I am here to recruit you!

2009-06-18 by

My name is Maria Zedda and I’m here to recruit you!

I saw the film and decided to borrow Harvey Milk’s powerful call to action because I’m not a politician, therefore I needed one sentence that would sum up my sense of urgency for the widespread need for disability equality training. Here I’d like to explain why.

What do I want to recruit people for? To stand up for disabled people’s right to access to education, employment, public life and services. Why would anyone care about disabled people? Because if disabled people can access a world free of prejudice and stigma and access barriers, then everyone else can.

Harvey Milk said about young gay people:

You have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up.

This 1977 speech is so relevant today as its principles are universal. About disability equality, the right training will show teachers how they can better support a disabled young child entering education, for example. We can do the same for young disabled people getting into university, or their first work experience. We can help spread awareness as to how to make our society more inclusive for disabled parents or carers, siblings and co-workers, for older disabled people or those who have been recently disabled.

How? Through disability equality training. We can show you how to confidently meet the needs of any disabled person, and by default make sure your school, workplace or service is more inclusive to everyone.

Some say that in times of recession the training budget is one of the first costs cut by companies, the public and third sector. Yet, with online training, organisations save labour hours, hospitality and travel costs, and they can better tap into the potential of their disabled employees and purchasing power of their disabled customers.

There is the potential of training 70,000 people who have volunteered to help in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games in London. Can you imagine what a ripple effect this will have, not only in the Capital but also in the country? All of them who will eventually progress into other things will take with them the disability equality training received wherever they go. A skill for life.

It’s absolutely vital that this training is delivered effectively and consistently by disabled trainers and disabled-led organisations with the right skills and credibility, and not simply by those claiming to represent disabled people. Nothing about us without us is still the most relevant call from the disability rights movement.

And in times where suicide of disabled people is deemed to be a reputable alternative and extreme-right politicians, adverse to diversity and inclusion, get elected to the European Parliament, it’s even more important to try our hardest to spread awareness of the right of disabled people to inclusion and the benefits that this brings not only for them but the whole of society.

Would you like your organisation to be more inclusive? Let us show you how. It does not matter if it’s me or other disability training providers: as long the training is credible let us recruit you. Because if you include disabled people, you include everybody.

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