Inclusivity and Diversity are trending words today. We hear about women breaking the glass ceiling or Paralympians winning medals at Paralympics and we applaud them but are we as individuals truly inclusive?
When we visualize a place, or create something, do we consider if it is inclusive or do we assume that it might not interest a person with disability? “It is not about creating special places for special people but being able to share the whole world with them.” This isn’t a statement by me, but by Anita Iyer Narayan – Founder Ekansh and it hit me hard.
As a mother of two children, I have been consciously talking about inclusivity and diversity with my children to help them be more empathetic and accepting of the real world, however when I read Anita’s words I realized the falsity in my process. While the intent was good, I was still expecting that children with special needs or people with disability will do all the hard work and my responsibility ends with not being arrogant towards them.
I liked the work being done by Ekansh Trust to help normalize inclusion. The trust is working towards building sensibilities among children and that is something that caught my attention. They have been working towards celebrating differences by conducting drawing competitions where healthy children are asked to draw or imagine an inclusive world. This is a great way to get children to think from different perspectives and make them more empathetic and open-minded in the whole process.
Another competition that is on currently is an Essay Writing Competition where the topic is about ‘How you see an Inclusive India in 2030.’ Here is the link to the competition if you are interested.
Similarly, the trust also has small story and coloring books that are focused towards easing children into conversations around disabilities. These books can be brought from their website and are available in English and Marathi.
One of the best initiatives by Ekansh has been the creation of an inclusive play area in Pune at Ahilyabai Holkar Udyaan Katraj. While as parents we expect a play area to have safe play zones where children can enjoy, it hardly registers that special children cannot use these. Won’t they enjoy if they could take a swing or have a spin on the merry go round. With this thought in mind Ekansh came up with this inclusive play area that is accessible and safe for special children as well.
Currently, the foundation is looking to establish more such areas in public places for greater inclusivity. They are actively looking to partner with businesses or government bodies to establish such inclusive play areas across India.
If you are interested in being a part of this or would like to contribute in any way, kindly get in touch with the Ekansh Trust.
Disclaimer – I am in no way associated with Ekansh Trust nor is this a sponsored post. I came across Anita’s profile on Linkedin and liked the kind of work that they do. After a quick chat with Anita, I decided to do what I know best, write about them and spread the word. If you can, share the post for greater reach.