Minister of Social Services recognizes Regional Governments’ efforts for the disabled

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Minister of Social Services Juliari P. Batubara (above). The Ministry and stakeholders need to partner up and improve access for as many disabled persons as possible. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Minister of Social Services Juliari P. Batubara has stated that the Ministry and stakeholders need to partner up and improve access for as many disabled persons as possible. One of these important partners of the Ministry of Social Services is Regional Governments, who might help with developing entrepreneurship for the disabled. For example, the Provincial Government of North Sulawesi. “In developing entrepreneurship, the Regional Government of North Sulawesi provides strong support to the Tumou Tou Visual Sensorial Disability Social Rehabilitation Office (Balai Rehabilitasi Sosial Penyandang Disabilitas Sensorik Netra – “BRSPDSN”). The BRSPDSN has provided entrepreneurial training through production installations to service beneficiaries, while the Regional Government helps to market the products created by Tumou Tou’s service beneficiaries. We hereby express our thanks to Mr. Governor of North Sulawesi,” Juliari stated during his work visit to Tumou Tou BRSPDSN, Manado, on Monday (18/11/2019).

The Minister of Social Services was attended by the Director General of Social Rehabilitation Edi Suharto, Director General of Social Empowerment Pepen Nazaruddin, Director General of Social Protection and Security Harry Hikmat and the Head of Tumou Tou BRSPDSN Kamsyiati Rotti. The event was hosted by the Governor of North Sulawesi Olly Dondokambey and his staff.

Juliari notes that Tumou Tou BRSPDSN has provided entrepreneurial skill development training to 20 service beneficiaries, who are taught how to create salable products using various materials easily found in surrounding areas. “They are also taught how to market their products, both online and in Manado City’s souvenir center. Products created thus far include tuna fish floss with various flavors and goroho banana chips,” he said, “…as tuna fish and goroho bananas are abundant in North Sulawesi. The two are characteristic commodities of the region.”

Tumou Tou BRSPDSN has also maintained cooperative ventures or partnerships with micro, small, and medium businesses, and the North Sulawesi Industrial Office, to market the creations of these visually disabled persons. However, Juliari admits that the community is far from being ideal for disabled persons. “In society, disabled persons are not yet free from stigma and discrimination,” he said. “In many cases published by the media, disabled persons are abandoned, exploited, and even abused. Many disabled persons among us are denied the dignity of being able to account for their own basic needs. Many of them cannot go to school, cannot work, do not get health service, or even have basic citizenship documents.”

Despite these challenges, the Minister of Social Services reiterates that the Ministry constantly strengthens its commitment and efforts to allow disabled persons to defend their social rights and functionalities. “The Ministry of Social Services constantly strives to ensure that disabled persons get the service that they need,” he said.

Juliari states that he is committed to the statement made by President Joko Widodo in his second-term inauguration on 20 October 2019. At the time, Jokowi stated that Ministers are not just for creating and implementing policies, but they must ensure service to the people. “The service must be enjoyed by all levels of society, including disabled persons. They have the right to live in an ideal community, free from stigmas and discrimination – in environs that support them in developing their capabilities and social responsibilities,” he said.

The limitations suffered by disabled persons might obstruct them, or lower their participation in socio-economic activities. “This in turn would increase the poverty rate of disabled persons,” Minister Juliari said. “Therefore, we need to help them enjoy their right to social services that will help them eliminate obstructions and allow them to develop their potential optimally.”

The Ministry’s Director General of Social Rehabilitation Edi Suharto stated that the Ministry of Social Services has 19 Technical Execution Units (Unit Pelaksana Teknis – “UPT”): The Central Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Central Office, Branch Offices, and Local Offices for Disabled Persons’ Social Rehabilitation. All UPTs in this Directorate General have the duty of providing advanced social rehabilitation for disabled persons. Such rehabilitation programs include the Purposeful Aid (Bantuan Bertujuan – “BanTu”) program, Therapy programs (Mental Spiritual Therapy, Psycho-social Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Livelihood Therapy), Social Care, and Family Support program.

In 2019, Tumou BRSPDSN Tou achieved the primary duty of providing advanced social rehabilitation to 485 visual disability beneficiaries. “This included activities within the Office itself, such as physical therapy, mental-spiritual therapy, psycho-social therapy, and livelihood therapy, as well as other activities outside of the Office,” Edi said. (des)