Where Lies the Disability; in our Body or in our Minds?
On a recent visit to one of the famous clothing malls in Kolkata, I encountered a different vision of disability. While most of us are used to seeing disabled people either begging on roads or not being able to lead a normal life because of their physical constraints, the sight at the mall was overwhelming.
All these prestigious malls have highly qualified staff who are always ready for call-to-action to solve the queries of their customers. While I and my husband were checking out clothes, we had an issue with the size of a pair of jeans. Like all regular buyers, we also looked for help from a staff member and called one. The staff member, a woman, came to help us.
She donned the uniform like all other staff present there and was all chivalrous too when she attended us. It was only when we asked for a different size, that we realized she was deaf and dumb! Still, she understood what we asked for and waved to us saying that there is no alternate size available for the piece! Stunned by the sight I just encountered, I started thinking, where is the disability? is it actually our bodies or our minds that are disabled?
You are only disabled when you give up!
We have all read about famous personalities like Stephen Hawking or Nick Vujicic who are disabled, yet they achieved greater heights throughout their lives. They have not only led a good life of their own but they have also inspired and touched the lives of millions of people who thought their disabilities might end their desires to live a normal life.
These are a few that have surpassed the barriers life has thrown at them and have managed to reach the top irrespective of their limited reaches! But there are many who are still struggling, many who are not as confident as the woman on the mall to lead a life like others, and many who are hustling every day in self-doubts! There is a ray of hope for all. And not only motivation from famous personalities, but your own determination will help you achieve heights that you are unaware of!
Small efforts can bring bigger changes!
Sometimes it is not about the luck of the disabled persons that keep them away from achieving heights but it’s also about normal people like us who do not rely on their abilities to give them a chance. But times are changing and the fate of the physically disabled people is not going to be limited to the 3-4 percent PwD quotas in several sectors of education and work. A recent report by UNESCO suggests that they have joined in discussion with one of the world’s largest technical giants, Microsoft, to bring about a change in the workforce for the disabled.
In the report, they have mentioned that UNESCO and Microsoft will be working on creating opportunities for disabled people in the coming years to make them eligible for working in all sectors available under Microsoft. They will be guided and trained to live life at par with their non-disabled counterparts. Microsoft is already practicing the disability-inclusive employment scheme. And after noticing the woman at the mall, I believe more employers are already actively participating in this practice.
Grit and determination have no better substitutes…
Physical disability is something that may obstruct our regular movement but it must not be something that disables our minds too! When your determination is rock solid, your success is a matter of time! The grit and determination to defeat our physical disabilities and achieve great purposes in life should not be deterred by such obstacles. History suggests there is no better alternative to success than hard work and determination.
And thus, no matter whether you have one lesser limb or inability to hear, you’re still WHOLE in your mind and you can be as normal as a person with two legs and two hands. It is all in your minds and it is YOU who determines your fate and nobody and nothing should come in between you and your goals! And if you fall short of motivation, watch the Paralympics; people with all sorts of disabilities come together to celebrate sports that are considered a fit person’s game!
Let us all do our bits to eradicate disability discrimination…
According to WHO, around 15% of the total world population suffers from some, or the other kind of disability. It takes the number to over 1 billion. While some suffer from mental disabilities, some have physical impairments. There are several NGOs and social welfare organizations that are working day in and day out to ensure that disabled persons get a life equal to their non-disabled counterparts.
But still, there are many of them who are not even authorized to get the minimum survival needs and the required treatments for their impairments. Sometimes the surroundings and environment that a person lives in play a major role in his or her growth as an individual. We, the ones who are fortunate enough to have normal physical and mental abilities must be mindful of them. The least we can do is be kind! We must neither taunt people with disabilities nor mock them for their conditions. Rather we must lend our helping hands to them however and whenever possible.
As the big companies like Microsoft or the mall that I visited are working towards normalizing disabled people in the work field, we as individuals must also think and act upon it. I remember another instance from my experiences that I want to share. Those who have the experience of traveling in public buses, know that there is always a reserved seat for handicapped people.
Yes, there is ONLY one seat! And even if you are seated on that ONE seat, you have to leave it if a handicapped person boards the bus. But I always thought, why is there a need for that reserved seat in public buses? Is it not normal human behavior to leave a seat for the people who are less privileged than us, physically? And what if there are two handicapped people on the bus and as there is ONLY ONE seat, so, does it mean that the other won’t have a seat?
Given the kind of crowd that these public buses bear is scary most times. And in such a mess, if there is a handicapped person boarding the bus, it should be out of pure humanity that we should leave the seat and not because it is reserved! If together we act upon such small issues, together we can make it large one day! THINK ABOUT IT!
In my late 20s, I am passionate about writing, exploring ideas, appreciating the good, and surviving the bad. I believe in healing from things that do not show scars and thrive to help others heal too! I am also a practicing psychological counselor! Be with me on my journey towards Enriching Minds and Comforting Souls!