People with disabilities, families and equal opportunities

Representation photo

Through Mr. Ahmad

DOTHER– people with disabilities can be converted from tax consumers to taxpayers, from beneficiaries to benefactors, with the possibility of developing and benefiting from equal opportunities in education, vocational training and employment.

When we look back we find that the beginnings of work for people with disabilities leading to better opportunities, more services and programs have been initiated in many cases by people with disabilities themselves or by their families. Perhaps the best example of this is Louis Braille, the inventor of what is now known as braille writing, who provided the blind with the most satisfying ways to read and write by touch. Braille has indeed opened the floodgates of knowledge to the blind and removed one of the major obstacles on the way to equal opportunities for the blind. Leading organizations for people with disabilities in India providing education, vocational training and employment services have been established by family members. Ms. Fatima Ismail, the mother of a child with polio, was the founder of the Fellowship of the Physically Handicapped in Bombay. Mrs. Mithu Alur, the mother of a spastic child, established the Spastic Society of India. The motivating spirit behind the creation of the organization for the blind in the country was Mr. M. Alpaiwalla, a blind lawyer and its founding president for the first ten years.

Since the 1970s, organizations of people with disabilities have sprung up in most countries. Perhaps the oldest of these organizations was the Bombay Association of the Blind, formed in 1974 by a group of blind people. Today there are a number of similar organizations in India including the National Federation of the Blind and the Confederation of the Blind of India.

Economic independence is the most important factor that can lead to equal opportunities and a meaningful life with self-respect and dignity. In developed and richer countries, economic independence can also be guaranteed through social security measures. In developing countries, however, social security is virtually non-existent and therefore employment with adequate wages is of paramount importance. The disabled need jobs even more desperately than the able-bodied, but as you would expect with unemployment and underemployment plaguing Third World countries, they find themselves at the bottom of the ladder. . For most people with disabilities, finding a job is difficult. Overall, those who are successful in finding jobs are able to do so in the lowest paying positions requiring few skills or aptitudes – very often, well below their capabilities and potential.

Education and vocational training facilities for people with disabilities in most developing countries have remained stagnant. While modern science and technology have made tremendous progress during the second half of the 20th century, opening up new avenues and horizons for able-bodied people, people with disabilities are still trained in traditional occupations and not in life skills. training and modern techniques. People with disabilities themselves and their families cannot and should not wait for governments and agencies / institutions to take action to improve the situation. They must now take action on their own to initiate change. Most governments in developing countries face gigantic challenges of economic growth, industrial development, social improvement, health, building infrastructure, etc. People with disabilities represent only a small proportion of the general population and are therefore given low priority in their development plans.

Unfortunately, in recent years, organizations of people with disabilities have engaged in rivalries and infighting. This caused their energies to dissipate. Much work remains to be done in developing countries. Organizations of people with disabilities could play a very important role in achieving equal opportunities by coordinating their efforts and acting in cooperation with agencies. By working together with agencies, they could become a powerful force in persuading governments to recognize the rights of people with disabilities and ensure equal opportunities.

The family plays the most crucial role in the life of a person with a disability. Beyond the basic personality traits of the person concerned, it is the attitude and actions of family members that determine the future course of the disabled person’s life. This is where the equalization of opportunities must and must begin. A child of different abilities rejected openly or secretly by the family or at the other end of the scale receiving preferential treatment is most likely to grow up to be an adult with unhealthy attitudes towards himself and towards society. It is therefore imperative that the family treat a disabled member as part of the family without rejection or “special” treatment. The family must offer equal opportunities for education, work and socialization. It is the best training the family can offer and it is also a way to ensure that the disabled member is treated normally by other acquaintances, friends and neighbors. Families can meet some of the special needs of people with disabilities, eg reading for the blind, mobility assistance for the physically disabled, interpretation for the deaf. Most importantly, the family can encourage and motivate independence to the extent possible depending on the degree of impairment.

People with disabilities in many developing countries are now taking the lead in promoting the provision of essential services and bringing about a change in attitude towards disability. However, significant changes in attitudes and true equality of opportunity will only occur when these people fully accept their responsibilities to contribute to the betterment of the community and society.

  • The author is responsible, Abhedananda Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-handed Children, Solina, Srinagar, J&K

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