By Soneni Gwizi
People with disabilities tend to live very lonely lives due to disability negative stereotypes, unbelief and disability myths within families and society; because of this people with disabilities have become victims of stigma, isolation, exclusion, discrimination and they tend to have a very low self-esteem.
As a result of this people with disabilities spend most of their lives indoors. In a home or a school setting there’s a certain time when people go out to play or to take walks sadly it’s a different story for people with physically disabilities who remain indoors due infrastructural challenges and lack of disability devices that will enable them to fully participates in outdoor activities.
According to a UN statistics 80% of people with disabilities live in poverty. Radio then replaces the functions of human beings and fills in the gap; to be that friend, to dance and laugh with and radio has become their loyal “friend”.
Radio has played a great role in informing, educating, entertaining and giving valuable advice to people with disabilities, particularly tailored radio programmes that are produced with people with disabilities in mind such as;Disability Issues, Disability Factor etc.
These programmes are produced to inform and educate people with disabilities on specific disability conditions, where to get help and how to overcome a challenge when one has a disability, tips on relationships, finding disabled role models within the communities, family matters and specific opportunities for people with disabilities to equip them.
These talk-shows, interviews and radio magazines programmes become relevant to the listener living them empowered and informed. Such programmes are not only targeted to people with disabilities but to all listeners.
When we reflect on this day we also celebrate ‘Disabled radio personalities” who have contributed positively in different radio programmes as producers and presented informing listeners even through the studios are not disability friendly. These women and men have added diversity in media surpassing the challenges of stigma.
They continue to broadcast making radio inclusive and to reduce inequality. Radio has no boundaries its impact in reaching out to everyone; the blind person, autistic youth, the physical disabled persons, albinism people and the deaf person who dances to music being played on radio all enjoy radio. Over the radio has proved that it is a disabled person’s best friend!
Soneni Gwizi is a Radio & TV Broadcaster, Speaker, Disability Activist & Multiple Award UNWTO Brand Ambassador