CELEBRATING LIFE BEYOND DISABILITIES
A flight of stairs can seem like Mount Everest if you’re sitting in a wheelchair. Without sight, walking beside a busy road is like walking along the edge of a cliff. Everyday life suddenly becomes challenging when dealing with a disability. However, SAT-7 TÜRK’s program, Obstacle Overcomers, explores the lives beyond such limitations.
Individuals should not be defined by their disability, but unfortunately, the disability is often the first and only thing the general public sees. Obstacle Overcomers is providing a platform from which individuals dealing with disabilities can share their inspirational stories.
“We aim to raise awareness among the general population and encourage them to sympathise with these individuals, and to help them overcome obstacles,” explains Ilker Yılmaz, Producer of the program.
According to both Ilker and Cüneyt Arıkan, Program Director of SAT-7 TÜRK, the first and biggest obstacle to overcome is attitude.
NO ROOM FOR DISABILITIES
Ten years ago, you could travel across Turkey and likely never come across a person with a disability. This is not because Turkey had the healthiest population in the world, but because the disabled were invisible to the public eye.
“A disability was often considered a source of shame and of embarrassment to the family,” explains Cüneyt. “The disabled person was often hidden away at home, and rarely left the house.”
The fact that the outside world was inaccessible to those with disabilities; that there were no ramps for wheelchairs to get on buses, or that the disabled were not given priority for the lifts, were further challenges for those already struggling to take part in public life. There was no room for the disabled, and they themselves were aware of it.
Fear, shame, and embarrassment, caused by the challenges of navigating daily life, led to a defeatist attitude in the disabled community.
Thankfully however, according to Ilker, a wonderful change has been occurring among the disabled. Casting off the power the stigma of disability had upon them, individuals are stepping out of the shadows and taking an active part in society.
FIGHTING THE ODDS
The program Obstacle Overcomers is encouraging this change of attitude among the disabled, their families, and the general population.
Unfortunately, people with disabilities have not yet been fully integrated into society, and the majority of the Turkish population is still unaware of the challenges people with different disabilities face. However, this is the beginning of positive change, and Obstacle Overcomers has already become one of SAT-7 TÜRK’s most popular programs.
Harun, a viewer from Turkey, wrote to us to say: “I’m a non-Christian and disabled. My life is a lot harder as a disabled person compared to others, but I watch your channel and you are helping people.”