United Nations India on Friday organised a Twitter chat with Rio Paralympic silver medalist Deepa Malik, using the hashtag #AskDeepaMalik. The chat was focussed around a topic ‘let’s talk about how we can make our environment more disabled-friendly.’
The session was such a success that the hashtag started trending on Twitter.
Deepa Malik enjoyed tackling the questions posed at her by her fans.
“Sensitisation should be our priority. Inclusive education for all is the key. Acceptance in families is essential,” Deepa said in response to a query.
In another question on how we all can come together to make our country more disabled-friendly, Deepa replied: “Great charity begins at home. Look around your living space & make a difference.”
The questions also covered issues like policy framework and implementation. When asked by a user of the government had done enough for the disabled, the para-athlete noted that things were good as far as policy is concerned, but it was implementation that needed work.
“Government policy is good. We need to work on extensive implementation. We need every citizen to take part,” she replied.
Commenting on the ‘Accessible India’ campaign, Deepa opined: “It can give equal opportunity, reach, movement and empower them to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.”
The government of India on December 2015 launched launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat bhiyan) as a nation-wide campaign which seeks to make at least 50 percent of all government buildings in the national capital and all state capitals “fully accessible” for the disabled by July 2018.
Replying to a query on media role in highlighting disability issues, Deepa said: “We need more support there but hearty thanks to media for celebrating the Rio paralympics medals.”
Responding to a query on her future plans, the paralympian said the only way for her was forward.
“Trying to turn silver into gold and encourage more people to join #ParaSports is my plan for the future.”
The queries then moved to ways that parents can be convinced to encourage their kids to take up sports as a profession.
“(Sports) Inculcates values of hard work and team building, which are essential ingredients for nation building,” Deepa replied.
In a special message to her female fans, Deepa said: “Girls, follow your heart and dare to dream. No goal is too far if pursues with dedication.”
In September 2016, Deepa became the first Indian woman ever to clinch a medal at the Paralympic Games. She won a silver medal in the Women's Shot Put - F53 event at the 2016 Rio Paralympics Games with a personal best throw of 4.61 metres.