History is filled with famous disabled individuals from artist Frida Kahlo to political activist Helen Keller and musician Stevie Wonder. These individuals were recognised and revered for their talents and their brilliance and though less able bodied than their peers, they embraced their disability but would not let it keep them from their calling. Thanks to these pioneering figures, we as a society are increasingly seeing a new generation of disabled people focusing not on what they cannot do, but on everything they can and inspiring us all.
A noticeable shift in society has begun towards an attitude of acceptance, respect and inclusion of disabled people and the wonderful things that they are achieving despite what often seem to be insurmountable challenges.
Here’s a just few examples…
1.Model with down syndrome to take centre stage at New York Fashion Week.
Madeline Stuart, a model from Brisbane made headlines recently as she was handpicked to model for New York Fashion week. A huge achievement in itself, but perhaps what sets Madeline aside from the other models is that she has down syndrome. This is a girl on a mission to change the world for those less abled and it might just be working. Madeline hopes to inspire “families to have faith when they feel lost as everything can have a silver lining if you believe and never give up. I want to inspire people not to bully anyone to see worth in everyone as equals.” What an awesome message and one that we hope sticks.
2. Diners are eating in the dark as they let blind waiters show them the way.
A new restaurant has opened in Kenya that only employs blind wait staff. This may seem like a bold move but given that the entire restaurant is in the pitch black it seems makes perfect sense. The idea first came to life in Paris in 2004 with the idea that those dining
“re-evaluate [their] sense of taste and smell and let the the blind become our eyes” and has since gone global. This new eateries location is even more important as so often in Kenya being blind “means total dependence on your family”. As the staff get to grips with their newly found employment and skill set the prospect of earning their first paycheck is almost too much. Wanjiria who lost her sight 7 years ago, along with her job and husband has said with her first paycheck “she’d like to pay it forward and cover someone else’s school fees. Or perhaps she’ll pay the hospital bill for someone.” If that doesn’t inspire you nothing will.
3. Amazing art project aimed at changing the world’s perception of disabled people.
This project was initiated by French photographer JR and is a global campaign with the aim of changing the world’s perception about people with [dis]abilities. They want everyone to realise that anyone can and should pursue their dreams regardless of their ability (or reduced ability). Once they have taken 3000 portraits they will display the images through a series of pop-up events, including on the side walks of New York. By being so public with their displays they hope to “Reunite every foundation, every organization, every person with disabilities possible” and begin changing their mindset to one of empowerment and inclusiveness.
How can I help?
- Join everydayhero and help out some of those amazing charities that are helping disabled people in our community. Whether you choose to fundraise, make a donation or volunteer your time, you can do it all on everydayhero and make a real difference.
- Check out some important petitions currently being put forward that you can sign to help improve the lives of people with disability.
3. Spread the word by sharing this article to raise awareness for disabled individuals living in your community.