Today, the Internet enables many people to be heard. Also Shona Cobb got a voice through it. At the age of 14, the Brit started her blog. That was six years ago and her blog has grown with her ever since. Why disability rights campaigners inspire her and why the 20-year-old would like to be able to speak more in public, she tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Shona Cobb Age: 20 City: Hertfordshire, UK Occupation:Unable to work due to disability Impairment: Marfan Syndrome, powerchair user
Shona Cobb: My 17 month old nephew, Harry, is always guaranteed to make me laugh!
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Shona Cobb: I would love to do a TED talk, so far I’ve just not had the opportunity but also, public speaking terrifies me. It always has, but I really feel like it’s something I want to conquer and doing a TED talk would be the ultimate way to do so, in the meanwhile I’m doing smaller public speaking events to try and build up my confidence!
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Shona Cobb: For me I’m influenced not by one person, but rather by a group of people: disability rights campaigners. Their drive and motivation to make change sparks something inside me that makes me want to do the same.
"Don't be afraid to use your voice," says Shona Cobb. She knows what she is talking about: The blogger has become an activist and speaker for more rights for people with disabilities in the UK.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Shona Cobb: I would probably sort out the benefits system here in the UK as at the moment it causes disabled people a great deal of stress, often leading to mental health problems and even death linked to the process. The UN have even found that our government is not doing enough to support disabled people. Many of us are living off the bare minimum, barely leaving our homes or having to choose between food and having the heating on and that has to change.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Shona Cobb: My family of course mean the world to me but in terms of my passions, educating people on what it means to be disabled is something that is really important to me as I think a lot of change starts with people beginning to understand disability from the people who experience it, rather than through media stereotypes.
I would like to be ...
Shona Cobb: ...an author of a book (or several). What else I wanted to say...
Shona Cobb: Don’t be afraid to speak up and use your voice.