The Stereotype against Persons with disabilities

Lilian Dibo Foundation
Posted January 19, 2021 from Cameroon

One faithful day i was invited by Hitv in Buea, Cameroon for an interview and i had to travel from Kumba to Buea and back to Kumba that same day.

When i arrived in Buea, i was waiting for a taxi beside the road. Then a woman walked Upto me and stretched forth her hand. I was just staring at her. Then she opened it and held out 200frs which is about $0.3. I was just staring at her.

Then she said, "take this"

But I responded, "No ma'am! I'm not into street begging. I'm waiting for a taxi to take me somewhere."

Then she responded, "I'm sorry my daughter. I see alot of persons with disabilities along the streets, motor parks and markets begging, so I thought you were also here for the same purpose."

Me: No ma'am. But all the same thank you for the kind gesture.

Then she put the money in her purse and left.

I had to look around whether people were there watching at us.

When she left, i felt embarrassed. I realized how a few people have rubbed the dignity of persons with disabilities in the mud. Even if we are well dressed, some people still consider us as street beggars.

 

I appreciate her kind heart but then I felt so bad that my standard and self-esteem had been reduced to floor level. Then i saw the more reason we should get persons with disabilities off the streets through engaging them in vocational training centers, businesses or enroll them in schools.

When i finally got a taxi and went to the tv house, i had to focus the topic of discussion on the incident.

Persons with disabilities need more of empowerment. Lets just get them off the streets so that our dignity and self-esteem will be built back to a level where it is supposed to be.

Comments 52

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rebecca.tang
Jan 19
Jan 19

I am sorry to hear this. It is embarrassed and upset. People with disabilities do not imply they need financial support. However, a lot of circumstances that some people have that impression / bias. We have to remind yourselves all not to be bias or put some stereotypes in our mindset.
Stay Strong! May Almighty God bless you!

Hello Rebecca,
Thank you so much for the appealing comment.
Hugs

Phinnie
Jan 19
Jan 19

Lilian--What a profound story! I totally understand your range of emotions over this incident and admire your determination to make a positive difference with people with disabilities. Take care!

Thank you so much dear Phinnie. Positivity is my focus. Not letting anyone or anything to derail my focus.
Blessings.

Nini Mappo
Jan 20
Jan 20

Dear Lilian,
It is so very refreshing that you honor this woman for her kindness while still preserving your right to be offended. I love how the person within you is so deeply affirmed in her identity that even when her physical self is mislabeled and embarrassed, she still reaches out with understanding and compassion, and without anger or resentment towards this ignorant assumption. I just love, love love!
Stay poised, sis :)

Dear Nini,
You know, sometimes we act out of emotions and misfire.
I have always learned not to be too emotional when dealing with situations no matter how big it might seem.
Thank you so much for seeing it the way i did.
Hugs.

Sujit
Jan 20
Jan 20

I am really sorry to hear of your experience. It makes me sad and angry at the same time. It may be a kind gesture from the woman but it's the stereotyping that's not acceptable. And we see it too often in our day to day lives. The onus and responsibility for not stereotyping lies on the person doing it, not the one who has been subjected to it.

Hello Sujit,
You felt the same way I did.
I was so angry but I struggled to control my anger for it not to be too visible.
Truly the stereotype is becoming uncomfortable to an extent that no matter how well dressed you are, in as much as you are a person with disability, the society sees you as a beggar.
But I believe with constant education and media outreach programs, this stereotype will gradually go out of place.
Thanks so much for adding your voice.

Shirley Asiedu-Addo
Jan 20
Jan 20

Woow Lilian continue to be the great example you are toany more people. Love to you.

Thank you so much dear Shirley.
Love you too.

Marie Abanga
Jan 21
Jan 21

Dear Dibo,

Thanks for seeing the teaching and message moment in that experience. Thanks for sharing it with us all in all vulnerability and authenticity.
Let's keep doing our best

Hello ma'am!
Thank you so much for adding your voice.
We continue on the path of change.
Much love

Charity Birla
Jan 21
Jan 21

Thanks for sharing your experience dear and sorry for the embarrassing senerio but its an eye opener for us to know disabilities is not in ability....much love as you express yourself. Keeping sharing to erase the misinterpretation.

Dear Charity,
I want to thank you for highlighting Disability is not Inability.
Slowly but surely, the society will conform to tjis.
Love and hugs.

Maglaha
Jan 21
Jan 21

I feel you, and like your story, i poured you

Maglaha
Jan 21
Jan 21

Pourd you

Dear Maglaha
Thank you so much for the compliment.
In sisterhood.

Susu Mohamed
Jan 22
Jan 22

Dear lilian,
Sorry her thoughts you have kept your dignity You did well.
Best regards

Dear Susu,
Thank you for adding your voice.
Hugs

MUKABA ZAWADI
Jan 22
Jan 22

Madame je suis désolé pour ce qui est arrivé pour cette sous-estime. Vraiment le personne handicapé sont négliger ce ne sais pas pourquoi. Mais courage et va de l'avant et merci pour le partage

Chère sœur,
merci d'avoir ajouté votre voix.
ensemble, nous changerons la mentalité de la société.
Câlins

julie_4
Jan 22
Jan 22

I am sorry to hear you were subjected to this, as you say stereotyping is prevalent in our societies, but you dealt with it with dignity and strength of character and you were able to be gracious too. I am sure many others will be experiencing similar situations on a daily basis and it raises the question about what can we do about it? Obviously education and information is key...how can this be achieved in our respective countries/societies? There are many useful examples that might be drawn on from different countries. In the UK we have Disability Awareness which includes training and special days and a discrimination act. Here are some ideas for awareness that I found by googling the subject:

'Make the news. Solicit community support for people with disabilities through articles in your school newspaper, parent newsletter, or local newspaper. Talk to your television or radio news station about doing a brief human interest segment on your public awareness program.'

I wish you well and hope you are able to take your thoughts and concerns forward.
Julie

Dear Julie,
Oh my! I read your comment with a broad smile on my face.
Your comment alone is educative to me. I just learnt some new strategies in here.
I'm planning to organize a conference in March and I pray it turns out to be the way i am anticipating.
It will be an eye opener and a path to change.
Thank you once more for the advice.

Love you

Jan 22
Jan 22
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
ESEZA MUKYALA
Jan 22
Jan 22

My dearest sister,
Hope you're doing well and good. It's so sad on hearing your story but nevertheless just be stronger. Thanks for sharing with us.
Lots of love..... Eseza.

Hello Eseza,
I'm blessed and positive. Thank you for asking.
Thank you for taking out time to read.

Love from my end

OGA PRECIOUS
Jan 22
Jan 22

I feel your pain but thank God for that boldness in you. This is an issue we all need to look into.

Honestly the way this disabled are treated is something else. But in the other way round the society has created this phycology in them that they Worth nothing but beggers and that mindset alone is what makes this disabled feel they have no choice than to beg.

The truth still remains that if they can be engaged in vocational training they will do exploit.
Sorry for the embarrassment dear Lilian
Love Precious

Hello Precious,
It feels good to know that although the society has stereotype towards persons with disabilities, there are still some people out there who believe in the capability and resilience of persons with disabilities . my World Pulse sisters are giving me a reason to to be more resilient and determined..

Truly if persons with disabilities are being given an opportunity to showcase what they have within, the world will be amazed at their output.
Thank you so much.
Hugs

Tamarack Verrall
Jan 23
Jan 23

Dear Lilian,
What strength, wisdom and kindness you showed in that moment, and in relaying your story to us all here. You created a beautiful moment of education and awareness with this woman, on not making assumptions about people with disabilities, and so importantly turned this into a message to us all of what situations people with disabilities face all too often. How strong you are that you were able to deal with the after effects of this interaction, and go on to present a message publicly. We need to work collectively to ensure that no one has to be in the street without the means to live comfortably and with respect.

Hello Ma'am Tam
Thank you so much for adding your voice to this.
Seriously, i tried so hard to control myself and thank God I did. True! That collective work is the only solution to make the dream work.
Much love ma'am!

OgechiYakno
Jan 23
Jan 23

I am really touched by this story and I agree that persons with disability need more empowerment- empowerment programmes tailored to their needs and abilities.

Thank you for adding your voice.
I am so happy that you see in the same direction with me. EMPOWERMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Regina Afanwi Young
Jan 23
Jan 23

Hello Lilian, how are you doing? I am really sorry about the embarrassing situation you had to face but at the same time I admire you for appreciating the lady for offering you some help.
I have had to make so much effort trying to get some persons with hearing impairment who were begging off the street.
You are right dear Lilian, the key is providing them with alternative source of income by empowering them with skills that will generate them income and make them self reliant.
In addition to skill development there is still a lot to be done on awareness raising on disability issues in our families and communities.
Rebuilding the dignity and self esteem of persons with disabilities is absolutely important.
Have a great weekend dear.
Sending you love and hugs××
Regina

Hello ma'am Regina,
I am so happy that you relate with this situation.
Much happy that you have removed some of these persons with disabilities off the streets.
Much more happy that you can attest that persons with disabilities need skills for livelihood sustainability and also educating our families and the society about disability issues.
Thank you once more ma'am.
Love you too.

ADPDH
Jan 24
Jan 24

C est des êtres Humains ils doivent avoir leurs places au sein des sociétés et être respecté ils ont droit à l acces a l educations ils ont droits au beaux Habits si c est des Hommes ils ont droits aux mariages si ses des femmes elles ont droits aux mariages

Chère ADPDH,
merci beaucoup d'avoir parlé au nom des personnes handicapées

câlins!
LILIAN!

mugoli
Jan 26
Jan 26

Hello my dear Rebecca!
This message is very strong but I can only tell you to continue to take courage because in your statements I saw that you are a dream woman. Above all, do not neglect yourself regardless of the disappointment

Aparna Sanjay
Jan 26
Jan 26

Lilian,
While the gesture was well-meant, you are right that the problem is way deeper. In my home country (India) too, people with disabilities face a lot of challenges and even the best educated and well-off among them are often "offered" help. It can be a blow to their dignity and self-sufficiency.

Dear Aparna,
Thank you so much for seeing in the same direction with me.
That is the problem. No matter how well off a person with disability is, the society will always see us as receivers, whereas we stand in a better position to make our respective nations grow economically, socially and politically..
Thanks once more.
Hugs!
LILIAN!

ADPDH
Jan 27
Jan 27

BJR nous nous occupons des handicapes leurs identification soins éducations formation leurs réinsertions dans la vie active nous avons des photos je n ai pas pu voir la ou inséré les fichiers photos

Merci beaucoup pour votre contact et votre inquiétude.
Nous pouvons entrer en contact pour parler davantage de l'autonomisation des personnes handicapées.
mon numéro: +237672481630

Sister Zeph
Jan 27
Jan 27

Aww my sister, You are so kind and intelligent at the same time because you didn’t let this incident make you sad for a long time infect your are brave enough to take the right decisions and to find solutions from bad experiences

ARREY- ECHI
Jan 29
Jan 29

Dear Lilian,
I hope you are doing well today. I know this must have been awhile but I am curious how the TV interview went when you brought up this issue.
I am sorry about what happened to you and like you said, the lady had a kind heart and was just trying to help someone she perceived in need... social constructs.

I certainly do relate to your story in a different manner. Back then when the famous 25,000 recruitement was launched, One man who was responsible for collecting the files of persons with disabilities asked me a funny question. He was like 'You say you are disabled and you are dressed and carry yourself this way?' It didn't immediately register, but after I had time to think about it, I came to realise that society has a percept of what a person with disability ought to be or look like. Every other thing out of that narrow view is a wrong picture.
Let's keep telling our stories and realities. One story at a time, the narrative will be changed.

Thank you for all you are doing for persons with disabilities.

J Brenda Lanyero
Jan 29
Jan 29

Hello Lilian.
It is really heartbreaking for something like that, I can relate with you. Sometimes it happens to even a person without disability in that one is misunderstood on how they are dressed and taken to be a prostitute and yet it is not the case and this is same with PWD because it does not mean they are beggars. But you are a strong woman, keep going sister.

Sisterhood love and hugs.

Allegiance
Jan 30
Jan 30

Lilian , i also wrote a piece about people with disabilities , am sorry on how so many people in society belittle people with disabilities .
Its sad seeing that most people with disabilities don't have chances like job because people only see and term them as beggars which is sad.

They deserve equal opportunities too

Gisele Beer
Jan 30
Jan 30

What a touching story dear sister, thank God for people like you who are changing the narrative.
Loads of love and to you.

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Jan 31
Jan 31

Dear Sister Lilian
I feel you deep in my heart because we are both women with disabilities. I cannot say more for you have said it all.One thing I must tell you sister is that let no human reduce your self-esteem or confidence. Believe in God and believe in yourself. You will break unbreakble barriers and fly.

Love
Veronica Ngum
Bamenda Cameroon
CEO/Founder Community Association for Vulnerable Persons
[email protected]

wanico
Feb 01
Feb 01

Thank you Lilian for this call for action and respect for people with disabilities in Cameroon. It's unfortunate that society's fail to explore the talents and resourcefulness of this integral members of the community.
I work with one woman who is 85% disables but I truly considering her myself stress and support system. Vicky encourages me to take more than I thought I could handle.
With morecambe awareness creating likeness what you have done, I hoped the world will finally understand your capacities and instead help in building them. Remain strong dearie.

Ariane Assumani
Feb 02
Feb 02

oh ma sœur merci pour votre article qui est très intéressante je suis aussi dans votre condition ici chez nous en RDCongo c'est très grave donc toute les personnes vivant avec handicap restent dans le rue pour mendier or il y a d'autres maintient que nous pouvons faire pour l'auto-prise en charge économique et donc nous sensibilisons tout les handicaps d'apprendre de maintient pour voir comment quitter dans ces conditions de mendicité comme mois j'aime apprendre la coupe et couture. Merci et ravis de vous lire à la prochaine.

Ginie
Feb 05
Feb 05

People think all persons with disabilities are beggers

Beth Lacey
Feb 09
Feb 09

Bless you, you have a very kind and loving heart