Vidhya Y Moderates A Panel Discussion On Creating An Inclusive Society For Persons With Visual Impairment.
On 4th January 2022 on the occasion of World Braille Day, Vidhya Y, the co-founder of Vision Empower moderated a panel discussion organised by the Cognizant Foundation. The topic of the panel was “An inclusive society for persons with visual impairments” where experts working in this field came together as panellists to understand the problems of exclusion a person with visual impairment faces and to discuss solutions in creating an inclusive society.
The hour-long online panel discussion that started at 3:00 pm was attended by 154 people. Vidhya being the moderator started the panel by welcoming the panellists and audience and further setting the context of the panel by introducing that India is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has enacted The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, to comply with the purpose and objectives of the convention. While briefly describing the act, Vidhya shared that The Act guarantees to persons with disabilities – equal access and opportunities – in all aspects of life – social, educational, economic and political.
On the occasion of World Braille Day, Vidhya talked about how Braille has promoted inclusion despite myriad technological advancements. Vidhya further shared from her own experience of growing up as a child with visual impairment who had challenges getting access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) education which was the reason behind her co-founding Vision Empower, a non-profit working to make STEM education accessible for children with visual impairment. Vidhya opened the discussion to the panellists by asking them questions about the ways to ensure accessibility and inclusion in different spheres and areas.
Ms Shanti Raghavan who is the founder of Enable India Foundation, Ms Supriya Dey who is the co-founder of Vision Empower and Mr Nataraj Sankaran who is the founder of Help the Blind Foundation were present in the discussion as panellists. Each of the panellists took turns to share their thoughts and ideas from their knowledge and lived experiences in creating an inclusive society for persons with visual impairment.
The panel discussion also saw inputs from two scholars of the Cognizant Foundation Scholarship, Ms Kajal Kumari and Mr John Paul who shared their lived experiences of access, inclusion, and participation as students with visual impairment.
Concluding the discussion, Vidhya shared that creating an inclusive society isn’t easy but it is surely possible if all come together and contribute towards it. She summarised the takeaways from the panel discussion and encouraged a call to action where these reflections can be implemented in our daily lives.
Overall the panel discussion was fruitful as it widened the horizon of all who attended. It made each person more aware and sensitive towards building an inclusive society for all to be in by creating an empathetic culture that allows people to embrace diversity and differences in all aspects of life.