India 23 September 2016:
An evening was hosted by SHANKARA and VARIJA LIFE to celebrate VIHAAN 2016, A Kaleidoscope of Abilities. The event took place at Indo Islamic cultural centre.
VIHAAN 2016 is an initiative by VARIJA LIFE under Varija Bajaj and SHANKARA under Sujatha Narayannswami. India’s first Holistic festival which will focus on bringing together the diverse population, cultures and abilities together will be held on the 14th of December at IGNCA ( Indra Gandhi National Center for Arts ), supported by Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
The evening which took place in the presence of Guest of Honour Dr. Swaroop Rawal, Actress and Educationist, saw her speaking on enrichment and empowerment of 'Persons with Disabilities' which is one of the key elements into making a society INCLUSIVE and successful as it taps into all its potentials and brings out the best. The first step towards achieving this is AWARENESS and EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES.
Varija Bajaj and Sujatha Narayannswami spokesperson for VIHAAN 2016 Says “We look at VIHAAN as a face of changer for Persons with Disabilities, a medium of leading a dignified life. We had invited children with special needs (CWSN) such as ASD, ADHD,Down syndrome and intellectual deficits also physically challenged or visually/hearing impaired to actively participate in the contests and make it a grand celebration. Some of the categories were Singing, Dancing, Miming, Music and Modelling. We have selected 5 from each group except the modelling wherein we have selected 30 special children.VIHAAN wants the world to see the abilities and not disabilities of these children.The selection was made out of around 1500 special children in the presence of renowned model Amanpreet Wahi , Choreographer Liza Varma and others. “
“We have on our advisory board Dr.Swaroop Rawal(Actress and Educationist) Padmashri Dr Uma Tuli (Founder Director Amarjyoti), Padmashri Shri V R Gowrishankar(CEO Sringeri Sharda Peetham)and Mr.Sandeep Marwah(Founder Marwah Studio and Noida Film City) to guide us with their vast experience in Education and Social sector” adds Sujatha Narayannswami.
The other highlights for the holistic festival were
Life Animated, a Hollywood documentary on Autism by Academy Award Winning Director by Roger Ross Williams will be screened first time in India during the festival. Winning several awards in San Francisco International Film Festival, Sundance and Full Frame Film Festival, the film will now be a part of the biggest revolution India has ever seen for inclusion of those who fight to prove their abilities over disabilities.
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Under VIHAAN OORJA– Various competitions for the youth will be held focusing on creating awareness on the different abilities, developing aids and support systems to help the Disabled bloom and perform to the best of their capabilities. The competitions include Photography, Film-making, Share your story, Garment Designing, Footwear designing, Product design (Learning Systems,aids and appliances)
Under VIHAAN UTKAANSH –Competitions like Singing, Dancing, Instrumental Music, Miming and Modelling will be held specifically for persons with disabilities
Under VIHAAN ABHIGYA-a series of pre events/ panel discussions are scheduled in various colleges across the country by eminent experts to sensitize the youth towards the needs of the differently-abled.