May 10-16 Disability Week: An Equal World for All

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May 10-16 Disability Week, accepted in 1982 by UN, is a week activities take place in other 192 member countries. This week is not a week of celebration, but rather a motivating all fractions of community week. In Disability Week, goals reached and not reached are reviewed, and new plans for these goals are done.

We all have a role in planning, conducting and realizing the actions about obstacles people with disabilities encounter socially economically and politically. The things need to be done for people with disabilities to have equal rights in all aspects of life are not privileges. These rights are not donations either. These are incontestable rights every individual has to have in a society.

What Is The Real Obstacle?

The word obstacle means slightly different in different sources. According to the Turkey Handicapped Sports, Education and Assistance Foundation (TESYEV)’It is the permanent decrease or loss of activities an individual encounter as a result of anatomical, physiological, psychological and social deteriorations.’’ As for American Psychological Association (APA), a disability is ‘’a condition or quality linked to a particular person. A disability is present when activities usually performed by people (such as walking, talking, reading, learning) are in some way restricted.’’ Turkish Language Association, on the other hand, defines obstacle as ‘’ a reason preventing something from happening, impediment, objection, inconvenient, problem, barricade, handicap’’. All these definitions turn into real situations they encounter every single day of their lives. The first reason for it is the restrictions of their rights of social access.

In accordance with the law no 5378 approved in July 7th 2005 in the Official Gazette;

f) Accessibility: means the state of safely and independent accessibility and usability of buildings, open areas, transportation and information services with information and communication technologies for people with disabilities. (Article 3)

There are many things to do to see the approval of this and similar laws in every aspect of life. People with no disabilities being present with awareness and participant in the matter of people with disabilities rights can be the most important thing. For a mindful individual can take an active part in detecting the violations of the rights of people with disabilities and eliminating these violations. We shouldn’t be defending the idea of accessibility for all out of the thought of ‘’ we can be handicapped one day’’. Because then this would be a protection mechanism we want for ourselves. Whereas this is an individual right. The right to exist. If we remove this barrier in our thoughts, the community will be changing both architecturally and socially. Thus the community will become a place where people with disabilities can live comfortable.

Are You Asking ‘’What Can I Do By Myself?’’

We are glad that you asked. For there are many answers for it. No matter in what part of the society or condition we are in, there are always something we can do. If we are conscious, we can lead by example. Here are a couple of them:

Parking In Front Of a Ramp? No Way!

Many people can see this and go back to their own thing in day to day life. However, for a person with disabilities that is an obstacle. If we see this obstacle and ignore it, we would be helping that obstacle staying there. Because every obstacle we don’t fix, secures its position. However what we should do is to inform the authorities and explain the situation to the person who blocked the way.

The Person with Disability We Met for the First Time is Not Our Companion-In-Arms

Asking personal questions to the person with disability we encounter in public transport, street or social gathering is interference in private life and not right. Before we help people with disabilities, we have to ask for their permission and confirm whether they need our help or not. We mustn’t touch them without permission or them knowing. Also, even if we help them a little, this doesn’t give us the right to ask private questions. After all, we shouldn’t forget the fact that the very reason we help them is the lack of social quality of the rights of people with disabilities.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Unfortunately, being mindful, being careful with our actions on certain weeks or days as May 10-16 Disability Week, is the biggest obstacle against the permanent changes. We should support people with disabilities win their rights through legal and social awareness channels ,so that they could live comfortable and without obstacles not just for a week but for all through their lives.





For Turkish Learners

You can read and listen to this article in Turkish here:



Translated by: Esra Nur Elmas