1981 was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations to be the International Year of Disabled Persons.
Although many countries issued stamps featuring various disabilities that year, they were by no means the first stamps issued regarding the subject.
The set above from Belgium shows children with different disabilities.
I have a cousin who two years ago contracted a severe bout of sepsis which almost cost him his life but was the reason he had to have both legs amputated. He was an extremely active person and a very good golfer and squash player. The way he has coped with his disability is astonishing and he is now regularly to be found on the golf course, is able to drive and also rides a tricycle. He recently became a Nordic Walking instructor and is a mentor for people with similar handicaps.
These stamps display the amazing determination of people to continue living a relatively normal life.
Above a ”foot painter”. The skill displayed by such artists is almost beyond belief. Christy Brown (1932 – 1981) was an Irish writer and painter who had cerebral palsy and was able to write or type only with the toes of one foot. I thoroughly recommend the 1989 film “My Left Foot” based on his life to anyone who hasn’t seen it.
Back to 1981 now with the above from Great Britain featuring a blind person with a guide dog, a wheelchair-bound person negotiating a slope, sign language for hearing-impaired people and foot painting.
Above is a beautifully artistic set from Rwanda featuring handicapped children.
Imaginative stamp set from Dominica with various important aids for ease of transport for the disabled.
And the challenges for handicapped people are never too great, witness the many highly-competitive sporting events that disabled people take part in. The increasing popularity of the Paralympics drives these sportsmen/women to even greater achievements. Great stamps from Portugal 2004, commemorating that year’s Summer Paralympic competition held in Athens.