When you have a disability

Before you are disabled,

You are first a man or a woman;

You may be intellectual or may be illiterate;

You may be independent or live on social security;

You may be a breadwinner or dependent on family;

You will worry about what you will eat the next day

When you have a disability…

Before you are disabled,

You are first a learner or a student;

You may need access to transport or rely on family;

You may need a translator to hear or Braille to read;

You may be in a mainstream or a special needs school;

You will always face prejudice and discrimination

When you have a disability…

Before you are disabled,

You are first an entrepreneur;

You will struggle twice as much to obtain funding;

You may need staff to do the work you sometimes can’t;

You will always worry about gaining customers’ trust

When you have a disability…

Before you are disabled,

You are first an older person;

You may live in a home or with your children if you are fortunate;

If you are fortunate you may have friends and family for Sunday meals;

Otherwise, your every day may be filled with loneliness and sadness;

Your children will sometimes steal part of your social security grant

When you have a disability…

Your neighbour may be struggling with some sort of abuse;

Your friend may live with a debilitating health condition;

Your peers may enjoy going through puberty;

It might take you twice as long to kick-start your business;

You may be scared to grow old alone

Or fear being given a pauper’s burial because you will have nobody there

When you have a disability…

 


Emilie Olifant is a disability activist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. She is the director of the Emilie Olifant Foundation, an organisation that strives to address socio-economic issues experienced by people with disabilities. email: emilie.olifant@gmail.com

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