Get-hooked December 7, 2021
#Inclusive – Jennie Berry would like people to be more empathetic towards disabled people
In the seventh story of our series “#Inclusive – Building Resilience post COVID-19 in the lives of people with disabilities” we feature Jennie Berry, a disabled blogger documenting her day to day life as a full-time wheelchair user. She highlights a number of issues, hoping to change peoples perceptions and attitudes towards disability!
The series is an initiative by NewzHook marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) which is celebrated every year on 3rd December.
Know Jennie Berry
Jennie: I am a full time wheelchair user after an accident in 2017. As I haven’t always been disabled, I found it quite hard to adjust in the early stages and decided to turn to the online disabled community for support.
From this I went on to set up my Instagram account @wheelie_good_life where I talk about my day to day life as a wheelchair user. This account was a platform for me to speak about many issues, as well as find employment!
I now work remotely for Sociability, an app which helps disabled people find accessible places. The app is designed to allow anyone to search, add or share venues and recognises that every disability is different, as are everyone’s access needs. From this, users are able to make an informed decision as to whether a venue is suitable for them, giving ownership back to the user, rather than deciding what is ‘accessible’ or not.
How did the pandemic affect people with disabilities?
Jennie: The pandemic affected the disabled community in a number of ways, both good and bad. The bad being the likes of general access within society. Poorly thought out new entrances, outdoor areas, parking, queueing systems etc. As well as this, there was this notion that disabled people should just ‘stay at home’ for the past two years.
Experience during the pandemic
Jennie: I found my experiences throughout Covid to be increasingly frustrating, as I wasn’t actually classed as vulnerable throughout the pandemic – meaning I still needed to access the community for shopping on my own, doctors appointments and so on. The disregard for accessibility throughout this period was really tough and I was unable to go about my days in a safe, socially distanced and independent way.
Things that you would like to see in the post COVID-19 society
Jennie: I would like to see remote working being an opportunity for many employees across every industry where possible. Covid highlighted that people can in fact work from home – something that disabled people have been asking for for years.
I would like to see people remembering, what it was like to be told that they simply cannot go where they want to go. The way this made people feel, and how this is something that disabled people face day in day out, pandemic or not.
Finally, I would like people to be more empathetic in the way in which they conduct themselves towards disabled people. I don’t want sympathy – just empathy.
- #Inclusive – Miss Deaf Asia 2018 Nishtha Dudeja wishes to see a more inclusive society
- #Inclusive – Theresa Mabe wishes to see commitment to continued involvement of people with disabilities in the society
- #Inclusive – Madeline Stuart talks about lifestyle and mental health disruptions due to COVID-19
- #Inclusive – Prajith Jaipal emphasizes on collective action to build economies that deliver an inclusive growth
- #Inclusive – Brandon Cole shares the positives and the negatives of the pandemic
- #Inclusive – Meryl Evans believes that celebrating differences can make this world a better place
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