Wednesday, February 1, 2023

International Day for PwDs observed in Kohima


Along with the rest of the world, International Day for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) was observed at NBCC Convention Hall, Kohima o9n Saturday with the lady wife of the chief minister of Nagaland, Kaisa Rio as the special guest.
Speaking on the occasion, Kaisa Rio said that stigma, discrimination and negligence all often mean that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) experience poorer health, lower educational achievements, lower employment and labour force participation rates and higher rates of poverty than the rest of the population.
Rio said as per census 2011, India was home to over 26.8 million persons with disabilities while in Nagaland census 2011 records 29,631 persons with disabilities, which was about 1.5% of the state’s total population.
However, she said the figure was a very conservative figure and the actual number would be much higher since the data has not been updated in the intervening years and hoped to get an accurate figure in the new census.
Rio said families and communities were enriched by the presence of PwDs in everyone’s lives and are inspired by how they teach to accept challenges with grace and humility and for this, she said “We honour them and their tremendous strength, resilience and skill”.
The special asserted there are many barriers that still exist in society that impedes their success and realisation of their full potential.
She said the statistics which showed that around 15 % of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people live with disabilities make PwDs the world’s largest minority and the World Health Organisation revealed that the figure will continue to grow.
Rio also said the sad reality was that in many societies, including Naga society, PwDs often faces physical, social, economic, and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of their society.
Though much progress was made in the state, Rio said much more remains to be done and it needs to keep pushing forward.
She was quoted as saying, “PWDs have the right to work, to live independently, to equal opportunities, to participate fully in the life of their community and the right to a life without barriers”. She urged the citizens of the state to change the way one thinks about the disability and help grow a more inclusive Nagaland, build an inclusive and just future for everyone; a future that leaves no one behind.
Deputy director and nodal officer department of Social Welfare, Imkongzenla in her brief address said the occasion was auspicious since it helps people to understand more about disabilities.
She said it was not just a person’s responsibility but responsibility for all to find solutions and create an equitable world together.
State Commissioner for persons with disabilities, Diethono Nakhro in her keynote said that the world was at a critical moment in history and it was time to act and find joint solutions in building a more sustainable and resilient world for all.
Nakhro focused her address on “Accessible and Inclusive Tourism” stating that state continue to push forward in making Nagaland a top tourist destination, however she said the aspect of Accessible Tourism cannot be ignored which was all about making travel and tourism destinations, products, services and information suitable for all those who have particular accessibility needs which does not only mean the disabled community, but includes the elderly and travellers with young children.
She said making tourism accessible was not only a social responsibility but also a compelling business case as there was a growing body of evidence showing that people with disabilities and their support ecosystem make up a significant proportion of the overall global tourism market.
Here, she said the state was missing out on this huge business opportunity because it does not care to address the need to make the state’s tourism responsible, accessible and inclusive.
Nakhro reminded that no development goal will ever be successfully achieved as long as a huge chunk of the population was excluded and left behind and unless disability inclusion was made there can never be any kind of meaningful development.

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