Sonal Jain completed graduation in Bachelors of Business Administration from IP University. She started Rising Star Khilte Chehre with a mission of changing the word disability into ability. Sonal says, “We cannot give them sight, but the experience that we are providing them, through our initiative will definitely give them vision for life. With RSKC, I am on mission to create a world where no individual feels confined, by their physical or mental barriers.” Rising Star Khilte Chehre gives the liberty, self-confidence and accessibility to differently able people for them to say, “YES I CAN TRAVEL”, because travel is not just a means of leisure, rather it is how you feel content and connected to your own being while exploring yourself. Today, Sonal want to create a world where differently able people can fearlessly explore the world and fulfill their dreams without limiting themselves. Here is our conversation with Sonal Jain.
Tell us about your organization – Rising Star Khilte Chehre
Rising Star Khilte Chehre is a dream of a woman to make this world more accessible and inclusive for those who don’t get to reach out to the possibilities on their own, to those who cannot explore all the extremes of their potential on their own, “the differently able”.
The ideology behind her efforts of the NGO is to proliferate the idea that one of the basic needs is feeling content and connected to your own being for an individual, besides food and shelter, and that can only be done while you explore yourself. With the world moving forward through the means of “Globalization”, imagine how confined is the life of those for whom ‘Diversity” is just a term and not an experience.
Through Khilte Chehre we make a humble attempt of making travel possible and accessible for differently-able people, starting with visually impaired community, so that they can fulfill their most unfulfilled desires, experience the food, beauty, and fun around the world and have smiles on their faces even for those who either can’t afford or unable to independently travel themselves. Travelling is just not a leisure activity, traveling is a source of experiential learning. Visiting diverse cultures and people is an extreme source of learning.
Organising tours for the visually impaired is unheard of. How did you initiate this venture and what is your motive behind this unusual activity?
I have been volunteering to help the visually impaired people since very young age, and while being a part of this, I came to know that travelling is one of the most unfulfilled desires of visually impaired people, and the very same day I decided to make the spark that was ignited in me, into a reality and I gave that effort the name of Rising Star Khilte Chehre with the love and support of all the strong females in my family, who pledged and made RSKC their dream too.
The motive behind this effort is very simple, to reach out to every person in the corners of the world so that we can convey the importance of psychological independence to the world.
Our history is filled with examples where differently able people have achieved what their counterparts could not. Imagine with all the resources that we get to receive for our skill development, using the same resources modified to fit the need of the differently abled, we can unleash the potential of countless number of people and actually make this world a better place to live which is not just more accessible but also more inclusive, for everyone. Just addressing mental barriers of differently able people will pave ways of happiness for them, and moreover, it will open ways of acceptance for them, acceptance of not just self, but of the world too.
Who inspired you to undertake such tours?
The passion and the zeal of the visually impaired community inspired us. Their curiosity to keep exploring the world with us, despite their shortcomings, motivated us. The love that we received from the flag bearers of the community, kept us going. We started with a desire to make a change, and now it has become our passion, our purpose.
What kind of challenges do you face in such ventures?
In the beginning it was a challenge for us to convince the people from the community to be a part of this initiative because this is one of its kind in the whole world and hence there were many trust issues. It was beyond their imagination for an organisation to exist who was thinking of their psychological needs. It was also difficult for the people from the able population to accept them not as a liability on them but as an independent asset to the society.
How many tours you have conducted so far?
Till now we have successfully organized 19 events for their wholesome development, which includes 9 trips, 7 domestic (Pangot, Mussoorie, Rishikesh, Jim Corbett, Jaipur, Goa and Vaishnodevi&Patnitop) and 2 international (Dubai and Thailand) and 10 skill development events (NAACH’19, The Music Affaire, Dandiya, Durga Puja Run, Dussehra With A Cause, Delhi Heritage Walk, White Cane Safety Day, Literature Festival, Sashakt Divyang, Apna Ghar).
Who funds these tours?
Till now we have been the major contributor towards these tours ourselves with support from our friends and family. We want to call the society at large to help us reach every individual in the world who needs us to see their best version.
How does this challenged community take the venture?
Initially, the community took its own time to accept this concept but once they started trusting our intentions and our working patterns, we are showered with love and support from the community. Now we have travellers from not just PAN India, but people from other countries have approached us.
What are your vision and the next level for your enterprise?
We envision to launch a mobile application, worldwide, on the ideology of “community helping community”, named YES I CAN TRAVEL (YICT). YICT is an attempt to give the sense of independence to differently able people so that they also can feel that the world they are inhabitants of, as their own. YICT will be a platform for differently able people to find volunteers wherever they wish to go, either for a vacation or for some formal occasion. The volunteers will undergo rigorous screening procedure so as to make sure that nobody with ill intentions is a part of such a noble cause. This platform will bridge the gap between these two sections of population and will give them an opportunity to help each other be the best version of them.