With black clothes and white gloves Ines Helke stands on stage and performs – together with the sign language choir 'HandsUp'. Why one of the choir members had a special influence on her and what kind of visions she has concerning inclusion and participation, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Ines Helke Age: 48 City: Hamburg, Germany Occupation: Graduate social pedagogue Impairment: Person with a hearing disability and with a communication disability
Ines Helke: When people with and without disabilities are happy together and children's eyes shine with joy.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Ines Helke: Establish a café without state subsidies, as is customary here and there with integration companies. Simply create a café in which people with and without disabilities can show the way to inclusion. Show that people with disabilities are there, that it is simply normal and that all belong to our society. All should earn their wages, so that appreciation is experienced at eye level.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Ines Helke: Maren, a woman with trisomy 21, who has been attending the workshop sign language and sign poetry 'HandsUp' from treffpunkt.altona (alsterdorf assistenz west GmbH) for years. Her motivation to learn sign language and sign poetry for the small and large performances of 'HandsUp' is remarkable.
With her personal pace of learning she shows that inclusion is possible. She brings herself in and also confidently says/signs that a song is too fast for her and she wants it to be different. She demands it in her own way and does not let up. She insists on her needs and communicates clearly. She has found her way and wants to be picked up where she stands with her disability.
The concept of social space orientation has worked for her personally. With her attitude, Maren has motivated others to learn sign language and sign poetry. A wonderful result of empowerment.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?
Ines Helke: To oblige business to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – without any ifs or buts. Our life does not take place in state institutions, but where it happens: in pubs, cinemas, restaurants, buses, trains, swimming pools, discos, playgrounds, medical practices, hospitals and much more.
I would also like to open a discussion on the question of whether we should/must introduce an inclusion tax in Germany. The source of money goes specifically into the implementation of inclusion. We all need inclusion because it can affect everyone and everyone can benefit from inclusion. Not only we humans with disabilities.
Whether Helene Fischer or Stefan Gwildis – the sign language choir 'HandsUp' has also already performed on stage with popular German artists.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Ines Helke: To pick up people with and without disabilities where they are and together bring inclusion and empowerment to life. So that important processes take place in our society and hopefully one day it will be normal. It doesn't always have to be perfect. Who is perfect in life?! Mistakes must be allowed so that people with disabilities experience equal opportunities in their lives. Mastering the challenges together and shaping them together, without the eternal excuse "Can't do it". Raúl Aguayo-Krauthausen communicates again and again to the outside "Just make it work".
That's why it's so important to me that the song by KIDS Hamburg e.V. "Irgendwie normal" (Somehow normal), which the inclusive sign language choir 'HandsUp' from treffpunkt.altona has translated into sign language poetry, will be known far beyond the City of Hamburg. For me, it can be the chart hit of the year!
I would like to be...
Ines Helke: ...a colorful balloon and I would let myself drift by the wind, in sun, rain, storm and snow.
Which question would you like answered the most?
Ines Helke: Why is there no anti-discrimination law in Germany? I would like to put this question to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Don't you dare, because there will be a guaranteed wave of complaints? I would certainly be among the first to make use of the anti-discrimination law, because we in Germany are far behind the expectations of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
What I finally want to say...
Ines Helke: Inclusion is a question of attitude. Please no more excuses, but enable people with disabilities to have real equal opportunities, so that they can shape their lives self-determinedly and self-confidently in all circumstances. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a human right and I will communicate that to the outside world every day.