About 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability. That means more than one billion people have limited access to appropriate health care and other services, and up to 190 million adults have significant difficulties functioning.
But there's another issue not often talked about: people with disabilities want to have fun, just like everybody else. Unfortunately, the average venue or event doesn't cater to their needs.
Enter Why Not People, a new UK-based members club and online platform for people living with disabilities. The company creates and hosts events such as live music gigs with top talent, built specifically for people with physical, sensory and learning impairments.
In order to become a member, people with disabilities need to provide some basic medical information in an application. But, in an effort to promote inclusion, members can purchase up to three additional tickets for friends and family.
"I have spent the last few years DJing around the UK and globally, and when I look out at the audience, there is not one person in a wheelchair," Jameela Jamil, founder of Why Not People, tells Mashable in an email. "
What I see is not representative of society. It's embarrassing that we live in a world where that is still the case. And that is what drives Why Not People — to change that, impact people's lives and ultimately break down barriers in the community."
Jamil, perhaps best known as a presenter on BBC Radio 1, had her own experience with disability: In a childhood car accident, she broke several bones, damaged her spine and was confined to a bed for two years. Doctors warned her that she might never walk again, but she eventually recovered through physiotherapy.
Why Not People is her way of ensuring that people with disabilities aren't left out or separated at live events — instead of being cornered off, they'll be in the middle of the action.
Through an Indiegogo campaign, Why Not People is hoping to raise £40,000 (approximately $60,000) to launch its members' portal, process applications, secure and prepare a venue for the first event, and more. Artists currently on board include Ed Sheeran, James Blake, Tinie Tempah and Coldplay.
In the UK specifically, more than 11 million people reported living with a long-term health problem or disability in a 2011 census. In a Muscular Dystrophy Trailblazers survey, 1 in 2 young people with disabilities said physical access was the primary obstacle preventing them from attending live music events.
Jamil thinks it's high time for change.
"It's unbelievable that a company like this even needs to exist in this day and age," she says in the video above. "But if it has to start with us, so be it."