ASEAN Focuses on Disabilities as the Center for Development

By : Hasiholan Siahaan | Thursday, October 19 2023 - 16:02 IWST

 the ASEAN High-Level Forum, one of which discussed partnership plans for disabilities, on Wednesday (11/10) in Makassar.
the ASEAN High-Level Forum, one of which discussed partnership plans for disabilities, on Wednesday (11/10) in Makassar. - MAKASSAR (October 17, 2023) – ASEAN countries have stated their commitment to accelerate the inclusion and empowerment of disabilities by making disability as the center of development.

This decision was taken as a result of discussions at the ASEAN High-Level Forum, one of which discussed partnership plans for disabilities, on Wednesday (11/10) in Makassar.

Deputy for Coordination of Social Welfare Improvement, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Culture (Kemenko PMK), Nunung Nuryartono, said that the challenges of disability inclusion include collective awareness of disabilities which is still minimal.

Therefore, at this forum, efforts were discussed that ASEAN countries and ASEAN partners could undertake to accelerate disability inclusion.

"Disability inclusion must be interpreted by the whole community so that persons with disabilities, without exception, can truly participate. If we look at the regional context, the commitment of ASEAN countries must also be followed by clear milestones," said Nunung.

Correspondingly, the Chair of the Indonesian Social Work Consortium, Bambang Shergi Laksmono, said that accelerating the disability-inclusive agenda requires working together with the community. These efforts include welcoming and encouraging active participation of persons with disabilities, empowering them, and letting persons with disabilities choose.

Moreover, Bambang said, it is necessary to pay attention to the specific needs of persons with disabilities, including building individual capacity and independence, removing social and infrastructure barriers, and preventing persons with disabilities from becoming victims of discriminatory practices, environmental degradation, drought, conflict, and so on.

Disability Inclusive Acceleration
In the context of accelerating disability inclusion and partnerships, the Minister of Social Affairs, Tri Rismaharini, underlined the importance of data accuracy and the involvement of the entire community in understanding the characteristics of each person with a disability. The Minister said, "We must know the characteristics of each disability so that we can provide appropriate treatment."

Based on this need, the Ministry launched the Hearing and Speech Disabilities Bracelet (GRUWI) in July 2023 and the Intellectual Disabilities Bracelet (GRITA) in August 2023 to answer the specific needs of persons with disabilities. Other accessibility tools such as electric wheelchairs, adaptive walking sticks, and smartphones for the blind are also provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs to support daily activities.

Since 2022, the Ministry of Social Affairs has also implemented the Nusantara Economic Heroes (PENA) program. "Every Saturday and Sunday we provide motivation for MSMEs and persons with disabilities. We provide training on product quality, marketing, branding, and licensing," explained the Minister.

"We just have to push for example with a platform that not only works at the national level but also regional and international levels. The most important thing in building entrepreneurship, especially for persons with disabilities, is not capital, but motivation. In this way, our brothers and sisters with disabilities have the enthusiasm to build a new life," concluded the Minister.

Accelerating disability inclusion is not only done by empowering persons with disabilities, but also empowering their environment to be able to create an environment that supports the disabilities development, such as an inclusive education environment, inclusive media, and inclusive employment.

Collaboration with specific partners is key to achieving disability inclusion goals. The resulting framework can be adopted by ASEAN countries as the main basis for prioritizing disability as the center of development.

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