GRT Guest Blogger Francina Hungría, founder of Fundación Francina Hungría.
Recently a person who heard me speak on my usual subject asked me with surprise: How is it possible that while being blind you can say that you’re completely normal? How can you state, given your disability, that you have no limitations?
The answer is simple: when you have access to the tools needed to fully develop your potential to the same level as your contemporaries and the means to carry out daily activities without any kind of impediment, a disability stops being an obstable and becomes, in turn, the least of your worries.
In my opinion, having all the resources designed for my condition, which provide the capacity to efficiently face all the challenges and barriers that arise in daily life, implies full freedom from the disability and full enjoyment of life in all its aspects. With this I mean to highlight that the premise that there’s only one world for all human beings and that we can live in a society where all people, regardless of their physical, social, economic, and gender condition, are equally seen, valued, respected, and taken into account, is an undeniable, possible, and palpable fact. In fact, the new UN goals to “eradicate poverty, protect the planet, and guarantee prosperity for all” are not a list of fantasies far removed from the Dominican Republic and written on a piece of paper, but a set of concrete goals that we should embrace, aimed at generating greater efforts, more actions, and adjustments to provide large impacts on the quality of life for human beings.
To get closer to sustainability the first thing to do is understand that, as a society, it’s urgent to comply with the obligation to respect the inalienable rights of all people, especially more vulnerable groups such as women and people with disabilities. If we remain apathetic to this reality, not only are we gravely violating social justice, trampling on the lives of much more than half of our population, and wasting the potential of those Dominicans; this also slows down economic, sociopolitical, and environmental growth, hurting our nation’s development and condemning us to increasing levels of poverty and marginalization.
It’s difficult for me to believe how deeply rooted is our mistaken thought that promoting inclusion is a form of charity, and not an investment in society that would generate economic benefits, improving the lives of all people. Likewise, I find it shocking to see how women are used in electoral processes to take advantage of their vote, which they face serious obstacles to accessing posts of relevance to the national agenda.
Social inclusion and gender equality constitute a fundamental part of each of the Sustainable Development Goals. Participation, political and economic empowerment, access to education, accessible infrastructure and technology, as well as taking into account gender and disability conditions in the design, planning, and application of development are some of the key aspects to strengthening the involvement of women and, in particular, women with disabilities and the organizations that represent them.
It depends on us to know how to define a clear horizon and tackle this predicament as soon as possible. When we rid ourselves of inherited paradigms, which at the present time are imposed in models and structures that undoubtedly are not working and which are an obstable to sustainable development, we’ll start to behave differently, make decisions aimed at fully incorporating the citizenry of our country, and create or demand an environment for all people that’s free of the barriers separating us.
GRT Guest Blogger Francina Hungría, is the founder of Fundación Francina Hungría. Her vision is to to build a just, equal and prosperous society for all citizens regardless of their physical and/or mental ability or disability.