World Disability Day: Towards an inclusive society
KOHIMA, DECEMBER 3
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2015 was observed in the state capital Kohima with an emphasis on the need to build a more inclusive society where there is full participation and equality among all the sections of the society, including the differently-abled community.
In Nagaland, as per the 2011 Census, there are 29631 persons with disability(ies), who together constitute 1.75% of the total population of the state. Unfortunately, many people are still unaware of the barriers that persons living with disabilities face and they are not given enough opportunity to participate fully with the rest of the citizens in all aspects of life.
In his address on the occasion, minister for School Education & SCERT, Yitachu said this day is for all sections of the society- individuals, organizations, government and the society as a whole to reflect on what they can do for the differently abled and work concertedly to ensure their full participation with equality.
He lamented that the set-up of Naga society today is disabled in its very functioning in many ways due to the inability of the people to come together. For the society to grow stronger and progress,
Yitachu said the weaker section of people in the society has to be empowered, including the people living with disabilities. “A society that cannot take care of those who require special attention, that society cannot grow or march ahead of others,” the minister stated.
He also highlighted that the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) has implemented ‘Integrated Education for Disabled Children’ at the secondary level which provides for extra teachers to give extra attention to children with special needs, and called upon the concerned organisations and authorities to carry out the programme which is implemented in the state.
Yitachu expressed hope that through the observance of the World Disabled Day, the right message will reach out to every citizen and right steps will be initiated to make the Naga society more inclusive in the days to come. The minister also released the NAPAD table calendar for 2016 on the occasion.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kohima, Rovilatuo Mor in his address expressed appreciation to Nagaland Parents’ Association for the Disabled (NAPAD) for taking initiative and making sacrifices to organise the event every year, generating awareness to the general public about the needs of special children. As a member of NAPAD, Mor shared that disability is a natural phenomena that requires proper and sound attention. He also stressed the need for the people to open up and take steps to ensure that the differently abled persons are able to have optimum participation in the society.
He also moderated an interactive session on behalf of the Election department with regard to the assistance required by persons with disabilities during voting, which would be carried forward to the Election Commission. He informed that the government has already initiated to provide ramp facility at different polling stations to facilitate the voting rights of the differently abled and ensure their full participation in the election process. Some of the suggestions put up by the gathering included conveyance for persons with disabilities to the polling booth, separate polling booths for PWDs so as to relieve them the difficulty of waiting in long queues etc.
OSD Social Welfare Department, Keweu Kenye who delivered the keynote address emphasized the need for inclusion of representatives of PWDs in decision making bodies and the planning process such as the planning board for Smart City Mission. She also called upon all to spread awareness, especially to all the departments of the state so that there can be a bigger participation as well as inclusiveness in public issues.
The main highlight of the programme was an Art and Singing competition keenly participated by children with special needs. Retired Chief Secretary Nagaland, Banuo Z Jamir distributed the prize and certificate to the winners.
Students of G Rio School performed a fashion show, dance and song during the programme while Zalekhrulu Lohe proposed the vote of thanks. Earlier the Kohima Town Baptist Women Union president, Lucy Tep invoked God’s blessing. The programme was jointly organised by NAPAD and Social Welfare Department.