Tuesday 3 December 2013

International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

This day of observance was begun by the United Nations in 1992. It aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well being for persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. Very fine aims but what are the realities for the millions of people worldwide? Dismal if you are trying to live with a disability in a developing country where very often you are firmly placed at the very bottom of the society you aim to survive in. And what about here in the UK? Oh yes, we have accessible transport in most big towns and cities, and ramps into the majority of public buildings but we also have the disabled bearing the brunt of vicious cuts imposed by the current government, suffering the unfairness of Bedroom Tax, and others. Think on those things on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities. If you have to judge people living with disabilities, judge them based on what they can do, not on what they cannot. Judge them based on who they are, not who they aren't. Support their strengths and do not use their weakness to crush and destroy them to the bottom.  Otherwise, you are judging them based on your own shortcomings. 

 Africa has had enough of 'disability does not mean inability'. True inclusion of people labelled 'disabled' should involve more than just accessible toilets and ramps. People's attitudes need to change and start to recognise this group of people as full human beings. I totally agree with Emma Thompson that 'being labelled  'disabled' should not mean being disqualified from having access to EVERY aspect of life'. People who are differently abled such as myself have abilities too and this day should be about that, making sure that the society we live in is conducive to allow  these abilities to  blossom.  

No disability or dictionary out there is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person. It is only when we step out of that labelled box that our abilities begin to be fully recognised, giving us a much better definition of who we truly are as individuals. Today, I call upon every human race - Support us to break barriers, and to open doors, for an inclusive society for all. Let us take the dis out of disabled then we are able,take the cap away from handy and we are useful, take the label away and we are who we choose to become and dreams are turned into reality.

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