Harish Kumar wants to introduce himself as a differently-abled person with immense passion for driving. In 2012, he became the first physically challenged person in the country to successfully complete an All India Driving Expedition thereby creating a new National Records in Limca Book of Records. As on date he has on his name 2 National Records in Limca Book of Records. He did his schooling from a reputed school in Dehradun & went on to do his Masters in Science from IIT Roorkee in 1993 & Masters in Technology from IIT Delhi in 1995.
After working in telecom sector for ~ 20 years, he quit the corporate world last year & decided to work on providing mobility services & solutions to the specially-abled people of the country. For this purpose, he has floated an NGO called Ability on Wheels Charitable Trust / www.abilityonwheels.org
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 Harish Kumar, Founder of Ability on Wheels and this is what he had to say about an inclusive India.
What is accessibility to you?
Barrier free living for all
According to you, in what ways can local communities and people contribute to Accessible India campaign
Local communities can contribute to the mission by being considerate towards the needs of physically challenged people them (e.g. making a restaurant or their shops accessible to people with disability) rather than expressing sympathy or helping them
Thoughts on what the youth of our country can do to contribute to the campaign
Youth can take up social entrepreneurship as a career option & make a big impact in removing the social hurdles prevalent in our country. They can also support in raising funds for social entrepreneurs which is very difficult in the current scenario.
What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal?
Going further the app can contain details of accessible hotels, monuments, malls, ATM’s etc for all the major cities / tourist destinations which will help physically challenged people decide & plan their trip in advance.
What do you think about accessible tourism in India? How can corporate India inc help make public locations user friendly.
Companies like Taj Hotels can take up the ownership of making monuments accessible for everyone in those locations that have TAJ group presence. OLA cabs or Uber cabs can take up the task of providing wheel chair accessible cabs in prominent tourist towns.
What do you think about accessible transport in India? How can corporate India inc help make public locations user friendly.
Mahindra, Tata Motors & other vehicle manufacturers can take up the responsibility of providing mobility services & solutions for self driving by physically challenged people & making public transport accessible.
They need to manufacture wheel chair accessible cars, buses, vans etc & also cars customized for self driving for people with different nature of disabilities
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)