A strong advocate for disability rights

Stories | October 12, 2021

Shidosri is a strong example of a woman with a disability who benefited from the work of Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) – one of CBM Australia’s partner organisations working in India. Over five years, Shidosri threw off the limitations imposed by her tribal community’s attitudes that set her back.

NBJK first met Shidosri in Dhumka when undertaking a baseline survey for the program. At that time, Shidosri was despondent and unmotivated. Her mobility impairment was regarded as a curse, and she struggled with her self-confidence.

With support of the project, Shidosri completed a three-month nursing attendant course. This was the turning point. The project intervention enabled her to harness the opportunities presented to her.

Shidosri learned a lot about disability rights, and slowly realised that as well as pushing for her own rights, she could do more to get others involved too. There was a block level Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPD) being formed. Shidosri got involved and became treasurer. She helped countless people get the paperwork sorted out to apply for disability certification and access everything from toilets to Covid-19 support through government schemes.

Shidosri was selected as a Poshan Sakhi (a ‘nutrition friend’), to provide advice and help to rural women, particularly expectant and lactating mothers, to stay healthy.

Shidosri also focused on convincing parents to enrol their children with disabilities into school or early childhood care centres, and is pleased that a number were in school because of her efforts. Keeping children with disabilities at school is a challenge. They often get teased and find it hard, so drop out. The project supported the setting up of children’s clubs in some schools, which helped to change attitudes and reduce bullying.

Women like Shidosri are great role models in their community. As the project closed, Shidosri’s focus turned to sustaining the efforts and spirit of the project and enabling the OPD as an institution to develop. She wanted to make sure that people with disabilities were included in the mainstream.

For more information on CBM Australia’s work on poverty reduction and disability inclusion in Eastern India, view our infographic.

CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

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