Get to know: Aparajita, the Wheelmap ambassador in India

Two weeks ago we posted a short interview with one of our volunteer translators, Ameerah from Saudi Arabia. Today, we travel another couple of thousand kilometeres further to India to introduce another great community member: Aparajita. She is a true ambassador for Wheelmap in India, introducing the map to her students, friends and even the local media. Thank you so much for you ongoing support and your struggle for a more inclusive India, dear Aparajita!

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How did you get to know about Wheelmap.org?

I couldn’t attend the DLD Women Conference in 2012 but I wanted to know how it went and started to read about all the eminent speakers and their work published on the DLD website. There I came across the profile of Raul. I was so moved by his work that I immediately logged on to Wheelmap.org and became a Wheelmapper. Since then, he has inspired not only me, but also my friends and students in India.

What is the situation like for mobility impaired people in India?

The government of India is doing a lot to promote the significance of having facilities for mobility-impaired people in India. It is in a snail pace but it’s happening.

What is the thing that needed to change most in India to improve the situation of mobility impaired people?

What I don’t see is a normal, relaxed attitude towards mobility-impaired people. This is partly due to a lack of inclusive schools. In India, there are not many shared facilities for people with and without impairments.  It only just now starts in its own slow pace. The sensitization for this should be done in our communities and local areas to feel the need of the hour.

What was the reaction when you first told people about Wheelmap.org?

Quite interestingly the reactions were very different. My students were very open to the cause and the interest was definitely increasing among children. Some were logging in on wheelmap.org out of interest, some because it was a topic in my curriculum in my school and some because they are tech savy. In any case, I achieved my goal: to sensitize the young.
However, I am yet to come across people who feel a strong and direct need to act now, who feel that now is the time to sensitize society towards mobility impaired people.

What are your plans for the future?

I now want to contact governmental agencies and private organizations to create more awareness and to urge them to provide more facilities for wheelchair users. I also want them to use Wheelmap.org as an info tool for accessibility and an awareness rising tool. I will also continue to use Wheelpmap.org as a tool for sensitizing school kids and students.

The best thing about wheelmap.org is that it’s accessible to many Wheelmappers all around the globe.
My heartiest good wishes to Raul and all his team members.

And now, say Hello to Aparajita in the comments! Maybe you also have a question you’d like to ask her?

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