CASE STUDIES: Disabled Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Posted on 26 January 2008. Filed under: Blind, Case Studies, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Employment, Mobility Impariments, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Women with disabilities in Ethiopia and many other countries can face enormous obstacles in becoming economically independent. But some Ethiopian disabled women do become successful entrepreneurs.

A publication from the International Labour Organization (ILO), entitled Doing Business in Addis Ababa: Case Studies of Women Entrepreneurs with Disabilities in Ethiopia, presents 20 stories that describe how women with various disabilities have established their own small businesses in Addis Ababa and the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The women have a range of disabilities including visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility impairments; and some have had leprosy. Two stories also describe how mothers of children with learning difficulties became entrepreneurs.

All the stories depict both the challenges faced by disabled women in Ethiopia and also the range of possibilities that can be open to them when they have access to the right skills, training, and opportunities. Many of the disabled women entrepreneurs in these case studies are able to use their income to support their families and children.

Read an abstract and download the publication in PDF format at:

We Can Do learned about this publication by browsing through Siyanda, an on-line database for publications and research related to gender and development.

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New Report on Disabled People in Zimbabwe

Posted on 15 September 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A newly released report entitled “The forgotten tribe: People with disabilities in Zimbabwe” shares the experiences of disabled people, the discrimination they face in Zimbabwe society, and their exclusion from the usual government and civil society sources of aid.

Written by Tsitsi Chorumi and published by the organization Progressio, the report presents the results of a survey of disabled people in Zimbabwe soliciting their opinions on how their needs could be better met. The survey includes a focus on policy and legislative needs; poverty; gender; health; HIV and AIDS; education; employment; and sports and recreation. “The forgotten tribe” also summarizes some of the work Progressio has conducted in Zimbabwe.

Respondents in the survey include: people with polio; amputees; people with club feet; congenital deformity; paraplegia; speech impairments; hearing impairments; visually impaired; physically impaired; hemiparesis; mentally challenged; and albinos. (Disclaimer alert: Please note that I have presented all these terms exactly as used in the survey itself on page 10 though some of these terms differ from terminology that I would ordinarily use myself.)

A print copy of the report can be purchased for 5 British pounds, or it can be downloaded for free in PDF format (283 kilobytes). It is available only in English, though the Progressio website itself is available either in English or in Spanish. Progressio is an international development charity working for justice and the eradication of poverty.

I learned about this resource through a regular electronic email newsletter run by Disabled People International (DPI). However, neither DPI nor I are involved with this report. To learn more about “The forgotten tribe,” or to download the report itself, please follow the link to

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