2-DAY Accessibility Workshop by Samarthyam, aaina and supported by VSO On 24th & 25th of Jan 2011, at Hotel Presidency, BBSR Two separate 2-day workshops were held in January 2011 in Bhubaneswar, to raise awareness about Accessibility features and to train people how to conduct an Access Audit. The worskshop was run by Samarthyam and aaina, supported by VSO. The first workshop was held on 24th & 25th January in Hotel Presidency for the engineers and technical persons of different Govt. departments, while the second was on 27th & 28th January in VRC, BBSR for the IED coordinators, SSA of different districts.
The workshop began with introductions by aaina and Samarthyam, as well as introductions from the participants who were asked to sum up what they understand by the term "Accessibility". Ms. Anjali Agarwal stressed the fact that accessibility is for everyone ("Access for All") - not only people with disabilities but also pregnant women, the elderly, people carrying heavy luggage or families with small children needs access features.
The morning continued with presentations from Samarthyam on Legislation & Implementation of Access standards in India, the limitations within these laws and suggestions for improvements. The session on Barriers used photos and videos to show different barriers to accessibility in everyday environments, e.g. stairs with no ramps, steep ramps, no handrails, narrow doors, inaccessible toilets, open drains, gratings etc. The visual presentation was very effective in showing the challenges faced by PwDs every day.
Accessibility was defined as creating and maintaining an environment, in which people can participate in ways which are equitable, dignified, maximize independence, conserve energy, and are safe and affordable. Everyone benefits from Accessibility.
After lunch, there was a simulation of an accessible and non accessible toilet by Ms. Anjlee and a volunteer participant. The physical demonstration was a good way of showing the standards and sizes for an accessible toilet, and how necessary they are for a wheelchair user.
Inspirational toilet designs from Japan were shared with the group, as inspiration of what can be achieved. There was a session on accessibility in rural settings as well as a brief session on schools and the essential accessible features to be incorporated in all schools.
In the morning participants were divided into two groups to carry out an access audit on the Hotel Presidency where the wokshop took place - measuring the spaces, completing the checklist, taking notes and photos. When the audit was finished the groups returned to the conference hall to start collating their report.
At the end of the day each group had a 20 minute presentation of their report - their findings; the problems identified and proposed solutions. This was followed by a Q&A session. Ms Anjlee praised both groups and gave them a constructive evaluation, pointing out what they did well and any areas missed or which could have been improved. Group B were crowned winners as they gave a useful thorough description of the Hotel and the background to the audit, as well as highlighting limitations and covering all the bases in their report.
Ms Anjlee then said they would be holding an advanced workshop in 3 months time and asked the groups to write down: 1. Members wishing to attend; 2. Their planned actions for the next 3 months; 3. Expectations for the next workshop.
Finally the workshop came to an end with a formal vote of thanks by Jyoshna to all the participants.