BHUBANESWAR: Badhte Kadam _ a nationwide awareness campaign to uphold rights of people suffering from mental retardation, mental illness, cerebral palsy and autism _ would be flagged off in the State on November 10. The nationwide endeavour is initiated by National Trust, an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was launched last year in an effort to make people aware of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to which India is a signatory, provide understanding of disabilities and celebrate diversity.
As part of the campaign, teams will be formed which will travel by road and stop at different locations to conduct awareness drives with the help of local NGOs. Last year, the Badhte Kadam campaign was organised in eight coastal districts of the State and this year it is being planned to be extended to at least 10 more districts. The Badhte Kadam 2011 will conclude on December 2, a day before the World Disability Day on December 3. Informing this at a media conference here, coordinator of the State chapter of National Trust Sanyas Behera said the campaign not only aims at making all sections of society aware of the� plight of the handicapped people but also to boost the latter’s morale.
The Open Learning Systems (OLS), a local voluntary� organisation, will coordinate the campaign in the districts. “To bring a fresh perspective that would help people with disability live as one amongst us with as much rights and responsibilities is the main objective of the campaign,” said Behera, also a member of OLS. Photo and poster exhibitions, display of aids and appliances used by the disabled, simulation games, talent hunt, essay writing, art competition and signature campaigns will be organised as part of the campaign, he said.