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Ethnic minorities

Disabled people from black and ethnic communities sometimes feel that any difficulties they face as a result of their disability are compounded by having also to overcome overt or, perhaps worse, covert racial discrimination. Support services are often designed and established with white users in mind, whose first language is English, whose cultural background is western and whose religion, if any, is Christian. The meals service, for example, might not provide kosher food, or vegetarian dishes. The strict dress code of Muslim women and the demarcations of gender roles might not be fully understood or respected.

Although such services are not usually being intentionally discriminatory, the result nevertheless is that they can alienate and disempower people.

There are, however, many organisations which offer advice and services to, and are run by, people from black and ethnic communities. Your local disability organisation or Citizens’ Advice Bureau should have details of groups in your area. Some of the larger organisations are:

  • The Asian People with Disabilities Alliance (APDA), which works to highlight the particular cultural and social needs of Asian people with disabilities, campaigns for their rights and organises social events. It has an information service and can provide advocacy, respite care and information in Asian languages.

  • Jewish Care, which provides services including day centres, social clubs and a holiday home for older people, people with mental health problems and those with visual and physical disabilities and their families. It also runs an open access therapy centre for people with emotional difficulties. 

  • The Kurdish Disability Organisation, which provides information and advice on all aspects of disability to Kurdish disabled people and can offer interpretation and home visits. It also organises Kurdish cultural events and outings.

  • The London Chinese Health Resource Centre, which can provide carers and advocacy for disabled Chinese people and has an interpreting project.

  • Organisation of Blind African Caribbeans provides information, advice and support to blind and partially sighted African Caribbean people. Subjects include education, employment, training, welfare benefits, immigration, housing, counselling service, social activities and mobility.

Carers association

We are indebted to RADAR for providing the information for this section.