As an A-Level Student (longer ago, than I care to mention) I read a book in German. Given I now barely remember a word of German, I still can’t quite believe I managed it but I did.
It’s a book that even all these years later stays with me. It was called “Damals war es Friedrich’ which translates roughly to ‘At that time it was Friedrich.’ It was a book set in the Second World War, which talked of the persecution of the Jewish race, and it started with a poem which I’ll never forget; a poem which listed people who had been persecuted throughout history and asked quite simply who would be next.
The message was simple; at any point history can change, at any point we can be on the receiving end, we can become the persecuted. We should therefore remember that. We should remember that at any point our life can be changed unrecognisably.
At around the same time I read another poem, a poem called ‘Welcome to Holland’ it’s a poem that in the Additional Needs community is well known, some love it, others hate it but most have heard of it. It’s an analogy for pregnancy and ultimately parenthood, a mother has hopes and dreams of how her child’s life will be, she dreams of Italy. But when the plane lands, her child has additional needs, and she is in Holland. Now Holland, like having a child with additional needs, can be a good place. But it isn’t what you expected, it isn’t what you imagined. Life is suddenly very different, you have a new set of hopes, a new set of dreams, a new language to learn. Your life will be very different to the one you imagined.
We often hide from things that make us feel uncomfortable, we choose not to think about them. We live in our own world, surrounded by our own problems not thinking about the issues that face those around us.
But the truth is, none of us knows what is around the corner. None of us know what the future will bring. None of us know if at some point we could be the ones that need help. And right now there are a group of mums who are trying to make a difference, mums determined to do what is right. Mums who are thinking not only of their children, but of the children of others, children who are born and children who are yet to be born. Children who will ultimately become adults needing their independence.
They are campaigning for the most basic of human rights: A toilet. A toilet that is accessible; a toilet with a hoist, a toilet where they can change their child safely as they grow, a toilet that will enable them to enjoy family days out, visit new places, experience new things. Do the things that we in our families take for granted. With only 900 accessible public changing places in the whole of the UK, the time for change is now.
Some things matter! Just because they are right! This is one of them, so if you can, in whatever way you can, please lend your support. It would mean so much, to so many.