Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ratification of the CRPD, a Story that Has Legs, or Should I Say Wheels

 A friend of mine is actively promoting a non-profit organization, started by a civilian who worked in Iraq, Brad Blauser. He started Wheelchairs for Kids International (www.kidchairs4life.org). Brad got the idea from a military physician who asked for his help. The doctor was seeing many children, who could not walk, crawling on the ground because the children did not have access to wheelchairs of the appropriate size.

Brad got his colleagues, friends, and family involved. The response was amazing. Through 2012, 1,345 children received customized chairs through Brad's efforts. He figured out ways to keep production costs down. And at one point, the cost of shipping a chair was more than the production cost! One year he was recognized as one of CNN's Top Ten Heroes.

But as with many good ideas, interest and support wanes unless one has an aggressive, well-funded publicity campaign. That is why my friend highlighted Wheelchairs for Kids International on www.facebook.com/RatifyCRPD, to bring new attention to the Brad's efforts.

What's this story got to do with the CRPD? Well, a parent who adopted a child from Ukraine, who uses a wheelchair, commented on www.facebook.com/RatifyCRPD that -- what good would a wheelchair be if the place where a child lives is inaccessible? 

The answer is clear, if not obvious. If more and more children, who need wheelchairs, can get ones that fit them, more and more kids will venture out of their homes or want to. Expectations will change. Slowly, and perhaps not so slowly, communities will become more accessible because of what these kids, their friends, and families expect. Expectations such as these are magic imbedded in the CRPD. Each and every effort, no matter how small, to extend rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities will foster changes in expectations, alter the social landscape, and lead everyone to enthusiastically embrace universal design and its benefits for everyone.

The U.S. Senate needs to ratify the CRPD, so that we can be a full partner in this exciting future. Please, let's roll!

Thank you.
Common Grounder

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