Every campaign has a start and end date. Our new photo campaign “Everyone is good at something” had a start date (2 April 2021) but no end date… or at least we believe so. We believe the campaign should continue until we have a truly inclusive India — an India where the rights of Person With Disabilities (PWD) are understood and upheld by everyone.
How does one sensitize an entire country to the rights and realities of the disabled? By combating ignorance about disability on multiple fronts.
The India Inclusion Summit (IIS) is an annual gala in Bengaluru that has been highlighting disability and inclusion for the past 10 years, with its mascot called Inclu and the slogan “Everyone is Good at Something” (EGS). The people behind IIS conceived another initiative that is the opposite of this centralized, urban, one-time, in-person event per year: a decentralized, digital, continuing program that encompasses all areas, rural and urban and spans the whole year.
The online EGS campaign (named after the IIS slogan), which was kicked off on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, was inspired by Humans of New York. It’s sort of Humans of India — with disability. A photo campaign that is not a frontal attack so much as guerilla warfare, infiltrating people’s minds, gradually changing their attitudes towards disability, and bringing about an inclusive society.
Ace photographer Vicky Roy has started capturing profiles of unknown or little-known PWD whose stories will keep appearing on the EGS website. Whenever possible, he will be accompanied by accomplished videographer Chandan Gomes. Over a year, the campaign would have covered all 28 states and 8 union territories, and all 21 disabilities mentioned in India’s Rights of PWD Act (RPWDA). And the stories will keep flowing — “infinite stories”, as the tagline says.
We have laid down a few ‘givens’: no compromise on quality; an equal number of male and female PWD; focus on rural areas; and two stories (one woman, one man) a week. So-called ‘achievement’ will not be a criterion. We believe that every individual has their own unique challenge to overcome and a story to tell.
Behind EGS lie four months of planning and execution. We carefully chose a group of volunteers with differing and excellent skills and created separate teams responsible for technology, design, content, social media, and funding.
We made an iron-clad decision on the social media content: No ‘Like’ buttons or keeping count of ‘Views’ because (a) one can easily make a story go ‘viral’ without it being read and (b) no story is worthy of being ‘liked’ more than another. The links should ideally be shared only with those who are bound to read and appreciate the stories.
We hope the stories of PWD highlighted in this campaign carry a timeless, universal message. Do visit the Everyone is Good at Something website, subscribe to the channel, share on your social media pages, and play your part in making India Inclusive.
Based in Palo Alto, VR Ferose is Senior VP at SAP and heads the SAP Engineering Academy. The mission of the organization is to create the next generation of engineers that are involved in solving some of the most complex problems in the world. He is the founder of the India Inclusion Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to bring the topic of inclusion at the forefront in India. The India Inclusion Summit, The Inclusion Fellowship, and Inclusion Platform (Incluzone) are some of the initiatives under the nonprofit.