I am a wheelchair user, writer, artist and activist.
The country has been in lockdown a few times during the last 14 months. Like many I have strangle with lockdowns at different-times especially when I couldn’t see my mother who lives locally and brother and sister who live abroad.
But I have been kept very busy during this time, specifically through Zoom which is the best technology at the moment in my view. As an activist it has been marvels to attend meetings with people from all over the country and the world.
Before the lockdown I did not know much about zoom and it benefits. I knew that my sister was using Zoom but that was all. At the beginning of the first lockdown I started to get a lot of texts and emails about meetings that I was very interesting in. I was upset at first because I told that I have to get transport and I wasn’t able to because of the lockdown.
I have live on my own for the past 21 years with the help of Personal Assistant who help me in every aspect of daily life. The Pa who was with me that day said “you don’t need to be upset all the meetings are on Zoom . The main organisation that was posting the events was Independent Leaving Movement Ireland and ILMI for short. From that moment my world opened. I signed up for courses such as creative writing mindfulness and many more.
I should explain what independent leaving movement Ireland is. It is an organisation run primarily by and for people with disabilities. At the core of the Independent Living Philosophy is people living like everyone else, being able to have control of Your life, having opportunities to make decisions about your life and being able to choose activities that you want to do. It is known as a Disable Person Organisation or D.P.O for short, because of this structure.
I believe that zoom has help the organisation to bring people together with the overall aim of supporting members through the pandemic.
I have also been able to attend meetings around national and international policies for example around the United Nations convention on the rights of people with disabilities.
It has not all been serious but fun as well. I have attended Zumba classes and one karaoke night and recited a poem for international women days.
Before the pandemic I was on several board and comities . I always attended the meetings in person or occasionally by phone. This meant having to take hired transport sometimes early in the morning or late at night which would leave me tired and in pain from the bumpy roads.
I hope when we come back to normal that Zoom is here to stay.