We are delighted to introduce another new ambassador who is joining ADD International in the efforts to empower the next generation of disability activists – David Proud. We recently spoke to him about his work as a disability activist.
Welcome to the ADD International family, David! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a UK based actor and writer. I was born with Spina Bifida and use a really cool manual wheelchair which gets me everywhere I need to be, unless it's snowing! I'm passionate about Human Rights and specifically the rights of disabled people around the world. It shouldn't matter what country you call home, if you have a disability you should be able to enjoy the same rights as everyone else.
Well said! Would you call yourself a disability activist?
I would now, when I was younger I was just trying to find my way really and find my place in the world. Now, I feel a little more settled and established. I feel like it’s my duty to help fight for equality for others. Also, I think we have to hold governments to account at the moment to make sure rights are getting better, and not worse.
How did you become a disability activist?
I became an activist by default really as I worked in TV and Film. Without thinking about it, the depictions of disability I was involved in had a massive social impact. Now, I understand the importance of seeing authentic portrayals of disability in media.
What do you think about ADD International’s work?
I think ADD International's work is vital and I love the idea of assisting the infrastructure of a country to be able to grow by itself. I'm really looking forward to being an ambassador.
Why do you think the inclusion of people with disabilities is so important?
As we become an ever-bigger population we must start seeing the value in disabled people, focussing on what people can do, instead of what we cannot do. An integrated working age disabled community can have a massive effect on a countries GDP, statistics show that for every pound spent making places accessible over four pounds is returned in investment and spending. In short, to be inclusive in disability opens you up to 20% of the world’s population, and that’s a huge margin not to be missed.
What do you hope to achieve as our ambassador?
The older I get (and also being a parent), the more important it is becoming to me to help fight for the rights of children around the world and I love the work ADD International do. I'm very honoured to be part of helping them try to make the world a little more inclusive. Please note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity.