International Day of People with a Disability
It only seemed right that we celebrate the International Day of People with a Disability, seeing as so much of what we do indeed does work to support, empower and advocate for people with disabilities in Nepal. Today exists to recognise the unique and true potential of the beautiful people around the world who are disadvantaged through a mental or physical disability. There are a range of abilities that do get hindered by abnormalities and it is important to recognise those differences in order to identify how best to address their needs to they can have a normal life.
This is fantastic in theory - but have you spotted the problem? It often doesn't happen...
All over the world in a range of cultures and nations, disability is seen as exactly that - a dis-ability. Attached is stigma, avoidance, prejudice, ill-treatment, in case cases even abuse, and in many cases it is simply treated with apathy.
That is how it is in Nepal - people with disabilities are viewed as if they deserve it from something they have done in a previous life. People want nothing to do with them because they think disability is bad luck and that they might be affected by that. It is a destructive and damaging cultural belief which causes much pain and poverty for those with a disability. There are people who are left in the back rooms of their house, abandoned and shut out from their local community. They are often never given the chance to go to school and are deemed unproductive and worthless to society. Even more so, they do have their disability to deal with - imagine trying to go about day to day life with a disability and without adequate medical care, treatment or interventions, they simply have to adapt. Imagine trying to cook, clean, work and raise children while missing a limb, being deaf or blind, or having another ongoing pain or deformity?
When Seven Women began, seven beautiful individual women, each with their own form of disability, they saw a glimmer of hope. By receiving training, they had the chance to improve their lives through empowerment and earning an income. Their simple yet humbling vision and mission as an organisation was to help others like themselves (people with disabilities) to improve their livelihoods. Their hope was for others to be empowered to rise above the stigma given them by society and prove that they are, as we know, beautiful, capable people worthy and deserving of a wholesome and rich life.
Isn't it amazing that we get to be a part of this solution through the work of Seven Women? We are directly partaking in the work of building a world where disability no longer prescribes how people are treated, nor contributes to whether someone lives in poverty or not.