“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for worst of them all – the APATHY of human beings".– Helen Keller.
While reading this quote, I wondered what would have made a truly phenomenal lady say something like that?
And then Scott Hamilton’s word came to my mind that ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude'.
Meaning, we humans who categorize the like of us on the basis of their different abilities as ‘DIS-abled’ are actually themselves disabled.
The world however, doesn’t work according to my whims and fancies and so a disability according to WHO is defined as,
“any restriction or lack (resulting from any impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”
Going by the cited definition, our country has around 60-70 million population disabled people. In other words, 6% of our population belongs to a category which has been in a way or the other been either completely neglected or left to the clutches of mockery and disdain.
The government introduced the integrated education for disabled children (IEDC) in 1974. And the right to education for all children between 6-14 years includes the children with special needs too.
But merely making policies and implementing them are two roads apart. Neither the government nor the schools have taken any measures to incorporate these children and entitle them a brighter future that they deserve.
The result– out of 60-70 million only 2% are educated.
'The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995' was passed by the Indian Parliament in December of 1995.
The law clearly states that at least 5% of the work force both in public and private sector should employ people with disability.
But, in spite of the fact that many disabled are capable of doing productive work the situation is rather grim.
- Percentage of disabled employees in the respondent companies: 0.40%
- Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Public Sector: 0.54%
- Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Private Sector: 0.28%
- Percentage of employees with disabilities in the Multinationals: 0.05%
- Out of the 70 respondent companies, 20 companies did not employ any disabled person at all
- Out of the 70 respondent companies, only 10 were found to have 1% or above disabled employees.
the result - out of the 60-70 million only 0.1% manage to get employed.
These and many more shocking figures make us believe that why are we dragging these people as well as our country to dungeons of poverty and backwardness?
Why can’t the country provide a respectable life, proper education, employment and equal opportunities to a population which comprises of 6-7% of its people?
Why do we see these people as an object of pity and worthy only of relying on our charity?
Many of them are equally or even more capable than us. With little support (not necessarily physical but moral) they can work to lessen our burden and contribute greatly to the economic growth of a developing country like ours.
What we need to understand:
- The most basic need of the hour is to stop seeing them as someone who deserves our pity or money. They definitely are worth more.
- A disability of any kind is a disease and no borne out to make us ‘repent for our past life sins’ etc.
- Understand that disability is a very broad term – Mental, physical, other impairments are all poles apart each other and so the needs and opportunities for a person of mental disability have a stark contrast with those of a physically disabled.
- Education is important for ALL.
- A majority of them can live a normal life without any support and can work efficiently.
- Regarding the employment, various studies have shown the persons with disabilities are more likely to be regular at work and perform better than persons without any visible disability can.
And most importantly, we need to cleanse ourselves of the ‘spiritual disability’ prior to making judgments and forming convictions.
(stats taken from the world wide web).
PS : There are many NGO's and individuals who work to provide employment to people with disability.
INABILITY 2 ENABILITY is one of them. Kindly 'like' the FB page to join in and spread the word around. Your suggestions/inputs will be heartily welcomed :) Thank you.