News

Volume 3 Issue 16 - August 15, 2005

Visit by American disability activist highlights inefficacy in implementation of India’s disability

D.N.I.S. News Network - As India approaches a decade of People with Disabilities Act, America recently celebrated 15-years of its own disability law. But a special visitor from US made this event more than a mere time reference by highlighting the difference between the two in terms of implementation of the two Acts.

Picture of Joyce Kane at a dinner meet in Delhi

Joyce Kane -- a blind lady who, along with her guide dog, became a media celebrity here -- did not mix her words to make a point on this issue and said during her visit that there is a huge difference in terms of the progress made by India and the US in implementing the disability laws.

Kane, President, National Federation of the Blind (N.F.B.), Southern Connecticut, pointed towards the importance of putting disability laws into action. "Thanks to American Disability Act, disabled people in the US are freely able to access buildings and the public are made aware of the rights of disabled citizens," she told media persons.

Having lost sight at 46 following a heart surgery and tackling diabetes since the age of seven, Joyce Kane, now 54, was in India on an all-expenses-paid trip sponsored by the US government. She visited all four metros and met individuals and organisations.

The Indian media took a special fancy to her guide dog, Corey, as service animals are a rarity in India. Joyce Kane had an encounter with the archaic attitude of the Indian Airlines, when they initially denied the permission to bring Corey in the passenger cabin of the aircraft.

"Taking service animals, such as my dog-guide Corey, to all public buildings like hotels and recreation areas, even inside aircrafts, is totally permitted; our citizens understand why we carry these animals," she said.

National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) assisted in hosting a dinner at the residence of American Ambassador on 2 August in Delhi to bring together Joyce and eminent disability activists for an interaction.

Following an introduction by Javed Abidi, Executive Director of N.C.P.E.D.P., she detailed her struggle and success in becoming independent in leading her life and role played by Corey in this journey.

To queries on her “seeing eye”, she said Corey had to stay in a training school for 28 days to acclimatise to her lifestyle. "In the school, dogs are conditioned to be with people after their first year of training, then they are tested for their ability to follow instructions and guide blind persons.

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