OST Business Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 18:
Children with disability should not be deprived of their basic rights to education and employment, experts said at a seminar on “Rights of Children with Special Need” on the occasion of Golden Jubilee year of CSR & CD Committee of UCCI organized here on Saturday.
“Disabled children should be brought into the mainstream of society by giving them proper education and employment,” said Ms. Poonam Natrajan, Chairperson, National Trust, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, the Chief Guest of the occasion.
Ms Natrajan urged members and stakeholders of the chamber to employ at least 3% disabled persons in their respective firms.
“People with disabilities are invisible. There is a need for greater participation of the civil society in teaching, training and equipping them for the mainstream,” Krushna Gopal Mohapatra, Director, OPEPA said. “The shortage of Braille books in our state is a matter of concern.” he added.
“There are 12, 44,203 persons with disability in our state, which amounts to 12% of the total population. Development without this sizable number is impossible. 25% of this number is children. We need to create a friendly environment in order to help them,” said Bibhuti Bhusan Patnaik, Director, Welfare of Persons with Disability, a wing under W & CD Department, Govt. of Odisha.
“Barriers for disabled children are of two types- physical and social. Physical barriers can be removed easily, but social change is a slow process. Employment is necessary to lead a dignified life. But unfortunately, only 22% of the disabled population is employed”, he rued.
Lauding the efforts of UCCI in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR), UNICEF Odisha Chief Ms. Yumi Bae said: “There are 21 million disabled people in India, out of which 1 million are in Odisha. The attitude of the community towards the disabled is the single biggest barrier to their social mainsteaming. Invisibility is a major issue that needs to be tackled. Lack of reliable data on children with disabilities perpetuate invisibility even more”.
Ms Bae expressed her concern over crimes against the disabled by saying; “Children subjected to child labour are 3 to 4 times more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence while children with intellectual disability are 4 to 6 times more vulnerable to sexual violence.”
“Awareness in immunization and nourishment can drastically reduce the number of disable persons. 75% of disabilities are preventable by immunization. Early detection, timely intervention and larger participation of the civil society, if done collectively, will help in making the world a better place to live in.” she further added.
The CSR & CD Committee of UCCI started its activity focusing on the development of children with special needs, especially hearing impaired children of various schools and slum areas, conducting hearing health camps and donating hearing kits to enable them to hear and lead a better life. It also focuses on creating awareness amongst the youth about HIV and drugs.
Geetanjali Padhi , Chairperson, CSR & CD Community Department Committee and UCCI President Ramesh Mohapatra was present on the occasion.