Chennai-based support group organises meet-up, sheds light on rights

Participants of ‘Iceberg 2020’, the second anniversary of Mind Matters Circle in Chennai Saturday.

Chennai: “As people, we have all the rights applicable for any human. However, our rights are being breached. It is happening right under the nose but many are unaware. Everyone, including people with disabilities, have all rights to dissent to any decision taken by the government,” said disability rights activist and Equals founder-trustee Meenakshi Balasubramanian.

The activist was delivering the keynote address at ‘Iceberg 2020’, the second anniversary of Mind Matters Circle, a psychosocial support group here on Saturday.

The participants largely consisted of survivors of several mental health issues spoke up during the open mic session to break the taboo and had a fun drums circle evening with Chitra Senan from the NGO Better Chances. As they sang along the host rekindling memories, a few even took to the floors. Nevertheless it was not devoid of food for thought.
Mind Matters Circle founder Saravana Raja actively advocates having one support group for people with any kinds of psychosocial issues.

“The support group was previously restricted only for people battling with bipolar disorder. However, when I was involved with UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), I realised we should not work catering to only one issue but should be inclusive,” he said.

Meenakshi discussed the rights and laws for people with disability. UNCRPD, Rights for Persons with Disabilities (2016) and Mental Health Act (2017) are a few of the guidelines that India follows.

“Many special children are unable to access the right to education is one instance to say that we are unable to exercise the basic rights. We are unable to identify ourselves, even if we do, the legal capacity does not give us an opportunity. The loopholes to protect our laws are aplenty and we have to work towards it,” she continued.

Bhavani Prabhakar