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20 Years of Mobility India

20 Years of Mobility India

20th Anniversary of Mobility India (MI)

Mobility India (MI), the Bangalore-based disability and development organization, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday, 2nd August 2014. Mr Chapal Khasnabis, Technical Officer, WHO-Geneva and founder-director of MI was the Chief Guest at the inaugural session. Other distinguished invitees included Dr Gift Norman, Deputy Director, Bangalore Baptist Hospital; Ms Meera Saksena, Acting Chairperson, Karnataka State, Human Rights Commission; Mr. K.S. Rajanna, Commissioner for Disabilities, Govt of Karnataka; Mr David Nash, Global Employee Engagement Manager, Zurich Community Trust (UK) Ltd; and Ms Marika Millar, Executive Director, Miblou-Switzerland.

Delivering his keynote address on the theme “Global Health Scenario and Assistive Technology”, Mr Khasnabis cautioned that, if in the last century the world was under serious threat from Communicable Diseases, now it was increasingly under threat from Non-communicable Diseases (NCD), Mental Health Diseases (MHD) and Road Traffic Injuries (RTI) and ageing accompanied by gradual functionality decline. In fact, the elderly populations in the developing countries had been rapidly increasing. The WHO had, therefore, shifted its focus from vaccines, medicines and medical devices to Assistive Health Technology (AHT) with the objective of sustaining ‘active and productive ageing’, Mr Khasnabis said. While chalking out its plans for the next 20 years, MI should take this new trend into account, he added.

Speaking on the topic “Ageing, the Elderly and Disability”, Dr Norman observed that traditionally ours was an ‘elderly-friendly’ society. However, recent studies showed that nearly 25% of senior citizens in India were being abused and many more cases went unreported. ‘Accessibility’ and ‘social security’ were two areas which called for immediate attention in the context of inclusive development of the elderly, Dr Norman said.

Ms Saksena, who spoke on “Human Rights and Disability”, suggested that NGOs like MI could diversify into other related developmental areas like creating public awareness about the rights of senior citizens, women, children, sexual minorities and so on.

Mr Rajanna, while lauding MI’s services, suggested that it could reach out to remote rural areas and larger populations, and, where necessary, open village-level branch offices as well.

Mr Nash and Ms Millar in their brief addresses acknowledged that they were proud to have been associated with an institution like MI for so long.

Earlier, the guests were welcomed by Ms Romola Joseph, President-MI. The vote of thanks was presented by Ms Albina Shankar, Director-MI.

An important aspect of the inaugural session was the presentation of the first ‘Jo Millar Memorial Awards’ to two of the outgoing students of the MI rehabilitation training course, Mr Madhesha Naika and Ms Sarojini Raita, in recognition of their ‘outstanding performance both in academics and in overcoming barriers’. The award was instituted by MI this year, with the support of Miblou, a Geneva-based international charity. It is dedicated to the memory of Ms Jo Millar, who founded Mibloualong with her husband Mr Brian Millar.

The inaugural session was followed by lunch and then a cultural presentation by the MI community.