Niki has recently been at the forefront of raising awareness and encouraging staff training with local organisations, regarding the Sunflower Lanyard scheme for hidden disabilities.
Many disabilities (like Glaucoma), are neither obvious nor visible.
Niki has often fallen victim to impatience, frustration and sometimes outright rudeness; simply because of people’s unawareness and often complete ignorance. Her visual impairment is not visible to others. And in speaking with other people with hidden disabilities, she realized she was not alone, and that many had suffered similar distressing and even dangerous experiences. And this is what this excellent scheme was set-up to do – to protect vulnerable and disabled individuals and create awareness and tolerance.
Not all people with hidden disabilities necessarily require assistance. But if they do, wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard discreetly indicates that they may need additional support; or simply just a little patience, understanding, or just a little more time. Making the invisible visible.
The scheme was launched in 2016 at Gatwick Airport by designers, Tabbers Ltd in liaison with the OCS Group UK, who provide support services to UK airports. Since then (and especially through the global pandemic) this visionary initiative has grown enormously.
Today the lanyard is being distributed in more places than ever; and is recognised at international airports, cinemas, shopping centres, supermarkets, NHS Trusts, student campuses, railway stations and sports venues. Recently, in a new partnership with National Highways, the iconic Sunflower can now be displayed on vehicles.
Nevertheless, more education and recognition are still required to make sure the scheme is known to all. Glaucomarize will continue to support and engage with this mission.Jayl De Lara - January 2022