About the “We Can Do” Blog

What is this blog about?
This blog is for anyone who wants to end poverty and oppression for poor disabled people in developing countries.

I plan to cover a wide range of topics.

Often I may simply point to a resource or web site that might be of interest to you.

Other times, I might invite a “guest blogger” to write an essay about something related to disability and poverty in developing countries. (Or disability and education … or health … or microfinance … or water and sanitation … or civil and human rights … or … the list goes on, as long as it relates to people with disabilities in developing countries).

Or I might interview someone who has interesting information, knowledge, or experiences to share about disabilities and poverty or human rights in developing countries.

Or sometimes I might simply express an opinion of my own.

One of my hopes for this blog is that it might become a way to bring together people from around the world from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. In other words:

This blog is for: People with and without disabilities. People in developing countries and in industrialized countries. People who grew up poor (or who are poor now), and people who grew up with all the food, water, clothing, education, health care, and other basic services that they needed.

This includes culturally Deaf, signing people who may not identify as “disabled” at all. As well as deaf or hard of hearing people who do.

This blog is for: People who might know a great deal about international development, but who are still learning about disabilities. I hope this blog can become a resource to you in figuring out how to more actively include people with disabilities (and Deaf/deaf people, “disabled” or not) in your mainstream program activities.

This blog is ALSO for: People who know a great deal about disabilities and disability rights, but who maybe don’t know much about this strange field called “international development” and wonder why they should.

(For now, let me just say two quick things: 1. No, it is NOT just “something to do with economics”! It includes that, yes. But that’s only one dimension of the development field. 2. If you care about disability rights in developing countries, then understanding a little about “international development” and development organizations could still be helpful to your work even if you think you will never do “international development” yourself.)

This blog is for: People who know about disabilities, but who maybe are not yet familiar with the “social model” or the human rights perspective of disability.

I think this is an important concept that anyone working with, or on behalf of, disabled people should be familiar with. And, ideally, live by. I plan to talk a bit about this topic from time to time. But this philosophy will permeate the whole blog even when I don’t refer to it directly.

This blog is for: People who are still new both to disabilities and to development or to developing countries.

This blog is for: People who are already experts in disability and development but who want to learn about best practices being done at other organizations or in other countries. Or who hope to learn about the occasional unfamiliar resource.

This blog is for: Professionals who work in the field of development, particularly professionals in disability and development.

This blog is for: Advocates and activists who volunteer their free time in a non-government organization (NGO) run by (or on behalf of) people with disabilities in developing countries.

This blog is for: Volunteers working with disabled people in developing countries. For example: Peace Corps, VSO, etc.

This blog is for: People who are not yet actively involved in improving the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries, but who would like to be.

This blog is for: People who want to learn from the perspectives of people who come from a different professional or personal background from yours.

To learn more about the “We Can Do” blog, I encourage you to also read the page entitled “Why We Can Do.” This page partly explains why I chose the title “We Can Do” but, more importantly, it explains more about the purpose and driving philosophy behind We Can Do. But first, an extra note:

I am not a knowledge bank! Please understand that I am not directly involved with the overwhelming majority of the great many conferences, job posts, reports, publications, resources, toolkits, and other materials that I write about at We Can Do. Consequently, I am usually not in a position to answer detailed questions about the resources I link to. People who wish to learn more about any of the information I post about at We Can Do should generally examine the page for any and all relevant web links and investigate this information on their own.

In addition to the more obvious URLs (web addresses), I usually also link to important web pages from relevant key words all throughout the web page. For example, if I’m writing about a conference, then usually the title of the conference will take you to the main conference web page; or the word “register” might take you to the registration page for that conference; and so forth. If there are no web links, then look for email addresses, which will generally go to the people best qualified to answer whatever questions you might have about that event, opportunity, or resource.

Learning From You
I look forward to learning from your own perspectives and ideas in the comments area of this blog site, or in the essays you submit as a guest blogger. I hope you will find this blog to be helpful to you in turn.

If you do need to contact me for some reason, then you can do that at ashettle [at] patriot.net.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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57 Responses to “About the “We Can Do” Blog”

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[…] About the “We Can Do” Blog […]

Dear all, do you have any information to be gathered where I can learn ASL online?

I don’t know which specific web sites to recommend to you. But as possible starting points for your search, I would recommend:

1. http://www.deafread.com this is an aggregate read feed that pulls in many deaf-related blog sites and blog posts. These include vlogs (video blogs) many of which are in American Sign Language, and I think some of which are in other signed languages. Depending on your level of ASL skills, watching some of these vlogs could be good practice for you.

2. http://deafness.about.com try looking around here to see if they have links or recommendations for you

3. of course I assume you have also tried doing key word searches on http://www.google.com

Dear Andrea Shettle,

We apperecite your effort and will fully support in the cause removing poverty from Person with Disabilities. We have a suggestion that when we click on link on this blog; link opens in same window, when we want to remain here to read more. Is it possible for you links may be opened in new window?

Dear Friends,
You can be the first who will send letter to
President of Pakistan or signed the petition. Please support it
doesn’t mean who you are? A person with Disability, Social
Worker, Development worker, Staff of International NGO, Staff of
International Development Organization, Staff of Government,
Staff of UN Agency, Staff of Institute or individual citizen
please support us. Please sign this petition to president of
Pakistan and may copy and send to him by post.

Ghulam Nabi Nizamani: it would be doable to set up links to open in a new window, but I’m afraid it would get cumbersome on my part. Because firstly I would need to be in the correct web browser to be able to do it at all (I seem to be able to do it in firefox but not in Safari). And secondly, the *deafault* setting in wordpress.com is for links to open in the same window. So to get links to open in a new one I would have to adjust the setting for each and every single individual link as I create it.

But if others want the same thing, and if someone out there more familiar with wordpress.com knows of a way to fix the default setting then advice would be appreciated. (Though I’m guessing a “simple fix” might not be possible since certain things are built into the template programs that come with WordPress.com and I’m not computer-savvy enough to go messing around with underlying templates.)

In the mean time, does your mouse or other navigation device have “right click” capability? (i.e. a right button to click as well as the left button) The way I do it when I’m navigating a web page is to hit the *right* button on my mouse which then gives me a menu of options what to do next including “open link in new window.” (Or “copy link” which can be useful if I’m copying down a list of URL addresses for later use.)

hello !
i want to join this . what should i do ?
plz write me
mrosyara at gmail dot com

Madhav Rosyara:

We Can Do is not an organization, so there are no provisions for people “joining.” We Can Do is a blog. I’m the person who maintains the blog–usually I either post announcements from other sources or write my own entries to help point people to resources they might not have known about.

If you have any materials that you think would be appropriate for publication at We Can Do, please do let me know. These could be case studies about a project done well (with anaylysis of how others could replicate it), or even a case study of a project done poorly (with anaylsis of what mistakes were made that others would do well to avoid), or a check list that a mainstream organization could use to guide them in identifying how to make their projects accessible, or … if you have ideas we can discuss.

You are also welcome, of course, to keep coming back to We Can Do to read posts as I put them up (I will be putting up something soon from the International Deaf Children’s Society) , and you’re welcome to post comments as you wish.

I edited the email address you put in your post to help prevent spam harvesters from picking up your email address so you wouldn’t become the target of unsolicited bulk emails.

I have only just found this blog and i think its fasinating. And much needed.
I will keep an eye on it and wish you every success.

South Asia Disability Network (on Facebook)

Exchanges of information on disability issues and disability studies in South Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan etc.

The group has a non-medical orientation and supports approaches to disability in social contexts.



Atieno Eunice:

As I explain to Madhav Rosyara above, We Can Do is not an organization that can be “joined.” Instead, you can think of it as a kind of on-going “newspaper” or a living resource. So, please do keep coming back to We Can Do to see new materials as I put them up (I’m trying to post at least one item each week, and some weeks I post much more). And if you are aware of any resources, “best practice” case studies, etc. that would be in some way helpful to disabled people in developing countries or the people who work with them, please do let me know!

i thank God for a site like this. i read special education in nigeria but i found out that little or nothing is being done for the special needs chidren in my country what can i do?


Welcome to We Can Do.

What you can do would obviously depend partly on you and exactly what skills, knowledge, abilities, and resources you have to offer (including time). But as starting points, I would suggest the following:

1. Get in touch with whatever local and international organizations are involved with the problem. There are many links in the We Can Do “blog roll” (see the right-hand navigation bar, or at the very bottom of the page). Some of these lead to organizations that are involved with special education internationally (eg, International Council on Education for People with Visual Impairments, International Deaf Children’s Society, Sense International, Enabling Education Network, etc., and some of the other links may be worth exploring also.

For ideas how to find still more organizations, see my post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations, or consult the database at MIUSA’s web site which lists international, national, and local organizations in many different countries including in Nigeria. You will note that you can tell the database to search just for organizations in Nigeria.

2. As you come across organizations relevant to your interests, read their web pages to see what, if anything, they have been doing in Nigeria. And once you have informed yourself, don’t hesitate to ask them more questions about it.

3. As you research the topic, you might find that there are already some efforts underway to improve the status of special education in Nigeria. Very often projects DO EXIST but are not very visible because they may be small, new, limited in resources, and hard to find. If and when you find these projects–and in a large country like Nigeria, I’m sure there must already be something underway–I would encourage you to communicate with them and send them your c.v./resume. Perhaps you could then explore together with whatever organization you found whether or how your skills, knowledge, etc. could be helpful to their work.

Good luck in your endeavor.

you might be interested in the manifesto for disability equality which can be found on the International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA) website. it is also on the UKDPC site.

There is a lot of good disability and development research on the Disability KaR website:

International Disability Equality Agency – IDEA website:


I do a Blog on disability issues related to Government which has been effective in beginning a process of renewal. I’ve listed your blog and a reciprocal listing would be appreciated. Thanks.

Thanks for for your comment about attribution. I followed standard procedure about attribution in providing the author’s name that is either in the masthhard or at the end of the article. So the attribution given is to your blog as shown in the blog. Your authorship does not show in the article, at the end of article but only in a reference at the end of the webpage.

This is a bit a connuundrum. The articles on Disability Alert are RSS and Atom-ized. Editing an article results in re-publication which irritates the reader since they have already seen it. I can add your comment, add a comment of our own or delete the article if you take offence to it. Any of those or another suggestion.

May I suggest you put your name at the top of your articles? It’s the best way to identify yourself as the author if that is your intent.

In our case, we give full attribution to all clipped articles and point the read back to the source, which I am told is the standard practice. We do not shorten articles. It takes too much time and we could be accused of editing which is not our intent.

I’d like to make a direct closed comment to the person who is maintaining this blog, Andrea Shettle? How do I contact you? There are some information posted that I would like to clarify with you. Many thanks.

Partly in response to Melissa, but also in response to several other individuals who have left similar inquiries throughout the We Can Do site, I have now added a section to the “About” page (above) entitled “I am not a knowledge bank!” :-) Basically saying, you’re welcome to contact me if you wish (ashettle (at) patriot.net), but first please be aware that I’m not usually in a position to answer detailed questions about the information I write up at We Can Do. The best way of learning more information usually is to examine the page you’re interested in for web links to further information. (Do click on highlighted key words in the post for links to relevant web pages, for example the title of a publication usually leads to a place where you can download that publication, etc) Or if there are no web links (this is rare, though there are a few exceptions), then look for email addresses. Email addresses given in a post will generally go to people who are in a better position than I am to answer whatever questions you might have.

Hi, just saw your note on one of my http://hivdeaf.blogspot.com/ entries. Very nice to meet you. I will bookmark this site and if you don’t mind, link to anything you have on HIV/AIDS.

We did get a response to our letter and we have, with some help from the AIDS people, applied for a number of different programs including the first ever outreach to Mexico City Deaf people, which should be remarkable.

Hope to apply for a press conference this weekend.

I am trying to obtain a laptop computer to assist my niece who is physically disabled and unable to walk. She is only 16 and has a difficult time in high school. Can anyone help?

My particular interest is deaf young people in Ethiopia. (We have two adopted deaf Ethuiopian grandchildren.
Keep up the good work!

hello Iam a disabile boy in Iran


I thought you might be interested in the She Hope Society that is a finalist in the BBC World Challenge:

She Hope Society
The She Hope Society has the motto “self-help, not sympathy” and aims to help the disadvantaged of Kashmir live independently and with dignity. Rehabilitated through education and micro loans, as well as physiotherapy and corrective surgery, the She Hope Society estimates that 20,000 disabled Kashmiris could benefit.

Kind regards


my name is michael from egypt
el minia city in uper egypt
we have deaf ministry we help more than 150
poor deaf children and youngmen at education ,health
and many ways if can help us it will be very good
i can send to you attach files about it

This comment is for Michael from Egypt. Hi, my name is Shayla and I would really like to learn more about your cause. My email is shaylasanchez@comcast.net. I live in California and sometimes I think we just don’t get it here because we have so much of everything. I really admire the good work you are doing, keep it up and God bless.

A Woman in Post-Conflict Reconstruction – from Kosovo to Nepal, 1999-2008

New Addition Autumn 2008
Post-conflict reconstruction specialist Lesley Abdela

A Woman in Post-Conflict Reconstruction – from Kosovo to Nepal, 1999-2008

The UK’s Lesley Abdela has become one of the world’s most experienced Gender post-deadly-conflict reconstruction consultants following
the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2006 she was voted into the New Statesman’s Top 50 Heroes Of Our Time list (www.newstatesman.com/200605220016). Fifty-six reels of her boots-on-the-ground experiences in Kosovo in 1999/2000 to Nepal in 2007/2008 via Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and Aceh have just been recorded by Imperial War Museum archivist Lyn Smith*.

Lesley Abdela is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society for Arts, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Her coordinates are tel. +44 1435 882 655, mobile +44 (0)7967 650 155. lesley.abdela@shevolution.com

Other material on Lesley Abdela’s work in fragile states can be found on search engines, viz http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=lesley+abdela+post+conflict&meta=

All members of the public can listen free of charge to the Lesley Abdela recordings (or any of the IWM’s other recordings) at the Museum Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm. The reference number for the Lesley Abdela archive is 31557, which also appears on the IWM online database.

Our organisation is Blind and Low vision Network – Kenya and are interested in your work. How can we join. Is it possible to host a website with you?

i found this website is fruitfull to comunicate people interested and working for people with disability, specialy contact people with disability themselves to learn more. their interest needs etc–how to direct the work.
I would like to ask if you have information or studies about women and disability in the arab countries.
thank you for this gratfull offer

hi everyone – can you help? i am trying to find funding to enable a deafblind, wheelchair user to attend the World Federation on Deafblindness in Oct in Uganda. I don’t know where to start!! any suggestions, gratefully received. thank you. monica.

This page is so great!!! Well, I saw on facebook and is facntastic. We have a Blog to, of a Disabled Student Group: http://ufroaedis.wordpress.com/
I invite you to know us and share experience and information, our page is new and we’ll be update it frecuenlly
Congratulation for you work

God bless the inspirator. and give him more wisdom on how to remove the stigma of poverty and disability from the hearts and the eyes of men

I am disabled & MA sociology in IRAN& Iwant to immigration to one of eurepean countries with use of disbility facilities please guidance me about this thanks

Dear All

This blog is very good and effective in sharing the info and reaching the stakeholders. This can be used for publicity for sharing the info regarding the seminars, workshops, trainings and other related events. Earlier, i used this to reach the professionals, service providers and other stakeholders in connection with the proposed International Seminar on Community Based Rehabilitation. Due to several reason this could be organized. Still looking forward to organize such event with the support from all.

Looking forward for better network in using the blogs / forums of this kind and thus to work for the empowerment of the persons with disabilities.

Hoping for such sharing from the readers of this blog….

with thanks



I am Deaf From Ethiopia,Addis Ababa University BA,
Ethiopia sign Language Deaf Culture & College of Student, LINGUISTICS!
I hope You to Except Deaf Miss You!

Your Sincerely
Berihun Girmay
Deaf,Addis Ababa,Ethiopian!
Thank You!

I am learning about the disabled community through my work with a new product that should help prevent abuse and violation of disabled parking permits.
I would like to learn more about needs.More about how the disabled people’s access to the world. thank you for letting me tune in.

The cause of this blog is to help the disable people around the globe which is a great one. Hats Off!

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Do you know if the study on PWD in Nigeria was completed.I am looking at employment for disabled graduates in Nigeria.Thank you

Link exchange is nothing else however it is only
placing the other person’s web site link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in support of you.

Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.

However think of if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!
Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this blog could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche.
Terrific blog!

Hi there, after reading this awesome post i am as well happy to share my experience here with

Quality articles or reviews is the important to interest the users to go to see the web site,
that’s what this web page is providing.

Hello therе! This post couldn’t be written much better!
Looking through this article reminds mе of my previous roommate!

He constantly kept talking about this. I am going tο forward this post to him.
Fairly certain he’s going to have a great read.Thank you for sharing!

Your efforts are highly appreciable. I believe people would learn a lot from it.

My name is Mara, member of Cameroon National Association for the Deaf and President founder for Cameroon National Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Women Federation. I will like to have some deaf women associations contacts around African or over the world for more exchange. Can you help me?
Thank you

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im nurjahan lives at bogra dist bangladesh.. im fully disable. my two legs cant do anything. but im studing class nine… i wanna visit the world, the people.. plz help me… contact: 01711732658

Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after browsing through many of the articles I realized
it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and
checking back regularly!

We run a community junior school in rural Kabubbu parish in Wakiso district Uganda. We have planned to start a school garden to teach pupils methods of organic gardening to produce nutritious foods to feed preschool children at school. The project shall also include caretakers of orphan children and poor parents to be taught modern methods of organic agriculture to improve food security in families.
We need funding for this project for one year.

Greetings, Great initiative We can do! we are working in India providing deaf news and information in Indian sign language. We have an online site that provided daily news, we are still yet to be full functional which we are not able to cos of resources. Yet we are striving to be a platform to engage he 22 million deaf in India, in the best way we can. Thanks SignTv

Some people go about their admirable work quietly and effectively and you can be one of these people as the story for the deaf children in the developing countries is both a joy and sad to read.
Let’s struggles for great achievements in difficult circumstances be a hope in life for all those vulnerable deaf and rural children/youths. We have to think about and actively help others less fortunate than ourselves. As ‘Many organizations talk about children and many more about vulnerable children but a few talk about disabled children; Disabled Children are the most expensive, vulnerable and voiceless children; A Silent suffering Society’.
The management and I, Okoya Patrick Stephen, one of the director of the proposed KIA 4D High School, have developed a project proposal for the construction and running of a secondary school for vulnerable deaf and rural children in Uganda, Gulu District, Bungatira sub-county seeking for possible funding in order to turn the life of these vulnerable deaf and rural children to green light. Detail will be avail as and when it is require
Kinds Regards

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