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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 9: Women with Disabilities
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View the documentSelf-esteem
Open this folder and view contentsTaking Care of Your Health
Open this folder and view contentsSexuality and Sexual Health
View the documentPersonal Safety
View the documentWorking for Change

Working for Change

To build a better life, women with disabilities need health, 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 women with disabilities. Together you can decide what things in your community can be changed, in order to make life better for you all.

Here are some suggestions:

· Start a literacy class for the women 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, go to the local authorities and ask them to:

- make the village water supply, schools, and health centers easier to get to, and easier for people who are blind and deaf to use.

- help you start a library, and to find more information about disabilities.

- work with you to make disability aids and equipment available.

¨ 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.

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:

Being in this Association gives us a new value, a way to be a part of something which 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 between women 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 motherhood!