This video shows what can happen when we widen our world-view of education and disability, and realize that they go hand-in-hand.
Mankind is built on the idea that, if the human race has everything it needs, it can thrive. As a society, we often believe that to be a truth that guides our lives and our success. We may even consider it a fact–but what if didn’t have everything we needed to have the opportunity to thrive?
What if that right was taken away–or worse, not considered a right at all? What if we didn’t know enough to fight for that right? Would we begin to crack underneath the pressure of not knowing where to go or what to do, or would we take steps to educate ourselves–so we could then show others what we’re capable of if we’re simply given a chance?
When we talk about human or civil rights, individuals with disabilities are often last on anyone’s list. Thus, the need to prove oneself becomes essential–and so does the need for education, It may not be the kind of education that’s found in a classroom, but it provides an undeniable drive to push forward, as it has done for 14-year-old Reshma Babu.
Babu is a young, ambitious woman living in the complex country of India. She contracted polio as an infant–leaving her permanently disabled. According to Upworthy.com, she has been in the care of her aunt since–and when she was old enough to receive a formal education, people on the outside looking in told she didn’t need an education because of her disability.
This claim echoed throughout Babu’s life until tenth grade. She attended school everyday, accompanied by her aunt–who also paid for her tuition. Those in the neighborhood believed this was a radical, wasteful thing to do. asking this woman why she even bothered educating her niece. They would go on to belittle Babu to the point where she knew she had to take a risk, a country where women are often placed at the very bottom of the social and economic hierarchy. She applied for a job.
Not only did she apply, but she was hired as a telephone operator at a call center in India known as Vindhya. The company’s commitment to not only hiring but promoting social justice among 80 percent of its disabled employees sets them apart from its other competition. Reshma’s hiring marks a major milestone for humanity in India, but also serves as a stark reminder that she is just one of an estimated 40 to 60 million disabled individuals currently living in India. It’s also a reminder of their deep, constant collective struggle for equality, which is highlighted through Reshma’s story in the video above.
It’s said that India is one of the most advanced countries in terms of its technology and architecture. Sensibly, that would lead one to believe education, in some capacity, has had a role in the country earning that distinction–but what does that say for those 40 to 60 million disabled people living there? Why are they being left in the dark and disregarded?
It’s true that hardship and struggle lurks around every corner no matter where people happen to be in the world. When we start to segregate one area as being worse than another, however, that’s when the perception of our own prejudices get in the way. Just remember this: Mankind may have the power to contribute to that struggle, and even cause it–but we also have the power to contribute to our collective resolve.
Photo Credit: Al_HikesAZ/Flickr