‘Separate Dept for Special Kids Soon’ Minister UT Khader during ‘World Disability Day’ Celebration
“On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realized.” — António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Mangaluru: World Disability Day is celebrated every year on 3 December. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. The 2018 Theme of ‘World Disability Day’ is ” Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. This year’s theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”. Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Locally, ‘World Disability Day’ was organized by District Administration; DK Zilla Panchayat; and Women and Child Welfare Dept; in association with other departments at St Sebastian Hall, Bendore-Mangaluru on 3 December. Prior to the formal function that started at 11 am, a procession of differently-abled children was taken from Liosn Seva Mandir, Mallikatta to the Hall. The chief guest for the occasion was Minister U T Khader (who came an hour late, as always?) along with other guests namely DC Sasikanth Santhil; Meenakshi Shanthi Godu- President, DK Zilla Panchayat; MLA Vedavyas Kamath; Mallanna Gowda-Senior Judge and Member Secretary of District Legal Services Authority; Ms Kasturi Panja- VP of DK Zilla Panchayat; among others. The programme was inaugurated by lighting the lamp by the dignitaries on the dais.
During the occasion, two children each from 13 different institutions from Mangaluru, DK and around the district were felicitated/awarded for their achievements in sports and other cultural activities. Addressing the audience Minister U T Khader said, “Sorry for coming late, and I do apologize for it? I am aware of the request made to me to have a separate department for special children. I will surely discuss this issue with the Chief Minister and the minister for women and child welfare. This long pending issue of having a separate department will be discussed during the next cabinet meeting, and I will see that the dream of most of you here will come true”.
“And also to give more encouragement to these special children who are talented in sports, we will plan to have a national-level special Olympics in the district. Regarding the partiality on the grants, I will see that grants are provided equally for special children also. I will also discuss with the concerned authorities to add non-aided schools under Ksheera Bhagya scheme, since many such schools are desperately need of. We will also try to increase the age limit at residential schools for differently-abled children, which will help the teachers, parents and institutions to make children a bit more independent” added Minister Khader.
Also speaking on the occasion, MLA Vedavyas Kamath said, “Looking at this venue I don’t think is disabled friendly. In future events like these should be held at places where there are ramps to enter, exit or climbing onto to the dais, and here it is lacking, and the differently-abled children are struggling to reach the dais. We should also show our respect, love and care towards these special children without discrimination, because they are also humans, and they too deserve to live like others and have facilities like we all have. I will extend all my support in case they me for the betterment of the differently-abled”.
Vasanth Shetty, the Compere of the programme, and also the General secretary of the Karnataka Sate Association for Special Educators and Supportive Staff said, “Women above 25 years of age with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities were vulnerable to sexual harassment and rape. Therefore, the government must ensure that they get institutional support till they live”. The formal function ended with mind blowing performances as part of cultural programme, where the special children unleashed their hidden talents, enthralling the audience and receiving loud applaud.