Gauri Gupta is a Law Student, Disability Facilitator, and Digital Creator who works towards creating awareness, education, and allyship for issues surrounding the lived experiences of disabled individuals.
With a focus on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) in the disability community, Gauri’s content on Instagram emphasises the experiences and challenges faced by people with disabilities along with its intersections. As a disabled individual herself, Gauri brings a unique perspective to her work. Her passion for DEI and her community make her a valuable contributor to the field.
She continues to be a driving force in creating a more inclusive society. She thinks that spreading awareness about inclusivity and accessibility is not a one-person job, but rather a collaborative effort.
1. Tell us what you are currently doing.
Academically, I am pursuing my law degree. I am also working as a disability community facilitator and creating content on Instagram where I promote and educate people about issues around disability.
2. You have been actively demanding and stressing more accessibility for people with disabilities. How far have we come as a country?
There has been a lot of progress over the years in promoting accessibility and inclusion. While we need to do a lot of work, we have made some progress. There’s still a long way to go. The existence of many physical and social barriers prevents people with disabilities from fully participating in society.
The conversation is not just limited to ramps or lifts. It’s about many other things such as the terms we use in our everyday conversations and the kind of visibility we have in media representations.
3. What do you think about the role of community in this space? Is it helpful in any way? Shed light on the role of your community in your journey.
Growing up as a person with disability, I personally did not have other people with disabilities whom I could look up to or share my experiences with. The relatability factor was always missing. While I did have the support of my family and friends, I always felt othered, when I couldn’t see another disabled person in my classroom. It always kept me out of the group in some way or the other.
As I have started to create content on social media, the role of the community has become more and more crucial, whether it’s about raising awareness, advocating or accessibility. I personally feel that bringing change in society is not a one-person job. This is a collaborative effort.
4. What strategies do you use to engage with families, caregivers, and other stakeholders to build a collaborative and supportive network around the individuals you work with?
When I engage with family, caregivers, stakeholders or people in general, I focus on working on a collaborative and teamwork approach.
Furthermore, growing up as a person with a disability, I have had my lived experiences which have helped me educate people with disabilities, stakeholders, and families to do better in many ways. I try my best to spread awareness for important issues but I also know that I can’t alone be the spokesperson for every disabled person.
I have also started to practise active listening. I listen to other people’s experiences and form a collaborative approach from there.
To answer every question in such a way that will help educate them takes patience and time. Subsequently, I also have to protect myself and ensure that my experiences as a disabled person are not invalidated.
5. How do you ensure that your content is inclusive and accessible to a diverse audience, including people with different types of disabilities?
If you try educating people while telling them you are teaching something, they will never learn. That’s why, I share my lived experiences and try to build education from that. I talk about how issues around disability, accessibility, stigma, and inclusion impact our daily life.
I also believe that if the conversation is not shared, we can’t see any change happening. To reach a diverse audience, it’s essential to ensure that our content is accessible to them. Adding descriptive captions, right hashtags, or descriptions are helpful in engaging with more and more people. I always try to ensure that my content reaches as many people as possible.