December 3 is International Day of People with Disabilities whoop whoop *happy dance.* The theme for this year is Sustainable development: the promise of technology focusing on the role of technology in: disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, creating enabling working environments and disability-inclusive sustainable development goals. Prior to the day I was quite excited but as the day begun that excitement was nowhere to be found. Maybe it is because I had nothing special planned to celebrate the day. I pretty much spent the entire day at home then did an airport run and that was it. I did contemplate going to the Disability Sport and Recreation festival but like last year I had no-one to go with so I dropped the idea. I remember on this day last year being excited and filled with so much enthusiasm and asking my family and friends to copy and paste a message I wrote about disability issues in Zimbabwe and whilst some people did post the message, a significant number of people ignored the message. The fact that when I woke up today there was absolutely nothing about the day on my various social media platforms led me to believe that it’s either people do not know about the day or they don’t care because disability issues do not affect them. This really discouraged me. Why should I bother is the question that kept coming to mind? Why should I bother telling people about disability issues when it seems like the world does not care? What else can be done to raise awareness about this day? Will people care? Will people pay attention?
I was feeling very discouraged and did not want to post anything about the day till i saw the picture on the right and it reminded me why it is important to talk about disability issues. December 3 is particularly signifcant for me because i have a disability and it also reminds me of what my primary school teacher and parents did for me almost two decades ago. 17 years ago i was attending a school for children with disabilities and my teacher at the time recommended to my parents that i transfer to a mainstream school because the current school was holding me back from fulfilling my full potential. My parents took heed of this advice and two months later, in the new school year i was enrolled at my local primary school. I will write more about this in another post. Why this is signifacnt to me especially today is that without her and my parents i would not be where i am today. Both my teacher and parents not only saw my potential but they also believed in what i had the capacity to achieve. They did not exclude me but rather they included me and gave me a chance. They believed in me. That’s what i believe December 3 is all about. A day to celebrate people with disabilities, a day to believe in them, a day to believe in what they are able to achieve. A day to learn more about the challenges that we face daily. A day to learn about what ways or things you can do to better our lives.What are you going to do from here on to learn more about disability issues? What are you going to do to improve the lives of those with disabilities? Disability can happen to anyone, no-one asks to be born with a disability, we just are.