The Charitable Model understanding
Disabled people have also identified the ‘Charity Model’ of disability – taking this approach, disabled people are portrayed as weak, vulnerable and needy, relying upon charity ‘handouts’.
Many of the larger disability charities continue to perpetuate this negative image of Disabled people to the general public to encourage them to continue making donations.
Much of the charity ‘industry’ is run by non-disabled people, with many charities using a substantial portion of their income to maintain the charity itself rather than support or empower the disabled people they claim to represent.
A lot of campaigning has been undertaken by disabled people over several decades to highlight and challenge the fact that the management committees and staff teams of many of the big charities did not include the disabled people they represent. “Nothing about us without us” and “Rights not charity” have been rallying cries for the disabled people’s movement in the past.
Many disabled people believe that the struggle for civil, human and legal rights and full inclusion in society should be the focus for organisations and charities, not making ‘special’ or segregated provision or treating disabled people as in need of sympathy or care. If the public feels sorry for us, disabled people would argue, we can never be equal citizens.