Today is Blog Action Day, and I’m taking part! On this day bloggers around the world are focusing on poverty, and hopefully encouraging their readers to take action!
I’m sure there will be lots of wonderful blog posts around the causes and solutions to global poverty – debt reduction, food crisis, international aid, disease…. its an unfortunate characteristic that global poverty encompasses so many ills.
But in so many aid programs around the world, people with disabilities are left out. Sure there are organizations that specifically address disability. But large scale development programs tend to ignore the unique needs of 10-20% of the population!
And its more than just about “being inclusive” or any other buzzword we hear these days. Poverty and disability have a unique relationship.
In most developing countries, people with disabilities have little or no opportunity to lead productive lives. In some areas, stigma and fear of disability in result in extreme discrimination. In others, its just outright bias. But in all areas where people with disabilities are excluded from basic life activities, poverty becomes the inevitable outcome. People with disabilities in developing countries are more likely to live on less than $2 a day.
On the other side of the equation, poverty often results in disability. Malnutrition, lack of clean water, and inadequate medical attention can all have disabling results. Add to the mix conflict, and you have a cycle of disability that is not easily broken.
Seven years ago I co-founded an organization called Pearls of Africa to support children with disabilities and their families throughout Africa. We’ve set up a library, held special education teacher training workshops, and look forward to several great new programs this year!
Since October is Disability Awareness Month here in the US, we are bringing the issue of disability in Africa to the forefront. Everyday this month we are featuring a country in Africa and what’s going on there in terms of disability. Its time we integrate our development assistance! I encourage you to visit the POA website and find out more yourself. Then pass it on- the only way we can raise awareness, is to share what we know!
Thank you, and happy Blog Action Day!