Hundreds of youngsters participated in rallies and events organised in the city on Thursday as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Various organisations held programmes on the theme ‘Making the Millennium Development Goals inclusive: empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world.’

On the Marina Beach, despite showers, several students stood hand in hand with youngsters in wheelchairs and those with mental retardation. They were at a rally organised by a non-government organisation Aide et Action, that was flagged off by film maker Vasanth.

The participants held placards appealing for understanding that they were part of society and their requirements are met. “It is about being able to access places of worship, theatre and school,” said K. Sivagami, Head, Inclusive Education, Aide et Action. “There are ramps in schools but how can children with disability reach the school? What about toilets and chairs for them?” she wondered.

At the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, K.K. Nagar, winners of events received wheelchairs and artificial limb and callipers, said Director in-charge V.S. Mahendran.

Health Secretary V.K.Subburaj presented lifetime achievement awards to retired employees of the Institute. An ambulance driver, Mani, was honoured for his services.

In the programme organised by Cheshire Homes in Mamallapuram, about 500 persons with disability participated, according to S. Marimuthu, manager.

The National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities organised programmes at Muttukadu.

Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers hosted an event along with V-Excel Trust.

A release from the hotel said at the event ‘Special children of God,’ persons with special needs received gift hampers and treated to a meal.

Celebrities Chitra Visweswaran and Vyjayanthimala Bali took part.

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