A first of its kind event "Raahgiri day for the persons with disabilities" was organized as a unique initiative this morning at the Connaught place here today by the Department of Empowerment of persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.Raahgiri Day provides citizens with the opportunity to reclaim their streets, connect with their community, celebrate their city and therefore reclaim their lives. However, the Raahgiri Day celebrated today was special because it involved participation in cultural and sports activities predominantly by Persons with Disabilities. Today`s was an effort to create an inclusive environment by way of showcasing the diverse range of unique abilities of the differently-abled children/ persons at the same time involving all the people witnessing the events. This event was organised keeping in mind the spirit of Prime- Minister’s initiative "Sabka saath Sabka vikas" which includes the persons with disabilities.
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chandra Gehlot and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar also witnessed the activities of the differently abled persons and their presence served as a great source of encouragement and inspiration for them. It was indeed a pathbreaking and colourful event of social inclusion with such large participation by persons with disabilities at such a historic location. The Department of Empowerment of persons with disabilities in collaboration with State Government will soon be organising similar such Raahgiri for persons with disabilities events in major metro cities like Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai in near future. People from all walks of life are invited in large numbers to such events to encourage and acknowledge the creative abilities of the differently abled.
As many as 10,000 persons, including about 1000 persons with Disabilities, congregated in CP today from 6 am to 9 am to participate and witness the events by children/ persons with disabilities like wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, cricket by blind students, tandem cycling by blind students, street plays by student`s with different types of disabilities, prayer for peace for all through group songs by mentally handicapped and autistic children, cultural performances like singing, dancing skits etc. More than 30 prominent NGOs working incessantly for the rehabilitation and welfare of Persons with Disabilities participated in the event by mobilizing children and adults with disabilities for showcasing their creative talents.The whole atmosphere in CP was electrifying and charged up with great enthusiasm and indomitable spirit of the differently abled persons. The wonderful display by the ITBP brass band added a unique flavour to this special event.
According to census 2011, there are 2.68 Crore persons with disabilities in India. This includes persons with visual, hearing, speech, locomotors and intellectual disabilities. India is signatory to the Declaration on the Full Participation and Equality of People with disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region. India is also signatory to the Biwako Millennium Framework for action towards an inclusive, barrier free and rights based society.The concept is inspired by “Ciclovia” held weekly in Bagota, Columbia and now popular all over the world known by different names viz. Open Streets, Summer Streets, etc. The streets identified for Raahgiri Day are cordoned off for motorized transport and made safe for the citizens to cycle, walk, run, skate, play and enjoy the streets. Children and adults are invited to bike, skate, run and walk; to partake in community leisure activities such as street games, street dancing; to learn yoga, aerobics and zumba (for which stages will be setup at intervals along the route); and to come together as a community and celebrate life. The event was organized with the collaboration of New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), and Delhi Police. Senior officials of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities were also present on the occasion.