Poverty and disability are closely linked.
The social exclusion of disabled people exacerbates hardship, particularly for women and girls. In Bangladesh, ADD International has been partnering with disability activists to build the capacity of disabled women, providing tailored training workshops in organisational skills, leadership, financial management, as well as initial loans to set up their businesses. As a result, disabled women build the confidence and skills they need be gain employment.
Economic empowerment aims not only to provide much needed income but also to augment the position of disabled women at the family and community level as productive and worthy members of society. Financial
independence also helps abused women escape dependency on families and/or partners.
"I was disabled to everyone except my mother. Society, my brother, my sister, my father all treated me as disabled. It’s true that they did not misbehave with me, but their attitude was not positive. I felt it. I was trying to grasp my reality as a disabled person when I was in school. After joining ADD International, I have a clearer idea how I am being valued by society and others.
I am a disabled woman but I don’t feel like a disabled woman now.
My brother had a cloth business and I used to sew for him when I was very young. As I could operate the sewing machine, I made some bags by myself. My husband encouraged my sewing work. ‘Abirvab’, a disabled people’s organisation nurtured by ADD International, gave me a loan. Through that loan, I made the business a bit bigger. After repaying the first loan, I have taken more loans. This way I am growing my business. I have more freedom than working in a job. As this is my own business, I am at liberty not to work when I’m not able to. If it were a paid job then I would be forced to work.
I want freedom for everyone.
I wish disabled women could come out of their homes and try to live a life of their own. ADD International’s presence is vital for the future of disabled people in our district. Having only one eye or only one hand or foot does not mean that people cannot work. They need strong willpower and support. In my case, ADD International gave me that support.
Without ADD International’s support I would be sitting in my house with a miserable life. I wish every disabled person would take the initiative to do some work so he or she can earn something and make a good future."
Let's build movements together.
Millions of disabled people in Africa and Asia are still condemned to a life of poverty and exclusion. Right now, organisations of disability activists are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.
Meet disability activists
Sabina is one of the only female disability activists in her area: shunned by her village as a child she is now an award winning community leader.
Kaddush is visually impaired. For a long time he was ashamed and isolated, but he now leads an organisation of over 4,000 disabled members fighting for disability equality.
Minnie is a disability activist working for women's rights in Bangladesh. In an area where disabled women are vulnerable to all forms of violence, Minnie is working to protect and empower her community.