Having a disability, or in better terms being differently abled, means that an individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits their ability to do/participate in life activities. In an ableist world where it often is assumed that everyone present is able bodied, it can be extremely challenging for people who are differently abled to ask for and receive any kinds of accommodations.
In such cases, accommodations are not requested for one’s comfort or luxury. Rather, it is a basic need and right for an individual to participate in many activities without their disability hindering them. In fact, according to the UN it is a violation of Human Rights for instance not to provide accessible facilities for disabled people.
PROJECT-E, like any other educational institution, also has to consider the ways in which it can make being a student at the institute accessible for students who are qualified otherwise but may feel like their disability can appear as a disadvantageous factor in reaching their potential. Any educational institution has the responsibility of assisting its students through difficulties, whether they are manifested physically or mentally. The first step in doing so is by simply acknowledging the normative ignorance that prevails in many spaces when it comes to disabilities. We want students to feel heard, and we want to address their concerns to make sure that they are getting the assistance they need and deserve.
The International Day of Persons with Disability is on the third of December. Every year, this day is given a theme in order for us to envision what we should be striving for in being allies and fellow human beings of people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “The Future is Accessible”. One in seven people experience disability globally, once again showing just how little has been done to accommodate such a big percentage of people. It is not the job of a few advocates to make this world equitable and accessible to all. It requires a collective effort and an understanding of the importance of having everyone be able to contribute to discourse and action without having to work two, three, four times as hard to sit at the same table of conversation as others. On this day, we hope as many people as possible take a moment to consider their surroundings and ask to what extent these spaces are made accessible for all people? In what ways can we work on improving the spaces we inhabit without thought for others? And what do we fail to consider as able bodied people in an ableist world?
Written by Ruth Makonnen