The Community Health Team at NJH observed the World Disability Day today. The day is officially celebrated on December 3rd. But, logistics demanded that we celebrate it on today. It was a grand success.
For a place like NJH, we have discovered that the issue of disabled people being brought to the mainstream is quite a new thing. There is so much to be done. It was more than couple of years back, when we started asking questions about people with disability in the communities we served in.
What did we find - - -
1. Very few knew about the disabled in the community. I asked for numbers from my colleagues in the Community Health department. After 2 weeks, they told me that there must be a maximum of 20 people with disabilities in the whole block (the total population of Satbarwa block is approximately 60,000). Then about a month later, the staff told me that there will not be more than 40 people in the block. By God's grace and help from our team at Community Health Central Office, we got couple of projects for the disabled. An official house to house survey started in the block. So far, we've already crossed 800 people with disabilities in the block. I'm sure we'll find more.
2. The next question we asked was about their well being. Nobody thought that anything good would come out of a person with disabilities. One of our retired staff had a daughter with special needs. Everybody talks in hushed voices about her. It was quite a sight to see her all cleaned up and interacting with our staff after we intervened. There was another boy with hearing impairment . . . the parents could not believe us when we told them that the boy can achieve quite a lot in life. And his home was on the lane bordering the hospital boundary.
3. The last thing we found out today. In the whole block, there were only 17 disability certificates issued till date. And almost all of them were above the age of 50 years. And the last one was issued quite a long time back.
We know that we can make an impact in the region on the lives of the disabled.
Of course, the snaps from the program today.
|Students with special abilities from the Carmel Asha Nivas, Latehar present the welcome song|
|The Civil Surgeon, Palamu - Dr. Gopal Shrivastava addressing the gathering|
|Lighting the lamp.|
|A song sung by the people with disabilities from our neighbouring villages|
|A dance presented by children with disabilities from the Carmel Asha Nivas, Latehar|
|The audience enjoying the proceedings|
In communities such as ours where basic issues like neglect of women and children continues to beg attention, our efforts in mainstreaming the disabled is going to be a major challenge. We request your prayers and well wishes as we serve.