This summer, I was left exhausted by the Olympics and Paralympics. My lungs burned, my body ached, my heart raced – not however, because I was an athlete.
I am the quintessential 'active non-participant observer'. I shouted encouragement, screamed at the TV, jumped up and down, waved my arms in the air and cried.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (Psalm 126:5)
Too often, young people with physical, mental and learning disabilities have been disregarded and overlooked, sowing silent and often-angry tears. In countries such as my own, India, the stigma is often worse. But in the UK, as well, prejudice is often pronounced for disabled young people, who are often treated as less than human and sentenced to a lifetime of invisibility.
Yet this summer, especially during the Paralympics, many of us witnessed and cheered on disabled people as individuals reaped with songs and shouts of joy! These athletes included numerous young people, including swimmers Josef Craig and Ellie Simmonds, and equestrian Sophie Christiansen.
They were recognised and validated for the first time for what they are -- outstanding athletes.
By Cham Kaur-Mann
Our work with disabled children and young people aims both to support and empower. For example, through our PACT programme, disabled young people help shape and design services for City of York Council and have representation on strategic partnership groups.
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Read yesterday’s Advent blog post, 'Shout, shout, let it all out'