Social invisibility is not fiction, it exists | Sunday Observer

Social invisibility is not fiction, it exists

Social exclusion or marginalisation is a severe issue that has affected society in an invisible manner. People who have been systematically ignored by the majority public are less significant in public spaces. Adults in elders’ homes,

children in orphanages, the homeless, the disabled or traumatised and the ones who continuously experience a sense of being ignored or separated, have always been present in society.

Giving this issue importance, young actress and philanthropist Michelle Dilhara raised her voice for the voiceless at the second South Asian Youth Summit in 2018.

At the age of 23 Michelle won the Asia Inspiration Award 2018 from Minister of Youth and Sports, Malaysia, Syed Saddiq in the category Philanthropy at the second South Asian Youth Summit held in Colombo, for her philanthropic work involving Social Invisibility. At present she is the Deputy Ambassador of the International Youth Committee to Sri Lanka.

Mitchelle said, “Everybody performs certain functions in society. When you are young and live an active life in society, you live under constant pressure with a never ending race that ensures the survival of the fittest.

Every human being is an individual embodiment of social relations, using many communication tools such as telephone, email, social media, parties and office related work. You feel wanted or connected because society needs you. When you get older you lose your speed, memory and courage. Society feels that you are not fit to engage in important day to day work. The bitter truth is that you are being removed from the social cogwheel with a farewell party for retirement. In the first few days you feel very relaxed and blessed. But the feeling of loneliness and insecurity will hit you faster than you think. I once came across a sad story about a father who was forgotten by his child. An army officer received a message during his duty from a hospital saying that his father was very ill and his last wish was to see his son. At around 10 o’clock in the night, the officer came to the hospital to visit him.  The father who was on his death bed was so pleased to see his son. Within a few hours he passed away. The officer slowly came out of the ward. The hospital staff told the army officer that his father was so worried that he might not see him, but luckily had come at the right moment. “He was not my father” the officer replied. The hospital staff were shocked. “Then why did you stay?” the staff member asked the officer. He said “When I saw the face of that person I knew that he was in his last stage. He was all alone, he needed his son, but in his condition he couldn’t recognise that I was not his son. So I became his son in his last moments. He died happily.

“How many parents are dying alone in our country? They don’t wish for any thing else than to be with family and friends at the end of their lives.

“All humans are born to live a life communicating with others. Starting from birth a child starts a relationship with its mother. An infant’s life is the perfect example to show how human beings naturally connect with others from birth. That psychological connection which is also known as a bond is a natural act. The period of infancy depicts the most important developmental milestone of a human. Rolling over, crawling, walking and talking are the first accomplishments we achieve from connecting with the world. This is how our brains are wired. We develop confidence, security and faith in the social system with this process. We always need a connection. Now my question is do you think that the same sense of security or warmth is shared in a baby raised in an orphanage?”

In modern society, human beings live in quite occupied environments with different types of work and technology. Human lives are engulfed by technology and at present it has challenged human bonds resulting in high levels of social exclusion. “We are tied to the smart phone, but not to the family. People are so sensitive and emotional on social media, but not sensitive in reality. That is the reason for the existence of orphanages and elders’ homes. The community should learn the value of family bonds and relationships. Mental well-being is considered as one of the major factors that affects the well being of a person. My intention is to become the voice for the voiceless and to raise awareness about this issue. Society should give priority to bonds and technology shouldn’t be a barrier that obstrads human relationships. Social invisibility of the marginalised people is not fiction, it exists. And it should be changed.” said Michelle.

“My expectation is to inspire and motivate the younger generation on this issue. I believe that youth could change so many things and create a positive influence in society which will result in good outcomes,” she said.