Coming out as Disabled: Kelechi Chioba

Wednesday 03-12-2014 - 16:58

This is a day set apart in promoting understanding of disability issues, mobilising support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disability, and also seeking to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in political, cultural and economic life as stated by UN Enable.

This is a guest blog by Kelechi Chioba, Disabled Students' Place on Black Students' Committee

As a person with disability, I often get labelled or grouped by the society with regards to the challenges I face instead of what I can accomplish. What the society need to know is that people with disability are diverse which means they possess talents and abilities to reach goals they have set for themselves despite their everyday challenges such as being bullied in schools, bus drivers failing to support their access needs, employers discriminating against them, and strangers mocking them which normally result to low self-esteem, depression, reduced participation in society and changing routines and homes.

As a black, disabled, female student, I have been challenged in so many ways: cuts, in accessibility, sexual and domestic abuse, mental health problems, low self-esteem, denied of equal access to healthcare; I can go on and on but one thing remains sure and that is I am alive and strong and believe that I can prove the world wrong when they say ‘I am disabled’, but to prove to them I can positively contribute to the growth of the economy which means ‘I am not disabled, but with disability’.

As black persons with disabilities we experience inequality in education, discrimination, racism; and we are subject to violations of dignity - violence, abuse, prejudice or disrespect because of our disability and colour.

All these drove me into disability activism, to create change, improve the living conditions of disabled people. Being a part of National Union of students and a former Disability representative at the University of Wolverhampton, I have learnt a lot and contributed to the change. In as much as we cannot see a massive change at once but little droplets of water make an ocean; let every disabled person come out from their shell and get involved in this positive change because the more the voices, the more the change.

We are with disability but are great contributors to the world: give us one moment in time.



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