by Maria Qureshi, IVLP alumna.
“I was not disabled in America”
It was an honor for me to be part of the International Visitors Leadership program on Disability Leadership in the United States as it empowered and encouraged me. It is worth mentioning here that during the said visit my earnest dreams came true, as I lived an independent life there. I could enter any place I wished to — be it any building, public place or shopping mall — every place was completely accessible. I traveled on public buses and train with my non-disabled friends, and the sense of being disabled disappeared, as we all were equal, rightful, and valued human beings, without any discrimination and sense of deprivation. It made my belief stronger that no doubt “God is the greatest creator” and disability lies nowhere in humans – but in society, public opinions, ideas, and infrastructures. It is the system that creates barriers and breeds discrimination among humans.