It’s exactly a week ago, precisely, on the 18th of this month that the BOLD HEARTS NETWORK hosted some 30 women with disabilities to an end of the year, Christmas program tagged “BOLD HANGOUT”.
The program, which featured Praise/Thanksgiving session and a presentation of BOLD HEARTS profile was fun, interactive, and educative for the women whose motto is “Be BOLD, Be Beautiful”.
The event was organized as a get together opportunity for Women with Disabilities to share their various life experiences – both of joy and trials via support group medium.
There were two interactive sessions: the first addressed the subject of self-stigmatization and discrimination against women with disabilities. This session sought to eradicate Disability based violence.
In her speech, a member simple known as, Osaki said “Self-Stigmatization is a component of the broader social phenomenon known as stigmatization. The process of stigmatization involves labelling differences in such undesirable nomenclatures as can result in social exclusion, disempowerment, and discrimination.
“Self stigmatization is peculiar as it’s been imposed by oneself unlike stigmatization which is imposed by the society. Self-stigmatization, if not handled properly, will destroy the person/persons involved.
The session ended with discussions on ways to deal with Self Stigmatization among Women with Disabilities.
When the Executive Director, Fredy Andy engaged the ladies to come up with ten impolite terms commonly used in addressing Persons with Disabilities, a number of interesting responses came up.
The second session focused on Disability Inclusive Language. It was facilitated by Assumpta Ebirikwu.
In her speech, she insisted on “Disability Inclusive Language by PWDs being portrayed in respectful and balanced way through the use of accurate and objective words.
According to Ebirikwu, “there are two ways to identify PWDs, viz: “the person first”, in which case the addressee separates the addressed from the Disability. A good example is saying: “Person with Disability”.
The other method of identity puts the Disability first. It claims Disability directly. For example, saying: “Disabled Person”.
“The person first language is usually preferable. It is the adopted standard in Nigeria. We take our precedence from the UNCRPD. Hence we say: “I am a Person with Disability” as against, “I am a disabled person”.
There are right and wrong terminologies. It is more polite to use “Person with Disability” instead of “ lame”, “ crippled” , etc.
Ebirikwu advocated emphasizing on the ability and person rather than on the Disability. She argues that labelling a person equates the person with the condition. This can be disrespectful and dehumanizing.”
The sessions were robust and engaging.
The hangout ended with every BOLD HEART present receiving a surprise Christmas package of rice, seasoning cubes, salt, cooking oil, tomato paste and noodles.