Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to a wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Anjlee Agarwal, Accessibility Consultant at Samarathyam and this is what she had to say about travel accessibility and our campaign approach.

Anjlee AgarwalWhat is accessibility to you?

Full inclusion, participation and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities by means of accessibility provided in the built, transportation and information & communication ecosystems.

Tell us more about Samarthyam 

Samarthyam is a national information, technical assistance and research, disabled persons organization founded in 1994 and registered in 2001. Under its Project “National Centre for Accessible Environments”, it evaluates, develops, and promotes universal accessibility in built & outdoor environments, transportation systems and products.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal? 

Creating accountability and raising awareness. Mobile App will help in bringing about the change in a short span of time as the macro change is making access happen. Identification of barriers and required action by the government will go hand in hand by engaging the public at large.

What do you think about accessible tourism in India? How can corporate India help make public locations user friendly?

Accessible tourism is about everyone having the opportunity to travel regardless of factors such as disability or age. It is not just about accessible destinations; but about a complete trip planning. This begins with marketing, information, booking mode of transportation and then accessibility of recreational facilities and attractions.

Businesses that cater to the tourism industry have a compelling case to maximize their accessibility to people with disabilities. Creating accessibility can open the doors to a growing and often untapped pool of consumers. Often, people with disabilities represent 15% of their population, added to it is another 20% of aging population. Not only is the population of people who have some form of disability growing but they’re also increasingly mobile. Consider also that people often travel as a family or as a group. An attraction that provides access for an individual using a wheelchair or a child in a stroller will also gain the business of the group travelling with them. Ultimately, the increased revenue benefits the tourism operators and in turn the community as a whole.

What do you think about accessible transport in India? How can corporate India help make public locations user friendly?

For more than a billion people with disabilities in the world, accessible public transport infrastructure and system can mean an education, a job and equal opportunities that would otherwise be denied to them. India is no exception as ‘accessible transportation is their lifeline”.

Currently, all urban transportation projects are undertaken in public private partnership (PPP mode), where corporate sector are the major stakeholders. Universal Accessibility, connectivity and network of public transportation modes can provide seamless access to persons with disabilities. User experience and inclusive policies will help include diverse accessibility needs. Including experts and people with disabilities in planning, design, implementation, accessibility audits, monitoring and evaluation in all stages of projects will make infrastructure inclusive and universal accessible.

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.



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