What is the Bigger Picture?

The days go by so fast, just the other day we were making our plans for 2010 - and now here we are with two thirds of it gone!

For those of you who set goals for 2010 and achieved them you deserve to be commended. Those resolutions and objectives that have still not been realised now need attention! If good time management is one of your strong points, good on you. If not, then you’ve got some work to do, or you will find yourself lost in the big picture.

What is the big picture? What is it all about? I’m sure everyone has their own unique answer to this but, when you ask enough people, certain similarities start coming up. For me it is LIFE. LIFE is the one thing that all of us share. It is the only thing that we, as people, have in common. Although we share life with plants and animals, human LIFE is considered superior to theirs.

But what value can we attach to it? The person’s potential earning power? I think not. What if that person has never worked a day in their life or doesn’t have to? The value of human life is absolutely priceless and yet some babies get dumped like rubbish.

LIFE has become too cheap. We are exposed to daily examples of just how cheap and how little thought goes into robbing someone of their life. The drug dealer that died in a hail of bullets earlier today on the Cape Flats and the illegal miners that were shot by security personnel. And then there are the people in China, India and Pakistan who are battling to survive in the aftermath of those natural disasters. Sad as it might sound; this reality gets referred to as ‘part of life’.

But we that still have the gift of LIFE, what are we doing with it? We need to celebrate it and live it. We must enjoy every living moment of our human lives. We must know our rights and claim our rights. These rights are ours from the moment that we are born and are enshrined in the constitution of South Africa.

Our country was one of the first to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities wherein all of our human rights and freedoms are promoted and protected - on an equal basis with all other members of society.

However, it seems that government is not sure exactly who must take responsibility for us and so we have been included with other vulnerable members of society under one ministry.

Bless you, Madam Minister, you have a huge task in looking after the women, children and persons with disabilities. I know how difficult this can be because I, and many of my friends with disabilities, struggle to look after our own women and children and other persons with disabilities. All of the other ministries should assist in this regard - in fact persons with disabilities should have their own Ministry - but that’s a topic for another time.

Government seems to be handing over their responsibility to civil society organisations, who in turn are only accountable to their constituency or management committee.

This is why NGO’s and people with disabilities need to have a united approach. We must challenge the government and its agencies, such as Lotto, to ensure sufficient funding. We must bring our plights and fights out into the face of the public. Too many serious issues are being ridiculed by the media - especially the tabloids - who seem sceptical of our stories.

If we take a united stand, look past our labels and differences and start focussing on what we have in common we’ll see that life is the same for everyone.

We cannot all fit into the same boat, but we may be in similar boats. We all have this one gift that we share, one life to live. Let us live it to our fullest potential.

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