Footsteps 108 - Living with disability

Footsteps 108 is full of practical advice on how to make our churches and communities more inclusive of people living with disabilities.

Enjoying Footsteps in Liberia. Photo: Andrew Philip/Tearfund


Thirty years of Footsteps!

The first edition of Footsteps was published in December 1989. More than 100 editions later, Footsteps now has thousands of readers in more than 130 countries and is published in several different languages. 

As we celebrate the last 30 years and look forward to the future, I would love to hear from you. How do you use Footsteps? What do you enjoy about the magazine? Is there anything you would like to change? I would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who has been reading Footsteps since 1989! 

In addition, please send me photos of yourself and others reading and using Footsteps. I am hoping to build up a gallery of photos from all around the world: look out for them in future editions!

My contact details are below.

Knotty problem

Question: Is it too expensive to include people with disabilities in all areas of society?

Answer: From a moral, social and human rights point-of-view, the exclusion of people with disabilities from any area of society is completely unacceptable. 

However, is it economically possible for communities to become truly inclusive, particularly in areas of the world where there is not much money?

Here are some of the many reasons why the full participation of people with disabilities in society makes good financial sense

  • Inclusive education increases employment and independence, reduces poverty and encourages everyone to contribute their talents and creativity. It also means children can stay with their families instead of going to specialised schools which might be expensive and far away (or unavailable).  
  • Greater independence means fewer people need financial help from the government, where such help exists. It also releases caregivers – often girls and women – to study and work. 
  • Better access to health care, including self-care, reduces medical and employment absence costs. 
  • The creation of new jobs, such as sign language interpretation and caption writing, increases employment. 
  • Accessible buildings, toilets and water points benefit everyone, including children and older people. 
  • Fully inclusive disaster risk reduction saves lives and property, reducing the social and economic costs of disasters.  

Of course the real benefits of inclusion are not just narrow economic ones. But there is no doubt that inclusion does help society economically. 

So perhaps the question should not be ‘Is inclusion too expensive?’ but, ‘Why have people with disabilities been excluded for so long?’ 

Answer provided by Klaas Aikes and Ambrose Murangira at Light for the World.  

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Please write to: The Editor, Footsteps, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE, UK