ABU Otsuki Award
“Disability doesn't mean inability We don't need any pity”
Jordan Sabah El Khouly (29/ Female)
Photo: Sabah El Khouly

Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us … We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded that we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals, and communication is the way we can bring this about.
The real problem of blindness is not the blindness itself but what the members of the general public think about it. Since the agencies doing work with the blind are part of that general public, they are likely to possess the same misconceptions that are held by the broader society. The blind, too, are part of that broader society, and if we are not careful, we will accept the public view of our limitations and thus do much to make those limitations a reality.
The blind are not psychologically or mentally different from the sighted. We are neither especially blessed nor especially cursed. We need jobs, opportunity, social acceptance, and equal treatment-not pity and custody.
Blindness is a disability, not an inability. Blind people should have the right to be treated among people without disability, or the fear of being ridiculed, embarrassed or looked down on as a lesser person because of this impairment.
People with visually impairments want to be treated like everyone else. They do not want "special" treatment. They may need an accommodation to work; but, many people wear eyeglasses to see. For them, that is an accommodation. Each one of us is a person with special needs, but these needs are different from one to other. So no one must call us that we are special needs persons or even disabled persons. Most of the famous persons in the world did wonderful things when they were disabled just like Louis Braille, Beethoven, Galileo Galilei, John Milton, Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, Franklin Roosevelt and many others. Disability is not with sense or body; it is with mind and soul.
Pity is what causes the expectations to be set lower from the beginning and this causes other employees to think people with disabilities will not carry their weight on the job. If the person is performing well, you promote them. If the person is not doing the job, you put them on a performance improvement plan and then if they are not successful, you terminate them.
Tony Coelho said "Give us the right to be fired!"
But he does not mean we want to be fired; this means we want to be treated equally. We want the chance to compete. We cannot get that chance unless others are willing to hire us. So, we can do most of things and we have to be treated as others.
The attitude of pity causes the bar to be lowered for performance and this cannot and will never be helpful. This bar is unfortunately lowered for people with disabilities throughout their lives; this must stop.
What is “normal?” We all have different abilities, talents, interests and personalities. You name it! People with disabilities go to school, get married, work, have families, play, do laundry, go shopping, eat out, travel, volunteer, vote, pay taxes, laugh, cry, plan and dream — just like everyone else. That’s patronizing. People with disabilities don’t need pity. They need access to opportunities. Adjusting to a disability requires adapting to a lifestyle, not bravery and courage.
Many studies show that employees with disabilities are often more productive, dependable and loyal than their co-workers without disabilities and that staff retention is 72% higher among persons with disabilities. That adds up to savings of millions of dollars every year in hiring and training costs. Everyone, regardless of ability, deserves to be treated with the same dignity and respect.
People with disabilities do not need sympathy or pity. They also don't need to be told that they are brave or courageous for living with a disability. Some young people with disabilities are brave; some are not, just like everyone else. People with disabilities do not need to be treated as children; they need opportunities to maximize their independence.
In order to get a job, we have to be properly trained, get proper equipment to do the work, to explore all opportunities. We put together what we know.
The blind are not psychologically or mentally different from the sighted. We are neither especially blessed nor especially cursed. We need jobs, opportunity, social acceptance, and equal treatment—not pity and custody.
We want to take the mystery out of blindness. Mostly, we who are blind are very much like you. We work and play, hope and dream, laugh and cry—just like you. We need opportunity, not pity. And we are willing to do for ourselves. That doesn't mean that we don't want or need help from our sighted friends and relatives, for we do. All of us (whether blind or not) depend on each other and need mutual help and assistance.
People with visual impairments want to work. At the end of the day, remember- they want "Money not Pity".
What we must have is not pity but understanding, not custody but opportunity, not care but acceptance. Feeling sorry for someone doesn't help; it actually hurts. Expressing to someone that you feel sorry for them can easily reinforce self pity. They don't need self pity; they need positive encouragement to help them reset the vision and direction for their life!
Thank you very much for those who deal with persons' mind not with their body senses and remember always that verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.

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