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An idea whose time has come

Chief guests address the delegates
© CBM India
From left to Right: Smt. Suman Dhurve, President, Naman Seva Samiti, Shri . Suman , CEO, Zilla Parishad, Shri Gyaneshwar Patil, District Collector, Shri T.D. Dhariyal, CBM Advisor, Shri. Patil, Deputy Director – Social Justice Department and Shri. Devendra Hedaoo , D.D.M. NABARD.

The Bharatiya Viklang Jan Forum (BVJF), a pan-India platform of Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs), held its first national meeting for grassroots disability leaders and organisations to share experiences and discuss opportunities for working together on influencing policies, and accessing schemes and entitlements.

Bharatiya Viklang Jan Forum holds its first national meeting

Excitement was palpable as people settled in the conference room after their long travels for a meeting to shape the future of a pioneering forum led by Persons with Disabilities. 

The first national meeting of the Bharatiya Viklang Jan Forum was held at Betul – which is the administrative headquarter of Madhya Pradesh. Over 130 participants from 13 states took part in the meeting, having braved a major breakdown in the train movement and monsoon rains. CBM India facilitated this three-day event, July 14 to 16, in collaboration with Naman Seva Samiti, a state level partner organisation. 

Turning a dream into reality

For many of the participants, the day marked a dream turning into reality. The idea of a national forum was planted with just five CBM India partners in December 2013. The forum started gathering momentum as more partners joined the conversation. In the next meeting, in May 2014, leaders from nine states came together to propose its current name. The meeting also set the forum’s core objectives: Promoting DPOs across the country; increasing participation of Persons with Disabilities in policy processes and strengthen the agenda of disability inclusive development.

One of the guiding principles of the forum has been of working on increasing participation of Persons with Disabilities from rural areas and smaller cities. 

A united vision

Disability leaders from grassroots organisations took the center stage at the national meeting. Their testimonies underlined a focus on rallying together to access schemes and entitlements. Many of them shared their personal experiences of having struggled against barriers, lack of awareness and limited opportunities. 

One of the biggest challenges for Persons with Disabilities has been low levels of awareness about government social security and entitlement schemes. This directly impacts how DPOs engage to make policy process disability inclusive. 

The focus on working with the government was amply highlighted at the meeting with the presence several senior officials.  The list included Mr. G. B. Patil, District Collector Betul; Mr. Suman Kumar Saurabh Chief Executive Officer Zilla Panchayat, Betul; Mr. T.D. Dhariyal, former Deputy Disability Commissioner, Mr. Devendra Hedaoo, District Development Manager, NABARD. 

Learning by example

people are oriented on collective inclusive farming ©CBM India
CBM Staff explaining the benefits of collective and inclusive organic farming
One of the high points of the national meeting was a field visit for the participants to witness an inclusive livelihood initiative supported by CBM India. The Naman Cooperative Society has created an inclusive process involving Persons with Disabilities which operates on a ‘farm to shop’ concept. This includes organic farming, a cooperative bank, a processing unit and a marketing unit.   

The initiative showcases an inclusive approach that has been designed under the leadership of Persons with Disabilities for leveraging a range of government schemes. 

The national meeting concluded with an agreement among the participants to constitute a coordination committee for charting the future course of action for the forum.
Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals" Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals"

Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals

The highlights of T20 World Cup for the blind finals held at Chinnaswamy Stadium Bengaluru, India


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