Disability is Diversity

A group of students with disabilities in a garden
People with disabilities are the world's largest minority, and yet are often underrepresented in many sectors of society. Budgeting for the inclusion of people with disabilities is a proactive goal that all organizations committed to diversity can embrace.

Look at your mission statements, non-discrimination policy, or other institutional guidelines, and you are likely to see disability mentioned alongside other aspects of diversity such as racial, gender, or religious equity, and for good reason. Having a diverse community benefits everyone by introducing a wide variety of viewpoints, encouraging open-mindedness, and creating dynamic environments.

But when it comes to implementing international programs, are we linking disability with diversity?

One of the key trends in the disability rights movement has been the shift towards viewing disability as part of human diversity. More than ever, people with disabilities are taking advantage of opportunities to share their unique perspectives and contributions with society as a whole.

Many organizations are concerned about the cost of making programs accessible to people with disabilities, so incorporating a "disability accommodation" line item into every project and administrative budget is the most reliable way to ensure that resources are at hand. The investment of financial resources represents a critical benchmark of an organization’s commitment toward diversity.

With funding  established, organizations will be able to respond positively and creatively when outreach efforts pay off and an outstanding disabled participant, job applicant, or potential partner comes knocking at the door.

By including people with disabilities, international professionals can diversify their programs and offer life-changing opportunities to a broader population. The world needs all its citizens involved.

Author: 

Cerise Roth-Vinson