Bhubaneswar, 18 January2014: On the Occasion of Golden Jubilee year, CSR & CD Committee of UCCI organized a Seminar on “Rights of Child with Special Needs” at the Conference Hall of UCCI here on Saturday.
Chief Guest of the occasion Ms. Poonam Natrajan, Chairperson, National Trust, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India said “children born with disability face discrimination right from birth. Parents out of shame don’t collect birth certificates and don’t report to the census which in turn leads to invisibility and further complicacies. Negligence towards immunization at an early stage and malnourishment are the basic causes that lead to disability.”
“Life is perfectly imperfect. Everyone has disabilities and everyone has potential. We just have to have a different approach towards it. Each child with a special need has a passion to live and great evolving capacity. Attitudinal change to remove the social stigma is the first step required. Instilling the disabled in the mainstream should be our ambition”, she added. She also urged members and stake holders of the chamber to employ at least 3% disabled persons in their respective firms.
Sri Krushna Gopal Mohapatra, Director, OPEPA said “people with disabilities are invisible. There is a need of more participation from the civil society by volunteering to teach, train and equip them for the mainstream.” “There is a shortage of Braille books in our state and that is a matter of concern”, he added.
Sri Bibhuti Bhusan Patnaik, Director, Welfare of Persons with Disability, under W & CD Department, Govt. of Odisha said “there are 12,44,203 disabled persons in our state which amounts to 12% o the total population which is a sizable number. Development without this sizable number is impossible. 25% of this number is children. We need to create a friendly environment in order to help them”
“Barriers for disabled children are of two types- physical and social. Physical barriers can be removed easily but social change is a slow process. Employment is necessary to lead a dignified life but only 22% of disabled population is employed”, he added.
Ms. Yumi Bae, Odisha Head, UNICEF appreciated the efforts of UCCI in the field of CSR. In her speech, she said “there are 21 million people in India who are disabled, out of which 1 million are in Odisha. The attitude of the community towards disabled is the single most barrier. Invisibility is a major issue that needs to be tackled. Lack of reliable data on children with disabilities which perpetuate invisibility even more”. Expressing her concern over crimes against the disabled, she said “The children subjected to child labor are 3-4 times more vulnerable to physical and sexual violence and the children with intellectual disability are 4-6 times more vulnerable to sexual violence”
“Awareness in immunization and nourishment can drastically reduce the number of disable persons. 75% of disabilities are preventable by immunization. Early detection, timely intervention and larger participation of the civil society, if done collectively will help in making the world a better place to live in.” she further added.
Mr. Ramesh Mahapatra, President, UCCI welcomed the guests to the dais. In his welcome speech, he presented a brief idea about the chamber and functions of its CSR & CD Committee. “The CSR & CD Committee of UCCI started its activity focusing on the development of Children with special needs, especially hearing impaired children of various Schools and Slum area conducting Hearing Health Camps and donating hearing kits to enable them to hear and lead a better life. Apart from that it also focuses on creating awareness amongst the youth about HIV and drugs.” he said.
Dr. Geetanjali Padhi , Chairperson, CSR & CD Community Department Committee, UCCI addressed the gathering in relevance of the theme set in the seminar. In her address, she presented a brief report about the Seminar and objectives of formation of CSR & CD Committee. Defining special needs, “Special Needs is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses can be wedged”, she said.
Mr. Prabhakar Rout, Member, CSR & CD Committee & Chairman, Skill & Development Committee introduced the guests. At the end, Mr. Nilambar Rath, Member, CSR & CD Committee proposed the vote of thanks. He also thanked all the members and the different stake holders for their contributions in progress of better tomorrow for the Handicapped.
The Golden Jubilee Year of the UCCI has strengthened the efforts of the CSR Committee to go all out in helping the Children with Special Needs in Odisha.