Why India’s Charity-Based Assistance Needs To Evolve; Wheelchair-Bound Bride’s Struggles Reveal

by Tooba Shaikh
Why India’s Charity-Based Assistance Needs To Evolve; Wheelchair-Bound Bride’s Struggles Reveal

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man fishing, and he’ll eat for a lifetime,” so goes the adage. It highlights that more than “giving” to people in need, it is important to empower them in such a way that they can “take” whatever they desire. Recently, a thread of posts went viral on the Internet where a wheelchair-bound bride shared her struggle in accessing the Registrar’s Office in Mumbai. Since then, various social media platforms have been abuzz with discourse on the lack of accessible infrastructure in the country.

Wheelchair-Bound Bride Struggles On Her Wedding Day

When Virali Modi got ready for her wedding day, one of the most special days in the life of a person, she did not expect it to be marred by disability but it was. The disability in question was not hers, but the government’s. She took to the micro-blogging website X (formerly known as Twitter) and shared the lack of accessibility she experienced at the Mumbai Registrar’s Office.

She said that the office was on the 2nd floor and the building didn’t have a lift or a ramp. This resulted in her being carried up by her loved ones. The experience, understandably so, left a bad taste in her mouth. She said in her X post that she was not a piece of luggage and shouldn’t have to be hauled just so she could access basic facilities.

Her posts garnered significant attention and Devendra Fadnavis, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, and a few other politicians, said that they would personally ensure that the situation is rectified. But the problem is that it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. A person’s wedding day didn’t have to be ruined for there to be accessible infrastructure. 

Also Read: More Street Lights, Accessible Toilets: Here’s How Glasgow Aims To Be UK’s First Feminist City

Why Charity-Based Assistance Needs Evolution

Having accessible infrastructure is crucial because it is one of the ways differently-abled people can become self-reliant and empowered. Charity-based assistance like giving money to causes can only get people so far. Actual change occurs when marginalised groups become empowered enough to be independent. The Accessible India Campaign seemed like a step in the right direction.

In her posts, Virali also mentioned the Accessible India Campaign which was launched in 2015 and was geared towards making the country more accessible for differently-abled people. It included creating ramps and lifts among other initiatives.

The original deadline for completing the projects under its purview was November 2017 but because the government failed to meet the deadline, it was pushed to March 2020. Recent events have only highlighted the necessity of accessibility and such programmes and it is time that officials make the country truly equal for all.

Also Read: Ladies, These 14 Bars In Sydney Have Free, Accessible Period Care Items In Their Washrooms

What are your thoughts on this? How do you think the government can do better for differently-abled people? Let us know in the comments below.

Cover Image Credits: @Virali01/X (Formerly, Twitter)

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