At the heart of Michelle’s project is a determination to show that people with disabilities should be treated exactly the same as everyone else.
“I was born with cerebral palsy and find that sometimes people treat me differently as a result. Although they might mean well, their actions can be frustrating”, Michelle said.
“People moving my wheelchair without my permission, underestimating my abilities or excluding me from conversations can make me feel isolated”, she said.
So, Michelle set about raising public awareness and ‘fixing’ this with the help of UK charity Fixers.
Fixers is an innovative social impact program that helps young people aged 16 to 25 across the UK tackle the issues that fire them up, however they choose – benefiting themselves, their communities and people across the world
“With Fixers, I want to show others that you should take the time to get to know people as individuals and not pass judgement based on appearances”, Michelle said.
“Growing up with cerebral palsy myself means I’ve faced discrimination numerous times. Raising awareness of cerebral palsy and promoting equality has always been something I’ve been passionate about.”
“I believe my project primarily helps non disabled people by dispelling any preconceived ideas they may have about someone with a disability, which will hopefully help end any awkwardness and also any discrimination. I also hope that the film will help disabled people like myself feel like they can live their lives without discrimination or judgement from others”, she said.
Over the past five years, nearly 20,000 young people across the UK have reached many thousands of people far and wide through Fixers.
“Fixers share their resources with their peers, parents, teachers, employers, experts, and policy makers to ensure impact and reach on a national scale, creating a lasting legacy”, Mariam Ahmed, Fixers Young People’s Coordinator, said.
“They engage people in the wider community in providing skills, expertise, time and other resources to make the project happen,” she said.
Fixers projects to date have tackled issues from mental health, drug addiction and homophobic abuse to gang culture, homelessness and recycling.
An idea becomes reality
When Michelle first came across Fixers and read about what the program does she contacted them straight away.
“I had an initial meet up with Mariam to discuss my ideas and the issues I wanted to tackle. After a couple of meetings we decided that a film would be a brilliant way to use humour to tackle this issue and really get my message across”, Michelle said.
“From there I met with a producer from Fixers who took down all my ideas and went away to put them into a script for my film. After seeing the script we then arranged a day for filming.”
“I’ve had so much positive and supportive feedback. I’ve had emails from parents of children with cerebral palsy thanking me, to newspapers wanting to help me share my story, and strangers stopping me on the street. It’s all been amazing and I finally feel like my voice is being heard and my message is getting out there!” she said.
With the self belief and opportunities that Fixers has given her, Michelle is ready to take on anything.
“I want to show people that regardless of your disability you can live the most amazing life!” Michelle said.