The Church of South India (CSI) could mandate that people with disabilities are guaranteed to be appointed to a fixed percentage of its workforce – that was one of the suggestions to emerge during a disability conclave held this week in the CSI headquarters in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The conclave brought together various stakeholders to give advice on “Holistic Accompaniment”. At the same time the CSI launched its new Disability Intervention for Solidarity and Holistic Accompaniment initiative (DISHA). The event also saw the launch of a new resource for pastors and church workers, Engaging with disabilities.
Over 70 people from the five southern states of India representing people with disabilities gathered for the two-day event which brought together people from the Church’s own ministry, CSI disability institutions, children with special needs, their parents, and CSI pastors. They were joined by specialist ministries and Christian agencies working in the area.
Among the suggestions now being considered are the promotion of integrated education facilities in CSI institutions, the removal of structural, attitudinal and ICT barriers to improving accessibility, and the promotion of disability focused discourses on Christian spirituality and Theology.
Suggestions were also made for new guidelines for the church, including ways of addressing the ways people with disabilities could participate in the Church’s existing programmes.
“It was also proposed that we as the Church of South India can be forerunners in mandating a fixed percentage of representation in the different categories of the CSI workforce which itself will be a major boost to the employment opportunities for the persons trained in the CSI institutions,” the CSI said.