I don’t have a story to tell now, but I am on my way to make a story by getting an idea into being that I got from IIS 2013. This story cum article is not about what I did for differently abled but in retrospect what they did for me.
I was invited to IIS 2013 by a junior of my School and the anchor of the summit, “Malvika Iyer”. And i remember one of the speaker from the summit said that, ‘everyone who has come to this gathering has a reason or is linked to differently abled person and hence that brings them here and the day people with no such background will come, then we’ll be able to call it an inclusive society”. To be honest i came there to meet my friend Malvika and see her speak and with that the theme music/video of 2013 IIS caught my interest and i landed in. I didn’t know how amused will i be, meeting and listening to such achievers, from the speakers, performers to the attendees of the summit.
As i heard everyone’s concern and thoughts on inclusion, with what they have achieved, I started to wonder if I shall ask for them to include me with them, given, I had zero achievement in life and I had an “odd one out” moment.
I remember while growing up, it always gave me a sense of satisfaction every time I helped someone in need or by spending time with my neighbour’s son who was born autistic and he always smiled at me every time I visited him. In college I tried doing my bit by distributing snacks in Cheshire Homes on my birthday, which I did for three years. And in my final year in college I got an immense pleasure by starting a campaign on my bicycle to collect money for Tsunami Victims from the people who could not contribute a lump sum amount but wanted to help the victims by giving away their hard earned pennies. And gradually my friends joined in with me. It gave a boost to do something when I received a thanking letter from Prime Minister’s Secretary for the contribution. But to my sorry, slowly I got carried away by the struggle of getting a good job after studies, by preparing for my higher studies and other regular life’s humps.
I always knew that I need to do something for this society, something for people who may need my contribution, but never found time to get out of my everyday routine, only when I finally walked in IIS in 2013. The summit and the people of the summit finally made me realize that, “ Knowing is not enough ”, things will never get moving unless we push. And then when I got into action. I then put my thinking hat on and came up with a plan that shall generate employment and encourage the creative insight of the “especially abled people”. I made a team and talked them through the project. Now after having a good team in place I am at a position to go out and talk to NGO’s, Schools and workshops for differently abled people and other organizations and put across my project plan. And I wish to stand on summit stage next year with my project go live and tell my story to everyone.
This is my story and a part of it is yet to come true. And only if I can thank the summit people enough to awaken me and giving me a reason to be proud of myself by getting this plan of action running.
This short story is an entry in the ManipalBlog.com writing contest 2014, in support of India Inclusion Summit 2014 to be held at Bangalore on November 29th and 30th. To know more about the idea of an #InclusiveIndia follow @IndiaInclusion on twitter or visit their Facebook page at India Inclusion Summit.
About the author: Ms. Swati Joshi is based out of Bangalore.