Hesperian Health Guides

Working for Change

In this chapter:

To build a better life, women with disabilities need access to health care and education, and the ability to move around independently and earn a living. The first step toward achieving these things may be to form a group with other people with disabilities. Together you can decide what things in your community can be changed, in order to make life better for you all.

The particular tasks your group chooses are not as important as just working together. Start with what you as a group feel is most important, and work from there.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Start a literacy class for those who cannot read or write.
  • Try to get funds—either as a low-interest loan or through a donation—to begin an income-earning project so you can all make your own living.
  • As a group, ask the local authorities to:
    • make the village water supply, schools, and health centers easier to get to, and easier for people with different disabilities to use.
    • help you start a library, and to find more information about disabilities.
    • work with you to make disability aids and equipment available for free in the community.

To give you an idea of what a group working together can do, here is the rest of the letter from the women in Ghana:

a small group of women with disabilities sitting together

Being in this Association gives us a new value, a way to be a part of something that counts, and a chance to organize ourselves for our rights.

Most members have learned skills such as weaving, sewing, candle-making, shoe repairs, basket-making, and typing. Some of our other activities are:

  • involving women with disabilities in community activities.
  • meeting with teachers and parents to choose materials with positive images of disability.
  • finding ways to support ourselves financially so we can obtain working tools, disability aids, and wheelchairs for our members.

Friendship and trust among people with disabilities gives rise to many new ideas. We run the Association by and for ourselves, and we are encouraged in our efforts. This helps to raise the image of all women with disabilities.

Just like the women in Ghana, working with others can help you achieve an independent, productive life. You do not have to stay inside your house unless you want to. Go after your dream, whether it is a job, a relationship, or being a parent!

This page was updated:17 May 2024