Students from Bumblebee Inclusive School presenting a song during the observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities held at Highland Park on December 3. (Morung Photo)
Morung Express News
Kohima | December 3
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was observed at Highland Park with Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy as the special guest on December 3. This year’s celebration was marked with the theme, “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”.
Reminding the gathering on this year's focus, Diethono Nakhro, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities mentioned that theme centres around the empowerment of persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as anticipated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.
"Sadly, people with disabilities are yet to be a natural part of the development agenda of Nagaland. So many development programme and activities are happening around us on a regular basis, but we’re still having to gatecrash our way in screaming and shouting because we are still not being included. We continue to be an afterthought: a good deed which I suppose some Christians think will get them to heaven," rued Nakhro.
The conversation on disability has to change, asserted the State Commissioner who noted that the conversation on disability can no longer be about overcoming deficiencies but about potential. Further the conversation cannot be about tragedy. "Disability is not a tragedy. Let’s change the conversation to a celebration of the glorious disabilities that we all have," remarked Nakhro.
Nakhro further asserted that the conversation on disability issues, should not be reduced to charity. "We are certainly not anyone’s good deed ticket to heaven. We are just asking for our rights as equal citizens," noted Nakhro.
Acknowledging the presence of PwDs both young and old at the celebration, Nakhro hoped that such strong presence will reshape the image that society has of them. "We may be different but we’re fine with that. It is society that has a problem and it is society that has to change," said Nakhro.
Concluding her welcome speech on a positive note, Nakhro stated, "Our movement here in Nagaland is gaining strength day by day and though we still have a long, long way to go, we will continue marching ahead together."
Admitting that Nagaland including its government has not sensitive enough to the plight of the PwDs, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said, “It is our society which is the problem and not the person with disabilities."
The need to do away with ignorance and wrongful attitude was stressed, where Toy urged the gathering to work towards a better World
While speaking for the PwDs, Toy also acknowledged the efforts of each caregivers for their sincerity, motivation and patience towards the special needs of the children.
Offering his commitment on behalf of the government of Nagaland, Toy assured that the State will strive to make things better in upscaling the activities of the Persons living with disabilities and to include more visibility for them.
"We hope to see the PwDs in the future to take part in decision making and not just in its participation," Toy concluded.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the UN in 1992. The day aims to promote the rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.