Too often, the voices of people with disabilities are simply not heard–within their country, within their community, or sometimes even within families. The voices of disabled people in developing countries are even more suppressed.
One special issue of the New Internationalist, released in 2005, brings us the voices of people with disabilities from India … Zimbabwe … Sri Lanka … Colombia … Bangladesh … and elsewhere.
The stories and interviews published in their magazine, available for free on-line, share the experiences of people with disabilities in developing countries in their struggle for sexual expression … the harrowing experience of rape … the push to achieve recognition for their human rights … the battle against severe poverty and starvation … success at becoming a blind teacher … getting involved with politics … and overcoming discrimination in the work force.
Browse the stories at the New Internationalist website at:
Each story can be read on-line in html format; they do not need to be downloaded.
I learned of this magazine issue when several of its stories were recently circulated via email on the Disability Information Dissemination Network, which is managed by the Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID), Bangladesh, and currently sponsored by Handicap International. People may subscribe directly to the CSID mailing list by sending an email to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, with the word “join” in the subject line.
As some We Can Do readers are well aware, polio, a potentially deadly disease that can leave its survivors with paralysis, is not yet entirely eradicated from the face of the Earth. Rich countries generally have been polio free for many decades–and even some developing countries have been polio free for many years as well. But in a few remaining countries, polio does occasionally flare up from time to time. And probably anyone with a sufficently strong network of contacts among the international disability community eventually encounters a number of commited, active young advocates in developing countries who happen to have been paralyzed due to polio.
United Nations agencies and Sudanese health officials have recently announced a massive nationwide polio immunization campaign. Sudan had previously been declared polio-free in 2005, but the potentially deadly virus was recently discovered again.
For more detail, follow the link to:
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Disability rights activist Mussa Chiwaula, a polio survivor, has been lobbying the Malawi government to enable people with disabilities to improve their lives and contribute to the development of their country. One result has been a government policy called Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities, which has started to help some disabled people enter the job force for the first time. Chiwaula, however, says the policy still needs better implementation.
For the whole story on Mussa Chiwaula and his activities in Malawi, read the Voice of America story at http://voanews.com/english/Africa/2007-10-10-voa48.cfm
We Can Do was alerted to this story by Ghulam Nabi Nazimani.
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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 http://tinyurl.com/2awurp.
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