Celebrating International Day of Persons with disabilities

Launching of resources for persons with disabilities

See the person, not the disability


A two-day national disability seminar from 2-3 December was held coinciding with the International Day of Persons with disabilities (IDPD) on the international theme of “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development in Bhutan”. 

Ability Bhutan Society (ABS) in collaboration with Bhutan Foundation and Perkins International organized the national disability seminar.

According to ABS, the seminar will provide a platform for stakeholders to raise awareness on the importance of the rights, social and economic inclusion of the children and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country.

Executive director of ABS, Kuenzang N Tshering said Bhutan roughly has around 15,000 PWDs and IDPD is of great significance to them.

The conference on the other hand was an open discussion for strengthening collaborative efforts among various stakeholders; academia, parents and care giver, policy makers, health care service providers and government agencies. So as to improve accessibility and create equal opportunities and inclusive spaces, especially the children with disabilities in the field of education and training said ABS.

It was also a platform to share among the stakeholders the current practices and happenings across Bhutan and to explore some of the global best practices and opportunities to improve the delivery of services.

The two-day seminar brought together stakeholders who are working in the field of disability and explore opportunities to include persons with disabilities.

Mani Prasad Nirola, parent representative of child with PWDs, shared that parent plays a vital role in the upbringing of children and emphasized for the parents to take extra initiatives to bring positive changes in the children with PWDs.

He furthered added, children with disabilities’ parent should not be discouraged but rather encourage the child who have gifts of their own.

The seminar was aimed at improving the services of the service providers, minimize the impact of disability, creating awareness on the existing services and policies, and working together to bring the PWDs closer to the community. 

ABS stated that the seminar was an interactive session with panel discussions on various topics such as building independence with use of assistive technology, universal design, not all disabilities are visible, social protection and rights of PWDs for social and economic inclusion.

The seminar saw about 80 participants – teachers, educators, early childhood care and development (ECCD) facilitators, Special Education Needs (SEN) aid, parents and care giver, PWDs and civil society organization representatives working in the field of disability.

According to Ability Bhutan Society, the IDPD is also aimed at promoting the rights and wellbeing of CWDs and recognize the special needs of the children and young people who are most at risk and most in need.

The closing of the seminar was graced by education minister Jai Bir Rai coinciding with IDPD which is celebrated every year on 3 December.

He said there are lots to be done and that relevant agency should come together to discuss on the important matter of PWDs and CWDs. “We now have to take action.”

From the two-day conference around 10 recommendation and resolutions were proposed by the participants in which the education ministry will oversee and work on the policy and implementation of such resolutions said education minister.

Alongside the seminar, four resources for PWDs were launched at the closing ceremony of the day that includes home based intervention videos, pamphlets – Bhutan Blocks and Sensory Room, a handbook on Early Childhood in Bhutan and short video on parent acceptance and importance of early intervention.