Khaeruddin, the Village Head of Ngeru in Moyohilir subdistrict, Sumbawa, had given a lot of thought to ensure that residents with disabilities could also access quality education and health services with ease. "During my six years serving as the village head, I have often provided special letter for persons with disabilities that want to seek medical treatment in the city," he said. According to Khaeruddin, this is because persons with disabilities often lacked legal identity document. "If you don't have a family card, birth certificate, or identity card, you can't have national health insurance number, and you can't receive any social assistance from the government," he added.
Khaeruddin mentioned how this situation had a big impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Since many persons with disabilities are not registered, they do not receive social assistance from the government," he explained. The Ngeru village government have long encouraged residents to obtain legal identity document. However, the residents themselves, especially the elderly and persons with disabilities, have been reluctant to go through the process.
Khaeruddin's long wait came to an end upon meeting Baiq Hadijah, Chair of the Samawa Association of Persons with Disabilities. According to Hadijah, “To convince persons with disabilities to manage their legal identity documents, the message must be conveyed by persons with disabilities themselves, as many families consider disabilities to be a disgrace, thus hiding them," explained Hadijah.
In early August 2020, the Ngeru village apparatus, along with Samawa Association of Persons with Disabilities, followed up on this meeting by collecting data on residents with disabilities who did not yet have legal identity document. They tallied 15 persons with disabilities and elderly people. Among them was Sulistyawati* (53), a sufferer of psychiatric disorder who lived with her sister Rohmah*. According to Rohmah, Sulistyawati has never been recorded in any document throughout her life.
Armed with this data, Hadijah and Khaeruddin coordinated with the Population and Civil Registration Office or Dinas Dukcapil of Sumbawa district "Dinas Dukcapil immediately responded by facilitating a home-call service," said Hadijah.
On the celebration of Independence Day (17 August), Dinas Dukcapil held civil registration services for disabilities and the elderly in Ngeru village. Previously, Dinas Dukcapil with support from KOMPAK had developed a mechanism for civil registration services, which is inclusive to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
That day, 17 persons with disabilities, elderly people, as well as children processed their birth certificates, family cards, and data recording for electronic ID cards. Jayakusuma, the Head of Dinas Dukcapil said that this program is intended to bring services closer to persons with disabilities and the elderly.
“We are working with village government and the Social Affairs Office to ensure that once residents obtain legal identity document, they can be directly recorded as recipients of the government’s social protection program," explained Jayakusuma. Rohmah is grateful that her sister finally receives legal identity document. "Now I know that this document is my sister’s right, so that she can be protected," said Rohmah.
Reflecting on this experience, the Ngeru village government formed the Civil Registration Working Group and Village Civil Registration Officers to ensure that all 1,931 residents had legal identity documents. “I want the Civil Registration Working Group to have representatives of women and persons with disabilities, so we can improve the service for these groups,” said Khaeruddin.
*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.