Around the world, there are millions of children, women and men with disabilities like Espe, Ireti, Ashia, Amil, Themba, Nadia and Umit, waiting to be free.
Deprivation of liberty is a human rights problem of a massive global scale. It is not a “necessary evil” but a consequence of the failure of States to ensure their obligations towards persons with disabilities.
Experiences of inclusive education, of support services based in the community, and investment in accessibility in different parts of the world show that solutions are at hand. The stories of Nadia and Kibou represent real young men and women with disabilities living in our communities with the support they need. They go to school, they work, and they pursue their dreams, aspirations and interests, just like everybody else. We must commit to make our communities inclusive of persons with disabilities, and demand our governments to make it a priority.
Nadia: the padlock of guardianship
Nadia has spent most of her life in an institution. She was placed under guardianship and the director had all legal power over her. She was locked in, and could not go out; she could not study or work, and, had no control over her own money. But with the help of a human rights organisation, Nadia went to court and became the first person in her country to successfully fight her guardianship. Today she works and lives independently in the community.
Kibou: the limitations of false perception
Kibou has cerebral palsy and for most of his life, he couldn’t move or talk. People assumed he had no thoughts or desires, and felt sorry for him. Then one day, his parents decided to try out a new tech program they heard of. With it, Kibou was able to speak, joke, laugh, and discuss complex subjects. After spending over a decade being denied his humanity, he’s working hard to become a game developer.