Perspectives: Building an all inclusive society for the ‘differently-abled’

INTERNATIONAL-DAY-OF-PEOPLE-WITH-DISABILITY

He meets the deadlines, tenaciously executes plans to deliver results and is the apple of his employer’s eye, but he needs help in taking the few stairs up to the elevator that takes him to his office. He is abled in every way, but is differently-abled. A polio attack left him unable to walk without the support of his crutches. But he does not let the physical challenge come in the way of his life, but at times only his efforts aren’t enough. He and many differently-abled like him are hungry for empathy, and not sympathy.

Though a lot still needs to be done to get the differently-abled of various kinds into the mainstream, the beginning has been made at least in the employment sphere as a lot of sectors are now opening up to employing differently-abled people. At least for those with physical disabilities, employment avenues seem to be opening up with various organizations now being optimistic about hiring them.

United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Persons with Disabilities is annually held on Dec 3 to focus on issues that affect people with disabilities worldwide. It is a global observance. While estimates vary, there is growing evidence that people with disabilities comprise between 4 and 8 per cent of the India population which is around 40-90 million individuals.

 

In fact there are several institutions that provide workplace solutions to them and train them in a way so that they are employable and prove to be valuable to the companies. This is essential for them to lead a life with dignity. Nowadays, a lot of companies are coming forward to recruit differently-abled people, because they are very efficient at work and to compensate for the disability they are over careful about their work and are very loyal to the employers.

Doctors and psychiatrists are also of the opinion that it is important for hospitals and other healthcare organizations to venture beyond preventive and curative care and also ensure rehabilitation and social inclusion of the disabled. Differently-abled people, like all other people also wish to live in a society that is socially inclusive, so efforts need to be taken to make them feel included and part of the mainstream society.

Opening up some employment opportunities is just the tip of the iceberg, a lot still needs to be done in the area of building disabled friendly infrastructure in public places and fighting the stigma surrounding disability. While employment does open the floodgate to other opportunities like making friends, earning dignity in society, there are other concerns that still needs to be tackled like the stigma associated with differently-abled people. This is a deep rooted problem in our country and psychiatrists reiterate on the need to erode this stigma, to enable the differently-abled feel truly inclusive.

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