Towards an inclusive and accessible world for PwDs

Imlibenla Mongro , Clinical Psychologist, CIHSR
Imlibenla Mongro , Clinical Psychologist, CIHSR

Dimapur, December 3 (MExN): Prodigals’ Home and Christian Institute of Health Sciences & Researches (CIHSR) observed International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the theme, “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world, by, for and with Persons with Disability,” at Chakroma Public Organization Hall, Chümoukedima on December 3.

The speaker, Imlibenla Mongro, Clinical Psychologist, CIHSR stressing on “by, for and with” part of the theme said that empowering Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) by PWDs themselves has more weight whilst drawing the example of Diethono Nakhro, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Nagaland.

On the “for” part, she said, “many things are being done but still a lot need to be done, especially during and post COVID-19 pandemic; their due rights should be given,” she stressed. “We must first accept that we are all disabled in one way or the other, and only then we can work more effectively “with” the PWDs,” she opined. 

Pointing out that disability is mainly categorised into “locomotor and functional disability”, she said that, besides other disabilities, mental illness as a functional disability is most glaringly ignored. As such, she said that we all need to be aware and sensitised on mental health, which ignored, can develop into an illness and consequently a disability. 

During the ongoing pandemic, and especially during the lockdown period, she lamented that media did negligible or no coverage about the issues of persons with disability though PwDs were and are being affected severely. 

She concluded by appealing the gathering to try and think regularly about disability issues whilst setting aside just a minute or two everyday and pray for persons with disabilities. This, she said, would make us unconsciously start regarding persons with disabilities as equal partners and would “normalise” us towards working with and for PwDs more significantly.

Prodigals’ Home, Director, K Ela presenting on the topic “together we can,” appealed for inclusivity for PwDs opposed to the exclusivity which is more prevalent in our present society. She lamented that inclusion of and accessibility for PwDs in Nagaland is a far cry compared to other schools. She thus appealed the schools, colleges, churches and public institutions/places to be more accessible to PwDs and provide equal opportunities and accessibilities so that their dreams and ambitions materialise. 

Ela also highlighted briefly about Prodigals’ Home’s journey since 2007 working on the issue of disability and shared some incidents where PwDs were discriminated because of their disabilities and also some success stories. 

Keynote address by Diethono Nakhro, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, short speeches by Rajesh Soundararajan, DC, Dimapur and Dr Sedevi Angami, Director, CIHSR, song presentation by Alika & Co (all visually impaired) and “voices of persons with disability were all screened virtually.

The invocation and benediction were pronounced by Kezhalelhou Shüya, Associate Pastor, Chümoukedima Town Baptist Church and N Thungchio, Pastor, Lotha Baptist Church, Chümoukedima, respectively while Kedingunuo Sechu, staff of Prodigals’ Home, was the chairperson. The event was supported by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives Pvt Ltd and CIHSR.