BAASLS students at first all-India disability conference
Two students on our BA in Applied Sign Language Studies (BAASLS) course were delegates at an unprecedented national conference on disability rights in India this month. Delegates Ashish Doval and Dashrathsinh Jadeja from India’s National Association of the Deaf (NAD) participated in the first All India conference of the National Platform for the Rights of Disabled (NPRD), held in Ernakulam, Kerala on 6, 7 and 8 December. This is the first attempt in India at bringing the country’s huge number of disabled people together at the national level, to work from a common platform.
NPRD aims to raise awareness about disabled people and organise their collective strength to improve their health, education, and social and economic well-being. The main task of the conference was to adopt a programme and constitution for NPRD.
Dashrathsinh, a current student on the BAASLS programme, which is taught in India, explained:
“We were mostly in the dark about NPRD before the conference, but the moment we arrived, we were impressed by the motivating speeches and all the leaders who were there from many different states. These are people who have experienced great challenges, created new ideas and brought about many amendments to the constitution.
“We were full of enthusiasm as we gave a lecture for the very first time about NAD and deaf people’s challenges. As we finished, Smt. Brinda Karat, a former Member of Parliament, stood from her seat and gave us a hug and a big round of applause. She delivered a speech saying that deaf issues should be taken up as an immediate cause. We hope from our lecture, she will be better able to identify and understand the deaf background. Disabled people from all over India congratulated us for the lecture.
“We would also like to appeal to our fellow BAASLS students to get involved in this platform and for each one of us to exchange ideas and share information with disabled people and hearing people to raise awareness of future deaf challenges.”
The iSLanDS Institute would like to commend Ashish and Dashrathsinh for their successful delegation at this ground-breaking conference.