“Campaigning is a conversation with society, persuading people to take an unusual interest in supporting a move that would not normally happen. It is the science and art of changing what is possible. It means setting up and sustaining processes that are not normal or ‘business as usual’.” (Rose C. 2010 What Makes People Tick: The Three Hidden Worlds of Settlers, Prospectors and Pioneers).

MY STORY

When I asked myself “what will happen to Isaiah (our nine year old boy with special needs) when I die”, I became anxious and angry. My anxiety and anger was a snowballing of what I had already been through as a parent, imagining what will be his quality of life in Trinidad and Tobago. This led to recurring nightmares of Isaiah being mauled by lions and I, unable to rescue him.

I eventually climbed out of the pit and went back to school to better arm myself for the journey I was about to embark on.

We want to build sustainable, assisted-living communities, where Isaiah and others like him can live and work with dignity and respect. Research on contextualizing these communities means that we also have to look at our limited geographical space, consider our culture and our relationship with inclusion. We still operate with the Medical model. To effect change and transform perspectives so we can build a foundation of empathy and greater understanding, will require strategic and prolonged campaigns to create awareness about disabilities and inclusion. As a result, Cause An Effect was born.

 

CAUSE AN EFFECT

Cause An Effect is a non-profit, cause-related media and marketing company.

The organization was launched on the 19th May 2013 and registered on the 24th June 2013.

Cause An Effect is headed by Francis Escayg who is the father of a child with special needs. He is also a multi-disciplinary artist and a recipient of multiple media awards for video, music, jingles and film, and is a published author with MacMillan Caribbean.

What: To create awareness campaigns about how disabilities affect an individual’s quality of life, the impact on the family and siblings and how the environment impacts persons with disabilities.

Why:   To build empathy and transform our perspectives about the issue and to create an atmosphere of inclusion for persons with disabilities.

How:   Target value systems and all cultural and economic sectors through a variety of mediums, including video, print, radio, TV, film, Internet, social media, outreach programs and events.

 

PROBLEMATIQUE

While Trinidad and Tobago may not be that far behind other countries in the world, when it comes to disabilities we are at least 60 years behind the United States. On average, disabilities affect 15 – 20 percent of a country’s population. These disabilities may include visual and auditory problems, mental and physical problems, learning disabilities and psychological problems from abuse. The 2000 census data states that 58,383 persons are living with disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago.

In Trinidad and Tobago, we still operate with the Medical model, which places persons with disabilities at a disadvantage. The main perspectives associated with the medical model are:

Something is wrong with the person.

  • Persons with disabilities do not fit in.
  • They are not equal.

This model excludes persons with disabilities, and all systems and services in the environment mirror this exclusion.

 

SOCIAL INCLUSION

Social inclusion is an overarching concept which encompasses the full participation by all people, irrespective of their social differences (such as gender, ethnicity, social class and disability), in economic, social and cultural life. It also ensures their participation in the decision-making, which affects their lives and access to their fundamental rights. Building more inclusive societies is vital to achieving sustained economic growth, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion (ETF: 2010 Building Inclusive Societies for Economic Growth and Social Cohesion).

In an inclusive society, persons with disabilities can enjoy a quality of life, which gives them independence and access to opportunities. Adopting the Social Inclusion model can ensure that the process to meet all of the needs of persons with disabilities will begin and will have continuity.