The Beginning, Congress impulse to the Indian Sub Continent…
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
The seed for conducting disability Congresses in India was sown on the day Thomas Kraus (www.socialartist.events) , the initiator of worldwide Congresses, visited Nandavanam. It was the 20th of November 2015. Thomas and I deliberated on the idea of an Indian Congress in Chennai, to begin with, as a part of initiating disability congresses across the country. Subsequently, in a meeting, Thomas made a presentation to a group of people from Chennai’s disability sector. The concept was well appreciated, but no leadership came forward to make these congresses happen at that point of time.
I met Thomas Kraus again in, an international special education conference in Dornach, Switzerland in October 2016. He invited me to the first ever world congress for persons with disabilities scheduled at Yekaterinburg, Russia, which was to be held from 7 to 10 September 2017, saying ‘unless one experiences the joy of such congresses, one cannot take such initiatives forward’. This was the turning point for me, and I started sharing this idea of attending the Russian congress with friends and professionals across the country. This became a reality when four of us, Mr. Sumanth KV, Mr. Vinay Prasad (persons with disabilities), Rabindran Isaac and I (accompanying persons) decided to face the adventure of travelling to Russia to attend the Congress.
Russian Congress was a rich experience and huge inspiration for all of us (http://kongress2017.ru/en/home/). Over 700 delegates from 30 countries participated in the Congress, and it was a real celebration of persons with disabilities irrespective of their cultural differences.
The team from India had a small discussion with Thomas to convey our interest in organizing such Congresses back in India, and he agreed to provide his valuable guidance. We came back and started networking with persons with disabilities, professionals and organizations to see the possibilities of coming together to organize a Congress in India. A team was formed, with, Rabindran Isaac, Akila Vaidyanathan from Amaze Charitable Trust, Sumanth KV, and I as the core committee members and Rabindran Isaac, volunteered to be the primary responsible person, as we planned to conduct this Congress in Coimbatore. We literally opened the doors for all the like-minded people and organizations to partner us in organizing this event. The First Indian Congress for Persons with Disabilities in Coimbatore (1st- 4th of March 2018) was a great success in terms of participation, the richness of its content and exchange of thoughts, ideas and commonalities.
All the delegates of the First Indian Congress wanted this successful venture to reach the maximum number of towns, cities and people in India. The organizing team was inspired to make the Congress a platform for persons with disabilities across the country. The core organizing team is open to welcome and mentor individuals and organizations who come forward to have such congresses in any part of the country.
Rehabilitation Social Worker (RCI Reg.No. A34928)
Manager-CSR, Newgen KnowledgeWorks Pvt. Ltd, Chennai,
Nandavanam Center of Excellence for Children with-
Developmental Challenges, Chennai