Billion Strong is a non-profit organization that is created for the people with disability, by the people with disability. They have recently launched a new crowdfunding campaign “as a humble invitation to the people globally to make tender endowments for the cause.”
According to the World Report on Disability, produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank, more than a billion people in the world experience disability as of 2011. In 2021, that figure rose to more than 1.3 billion. This encompasses about 15% of the world's total population. Imagine what happens when this huge proportion of people unite together for themselves. The conception of this idea gave birth to “Billion Strong”.
What is more is that this number is on the rise. Mainly due to population growth, medical advances and ageing process. Nevertheless, an inclusive perception is the only philosophy that can promise a corroborative future. It withholds the power to overlook the limitations, and focus on the strength of individuality.
One of the major challenges related to disability includes lower educational achievements. According to UNESCO, ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school. Reportedly, students with disabilities in OECD countries remain under-represented for higher education, despite their increasing numbers. Clearly, some form of a person’s impairment becomes the barrier to the basic right to knowledge and learning.
As Prof. Stephen W. Hawking said: “We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and experience to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities”.
And every bit counts.
Billion strong is a movement that realizes the perception of a globally inclusive community, that creates worthy efforts to navigate the international community by arranging for awareness programs. This is to ensure that the people with disability find the most appropriate jobs, instead of being looked down upon as someone with weakness or deficit.
For global initiatives like Billion Strong, managing finances and sufficient funding is a prime concern. It is necessary, not only to help those in need, but also to spread awareness, educate other people about the philosophy of inclusion, and encourage and invite participation. This level of support extends beyond the boundaries of technological advancements, and spans around community level upliftment programs.
The difficulties related to disability are exacerbated in less advantaged communities. Billion Strong envisions to overcome these barriers and create a world where every person finds leverage for their ability to make a difference in the world, instead of being devoid of even the basic rights because of what they lack. In other words, it helps create environments that help people with disabilities to flourish, and live a life of dignity, health and comfort.
Billion Strong Crowdfunding program envisions to take care of the monetary needs while achieving its goals. It openly welcomes the global community to contribute in a collective manner for a cause that holds an immense future for the disabled and the others.
“Crowdfunding isn’t about collecting money. It’s about making something happen with the crowd of the people who believe in something. Normal people, not rich people with lots of power, just people like you and me”. (Jozefien Daelemans)
It recognizes and celebrates the congruence as well as diversity amongst various marginalized groups with disability across the globe. It aims to conceptualize the idea of uniting the people that support and empower self-identification of those with disability.
Billion Strong Crowdfunding is a humble invitation to the people globally to make tender endowments for the cause. It encourages everyone to not to pity the disabled, but to help them overcome their limitations due to lack of finances.
Billion Strong is a commitment to create an umbrella platform with the prime objective to cater to all the challenges disability poses. Dr. LaMondre Pough, its CEO, seeks to bring the audiences to their inherent ability to empower and embrace diversity. He envisages the concept of creating environments that are unfeigned and boundless, to harness the potentials independent of any judgements or limitations.
Pough was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy before his second birthday. He refused to see his disability as an inhibition, and carved it into a positive disability identity that helped him find his purpose in life. He has lived an exemplary life and has been a sole reason for light in many others’. According to him, it is critical to focus on identity and that a person can benefit in many ways by sharing the lived experiences, personal stories, and letting others know what is happening worldwide.
Billion Strong is, thus, a shared stage where every person’s identity plays its role in a brighter and happier world.
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