TODAY -

Barrier free society
International Day of Disabled Persons - 3rd December

Ranjan K Baruah *



We should know that of the one billion populations of persons with disabilities, 80% live in developing countries and an estimated 46% of older people aged 60 years and over are people with disabilities or they are divyangjan.

Around the world one in every five women is likely to experience disability in her life, while one in every ten children is a child with a disability. We must change our attitudes and thinking when it comes to disability.

A disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual of their group.

The term is often used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and various types of chronic disease. This usage has been described by some disabled people as being associated with a medical model of disability.

Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, have generally poorer health, lower education achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

Preliminary findings from the forthcoming United Nations Disability and Development Report 2023 indicate that the world is even more off-track in meeting several Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) for persons with disabilities.

Our efforts to rescue the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities, need to be intensified and accelerated, given that persons with disabilities have historically been marginalized and have often been among those left furthest behind.

Today, the world population is over 8 billion people and more than one billion people, or approximately 15 percent of the world's population, live with some form of disability. The UN has declared 3rd December as the International Day of Disabled Persons which was proclaimed in 1992 by the General Assembly resolution 47/3 .

Prevention, early Identification and Early Intervention are of utmost importance in the field of disability. Children with developmental delays require a holistic transdisciplinary approach covering therapeutic inputs, medical, child development and family intervention services. People need barriers free environment as it’s their rights.

We can choose to work in the field of divyangjan to make our society more inclusive. There are different courses and many reputed institutes offer degrees and diplomas in regular mode or distance mode. Online courses are available for those who wish to learn about it and act on the area to ensure rights to every human being.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences has the Centre for Disability Studies and Action, established within the School of Social Work. The centre has two post graduate programmes of its kind in India.

The MA in Disability Studies & Action in Social Work is a full time masters programme to work in the disability sector and another is a one year Post Graduate Diploma in Inclusive Education. There are courses like M Sc ( Disability Studies) ( Early Intervention ) offered by National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities ( Divyangjan).

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) set up the National Centre for Disability Studies during the 10th plan period that is operational since November 2006.

The Department of Disabilities Studies under Gauhati University( GU) was established in 2010. GU is the fourth university in the country to take initiatives for setting up a Department of Disabilities Studies - a new area in the field of Disability Rehabilitation, Special Education, Community Mobilization and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

One may get jobs or working opportunities in different fields like teaching, advocacy, research, etc. Both Government and Non Governmental Organizations offer jobs to people having expertise in the field of disability studies.


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is the Advisor of Skill Employment and Entrepreneurship Department of BTC, Kokrajhar
and can be contacted at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com for any career related queries
This article was webcasted on 03 December 2023

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