Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Grassroots Disability Groups Lead Reform Efforts In Korea
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 19, 2005

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA--Every April 20, the South Korean government holds highly-publicized events honoring some of its citizens for "overcoming" their disabilities.

By some accounts, it's a splendid festival with heart-warming stories and lots of good food.

So, why does a coalition of 68 disability organizations hold rallies and demonstrations for a month to protest the event?

"For 364 days we are treated like dogs, staying trapped at home, isolated from all aspects of society, and on one day, April 20, the government treats us to a festival with rice cake and media attention. Do you think we enjoy this?" asked a member of the Joint Association Struggling for the Human Rights of the Disabled.

The groups decided to unite two years ago, convinced that only through grassroots activism could things change for the better. They noted that anti-discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Disability Discrimination Acts in Australia and the United Kingdom only exist because of the work of disability rights advocates.

The Korea Herald this week ran a two-part story on the activism that these Koreans use toward improving accessibility, education, community living, employment and other aspects of life that people without disabilities take for granted.

"The hardest thing for me is the barrier that society imposes on us. Because everything is set to the standard of non-disabled persons, all aspects of society isolates and ostracizes us," Kim Gyung-tae, an association member who has cerebral palsy, told the Herald. "The physical inconvenience is something I get used to, but the psychological hardship that I go through is immense."

Related:
"A changing world for the disabled?" (Korea Herald)
"Disabled hope for infrastructure for support" (Korea Herald)

---

©2017 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email: admin.dd@state.mn.us   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.