Encourage disabled people to participate in regular services
State commissioner for persons with disability, Diethono Nakhro on Thursday said that the Church could educate the Naga population on disabled persons as it had a huge influence in the state.
Speaking at the Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (ABAM) “Social Concern Sesquicentennial Programme for differently abled persons” at Aoyimti Baptist Church on the theme “let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalms 150:6) as special guest, Diethono said the Church could become a role model for other societies to bring about an inclusion of disabled persons in their lives.
She also acknowledged ABAM for organising the programme in commemoration of its sesquicentennial jubilee celebration and cited examples on how the Church could be a platform to eradicate negative mindset towards disabled persons.
She hinted about throwing open the doors of the Church to the disabled, not in forms of special services but encouraging disabled people to participate in regular services such as “a sign language interpreter at worship service”.
The state commissioner for persons with disability said many times, disability inclusion was thought of as separate special activity however, it was about including disabled in general activities and providing them equal opportunities.
In this regard, she said that the Church had the capacity to transform lives of people with disability, their families and caregivers.
She also stressed that it meant providing people with disability equal opportunity in areas of education, employment, business, housing, etc.
Disability is neglected by Nagas in general
While lamenting that disability was neglected by Nagas in general including the state government and civil society organisations (CSOs), Diethono maintained that even though Nagas think they did not have negative attitude towards disability, it was so “ingrained” and it happened involuntarily. She informed that as per 2011 census, India was home to around 26.8 million disabled people with roughly around 29,631 in the state. Diethono however pointed out that the numbers were “conservative” figures and the absolute figures would be much higher.
Stating that disabled people were the “world’s largest minority”, she said that she was not born disabled but met with an accident in 2006 which injured her spinal cord and led to the disability.
She shared that she was initially frustrated and wallowed in self-pity, however later, she realised that what had happened to her was a necessary fire for her to do what she was currently doing.
She disclosed that although she was able to restart her life, she found out that disabled people existed but did not matter to the larger society.
Speaking on the types of disability, Diethono said not all disabilities were visible and although people were inclined to group people with disability as one, this, however was not true. “Disability is diverse and our needs are different” she stated.
Earlier, introduction of programme was delivered by ABAM executive secretary, Rev. Dr. Mar Pongener, Bible reading by members of Deaf Biblical Ministry Dimapur and special song by Imsungla.
After the formal programme, curricular activities for disabled persons were conducted followed by a discussion on how to do mission works with the help of disabled persons.
During the discussion hour, MD (PMR) senior specialist, DDRC, Dr. Imlitemsü Ozükum spoke on “addressing issues of disabilities from medical perspectives” while a talk on “addressing the issues of disabilities” was given by Maong Jamir.