I am a physically challenged girl and have been disabled since birth. I have completed my Masters in Mass Communication at the Women’s Christian College in Chennai. I now work as a Copy Writer in an ad agency. All this would not have been possible without my initial education. However, getting into a school proved to be a herculean task for me. My parents wanted me to study in a regular school. Unfortunately, most of the famous schools in Chennai were not keen on taking on the responsibility of a disabled child.
Every school my parents approached for my admission had only one question to ask — “Why don’t you put your child in a special school?” After facing rejection time and again, the Union Christian Matriculation Higher Secondary School finally opened the doors for me. The school did not hesitate to take me in. My principal, teachers and friends never treated me differently and they made my school life memorable. My principal also made sure that my classroom was on the ground floor every year.
Fighting for equality
Generally, life for a person like me is a struggle against the system. Once I finished my degree and masters, the next big hurdle I faced was finding a job. Many companies are not forthcoming when it comes to offering a job to a disabled person. A couple of years ago, I went to a multi-national company for a job interview. I was appalled when they turned me down without even taking a look at my qualifications and experience simply because I happened to be disabled. Their excuse was that they generally do not recruit disabled people in their company.
A few years ago, I also attended a bank exam where the disabled people were seated on the second floor. Some people had to be carried up as they could not climb the stairs. After great difficulty I have managed to find a job that is in line with my qualifications as a Copy Writer. All this was possible because my parents are well-educated and financially sound. Sadly, not everyone is as fortunate as I have been. I shudder to think of the fate of the disabled people who do not have access to facilities. It is really sad that our country is so insensitive to the needs of the physically challenged.
EVELYN JEBA JONATHAN, 27, Copy Writer
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