Women with Disabilities on the Rise at the European Development Days
“Educating and training a woman supposes a benefit for all the family”. With this powerful message miss Akhyar Omar closed her intervention at the event “Women on the rise – No one left behind!”, organized by Bridging the Gap in collaboration with Light for the World (LftW) and the EU Social Protection System Programme (EU-SPS).
The happening took place as part of the European Development Days 2018 celebrated on 5th and 6th of June in Brussels under the motto “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest”.
The session, held on the 6th of June, presented three different experiences from low-income countries where women with disabilities have become a driving force of sustainable development in their communities and local economies.
Under the moderation of the researcher and expert teacher on disabilities Hisayo Katsui, the speakers shared their experiences of gender and disability issues based on the different approaches tackled by the three initiatives involved in the session: leadership and entrepreneurship, social protection and access to work and economic empowerment.
Sreynak Hun, Programme Liaison Officer at Light for the World presented the NGO’s leadership programme for women with disabilities in Cambodia. During her intervention, she explained how this program works to train women’s skills, and build their self-confidence, so that they can set up their own projects based on the needs of persons with disabilities detected in their communities.
Likewise, the EU-SPS’ guest Flora Myamba talked about the importance of data collection to meet the rights of women with disabilities in Tanzania. She also explained the importance to address different levels to ensure the social protection programs work properly: “We need to bring all the levels – household level, village level, etc. – together, so that people can start to speak the same language and raise their voices!”.
Finally, Akhyar Omar, chairperson of the Association of Women with Disabilities in Sudan, talked about the challenges and opportunities that women with disabilities face in Sudan and how initiatives such as Bridging the Gap are necessary to tackle their specific needs in terms of awareness and training and to lift women out of invisibility.
In total, 75 minutes of presentations and debate with a constant interaction between the speakers and the audience to collect inputs and ideas on how everyone can raise awareness among those around them of the contribution that women with disabilities can make to society.