As 2022 rolls to a close and we all get caught up in the festive year-end vibe, I’m delighted to bring you the very first edition of our monthly newsletter – IDDentity!
Our fundamental aim has always been about creating awareness and sensitisation with respect to valuing persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) while translating what that would mean on a day-to-day basis — in both words and action. We believe that we can build on this vision of a kinder, more inclusive world and amplify the need for equal rights for all, including the 35 million people in India who live with IDD, through allies such as you and through our collective, collaborative efforts.
Some of you have been walking alongside us since our inception while others are of newer acquaintance. But familiar or far, you are the family we are building and with our hearts and arms open wide, we look forward to building this more inclusive world together and value and cherish your time, interest and involvement.
Through this monthly newsletter, we reach out to you – our friend and ally, by sharing the work that we and other neurodiversity allies are doing, the vision and values that keep our fire lit, upcoming events, collaborative projects, workshops and seminars (both online and offline), volunteering opportunities as well as global events celebrating diversity and inclusion. We hope this will enable us to stay connected, have more conversations and create more space for embracing all abilities, as we inspire each other and keep taking steady steps towards building the world we dream of.
May we all wrap up this year on a note of reflection and gratitude and look forward to the upcoming year with positivity, possibility and hope.
Until next time,
35 million Indians live with some form of IDD. Add to that the families, caregivers, educators and healthcare providers for these individuals and the number of people affected, go up exponentially. Being sometimes less visible and often lesser understood, persons with IDD (PwIDD) are hugely underserved, across their lifespan, and left out of the mainstream.
An appreciation of intellectual or cognitive diversity needs to be programmed through the early years, in schools and otherwise. The sobering reality is that India is not geared to help those with diverse abilities/disabilities grow into independent, fully functioning and contributing members of mainstream society.
Sarvodya is born of a desire to change this status quo by:
- Building more awareness around intellectual and developmental disabilities
- Cultivating allyship for the IDD community
- Bolstering the ecosystem in service of every PwIDD in India
We work towards this social change across the 3 strands of our all-inclusive duniya or the 3 Cs as we call them are:
We publish original content to inform, support and bring together our community such as our Disability and Allyship series.
Inclusive Duniya is one of our flagship projects and ‘Naina’s Inclusive Duniya’, India’s first ever comic-strip on neurodiversity, illustrates what living with any intellectual and developmental disability entails, and how one could be a better friend and an ally in everyday ways. Check it out here if you haven’t already.
We start and encourage conversations amongst groups of individuals across different ages and contexts, online and offline, including schools, colleges, workplaces, and communities to build awareness and seed an inclusivity mindset. Interact with us on our Sarvodya Collective social media pages.
Join our Facebook Group ‘Inclusive Duniya’ to engage with the cause, join the conversation, keep track of events, see our posts, stories, and thought pieces, and engage with other allies – make your own #InclusiveDuniya
We forge knowledge-sharing and capacity-building partnerships with (potential) allies to enable, empower and amplify their change-work. Our Inclusive Duniya Circles, led by trained volunteers are interactive group sessions that are engaging and provide the building blocks towards embracing diversity. We adapt and customise the design of these sessions to meet bespoke needs for educational institutions, corporates and other groups.
A Glimpse of Our Collaborative Events in October-November 2022
November saw Inclusive Duniya kicking off an exciting new association with BYJU’S! We have been able to reach out to the ever-expanding BYJU’S learners community through 3 interactive Inclusive Duniya Circles, conducted online, focussing on students of Class 7-8 – these were very well-received and deemed to be both engaging and informative by the participants. We have also connected with over 150 BYJU’S employees through a series of 3 sensitisation and training workshops conducted in real-time at their offices. Keeping in mind BYJU’S objective of “education for all”, this collaboration holds immense potential and promise for increasing awareness and allyship regarding neurodiversity and we look forward to an impactful association.
AVAZ, which creates affordable assistive technology for communication and learning including robust AAC apps, is another new ally with whom we will be publishing a series of 10 stories over the course of 6 months, through our comic. 6 of these stories have already been published – focussing on how assistive aids and alternative communication systems, whether hi-tech (text-to-speech devices and apps), low-tech (visual aids) or even sign language can be an enabling game-changer for individuals with speech and communication issues.
November also saw the start of our collaboration with CFPI (Centre for Promoting Inclusivity) with a 2-hour workshop on neurodiversity and inclusion called ‘Buniyaad’ at Shivaji College, Delhi on November 9th. Attended by 60+ college-students, we talked about how storytelling can be used as an effective tool for social change. Part of this activity had the students write their own stories on the theme of inclusion, using some of our Inclusive Duniya characters and in some cases their own characters, inspired by their own real-life experiences. This was the first of our 3 sessions partnership with CFPI, which will continue through the rest of this academic year.
On November 17th, Inclusive Duniya’s collaboration with LSR’s Hope Project began with a workshop on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Hope School in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area. Through stories of lived experiences with disability to sharing stories from our comic and with 60 students ranging from age 8 to 18 participating, these 4 sessions generated lively discussions about allyship and embracing diversity and proved to be invigorating and inspiring – truly living up to the name “The Hope Project”.
Children’s Day on November 14th, saw Inclusive Duniya at LSR (Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi), kicking off our partnership with the Adharshila Project, where remedial classes and skill enhancement workshops will be provided to children aged 8-18, in underprivileged areas of Delhi. 45 students participated in these first 4 sessions which focussed on simple ways in which we can be more inclusive of neurodiversity. A very encouraging session which the participants enthusiastically supported and acknowledged gaining a new perspective from.
On Children’s Day, Inclusive Duniya also held its first interactive session with the children of Lakshmi School, Thanjavur (Chennai). 50 children from Classes 2, 3 and 4 participated by writing and drawing their own story ideas on how to enable allyship and inclusion
October being Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Inclusive Duniya collaborated with DSFI – Down Syndrome Federation of India (sponsoring partner) and tickleyourart (community outreach partner) to publish a series of 10 stories. We surveyed Down Syndrome parents across India and their inputs regarding their perspectives, experiences and learnings in parenting a child with an extra chromosome or Down Syndrome fed directly into these 10 themes and stories. We loved partnering with the Down Syndrome community in India to give voice to their hopes and dreams of a more aware and sensitised community.
From our inception till now, YOUR heart and givingness, every one of your contributions whether in terms of money, time or your expertise, however big or small, have enabled us to grow our Sarvodya community. We also pitched our programs to ‘Dolphin Tank’ (the philanthropic equivalent of ‘Shark Tank’ which supports young NGO startups) and received a generous grant. A heartfelt thank you to every one of you, for walking with us, building with us and enabling our vision to take shape with hope and heart.