District Administration, Navsari,Gujarat, India

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
There is lack of enabling environment for Persons with Disability to live with dignity.The society is non-inclusive, does not offer an equitable social development opportunities and forces them to live in low standards of living.The degree to which the resources of the society are reachable by a person with disability on his/her own is limited and consequently the use of the resources so reached on his/her own is also substantially curtailed. It was observed that the physically challenged citizens faced a lot of problems in availing the various benefits that were already in existence only for the reason that they were not aware of them or could not reach out due to physical difficulties.This leads to loss of opportunities of various forms and on various fronts Also, they were abstaining from getting various certifications done for availing such benefits because of the procedures that were required to be done to get such certificates. It was also seen that besides the aforementioned limitations, there were not much employment opportunities around for the physically challenged persons which could make them financially independent. There are hardly any social interaction forums available to them leading to further push down the society. These factors lead to some form of isolation and hostility in the society and consequent low self-confidence. Absence of the enabling environment in the aforementioned form leads to a major dent in the independence and self esteem of a person with disability and thereby a major compromise in their opportunity to live with dignity. The most important problem that was found was that the society at large is not sensitive to the plight and issues related to the persons with disabilities and this lack of sensitivity of people around further complicates the lives of disabled citizens rather than providing solution and support. A person with disability when faced with such a set of factors loses his/her voice to demand things as a matter of right and lives on the mercy of what he is offered by others.Therefore, the stark issue of providing an enabling positive environment, on every front in the society,as a matter of equitable right, to the Persons with Disabilities was the main problem that was intended to be resolved by the initiative titled “AAO MILKAR SATH CHALEIN” (LET US WALK TOGETHER).The greater the degree of reach ability of resources and its consequent ease of use alongwith recognition as an equal stakeholder of the society, the higher would be the level of dignity with which a person with special abilities will live .AAO MILKAR SATH CHALEIN aimed at attaining inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in all the fora of the life without compromising on their dignity and self respect. It further aimed at making the persons with disability self reliant with full opportunities and skill set to grow economically, emotionally and in a healthy equilibrium

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
(i) Kick starting the sensitization and mental revolution of the society to provide a positive, inclusive and an enabling environment to the physically disabled citizens of South Gujarat, India by bringing about change in their attitude, infrastructure, growth opportunities and mutual respect. (ii) Providing various direct benefits in the form of kits, aids and equipments, certificates, assessment of disability, land ownership, bus passes etc. (iii) Providing employment opportunities and entrepreneurial avenues alongwith a platform for social mainstream interaction.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The Drive has led to the distribution of various aids,kits,equipment etc to 22,233 beneficiaries of of south Gujarat including Valsad and Navsari Districts.The mega camp conducted at Valsad,provided benefits to more than 4000 beneficiaries ranging from distribution of accessibility kits,disability certificates,free bus passes,employment opportunities,facilitation in matrimony and medical assessment for providing various aids to the people in need.Vide the camp,54 specially-abled persons were given job by 14 companies.The representatives of various ITIs,Polytechnique Institutes and Private Vocational Centres like Tata Agriculture and Rural Training Centre for the Blind,conducted an awareness & enrollment session for specially-abled persons for skill-set up-gradation for enhancing their employment potential.Exhibition-cum–sale of products manufactured by specially-abled persons was also hosted.114 participants had registered for the matrimonial session and 3 successful alliances took place.In collaboration with a private organisation,a quarterly magazine titled “Parichay”,for the purpose of matrimony was conceived and published which is still continuing.Awareness counters imparting information regarding all the disabled- friendly & empowering government schemes,acts,rules and provisions were installed and specialists of the field were invited for imparting the information. The representatives of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India-CREDAI ,were invited to sensitize the builder and developer community to make all the upcoming private new construction and development disabled–friendly.The lift at railway station of Vapi town,which was earlier used only occasionally,was opened for use by physically disabled citizens.We also undertook to make the Tithal Seafront Project disabled–friendly and barrier-free.It would be the first disabled-friendly beach of India.The Hon’ble Prime Minister was kind enough to have noticed the project and have tweeted about it.Subsequently,at Navsari District,11,233 beneficiaries were identified to whom kits were distributed costing Rs 7,65,86,144.Besides,more than 2000 state bus passes were distributed and registrations made for other state government schemes.The administration also arranged for special counters for AADHAR Registration(Social Security Number)for the beneficiaries who had been generally rejected so far for absence of thumb impression or issues with the iris identification.Further,on the spot issue of Disability Certificates,Income Certificates,and other benefits provided by the state government such as disability pensions,livelihood kits etc had also been arranged in the camps.The IEC counters in the camps duly informed the people of various schemes along with the information about NGOs who had been working in the field of disability and who would had been able to support the beneficiaries in other arenas.The event at Navsari was marked by 3 Guinness World Records which has given a sense of pride to the disabled Citizens of entire India.For senistising the public we also got a book on disability sensitisation,titled “Why are you afraid to hold my hand ?” translated into the local language of Gujarat i.e Gujarati as“Kem maaro haath pakadta vivo chho?”.First copy of it was presented to the Hon’ble Prime Minister,Shri Narendra Modi on the 17th September,2016 and the same was distributed free of cost to 50,000 people.On the same day Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India-CREDAI also passed a resolution to make all buildings disabled-friendly.We also got a famous temple–Unnai Mata Temple at Navsari, renovated to make it disabled-friendly so that their religious inclination does not get hampered.The drive has sensitised the public at large towards the issues related to disabled citizens and the presences of Hon’ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi in the Mega distribution camp held at Navsari on 17th Sep 2016,on the occasion of his birthday,has motivated the disabled citizens across the country,India.It has brought the issues of the disabled to the fore so that abled-bodied citizens of the society come forward and facilitate equal co existence.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The aim of various efforts done during the drive was to take a noticeable step towards making an inclusive society with all the active partners of the society voluntarily joining in with an understanding that charity is not required but partnership in equitable growth is required.The uniqueness of the drive lay in creating an enabling environment in such a manner that it automatically disseminates the need of such drive for future generations who might be persons with disabilities.The infrastructure modification,the opening up of employment opportunities because of change of perception of public at large and over all boost to the target beneficiaries etc will open up the track for future generations to command the equal space as a matter of right and not mercy of others.One of the event was marked by the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on the occasion of his birthday on 17.09.2016 and his presence has boosted the morale of the physically disabled citizens of entire India.The importance that was attached to the disabled citizens covered through the drive via media coverage,presence of head of the country and celebration like mood along with benefits is unprecedented and unique in its own way.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The District administration headed by the Collector implemented the drive in close coordination and support of various other departments of the government and other private non government organisations implemented this initiative.The drive involved door to door survey to find out the beneficiaries and for this help was taken from the Women and Child Department of the government alongwith the Health Department.For commutation of citizens to and fro the home and camp help was sought from the Health Department and various NGOs.Various Industrial associations played an important role in providing employment to the disabled citizens.For the distribution of aids and appliances the health department played an important role along with the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation(ALIMCO),Tata Agriculture and Rural Training Centre for the Blind and a number of NGOs working in the region.For all the infrastructural modifications and to promote Accessible Building concepts the Road and Building Department has played an important part in implementation.For the development of first disabled friendly beach in India,the Tourism Department has been in the centrestage.During the drive the district administration has taken due care of providing nutritious food in the camps.This could be done with the help of the active members of the Civil society.The pivotal role of the district administration has led to the successful Implementation of this initiative AAO MILKAR SATH CHALEIN.The Drive has led to the distribution of various aids,kits,equipment etc to 22,233 beneficiaries of South Gujarat, India, including Valsad and Navsari Districts. Indirectly, this drive as sensitised the over all society of South Gujarat.It has tried to harmonise the start of inclusion into society and opening up of employement avenues for the persons with disabilitied alongwith constructive sensitive engagement of the civic society in the various arena of life touching the persons with disabilities.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The initiative started in Valsad District of Gujarat, India,with door to door survey to find out the exact number of disabled citizens in the region and to zero-in on the beneficiaries.For this survey help was sought from the staff of women and child welfare department.Simultaneously, various camps were arranged in different locations including remote areas for disability assessment and certification.The commutation and food facility was provided by the administration.Simultaneously,aids and equipments were ordered and arranged so that timely delivery of the kits etc could also be done.A number of organisations came forward for arranging and delivering the kits, equipments etc.Various corporate organisations were reached out to provide meaningful employment to the disabled citizens.Also,various polytech institutes and industrial training institutes were roped in for exploring the possibility of skill set upgradation.A total of 54 disabled citizens were offered meaningful employment by 14 companies of the region.Besides, all the disabled children in the schools were provided scholarships for their education.A dedicated phone line was offered for the disabled citizens for getting themselves registered for the matrimonial alliance event that was conducted as part of the mega camp held in Valsad.For the same motive, a quarterly magazine “Parichay” is published which contains the bio data of the physically disabled person.An effort was made to provide some disabled citizens with land and the drive could lead to allotment to 47 people under the Forest Rights Act.For mid-way consolidation of the on-going efforts under this initiative a two-day camp was conducted on 20th & 21st January, 2016 when all the beneficiaries found so far were handed over their kits, certificates etc.The matrimonial interaction between 114 registered members also took place during this programme and we could see 3 successful alliance.A lot of cultural activities were also conducted to celebrate the empowerment process.Food and festivities marked the event with the presence of a number of known faces of the society to encourage the disabled citizens and make them feel proud of themselves.Subsequently,the drive continued at Navsari.We conducted the camps in three phases,in close coordination with ALIMCO,Delhi under the aegis of ADIP Scheme of the Governement of India.The camps covered the specially-abled persons of Navsari and its neighbouring districts of Surat,Tapi,Valsad & Dangs.The 1st phase was conducted from 6th -14th June,2016.The 2nd phase was conducted from 19th - 23rd August and the mop up round was conducted from 7th-9th September.A mega camp was conducted on 17.09.2016.The administration provided all the boarding,lodging and transportation to the participants of the camp so that they did not had to bother about food etc and could focus exclusively on their assessment.The administration arranged for special AADHAR(Social Security Number/) Registration counters for the beneficiaries who had been generally rejected so far because of absence of thumb impression or issues with the iris identification.A book on disability sensitisation titled “Why are you afraid to hold my hand ?”was translated into Gujarati and distributed free of cost to 50,000 people.The monetary and manpower resources for the survey and data collection along with conducting of the camp was taken care of by the administration by government funds.The resources for transportation and food was entirely taken care of by the active sensitive members of the civic society.The infrastructural changes for making the first disabled friendly beach toilet units on Tithal Beach,Valsad was funded by the Tourism Department, Government of Gujarat.The aids and equipment for Valsad was funded by Tata Agriculture and Rural Training Centre for Blind.Whereas,in Navsari the mega camp for the entire South Gujarat Region,aids and assistive devices were supplied by ALIMCO which was funded by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowernment,Government of India

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative were the District Administration with the active support of the Social Welfare and Health Department. The stakeholders in the implementation of the initiative were as follows: i) Our beneficiaries who are disabled and need is to bring them to the fore into the mainstream so that they are not left behind to cope ii) District Administration iii) Various Government Ministries and departments like Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, as well as Government of Gujarat, Tourism Department, Health Department, Women and Child Development Department, Education Department of Government of Gujarat. iv) Various NGOs few of which are as follows: (a) Manav Kalyan Trust-Mamta Mandir (b) Gandhi Ghar Kacholi (c) Bharat Badhir Mitra Mandal (d) Tata Agriculture and Rural Training Centre for Blind (e) Jaina Anupam and Parmar Charitable Trust (f) Manav Vikas Charitable Trust (g) Navsarjan Charitable Trust (h) Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital (i) Disabled Welfare Trust (j) Rashtriya Andhjan Shala v) Various Industrial,Business and Professionals Associations and Companies,few of which are as follows: (a) Confederation of Real Estates Developers’ Association of India-CREDAI (b) Vapi Industrial Association (c) Sarigam Industrial Associaton (d) Quarry Association of Navsari (e) Welspun Industries (f) Bilakhia Group (g) District Cooperative Society, Valsad (h) P.P Savani Group, Surat (i) Doctors’ association of Navsari (j) Bar Council Of Valsad and Navsari vi) Members of the Civic Society under the guidance of the Member of Parliament, Navsari, Shri C.R.Patil vii) Volunteers of National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The most successful output was the sensitisation of the general public at large on the issues pertaining to the disabled citizens.The entire drive has its focus on persons with disabilities-an important but a so-far-neglected section of the society.The drive has built-up their confidence level and now it is a noticeable group which needs to be considered while formulating any plans pertaining to any possible arena of life.During various camps priority was placed on children, women and elderly citizens with disabilities.The main purpose of providing commutation and food was to facilitate this subset of the group to come forward for their assessments, certification etc and not get stuck by logistical and food deterrents.To make this subset more comfortable, volunteers of National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme was also deployed to help them in camps as and when they required.Focus was also laid on targeting the poorest of poor and unprivileged amongst the group who would had otherwise avoided reaching out to authorities for any benefit for lack of basic facilities and money.Therefore teams were sent to their door steps and camps were placed in the nearest possible locations.For a minimum travel also transport and food was provided by the administration so that there could be no scope of abstaining from availing their rightful privileges. Consequent to the door to door survey we could bring the able-bodied citizens of the region to partner with us in this drive of providing enabling inclusive environment to the persons with disablities and to bring them to the fore at an equal footing.While conceiving and designing the first disabled friendly beach of India, the able bodied people involved in the project were exposed to the plight of the disabled and in the subsequent projects they automatically started considering the options that should be in place for the person with disabilities on top priority.The drive was effective because the entire process could boost energy in and increase the confidence level of the persons with disabilities in coming forward to claim their rightful privileges alongwith feeling empowered. Further,It also brought the other sections of the society to an unprecedented level of citizen engagement for bringing the persons with disabilities at par not as a charity or superior-inferior relation but as an EQUAL claimant of the society’s resources.The neglect that was associated with persons with disabilities has been pierced and that too with pride and celebration.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacle encountered was how to bring forward all the players of the society to participate in the drive primarily with their own will and that too with a mindset which is not of charity but of understanding, compassion and sensitivity towards the issues of persons with disabilities and to contribute in the process of empowering them as their right. It was a strong obstacle how not to let charity and pity get into the drive. And then the next important issue was how to prioritise children, women and elderly amongst the target group. Further, it was also an important point of concern to reach out to the poorest of poor, the most unprivileged and the most remotely located person who would possibly not get to know about the ongoing drive to his benefit. To get over these obstacles a systematic plan of “lead by example”was adopted and the drive was started with door to door survey leading to the remotest of the locations in the interiors of the region.Subsequently, camps were placed at multiple locations where the beneficiaries could be brought for assessment and that too with minimum of travel. For such commutation private NGOs, schools etc volunteered their vehicles and a lot of NGOs themselves volunteered for fresh food arrangements on the spot for all the people including caretakers of the beneficiaries so that they did not have to bother to go back home and cook or arrange for food. This was a big achievement that citizen engagement could be inspired by “lead by example” approach.Gradually a number of NGOs, private citizens and media got associated with the drive, further making and enriching the entire process as a self-fulfilling and self-worthy celebration of empowerment and equality

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The key benefits resulting from the drive are as follows: i) Confidence building, empowerment and inclusion of the persons with disabilities to the mainstream with active and sensitive participation of other players and sections of the society. ii) Conception and start of construction of First Disabled-friendly beach of India at Tithal Sea Front , Valsad, Gujarat,India. iii) Formation of a corpus of Indian Rupees 67,00,000 to be used for the benefit of persons with disabilities and a trust has been formed for managing the corpus. iv) Grant of scholarship to all the children with disabilities in the schools of the region. v) Allotment of land to 47 persons with disabilities under the Forest Rights Act. vi) Distribution of various aids, equipment, assistive devices, allotment of land etc to 22,233 beneficiaries amounting to more than Indian Rupess 11 Crores vii) Employment to 57 persons with disabilities by 14 companies of the region. viii) Matrimonial alliance of 3 couples out of the registered 114 persons with disabilities. ix) Renovation of Unnai Mata Temple, Navsari to make it disabled friendly.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
not applicable

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Yes, special measures were taken to ensure that all the women and children were covered by the door to door survey. Further, staff was also sent to the remotest villages in the most interior of the places in the district so that nobody is left behind. On the camp sites, volunteers which included female volunteers, were placed so that the children, women and elderly feel convenient to get the assessments etc done. It was felt that coming to camps would be a deterrent for the poor and unprivileged and also to the women.It was also felt that the children could be covered only if the mothers, guardians and caretakers were properly provided with transport. Therefore,invariably, dedicated vehicles were allotted to pick and drop such beneficiaries. Food was an important issue in such cases. Women had then tendency not to leave home because of cooking of food etc.Therefore, they were assured that all people accompanying the person with disabilities would be provided with fresh food all day which was being cooked on the camp site.During pick and drop all the vehicle were escorted by the women and child development staff so that the beneficiaries feel safe and secured while commuting.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   District Administration, Navsari,Gujarat, India
Institution Type:   Public Authority  
Contact Person:   Ravi Arora
Title:   Collecto and DM  
Telephone/ Fax:   91-9978406215
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   raviaroraoffice@gmail.com  
Address:   1st Floor, Jilla Seva Sadan,Kaliawadi,Navsari
Postal Code:   396427
City:   Navsari
State/Province:   Gujarat

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