There’s a global disability crisis.
And its time to act.
Disabled people living in poverty are among the most stigmatised and marginalised people on earth. They often live in isolation and are excluded from their communities, from the education system, from healthcare and other vital services. Sometimes, they’re even hidden away by their families. Many disabled women and children face a heightened risk of domestic and sexual violence.
What causes the problem?
Disability inequality is a complex problem that requires urgent action on multiple fronts. Our work is one strand of focused action that tackles the following key barriers to inclusion.
1. Disability Stigma.
Disability stigma is present in every society, but in parts of Africa and Asia it can be particularly oppressive. In areas where research and technology aren’t available, people don't have explanations for conditions which can lead to dangerous misconceptions about disability to form.
Myths such as having sex with a disabled woman can cure HIV, or a mental health episode is caused by evil spirits, can lead communities to affix stigma on to disabled people.
2. Disability and Poverty.
Disability and poverty fuel each other in a cycle of hardship and deprivation which is hard to escape.
People living in poverty often live in conditions which significantly increase their chances of being disabled by malnutrition, disease or injury.
Disabled people are more likely to stay trapped in poverty as they face multiple barriers to accessing an education, securing a livelihood and fully participating in society.
3. Disabled people left behind.
Disabled people living in poverty are often the last to benefit from the very programmes designed to reduce poverty. Without specific attention, and stripped of agency, disabled people have been left behind and remain disproportionately at risk to the life-limiting consequences of chronic poverty.
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.
Peter is an albinism activist in Uganda where there are still many myths attached to albinism, including that persons with albinism are cursed, are punishments from the gods, are ghosts, have supernatural powers, or do not die.
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.
Sambath, Disability Activist Cambodia.
“Sometimes, my tears dropped; I told myself I will make a change in my life someday.”
When ADD International set up self-help groups in the province where Sambath lives she quickly became a member and from that moment on, she didn’t feel alone in the world anymore.