International Day of People with Disabilities

Date: 30 November 2021
Author: Cathy Maker
Title: CEO of Independent Living charity - Ruils

'A world that works for everyone' – that was the mantra of our founding member, Richard Kember. He was disabled. He was disabled by a society that didn’t work for him.

He had to leave the job he loved because the school had not been built with him in mind. He had to move from his flat because the planners hadn’t thought about the barrier the stairs created. He used a wheelchair, but he was disabled by this environment. We applaud our disabled colleagues and athletes and we are inspired by their achievements, yet every day we as a society put barriers up that disable them.

At Ruils, we are constantly trying to remove these barriers. We work with people from all walks of life who need extra support to engage in a world that isn’t inclusive. Everyday tasks, that many of us do without thinking, are fraught with inherent obstacles that make each day a challenge. By providing advice, information and in some cases advocacy, we work alongside people so that they can have choice and independence.

As we celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities, take a moment, look around you. Think. What can I do to build a world that works for everyone? Does the layout of my restaurant work for all my customers? Will this small step pose a barrier? Is this lighting too bright? Will this policy work for all my staff?

Making a small change could have a big impact. It could remove that barrier that is keeping someone at home, isolated. It could give a someone the opportunity to try something new. It could send a message that this society is our society where all members are equal. It could take us one step closer to a world that works for everyone.

Cathy Maker is CEO of Independent Living charity - Ruils. Richard Kember was a founding member of Ruils and a disability activist who passed away in November 2015.

Ruils supports disabled children and adults and the elderly to live independently, be part of their community and to live life to the full, by providing information, advice, befriending and inclusive community activities.

To find out more about Ruils and their work to support disabled people in Richmond visit the Ruils website.

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Updated: 30 November 2021