Do you see limitations? Discover possibilities!

The social campaign “See limitations, notice possibilities” has started. #CapableDisabled is an initiative aimed at building social awareness about the environment of people with disabilities in the Mazovian region. The latest census (National Census of Population and Housing 2021) provided an opportunity to define people with disabilities not only through judgments, but also through biological limitations of their abilities. The collected data shows that there are over 674,000 people with disabilities living in the Mazovian region. That’s 12.2% of the total population of our province! Some of them – 311,900 – are people who declared their disability only as biological. People with legal disabilities (i.e. with judgments) are 362,400 residents. Compared to the data from the previous census (2011), the number of residents with disabilities in our province has increased by 158,500 people.

“Some residents of Mazovia still perceive people with disabilities as not being able to cope in everyday life. And sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes. Yes, a person with a disability may struggle with something that may limit them, but that should not exclude them from social life. Their attitude shows that in life, one must abandon limitations and notice possibilities,” says Adam Struzik, Marshal of the Mazovian Voivodeship.

A group of people with disabilities is an extremely diverse community that possesses tremendous capital in the eyes of the Mazovian regional government.

“We know that thanks to the wise commitment of our government, people with disabilities can co-create a great Mazovia community. Although they contribute to the development of our region, we can still talk about barriers that hinder their independent and autonomous functioning. This campaign is intended to draw attention to the fact that people with disabilities, regardless of limitations, can serve various social functions and are full and active participants in social life. Our actions aim to counteract social exclusion and promote inclusivity. That is our goal,” adds Elżbieta Lanc, a member of the Mazovian Voivodeship Board.

4 stories, many possibilities

The heroes of the four commercials created as part of the campaign are people with various disabilities (a person in a wheelchair, a deaf person, a blind person, and a neurodiverse person). They all prove that the word “limitation” does not exist for them. They use their talents and passions to fulfill themselves to the best of their abilities.

“The initiative serves to build social awareness about people with disabilities. We would like to present this social group as individuals who have tremendous potential to actively participate in social life. Many of these people have immense potential that needs to be utilized. The commercials aim to show people with disabilities who don’t pay attention to their barriers, but rather focus on overcoming them,” explains Artur Świercz, the representative of the Mazovian Voivodeship Board for people with disabilities and one of the campaign’s heroes.

“Social campaigns like this are essential in increasing social awareness about people with disabilities. I decided to participate in it because I want to support equality and fight against discrimination. Supporting people with disabilities is important because it helps develop empathy and counteract stereotypes. In today’s world, as societies become more diverse, building awareness on this topic is a key element in creating a more open and understanding community. By carrying out such a valuable social campaign, we will show that people with disabilities are normal, ordinary people – those who learn, work, have passions, etc.,” says Dariusz Linde, a hero of the commercial and the director of the Field Office of the “Chance – We Are Together” Foundation.

“Deaf people are rather a cultural minority. We speak a different language, but that does not mean that we do not ‘communicate’. We are just as curious about the world and want to acquire knowledge. And we want to be respected for who we are. That’s why I took part in the campaign,” explains Michał Słaby, another face of the campaign.

The commercials will be displayed in trams, buses, and trains using LCD screens, in local cinemas in Mazovia, in nine sub-regions of the province through local media. Some campaign-related events will take place in Mazovian schools. Children and young people will receive sensory gadgets and integrative coloring books, which will help build awareness about people with disabilities.

Equal opportunities

The campaign is part of the Provincial Program for Equalizing Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and Countering their Social Exclusion, as well as assisting in the implementation of tasks related to employing people with disabilities in the Mazovian Voivodeship for the years 2022-2025.

“The campaign focuses on potential, on what is good in each of us, and that is the message we want to convey to the residents of the Mazovian Voivodeship. We believe that the materials prepared and presented in various places will allow for moments of reflection and break down harmful stereotypes about people with disabilities,” adds Aleksander Kornatowski, Director of the Mazovian Center for Social Policy.

The campaign summary will take place during a press conference on December 4, almost perfectly coinciding with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated on December 3.