Usually, the more visible a disability, the more awareness, sympathy and financial support is invoked for people with it. Deafness is hugely misunderstood because it is an invisible disability and the special needs of the hearing impaired and education of people around them are therefore vastly neglected when compared to other disabilities. Presuming incompetence in persons with disability is common amongst the non-disabled population, so disabilities are often kept hushed.The challenge lies in altering prejudices of pre-conceived notions about what it means to have a disability.
Ritika Sahni, B.Ed in Deaf Education, identified that the awareness level of disability issues among the non-disabled population of India was minimal, if not nonexistent. She founded Trinayani in 2006 with the aim to create awareness, tolerance, respect and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Over the past few years, Trinayani has worked to fight stereotypes, educate and erase fears among the non-disabled and end discrimination towards our disabled.
Qualitative Courses of Action by Trinayani:
- Workshops for the academic and corporate communities to change the way persons with disability are perceived, to recognize their needs, abilities and diversities. e.g. recognition of sign language as the language used by deaf persons for communication.
- Provide livelihood and economic independence to blind persons by employing them as trained Foot Reflexology Therapists at the Sparsh Foot Spa and also work towards changing attitudes of non- disabled clients towards what they are capable of.
- Changed the attitudes of spa employers in particular to hire blind persons groomed by Trinayani’s therapists.
- Successful placement of intellectually disabled candidates at Sai Service Auto Stations at various locations in Mumbai.
- Weekly reading of their THIS-ABILITY article in National Dailies like The Telegraph, Kolkata, Navhind Times Goa, One India One People magazine, BetterIndia.com.
- Weekly broadcast of radio show on cross disability issues titled Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh on All India Radio 107.1 FM Rainbow.
Trinayani has lots more in store in the months to come and we look forward to their upcoming initiatives that would no doubt empower the disabled to be part of the mainstream and help create a more inclusive, sensitive society.
Ritika conducting an UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENCES session at Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai for their ancillary staff