By Bilkisu Ado Zango
The 3rd of December each year has been set aside since 1992 by the UN to celebrate International day of Disabled Persons. Theme for this year’s celebration is “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”
The day aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being and to consider how people with disability are excluded from society by promoting the removal of all types of barriers; including those relating to the physical environment, information and communications technology (ICT), or attitudinal barriers in the areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation.
The US presidential candidate Donald Trump while mocking a New York Times journalist indicated that Disablism is a global problem, with estimates of over one billion people living with disabilities worldwide facing stigma, exclusion and discrimination.
Persons with disabilities must be able to fulfil their role in society and participate on an equal basis with others. It is important to focus on the ability and not on the disability of an individual. Often, the societal image of persons with disabilities is impacted by attitudes based on stigma and discrimination, as well as archaic ideas about disability and persons with disabilities that are often the greatest barrier to their full and equal participation in society and development on an equal basis with others.
It is important to note that by promoting empowerment, real opportunities for people it enhances their own capacities and supports them in setting their own priorities. Empowerment involves investing in people – in jobs, health, nutrition, education, and social protection, hence when people are empowered they are better prepared to take advantage of opportunities, they become agents of change and can more readily embrace their civic responsibilities.
There is nothing about us without us.