See the person first
I have the pleasure of volunteering for The Dorothy Springer Trust (DST), it is a charity I care deeply about. DST is a small NGO that works with students with disability in Sierra Leone and offers them training in ICT skills. Many students have graduated these courses and have gone on to achieve well within job roles requiring such skills and DST is recognised for its professional approach to making workplaces in the country more inclusive. In Sierra Leone, and to be honest most countries around the world, people with disabilities tend to be judged on, or recognised for, those disabilities before they are seen for the person they. It can become an effort to get people to see beyond the disability. As DST graduate Osman Kamara says:
“I don’t want people to just see a blind guy. I want them to see a guy working hard. Someone who is able and not disabled.”
On a recent visit to Freetown I took portraits of current students and DST graduates and I wanted to try to capture their personality rather than their disability! There students are not victims. They are empowered individuals working hard to better their future. Many of them are now skilled professionals using the ICT skills they gained through the DST training. Ultimately some of these students are also now friends, people I admire and that inspire me.