How do you interact with people with disabilities (PWD)? You watch them, ignore them or pity them or treat them as a case study because they are different. Instead why not turn this around by empowering, educating, encouraging, so that every disabled individual with different needs, talents, skills, abilities, treated with equal stature, respect, opportunity, merit and just treated like everyone else, it’s not a big deal just our society’s ability to accept differences.
The term disability as defined by World Health Organization (WHO) is an umbrella term under which comes all kinds of physical handicaps. In the word disability, there is a prefix ‘dis-’ attached to the word ‘ability’. Separate this negative prefix and we will find lot of ability, potential, talent…
Few steps towards a disabled friendly and an inclusive society-
1. Empathy rather than Sympathy- Having sympathy for physically challenged people, is good but it doesn’t change anything in their lives moreover it makes them weak, emotionally and physically. Instead of this, having empathy for people with disabilities makes it easy to understand their feelings and relate to their problems well and then only we can help them to overcome that situation or ailment and lead a better life.
2. Changing the perspective- There are always two aspects of a person positive aspect and negative aspect or say weaknesses and strengths. Only we have to do is to choose to see the positive side of a person. And as we do it, it will automatically change our perspective towards people with disabilities. We would start recognizing positive things in them- their talents, abilities etc.
3. Accessible Infrastructure- For an inclusive society, it is very important to see if we have accessible infrastructures like educational institutions, hospitals, banks, malls, ATMs, railway stations and many other public places. If they are not we should bring it to the notice of those who are in charge and ensure that some accommodation is done for the physically challenged people.
4. Educate and empower- Education is the most important tool to empower disabled people. It gives them social acceptance, job opportunity, and self confidence.
5. Employment opportunities- Employment opportunities for people with disabilities however have so far been restricted due to several challenges that need to be overcome, both from the demand side (employers) and from the supply side (job seekers). Ideally, jobs have to be based on merit and employers need to realize this.
Did you know?
As per World Health Organization (WHO), there are 600 million people with disabilities in the world. Almost 10 per cent of the world’s population is disabled.
600 million people with disabilities in the world, 60 million in India alone.
(The article has been published.)