ADVOCACY

ADVOCACY

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Rights. Representation. Reform.

APD endeavours to enrich the lives of people with disabilities, advancing them to an even platform from where they can access rightful opportunities, justice and social engagement. The People’s Organization and Advocacy group works across seven districts in Karnataka attempting to:

  • Encourage PWDs to get connected with their communities and extended social groups and develop leadership and self advocacy skills
  • Influence specific policy and legislation that promotes inclusion and removes barriers to participation of PWDs in all aspects of social life
  • Engage with local, district and state governments to ensure appropriate implementation of various provisions of the Disability Act
  • Create mass awareness about disability issues and rights and build a positive view of disability especially in non-urban areas
  • Support innovative groups and federations at the grass root level, so community organizations can drive social change
  • Provide strategic direction, develop resources and documentation for advocacy

This initiative has been able to reach about 11500 people last year through targeted urban advocacy and community group Program.

Over the years, APD has amplified its role in advocacy and nurturing of community based disability organizations to fill the gap that exists in self advocacy capabilities, effective lobbying, growing grass roots CBOs and sensitizing stakeholders.

Urban Advocacy

APD’s Urban Advocacy work in Bengaluru and municipalities of Kolar, Bagalkot, Chikkaballapur and Bidar:

  • Helps people claim rightful benefits under the law in education, livelihood and mobility assistance, transport concessions and housing schemes
  • Sensitizes BBMP and municipal commissioners and other government officials on disability issues through persistent information dissemination
  • Pushes for delivery of disability rights through joint rallies, media participation and representation of PWDs
  • Lobbies with policy makers and administrative bodies for compliance with the Disability Aact
  • Partners with Janarogya Andolan and Samajik Parivartan Janandolan to take up the cause of disabled people

Consider these definitive transformations APD has been able to drive over the years:

  1. Influenced Rs. 20 crores allocation by BBMP in the last two years for disability work
  2. Got the Government Order passed for 3% reservation of funds for disability in the Karnataka budget, in accordance with the Disability Act
  3. Influenced first time budget allocations for disability by municipal authorities in Bidar and Bagalkot
  4. Enabled delivery of entitlements to over 5000 people in 2010 under housing schemes, NREG Act or in the form of ID cards, transport concessions, medical certificates etc.
  5. Filed 150 RTI petitions each year relating to denial of education, denial of health, denial of ICDS and lack of sign language interpreters
  6. Had a medical board established in Chikkabalapur district to provide disability certificates to PWDs
  7. Had the audiology programme in Kolar District re-instated
  8. Helped five disabled youth become Gram Panchayat members - taking leadership roles in their communities

Advocacy at Work in Kolar District

Kolar District had a peculiar problem. The government had provided for audiologists and audiogram test equipment but the facility had been shut down for 6 months due to administrative problems in the health department. The hearing impaired had been left high and dry.

APD’s advocacy unit intervened. In September 2010, the State Disability Collective along with the members of the Taluk and District federations submitted a memorandum to the District Health Officer, District Surgeon and District Disabled Welfare Officer in Kolar. They also highlighted problems faced by PWDs on account of the corruption in the system forcing them to pay bribes to get ID cards and certificates.

The efforts bore fruit four months later when the DHO urged the relevant authorities to curb the corruption. In Kolar, the district hospital reopened the audiology department which began providing certificates, treatment and access to hearing aids for S&H impaired persons.

A little intervention can make a whole lot of difference to a whole lot of people!

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