In a recent members only webinar, we were joined by a few members of the Uttarakhand Cluster in India. They shared their journey of including people with disabilities in their community using personal stories and case studies. They also shared some tools to help us include people living with disabilities in our communities. Here’s 6 things you can learn:
The identity of a person living with disability is NOT their disability. We are all created in God’s image. Therefore, we should not relate with people living with disabilities any differently, but should create safe spaces where we can build relationships with them and make them comfortable. Our programmes should be opportunities for us to connect with and learn from them. (Luke 14:13)
A community is complete only if everybody is included. As Christians, we are the body of Christ and for a body to function, all parts must be included. We should therefore include everybody including people living with disabilities into our communities and programmes so that our work will be fruitful and blessed.
Find the right people to walk the journey with you. As you run disability programmes in your community, it is easy to get lonely. Therefore, it is important to have the right people around you who will motivate you as you journey ahead. Skill is important but having people with the right heart is what matters.
Include activities in your programmes. A good way of involving people with disabilities is to engage in some activities with them. Some ideas include having a nice dinner together, taking care of children living with disabilities over the weekend, organizing family retreats and more. By doing this, you are being a blessing.
There are resources available to help you include people living with disabilities. Engage Disability India has a toolkit that you can use in your cluster/community or church. It talks about all aspects in the life of a person living with disability including health, social environment, education and livelihood. It can be used by community leaders, church leaders and organisations. To access and download the toolkit for free, click HERE
There is a programme that you can go through as a Cluster. The Beyond Suffering programme addresses the theology of disability. It addresses the questions that we ask during difficult times such as ‘Where is God in the midst of this?’ or ‘Why would God allow this to happen?’ and how we can respond. If you are interested in going through this programme as a Cluster, feel free to contact any member of the Support team who will direct you to it.
The full recording includes a wonderful personal story and more information about resources and tools. To access it, click HERE.