Writing is very important to the blogger Lea Voitel. That's why she is very grateful to her German teacher, who encouraged her to do so at the time. The 20-year-old has found her destiny in self-determined travel. Why a festival visit was nevertheless something very special for her and what she would like to see from the society, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Lea Voitel Age: 20 City: Potsdam, Germany Occupation: Apprenticeship in Travel and Tourism Management Impairment: Spastic Tetraplegia
Lea Voitel: I went to a Music Festival with one of my girlfriends last weekend. The weather could not have been worse. And to make this really interesting, we camped out…nevertheless, we had loads of fun, simply because this venture was actually possible. By myself, self-determined, no help from mom or dad. On that weekend, I was simply one of 30,000 people. That was a feeling that had me burst out laughing with joy!
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Lea Voitel: I have wanted to write a book for quite some time now but there are tons of biographies of people with disabilities being published right now. So far, I wasn’t able to find the unique detail that would set me apart from all the others. But I continue to look for it!
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Lea Voitel: It’s pretty difficult to limit this to one particular person. Obviously, my parents and grandparents, who taught me great values and showed me how to fight. Next are my sister and her incredibly loving nature and ambition. I definitely took a page from her. My German teacher in high school, who helped me to discover writing, my greatest strength. But not just that: I also more or less became an adult during this time. YAT-Reisen, the travel agency for people with disabilities that I always use when I travel, also helped me to find my dream job and fulfillment in self-determined travel. Last but not least, my "Potsdam family" that goes through thick and thin with me and is always there when I need it and opens up new possibilities I never thought were possible. I am so grateful for all of these wonderful people!
The feeling of defying the weather without parental help on a campsite together with 30,000 others to see their favourite bands on stage can be incredibly liberating. Or, as in the case of Lea Voitel, bring a smile to your face even weeks later.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Lea Voitel: Obviously, I would get rid of the regulation that states people with disabilities can only earn and save a set amount. The rest is taken away from them because they depend on assistance. Let me spell it out for you: We are not dependent on others by choice. It is not nice to constantly need the help of others, at times for very intimate issues. It is absurd that we are only seen as a cost factor and our humanity is being ignored in all this. Some of us might even have gone to college. These should not be the reasons why we should be earning less.
Your life is made into a film: Who would represent you?
Lea Voitel: I would choose Emma Watson. She is very charismatic, beautiful and she puts her whole heart into acting. Besides, I am also a big fan of the Harry Potter movies.
I would like to be ...
Lea Voitel: A power hockey player in the national division
Which questions would you like answered the most?
Lea Voitel: Why are people with disabilities being discriminated against in the job market? Why was same-sex marriage not allowed in Germany so far? Why are thousands of people at war with one another if God gave them life?
What else I wanted to say...
Lea Voitel: Don’t use your power to abuse those that are weaker than you just because you can! Remember you could also be sitting in a wheelchair tomorrow.