DISABILITY: A SPECIAL KIND OF DIVERSITY
By: Bliss Ndapasowa
The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities South Africa (NCPPDSA) has taken a firm stand against stereotyping and intolerance that arises from visual judgment of appearance.
As the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognised International Diversity Day Thursday, the NCPPDSA joined in celebration and launched the I See You campaign; an initiative that appreciates individual uniqueness.
South Africa has celebrated various forms of diversity from race, gender, culture and religion but has paid less attention to the story of the disabled portion of society.
The campaign is said to have been founded on the belief that people with disabilities are merely judged on their outlook as society rarely spares time to look at the human being beyond the facade. It is therefore set to push the realisation of the abilities of the disabled and bring communities to stop judging people’s differences, but notice the uniqueness.
Brian Sweetlove of the NCPPDSA stated that the organisation ought to promote understanding and interaction of different people by realising each other’s talent through this campaign.
“Our mission is to get South Africa working together to make our country and our world a more tolerant and beautiful place, and to celebrate the magic that everyone can bring to the world,” he said.
These fundamental societal principles were supported by participants from various similar campaigns including Casual Day; South Africa’s most successful fundraising initiative that raises awareness for persons with disabilities. Casual Day, which will involve dressing up and down by millions of adherents, is set to be celebrated on the 5th of September this year.
“Persons living with disabilities are part of communities all over the country and we cannot just dedicate one day to them,” said Celeste Vinassa, project manager and leader of the Casual Day as she talked about the oncoming event at the International Diversity Day.
The I See You campaign is also set to launch a social media campaign that will encourage everyone from different walks of life to illustrate diversity of the world by sharing pictures and experiences.
The event was greatly inspired by the presence of wheelchair tennis champion Lucas Sithole hence gave a meaning to diverse sense of the disabled.