Dating apps have revolutionized the way people meet and connect with each other, but for people living with disabilities in India, finding love through these apps can be an uphill task.
According to a 2011 census, there were approximately 26.8 million people living with disabilities in India, and 40% of them were not married.
In a society where people with disabilities are often met with discrimination and exclusion, the dating scene can be particularly daunting. However, a dating app that focuses on inclusivity might be a game changer.
- Shweta Mahawar, a resident of Sitapur, a small town in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has been a wheelchair user since childhood due to polio.
- When her parents uploaded her profile on a matrimony website to find her a suitable partner, Mahawar faced exorbitant dowry demands that her parents could not meet.
She turned to dating apps but found that many of them were of no use to people with disabilities.
However, her fortunes changed in 2017 when she came across Inclov, a dating app for people with disabilities. Through the app, she met her husband, Alok Kumar, and the couple got married in 2018.
- Inclov, which had about 50,000 users with disabilities registered on its app, shut down its operations in 2019.
- However, its founder, Kalyani Khona, believes that mainstream dating apps should become more inclusive to cater to people with disabilities.
- She also organized social meetups inclusive of people with disabilities to encourage them to find love and companionship.
Minal Sethi, who launched the MatchAble app in India in September 2022, aims to provide people with disabilities with an avenue to forge relationships and socialize online.
- The app is still in its early stage with limited users, but Sethi intends to include an array of features to cater to users living with disabilities in the next phase of the app launch.
- However, disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra believes that mainstream dating apps should also become more inclusive by including questions on whether a person is open to dating people with disabilities or not.
- He also highlighted how some dating apps require users to imitate hand gestures, which is not possible for a person with a locomotor disability like himself.
In conclusion, dating apps have made it easier for people with disabilities to find love and companionship, but the process of matchmaking still requires a lot of effort.
While apps like Inclov and MatchAble have paved the way for inclusivity, mainstream dating apps should also become more inclusive to cater to the needs of people with disabilities.
With more features and a more inclusive approach, dating apps can help people with disabilities find genuine connections and lead fulfilling lives.
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