INSPIRING A NATION
Parliaments represent the interest of particular countries’ democracy where the members the parliaments’ have been selected as a result of a national election in a democratic countries. It is a rare to have an opportunity for a member of a marginalized groups even in Europe or American societies. There are such nations where people with physical disabilities have been appointed as members of their parliament and became a unique and rare personalities representing their communities. Most of the parliaments, even in European Union countries are no into reveal the data of their MPs as “parliamentarians with disabilities, like everyone else, have a right to privacy and therefore are not under an obligation to reveal a disability. Moreover, in many Member States information concerning disability falls under the umbrella of health data, and is therefore confidential.”
In such situation, There is very unique and different figure from Fiji become a national level policy maker from an Olympic Gold Medalist were he proved that his ability is totally different from the rest. Iliesa Delana was born in Tailevu, Fiji and lost his one of legs in a bus accident at age 3. Delana was interesting in sports from his young ages and developed skills until become a national level athlete. “Sheer performance was achieved international status and recognition in his sport, Class F42 (single leg amputee without prosthesis) High Jump.”2In year 2012 he became a hero for his nation becoming the first Paralympic Gold medalist representing Fiji in the history “finishing first in the F42 high jump at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He was his country’s only representative at the Games.”3His ambition was very inspirational which is make Fijians and other people’s lives better stated to the International Paralympic Committee in 2012.
As a retired athlete form Fiji, Delana decided to join the political campaigns of the country and he gloriously proved that he is still capable for the place where composed and implement country’s national policies. Delana was elected as a member of Fijian parliament in 2014 and as a Person with a physical disability, this s very rare and massive achievement especially in a nonwestern country, and subsequently appointed to cabinet as assistant minister for Youth and Sports. “Fiji’s ability to host internationally recognized and sanctioned tournaments, supported by my Ministry. Through Government support and prudent management, Fiji has indeed established itself as the sporting hub of the Pacific.”4 One of his addresses to the parliament of Fiji depicts that his interest to move up the countries development in his experienced field. Delana was able to organized many international sports events and youth activates with the support of Fijian government and currently Fiji is becoming a rising country in youth and sports activities in Pacific region. Rather than that same speech delivered that “With support from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, we are working to provide PE in our special schools and for those children with impairments in mainstream schools. It is through such teamwork that we will create more opportunities for our disabled community and promote an inclusive society rooted in equality.”5 Delana extremely worked to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities in his country. The story of Honorable Deana demonstrate that becoming a successful figure in multiple categories such as sports, political and policy making even with the physical barrier of his life. It is appreciated that even in a developing country like Fiji, He has proved that differently-abled people also have the power to inspire a nation.
– Madushan Senevirathna –