Church Not Doing Enough To Promote Disability Inclusion, Says Diethono Nakhro - Eastern Mirror
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Church not doing enough to promote disability inclusion, says Diethono Nakhro

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: May 18, 2024 8:15 pm
Diethono Nakhro addressing the gathering sign language interpreter Eliza Chishi interpreting her speech during the Global Accessibility Awareness Day in Kohima on Saturday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Asserting that the church is “not doing enough” to promote disability inclusion, Nagaland State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Diethono Nakhro on Saturday called upon the church to step up in this role.

Nakhro was speaking on the occasion of Global Accessibility Awareness Day organised by organised by Nagaland State Disability Forum (NSDF) at Hotel Japfu in Kohima, on the theme “Accessibility in the Church”.

Opining that the church can become a role model on inclusivity, she said ‘it is so powerful that it can change perception and attitude. When awareness starts from the church, it will spread out into wider society and the society will become sensitised and inclusive in own aspect of life’.

Amenuo Khoubve sharing her personal experience and challenges in sign language during the Global Accessibility Awareness Day in Kohima on Saturday. (EM Images)

She added that the church can play a much stronger role in promoting disability inclusion in the society, not only in the church community but being a society as a whole.

With the kind of authority and influence it has, the church can educate the masses on inclusion and acceptance and encourage persons with disabilities in their gifts and abilities. It’s not only about educating the non disabled community but even the disabled community, she asserted.

Nakhro went on to say that the church can become a community where people who are not alike are living together, working together side-by-side without any discrimination, segregation or feeling of otherness that is usually associated with disabilities and other marginalised communities.

‘If we don’t make things accessible, the talk of inclusion is not going to happen. So many people live with disabilities and when we don’t provide accessibility, then a huge chunk of life are being left out,’ she pointed out.

To provide accessibility to all is just a matter of being aware and sensitised, she said, adding that it is not expensive but requires commitment and the will to do it.

Citing the number of persons with disabilities, as per 2011 census, which is just 1.5 per cent or 29,631 of the total population, she said the figure is very conservative and the count was not done properly, while expressing hope that the new census, which is yet to be out, will bring out a better figure.

She went on to say that accessibility must be provided in the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, including appropriate technologies and systems, and other facilities and services.

She also pointed out some of the basic accessibilities that can be arranged for persons with disabilities in the church are accessible toilets, provide space such as pew cut to accommodate wheelchair users inside the church, construct space ramps with railings, reserved parking space, using of colour contrast to steps and stairs, large screen displays, closed captioning of live streaming videos and holding trainings for volunteers with disability experts.

Diethono Nakhro along with NSDF members and participants during Global Accessibility Awareness Day event in Kohima on Saturday. (EM Images)

She further pointed out the importance of having a sign language interpreter during church services.

Inclusion is about opening doors and windows of the church to persons with disabilities to fully participate. It is not about creating a separate services or classrooms for them, she told the participants from various churches and Christian denominations.

Sign language interpreter Eliza Chishi interpreted the whole session, while Amenuo Khoubve, who is a hearing impaired, shared her personal experience and NSDF president Vikengunu Kera exposed the theme of the occasion.

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: May 18, 2024 8:15:47 pm
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