Self help

Need self-help group for differently abled women in State based on Kudumbashree model: Minister

Minister for Social Justice R. Bindu on Tuesday stressed the need for a self-help group for differently abled women along the lines of Kudumbashree in the State.

She was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on the ‘Rights of differently abled women’ organised by the Kerala Women’s Commission, in association with the National Commission for Women, here on Tuesday.

The Minister stressed the need to implement more projects for rehabilitation, education, employment, and social empowerment of differently abled women. The government, local bodies, and voluntary oganisations should come together for their rehabilitation.

The Social Justice department was implementing a “rehabilitation village project” for the differently abled, particularly the mentally challenged and intellectually disabled. All support mechanisms, including assistive mechanisms, would be at their disposal in these villages, she said.

A lot needed to be done to create a barrier-free environment for the differently abled in public spaces, educational institutions, public offices, transport, and so on. The government intended to make Kerala the best disabled friendly State through the Barrier-free Kerala Project, she said.

Differently abled women, she pointed out, faced triple discrimination in society — as a woman, a differently abled person, and an economically weak person. Globally, an estimated 80% of persons with disabilities lived in developing countries. As a result, a majority of differently abled women hailed from poor backgrounds, faced problems on account of their disabilities, and on top of that experienced discrimination and exploitation for being a woman, particularly those who were mentally challenged or intellectually disabled.

“Differently abled women were not seen, heard, or their presence felt in society. There had been changes recently, courtesy their increased awareness and understanding of their rights and their self. They had allied with various organisations to create a space for themselves. But there was need to strengthen laws to protect differently abled women,” Dr. Bindu said. While the rights to equality and justice in the Constitution were applicable to the differently abled, they did not specifically mention the word differently abled. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act had managed to bring more clarity on such issues. However, there was a need to examine how much of these had been translated into practice.

“There were still hurdles to implementing 5% reservation for the differently abled in educational institutions and the 4% reservation for them in jobs. The participation of differently abled women in education, particularly of those from financially backward families, was still poor,” the Minister said.

Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson P. Satheedevi presided over the event. Sessions on various topics followed the inaugural.

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