Over 70 women participated in this seminar from Delhi and NCR. Many new faces and most of them were youngsters. Mrs. Deepika Taneja welcomed all of the participants as they all celebrated the last day of International Week of the Deaf and being the last Sunday, they also celebrated International Day of the Deaf. She called upon Ms. Nirupama Kaul to talk on the essence of International Day/Week of the Deaf, Deaf Awareness March and the role of World Federation of the Deaf andUnited Nations in thiscelebrations. Being deaf is an invisible disability which brings a great need for awareness. A deaf person cannot be easily spotted among the crowd, no. This is why every year, the last week of September, we celebrate the International Week of the Deaf. Earlier, since 1951, International Day of the Deaf was celebrated on the last Sunday of September buy few years ago, WFD decided to extend the celebrations to a whole week where the cultural activities performed by the deaf will take place. She further explained the importance of United Nations.
To add further to Ms. Kaul's presentation, Ms. Angel Singha took over the next session to explain the work that United Nations does, its background, the understanding of Human Rights and what is United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). She showed a video from the time when United Nations was established, how it functions, its Head Quarters, etc. Then, she asked the audience the meaning of human rights to them. Few said the freedom to choose but rest were puzzled. Then, she showed another video which was animated on the basic understanding of human rights where a person is respected and has dignity, has a right to education, socialise, capable of making decisions, working, having a family, among many other. United Nations has 9 international treaties among which UNCRPD falls under, she explained. It was designed for persons with disabilities by persons with disabilities. India is the 7th country that ratified UNCRPD on 1st October, 2007. There is a paradigm shift in the disability sector from a medical model to a right based model. She talked on Article 5: Equality and non discrimination which is the crux of CRPD and Article 6 that talks on 'women with disabilities'. She explained the concept of 'reasonable accomodation' which means a temporary fix which is done now and not ten years later. Then she ended her session by showing a movie on a deaf girl who had the will power to play violin. It seems impossible but that's the part, it might seem impossible but it never is.
Then the ladies were divided into five groups and puzzles were given to them. Once assembled, the groups had words like love, faith, hope, etc which is the most important thing for a person to survive. And, lastly, a skit was shown where a pregnant lady is in labour and she has five children, first depicting sign language, second; interpreters, third; IWD, fourth; education and fifth being accessibility. Sign language is the centre and the culture of a deaf community.
Smt. Geeta Sharma,Women Secretary of NAD gave her vote of thanks. She said it was important for us to keep ourselves aware of our surroundings. CRPD is ours and very few people among us knew about its existence. Deaf community is invisible but we need to create awareness otherwise unreached would feel alone, helpless. It is our moral responsibility to reach the unreached. Then, she invited the ladies to join her for coffee and snacks.