‘Communities need more awareness on disabilities’

DISABLED youths at a Labasa workshop feel that the community needs to know more about disabled people to help them change their views about such groups.

Northern Youth for Disability and Supporters Association rep Divya Swami, a participant at the Pacific Youth Forum against Corruption Network training that ended yesterday at the Friendly North Inn, believes people still see them as different members of society.

“We still notice people looking at us in a different way and sometimes they say things that really hurt us,” she said.

Ms Swami said a lot of their peers who are also disabled were sometimes scared of coming out in public places.

“We want to be able to come out and freely walk through towns and shops without being criticised,” she said.

“We are normal people, we have feelings as well but we just look different which is why we are called people with special needs.”

She said a lot of awareness needed to be done from the grassroot level.

“Students in primary school level need to be taught about disabilities so they don’t grow up criticising a disabled person on the road,” she said.

“We need help from the public and we need support so we are able to move freely in towns, shops, buses and to be able to feel safe in our surroundings.”

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