I Find It Hard To Walk To My School

For Suryaprakash and his fellow students in Chennai, walking 300 meters to and from their special school is a distance filled with difficulties. These students with mobility challenges find it hard to walk to and from the bus stop. The nearest bus stop is 300 meters away from the school gate. Suryaprakash has started a petition asking the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) to alter the route of small bus S17 enabling the students catch this bus directly from the school gate. Change.org spoke to him. Here are the excerpts: 

Tell us why you started this petition.

This petition is not about fighting for rights.

This petition is not about seeking favors  - small or big.

This petition is about inclusion.

This petition is about that inclusion, which comes from within and not after someone starts a petition.

This petition is about that inclusion that doesn't get come on board only after some 50,000 odd people reminding you about something.

Tell us more about a typical morning journey to school, what difficulty are you facing?

My school is a special school, one of the few that is equipped to teach students with different disabilities. To get to school, I and many of my fellow students use buses run by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) or the MTC. The nearest bus stop is 300 meters away from the school gate.  Although, the distance of 300 meters is not too long, students with mobility challenges including myself find it hard to walk to and from the bus stop.

Have you ever spoken to the bus conductor/driver or any MTC official to alter route of S17?

Do you seriously think, I or anybody else in a similar situation, need to talk to MTC or equivalent officials ?  Can planners not design the system that takes into considerations for all ? The locations of special schools and NGOs is a publicly known data and during route designs, can this data not be an integral part ?

How could people support you in reaching your goal?

By displaying and demonstrating to people around that you are for inclusion, by sharing this petition with as many people as possible so that they know you value inclusion & also by bringing in a new mindset to planning  and design. A new approach that would entail planners spending  time with disabled persons, observing and perhaps experiencing a share of the devices and tools they use to navigate and then continuing a dialogue further. In this way the disabled person’s authentic experiences remain at the center of the design.

Petition: Bulletproof Jackets For Soldiers

This petition started by Sagina Walyat says, ''We don’t want bullet trains. We want proper bulletproof jackets first. A lot of our soldiers don’t have proper bulletproof jackets. Our policemen and even our SWAT teams are fighting terrorists wearing cricket helmets and knee pads. This is gear for sportsmen, not soldiers. Please provide adequate bulletproof armour for our army and policemen. Let us try and give our soldiers the best protection possible.''

The Railways Surge Pricing And The Voices Against It

When Indian Railways introduced dynamic pricing for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains, people chose Change.org to raise their concerns asking for a roll back:  

Fair fares in Railways

The petition says, ''With effect from September 9, 2016 the government has introduced dynamic fare price in select trains. Traveling in Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duranto is not luxury but a need of common man. It is highly unfair to selectively raise fares by dynamic pricing.AC travel is not luxury but necessity. The government should not behave like cab aggregators and airline companies who fleece people at drop of hat.''

Rollback dynamic pricing

''Rajdhani and Shatabdi tickets are already expensive. By creating a pricing policy where the middle class can no longer afford these trains the Government has shown disregard to a vast section of the Indian population'', says the petition.  

Here are some more petitions on the topic: 

Victory: Karnataka government issues guidelines to make schools safer for children

Schools in Karnataka are now safer for our children. In just a week, 1.5 lakh people forced the state government to issue a circular to all schools for better security. This circular lists guidelines for the schools such as forming child protection committees in all schools, conducting thorough background check for the staff and Installing CCTV cameras in schools.

Thank you all for your support. Schools in Karnataka will now be safer for our children. In just a week, 1.5 lakh people forced the state government to issue a circular to all schools for better security of our children.This circular lists 70 guidelines for the schools including my demands like forming child protection committee in all schools, conducting thorough background check for the staff and Installing CCTV cameras in schools. This is a big first step by the government and I am hopeful that they will continue with more proactive steps to make schools safer. Thank you for all the support and congratulations on this victory!

(This mail was sent by Pavithra Shetty to her supporters)

Victory: Uber mandates a 7 year background check of its drivers

Over 63,000 people came together to demand Uber implement background checks for drivers in India like they do in the US. Uber responded and has now given a commitment to ensure that background checks, document verification and police re-verification is done for all its drivers in the country.

When I started this petition, I was shocked and outraged. A 25-year-old girl was raped by an Uber driver and I felt that the company MUST take its share of responsibility. But it wasn’t just me. 63 thousand supporters of this petition felt the same way.

I’m so pleased to announce that your voices have made Uber listen to us! They have agreed to prioritise and commit to the safety of their customers.

I am particularly happy that Uber has taken strict measures to ensure that background checks, document verification and police re-verification is done for all its drivers in the country. This will go a long way in rebuilding our trust towards the company.

Uber made daily commute easier for a lot of women and I believe that by introducing these safety measures the company has engaged with the demands of its customers and this has happened because of you and me.

(Alina Tiphagne started this petition and got victory. The Blog post is excerpts from his thank you mail to his supporters)

Victory: Central Government Retracts Proposal to Tax EPF

The campaign to save the Employee Provident Fund from further taxes gathered tremendous momentum in just a week and played a key role in getting the Government to withdraw the proposal. The petition and the online mobilisation was one of the key rallying points of the national outrage around this proposal.

Vaibhav’s message: 

Your support played a significant role in gathering massive support for our campaign against EPF Tax. We gathered almost 2.4 lakh signatures and sent thousands of Facebook posts and Tweets.

We got noticed in the media and even the Government heard us. The Finance Minister's EPF rollback was as much because of you as it was because of the Prime Minister or the opposition.

We will keep a close eye on this issue to ensure that our retirement savings stay safe. If ever the Government tries this again, we will reopen our campaign and fight again.

Congratulations on a tremendous victory and thank you for being active about this. I wish you luck with all the fights you choose to support or start petitions on.

Victory: Delhi Government Builds Memorial dedicated to Kalam

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Culture Minister Kapil Mishra responded to this campaign to preserve Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's memory through a knowledge centre. Even though Kalam's residence was reallocated, the Delhi Government has built a knowledge centre with his books and possessions.

Bhagwan Singh’s message:

I am so happy, and so would be millions of Kalam's admirers and followers, that the Delhi Government has initiated steps to build a Knowledge Centre in the Capital in memory of the great patriot and using his huge collection of books and manuscripts. The three-member expert team that the Delhi Government had set up to guide them through the whole process visited Kalam's home town Rameswaram recently and presented its report to the Government. Soon the belongings of Kalam will be taken back from his house in Rameswaram to be placed in a large building for public exhibition. They will be shifted into the Kalam Knowledge Centre as soon as it is built, which I hope will be done real soon. Thank you, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Thank you all, my friends who joined me in this campaign. Thank you, Change.org. Thank you, News7Tamil, my great partner in this noble task.