1. Is it okay to say disabled person? What is the appropriate vocabulary?
The question of appropriate vocabulary is a complicated one, changing from person to person, organisation to organisation, or social situation to the next. The easiest way to understand where to stand is to ask the person how they prefer to be identified. If you are representing an organisation or group, make sure to find out their stance and policy on the matter. Disability, like any other personal marker, is a deeply individual choice. Be sure to respect it, whatever it may be.
2. What is the difference between blind and visually impaired/deaf and hearing impaired?
While the usage and appropriateness of lexicon may differ, ‘blind’ and ‘deaf’ are defined as being conditions where the person has no sense of sight or hearing respectively. On the other hand, visually/hearing impaired refers to a spectrum, where the person may have reduced, limited or low vision/hearing.
3. How many persons with disability exist in India? Around the world?
The 2001 census of India revealed that there were over 21 million people in India with some form of disability, approximately 2.1% of the population. In the 2011 census, this statistic has changed to approximately 27 million people. However, there are claims that this number is not entirely reflective of reality, as stigma surrounding disability impedes reportage. World Bank reports suggest that the global population of persons with disability is at approximately one billion people, or 15% of the world population. Incidence is thought to be higher in developing countries.
4. What are ‘inclusion’ and ‘accessibility’? Why is it important?
Inclusion is defined as ‘the state of being included within a group or structure.’ With regard to disability, this pertains to breaking the stigma associated with having disability, and accepting people with disability as active, contributing, equal members of society. As an extension and stepping stone to this project, accessibility (or the “ability to access” public services, spaces and resources) mandates that persons with disability should not be deterred from accessing opportunity. The project of accessibility can influence everything from architecture (can wheelchair users or visually impaired people access this space?) to entertainment (can a hearing impaired person enjoy this movie?) and is an integral space for disability activism and politics.
5. If someone has disability, can they be independent?
It is important to remember that ‘disability’ is not a monolithic category, but instead it is a spectrum. There are multiple positions on the spectrum. Thus, there are multiple positions on the spectrum where people are independent, aided and otherwise. At ABBF, we believe that it is important to deal with every individual, with or without disability, as an individual with a unique set of skills and abilities, without falling prey to false synonymity between disability and dependence.
1. Who are you guys?
Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of adventure sports for people with and without disability. Based out of Pune, India, the organisation’s founding principle is inclusivity and accessibility. Our services stretch from marathons to rafting, rock climbing and mountaineering. We believe that spending time outdoors together achieves two things – awareness that the experience of adventure is not affected by disability, and dismissing stereotypes relating to disability that otherwise stem from ignorance.
2. When you cannot see, how can you run a marathon or trek? If you cannot hear, how do you listen to instructions when rafting or rappelling?
At ABBF, we believe that the only prerequisite to participating in our events is the enthusiasm and the will to push yourself. For everything else, there are ways to see you through. Our visually impaired marathon runners or mountaineers take the help of guides or partners who stay with them every step of the way, providing support where needed but also building a great bond of camaraderie. Similarly, we replace hearing-based instructions with sight-based instructions for those who may find that easier. To read about a mountaineering success story, check out Vishal Jain’s tale of conquering Mt. Everest’s base camp here.
3. Are you the only ones doing these things or can we go elsewhere too?
As of now, ABBF is the only organisation that provides inclusive opportunities to people with and without disability. The belief in camaraderie and relationship-building independent of disability sets ABBF apart.
4. Where are you based out of? Do you conduct events elsewhere as well?
Our headquarters is in Pune, India. However, we do participate and help organise events across the country. Keep an eye on our website and social media handles for announcements of events that we are partnering with or participating in.
5. Why are you focusing on adventure sports? Aren’t there ‘bigger’ battles to fight?
The core ethos that drives our work at ABBF comes from the words of the revolutionary leader, Nelson Mandela when he said “sport has the power to change the world…It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” At ABBF, we believe that the platforms that sports creates for interaction, camaraderie and confidence building go a long way in answering the battles of inclusivity and accessibility, the two paramount challenges facing the disability community today.
6. What are the adventure sports you host?
Our sports can be broadly divided into three sections:
- In Air: paragliding
- On Land: trekking/camping, tandem cycling, marathons/running
- Under Water: scuba diving
We also offer a host of customised workshops and other offerings. If you are looking for a more personalised package, please contact us.
ABBF and Me
1. What can I do with ABBF?
There is a lot you can do with us. We are always looking for people who are committed to the cause of inclusivity and accessibility. Broadly, you can help us by acting as a guide/buddy during our outdoor events, help us organise events from behind the scenes, acting as a resource person or mentor, or volunteering to help us fundraise! If you think you have specific skills that could help us as well, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you. Write to us at email@example.com
2. What if I am not very physically fit myself? Can I still participate in your outdoor activities?
It’s simple. Join us anyway. At ABBF’s outdoor activities, the purpose is finishing the task, enjoying it while you do, and making friends from different walks of life. Don’t worry if you haven’t hit a gym in a while – we aren’t all professionals either.
3. Do I need to pay for your events if I volunteer?
Yes, your contribution goes a long way in funding our activities and equipping ABBF to keep doing what we do best – making adventure sports accessible.
4. I’m not really outdoorsy but I’d love to help. What can I do?
There are many different things you can do. You could volunteer with the team while we are organising events and help behind-the-scenes. You could act as a resource person or a mentor if your expertise lies in something we could use guidance in. You could volunteer to help with fundraising, spreading the word about ABBF and contributing to make sure we have enough financial support to keep focusing on our core competence. Apart from this, if you feel you have skills that could benefit us (are you a writer, filmmaker, ad person, for example?), please reach out to us and we’d love to see how we can work together. More the merrier on this journey!
5. I want to donate to your cause. How do I do this?
Yaay! Thank you! Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org