Canteen Square and ended at the IDCOL Auditorium. A large number of people comprising persons with disabilities, their parents, NGO functionaries, Govt. functionaries of various departments, elected representatives, lawyers, doctors, bankers, police personnel and general public participated in the rally and the seminar that followed. The rally was flagged off jointly by Smt. KasturiMohapatra, Commissioner for the Persons with Disabilities and Smt. SulataDeo, Chairperson, State Social Welfare Board.

The rally participants carried various placards depicting their right to social inclusion and life with dignity through catchy and innovative slogans that touched the hearts of the public. The Odia version of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities was unveiled on the occasion and distributed among the NGO functionaries and the parents of the persons with disabilities. The seminar was graced by the Minister for Women & Child Development, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the WCD Department, the MLA of Bhubaneswar North constituency, State Commissioner for the Persons with Disabilities and the Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation among others. A cultural programme was conducted by several groups of persons with disabilities showcasing their talent and abilities and some of them shared their stories of struggle and achievement with the audience. All the speakers by and large emphasized on the need for humane response towards people with disabilities which will boost their confidence and self- esteem and enable them to lead their life with dignity and feel themselves as an integral part of the society.

The peoples’ representatives, Govt. and NGO functionaries along with the parents and others pledged to provide all support for inclusion of the persons with disabilities in education, health, job opportunities and all other sphere of life that an individual so called normal person is entitled to. At the end of the seminar each and every person present in the auditorium danced to the tune of the BadhteKadam song. An exhibition with various materials prepared by the persons with disabilities and materials for their use were on display at the venue. Similar programmes were conducted at Baripada, Balasore, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Jagatsingpur and Puri from 20th to 26th November 2010 culminating in the flag in ceremony for Odisha at OLS campus on 27th November 2010. Mrs. ArtiAhuja, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, WCD Department was handed over the BadhteKadam flag by a group of Special Olympics athletes after a slow march with the flag before handing it over to Mrs. Ahuja who in

turn handed it over to Ms. SnehanjaliMohanty, BK–II Coordinator to carry it to Delhi. Six volunteers nominated from six districts by the BK-II state team were honoured with a certificate of appreciation. Ms. SnehanjaliMohanty, BK–II Coordinator and Ms. SujataPatnaik, Headquarters Volunteer participated in the flag in ceremony organized by the National Trust in Delhi. Odisha was adjudged one of the best organisers and promoters of the event and received a cash prize of Rs.5000/- from the National Trust.