“I was born with a disability. I couldn’t sit up until I was five years old. I was shy as an adolescent. For most of my adult life, I have acted out of sheer bravado. I had a breakdown which I admit nearly ended my life. But I am now a new woman, more secure and assured.
My parents expected me to consider translation work, but I found it too solitary. I like research, working with people and networking. Some disabled people are asked to do voluntary work or get a job based on the severity of the disability. The less disabled you are, the more probability that the work would be in the general workforce. The more severe cases get jobs that are routine and monotonous. Some work in Community Institution Units, which are really today’s sweatshops. Many people with poor hand coordination like myself, or poor eyesight, hearing or intellectual impairment, earn $5.00 a week — the same as 20 – 30 years ago!
Society clumps all people with any form of disability into one group, when we may not necessarily have anything in common with each other, except our oppression. We come from all classes, races and genders.
I live in the community, but I am not of the community because of inadequate support for living independently and general lack of accessibility. Money is at the basis. Because of privatisation, services no longer look after people’s needs. Government policies are cutting job security and working conditions for workers in the disability sector and the money available to pay them. At least Labor organised the payment of taxi fares.”