Sunday, December 18, 2011

November 2011 part 1

Last month was nothing short of a whirl wind, as time passed from late October to early December within a matter of minutes. Badhte Kadam, edition 3, kicked off on October 21 in Chandigarh, with the Delhi Flag Off on November 3 at Delhi Haat, soon followed by attending a wedding in Shamsabad, UP, a visit to a tiger reserve, Bandhavgarh, M.P., wheelchair basketball in Delhi and Visakhapatnam, A.P., a return to Delhi and the closing of Badhte Kadam, world disability day and more wheelchair basketball, attending a speaking engagement to see the Dalai Lama and the National Disability Awards. In between all of this my sister Robyn and her husband Michael arrived in Delhi, soon left, came back and took up residence, in what is now the spare bedroom, until December 9.

Badhte Kadam 2011
Badhte Kadam 2011 has turned out to be the best edition yet, mainly because of the cooperation of the press throughout India. We’ve had the partnership of the government channel, Doordarshan, and the local press seems to have totally come onto “our side”.

This year we enabled more flexibility on the local dates of BK, as well as how the local NGOs would run their melas, or information sessions. This seemed to have worked out to the best as indicated by the consistent posting of photos and video on the Badhte Kadam Facebook page. This was a new feature which we brought to BK 2011 and a number of our NGOs actually started their own FB pages, which was unintended capacity building. We’re going to follow up on this by helping all of our participating BK NGOs to establish their own FB pages.

The Flag out organized by the excellent NGO AADI was held at Dilla Haat, a very wise decision as the event was more out in the open. Unlike last year where we had to beg people to come to the Constitution Club in a somewhat staid environment, this year all of the seats were filled. The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Wasnik, again graced us by flagging off. The AADI staff did a great job or organising with help from National Trust, mostly supplied by our Deputy Director of Administration, Mr. Tyagi. Of course, our super board member Shekhar Borker, who had participated in all editions of BK, was also there.

One of the highlights of the event for me came when hearing impaired children signed the National Anthem. This seems, at least in our circles to becoming more and more popular and it was incredibly moving. The amount of press was phenomenal, thanks to Epistle Solutions, which shows the growth in interest of the disability field. To me, Muthu from AADI, like Jerry West to the National Basketball Association, has become the poster of what BK is all about. A strong man even though confined to a wheelchair. A great photo of Muthu appeared in the Times of India representing what BK is all about.

This year I decided that I needed to get out of the office during BK, although I knew that I could be reached wherever I was in India. One has to let go and allow others to do the work. My job is about capacity building and this was the intention. Yes, I still need to help with some framework, but front line staff, Anita, Momin and others are understanding more and more the importance and potential of Badhte Kadam. Pieces are in place, on the staff side to continue this work, the question is who has the time and will take the leadership to lead BK 4.

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