Thursday, May 15, 2008

Focus on Capacity

How often do we define people by their needs? It's particularly common in social services where we even have convenient labels like 'homeless', 'disabled' and 'socially excluded'. These terms are necessary when dealing with large social problems - I use them myself frequently - but they are less useful when talking about individuals.

It's easy to end up 'boxing' people in this way and lose sight of the fact that they are individual human beings with gifts, capacities and skills to offer as well as people with specific needs. Furthermore, when we cease to define people by what they lack and begin to see what they can contribute then we can share with them a distinctly 'hope-full' perspective.

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