Jharkhand

District:  West Singhbhum
State:  Jharkhand
Country:  India
Name of the Cheif Executive with Designation:  Subir Sharma, Secretary cum Chairperson
Ngo Name:  Aadivasi’s Reformation & Welfare Society (WARS)
Postal Address:  At+PO – Gua, Dist. : West Singhbhum, Jharkhand – 833213
Email:  warsindia06@gmail.com
Area of work:  Agricultures, AIDS, Awareness generation, Children, Corporate Social Responsibility. (CSR), Education & Training, Environment, Forestry, Health & Nutrition, Human Rights, Minorities, Pollution, Rehablitation, Rural Development, Tribal & Indigenous, Youth

 

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Delhi

District:  West
State:  Delhi
Country:  INDIA
Name of the Cheif Executive with Designation:  Mr.G.K.Gupta, Chairman
Ngo Name:  ABHINAV SAMAJ
Postal Address:  R-10, R-Block, Old Uttam Nagar, New Delhi-110059 (INDIA)
Email:  abhinavsamaj2010@gmail.com
Area of work:  Aged/Elderly, Children, Citizens, Corporate Social Responsibility. (CSR), Education & Training, Health & Nutrition, Rehablitation, Skill Development, Women

 

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Disability and sex are not mutually exclusive

I think it is fair to say that the Paralympics have changed perceptions for the better in linking disability and sport. We have become used to watching elite athletes win medals and represent their countries in front of large crowds, and they just happen to use wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs, or be of short stature, or have hearing and visual impairments. But what happens when we change “sport” to “sex”? Does awareness and education exist in the same way?

Inclusive and accessible sex education certainly did not exist when I was at school – apart from, perhaps, putting a condom on a banana. We are aware that disabled women, in particular, are almost three times as likely to be sexually abused than their non-disabled peers and yet those of us with disabilities are still entering lessons and workshops that are not designed for us. There are few, if any, subtitled and audio-described videos, information is usually not easy to read or understand, and the bodies in these videos and photos rarely, if ever, reflect disability of any kind, further alienating those of us classed as less than normal, and often less than attractive.

My twin sister and I were born 10 weeks early with cerebral palsy and I became a wheelchair-user at the age of nine after corrective surgery on my legs. Like many of my friends, I have been in situations where I felt vulnerable sexually, but one in particular was exacerbated by my disability. I am well able to stand up for myself, but I was in a taxi, with my wheelchair in the boot, and the taxi driver was totally inappropriate and very suggestive. Knowing that my disability hindered me in dealing with his approaches was horrible. I decided to keep talking politely to him in the hope that I could distract him through small talk, which I did, until he dropped me off. I reported him, but it highlighted the difficult situations you can find yourself in sexually if you have a disability. Children and teenagers are constantly told to respect themselves and others, but if you are disabled, it is likely that many of the adults in your life might never consider you as a sexual being, meaning that the usual safety advice and strategies are rarely discussed. You are doubly vulnerable if you can’t physically remove yourself easily from an awkward situation.I have been fortunate enough to have great sex and talk about it, but it wasn’t easy for me. Before losing my virginity pretty late, when I was 19, my main concern wasn’t the act itself, but the positions that would be possible without causing a great amount of pain. I also worried that the passion would totally disappear after a bit of inevitable planning.

There were very few helpful answers on the internet, so that left one avenue: laughing and crying with my auntie and sister on a Sunday afternoon as we went through possible positions together … no doubt a story that will surface should I ever get married.Although it was a giggle and it helped a lot – thanks, guys – it is also tragic that I had to get myself in such a panic over something that is supposed to be sexy and fun because I simply didn’t know where, or who else, to turn to.Some people think that disability isn’t sexy or, worse, having sex with someone who has a disability is seen as wrong

Most people, disabled or not, go through a transition stage in which they are suddenly aware of others’ attraction to them and their desire to be attractive in return. For me, this happened quite late and I tended to leave getting the guys to my sister, who was, I have to say, very successful at it (she is about to get married). Although I’m over the moon for her now, I can see that I was pretty jealous of her victories with boys at the time.

As I have got older, learned that necessary patience and had great sexual experiences, I have also grown in confidence, although I still have some way to go until I am as self-assured as I would like to be when it comes to romance and intimacy. Some people still think that disability isn’t sexy or, worse, having sex with someone who has a disability is seen as wrong. There is also still a sense that if you have a disability, you are ill or frail, neither of which fit into the traditional idea of what we consider sexually attractive in our society.But change is coming and I am proud to be a part of that. My sexual experiences have resulted in an awareness of myself as a woman that no one can take away – and that is a great place to be, disability or not. But it is important to remember that those experiences don’t come easily for young disabled people. For so many years, I have had more important things than being sexy to concentrate on. Other teenagers tend not to have to think twice about whether they are able to go on school trips, or prove they can go to university – physically travel there, rather than just reach the required academic standards, find accessible accommodation and work out travel arrangements.

My confidence has been boosted enormously by taking control of my life, and this has helped me in my job as a travel writer. When I volunteered at London 2012, I sat next to Sebastian Coe at a press conference and asked him for 15 minutes of his time and all the contacts he could give me. He, in turn, mentioned me in his speech at the closing ceremony for saying that the Paralympic Games had “lifted the cloud of limitation” for those with disabilities. I went on to do a two-year consultancy with MetroRio on accessible underground travel and wrote an accessible-travel guide to Rio de Janeiro with Lonely Planet in preparation for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am the founder and one of the directors of My Purple Compass, a company that encourages people with disabilities to travel far and wide, journeying out of their comfort zones. I also work with Enhance the UK, which, through the Love Lounge, is providing the sort of information I would have loved as a teenager. Change is slow, but it is happening, and we are able to help others to discuss important issues, such as the positions and pain worry I had years ago, through to whether disclosing a disability on an online dating site is a good idea.

Sex education for disabled children and teenagers must be taught in schools as a matter of course, and parents and other family members can play a big part by making it as important for disabled people as for everyone else. More sexually active disabled people in popular culture would also help to change all those perceptions of disabled people, and illustrate that we enjoy sex as much as anyone. Although being a disabled woman is currently what my work is based on, I’m much more than a girl in a wheelchair. I have the same tatts, tinted hair and love of fashion as many women my age, and I hope that others see that as well as the wheelchair. I am learning that disability and sex are not mutually exclusive and I love the journey that comes with it.

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book review: ‘Daughters of Parvati: Women and Madness in Contemporary India’

Sarah Pinto.  Daughters of Parvati: Women and Madness in Contemporary India.  Contemporary Ethnography Series. Philadelphia  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.  296 pp.  $59.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8122-4583-7. Reviewed by Esme Cleall (University of Sheffield) Published on H-Disability (October, 2016) Commissioned by Iain C. Hutchison

This is a powerful and engaging ethnography of women and mental  health in contemporary India. In pursuing a gendered reading of psychiatry, Pinto deftly explores what effect “particular considerations,” taking the perspective of women, have on our understandings of medical practice (p. 4). It is both a study of the social life of medicine, exploring the effects of psychiatry on the lives it touches, and an exploration of love, marriage, and the family, as well as of the dissolution of these relationships. In calling her book _Daughters of Parvati_ Pinto evokes the goddess for her “capacity to fall to pieces,” her ability to “become–wildly—one thing and then another” while wreaking “havoc with cosmos-rattling love” (p. 37). That she does these things in her capacity as a wife, lover, or mother further makes Parvati a “touchstone” for Pinto, as she explores the messiness of intimacy and its powerful effects on the psyche and the social (p. 37).

_Daughters of Parvati_ is a book rich in stories. The opening chapter tells the life history of Ammi, who, having been in, the Agra Mental Hospital for twenty-seven years, is now being “rehabilitated” with her son and daughter-in-law. Lata, another example, is a young woman detained in the Nerhu Government Hospital under court order to ascertain her state of mind given that she had married a man twenty years her senior, a servant in her parents’ house. The battle as to whether or not her sexuality should be pathologized and her “illness,” which defies diagnosis and definition, are not only used to show the intangibility of medical diagnosis but also to illustrate her powerful personality. As Lata insists on the validity of her sexual relationships with her husband and with his “friend,” and her desire to marry both, Pinto points to the politics of medical diagnosis, asking, “what _would _be a feminist approach here?” (p. 219). Sanjana, who lives in a smaller institution, is another striking character. Pinto preserves this private establishment’s identity by giving it the pseudonym of “Moksha,” the name of a deity that represents liberation but also death (and rebirth). Sanjana is desperate to “get out” of Moksha, but the dates she is given for her release are constantly being deferred. Pinto’s own life is woven throughout such narratives in the book. The presence of her daughter Eve and Pinto’s separation from Eve’s father are movingly interlinked with the narratives of her characters, speaking to Pinto’s positionality and her entanglement with the ideas of separation, longing, and dissolution that color her work.

Although some of Pinto’s case studies, notably Ammi, now live outsidea psychiatric setting, the book is mainly focused on institutional care. The institution that Pinto names Moksha is a bleak, lonely place where patients are often “dumped women” abandoned by families,lost in the throes of divorce and separation, and where the resemblance between the institution and the asylums, supposedly of old, is palpable. The Nehru Government Hospital meanwhile is a busy, bustling, and bureaucratic environment where most patients are outpatients, while those who reside within the hospital are cared for by family, friends, and relatives. The ethics of institutional care, particularly a form of care where patients might be hit, forciblyrestrained, unwittingly medicated, or lied to about their treatmentand release dates, haunt the narratives.

Pinto sensitively explores the complexities of the ethical questions surrounding her own research as well as the treatment that the patients receive. The notion of “consent” is a particularly difficult one in the contexts in which Pinto works. What does it mean to secure the consent of a person deep in psychosis? Is limiting the reproduction of such a patient’s words patronizing, cordoning off forms of self-knowledge, expression, and agency? Or is it vital to ensuring that consent is fully respected? What about “truths” that fold, unravel, and refold? What about patients who, by their very presence in the psychiatric institution, had formally agreed to any research, which the institution might see fit to undertake? While this is an ethnography and work of anthropology rather than a history, there are elements of historical context to Pinto’s contemporary research from the discussion of Agra’s grim past (during one period, twenty-five of its thirty-nine inmates died), to the more recent moves toward deinstitutionalization. The discussion of the changing nature of “hysterical” and “dissociative” conditions and diagnoses will be particularly interesting and useful to historians of medicine and disability as well as to anthropologists. Pinto explores the way in which the ongoing use of the label “hysteria” is not, as might at first glance appear, a marker of India’s “backward” psychiatry practice. In using a label no longer current in the West, but which is highly complex, and whose history was made in India as well as in Europe, Pinto demonstrates how it continues to have a powerful if uneasy utility to doctors and to patients. This beautifully written book is a pleasure to read, the characters stay with the reader long after the book has been put down, and it exemplifies good research practice and self-reflexive authorship. It provides a critical study on gender and mental health in South Asia today. Citation: Esme Cleall. Review of Pinto, Sarah, _Daughters of Parvati: Women and Madness in Contemporary India_. H-Disability, H-NetReviews. October, 2016.

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Karnataka.

District:  Dharwad.
State:  Karnataka.
Country:  India
Name of the Cheif Executive with Designation:  Zaheer Ahmed M Khajapur.
Ngo Name:  AASHNA FOUNDATION
Postal Address:  AASHNA FOUNDATION 134 BHANDIWAD BASE PHATTER PHOD STREET HUBLI-580020
Email:  aashna_Hubli@yahoo.in
Area of work:  Education & Training, Health & Nutrition, Women

 

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