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The issue of diminishing the marginalisation of mental disabilities as well as physical disabilities
The issue of marginalisation of mental as well as physical disabilities is one which thrives in many nations across the globe. To understand the issue, firstly we need to understand what a disability is. A disability is a complex, it in an impairment in the human DNA which results in either a mental disability or a physical disability. The world report on disability estimates that there is one billion people living with a disability in the world, out of whom 10% are children. In order to reduce the marginalisation of people with disabilities the environment plays a key role in aiding disabled people. However Inaccessible environments create disability by creating barriers to participation and inclusion, such as but not limited to, a deaf person without a sign language interpreter, causing communication barriers, or a wheelchair user in a building without elevators or an accessible bathroom. To help tackle these issues, the environment may be changed to improve the conditions and such changes can be brought about by legislation, policy changes and technological changes, such as but not limited to, more support services such as a guide dog given to workers, accessible design of the built environment and more opportunities and services for persons with disabilities. Children with disabilities face numerous issues in this world as UNICEF estimates that 90% of children with disabilities do not attend school, as they are often overlooked, especially in countries with a crisis, as fewer resources are made available, making them even more marginalised.
Definition of Key Terms
Diminishing comes from the root work diminish, which means to cut down or make less of, in this case diminishing the marginalization of people with disabilities would be referring to reducing the inappropriate and negative way of treating people with disabilities and rather allowing them to assimilate and become fully integrate into a normal, regularly functioning public environment.
To marginalize someone is to inappropriately treat him or her as somewhat inferior as society may view them as insignificant or irrelevant. In this case, people with mental and physical disabilities are often marginalized in our society, particularly in LEDC’s, considering the cultural stigma that remains around people with disabilities, especially mental. So marginalization is essentially the mistreatment and belittling of those who in fact deserve to be given a chance in order to contribute to society as a fully functioning individual.
Legislation, in this context, can refer to both the rules and regulations that a country has established as part of its legal and judiciary systems, and can also refer to the actual process of establishing laws and regulation. When describing a set of laws collectively, the world legislation is employed, for example instead of ‘laws protecting those with disabilities’, we would say ‘legislation protecting those with disabilities’.
A given amount of financial aid going towards a particular purpose which is generally funded by the government or other large organizations that genuinely support that particular purpose and its cause. For example, in this case, governments and organizations tend to provide grants in support of the integration of those with mental and physical disabilities. According to United States law, each and every public school must be accessible for students with physical disabilities (wheelchair, crutches, etc) and students with mental disabilities. Public schools have created separate educational programs for children with autism for example and have called them the ‘special education’ classes.
Orthotic treatment consists of a special heel or shoe insert that is meant to be custom-fit given the specific conditions and circumstances of each individual person, and is meant to help reduce foot, leg, and back-related issue given the comfort it is supposed to provide. This type of treatment is obviously targeted towards those with physical disabilities and is meant to provide them with a more comfortable lifestyle that facilitates the completion of everyday tasks.
Diversity of disability
People with disabilities are heterogeneous and very diverse, but stereotypical views of disabilities forms a picture of wheelchair users, blind and deaf people. Disabilities range from encompassing new-borns with conditions such as cerebral palsy, to the older person with dementia, or the ex-soldier who loses his limbs to a land mine, and many others. Often generalizations about “people with disabilities” can cause many misconceptions about them not being able to carry out all the tasks the average person could, giving disabled persons a greater disadvantage which is reflected in the margin of wealth and status on non-disabled persons and that of disabled persons.
Disability and development
Disability links to development because of its bidirectional link to poverty, as it may increase the risk of disability. Numerous sources of evidence from across the globe indicates that people with disabilities and their families are more likely to experience social and economic disadvantages than those without disability. this is due to various reasons, such as but not limited to, children with disabilities are less ;likely to attend schools, therefore limiting their options and leading to disabled persons facing reduced employment and decreased productivity in adulthood, which restricts their human capital. People with disabilities are very likely to be unemployed and in the case that they are employed, they generally earn less, and both those factors worsen depending upon the severity of the disability, Lack of infrastructure in as well as discrimination against disabled people further discourages self-employment and recreational activities for disabled people. Furthermore people with disabilities may face greater economic issues due to the costs associated with medical care and assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs) or the need for personal support or assistance, and thus require more resources to be able to afford such necessities. Because of higher costs and limited income many disabled households are likely to be poorer and experience material hardships, for example food and water scarcity, or lack of access to safe water, sanitation and poor housing.
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Disability has a direct correlation to the wealth of a nation, this is because the poorer, less economically developed countries (LEDC’s), experience a worse healthcare than more economically developed countries (MEDC’s). Poverty may lead to the onset health conditions such as malnutrition, diseases such as cholera and malaria, caused by poor sanitation, which may leave a permanent scar causing disability, or by lack of rehabilitation services and access to appropriate healthcare the treatment of disabled persons also becomes limited in LEDC’s.
People with disabilities can benefit from development projects, but disability needs to be a greater priority and successful initiatives need to be used on a larger scale across the globe to create a more coherent response. Disabled persons need to be included in projects as both, beneficiaries, in the design, the action and surveillance
Disability and Human rights
The Marginalization’s between disabled persons and non-disabled people, is human rights issue because people with disabilities experience inequalities throughout many stages of their lives. They are denied equal employment, education and access to healthcare due to their physical or mental disability. Disabled people are also subject to violence, abuse, prejudice and disrespected because of their disability, and some are even denied autonomy and subjected to involuntary acts, confined in institutions against their will because they are viewed as legally incompetent.
Major Countries and Organisations Involved
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
The UNRWA provides significant level of emergency humanitarian assistance, along with medical care services such as health protection, disease prevention and promotion, to raise awareness. The UNRWA provides schools for Palestinian refugees within Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, while also enabling access to their human rights. To diminish the marginalization disabled refugees face, UNRWA has been committed to implementing a twin track approach. This approach includes (1) ensuring all core programs for example education, relief, healthcare and social services are all accessible to Palestinian refugees with disabilities, (2) providing targeted disability specific support, such as the implementation of the disability programme to address particular vulnerabilities, to facilitate rehabilitation and to equalise the opportunity for disabled persons.
Approximately 4-8% of the Indian population is that of disabled people, and children with disabilities are subject to limited resources, multiple deprivations, along with limited opportunities in many dimensions of their lives. Their caretakers and families also go through countless challenges and difficulties that stem from the societal stigma that views children with mental and/or physical disabilities as being ‘abnormal’ and unable to raise properly to their full potential. It is important to note however, that in 2017 the Indian Parliament passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, in order to fulfil its obligation with the United Nation concerning the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was passed in 2007.
Statistics show that in 2006, there were 86 million disabled men and women in China, about 6.3% of their population. 75% of these disabled people lived in rural areas, most of whom lived in poverty. Around 43% of the people with disabilities above the age of 15, were illiterate.
Throughout the years China has adopted and implemented a number of laws and policies, regarding people with disabilities, including their right to productive work. “The Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons”, enacted in 1991 and was amended throughout the years, in 2008. This law protects the rights of persons with disabilities, and issues addressed are: rehabilitation, employment, cultural life, welfare, legal liability and education. The amendment in 2008 added details about more stable financial support, better medical care and better rehabilitation centres for people with disabilities.
However China is also an example of an ambitious government whose promises go unfulfilled across the nation. The laws state that children with disabilities are entitled and have a right to proper schooling, however there are no provisions for funding the local schools, to make them more accessible for children with disabilities, or buy the resources required for the school. Local authorities often neglect disabled children, and tell them to go to “special facilities” elsewhere, which are unaffordable for parents or out of their geographical reach. According to a 2013 report by Human Rights Watch, 43% of the total disabled Chinese population is disabled and only ⅓ receive the services they require. According to Handicap International, only ⅕ receive the assistive devices they need, such as walkers and prosthetics. Due to corruption, welfare funds are often stolen and are impossible to access. This is thriving issue which needs to be addressed within the nation of China.
Ghana has significantly made some official moves while addressing the state of disabled people in the country. The Persons with Disability Act (Act 715) which seeks to protect the rights of disabled persons, was passed in 2006. Additionally, a National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) was established in 2009. The aim of this was to coordinate the activities of organizations which were working for and with persons with disabilities. Along with that, it played a role of monitoring the implementation of the provisions of the Persons with Disability Act (715). Despite the official attempt done by the Government of Ghana, much more needs to be done to implement these acts and address the current issues that people with disabilities face. Service provisions which help out disabled people in Ghana, are mainly run by Non-Governmental Organisations, which have very limited resources, thus not much progress has been made since this act was passed.
Within Uganda, multiple different sources estimate that there are between 2.4 to 5 million disabled people, most of whom reside in poor households and come from a background of poverty. Despite the fact the Ugandan Government politically empowers disabled people, at various levels of the national and community government, there are only a few government programmes to assist them.
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In June 2012 and 2013 and group of Nottingham University economists, orthoptists, and medics conducted an experiment to evaluate the impacts of orthotics on the lives of disabled people. The aim of this investigation was to measure the economic benefits, the changes in quality of life, and the self-reported satisfaction of treating people with physical disabilities, out of which 78% were caused by polio.
Providing orthotic treatment improved the lifestyle of disabled people by increasing mobility which lead to an increased economic participation and earnings. This was one example of improving lives, however in developing countries, disabled people are neglected, whereas they have a great potential to be economically active.
Previous Attempts to solve the Issue and Possible Solutions
The Happy Home centre; Lebanon
The Happy Home Centre, was founded in 1986 and their work focused on three key areas, a special Education Programme, a social Awareness and Consciousness-Raising programme and a family outreach programme. Most of the 60 families which attended this centre experienced extreme poverty and almost half of the families were refugees. Sizes of the families ranged from 5 to 14. The Centre believed that education was the main tool to diminish marginalization between disabled and non-disabled persons, as they began empowering and educating women of children with disabilities, through literacy classes, group seminars and individual discussions. Within these talks, health issues and concerns were discussed along with preventive care that could be taken, as well as sensitive issues such as family planning, reproductive health care were also a concern in these discussions. This scheme helped out the parents of a disabled child, educating them and providing them with a guide to raise them to become confident and not feel segregated.
Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR); Chamarajnagar, India
Community based Rehabilitation (CBR) has been a vital strategy used to respond to the needs of disabled people, since 1970. This method has been widely used throughout the world, particularly in developing countries. This methodology involved educating and informing the community with practical information about how to implement basic rehabilitation interventions.
An example of a country using CBR is India. Chamarajanagar is one of the poorest districts of Karnataka, India. Many members of the disabled community did not have access to basic sanitation luxuries such as toilets, putting their health at risk. To tackle this issue the Indian Government began offering grants to families living in these areas to construct toilet, the total cost to construct a toilet was $150, which was unaffordable for many families, especially those with a disabled member. A local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that went by the name of Mobility India, assisted families with disabled members, to construct toilets which were accessible for people with disabilities. Using the existing community based networks, Mobility India was able to motivate the locals, and intrigue the public. With the financial support of MIBLOU, Switzerland and local donations, the group were able to construct 50 accessible toilets within a year, which meant numerous disabled people had access to sanitation facilities. The risk of them inhabiting diseases, decreased by a very large margin, due to the actions of Mobility India
More than 90 countries around the world continue to strengthen their CBR programs, and it begins to expand and revolutionize from a medical focused single sector, to multiple different sectors such as, creating strategies for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities, social inclusion of disabled people, and poverty reduction.
Safety Net interventions for people with disabilities
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that people with disabilities have an equal right to social protection, and safety nets are a type of social protection which target vulnerability and poverty.
Various countries around the world provide safety nets to disabled people living in poverty and their families, either through social assistance programmes or disability targeted programmes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that disabled people face barriers while accessing safety nets, due to the fact the welfare offices may be physically inaccessible, or information is inaccessible or inadequate, thus measures need to be taken to ensure disabled people are included within the safety net programmes.
Measures that can be taken are such as, but not limited to: information about the safety net programmes should be made accessible and reach the intended target audience which may require targeted outreach, making the welfare offices accessible as well as the transport system which leads to them, for disabled people. Additionally the programmes may need to specifically include disability, and cash transfers may provide disabled people with extra benefits to cover up their high costs of living or even the member of a disabled family member with higher payment to help with the extra costs of living with a disabled member.
Action has in fact been taken by the United Nations in order to ensure that people with both mental and physical disabilities are included within the public environment and are given the same exact opportunities given to those who are considered ‘normal’ in our world today. Treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities play a fundamental role in establishing a set of rules and regulations that rightfully allow individuals with different disabilities to assimilate into normal everyday environments by accommodating for any difficulties they may have. However, despite the clear legislation that has gone into diminishing the marginalization of people with disabilities, the issue remains regarding how to make sure these individuals are fully accommodated for and are not seen as ‘abnormal’ outsiders.
● Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 30 March 2007, (A/RES/61/106)
● Sections 501 and 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
● Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
● Article 19 recognizes the equal rights of all persons with disabilities and allows them to live independently within public communities (CRPD/C/18/R.1)
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