By Rayon Lakingu – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The Department for Community Development and Religion observed the International Day of Disability today (December 3).
In a small but significant event, hosted by the department, people living with disabilities from all walks of life shared their experiences.
This year’s theme focused on empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.
Deputy Secretary for the Department of Community Development, Jean Sliviak says, for the first time the government now has a National Policy on Disability.
Launched on May 2015, the policy aims to establish and strengthen policy implementation, to bring about change, and address issues affecting persons living with Disability.
One of the participants, Mary Ikupu is a person who has been living with a disability for over 26 years. She has mobility challenges and acquired her disability through illness. She said a challenge she faces is trying to understand their own situation and communicate.
A visually-impaired person, Martin Kawage is a teacher who teaches at the St John’s Special Education Resource Centre.
He has been living with the disability since 1991. He said Children Living with Disability need to be educated to be able to speak for themselves.
Approximately 15 % of the world’s population today lives with some form of disability and in PNG, the estimated number of people living with a disability is 1.2 million.