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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

JWB Explores Vidushi’s Life Track Who Organizes Trekking Trips For The Disabled

  • JWB Post
  •  January 11, 2017

 

Vidushi Jayaswal, a Christ College post-graduate in Psychology, left her job as a counselor in a big Corporate Company to pursue her inner calling.

Started out as a volunteer at EnAble India, a Charitable Trust working towards empowering persons with disability, Vidushi is now working full-time for this cause as the National Community Leader.

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Vidushi (leftmost corner) with EnAble India team

In an interview with JWB, Vidushi discussed the various initiatives of EnAble India towards making the persons with disabilities independent and self-sufficient.

“We have various workshops not only for the persons with disabilities but also to create awareness about their needs in the society,” said Vidushi. “We have ‘Finger Chat’ where we teach sign language to the visually- impaired and the volunteers. Also, we have ‘One Sign Per Day’ Project where we send videos to them teaching one sign word every day. Then, we have an initiative called Movie 360° where a visually-impaired person is paired with a hearing-impaired person so they can describe the movie to each other.”

Apart from these initiatives, Vidushi also shared another pathbreaking campaign that EnAble India has undertaken which is to organize a trek for the person with disabilities. For the trek, too, Vidushi claimed that a visually-impaired person is teamed up with a hearing-impaired one and they both are accompanied by a volunteer.

“This enables them to interact with other communities and develop interpersonal relationships which go a long way,” exclaimed Vidushi.

The treks are well-planned in advance and the volunteers first do a field check before conducting the trek. Also, an expert advice is taken before shortlisting the sites for the trek and then the visually-impaired are given options to choose one amongst the shortlisted.img_1

“We describe all the shortlisted sites in detail to the visually-impaired group so that they can picture it well and decide the most exciting place,” she explained.

Recalling the most memorable experience, she said, “We tried this approach on our trek to Ramnagar, where Sholay was also filmed. Everyone was so excited. Of course, at the beginning, it took some time for the visually-impaired and hearing-impaired to understand each other and guide the path accordingly. However, I still remember how they came to us at the end of the trek and said that it was an enriching experience for them in more than just one way.”

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Vidushi with her team

“How else have these treks helped them?” I asked, intrigued.

“Apart from helping them build relationships with other people, it also increases their mobility as they are exposed to new places. They feel confident and more independent as they get a sense of responsibility after making it through these treks,” answered Vidushi.

Vidushi also started a volunteer group, ‘India for Inclusion’ with her mentor Vishnu in April, under which she sensitizes and trains the volunteers on how to interact and behave around the persons with disabilities.

Talking about the personal changes, Vidushi shared, “My perspective about life changed after I started working at EnAble India. We all tend to strive for success, self-sufficiency and never think about the life beyond that. But, when I started working here, I realized how important self-development and family relations are. EnAble India taught me how we could make a difference in not just our lives but others, too, through empathy, mindfulness, and focus.”

“Also, I think I have become more solution-oriented in the way that instead of cribbing about the problems I try and find the possible solutions,” she added.

“Ahh, I wish I knew how to do that, too!” I sighed, and Vidushi assured that I’ll get there. *fingers crossed*img_3

However, Vidushi reflected upon the country’s lack of infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the persons with disabilities and shared how negatively it impacted them.

We should understand that like us, they also have a social life or wish to have one. But, most public places are inaccessible. Be it restaurants, theaters, or malls; rarely will you find the infrastructure necessities for the disabled. I wish people are more sensitive towards persons with disabilities and understand that they have the same needs as us. Tomorrow, if I open a restaurant, I’ll make sure that not only will it be physically planned to accommodate the specially-abled but even the staff will be trained so as to understand and fulfill their needs.”

In the end, Vidushi concluded with a message for all of us:

“Please stop rushing for a minute and take a look at your surroundings. Don’t hesitate to strike a conversation with a person with a disability. One conversation with them can break many barriers that you hold in your mind about them. And, trust me, they’ll be just glad to have that one friendly conversation with you.”

This enlightening chat with Vidushi made me understand that it’s not just the persons with disabilities who need our help. In fact, we need their help as much as they need ours. Communicating and exploring the world with them will not only make you a kinder and empathetic person, but it will also help you realize your true potential.

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