Fellow Since 2002
NOPD ( Nav Chetana Organisation for People with Disabilities )
This profile was prepared when Suresh Kushtagi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Suresh is leading the disabled citizens' movement for 80 million disabled people in rural India. By building a membership-based organization of disabled people who live in villages, Suresh enables the rural disabled to become active participants in their communities. His organization, Navchetana Organization for People with Disabilities (NOPD), is building collaborative disability networks at local and state levels to ensure that disabled citizens have access to services reserved for them under the Persons with Disabilities Act. The disabled are trained to raise awareness, involve other citizen sector organizations, and ensure effective government implementation of the act. In creating an organized constituency of people, Suresh hopes that disabled Indians will gain the power to influence governments at local, regional, and national levels. His idea has already spread throughout 16 Indian districts with many more on the horizon.