Equal opportunity and equal wages in all work places! Everyone wants that. In all honesty, that is mainly a feminist call for women’s rights. Awareness campaigns and conferences have been held to tackles societal issues. Issues to deal with children, the less priviledged, sexualities and global warming. We seem to be forgetting something, or rather someone.
Less has been done for the handicapped. Growing up, it was a taboo to mention the word, (from where I can from) not to mention looking at them. The moment someone mentions the word “disabled everyone looks the other way. Why?
Who speaks for them? What are their rights? Who raised awareness for them. Do we even know anyone who is handicapped?
The disabled have been a part of the human population which had been set aside. Set aside by us, the able bodied. Very little is done to include them in our communities. All my years in school, every school I attended, I never saw anyone on a wheelchair. Why is that so? They are being isolated to their own spaces, according to their disability. But why?
I have heard stories of most disabled fellows, who were denied enrollment in “normal schools” with able bodied teachers and able bodied pupils. It seems like our own authorities do not want to find themselves associated with them. They feel like the handicapped comes with great responsibility. But, is that so? Or it is just pure discrimination.
Why is it that when we see someone with a disability we immediately assume they are physically helpless? Most people think a person on a wheelchair is not capable even of thinking for themselves for the very least.
Accessibility is still an issue in most public areas, restaurants, government offices (as well) and some community centres. No effort has been made to change that because no one talks about it. The disabled cannot talk about it because nobody listens to them.
Almost every public centre, including the police stations have no sign language desk. Our own police forces cannot serve the deaf community. The deaf cannot communicate directly with the force that is meant to serve them, protect them and bring justice to them. One wonders, what efforts are being done to change that?
Does anyone know that they, like everyone else, have social needs. The need to be accepted without judgement or pity? We need to accept them. We need to tolerate and accommodate them in our societies and circles. It is not necessary and neither does it help to throw a pity party over a disabled person. They have soul’s too.
Very little effort is made in our communities to recognise the rights and needs of a disabled person. Even the little children, the next generation, is raised to fear and discriminate the disabled. No one notices the damage being done or how big the damage is. As long we ourselves are okay, the world is fine, that’s how our life has been.
We need to change our mindset. To create a safe space for everyone including the disabled. We need to educate our little ones, the next generation. To create and maintain the safe spaces in the future. We need to not be afraid to mention the word “disabled” because it will remind us of our duty to them as a community. We need to create equal opportunities. Equal opportunities to them and for them as well, in our spaces.
It all has to begin with us. The world cannot be a better place if we leave someone behind in building it. Let us include everyone in everything.