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Pushpa Rani Activist Story

Pushpa Rani, disability activist, Bangladesh

Pushpa's Story.

Disability activist, Bangladesh.

"I am 50 years old but I have had to spend my life crawling around like a child. Can you imagine?

I am Pushpa Rani. I live in South Central Bangladesh. I had pneumonia when I was 8 years old, my situation deteriorated drastically and eventually I lost all movement in my legs.

I was married when I was only 12 years old. Due to my disability my father had to give 66 decimals of land to the groom as a dowry. I had my first child when I was 13; my second when I was 15. As a mother I couldn’t give my children what they deserve from me. My disability has deprived them of a normal life. They couldn’t study. I had to arrange my son’s marriage when he was only 14 so that his wife could assist me at home.

Can you imagine how selfish that is as a mother to do to your own son?

I thought there was no-one like me.

I still shed tears recalling those days. I am weak. Weak in a sense that I can’t participate in the decision making process in my family. My husband, son and daughter-in-law take all the decisions. My opinions are mostly disregarded. Even if I disagree with them I don’t oppose their decisions because I am totally dependent on them. I rarely go out of the house. The social discrimination that surrounds disability excludes me from society and has left me isolated.

I had no awareness of social issues or my rights as a person.

With the help of ADD International I joined a self-help group and then later a disabled person’s organisation. This engagement with other disabled people has enlightened me. It fills me with a feeling of unity and strength. Now I speak out in public forums. I don’t feel helpless. The unity of our organisation gives me the strength and hope for a better life. I have learned that the government is providing various services and facilities for disabled people, including a disability allowance. There is much more that the government and local councils could do to make my life less challenging, like providing a wheel chair so that I can move around easily.

I want to participate in community and societal matters. I want a voice."

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, 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.

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