International Disability Day is celebrated every December 3. To commemorate International Disability Day (HDI), Program Peduli in collaboration with Pamflet, Indorelawan, and Change.org held a relaxing discussion of Sunday with Diffable People on December 9, 2018, at Tetratix Coworking Space, Darmawangsa.
Although it was held on Sunday, nearly 50 people crowded the room and wanted to find out more about disability. Present as speakers to share their experiences, Hafizh Briliansyah, badminton athlete who won gold medal at the Asian Para Games 2018; Fanny Evrita, entrepreneur and Project Executive from Thisable Enterprise; and Isro Ayu Permata Sari from the Gerakan untuk Kesejahteraan Tunarungu Indonesia (Gerkatin) Kepemudaan. Not only filled with casual discussions, the event was also enlivened by a tote bag painting workshop hosted by @dindiepop. Participants immediately reflected on the discussion and poured it in the form of a picture on a tote bag that could be taken home.
Sunday with DIffable began with a discussion guided by a disability activist, Bahrul Fuad or who is familiarly called Cak Fu. Through discussion sessions, participants can find out more about the lives of people with disabilities because as the saying goes, “Don’t know thus don’t like”. By being aware of the lives of people with disabilities, it was hoped that participants could eliminate the stigma and discrimination still inherent in people with disabilities and spread the message of social inclusion.
Hafizh began his story of being a badminton athlete for 2018 Para Games. Hafizh participated in two categories, the men’s team and the men’s doubles along with Dheva Anrimusthi. Hafiz’s left hand was bent due to an accident as a child. He had a long way before reaching the current point. “I used to think to break my hand again so that it could be straight, but if it was straightened out then the story might be different again, not like now,” said Hafizh. “During the Asian Para Games there were also some who protested because I played with my left hand. Usually, if the left hand is the problem, then what is used to play is the right hand. But the doctors made sure that I did pass the assessment for the disability category,” added Hafizh.
Self-acceptance and support from people around especially family become an important part in the life of diffable people. Fanny Evrita from South Kalimantan enthusiastically told the twists and turns of her life during her childhood until now. Fanny’s disability is that the size of one of her legs is bigger. “In the past, I used to be educated rather hard by my mother. I did not get special treatment and entered a normal school. [Harassment] bullying has become a daily dose. I was feeling inferior especially when there was a situation where I had to take off my shoes, usually my friends said, ‘Where’s the shoe, why only one?’ and so on,” said Fanny. She acknowledged that her parents’ upbringing in treating her without distinction, just as other children plays a role in self-acceptance and practice her independence. “When I decided to move to Jakarta, I also took public transportation which was not yet friendly to the diffable people. So I experienced jostling with other passengers on the train and so on,” Fanny reclled.
Although self-acceptance and support from families is important, community acceptance of people with disabilities is also crucial. Fanny had experienced hard times when she was not accepted to work at a bank that has provisions for employees to wear short skirts. Fanny was not permitted to wear a long skirt. Elsewhere, Fanny was deadlocked. This event motivated Fanny to join thisable and was determined to help other diffable people not to suffer the same fate as her. In addition, Fanny also opened a beauty products business. “When I took part in the bazaar and promoted beauty products that were sold, I also did not want to show my disability, so people feel sorry for me and buy,” said Fanny. That way, she can get constructive criticism for improving her product to be able to compete in the market.
“When we fight for inclusion, we ourselves cannot be exclusive. This also includes in the working world, for example, because of disability we then ask for more flexible starting time of work since transportation is less friendly to the diffable people. It can’t be like that, we have to always stay professional,” explained Fanny.
No less exciting, Isro Ayu from Gerkatin Kepemudaan also shared the challenges she faced as a hearing impaired. Not many people understand sign language that is a challenge when communicating. What’s more, it is different from the physically diffable people, for example which is visible and immediately recognized, the public cannot recognize a person with a hearing impairment. Isro said, “People can only recognize if someone uses a hearing aid. But even then, it’s also not all, and if you wear a hijab, it will certainly be covered and invisible.” Isro invited the participants to learn sign language as the tools to communicate with hearing impaired people.
In the Q and A interactive session, some participants enthusiastically asked, for example about how the lives of diffable adolescent and the problem of disability representation in the media. There was also participants who shared his/her experience while helping the 2018 Asian Para Games event. He/she did not think that diffable athletes were very independent and very rarely needed help from volunteers who had been prepared. The question and answer session closed with the closing conclusion of each spokesperson that highlighted the message of the importance of social acceptance of people with disabilities. The event closed with a tote bag painting session that was limited to only 30 participants. Participants also returned not only with new information and knowledge, but also their own work that could be used daily.
See you at the next public discussion!