An Interview with Shani Dhanda: What is the Diversability Card?
I’ve known Shani for a few years now. I can tell you she’s hilarious, always has a cuppa in her hand whilst talking about how to tackle barriers we face as disabled people in the world. She is one of those friends who I can just whats app and talk about projects we’re up to and we can bounce ideas. Shani does so much and I wanted to share with you the great work she is doing and also how YOU can help too!
So here’s a little interview with my mate Shani…
Hey Shani! So for people who are just reading about you, can you introduce yourself and what you do?
I’m an entrepreneur, disability blogger and advocate. I was previously an international event manager for over 10 years and now I help businesses attract and retain disabled talent and value their disabled customers.
Would you say you’ve always been an activist?
I’ve always stood up for injustice from a young age but I never planned or thought i’d become a disability rights advocate. I realised how badly disabled people are treated and wanted to help create change in society by raising awareness and challenging perceptions about disability.
Amazing, so how can we change the stereotypical perceptions people have about disabled people do you think?
Representation is so important and its lacking when comes to portraying disability and disabled people. When it is portrayed its largely stereotypical. In order to change perceptions and progress we need to represent the diverse society we in live. Considering there are nearly 14 million disabled people, this isn’t translated in reality in our tv programmes and films.
Moving onto your latest project, can you tell us what Diversability Card is about and why you set this up?
I don’t think it’s fair that people with disabilities are having to pay more than they should just to live the same lives as others, especially when they have fewer choices than non-disabled people.
From expensive equipment and adaptive clothing to higher energy bills and costly insurance premiums, disabled people pay over the odds for essentials. On average, disabled people face extra costs of £570 a month related to their impairment or condition.
The Diversability Card is the official discount card for people with disabilities in the UK. It provides exclusive and market leading discounts from the UK’s favourite brands, local businesses, service and entertainment providers, to people with disabilities. This scheme aims to alleviate financial pressure and drive down the extra costs disabled people face every month.
I think this is a great concept and so true! What is the goal for this and what do you hope to achieve?
The spending power of disabled people is estimated to be £249 billion pounds to the UK economy, but three-quarters of disabled people have left a shop or deserted a business because of poor disability awareness or understanding. So with the introduction of the Diversability Card, the disabled community will feel more valued as a consumer group and it will make retailers aware of the demand for their goods and be incentivised to improve accessibility. I’m hoping to pitch the card to Richard Branson as part of the Voom competition – https://voom.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/pitches/diversability-card
A discount card for disabled people as many individuals face unavoidable extra costs as a result of their impairment or condition
Woah, you have a lot going on! When you’re not doing all of this what do you like to do in your spare time?
I have a huge passion for travel and adventure, and I’ve visited 29 counties so far!
Massive thank you to Shani for this interview. Don’t forget to click the link above and vote for the Diversability Card which will mean the scheme may be able to launch even sooner, which I really hope it will. To find out more about the Diversability Card you can check out their Website, Facebook and Twitter!