Purple Fest

1 min read
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Last week, a pioneering two-day Purple Fest organised by the Social Welfare Department served as a platform to support, encourage and celebrate the abilities of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The Purple Fest was inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Virendra Kumar. The festival provided a vibrant stage for various activities that not only showcased the abilities of PwDs but also facilitated an exchange of ideas, experiences and camaraderie. A pivotal aspect of the Purple Fest was the engagement of Persons with Disabilities in a spectrum of 15 sports events. The emphasis on sports not only promotes physical well-being but also serves as a powerful medium for building confidence. The events offered a platform for participants to demonstrate their skills, challenging preconceived notions about what persons with disabilities can achieve. Beyond sports, the festival encompassed exhibitions, live demonstrations, cultural shows, movie screenings, disability dialogues, a talent hunt, and a fashion show. This diverse range of activities aimed to highlight the multifaceted talents of Divyangjan, debunking stereotypes and fostering a deeper understanding of their capabilities. The festival’s significance is further underscored by the strides made in the realm of employment for Persons with Disabilities in J&K. In the previous financial year, 384 Divyangjan were successfully provided with government jobs, marking a positive step towards inclusive employment practices. The increase in reservation from 3 percent to 4 percent reflects a commitment to creating more opportunities for PwDs in the public sector. Crucially, the government has pledged to expedite the recruitment process, ensuring that posts, whether under the Public Service Commission or the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board, will be filled within six months. Additionally, a promising commitment has been made to formulate a legal framework that will extend employment opportunities for Divyangjan into the private sector. This step recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to break down employment barriers and create a more inclusive workforce. However, supporting Persons with Disabilities goes beyond providing employment opportunities. It necessitates a holistic and multi-dimensional approach involving collaboration between the government, society, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Education is a cornerstone in empowering persons with disabilities, offering them the tools to navigate the world with confidence. It is imperative to ensure that educational institutions are equipped with resources and infrastructure to cater to diverse learning needs. Sensitising teachers and students to foster an inclusive learning environment is equally crucial. Healthcare is another critical aspect that requires attention. Accessible healthcare services, specialized facilities, and awareness campaigns can contribute significantly to enhancing the overall well-being of Persons with Disabilities. This includes both physical and mental health support, recognizing the unique challenges they may face. Also, NGOs play a pivotal role in bridging gaps and providing support where institutional mechanisms may fall short. Collaboration between the government and NGOs can amplify efforts in creating an inclusive ecosystem. These organizations often serve as a conduit for resources, advocacy and community support, amplifying the impact of initiatives like the Purple Fest.

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