Michael Mohr was one of the eight "vilmA" award 2017 winners that the VdK North Rhine-Westphalia annually chooses. The 40-year-old from Düren donated his prize money to his heart's desire: the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Düren. What he is grateful to his parents for and why he would like to see more independence from people with disabilities, he tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Michael Mohr Age: 40 City: Düren, Germany Occupation:data processing administrator, 1st Chairman of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Düren e. V. and member of the Board of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in North Rhine-Westphalia Impairment: I am highly visually impaired with a residual vision of about five percent.
What makes you laugh?
Michael Mohr: It makes me laugh when I see how happy other people are and how well they are. My attitude is one way or the other that I try to do all things positively and with a smile. I find this increases the quality of life, even if the situation is difficult.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Michael Mohr: That is a difficult question. I would love to touch a penguin and touch his plumage. Penguins are interesting animals from my point of view and I always find it interesting to watch them. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity yet.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Michael Mohr: My parents have influenced me the most in my life so far. They always allowed me to act alone in difficult and dangerous situations despite my high degree of visual impairment. In my opinion, this approach of my parents results in my current independence in life. Again and again I experience that others affected are not as independent as I am. For this reason, I find that my parents have had a particularly positive influence on me.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Michael Mohr: My first official act would be to try to further strengthen public acceptance of disabled people. It is very important to me that there should be good cooperation between disabled and non-disabled people. There is still a lot to do. Of course, we would also be dependent on external help here, but that would be the first thing I would do intensively.
Michael Mohr (middle) was one of the "vilmA" award winners in 2017. The Dürener donated his prize money to his Blind and Visually Impaired Association because he is very keen on volunteering.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Michael Mohr: Volunteering is very close to my heart. That's why I decided to take over the position of the first chairman of the Blind and Visually Impaired Association Düren e. V.. I am also a member of the state board of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in North Rhine-Westphalia.
My commitment to voluntary work is also reflected in the fact that I donated the entire prize money of the "vilmA" award to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Düren. With this financial support, too, I hope to be able to further promote the interests of our stakeholders.
I would like to be ...
Michael Mohr: ...even more volunteering. Unfortunately, time is very short due to the professional involvement. I would like to further intensify my work.
Which question would you like to get answered?
Michael Mohr: I would like to have an answer to the question why disabled people do not have the same acceptance in society as a "normal" person. Admittedly, our acceptance in Europe is already quite high, but I would like it to be even higher.
What else I wanted to say...
Michael Mohr: It is very important to me that the group of people with disabilities should not be disadvantaged in their everyday lives. It is also important to me, however, that the group of people is committed to reducing prejudices and promoting their own independence.