Thursday, August 31, 2023

Transforming Public Spaces: A 3-Day in-person Training on Accessibility and Universal Design held during 28-30 Aug 2023 at National CPWD Academy

Dear Colleagues,

In a commendable effort to make our public spaces more accessible and inclusive, the National CPWD Academy recently concluded a 3-day training course on "Accessibility in Built Environment & Retrofitting in Existing Buildings as per Accessibility Norms." This empowering event took place from August 28th to August 30th, 2023, and was led by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director at CABE Foundation and a Specialist in Universal Design and Accessibility. The primary goal of this training was to sensitize the participants on disability awareness and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to transform our public buildings and environments into spaces that cater to the needs of all individuals.

A selfie with the participants
Fig. 1 Participants with the Faculty, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

The training course was unique in that it had the privilege of hosting officers (architects, civil engineers and civil servants) who were specifically tasked with implementing the Accessible India Campaign (AIC), many of them nominated by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and representing diverse regions of our incredible nation.

Participants in this training program hailed from states and union territories from various corners of India such as- Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal,  Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, and more!.

The importance of this diverse representation cannot be overstated. It signifies a collective commitment to making our country more accessible, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by different regions and communities.

Participants sitting in the class.
Fig. 2. Training Participants in the class
The training sessions were structured around the newly notified Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021. The training program included intensive discussions, presentations, and interactive Q&A sessions, providing a platform for officers to address the real-world problems they encounter when implementing AIC projects. Additionally, participants had hands-on experiences, gaining valuable insights into the practical aspects of making public buildings and environments accessible to everyone.

Special thanks for the National CPWD Academy for hosting this and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for nominating the concerned stakeholders and above all sincere thanks to all the participants for your unwavering dedication to accessibility and inclusivity. This was so palpable when there was full strength and all felt that it was a much-needed session that raised their awareness on what is expected of them and the technical details of the accessibility standards.

Group Photo of the participants
Fig. Group photo of the Training Participants

Let's continue to build on this momentum, working hand in hand to ensure that our public spaces are welcoming to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Together, we can turn our vision of a more inclusive world into a reality and ensure that the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 are realised on the ground.