Tag Archives: Emilia Malinowska

Turning Four!

Not everyone is still willing to give persons with disabilities a chance four years after The PWD Forum came about.

In Indonesia for instance, disability is still regarded as a punishment from God. PWDs must be exorcised, tied up at the back of the house (dipasung), confined to a small hut in the backyard, or tied at the wrists and ankles to a tree or heavy log. Disability is also seen as a matter of fate so there is little empathy for PWDs for whom ‘nothing can be done’.

As such, PWDs are excluded from most governments’ planning and support. In Bhutan in particular, its educational policy lack inclusive policy guidelines resulting in unequal opportunities.  Taiwan, on the other hand, has only programs for PWDs with “mild” conditions and the curricula just followed what is being taught in preschool classes.

In South Africa, teachers lack skills and knowledge. In South Korea, teachers know no culturally relevant curricula. In Malaysia, teachers are unprepared in terms of emotional acceptance and technical skills.

It is no wonder then that PWDs are still berated when seeking employment or at work; employers would definitely incur costs from hiring PWDs. Educating them alongside non-PWDs  would not be an easy feat especially that the term ‘inclusion’ itself has no fixed definition even in the western countries from which this concept was realized.

There are also parents who do not understand the meaning of inclusive education till now. Thus, the parents are still anxious with their children attending mainstream schools. Even governments are not sure what the concept really means and how it could be relevant within the local context.

If PWDs and non-PWDs study together, though, there would be no need to build exclusive educational institutions. Adjustment may also come naturally. Maricel Apatan had not been a burden anyway when she was studying a two-year course in Hotel and Restaurant Management in Cagayan de Oro City. She was even hired as a pastry chef at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Manila.

A polio victim, Marc Joseph Escora, had managed his training at the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) in Bacolod City. Blind, Safiya Mundus had graduated from the Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School.

The PWD Forum could just imagine what else could have happened had Arnel Navales Aba, Godfrey Esperanzate Taberna, Emilia Malinowska, Jose Feliciano, and Mohamed Dalo finish school. Townsely Roberts had at The College of the Bahamas with an associate degree in Accounting and Computer Data Processing in 1995. Gary Russell had, too, at the same college with an associate degree in Law and Criminal Justice then at the University of Buckingham for his bachelor’s and master’s.

It was from his blind father that former interior and local government secretary Jesse Robredo learned discipline. Protecting the integrity and honor of one’s family is of highest importance, his father had said, and children are expected to contribute their share in doing that. So Jesse launched the “Fully Abled Nation,” a program seeking to increase the participation of PWDs in the coming 2013 Philippine midterm elections, roughly three months before he died in a plane crash.

“Hopefully, one day, the notion behind “persons with disability” be somehow erased from the world’s vocabulary and usher-in a day when technology, private & public organizations, and the law work together to give each person equal rights and opportunities, regardless of the person’s impediment.” ~ Atty. Mike Gerald C. David

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jozelle Tech

Emilia Malinowska: the realistic Polish

With a fierce gaze, Emilia Malinowska struggles to live within an environment that still has “a lot of stereotypes and social fears” from the communist era.

“Perhaps the most prominent among these stereotypes is the need to remove inwalidzi, or “invalids” from the larger society – or to ensure that they remain on the periphery, at the very least. Indeed, the communist ideology promoted a reverence of the healthy, fully able-bodied worker. All those individuals who contradicted this archetype by displaying any type of disability or “defect” were immediately removed from the general population,” she was quoted saying in the report Leaving the Ghetto: Learning to Embrace Physical Disabilities in the Polish Labor Market of the Humanity in Action.

Emilia would just close her eyes and tremble slightly when discriminated, confident as she is with a degree and current employment.

“Before 1989, disabled people didn’t exist. We had no disabled people in Poland.”

This was why, Emilia explained, persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Poland are either unemployed or underemployed.

“The absence of public facilitates and assistance, compounded by the intense societal prejudice against their disabilities, left this persecuted group with two disturbing options: to remain perpetually confined to the boundaries of their homes, or to become ‘working prisoners’ of sorts, trapped instead in a spółdzielnia inwalidów, or an invalid cooperative.”

It serves more harm than good, Emilia asserted, because these workplaces “actually functioned as ‘special ghetto factories’ that only perpetuates the communist vision of an ideal society that, ostensibly, consisted solely of competent, able-bodied workers.”

If it’s any consolation, though, Poland has already enacted two laws to safeguard the PWDs in its society. The Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation of the Disabled Act of 1991 legally defined a PWD as an “individual with an essential physical, psychological, or mental impairment that impedes the individual’s ability to earn wages”; while the Act on Vocational and Social Rehabilitation bestowed financial support to companies that would employ PWDs.

“My body is disabled, but my life is not disabled. I don’t feel disabled in life.” ~ Emilia Malinowska

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Emilia Malinowska