The Inclusive Youth Centre (IYC), a project of the LCD Philippines Foundation Young Voices Program has been playing a major role in changing attitudes towards disability. This has been realised through conducting school-to-school campaigns, a basketball exhibition, dancing on wheels, a puppet show and back to back orientations on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) with students, teachers, principals and administrators. During a visit to an elementary school as part of the school-to-school campaign, students aged 7-16 years old were asked their views and perceptions towards the disabled.
Here were some of the answers given by pupils during interviews conducted prior to the campaign:
- “The moment I see disabled people, I feel pity for them because of their situation.”
- “I pity them because they cannot walk”
Following the meeting, pupils expressed the following views:
- “I was amazed because despite being disabled they can still survive in their lives”
- “I want to help them”
- “When I see disabled, I have to admit that for me they are very dirty and yucky but when I’ve known them through this school to school, I realized their capabilities, and my perceptions have changed.”
It is therefore evident that through advocacy campaigns such as the school-to-school visits, we can feel confident that slowly, peoples’ attitudes towards persons with disabilities (PWDs) are changing in a positive light. One of the guiding principles of the IYC program is that we start awareness campaigns with very young children to change their attitudes towards PWDs. By doing so, this will ensure that future generations will become more tolerant and accepting of PWDs which will lead us on the road to ensuring equality of opportunities in all aspects of their lives.