“I believe that VaccesS 2018 will create a positive impact in the field of disability. Common people find their essentials anywhere, anytime. We hope that the gadgets showcased at this event for persons with disability will also be similarly available soon. Awareness & thoughts of inventing accessible and adaptive objects for people with disabilities should increase among common people.”
– Ms. Radha Ramesh, Director, Vidya Sagar.
Vidya Sagar (formerly known as The Spastics Society of India, Chennai), is an organization working with people with multiple disabilities. This organization is proactively working towards meeting the needs of the evolving disability movement through advocacy and innovative awareness programs. One such program in this direction is VaccesS, designed to create awareness on access & accessibility.
VaccesS serves as a platform to connect people & organizations creating accessible designs, equipment, and assistive devices to people with special needs, NGOs, schools for people with disabilities and the like. VaccesS also successfully brought together various sections of the community, including mainstream educational institutions, corporates, builders, architects, government officials and more.
Many activities and games were conducted through the course of this event. All if these were designed with the aim of enabling participants to experience “enhanced ability” in a fun, interactive fashion. The exhibition showcased various products and equipment of day to day utility with multiple accessibility features, designed by different companies. Also featured were assistive devices and information materials on various aspects of access.
Team Avaz was a part of this innovative program. The opportunity was used to present the Avaz App to a diverse set of stakeholders. Many participants took pride in knowing that Avaz is an India-based organization working in the AAC & AT space.
The most heartwarming highlight of the two days was the Ramp Walk featuring the students, staff and alumni of Vidya Sagar. Using the school’s wheelchair ramps to stage the show, the literal and figurative references were unmissable.
Wearing shades of white, a group of 40 models walked the ramp, exuding great confidence and joy. The walk showcased clothing with simple adaptations to make them more accessible for people with disability. Some of these adaptations included Velcro fasteners, clothing with alternative access points to suit variation in motor skills of the wearer and alterations in the way of wearing the clothes to ensure that the support belts were not visible.
The clothes were trendily accessorized with scarves, stoles, and bags from Kalakkal Kadai*, an entrepreneurial venture of the students of Vidya Sagar. The models were mighty thrilled to walk the ramp, many even counting down to its start! The joy, confidence, and pride of being a model on the ramp was evident on every face!
“It was inspiring to see the pioneering work being done to innovate, design and build devices for people across the disability spectrum to use, with active input and participation from the users. VaccesS brings together the whole community of designers and builders, researchers and practitioners as well as users and their families. It provides a vibrant platform to create awareness of both the needs of the disabled as well as the kinds of assistive devices available to enhance lives. The program is a celebration of the human spirit to rise above adversity.”
– Shankaran Nair, Chairperson, Vidya Sagar
VaccesS has successfully created awareness on the different forms of Access – physical access, access to communication and information, and most importantly attitudinal access. This event was a definitive step towards making the inclusion of people with disability a reality.
*Kalakkal Kadai – A shop at Vidya Sagar where all the products are made by the students as part of their training at Employment Education Centre (EEC).
We would love to hear from you if you or your organization are conducting such events. Write to us in the comments section below and we could feature your event on our blog soon!