Published on: December 17, 2018

“Imagine if all the flowers in the world were of the same colour and shape – how boring it would be! What makes the world a beautiful place is the presence of so many different kinds of flowers – of all shapes and colours and types. Or, imagine how it would be if the fingers of our hands were alike. Each finger serves a different purpose and each one exists for a reason. It is just so, with human beings as well – we are all different, each one of us is unique, each one of us is important. We serve different roles in this life – together, we make this world a delightful place to live in.” These were the inspiring words of Sarasu Thomas, author of stories and poems, and recipient of several awards, who was the chief guest for concluding meeting of a workshop on empowering differently abled women, held at Kanthari International Institute for Social Change, Vellayani, Thiruvananthapuram, on December 15, 2018. The workshop was organized by Pallium India in collaboration with Mobility International USA’s (MIUSA) Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD).

19 differently abled women attended the program, including ten students with hearing impairment from National Institute of Speech & Hearing (NISH), three visually impaired students from Cotton Hill School, and six women in wheelchair who belong to various fields. The program was also attended by several volunteers.

Everyone actively took part in a discussion on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) and women’s rights, which was followed by an informative session on sexual and reproductive health by Dr Shaliya James. Following this, the participants were asked to spend some time pondering over their own lives and ambitions, and later speak about them. One of the volunteers gave a class on the basics of sign language to the rest of the volunteers.

Aishwarya, a student of Cotton Hill school who dreams of being a musician, enthralled the listeners with a beautiful song. At the end of the program, everyone left with the firm conviction that their ambitions were indeed within reach.

At the conclusion of the workshop, everyone promised to work together on improving the lives of differently abled people.

Ashla Rani, the winner of the youth icon award of Kerala government, made this pioneering effort. Way to go, Ashla!

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