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Calendar dedicated to spirit of resilience

Guwahati, Jan. 24: It has touching pictures of differently-abled children campaigning in the streets, some on wheelchairs and some on foot, with a resolve to mitigate disaster risks and spread awareness on disaster preparedness.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has brought out a calendar dedicated to the differently abled as part of a series of disaster-preparedness programmes in the state.

The calendar is one of its kind, with relevant quotes, information and images of differently-abled children taking part in a campaign held on International Disaster Risk Reduction Day in October last year.

“This is part of a series of disaster-preparedness programmes initiated by the authority in the state. The calendar has been dedicated to the People with Disability (PwD) who can contribute and help reduce the risk of disasters. The quotes and information have been taken from a training manual and a portal,” Nandita Hazarika, deputy secretary of revenue and disaster management department and state project co-ordinator of the disaster management authority told The Telegraph today. The disaster management authority has taken out 4,500 calendars this year, of which 3,000 are desktop and 1,500 wall.

“The People with Disability have mostly remained on the margins of decision-making despite being a compelling example of day-to-day resilience,” said a caption on the bottom of each page.

Telling quotes such as “I choose not to place DIS in my ABILITY” by Robert M. Hensel, a physically-challenged American who holds the Guinness record for the longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair, is one among 11 others.

The calendars have been distributed among government departments, offices, NGOs, media houses across the 27 districts of the state.

“More than just dates, we wanted to come up with a learning tool on each table that would convey the dos and don’ts when disaster strikes as well as measures to prevent one,” Hazarika said.

Some of the must-haves mentioned in the calendar pages include keeping bedside canes and whistles for the visually impaired, carrying copies of word boards mentioning “HELP ME”, “NEED DRINKING WATER”, “CALL DOCTOR” and emergency health information cards.

The authority had launched the initiative for the differently abled in February last year with a programme for autistic and visually-impaired children.

“We had conducted the programme in association with the Assam Autism Foundation where we also brought out a Braille book for the visually-impaired. On International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction in October, orientation of the caregivers of Shishu Sarothi, a centre for rehabilitation and training for multiple disabilities here, was part of a statewide awareness programme,” she said.