Pranav Desai underlines need for accessible, inclusive society for people with disabilities at UN

Pranav Desai underlines need for accessible, inclusive society for people with disabilities at UN

Pranav Desai, an Indian American IT Professional, showcased his new phone app for people with disabilities, at the United Nations this month. The app will help create mass awareness and inspire government officials, engineers, civic planners and business community in efforts to ensure a life of dignity and equality for people with disabilities. According to a PTI report, Desai himself is a polio-survivor and is the founder of the Voice of Specially-Abled People.

Pranav Desai, a polio-survivor and founder of the Voice of Specially-Abled People(VOSAP), last week addressed a session during the 11th Conference of State Parties (COSP) to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities here.

The VOSAP is a global advocacy organisation with its over 4,000 volunteers workingfor empowerment of persons with disabilities by inspiring everyone in society to take inclusive actions and pursue individual social responsibility towards the specially-abled.

During the session, the VOSAP explained its unique approach for creating inclusivesociety for persons with disabilities and how member countries can adopt this developing country model to benefit from this approach.

Desai has been spearheading campaigns to ensure an inclusive and accessiblesociety for persons living with disabilities, specially in India.

In 2016, Desai, a Silicon Valley-based IT professional, had welcomed the passage of the landmark Disabilities Bill by the Indian Parliament.

Having campaigned for the cause, he had said the bill will have a far-reaching impact and lay the foundation for transforming the country’s disability sector and bringing it on par with the developed world.

Desai is an adviser to the Department of Persons with Disabilities in India’s Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and was also appointed adviser to the ‘Accessible India’ campaign aimed at making transport, public spaces and information and communication technology accessible to differently-abled people.

During the UN session on June 14, Desai showcased to an audience, comprising UNdiplomats and civil society members, the VOSAP mobile app and its features such as the ‘Take Volunteer Pledge’ that can accelerate mass movements and encouragepeople’s involvement by creating local communities, globally.

Through it, volunteers can map out the accessibility level of key buildings in communities and call foraction in upgrading the accessibility facilities by spreading awareness among government officials, engineers, civic planners and the business community.

Desai said VOSAP focuses on inspiring everyone in the society for their individual social responsibility towards the specially-abled and this sensitisation, mass awareness and collective actions by leaders and volunteers has yielded huge social impact over the last four years.

“Its key message is that ‘everyone is temporarily-abled’ so people should not ignore the needs and rights of the ‘Divyang jan’ and instead create accessible and inclusivesociety,” he said, adding that when everyone embraces their individual social responsibility, the disability rights movement can achieve its goals much faster.

Addressing the inaugural day of the conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had said that cementing and protecting the rights of around 1.5 billionpeople around the world in accordance withthe Convention on the Rights of Personswith Disabilities is a “moral imperative”.

He described the Convention as one of the most widely-ratified international human rights treaties, which reaffirms that people with disabilities are entitled to the same treatment as everybody else.

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