Dr Nathan Grills/Mrs Natalie Tan/Ms Jubin Varghese

13.  Dr Nathan Grills, Public Health Physician, Nossal Institute for Global Health, The University of Melbourne

and Mrs Natalie Tan, involved with disability inclusion staff training and is an intern with Dr Grills

and Ms Jubin Varghese, Program Manager, Emmanuel Hospitals Association, Uttarakhand, India

Promoting Church Inclusion of Intellectual Disability Across India

Christian communities and churches in India have been slow to include people with disability and especially those with intellectual disabilities.  Justification for inclusion is throughout the Bible (Christian holy book), yet various physical and social barriers remain. In response, the Engage Disability movement was initiated in 2014. This presentation describes the case study of Engage Disability, a bottom up national movement of NGOs, churches and pastors to promote disability inclusion in faith communities in India. The Engage Disability movement was initiated and actioned by volunteers from various NGOs and churches. We reviewed and analysed the progress from the launch, to advisory group formation through to regional activities to promote church based inclusion.  In addition to participant observation, organisational leaders were interviewed, and thematic analysis was undertaken. The Engage Disability movement has become self-sustaining movement that has engaged over 5000 pastors. There is evidence this engagement has changed attitudes and practises in churches in India. Churches and NGOs can work together to promote disability inclusion in churches through engaging pastors and church members, and providing training and tools.