Odisha Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) Principal Secretary Niten Chandra on Saturday launched the Sightsavers’ nation-wide ‘Equal World Campaign’ to ensure that the rights of over 800 million people living with disabilities in developing countries are protected and promoted by the UN’s agencies and its 192 member States.
Launching the campaign, Chandra said that the State Government would take up the accessibility agenda at gram panchayat level to create model accessible panchayats with the convergence of developmental schemes of the Government.
He also said that the Government has a key mission to make the State accessible for the persons with disabilities (PwDs) from the urban, semi-urban areas and panchayats.
Sightsavers State programme manager Akbar Mehfuz Alam said that the organisation has initiated a new global disability campaign, ‘#EqualUN’ for an equal world in order to make accessibility a way of life for everyone.
He said a lot still needs to be done both at policy level as well as on the ground as the progress on accessibility in rural areas is still not adequate, particularly as a large number of PwDs in India live in rural areas.
The campaign is basically intended to call upon the State and Central Governments to take accessibility issues to village and panchayat level beyond the urban cities, Alam added.
Besides, a panel discussion was also held on the challenges and initiatives of the State to make all public places accessible to PwDs. Alam along with SSEPD DSSO- Headquarter Sanyasi Behera and Nodal Officer Dr Subrat Das participated in the talk.
Sightsavers advocacy manager Ketan Kothari, project officer Jagannath Nayak, subject matter specialist Lokapriya Kanungo and 40 Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) representatives across Odisha were present.