Disabilities - Disabilities have been defined in many ways. In general, disabilities are characteristics of the body, mind, or senses that, to a greater or lesser extent, affect a person's ability to engage independently in some or all aspects of day-to-day life. Disabilities make it harder to take part in normal daily activities. Disabilities may limit what you can do physically or mentally, or they can affect your senses. Disability doesn't mean unable, and it isn't a sickness. Most people with disabilities can - and do - work, play, learn, and enjoy full healthy lives. Mobility aids and assistive devices can make all the difference.
Modern day technologies such as laptop or desktop computers present incredible potential to nations struggling to present educational opportunities to children and adults who experience forms of disabilities. A single laptop or desktop computer with an Internet connection, placed in a community setting, can help to educate an entire community - to include the people who experience forms of disabilities within the community. The price of computer hardware continues to drop, and types of computer hardware that are specifically designed to be inexpensive are available.
Software to run on computers can be expensive; however, it does not need to be. Linux operating systems are freely available through the Internet and offer equivalent features to proprietary operating systems. Some Linux operating systems offer educational versions filled with items designed specifically for the education of children.
Availability is a key to education in many of the nations struggling to provide educational opportunities to people who experience disabilities where items such as computer hardware and software are concerned. These two items are far from the only issues to be sure. Educated people who are willing to teach others are another very prominent issue in many nations, to include the United States of America.
Chronic unemployment of People with Disabilities exists in many of the world's nations, an issue that continues to find many of us struggling to survive. We witness non-disabled persons going to their jobs, day in and out, wondering why the abilities we do have are consistently being ignored. Even in the United States of America, People with Disabilities have always experienced the highest rate of unemployment.
While it might seem unreasonable to some, a solution to the issue of chronic unemployment of People with Disabilities in nations around the world may be to require employers with more than 25 employees to ensure that 15% of their employees are People with Disabilities. The percentage is an approximate reflection of the portion of the population in a number of nations who experience a form of disability.
Legislation requiring the inclusion of People with Disabilities in employment could be used and enforced until the levels of People with Disabilities in the workforces in nations reach acceptable levels and demonstrate they are persisting. Enabling People with Disabilities to work on part-time, full-time, job sharing, and ad-hoc basis can also help to fulfill requirements to employ us in the workplaces of nations.
The right to vote is the most basic of rights to participate in the government of a nation any citizen can have. When this right does not exist simply because a person experiences a form of disability, what remains amounts to political bigotry. A government that does not allow a person with disabilities to vote is a government that is enforcing the political isolation of a citizen with disabilities.
Accessibility of voting places is a major issue for many People with Disabilities in nations around the world. Voting places are many times designed for able-bodied people, to be plain. Transportation to and from voting places is another issue People with Disabilities must overcome if they desire to vote. Reading and understanding ballots as well as having to wait in long lines, also present challenges to People with Disabilities.
Citizens with Disabilities in nations around the world comprise large numbers of the populations of these nations. Failure to include Citizens with Disabilities in the voting processes of a government is a statement of the failure of a government to serve the entire population of the nation. When only select members of a nation have the ability to participate in the voting process, only select members of a nation are being served by the government of that nation. Citizens without representation are citizens who are oppressed.
A basic fact of life is that everyone needs health care. Many nations around the world today are struggling to provide health care to the citizens within their borders - both with and without disabilities. The challenge government's face is immense.
The focus many nations have on money before the provision of health care is a focus that finds people being excluded from receiving the health care they need. People with Disabilities often times live on fixed, low incomes; something that finds them fighting to receive health care. People with Disabilities are among the populations who need health care the most.
The focus many nations have on earning profit from the provision of health care to citizens must end. The financial balance sheets of hospitals, clinics, and other places that provide health care must all be as even as possible at the end of the fiscal year - revealing no profit that is not funneled directly back into the provision of health care services. Profiting from the health care needs of others, particularly People with Disabilities, Children, Seniors, and Veterans is grotesque.
What Does All of This Mean
Governments of more than 100 nations are very aware of issues related to People with Disabilities, School, Work, Voting, and Health Care. Many nations have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and some nations have ratified this vital document declaring they will and are working on these issues and others related to us. America, for example, has signed the Convention; but has not yet ratified it as of the time of the writing of this article.
The governments of nations that are working on these issues need the support of People with Disabilities in their efforts. Present constructive ideas to the government; give them your efforts and time. The end result will be a better nation to live in and participate in.
If the nation you live in has not signed or ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, work to inform your government of this crucial, international document and its incredible value to everyone in your nation. What all of this means to you is the ability to participate in your own nation, as well as a number of rights that ensure your safety and well-being. It means that through the participation of both your government and you - your nation can become a better place for People with Disabilities and everyone else.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the body of independent experts which monitors implementation of the Convention by the States Parties.
National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE)
"The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) is a comprehensive, one-stop resource on advising and tools for people with disabilities, professionals, educational institutions and organizations on increasing disability inclusion in international study, volunteer, teach and other exchange programs."
Learning Disabilities: National Organizations and Resources
"This reference circular describes sources of information for persons with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals."
USAID Disability Initiatives
"In July 2009, the United States joined 142 other countries in signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). That document promotes dignity, rights, and inclusive development.
Federal Employment of People with Disabilities
"This section contains a variety of resources related to the employment of people with disabilities."
Global Initiative to Enfranchise People with Disabilities
"Welcome to IFES' "ElectionAccess.org" - the first and only clearinghouse for information on the participation of people with disabilities in the electoral process. The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) is committed to extending the reach of democracy through technical assistance and support to governmental and nongovernmental organizations in new and emerging democracies."
Access to Medical Care: Two-DVD Curriculum on Treating People with Disabilities
"Full of practical, meaty information, this program demystifies disability, emphasizes that 'disability' is not 'illness.' The central theme is that the outward manifestations of disability do not mean that there is a diminution of human capacity... Powerful and instructive..." - Dr. Robert Master, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Boston.