Ulgulan Talks! : Interview with Alice Abraham

The Sangyan
4 min readJul 4, 2022

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In this second interview of The Sangyan’s ‘Ulgulan Talks!’, an endeavor to voice the issues of the larger interest of ‘We, the People’, Abhishek (the interviewer) talks with Alice Abraham, a young woman from Thrissur, Kerala, primarily regarding the impact of climate change on her life and her disability.

Alice is MPhil in Comparative Literature from the University of Hyderabad and at present, working as an NCPEDP- Javed Abidi Fellow on Disability. She has been advocating for digital accessibility and has an interest in Disability Rights, Advocacy, Gender Rights, Writing, Digital Inclusion, Research, and Social Work. Alice can be reached on her LinkedIn profile.

This interview was conducted in the last week of June 2022 through online mode in written format. The due informed consent of the interviewee has been taken before the publication of the blog. Further, the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ of the interviewee shall be respected.

A traditional food preparing setup from a tribal village with text written over it “The Sangyan — Ulgulan Talks!”.
The Sangyan — Ulgulan Talks!

Hello Alice, please talk about your life journey in some detail for our readers.

I am currently a Javed Abidi fellow on disability at NCPEDP. I have previously worked as a content writer and editor for online media. I am a person who loves literature, and books and lead a quiet life. I started college wanting to be a professor, and do a Ph.D. but had to take a break from dreams due to my chronic illness. Although I started work after my MPhil, I had to leave the job due to the lack of accommodation for my condition. My love for books and reading started my journey toward accessing books and articles online and I started understanding the importance of the digital world in the life of a person with a disability. However, due to the lack of accessibility in the online world and the huge digital divide in our country, we have so much to do to make the internet available and accessible. Therefore, I chose my topic on digital accessibility and education for the fellowship.

An image of Alice Abraham with glass sitting on a black couch.
In Picture: Alice Abraham

Please talk about your condition/disability and comorbidities, if any, in some detail.

I live with Juvenile Rheumatoid Athritis (JRA) for the last 20 years. The condition led to inflammation of my eyes (Uveaitis) and glaucoma due to which I became visually impaired. I also have to be on immunosuppressant medication for my condition therefore I have low immunity and several allergies.

Please talk about your experience with climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heat waves, cyclones, floods, etc.) that affected or worsened your experience or condition. Please provide a personal account if plausible.

RA can flare up and cause severe joint pain and stiffness in extreme weather, especially during winter and rainy weather. I have lived in coastal regions like Chennai and Kerala which goes through flood and cyclones every year. My first experience with floods was in Chennai in the year 2015. I was stranded at a railway station for several hours since I couldn’t reach my house alone because of my visual impairment. I have to be on higher doses of medication mostly especially during harsh monsoons to deal with joint pains and inflammation of the eyes.

What do you think about climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heat waves, cyclones, floods, etc.) acting as a threat multiplier and resulting in capability deprivation from your personal experience? Please provide a personal account if plausible.

There is a high chance of my condition getting worse always during harsh rainy seasons. Since I live in Kerala which gets heavy rainfall and has seen floods since 2018, I need to always anticipate flare-ups. Also, even sudden shifts in the weather increase my allergies and the high chance of getting other illnesses such as cold, fever, etc. because of low immunity.

Please tell me about any measure/action you took to mitigate the negative impact of climate change (read extreme weather and climatic conditions like heat waves, cyclones, floods, etc.) in your life to avoid worse-off experiences? Please provide a personal account if plausible.

I always consult my doctor before the start of the rainy season and adjust my medications to avoid relapse of symptoms and flare-ups. I always stock essential medication for a month to avoid going out of medication which happened during the floods of 2016 in Chennai.

This was Alice Abraham talking about her life journey and her experience with disability and climate change. We, at The Sangyan and Ulgulan Talks! thank her for giving her precious time and an opportunity to know about her and her story.

Abhishek Kumar is an NCPEDP-Javed Abidi fellow on Disability who is currently working on the “Impact of Climate Change on People with Disabilities. The author can be reached at <abhishek.ncpedp@gmail.com>.

The interview has been published on the blog of The Sangyan as part of its public engagement and discourse initiative called ‘Ulgulan Talks!’.

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The Sangyan

Law. Environment. Disability | Curator ~ Adv. Abhishek Kumar | Working on the 'Impact of Climate Change on Persons with Disabilities' | thesangyan.in | 🇮🇳 |