By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 3: The Tibetan group Tibetan Ability Centre (TAC) in Dharamshala on Friday observed the ‘International Day of People with Disabilities’ to advocate for a more inclusive society in the Tibetan community. “Everywhere, we have often marginalized them to the edge of society. Their individuality is often left unrecognized and many are not able to engage in the community building process as a result. The same thing happens in our community,” TAC Director Delek Wangmo told Phayul.
The organization aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. TAC on their website vows to increase awareness for persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. “We are aware of the difficulties faced by differently able-bodied people in our community, and want to stress that they are equally part of our society,” she further remarked.
The group strives to support the differently abled people living in various Tibetan refugee settlements in India through healthcare, socioeconomic support, inclusive education awareness, and early intervention programs. Like any other community, Wangmo said, the exile community also suffers from ignorance around the subject. “There is one kind of understanding that we still continue to talk about, like how the disease must be a result of their past karma which has made them what they are today. This mentality affects the family’s growth and hinders the support system around the individual to thrive,” she commented on the current scenario in our community.
“For us, it may not seem like a problem. But if we look carefully in settlements, schools [among others], there are over 1000 disabled individuals according to a population census done in 2000,” TAC Director said. According to a 2016 survey where 82 people participated, the group found that early intervention and inclusive education for children is vital for their betterment through various treatments.