Ngo Highlights

Indian-American led NGO launches mobile app to locate accessible friendly buildings in India

An Indian-American led non-profit organisation has launched a public utility mobile app to locate and identify disabled-friendly buildings in India.

The NGO, Voice of Specially Abled People (VOSAP), announced the launch of mobile app during the United Nations Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or COSP12, early this week.

A mobile app to find accessible places (for persons with disabilities) is very important in a country like India, it said.

During the presentation of the app at the COSP12 conference, the NGO said that it empowers volunteers to be “change makers”, creating demand for accessibility.

Representatives of countries at the UN conference learnt about the app and potential adoption for their citizens with disabilities.

“Voice of SAP’s flagship initiative, the Voice of SAP mobile app is now becoming the leading ‘public utility app’ for finding accessible places as well as empowering activism to create a demand for accessibility,” Manushri Desai and Shivam Saran said during their presentation at the UN headquarters in New York early this month.

Desai is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, while Saran at Emory University.

The mobile app serves as a technology platform that joins leaders and volunteers hand-in-hand by adding to a growing dataset of accessible friendly buildings all over India, they said.

“By inspiring actionable advocacy through technology, Voice of SAP has urged the Government of India to accept our initiative of Accessible India Campaign which was then launched nationwide by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” they said.

The US-based NGO has over 8,000 registered volunteers across the world and it plans to expand the concept to other parts of the world after India.

According to Pranav Desai, founder of the VOSAP, its more than 8,000 volunteers have pledged to become disability rights activists in their own communities.

“The Voice of SAP has enabled individuals with assistive devices and kits for self-employment to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

“India is the first focus country for VOSAP. By first focusing on India and then rolling out a similar accessibility and advocacy network to other nations around the world,” he said.

In their UN address, Manushri and Sharan said that as members of the younger generation, they more than ever, understand the importance of integrating youth activists into the solution.

The NGO is determined to invoke change and work closely with academic institutions to help students recognise their individual social responsibility towards specially-abled people, they said.

“By building a network of activists, we can ignite mass awareness campaigns and reinforce the reality that disability is everybody’s concern,” they said.