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Nagaland: Disability rights activist Diethono Nakhro wins A Kevichusa Citizenship Award 2020

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By EMN Updated: Nov 30, 2020 9:24 pm
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Diethono Nakhro along with members of the Kevichusa Foundation and others during the annual citizenship award function in Kohima on Monday.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Nov. 30 (EMN):
Nagaland State Commissioner of Person with Disabilities (PwDs) and former editor of Eastern Mirror, Diethono Nakhro is the recipient of the Angami Kevichusa Citizenship Award 2020, for her outspoken advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities.

She was awarded INR 3 lakh along with a citation and medallion at the annual citizenship award organised by the Kevichusa Foundation, held at RCEMPA in Jotsoma, on November 30.

In her acceptance speech, Nakhro said that the foundation has amplified the voice of the differently-abled community with the award.

She was awarded  INR 3 lakh along with a citation and medallion at the annual citizenship award organised by the Kevichusa Foundation, held at RCEMPA in Jotsoma, on November 30.

In her acceptance speech, Nakhro said that the foundation has amplified the voice of the differently-abled community with the award.

“To even be considered as a worthy candidate is a privilege and it is with humility and gratitude that I accept this award instituted in the name of a great Naga citizen”, she added.

“The disability community is always in need of allies who are willing to stand and work with us, to intervene, to use their own power and privilege to improve situations for those who might need a little help in raising their voice,” the commissioner maintained.

Recounting the accident she had met with in 2006, which lead to the paralysis of the lower half of her  body, she said that she was ‘angry with herself and everyone and even with God. ‘

However, she said that the accident was ‘life changing; the consequences beyond devastating at that time, but it could not have been any different. What happened needed to happen; God never does anything accidentally. It was the necessary fire that gave me a new direction and purpose’.

Being a person with a disability, she realised that there are many stereotypes and negative attitudes attached to disability. ‘It is seen as an abnormality, a tragedy, and a disabled life is often regarded as helpless and hopeless. People living with disabilities are more often than not viewed as objects of pity and charity,’ she said.

“They are literally invisible, excluded, and socially isolated and that nobody seemed to care. They exist but it was like they didn’t matter, their lives didn’t matter. 

“Most children with disabilities are unable to go to school, get proper education because of inaccessible school buildings, lack of accessible curriculum, lack of trained teachers and so on – but who was talking about it?,’ she queried. 

“Nobody was talking about disability out loud. There was and, in fact, there is still so much stigma around disability, it’s like a shameful, dirty little secret that we keep locked up behind closed doors”, Nakhro added.

She also pointed out that disability does not necessarily mean poverty, but people with disabilities are more likely to face poverty than people without disabilities. This is due to discrimination, limited access to education, employment and lack of inclusion in livelihood and other social programmes.

Women with disabilities face double the discrimination and difficulties – first because of their gender, and second the obstacles and barriers they encounter because of their disability. Therefore, this has placed disabled women and girls at higher risk of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation, particularly girls and women with psychosocial disabilities.

In recent times, she said that there’s better awareness and steps are being taken to improve accessibility; inclusive education is being taken much more seriously, etc, she added.

“But the fact remains that there is still a very long way to go and so much more needs to be done for Nagaland to become truly inclusive and enabling,” Nakhro added. 

President of The Kevichusa Foundation, Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa said that the award was instituted to forge, foster, promote, and to celebrate the idea and ideal of citizenship—the idea of living not just for ourselves but for the common and for others. It was instituted to recognise anyone who is in his/her own way doing something consistently for the common good, he said.

The award was instituted in 2017. Previous three recipient of the award were Moamenla, director of Mother’s Hope (2017), Dr. Chingmak Chang, founder of the Eleutheros Christian Society (2018) and Forum for Naga Reconciliation Convener Rev. Dr. Wati Aier (2019).

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By EMN Updated: Nov 30, 2020 9:24:02 pm