Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.
The theme of 2022 for International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. In 2006 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Most countries ratified the UN CRPD by now. Some did so almost immediately, others much later like the country I live in the Netherlands.
Still to often life with disabilities is a struggle in so many ways, like the systemic discrimination against people with disabilities, endless bureaucracy to get necessary support and aids, and lacking accessibility of our societies. Please realise the mode of existence of people with disabilities is not a corrupted version of able bodied persons. We are not broken and we do not need to be ‘fixed’. We just have some special needs and with a little help so much is possible.
I have been born abled bodied, but for the last 30 years I am a person with disabilities. I lost my health to post-traumatic dystrophy (PTD) in my left foot. Unfortunately, my condition deteriorated slowly but surely over the years. Weakened by the PTD some latently present symptoms could worsen and become chronic. The result is that I am severely limited in what I am able to do due to physical and energetic limitations.
Something I had not realised when I was able bodied is how important it is not to try to think for other people, to assume you know what they need or is best for them. If I want to be helpful I ask if my help is needed and what exactly. I learned to be honest if I’m not able to do exactly what is asked for. Sometimes it turns out a little change is fine and sometimes it is better to ask somebody else. A person who is blind recently said to me: communication is everything. And I whole heartedly agree.
Article 3 of the CRPD
Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
Equality of opportunity;
Equality between men and women;
Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
Equality between men and women should be equality between sex, gender and gender identity by now.