Idag så var det få dags för konferensen för kvinnor med funktionsnedsättningars rättigheter i Monaragala.
Det började redan på morgonen med en marsch för kvinnor med funktionsnedsättningars rättigheter. Eftersom regnet hängde i luften var vi inte säkra på hur många som faktiskt skulle komma. Kanske, 200. Många har också väldigt svårt att resa. Färdtjänst finns inte här och kollektivtrafiken är inte tillgänglig. Många kvinnor får inte heller resa ensamma utan sällskap eller så kan de inte lämna hemmet av andra skäl. När vi fick se att det var cirka 400 personer som rest dit för att delta. Då kände i alla fall jag en glädjetår i ögonvrån. Se bilder i tidigare inlägg.
Konferensen i Monaragala tog upp många olika ämnen. Allt ifrån jobb, våld, utbildning, idrott och påverkansarbete. Lokala mycket högt uppsatta personer deltog med egna tal, löften och kommentarer. Förhoppningsvis så håller de allt det lovat. De lokala organisationerna kommer att hålla koll.
Jag höll ett tal som översattes från engelska till singali.
Det löd så här.
Ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank you for your invitation as your glest and I would like to give a special thank you to Wopd for your kindness and giving me the privilege of letting me speak here today.
A woman with special needs is actually not a woman with special needs at all. She is a person with perfectly ordinary needs, which needs to be met and granted for with special efforts.
When i speak for you today, i do it with the voice of many women in Sweden with special needs. Their voices are today mine.
A voice that even in my country, far away up in the north, has been ridiculed, silenced, not seen as wise or sometimes, not even listened to. I believe that many of you here share the experience of being a woman and speaking out loud and clear and not being even noticed. But a man can say the same words and the whole world opens in front of him.
I talk to you today with the ears of many women. Their ears are today mine. Ears that for some reson do not get the same amount of information as if the ears belonged to a man.
My brain today is many womens brains in Sweden today. Whispering to me information and tell me about all those ideas, visions and knowledge that never come to be. Because if the brain belongs to a woman it is more often likely that she has a lower education, A work less paid, smaller life expectations and her feelings are not taken seriously only because she is not a man.
I am the voice of all the women in Sweden with special needs who feel that their bodies are pittied and jugded by others and rated as not being good enough. As if a body is all that a woman is.
I am the cry of all the women who experience that they are not seen as a complete woman nor man. More like a sexless body. But still as something for use of others as they please in various situations in life. And in the same time it is not certain that a woman with special needs is seen as a good and trustworthy mother of her children, sometimes not even seen as a respektable person at all.
In Sweden a woman with special needs is more likely to get a lower education and a lower salary for the same work made by a man. She has a harder time to get suitable personal aid, technical adaptation of her home and she gets fewer hours of personal assistance then a man. Except when it comes to and to do kitchen work. As if preparing food is the most important task in every womans life.
After telling you all these depressing words does that mean that everything with being a woman in Sweden with special needs is bad? Of course not!
It is from women like myself I have got the useful advice of how to make everyday life more managable. From the small things like tieing my shoes to the big things like how to manage as a single mother.
Those I call my Sisters of strength, who like lionessess have fought for the rights for my self and so many others.
Those are my Sisters with memory, voice and wisdome of elephants. They have reminded me when I have forgotten of what truly is important in life.
The importance of education, networking, helping each other and accept differencies as something natural and beautiful. And this is how we got things to start to change in Sweden.
So, this is my advice for you. Get together. Help each other. See each other. Educate each other. And then you can be the one voice of women with special needs in Sri Lanka. Telling those who now must listen to your voices. That a woman with special needs actually is not a person with special needs at all. She is a person with perfectly ordinary needs which needs to be met and granted with special efforts.