My mom is the person I share all my weird stories with. But this story has a message, so I thought I should share it with whoever will read it.
Two days ago, something called "Civic and Volunteering fair" was held in AUB. I don't know what it was exactly about but I guess that its purpose was to encourage students to volunteer in NGOs.
I'm not a huge fan of NGOs because I believe that individual work is much more effective when it comes to helping someone else. But anyway, when two of my friends told me that they were going to pass by the stands, my curiosity pushed me to follow them. And while touring from a stand to the other, I noticed that there was a man on a wheelchair next to one of the stands. First I thought that it would be funny to go and tell him that whatever he's doing isn't the right thing but then I decided not to bother myself, it's not like I was going to change his opinion anyway.
And while I was thinking about all that, I saw him coming near me. At that moment, I was laughing to my silliness. Of course, when a wheel-chaired person sees another wheel-chaired person, they need to talk for hours and share aaaallll they have in common (sarcasm, just in case you didn't notice how stupid that would be). And the guy knew my name, which kind of freaked me out at the beginning (but hey, we're a community, duuuhh!).
Then, out of nowhere, he asked me if I can move myself alone to my bed. My answer was very spontaneous: I told him that my independence isn't based on a movement or two. He then told me that I'm escaping reality and that because of people like me who don't want to unite, handicapped people are suffering in Lebanon.
Truth be told, I don't really identify myself in such associations. I have different criteria to define who I am.
I don't deny my physical handicap nor do I deny that handicapped people might face injustice. But I have a feeling that some NGOs aren't asking for fairness, they are asking for privileges. Being handicapped shouldn't be a mean to get a job. Not every company that refuses to hire a handicapped person should be blamed. Actually, if one's physical handicap doesn't affect one's work, then there's no reason for a company to refuse him or her.
This NGO's primary mission is to facilitate handicapped people's everyday life by making sure that all public places are equipped with ramps and elevators, and I completely support that cause. However, when it comes to career and professional life, I am against it for a very simple reason: I want to feel proud when I'll be hired by a company, I don't want it to be because of a quota that forces all companies to have 3% of their workers physically handicapped.
If quotas might seem helpful and just at first sight, I believe that they have many side effects like creating tension and demotivating some people. For me, the best way to break injustice is to prove that you're capable of working; but of course you need confidence to do that. So that might be where NGOs can play a role by encouraging handicapped people to believe in themselves.
P.S: I rarely mention explicitly that I'm on a wheelchair. I simply don't think about it. Being born like that makes it something normal to me. Oh and, have I ever mentioned that I have green eyes? ;]