Disability Rights is Everyone’s Issue

by I Nengah Latra (PUSPADI Bali’s Director)

In 2017, my team and I are anticipating supporting hundreds more Balinese and East Indonesians from all walks of life who are seeking our support after losing a limb in a motorbike accident or due to diabetes, polio, congenital birth defects and a range of other factors.

It brings me great happiness when we see how one prosthetic, wheelchair or mobility aid opens up opportunities for people with a disability that they never saw possible before (things that society can often take for granted: like, the ability to work, take your kids to school, drive a motorbike or vehicle and move around one’s community).

From the incredible perspective of a child, 9-year-old Luh Kadek Gita Indriani from Ubud said she is so grateful to receive a prosthetic leg from PUSPADI Bali so that she can fulfil her dream of being able to walk independently.

The joy and appreciation she experiences from being able to now walk is written in her smile.

While we are so proud of our success stories, we are fully aware that there is still so much more to be done in this space – and the PUSPADI Bali team is up for the challenge.

The sad reality is there are still many more local people with a disability yet to be found and they’re isolated, forgotten or disempowered on an island where tourism and positive living are centre points. How can this continue to happen?

The island attracts many tourists each year to its paradise getaways but in less than an hour from its hotspots, you will find many people with disabilities hidden away in their homes because they haven’t the support to venture outside.

Tragically, many are fading away in their communities because people often can’t see past their disability or acknowledge their many skills or talents. It’s so wrong – on many levels.

People with disabilities are unfairly falling through the gaps for numerous reasons, including due to a lack of enforcement of a law protecting their rights.

While we welcomed the signing off of the Protection and Fulfillment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bali Province two years ago, we are still waiting to see visible proof that this law is being enacted in local communities.

May this be the year that we see many more local organisations, businesses and individuals putting in place disability inclusive practices where they work or interact.

We also want to see more local people with a disability gainfully employed for their skills and not out of pity.

The numerous barriers limiting people with a disability’s potential must be removed. It is why enforcing a law is so important, so that people with a disability are treated equally and with the respect, kindness and dignity that we all deserve.

We all need to take collective action and not leave it solely up to the law to bring about meaningful change in the world of people with a disability.

It is about us all individually taking the steps to build inclusive and accepting communities, which in turn will start to shift the mindset towards people with a disability from one of pity to one where they are on an equal footing with others and their opinion is valued.

Want to sponsor a prosthetic of a person with a disability or donate to PUSPADI Bali? Contact us on 0812 399 0701 or info@puspadibali.org.