December 3rd is International People of Disabilities Day.
I think that this day needs more awareness because it is, unfortunately, true that people with disabilities are often looked over, and ignored in our society. This does not mean that they don’t have as valid rights as the person right next to them, who may not have any disabilities. Did you know that out of the 61 million people in America that have a disability, 1 in every 3 adults (aged 18-44) do not have a usual health care provider. Further, 33% of adults with disabilities (aged 18-44) have a healthcare need that they are not able to obtain because of the cost? So why are so many people treated differently just because they don’t fit our perception of ‘normal’?
Did you know that over half of people (54%) with a learning disability have a mental health problem? While we can’t change their mind through a magical button we can help. Simply by being inclusive, and trying our best to live in unity, we will be taking a big step forward.
People with disabilities face both physical and mental challenges which can be overcome through collective effort. To achieve this, we should start by welcoming everyone who comes our way because at the end of the day, a person is a person. Breaking the ‘barriers’ in our society one at a time will lead to a more sustainable and fair society for all people.
I also think that there is more to take from such an important day. We should envision a society that is harmoniously balanced for everyone. It is important to realise what would come with living an inclusive life, and the benefits are endless. I believe that by doing so, we can truly function - as a society - without discrimination and putting aside or ignoring people. This in turn can become the glue of unity and harmony for our society.
Therefore, it is time to act and bring change. I think this day is an opportunity to reflect, appreciate, and truly integrate people with disabilities into our everyday lives. As I mentioned before, equality, togetherness, and inclusivity are the fundamentals of a well-run society. They are also our collective responsibility. One quintessential step to achieving this is being more open and welcoming to everyone.
To conclude, I think that we should start to recognize the mental and physical needs of people with disabilities. It is time that we start to really create a uniform base, a place of equality on our planet, and why can’t that start today. Today is a very significant and important day if you make it. There are many things that we can do. Today, we can spread awareness by telling our friends and colleagues as well as posting on social media. Today, find something that supports the cause in a creative way. Today, we can make a donation to one of the charities helping people with disabilities. And most importantly, try to welcome and make everyone feel welcome and happy and part of a great society.
Credited to Prisha Gupta, Year 8, Jumeirah College, Dubai