Stories are a powerful medium to carry the message. We invited readers to participate in a short story writing contest in the Tamil fortnightly “Mangayar Malar” to create awareness on disability.
Persons with disabilities constitute a significant part of the Indian population. Their numbers are more than the total population of many countries in the world, and India has one of the highest numbers of people with disabilities globally.
Despite constituting to a significant proportion of the population, the people with disability lead an isolated life. We have pushed them to a corner by addressing only their disability. Never their ability! When it comes to employment – the quickest reply is “You are not suitable,’ without even testing his/her potentials. Whether we build a bank, park, public spaces, malls – we never take into consideration – we have our friends – persons with disability who too has a need to enter these buildings. We seem to forcefully emit them out of our normal day to day life. Don’t they have a need? Don’t they need to enter a bank? Is it lack of awareness or lack of empathy?
So, we debated – how do we create awareness? “Through stories” – pat came the reply from the team. With the help of our dear well-wisher Ms Mala Maniyan, we initiated a short story writing contest in the Tamil fortnightly Mangayar Malar -disability as the theme. Mangayar Malar sponsored the cash award of Rs.10,000 each.
Out of the 220 stories we received, we selected the best four.
Ms Mala Maniyan came out with a brilliant idea. She said: Why don’t we celebrate this occasion? Through her unit – First Copy Productions, an award ceremony was planned to honour the best four story writers along with the idea of creating awareness of the issue.
“Inclusion” tuned out to be a great event dance and music with a varied audience. Meaningful presence was given by actors Mr.R. Parthieban, Mr. Vivek, Ms.Devyani Rajkumar , Ms.Poornima Backiaraj, Mrs Ambika Kameshwar(RASA) and Mrs Lakshmi Natarajan(Mangayar Malar)
The cash award to the four winners were presented by the distinguished guests.
The event was telecast on Raj TV thus spreading the awareness to a wider audience