Ampati, December 06: Mahendraganj MLA and Meghalaya State Resource Mobilization & Employment Generation Council (MSRMEGC) Chairperson Dikkanchi D Shira on December 05 handed a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the father of Klingson Marak, a visually impaired footballer, during the celebration of International Day for Persons with Disabilities at Ampati. She handed the cheque on behalf of the Department of Sports & Youth Affairs in the presence of South West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Cyril Darlong Diengdoh and other district officers. Klingson Marak, a resident of Rongsepgre under Zizak C&RD Block in South West Garo Hills is a visually impaired athlete selected to represent the country in the upcoming Football World Cup for the blind. He is presently undergoing training at Kerala.
During the celebration, Shira distributed MUDRA loan cheques to two Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) skilled in cane and bamboo crafts. Shira accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner and Block Development Officer also distributed aids and appliances comprising of foldable wheel chairs, walking sticks, elbow crutches and hearing aids to PWDs during the celebration.
Addressing the gathering during the celebration, MLA Shira said that the day was being celebrated to acknowledge the rights and talents of the differently abled. “Every person, no matter what the disability, has the right to equal opportunities and it is the duty of the parents and the community as a whole to safeguard their rights and to provide for them” she said.
Emphasizing on the need for more NGOs in the district dedicated to the welfare of the differently abled, Shira said that the PWDs needed hand held support. “The government has launched initiatives to ensure equal rights and opportunities for the differently abled” she stated and urged the gathering to see past the disabilities and acknowledge their talents. “Let us not see only the negative side of disability but see past it. People with disabilities have since ages been contributing immensely to the society, take for example Stephen Hawkings who diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease and bound to a wheelchair, dependent on a computerised voice system for communication, continues his research into theoretical Physics” Shira said. She also urged the gathering to dispel any misconceived notions regarding disabilities.
Also speaking on the occasion, South West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Cyril Darlong Diengdoh said that it is the mandate of the District Administration to provide equal opportunities to the differently abled. He emphasized on hassle free availability of basic amenities for the differently abled in government offices and said that filling up of forms and necessary documents in government establishments should be made PWD friendly.
Speaking on the need for more Self Help Groups (SHGs) dedicated to look out for the welfare of the differently abled, the Deputy Commissioner urged the MLA to motivate the people to form PWD centered SHGs. “A lot more has to be done to provide greater opportunities to our friends with disabilities and a comprehensive district level policy on disability should be drafted” he said.
During the programme, Jonsing B Marak, a visually impaired, urged the government to establish a Braille printing press during his brief address.
As part of the celebration, sports activities for the differently abled was organised at Ampati Students Field in the morning, followed by a rally to and fro Ampati Market and back to the venue by the differently abled accompanied by parents, students and district officials. Prizes and mementos were also distributed to winners of the sports by MRMEGC Chairman Dikkanchi D Shira.