Stories of People with Disabilities in Developing Countries from Around the World

Posted on 15 September 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Democratic Participation, Education, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, Mobility Impariments, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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,, or, with the word “join” in the subject line.

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Disabled, Poor–and Ignored: Results of Research in Zimbabwe and South Africa

Posted on 6 August 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Inclusion, Poverty, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Research conducted in Zimbabwe and South Africa has confirmed what grassroots advocates have known all along: people with disabilities aren’t just at higher risk of poverty. People with disabilities are also more likely to be ignored by many donors who support programs to end poverty.

The 77-page study is entitled, “Are Disabled Peoples’ Voices from both South and North Being heard in the Development process? A Comparative analysis between the situation in South Africa, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom and Northern Europe.” Conducted in 2005, this research explores the extent to which Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs) in Zimbabwe and South Africa have access to funding, and the extent to which DPOs were able to explain to donors what kind of funding would help them best.

People with disabilities who were interviewed for this study said they wanted to be involved with disability programs, from the planning stage through implementation. However, they felt they were often excluded, both by the government and also by DPOs themselves. The study concludes that many DPOs lack the capacity to reach large numbers of people with disabilities at the grassroots level. As a result, many people with disabilities in South Africa and Zimbabwe are not part of any network. They also usually lacked awareness of policies and programs that were meant to benefit them, such as the African Decade on Persons with Disabilities or the Millennium Development Goals.

DPOs, too, said they lacked opportunity to contribute to dialogue about what kinds of projects would be most beneficial for them. DPOs in South Africa and Zimbabwe said that donors from developed countries often impose their own tailor-made programs on them without asking for their input. They wanted to be more involved with designing the programs that they implement. DPOs usually were more aware than grassroots individuals of programs such as the African Decade or the Millennium Development Goals, but even some DPOs were not aware of them.

Even in the UK and Northern Europe, DPOs felt that they were struggling for donations. DPOs also complained that non-disability oriented international non-governmental organizations used information about people with disabilities to obtain donations for themselves instead of for DPOs.

The study makes recommendations based on its findings, including the need for more capacity building for DPOs in developing countries; stronger partnerships among DPOs in developing and developed countries and donors; and closer involvement of people with disabilities and DPOs in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs.

Learn more about the study; download the 6-page executive summary (Word format); or the full 770-page report (Word format) at:

We Can Do found this study on the site after exploring links from the Heathlink Worldwide site.

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4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report Available Online

Posted on 14 May 2008. Filed under: Assistive Devices, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Reports, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In low-income countries, the overwhelming majority people who need wheelchairs don’t have one. This has a profound impact on their ability to lead independent lives–or even leave their own homes. Participants in a recent conference in Africa exchanged ideas and knowledge on how to address this challenge.

The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report (PDF format, 446 Kb) can now be downloaded for free on-line. The report summarizes a series of remarks, panel discussions, and other conference sessions on how to promote appropriate wheelchair services across the African continent. The report also presents a list of resolutions made on the last day of the Congress. The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress was held in September 2007 in Tanzania.

The Pan Africa Wheelchair Builders Association (PAWBA) and the Tanzanian Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) facilitated the congress. Co-funders included the World Health Organisation, ABILIS, Motivation Africa, Christoffel Blindenmission (CBM), and SINTEF. The 116 participating members came from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, UK, Norway and USA.

The previous three All Africa Wheelchair Congresses were held in Zambia (2003); Kenya (1998); and Zimbabwe (1995). Each congress was a landmark in developing appropriate and affordable wheelchair products and services in Africa in allowing participants to exchange knowledge across the continent. PAWBA was formed at the 2003 Congress.

You can download the full, 47-page 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress report in PDF format (446 Kb) at:

We Can Do learned about this report by browsing the database on health, disability, and development. I gathered further detail by skimming the report itself.

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NEWS: Disability Advocate, Gladys Charowa, Dies

Posted on 21 April 2008. Filed under: Children, Education, Human Rights, News, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following email was recently circulated on the AdHoc_IDC listserv, an email discussion group devoted to disability rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as a tribute to fellow listserv member and disability rights advocate, Gladys Charowa.

Hi folks,

The vast majority of you will have seen many posts here from Gladys Charowa from the DWSO. She was a great supporter of the Convention and worked hard to ensure that her group were not going to be excluded from the Convention nor from the process.

It is with great sadness to that I have to inform you of Gladys Charowa who was the Executive Director of Disabled Women Support Organisation (Zimbabwe). Gladys suffered a stroke on the 6th of March and her health subsequently deteriorated leading to her death on the 7th of March, 2008 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Gladys Charowa was involved in the disability movement since February 2002 during her rehabilitation in Harare after breaking her back in a car crash in December 2001. She was released from hospital in April 2002 after experiencing the conditions tolerated by the women who were also being rehabilitated. She decided to set up the Disabled Women Support Organisation (DWSO) after helping some of the service users at the centre; for example, she successfully petitioned an education examination board to allow a student with disabilities additional time to sit her examinations. Gladys wanted to challenge the traditional view that there is nothing that can be done to support women and girls who are spinally injured.

DWSO works alongside hospitals, often in rural areas, to provide support for individuals and their families to become both physically and financially independent; this includes training to sensitise the community, peer group education and micro-finance projects. DWSO is one of the first disability organisations to have projects in each of the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

DWSO also works with schools, setting up Disability Clubs and projects to help children and parents to increase their understanding of the needs of disabled people. Since 2002, she worked tirelessly as a disability activist fighting for poverty reduction, particularly among disabled women. Gladys was an active disability activist at both national and international level, and contributed immensely to disability related literature. Gladys will be greatly missed in disability activism and may her soul rest in peace after working so hard for a good cause.

Some of Gladys Charowa’s publications

(i) Reply to a statememt for discussion: investing in education for children with disabilities is economically not interesting

March 1, 2006 – Published by: Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD), Available at

(ii) Body blows: in the thick of Zimbabwe’s current turmoil, women with disabilities face hellish prejudice, hunger and rape. Gladys Charowa bears witness.(POVERTY & GENDER)(Column) – Published in New Internationalist, November 1, 2005

Best wishes,


Frank Mulcahy

Thank you to Frank Mulcahy of Ireland for sharing this sad news with the AdHoc_IDC listserv.

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We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some)

Posted on 22 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, autism, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Fellowships & Scholarships, Funding, Guest Blogger, Health, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Inclusion, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Skip introduction, go straight to the Table of Contents

If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.

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Table of Contents

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About We Can Do

To learn more about the purpose of We Can Do, see About We Can Do. For more on its guiding philosophy, go to Why We Can Do.

Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.

Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.

I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.

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The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts

The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.

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The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts

Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:

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Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations

Finding organizations; Resources for inclusive development; Human rights resources; Case studies; Other helpful resources

Finding organizations
Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.

Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.

There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.

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Resources for Inclusive Development
Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:

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Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:

  • Read the CRPD “translated” into plain English.
  • UNICEF has developed a child-friendly version of the CRPD to help children understand disability rights
  • Disabled People International offers two toolkits on ratifying and implementing the CRPD for disability advocates who want to help ensure that all disabled people have their human rights recognized.
  • A handbook on disability rights targeted at parliamentarians can help parliamentarians, people who work in close contact with government agencies, and disability advocates in general, better understand the CRPD.
  • The United Nations’ new web site, UN Enable, is one of the best, and most official, places to find information on the CRPD.
  • Handicap International has produced its own Teaching Kit on the CRPD.
  • The International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA) has issued Equalize It! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation that expresses their position on how to ensure disability equality in the international development field.
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    Case Studies
    Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at]

    But for now, here are two case studies:

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    Other Helpful Resources

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    Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research

    Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
    Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:

    Information on people with disabilities
    Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:

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    Funding Sources

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    Academic Papers

    We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:

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    September 2007; October 2007; November 2007; Early December 2007

    September 2007
    At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.

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    October 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Early December 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Opinion Pieces

    So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.

    Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:

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    Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)

    You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:

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    International Conferences and Events

    Looking for a conference to attend? Here are a few upcoming events:
    January 2008; February 2008; March 2008; April 2008; May 2008; August 2008; September 2008; November 2008

    January 2008
    The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.

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    February 2008

  • The Disabilities Initiatives in Development Seminar, also in Bangladesh also in February 2008.
  • One for all: Persons with Disabilities Initiative in Development, again in Bangladesh in February 2008.
  • The International Centre for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK is holding a conference on sign language research in the UK in February 2008.
  • A conference on the deaf community, sign languages, social issues, civil rights, and creativity will be held on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • The Techshare India 2008 Conference on accessibility will be held in New Delhi, India, in February 2008.
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    March 2008
    The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    April 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    May 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    August 2008

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    September 2008

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    November 2008
    The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.

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    Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities

    We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:

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    Education and Training Opportunities

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    Missed Opportunities

    Missed call for papers; Missed training opportunities; Missed job, internship, and volunteer opportunities; Missed events and conferences

    Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.

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    Missed Call for Papers
    The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.

    Also browse through the listing of upcoming conferences and missed conferences.

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    Missed Training Opportunities

    In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.

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    Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
    Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:

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    Missed Event and Conference Opportunities

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    What’s Next for We Can Do?

    I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.

    I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.

    If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.

    For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.

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    IDCS Newsletter: Deaf Children, Families, and Schools

    Posted on 1 October 2007. Filed under: Case Studies, Children, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Families, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Thank you to the International Deaf Children’s Society (IDCS) for granting their permission to repost their newsletter at We Can Do. This newsletter contains information about a range of programs targeted at deaf children and their families and schools in Burkino Faso; Zimbabwe; Somaliland; Kazakhstan; Afghanistan; and India.

    Note that IDCS would like to receive stories about your experiences in supporting families in improving their ability to communicate with their deaf children for possible use in their next newsletter. Their deadline is October 10, 2007; see the bottom of this post for more detail.

    August 29, 2007
    Learning from Each Other: An Update from the IDCS Network
    The International Deaf Children’s Society (IDCS) is the international development wing of The National Deaf Children’s Society in the UK.

    Families and schools

    In this issue of Learning from Each Other you can find out more about how schools can involve families and communities in their work.

    Education is central in promoting every child’s development. It is a Millennium Development Goal to achieve universal primary education, because it is recognised that education broadens opportunities and choices for young people and helps to fight poverty. As one third of the out-of-school children are disabled – it will be impossible to meet this goal without deaf children getting into school. IDCS believes that this will be impossible without family and community involvement.

    Research by academics like Desforges in the UK have shown that the support children receive from their family makes a big difference to their success at school. The case studies in this newsletter highlight the role that families play globally. Over 90% of deaf children are born into families who are not deaf and who may have little understanding of how they can support their child. That’s why it’s important for schools and families to work together. Read on for some brilliant examples of how this can work in practice!

    For example, you can read a case study from Burkina Faso showing how schools can help families learn the skills they need to support their children more effectively. In addition, parental involvement can really benefit the school by using parents’ unique knowledge, skills and motivation – both in the classroom like in the example from Afghanistan, and at school management and policy level like the project for families in Kazakhstan.

    As so many deaf children are out of school, it’s essential that schools consider how they can reach those parents in the community whose children are not in school. Again, with the right support, other parents whose deaf children have been to school can be the best people to reach out, like the inspiring parent trainers in Zimbabwe.

    Later this year, IDCS will publish Family Friendly! a book of case studies and practical tips about involving families and communities in work with deaf children. Some of the case studies in this newsletter are also featured in the book – so look out for our email publicising the book later in the year! Some existing resources to help you think about how you can improve the way you work with families and communities are featured below.

    Teachers training parents in Burkina Faso

    In order for deaf children to do well at school, it really helps if families are actively involved in their education, and are able to communicate, play or help their children with homework. However it’s not always easy for parents to know what to do.

    After asking parents what they needed, IDCS’s partner CEFISE, a mainstream school where lots of deaf children study, trained a group of teachers to carry out workshops for parents at three other schools for the deaf. During these workshops, teachers provide parents with information about deafness and lots of creative ideas to make learning fun. Using creative techniques proved to be a great way to provide parents with practical skills and motivation to spend more time with their child!

    Follow the link to find out more about this Burkina Faso project, as well as great examples of games and activities.

    Parents outreaching to other parents in Zimbabwe

    Nyadire Primary School is located in a rural area of Zimbabwe where there is little awareness of deafness. With support from IDCS and the NZEVE centre for deaf children, Nyadire School trained two parents to be outreach workers.

    Being visited at home was a great way for parents of out-of-school deaf children to find out more about deafness and their children’s potential. The parent trainers encouraged parents to send their deaf child to school and provided them with information about how they could support learning in the home. The families felt comfortable discussing personal issues with someone who had faced similar challenges and the parent trainers became a real community resource. The school also organised workshops to provide parents with more information and training to help them communicate with their deaf child.

    Follow the link to find out more about this innovative approach to working with parents

    Establishing a parents’ group in Somaliland

    In Somaliland there are only two schools for the deaf. The Hargeisa School for the Deaf is working with parents to support them to advocate for the rights of their child. Getting parents together is also an effective and sustainable way of establishing support networks and a forum to share ideas and experiences.

    The Hargeisa School found that, in order for parents to have an impact, it was important to set up a formal organisation. They provided a group of parents with the necessary skills to organise and register a parents’ group. This group now meets regularly and, together with the school and a group of young deaf people, has carried out advocacy and awareness raising activities.

    Find out more about the process of setting up a parents group

    Working together for children’s rights in Kazakhstan

    Children living in institutions in Kazakhstan are often denied their rights. In addition, many find that communicating with their families is very difficult. With limited parental involvement, professionals have a lot of power over children’s lives. To create change in such a context meant that everyone needed to be involved – that’s why the project working to improve the lives of deaf children in institutions was called Rights for All.

    Using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a tool, this project tried to involve teachers, children and parents. An important achievement was the establishment of an ongoing parents’ group which have quarterly meetings with school directors and are working with the Deaf People’s Association to lobby for policy changes. A resource room staffed by a parent volunteer also helps to provide parents with practical support when they visit the school.

    Read more about how this project aimed to make Rights For All a reality

    A father’s story – getting involved in education in Afghanistan

    Getting involved in their children’s education can radically change parents’ attitudes towards their child’s deafness. As they witness first-hand their child’s capacity for learning and educational success, they can become advocates for other children’s rights.

    Abdul Ghani is the father of six children, four of whom are deaf. He worked for an inclusive education project run by the International Rescue Committee in Afghanistan which helped deaf children, previously denied access to education, to stay in school. His valuable contribution and change of attitude towards his deaf children’s potential shows how parent involvement benefits both schools and families!

    Find out more about our work in Afghanistan.

    Real inclusion requires a supportive family

    In India, the Persons with Disabilities Act says that every disabled child should be able to study in a regular school if that is their choice. Snigdha talks about how she fought to make the act a reality for her deaf daughter, Sneha. This would not have been possible without the support she received in the early days from a family-focused organisation in West Bengal. Snigdha’s story shows why IDCS’s focus on parent-support is so important and gives practical tips for regular schools wishing to include deaf children.

    Read Snigdha’s story to find out more about parenting a deaf child in India and why family support is so important.

    Member spotlight

    IDCS Network member the Loto Taumafai Society in Samoa worked with UNESCO to pilot the Toolkit for Creating Inclusive, Learning Friendly Environments. The second chapter focuses on involving families and communities. It is a very useful tool for any school. However, IDCS thinks that as deaf children have less opportunity than other children to learn incidentally in their community, the ideas presented in this UNESCO publication are even more important for schools where deaf children learn!

    You can read an extract and download the booklet

    More resources

    EENET, the Enabling Education Network is an international information sharing network which promotes the inclusion of marginalised groups in education. Membership is open to all.

    The EENET website contains resources about working with parents including the Family Action for Inclusion book. This tells the stories of family-based advocacy organisations which have contributed to transform education systems in southern Africa, South Asia, Europe and Australia. It has been written for family and community members who may feel isolated and want to form a support group, advocacy organisation, or want to challenge exclusion. It will also be of relevant to those interested in promoting inclusive practices in education, such as teachers, teacher educators and policy makers.

    Find out more about EENET

    Improving family communication

    For our next issue of Learning from Each Other, we would like to focus on family communication. As the articles presented here have shown, communicating with a deaf child at home is extremely important for his or her emotional and educational development. We would be delighted to hear of your experiences of supporting families to improve their ability to communicate with their deaf child.

    What challenges do you face in communicating with deaf children? Have you received support from an organisation or parents of deaf children? Are there any games or exercises that you have found particularly useful? Are you involving deaf adults in family communication exercises?

    As always, please do not worry if you don’t have much experience of writing about your work, just get in touch with any contribution, long or short. We will do our best to include it in the newsletter or publish on our website to share with The IDCS Network.

    Please send us your stories by 10 October 2007 by email, post or fax

    The IDCS Network
    15 Dufferin Street
    London, EC1Y 8UR
    United Kingdom
    Fax + 44 (0)20 7251 5020

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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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      Ending poverty among and oppression toward disabled people in developing countries.


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    • The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

      The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

      The Tusaidiane Disabilities Resources and Charity Organization of Tanzania (TDRCT) would like to improve computer literacy and self-employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania, and promote their empowerment.

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