Disability Pride Month

"We don't want your pity. We want your pride.” 

What is ‘Disability Pride Month’? 

‘Disability Pride Month’ has been observed in July every year since 1990, as this was the month when the Americans with Disability Act, that bans discrimination against people with disabilities, was passed in 1990.

While globally, June is celebrated as Pride month, we can find the Disability Pride Month hugely celebrated mainly in the Americas and some countries in Europe and even in South Korea. 

Is there a Disability flag? 

Yes, the ‘Disability Pride flag was designed by Ann Magill, a member of the disability community. The flag represents the rights of people living with disabilities, the Disability Pride Movement and is employed at events like Disability Pride Week and Month. Symbolically, the colours of the flag find inspiration in the Paralympic Games and are meant to represent the people living with disabilities overcoming discrimination and striving towards success. The design of the flag is made to represent different things, where the flag’s background colour is black and there are five parallel lines of different colours running in a zigzag pattern. The black background stands for mourning for the violence that the disabled community has faced and their protest against it, the five colours of red, blue, white, yellow and green stand for different experiences of disabilities and the zigzag pattern stands for how the community needs to navigate difficult barriers. 

Relevance: Talking about disability inclusion in education in India 

Despite many steps taken by the government of India for educational reform for children with disabilities, national statistics show that the national education system in India is not exactly as inclusive to children with disabilities. Among children with disabilities, only around 9% are said to complete secondary education, only 62.9% of disabled people till the age of 35 reported to have attended regular schools and according to UNESCO, 75% of them do not complete studies in an educational institute in their lifetime. 

While devising solutions to make the system more inclusive, policy makers should realise that ‘disability’ is not a single discrete identity, but is layered by other identities of gender and socio economic backgrounds too. Therefore, Professor Nidhi Singal, Professor of Disability and Inclusive Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, says that solutions should move away from narrowing down to discrete disabilities and focus on reducing exclusions, where formal identification of need is the first step to then training and sensitizing stakeholders like teachers. A general comprehensive policy of addressing exclusion in educational spaces is urgently needed in India, including how stakeholders will be sensitized and the children themselves taught and evaluated. The government also plays a major role in ensuring the end of discriminatory practices like denial of admission of children with disabilities in some schools, etc. Finally, with digital technologies for education evolving at a rapid rate, the technology sector also needs to make sure to accommodate the needs of children while devising their innovations.

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