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Empower PWDs!

By: Marilyn C. Arayata

HAVE you received a greeting card with an artwork made by a foot and mouth painter? I was so impressed when I got one, a UNICEF card, from a former student. It’s not that the design was exceptional that gave me a lasting impression. It was not the thoughtfulness of my student although I really appreciated the gesture. (It was an everyday card – there was no special occasion.) What I found striking was the realization that many strong and able citizens wasted their lives doing nothing while there were people without arms and legs who were simply unstoppable!

While some people in the same predicament would probably wallow in self-pity and just wait for dole outs and miracles, foot and mouth painters convey a message that they see beauty in the world – as shown in their artworks.

They believe that they can still do something worthwhile despite the things they don’t have – despite the things they lost and can never recover. They don’t indulge in self-pity. They act on their belief and find satisfaction in it.

Many people who do not have any disability find a hundred excuses for not contributing anything good and worthwhile to the society. It’s always somebody else’s fault, the weather’s fault, the traffic’s fault, and many other lame excuses. Many PWDs (Persons With Disability) do not have such excuses. In fact, they try to become self-reliant. They sell newspapers, magazines, snacks, rags, bottled water, etc. During the time when lotto outlets were not yet as ubiquitous as they are now, they also sold sweepstakes tickets outside different churches.

One toothpaste company, one shopping mall, and a call center with global reach reportedly employ PWDs. I don’t have a list. I think more companies need to reach out to PWDs and treat them like equals. Employing PWDs empowers them.
Do you empower PWDs wherever you are? Do you make the area more accessible to them by providing ramps and rails? Are they included and considered in planning activities? How about including them in planning job fairs? Are there measures to protect the rights of PWDs and to make the environment free from discrimination?

Empower PWDs!

Marilyn Arayata: inspirational author, columnist, speaker, and former DLSU-D faculty, your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. E-mail mcarayata01@gmail.com. Like the Hope Boosters Facebook Page for nuggets of hope and inspiration.

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