An individual’s disability usually plays a major role in his/her life, irrespective of whether it’s positive or negative. But what is important is the fact of overcoming the challenges and developing confidence.
As a society, it is very essential to allow people with disabilities to experience a life they deserve. After all, we are all different but very much alike at the same time.
The importance of disability awareness has been given prominence over the recent decades, making it easier for the people with disabilities and the society to develop empathy for one another. Disability awareness helps in reducing the differences in opinion and improving the mind-set of the society, hence providing vast opportunities for everyone to get involved in creating a positive, inclusive society for all. According to the World Bank, “One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, and disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, have been identified with significant disabilities”. It is also stated that people with disabilities are more likely to experience a discriminatory attitude in the fields of education, health, social economy, employment and justice.
Furthermore, disability awareness signifies in educating the society regarding disability and how we as an individual can bring about the necessary changes. Learning acceptance is the fundamental of having an understanding approach to the disability awareness which hence can take place anywhere such as at home, school, workplace, health institutes, etc. However, we often see discrimination towards the people with disabilities and that can lead to the undesirable outcomes for communities as a whole. Therefore, for a better future, we must try to minimize the discriminating culture and promote disability awareness through platforms for each and every individual, so that the foundations of empathy originates and helps in breaking social barriers.
Nowadays, we see communities changing and accepting diversity which helps in making our work easy.
“Disability awareness programs are influential to the overall environment of a school. Disability awareness in schools is extremely important because it educates students so they may become better citizens. Researchers have found that disability awareness programs at schools have led young children to gain empathy and have positive attitudes. This particular attitude then further grows on an individual, making them better citizens as they mature. Another great aspect of disability awareness at school is that the classrooms are more inclusive and diverse which allows a student to learn more from his/her peers.
“Many outside influences shape a child’s attitude. They may develop ideas about diversity, life and people from home, peers, and life experiences but school plays an important role in developing attitude. As School is the place where students learn surrounded by other people with many differences. At school, students should learn to be accepting, understanding and friendly”.
Community awareness and sensitization programmes need to portray disability as an integral part of everyday life and not as an out of the ordinary occurrence. There is a need to increase peoples understanding about hidden disability conditions and their impact on a person’s functional abilities. When disability is not made to stand-out, it can result in positive attitudes about disability and encourage persons with disability to come forward to take-up rehabilitation programmes and increase their social participation.
Disability awareness programmes need to address issues that don’t reinforce negative perceptions and stereotypes about persons with disability. Positive role models of persons with disability need to be recognized, acknowledged and celebrated across cultural, social and community forums.
Disability Entrepreneurship And Leadership (DEAL) Foundation) works across the districts of Gadag and Bengaluru to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for households of people with disabilities. The aim of the foundation is to provide livelihood opportunities for 5000 families by 2025. By doing this, the foundation is also promoting awareness regarding disabilities.