HomeNews‘Society raises obstacles’ to folks with disabilities says activist in Costa Rica

‘Society raises obstacles’ to folks with disabilities says activist in Costa Rica

“I’m the daughter of a housewife and a automotive painter” is how Nicaraguan activist Ms. Mesén describes herself, whereas sitting behind her workplace desk in San José, the capital metropolis of Costa Rica, the place she is now dwelling.

Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a situation that causes bones to interrupt simply and damages listening to, muscular tissues, enamel and the backbone, she makes use of a wheelchair.

“Being born with a incapacity is complicated, not due to the incapacity itself, however due to all of the obstacles that society generates,” she mentioned. “Traditionally and culturally, we have now generated a mannequin of individuals. If somebody breaks that mannequin, we are likely to segregate them and erect countless obstacles as a result of we construct society with that mannequin.”

She mentioned discrimination and a dearth of data concerning the rights of individuals with disabilities prevented her from going to nursery college. By major college, she mentioned her mom was prepared. A legislation on equal alternatives was already in drive, so when her mom approached the Training Ministry, she made positive her seven-year-old daughter may go to high school.

A younger Ms. Mesén discovered employees and college students there able to create an inclusive setting. Her father had crafted a crib with wheels to accommodate her, as she couldn’t sit upright on account of her medical situation and the varsity supported different accessibility efforts.

“It appeared to have created a sample on the college as a result of ranges of inclusion had by no means been established earlier than,” she mentioned.

She didn’t attend secondary college on account of well being causes, however she by no means stopped studying, taking over portray and finding out English; she additionally discovered make crafts and jewellery.

Nicole has an excellent relationship with her colleagues in the Municipality of Goicoechea. She takes every opportunity to raise awareness and turn them into supporters of her cause for the rights of people with disabilities.

UN Costa Rica/Abril Morales

Incapacity in Costa Rica


Greater than 670,000 folks, or 18 per cent of the nation’s inhabitants, lives with a incapacity – 39 per cent males and 61 per cent ladies. Though the overwhelming majority of individuals with disabilities have entry to social safety, Costa Rica nonetheless faces vital challenges to make sure full rights to training and employment.

Presently, 56 per cent of adults with disabilities are unemployed.

At age 18, Ms. Mesén grew to become an activist to advertise the rights of individuals with disabilities, focusing her efforts on social media fairly than campaigning in particular person.

“My mom gave me all of the instruments for me to say my rights; nobody was going to do it for me,” she mentioned.

By the point she was 22, she grew to become the primary particular person with a incapacity to be elected as councillor of Goicoechea a locaility in San José, a place she nonetheless holds.

“I noticed politics as a platform to make mt activism extra seen as a result of I’ve at all times believed that activism and politics go hand in hand,” she mentioned.

However, Ms. Mesén by no means settles. She needs to change into an activist lawyer to defend human rights.

Ms. Mesén’s story is an instance of battle and achievement, a part of a group of 20 tales within the ebook I’m an individual with a incapacity in Costa Rica and that is my story, now obtainable on-line in Spanish.

A part of a collection of tales compiled in Costa Rica to lift consciousness concerning the conditions of particular folks and teams and share their aspirations, struggles, experiences, and precious life classes, earlier editions have amplified the voices of individuals of African descent and of indigenous peoples. The following ebook within the collection will include tales of migrants.

Allegra Baiocchi, UN Resident Coordinator in Costa Rica (left) and UNFPA country representative, Juan Luis Bermudez, welcome Nicole Mesén to the UN.

UN Costa Rica/Danilo Mora

Selling inclusion

Allegra Baiocchi, UN Resident Coordinator in Costa Rica, mentioned individuals with disabilities, households, communities, establishments, and organizations are presently main a change, by taking a people-centred method to growth.

“It’s an incredible problem for the UN, nations, and societies to help teams which have skilled exclusion and have confronted extraordinarily complicated struggles,” she mentioned. “It’s about listening to them, supporting them, and reaffirming their aspirations for equality and social justice. On daily basis, we’re studying how to make sure true inclusion and accessibility for all folks.”

That features guaranteeing that extra individuals with disabilities have entry to employment and management positions, she mentioned. The latest That is my story ebook acknowledges the individuals with disabilities “who encourage us and encourage us to combat for equality, rights, and well-being for all folks”, she mentioned.

“They educate us that we will be unable to realize sustainable growth if we don’t shut the gaps which can be affecting them rather more deeply than the remainder of the folks in Costa Rica,” she mentioned.

When the ebook was launched, Costa Rica’s Vice President, Mary Munive, mentioned the Authorities is dedicated to maneuver in direction of turning into a extra inclusive nation with extra alternatives for all.

“We should assure that our inhabitants with disabilities has entry to high quality training and jobs,” she mentioned.

Ongoing efforts in Costa Rica embody implementing the UN Incapacity Inclusion Technique, selling advocacy and producing proof and data for determination making.


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