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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

An estimated one billion people or 15% of the world's population lives with a disability (World Bank). For those also living in poverty, with limited access to health care, water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, education and employment, the challenges are amplified.

Discrimination, social stigma and exclusion of people with disability in vulnerable communities may also impact their ability to participate meaningfully in their communities.

 

Facts

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

The World Bank estimates that 20% of the world’s poorest people are living with some kind of disability. 

Around 80% of people living with a disability are based in countries where communities often lack the governance, infrastructure, and facilities to support them. People with disabilities live without many basic services that others find easier to access, such as health care and education. 

The reduced access to education or skill-building opportunities makes it difficult for people living with disabilities to find employment and to 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 experience emotional stress from social stigma and discrimination, inhibited from engaging in communal activities with limited support to develop their independence. 

Driving disability inclusion where it's needed most

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 we are 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

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