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Phuong* (name changed) was born with hydrocephalus, a medical condition which causes seizures and makes speaking and walking difficult. He lives with his parents, two younger brothers and grandparents in a small house in a poor area of Quang Tri Province in Vietnam. Phuong's life transformed with with the support of Caritas Australia. Photo: Caritas Indonesia.

Disability

For an estimated one billion people, the challenges of poverty and limited access to health and education are further exacerbated by living with a disability and associated structural and social barriers. 

Due to its connection with poverty and inequality, disability in developing countries requires swift and sustainable action and long-term solutions that will enable those communities to thrive. 

A lack of education and awareness among people and societies with archaic belief systems frequently leads to discrimination against, and exclusion of, people with disability.  

From the right to employment, to accessing sanitation and hygiene, they are denied fundamental human rights and access to basic services that will empower them to reach their full potential and participate meaningfully in their communities.

1 billion

people live with a disability while also experiencing poverty

80%

of people with disabilities live in developing countries

Photo credit: Nguyen Minh Duc/Caritas Australia
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Photo credit: Nguyen Minh Duc/Caritas Australia

Poverty and disability in developing countries 

Poverty is substantially more likely to affect people living with disability. People with disability live without many basic services that others find easier to access, such as health care and education. 

Around 80% of people living with disability are based in developing countries where communities often lack the governance, infrastructure, and facilities to support them.

The reduced access to education or skill-building opportunities makes it difficult for people living with disability to find employment and build a stable livelihood. The lack of suitable health care makes them more vulnerable to disease which, in turn, adds to the occurrence of health issues in developing countries. 

Along with the physical stress that they experience, people with disabilities often incur emotional stress from being shunned by society, inhibited from engaging in communal activities and prevented from taking ownership of their lives. 

These are just some of the ways in which disability interacts with, and exacerbates, the effects of poverty. Despite this, many communities are starting to realise the importance of disability inclusion and how it can help their communities thrive. 

Driving disability inclusion where it is most needed 

Genuine, long-lasting development necessitates an environment where all people have a chance to grow – especially those living with disabilityA community’s ability to thrive is directly reflected in the way it cares for its most vulnerable members. 

We are working with communities in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Middle East and Australia to create awareness and build more inclusive societies that proactively support and empower people with disabilities. 

Students of the Caritas Australia-supported Deaf Development Program learning Cambodian sign language. They are also taught how to write in Khmer and take maths and social science classes as part of the two year course. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.
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Students of the Caritas Australia-supported Deaf Development Program learning Cambodian sign language. They are also taught how to write in Khmer and take maths and social science classes as part of the two year course. Photo credit: Richard Wainwright/Caritas Australia.
Photo credit: Caritas Australia
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Photo credit: Caritas Australia

What is Caritas Australia doing to support people with disability? 

Our programs are helping to drive disability inclusion by building awareness among communities and providing essential life skills training to people living with disability 

Hoa, a single mother from Vietnam, was a farmer until an accident prevented her from performing heavy physical tasks. We were able to help Hoa take up fishing which is enabling her to continue to support herself and her daughter. Hoa’s tale is only one of many stories of how people living with disability in Vietnam were able to overcome their challenging circumstances by participating in our programs. 

I am very proud. I enjoy being a role model to show that as a woman with a disability I can still do hard work. I know I can do it!

Hoa from Vietnam

You can help support change that makes a real difference

When you support us, you are contributing to a world where people, regardless of their health or abilities, can lead a full and meaningful life of their choosingHelp us help people living with disabilities through our programs in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and Australia. 

DONATE NOW

 

If you would like to learn more about this important issue, please join our mailing list.

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