MEDAN, Indonesia- An incident that happened ten years ago changed Annita Foe’s perception who runs a dental clinic in Medan, Indonesia. The dentist at the offered free check-up to a disabled patient in a wheelchair. The dentist’s willingness to help the homeless patients triggered Annita Foe 53, to start a personal mission that focuses on supporting people with transform attitudes and disabilities. The foe is the vice present of Yayasan Surya Kebenaran International that offers basic services and runs health clinics for poor people in North Sumatra. She considers them as friends as her mobilized funding has led to providing 8,000 prosthetic limbs to people disabled by birth defects, accidents, or diseases.
She ensures the best care by arranging visits of German and Dutch surgeons who perform operations on the disabled people. Her free healthcare, job training, and food aid have helped nourish the life of people with disabilities Medan. Her initiative has brought together the people under one roof to overcome the stigma attached to their disability.The report published by Australia’s Monash University in 2017 finds that around 10 million people in Indonesia have some form of disability. The majority are struggling to get acceptance from the society that has led to inefficient services or failure to get the assistive devices to make the life of a disabled easier.
The attitude towards disabled people vary across the world, but the people still have embarrassment and disgrace of welcoming a disabled child. Many communities are superstitious enough to believe that a disabled child bad luck or curse. Irwanto, the head of psychology department at Atma Jaya Catholic University, Jakarta has noted that many parents deter from registering the birth of their disabled children. They hide their disabled kids in a cramped room or give them away to orphanages or state-run institutions. The community-based support or government rehabilitation centers for the disabled and mentally ill hang by a thin thread as they suffer from overcrowding and degrading conditions. The little support is not enough to address the problem effectively.
Respecting the Rights of Disabled
The deputy director of Sydney Southeast Asia Center, Thushara Dubey notes that the Indonesian attitude towards disabled people has seen the positive evolution. Good changes have happened that advocates the rights of people with disability. With the new rule of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(2011) and the revamped legislation in 2016, Indonesia is ensuring that it meets the needs of disabled with the government support. The Government institutions have 3% reservation for employment of disabled that will improve their rights. The ministry has established associations, rapid response unit, etc. to ensure the safety and security of disabled people.
Education and Marital Life
Disability advocates like Foe are aiding in the policy-making that will overcome the suffering of disabled in under-funded infrastructure and transportation. With more facilities like elevators and wheelchair ramps, the disabled can move with ease. The activists also call for funds for education that will help break the stereotype. Today many disabled people are getting married and living a normal life that is a positive sign of acceptance from the society.