Actor Kabir Bedi recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. As part of the exclusive conversation, the actor opened up about his association with Sight Savers, their latest campaign on vaccine equity and his key lockdown lessons. Read excerpts:
Speaking about Sight Savers and their latest campaign on vaccine equity, he said, “I have been the honorary brand ambassador for Sight Savers for a number of years. They have got some great programs for eye health, for people with disabilities etc. Now that we are in this sort of pandemic situation, where all of us are dealing with it and all of us are in it together, we can only get out of it if at the end of it, all of us get vaccinated together. When they came up with this campaign for vaccine equity, which meant disabled get vaccinated as well, I thought that it was a very important step to take because there are almost 26 million people, i.e 26 crore people with disabilities in India. If they don’t get vaccinated then we are defeating the purpose of mass vaccination. A lot of these people have a need to be helped and so this campaign aims to address that, to reach out and help those with disabilities around you get vaccinated. That’s why I am fully behind the campaign and I salute Sight Savers India for launching the campaign. We’ve got to get the message out to everybody- them, me, you, everybody.”
When asked what made you come on-board with Sight Savers as their brand ambassador and associate himself with social work, the actor said, “People are fascinated with celebrities. I think celebrities should do their role in spreading the awareness of causes that they believe in. Everyone has causes dear to their heart. In my case, I am involved with two major charities; not just charities but movements almost, because I don’t just give my name to a charity and say okay put me as a brand ambassador. I take my role very seriously. I’m very hands-on. I get involved. One charity, I’m involved with is this care and share italia, that raises money for slum children in India. They raise money in Italy, educate slum children in India from kindergarten to university. That’s one.”
“Sight Saving is very important to me because I saw the incredible work they were doing and I have involved myself in there. I have been to their camps in Madhya Pradesh. In India, we brought blind children from various parts of India to Mumbai to show them the sea, to make them experience what a life in a big city is like. These people who are disabled, are wonderful, talented individuals and have the same wants and aspirations as all of us. To include them in society is very important. There at Sight Savers, their school inclusion program offers blind kids with facilities and join regular classrooms. They have social inclusion programs. They try to make life easier for people with disabilities or the visually impaired etc. They restored almost 5 million people’s eyesight for free,” he added.
Reflecting upon the last year and half and what have been his lockdown lessons, the actor shared, “Everyone’s lives have been totally disrupted by this pandemic. People have lost loved ones. People have lost jobs. People have lost office spaces. Their way of life has been lost almost. Nobody is used to going around everywhere with masks and distancing, so it has been a great social disruptor. I think all of us have had to cope with this because it’s a sense of mourning for a life that once was, time that once was. January 2020 seems like the good old days, so how do we cope with this?! The thing is that we all have to adapt. I adapted personally by saying, ‘okay, what are the things I have always wanted to do that I have never been able to focus on in the way I wanted?’, I figured that I wanted to write my book in this time. I had the time to think about it, I had the time to write it and that was my way of coping with it. The routine of writing every day for five, six, seven, eight hours a day, was my way of coping with it. Everyone has to find coping mechanisms. As Darwin said, the species that survive are not necessarily the strongest or even the most intelligent, it is the species that adapts. We all have to adapt to a whole new thing and it is even harder for people with disabilities to adapt because as it is they are adapting to a normal world without all the facilities that a normal person has. Therefore, they are adapting and it is even harder for them. That’s why this idea of social inclusion. Bring people along, make sure they are vaccinated, make sure that the disabled don’t get left behind because in this world where we have to adapt to, everyone has to adapt. All of us have to do it because we are all in this together. That’s the kind of message I want to spread and promote because it is a changed world. We all have to step up and do the best we can. Be kind and compassionate. There is no better time in the world to be kind and compassionate to others than today.”
Watch the entire interview on NewsX YouTube: