Yesterday, in Al Damazin Town in the far South of Sudan, women with disabilities were, for the first time, at the centre of events.
What a day it was! The unprecedented focus on women with disabilities in Sudan is partly due to a new ADD International project, which is supporting new cross-disability federations to raise the profile of disability in more areas of Sudan.
A federation of disabled people’s organisations were co-hosting the day’s events, which brought together persons with disabilities, senior government officials, academics, and representatives from the US embassy, to discuss the challenges that women with disabilities face, and to plan new ways forward.
For women like Tayba.
When she left school, Tayba had nothing to do but stay at home.
This is something that we’ve seen a lot in our work in Sudan and in other countries. If you’re disabled, and particularly if you’re a woman, you can face a life at home, doing nothing.
But at some point a good friend of hers persuaded her to join the local women with disabilities’ association. This is one of the organisations linked to the Sudan National Union of the Deaf whose work ADD International supports.
The future, for Tayba, suddenly looked brighter.
“Over the past year I have experienced change: I wasn’t doing much, I wasn’t participating in many activities. I was mainly at home.
[But now] I’m working and I have an income from making and selling handcrafts so I can make a contribution to my family: I’ve added to the family furniture, bought a fridge and painted the family house with the money I’ve earnt. I also got hairdressing training through the association and now I’m getting work in this area.
I used to find it difficult to communicate with other people. Now it’s much easier.”
Our work with disabled women in Sudan.
ADD International has a strong track record of working with women with disabilities in Sudan. We have just completed a project in Eastern Sudan, where we supported organisations of women with disabilities to champion their priorities, and to increase representation of women in the national disability movement.
Women leaders from this project have attended the events in Al Damazin, to share learning – and to show just how much is possible when passionate and committed women with disabilities come together to challenge discrimination and bring about change.