Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG) launched its Make my Neighbourhood Accessible 2020 campaign at the hands of director, Caritas Goa, Fr Maverick Fernandes at a function held in Panaji.
Speaking on the occasion, DRAG president, Avelino de Sa said: “The Persons with Disability Act 1995 mandated that all public places should be accessible for persons with disability. The new Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016 also shares the same mandate. It is disappointing that after 25 years of the Disability Act 1995 and three years of the new disability act, public places are not yet accessible for persons with disabilities. If there is no accessibility we cannot think about education, employment and entertainment for persons with disability.” He added that today there are educated, employed, self-reliant persons with disabilities in Goa many of whom are role models but they cannot participate and contribute to society due to inaccessible infrastructure. “There are persons with disability who do not get education or employment due to inaccessible infrastructure. Accessible infrastructure promotes inclusion of persons with disability in society.” Thus, keeping this in mind the ‘Make My Neighbourhood Accessible Campaign 2020’ was launched, he said.
Speaking on behalf of DRAG, de Sa further stated: “We urge the general public to make their neighbourhood accessible for persons with disability. We will also be hosting awards for best accessible panchayats and municipality. We believe that if each one contributes to making their neighbourhood accessible, Goa can become accessible within no time.”
DRAG also launched their bi-monthly newsletter ‘DisAbility News’ which is an e-publication and has articles and poems contributed by persons with disability. On the occasion, Cecille Rodrigues and her group were also felicitated for their #Rosto campaign for prevention of death and disability through road accidents.
Speaking at the function, Fr Maverick Fernandes appreciated the efforts of DRAG and congratulated them for highlighting the responsibility of society towards making the neighbourhood accessible for persons with disability. He also urged religious places to make their buildings accessible to persons with disability as it is their fundamental right to worship.