Empowering voices and shaping futures

Towards genuine inclusion for persons with disabilities.

Over the past decade, Malta has made great progress in fostering inclusive communities where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can reach their full potential. From investments in respite homes in our communities to the introduction of personalised assistance for individuals with disabilities, along with the implementation of programmes to facilitate integration into the workforce, advances have been significant. However, much remains to be done.

Despite these advances, societal perceptions vis-à-vis us persons with disability remain an obstacle. It is time to change the narrative and move away from tokenistic gestures. Instead, let’s focus on fostering genuine inclusion where individuals with disabilities are assessed for their skills and contributions.

Furthermore, there is an urgent need for greater representation of individuals with disabilities in various sectors of government, not just in the inclusion field. Imagine the impact that disabled voices can have if we give them the chance to shape environmental policies or contribute to infrastructure development. This will not only create spaces where the various perspectives are successful but will also strengthen the decision-making process.

One way to facilitate this transition is to implement mentorship programmes designed to integrate people with disabilities into governmental roles. A well-designed mentorship initiative can provide invaluable support, guidance, and career advancement opportunities while spurring personal growth. By nurturing talents and providing pathways to leadership positions, we can increase the representation of individuals with disabilities in crucial decision-making roles.

My personal experience with mentoring has been life-changing; a journey that not only opened doors to the career I always wanted but helped me grow as a person. It also introduced me to someone who believed in my potential, whose unwavering support helped me achieve my dream of working in the public sector. Such programmes not only benefit individuals but enrich our communities and institutions by exploiting various perspectives and talents.

It is imperative to seek to increase the involvement of persons with disabilities in the public sector. A mentorship programme aimed at integrating them into government roles can serve as a catalyst for greater participation and representation. Investing to nurture future leaders will ensure that not only are diverse voices heard, but that policies and communities are more inclusive.

The move towards truly inclusive communities is ongoing. We must make a greater effort to challenge stereotypes, break barriers, and create opportunities for all individuals to flourish.

As a young person with disabilities, I am committed to continuing working for change so that together we can continue to shape a future where everyone can reach their full potential, regardless of their ability.

Photo: Ivan Samkov

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