Monday, December 1, 2014

Everyone is Everyone: We and Inclusivity

“All are same, yet are different.”

Human abilities are immeasurable, physically and mentally dependent, diverse, dynamic and transient. Abilities are certainly different for each individual, learnable, developmental, and adaptable too. But one thing is sure: all human beings possess abilities.

For all of us, realizing abilities and making the right choice with our skills and abilities is a must. For some of us, even if we make the choice, it becomes a slog when our physique, psyche and the surroundings don’t sync with each other. The melee to expose our abilities become more and more alive as we ourselves, our friends, peers, employers, policy makers and institutions don’t understand this difference and the people who experience this difference.

The people in discussion here are none other than the people face visual, auditory, motor related, neurological, cognitive and aging challenges. They are not disabled as we know them as now, but they are abled through different senses and sensory perceptions. They achieve their goals just like us but using different tools and techniques. They become thinkers, innovators and even leaders to travel along with us in the same journey.

It is in this context where the introduction of Inclusivity makes much more sensible. Many of us strive to make some difference in the lives of people with different abilities, to get them into the mainstream life. This is only a tiny part of the paradigm called Inclusivity. Inclusivity starts when we understand the difference and the people who are facing it. next is to accept and acknowledge the presence of people who are differently abled as already the part of the existing society, the existing social norms, the learning systems, knowledge acquisition, economical, political framework, nation, world and the universe. It is this understanding, acceptance and involvement in our innovations, thoughts, ideas, social constructions and paradigm shifts that constitute inclusivity.

An environment is inclusive when it is conceived of and constructed with everyone in mind. A ramp enabled stairs, broader side walks and pavements, unsteep steps and proper maps are examples in creating an accessible and inclusive environment.

A building is inclusive when it is designed with people across abilities as the user base. When a four wheeler gets a ramp enabled driveway, for it cannot obviously climb up or down a parking lot, human beings — Senior citizens, people with vision impairment, hearing impairment, people with neurological and mobility disorders — deserve much more than that to navigate these constructions. Railings for staircases, talking elevators and signage, Braille signage and floor guides are some of the things which could be adapted during design and construction of bigger places like offices, government buildings and malls.

An organization is inclusive when it creates its workforce with diverse skilled pool. When the leaders understand and appreciate the merits of differently abled people and encourage with the adequate assistive and accessible tools and environment, this pool of differently abled human resources bring much more vigor, agility, productivity, diverse experience and optimism to the business and the organization on the whole.

When a technology is conceptualized from its inception itself with enabling abilities and independence across all sections of the world, then it too is inclusive. Designing with intuitive accessible features, built-in assistive technology like screen readers and magnifiers and easy to operate user interface are some of the few considerations that constitute inclusive technological solutions and innovations.

Social inclusivity comes when the social integration happens at a seamless pace. When we all empathize and take it as a challenge to educate, provide support, and empower people with different challenges to be independent, the society will acquire the balance which is missing for a long time. We have thinkers like Hellen Keller and musicians like Beethoven who have become part of history and our social talks long since. We have to be inspired the way a teacher found out ways to educate Hellen Keller who was hearing, speech and vision impaired. This proves everything is possible if we give our tiny contributions towards building an inclusive society.

Abilities, sufferings and happiness are much the same for everyone because of their dynamism, temperamental nature and short life. Maybe, their ingredients are different; containers are different; makings are different; insolvents are different. This is the reason one reminisces Carter Chamber’s words in the movie ‘Bucket List’: “…You are not everyone, but everyone is everyone.” So if we try to find solutions and work-arounds, innovations and ideas for everyone, we would also be the beneficiaries in our life, business and in all pragmatic senses. Let us vow to forge a collective construction of inclusive universe where we echo “Everyone is everyone”.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Prakat and Inclusivity

Avalanche of devices, technologies, software, applications and choices — the world has taken a deep plunge into these, befuddling itself with what to choose, how to choose, what to use and how to use. While we engage ourselves in this techno-fun transformation, some, no, many miss these. Or rather, the fun misses them. Who are they? Naturally, they are amidst us: People with visual, auditory, cognitive and age related challenges.

Integration of technology into life may well cosset the fundamental, legal and social inclusivity of people with disabilities. Yet, technology has to travel miles ahead to make itself available — accessible to people transcending abilities, border, margins and economy. This limitless journey — be it infrastructural, environmental or digital — across all sections, scooping everyone into its cup, is what we call accessibility. In other words, making the infrastructure, environment and technology available to all is what we call accessibility.

Prakat — A technology Solutions company — strongly commits itself to a responsible business, incorporating inclusivity and accessibility, the subset of inclusivity, into all its solutions. We proliferate accessibility through accessibility compliance testing for web sites and applications. Thus we push the technology to empower and enable people with disabilities to participate in the social construction through equality, education and employment.

We, at Prakat, strongly uphold that accessibility is not a garage where we repair solutions for their availability. But it is the way of things and life. Hence we incorporate it in the design phase itself through universal design or inclusive design of a website or an application. So, later there is no fine-tuning of the engines, no tinkering or even painting when it comes to accessibility.

Our commitment towards accessibility and inclusivity has more finality as our evaluators are the real business users who are challenged some or other way. We have realized and recognized their skills and the so far unleashed potential, thus adding diversity and talent to our work space.

In an attempt to spread inclusivity and accessibility widely, we have been sharing our knowledge in accessibility assurance. Through the partnership model between organizations like Mitrajyothi, Bangalore and ourselves, we have developed and conducted training programs on accessibility assurance for people with disabilities. Our training programs aim at creating the niche talent pool for niche accessibility assurance market across IT organizations. Transcending our business goals, these training programs have seen to that these trainees get placed in IT majors like TCS and Cisco.

In our clarion call to envision an accessible future, we aim to promulgate inclusivity and accessibility much louder than ever to the world of innovators, ideators, manufacturers and service providers. Using the social media as our platform, we vow to create awareness, promote inclusivity and share ideas, thoughts and tricks and tips in accessibility. We welcome our readers to participate in our effort through your valuable thoughts, suggestions, comments and ideas and even constructive criticisms. This is our small effort in the making a larger, wider and an inclusive universe for all. Come and join us in this promising and challenging journey!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Prakat @Bangalore Marathon-Charity 5K

Prakat has always been supportive of social events and has participated in many such events before. Prakat recently participated in two major social events, Bangalore Marathon - Charity 5K run on Oct 19 2014 and Enable Shristi Run on Oct 12 2014.

Prakat @Bangalore Marathon-Charity 5K

We started our run at 8.30am from Kanteerava Indoor Stadium and successfully completed the run. It was great fun to run. More than the race, our team thoroughly enjoyed the great experience with immense joy and cheer with a whole lot of other Bangaloreans running for this special cause.

In a nice pleasant environment on the outskirts of Bangalore, Prakat participated in the marathon held at Shristi Special Academy's campus, Chennenahalli, off Magadi Road. It was a 5K run which started at 7.30am with great energy levels. We had lots of fun participating in this event which had many participants from across the city.

Feedback From Organizer
It was really nice to you all running on that day supporting Shristi Academy. Thankyou very much for participating and making that essential difference. It was great fun to run with you all. This run was obviously special because as you ran you brought about immense joy and cheer to a whole lot of other people and ran for a special cause. And that was more significant than speed, time and Distance! You have all been successful in achieving that and that's what 'counts'. You truly made it count!”

Having participated in these two events was one of the nicest and memorable experience for Prakat. Kudos to Prakat Team spirit to have taken time out to encourage and be a part of a meaningful experience. Prakat is keen to participate in such future events.

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