Reaching the Disabled in India – Avitha Daniel

Reaching the Disabled in India – Avitha Daniel


>>And I thank God for giving me this opportunity.
I come from India. I represent a small organization Jesus Enables Ministries. We not only give
computer training for disabled persons, but also find them jobs and at the same time give
them the Gospel of love. So, but we are reaching out to only .1% of the huge number of disabled
people in India, 17 million. So I will talk from my perspective about how
the global challenges are affecting people with disabilities. If you take India, we have
both the cities where things are very much better, but the rural side is still suffering
with poverty and other difficulties. If you take the villages, accessibility is very low
so – and also the attitude of the people there is like usually according to the Hindu
philosophy, it is a karma or a sin of the previous birth that they are born disabled.
So the family is not very happy about including a disabled person. There is always a sort
of – as Steve said, it’s a burden to have them in the family. And actually in the previous census they said
that the families did not even want to mention the disabled person as an entity in the family.
So that is the situation there. And to think of poverty where the earning member itself
is having difficult for their food and other things, to support somebody else, it’s very
difficult. So they always think – I have heard students, some parents come and tell
me, I wish my daughter was dead, right in front of them. See how difficult it will be
for that child. So that is the attitude of people. They think can I send this person
somewhere? Can I just go and leave them somewhere? Will somebody else take care? So that is a
difficult situation. And, of course, abuse is also very much there,
because when a person is dependent on somebody for their daily basic needs, we can see how
much they can abuse them not only physically, emotionally. Every day it can be really very
tough living in such an atmosphere of bitterness and anger and so many difficult situations.
So, neglect and abuse is very much a part of a disabled person. And if you take a disabled girl, I have seen
so many girls come up and tell that they have been asked – young girls have been asked
to just become a wife of the sister’s husband or something like that. So there is a lot
of sexual abuse also going on. And there is no voice for these young disabled girls to
stand up for themselves. So that is the situation there.>>Thank you. Did you want to address any
of these other questions or do you feel like you summed it up there?>>Actually, I want to tell one thing. Like,
churches should come forward to include disabled people. That is one thing which is very much
lacking, because if you take the world population and the percentage of disabled people, it
is somewhere like 8% to 10%. That means if there are 100 people in a church, there must
be at least eight persons with disabilities. But where are they? If the church is not going to include them,
who will include them? So the church – God has told us that we should love our neighbor
as ourselves, so if we can each of us can take one minute and think, if I am in that
position, if I am a person who cannot see, if I am a person who cannot hear, or if I
am a person using a wheelchair, what will I want? How should I be treated? So we teach people with visual impairment
also computers. So many times we have to put ourselves in that place and say okay, if I’m
like this, then how I should be? That is what the Bible says, you have to treat others as
yourself. So every time we – the church has to see to it that the disabled people
are included. One thing is physically they have a limitation,
emotionally there is so much of – what do you say, so much of discrimination everywhere
that a disabled person goes. And spiritually nobody really cares. The church is comfortable
ignoring the whole group. They just want to go on as if nothing, there is no disabled
person in society. So I think we should encourage our youth groups
especially to go out to reach out. Actually in the Bible Jesus went to the person who
was a paralytic for 38 years. He went there and then cured him. Four friends brought the
paralytic man through the roof. So we need four people to bring disabled people into
the church, into the Gospel, to take the Gospel to them, so we have to reach out. You can’t
just sit in the church and say maybe they should come to church. It is not going to
happen. We have to go out. So given this opportunity I want to just say
please, look around, and when you find a person with a disability, please reach out, be the
first to go and talk, first to be genuinely concerned about their needs and genuinely,
if you show your love, I’m sure they will accept the love of Jesus very soon. Thank
you.

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