Social stigma around disability still runs deep, linked to ‘curse and sin’
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Dec. 3: The World Disability Day was observed in Dimapur on Monday with an aim to empower differently abled persons by dissecting the problems and discrimination that they and their parents have had to face on a daily basis and remove the social stigma towards them.
The event was organised by Arukah Network NE cluster in collaboration with National Legal Services Authority/Dimapur District Legal Service Authority, and hosted by Western Sumi Baptist Akukuhou Kuqhakulu (WSBAK) campus, Aküvüto, Thahekhü on Dec. 4.
During this year’s event themed “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” main emphasis was given to the parents and young volunteers from Lhomithi, Aküvüto, and Thahekhü so that they could enhance the lives of differently abled persons by assisting them in their day-to-day activities and remove the social stigma towards them.
A parent admitted that he used to feel ashamed to take his differently abled child out of his house and mingle in the society but his perception completely changed after attending the ‘Family retreat for families having children with disability’ event which was held from Dec. 1 to 3rd at the WSBAK. He said that he came to the realisation that he was actually the one with “disability to understand the reality and accept” fellow human beings as they are.
Another parent asked all the parents present to remove the stigma associated with disability and to take it (disability) as a challenge; not hide but accept it. Drawing the attention towards the social stigma associated with disability in the Naga society, the parent expressed concerns on how it is linked with ‘curse and sin,’ and reminded that parents and the society should understand that all human beings are God’s creation and even disability was a ‘manifestation of God.’ The parent went on to say that involvement of parents is required to remove the difficulties and social barriers faced by people with disabilities.
Special guest of the event, Deputy Commissioner, Dimapur, Sushil Kumar Patel IAS stated that ‘disability is a subject that every individual read or heard of but does not think of as something that may happen to us.’ However, he said that there are chances of every individual becoming disabled during one’s lifetime due to aging or other reasons.
The district DC also reminded that there are several acts and schemes for the differently abled persons but it has limitations as the department alone cannot ensure its implementation, and everybody is responsible (for the implementation of schemes).
“Every person has problems in their life but when we help each other our problem lessens,” he concluded.
Indigenous Cultural Society director Dr Hesheto Y Chishi lamented on the approach of the state government towards the differently abled persons; for overlooking their ability and not including the community in the state Hornbill festival which is celebrated every year.
“We call our land as the land of festivals but the differently abled persons are not given any platform during the 10-day long festival,” Chishi lamented as he asserted “culture was meant to cultivate, motivate and inhabit.”
Differently abled children enthral crowd in Mokokchung
Dimapur, Dec. 3 (EMN): International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) was observed CURE Foundation Centre in Mokokchung on Monday with differently abled children enthralling the gathering with songs, dance and musical display.
The special programme was organised by CURE Foundation under the theme “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” according to a statement released by Lanukaba, IA Mokockhung.
Monglir, YE, MTBA maintained that “it is not for us to question why, but it is for us to overcome it through love and support.” Pointing out that disabilities do not mean only about physical and mental attribute, he said that “it also include the weaknesses in characters and habits in every individual, therefore urged people not to judge those PwD but to take them as equal with love and humility.”
The day was also observed at Mongsenyimti village community hall on Monday and it was attended by 120 people, including 49 persons with disabilities from 10 village DPOs, village council representatives, Church leaders, Watsu Unit, Student bodies and parents representatives of PwDs under Langpangkong range, according to a statement by Grace Society CBR Forum that organised the event.
Thungchanbemo, SDO (Sardar) Mokokchung, encouraged “various stakeholders of the area to be responsible by bringing the disabled community to the main stream and adopt inclusive policy and attitude towards the disabled community by giving them platform and privilege to showcase their talents.”
He thanked the Grace Society CBR Forum for taking the ‘initiative to work for the uplift of the people with disabilities in the area by encouraging and helping them in facilitating various schemes and entitlements.’ He also encouraged the participants to know their rights given in the Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.