Sightsavers, EU and EDF launch Rising Voices: A Paper on women with Disabilities

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@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist

Sightsavers, a global development organisation and European Disability Forum (EDF) are jointly implementing project ‘Building Partnerships for Sustainable development Goals – Empowering Disabled People’s Organisations’ which is supported by European Union. The project supports people with disabilities to engage in, shape and monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Under the project, a joint paper Rising Voices: A Paper on women with disabilities was launched virtually in the presence of DPO members from India and Europe besides representatives from disability rights organisations. The paper aims to bring the voices of women with disabilities to the fore. It details how supporting women with disabilities to know their rights has helped them to stand up for themselves, gain independence and support others.

“People with disabilities have the right to play a full and active part in society. The paper Rising Voices has been developed in the framework of a project aimed at empowering Disabled People’s Organisations’, supported by the European Union. The paper clearly highlights the untapped potential of women with disabilities and their critical role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and in international cooperation,” said Fanny Nylander – First Secretary, Political Affairs – EU Delegation to India.

RN Mohanty, CEO Sightsavers India on the launch of the paper said, “It highlights the specific struggles and challenges women with disabilities face, and also celebrates their strength, abilities, resilience and victories. By sharing the stories of women with disabilities, it intends to convey the transformational impact that engagement in the SDG processes can have on these women’s lives.”

The methodology used to gather the findings included a mix of primary and secondary document review, including reviews of formal legislation and relevant literature. The case studies from three states in India (Jharkhand, Odisha, and Rajasthan) were developed through one-to-one interviews and focus group discussions.

“My dreams have wings now. When I was nominated group leader of Parents and DPO group and undertook the rating for the SDG Disability Inclusive Score Card recently in Behrampur, I found ‘myself’. I want to get exposure on national and international disability rights frame-works and if given a chance, I want to be part of wider women rights network,” said Meena, aged 23, with cerebral palsy, DPO member Odisha.

The review of EU policy on international cooperation was undertaken by EDF. An advisory panel of experts, made up of disability experts from both India and the EU, helped to guide the process and review the findings and recommendations. The key findings focused on Violence and access to justice, education, employment and health. Also developed is a robust section on best practices which is very valuable to guide future programming.

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