Disability and Friendship: Narrowing the Gap

People and organizations have come to the acknowledgement of the commonest phrase: “Disability is not inability”. This has come from the realization that people with a disability are just differently gifted and that the area of disability is usually compensated through extraordinary gifting. Although this has helped to a great extent in raising the level of acceptance among peers, in enabling equal opportunities in employment and in seeking essential services, one area still remains problematic: friendship.

Many times, it is difficult for the disabled to have an equal and reciprocated friendship with others because instead of pure love and friendship, they are met with pity. Often, friends go extra miles to be of help, and thereby creating an imbalance in the friendship. In fact, about two thirds of the disabled in the UK struggle with making and sustaining friendships. This has resulted in a feeling of loneliness and social isolation.

Given that friendship is important for the health and the well being of people, the situation is even more frustrating for young people who are disabled. This presents a need to narrow the gap through enabling the disabled to discover that they are equally able, and can rise up to seek and to sustain balanced relationships.

Gliding is one sport that enables people with and without disability to compete on the same level ground. Gliding enables the disabled to participate actively and in an exciting manner in outdoor activities, giving the glider the freedom to explore worlds unknown. This new found confidence brightens the other areas of life, increasing their willingness and enthusiasm to attempt what they once felt was impossible.

But what does it take to make gliding for the disabled possible? Specialist gliders, and fees for training and flying. Moreover, one can give whatever they have, little or much, once or regularly to a reputable charity like The Caroline Trust which supports gliding for the disabled.

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