Navigating an Accessible Future | Mohammad Shams Aalam Shaikh | TEDxKIITUniversity | Summary and Q&A

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September 27, 2023
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Navigating an Accessible Future | Mohammad Shams Aalam Shaikh | TEDxKIITUniversity

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Summary

In this video, the speaker, who is a Limca Book of Records holder for the longest Open Sea Swimming by a paraplegic person, shares her experiences and achievements. She emphasizes the importance of accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including education, sports, and public spaces. She also highlights the need for society to recognize and empower people with disabilities.

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the speaker's mother motivate her when she faced discrimination due to her physical disability?

The speaker's mother reminded her not to be upset about people's limited mentality and encouraged her to focus on her abilities and aspirations. The speaker acknowledges her physical disability but asserts that it doesn't define her, and she can overcome her limitations.

Q: What was the significance of receiving the Padma Shri award from the president of India in 2022?

Receiving the Padma Shri award, a prestigious honor in India, was a significant achievement for the speaker. However, due to technical issues, she couldn't go on stage to receive the award, which made her realize the importance of accessibility. Despite this setback, the president showed humility and came down to present the award, leaving a lifelong memory for the speaker.

Q: Why does the speaker emphasize the importance of accessibility in institutions and businesses?

The speaker believes that for institutions and businesses to truly succeed and serve society, they need to be accessible to people from all walks of life, including individuals with disabilities. She asserts that by excluding people with disabilities, institutions are limiting their potential for growth and missing out on valuable contributions.

Q: How does the speaker feel about the accessibility of the university she mentions?

The speaker finds the university she mentions to be beautiful and highly accessible. She praises its facilities, including hotels, restaurants, and various places, which enable her to navigate independently. She recommends such universities as they demonstrate inclusivity and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to study and empower themselves.

Q: How does the speaker try to empower people with disabilities using sports?

The speaker uses sports as a tool to empower people with and without disabilities. She mentions organizing inclusive events, such as wheelchair basketball tournaments and swimming camps, where people with disabilities can participate and regain their self-confidence. By showcasing the abilities of individuals with disabilities, she aims to break stereotypes and create a more inclusive society.

Q: How does the speaker encourage individuals with disabilities to overcome their challenges?

The speaker shares her personal experience as a paraplegic person and advises her friends with disabilities not to dwell on their limitations. She urges them to accept themselves as they are and invest their time and resources in learning and personal growth. According to her, crying and feeling sorry for oneself will hinder personal development, and one must embrace their circumstances and strive to move forward.

Q: How has the speaker worked towards improving accessibility in public places?

The speaker gives examples of her efforts to enhance accessibility in public spaces. She mentions writing a letter to the director of a sports complex, demanding the installation of ramps and elevators. This request was eventually fulfilled, making the complex accessible for people with and without disabilities. Additionally, she shares her experience advocating for accessibility in her university, which resulted in the campus receiving accreditation.

Q: How does the speaker highlight the importance of accessibility in society?

The speaker emphasizes that accessibility is crucial for any nation or organization to progress and become developed. By including people with disabilities, society can maximize its potential and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities. The speaker asserts that people with disabilities contribute to society in various ways and calls for the recognition of their valuable contributions.

Q: How does the speaker suggest incorporating accessibility in the fashion industry?

The speaker mentions that the fashion industry can be more inclusive by creating disabled-friendly clothing lines. She suggests that including people with disabilities in fashion shows and designing clothes that are comfortable for various physical conditions can be a profitable business idea. By promoting accessible and inclusive fashion, the speaker believes the industry can challenge stereotypes and empower people with disabilities.

Q: What does the speaker urge students and professionals in the fields of architecture and civil engineering to do?

The speaker urges students and professionals in architecture, civil engineering, and design fields to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity in their work. She shares examples of universities in the USA that have approached her for advice on creating disabled-friendly clothing and setting up accessible design showrooms. She emphasizes the need to make society accessible for everyone, including exchange students, to create a better and more inclusive India.

Takeaways

In this inspiring video, the speaker highlights the importance of accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities. She urges people to embrace themselves as they are and invest in personal growth. The speaker showcases her efforts to improve accessibility in public spaces and calls for the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society, including education and sports. Through her personal journey, she encourages society to create a more accessible and inclusive environment for everyone.

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