Bringing a safe space to disabled students at Kingston university / 3 February 2012
I have recently started a society at my university called Safe Space. This offers a safe space for people with, or knows those with, disabilities and mental health issues. It will be a place where people affected by disabilities can come and talk in a safe and friendly environment.
The picture on the right is now the picture for the Safe Space group page on facebook (KU Safe Space Society). My sister drew this picture. She has a speech difficulty but when she is using her talents in art, her difficulties disappear and she becomes filled with happiness. I thought this picture represented what I wanted Safe Space to be, a place where people with difficulties can come and just enjoy themselves.
I started this society as I felt that the students with disabilities were not getting their opinions heard. There were many people with disabilities I talked to in the university said they had never met anyone else with a disability or knew the right people to talk to about gaining further support. Due to these problems, many people expressed feelings of isolation. I want to change this. I want people with disabilities to know they are not alone. I can also give them a link to people who provide some guidance if they need extra help.
I recently learned there were a high number of students who registered a disability on their application but did not persevere and get a Needs Assessment where you receive help from the government. I know that without the help I received after my Needs Assessment I would not have made it to the third year of university. I also want a place for people with disabilities to come where to feel more involved with university life. It sometimes feels in life that you are continually labelled and those labels can feel like such a burden. But if we have this Safe Space, there will be a place where you will not feel like a minority and can simply enjoy yourself.
I really believe in the importance of this society. This semester I am going to put all of my effort into making this a success. As soon as the semester starts I want to promote a screening event and book a large lecture hall for it. I am going to screen 'Don’t call me Stupid'. This is a great documentary on dyslexia and I hope that the many dyslexics at the university will come to see it. I also hope that it will make students with all types of disabilities aware of the society’s existence and interest them in coming to a future meeting.
Hopefully this event will succeed and people will start coming to more of Safe Space’s events!