Humaira leads the way for people with disabilities in her community

Stories | February 28, 2022

CBM has a long history of supporting projects that lift up women and girls.

One of these projects is in Bangladesh, where CBM supports partners to promote the rights of people with disabilities. By working with and strengthening Self-Help Groups (SHGs), people with disabilities have gained the confidence and knowledge to become change agents, advocating for their rights.

One of these people is Humaira, a woman with a disability who has become a strong role model for people with disabilities in her community.

“I am a woman with a disability, and I think if someone is mentally strong, it is not difficult to overcome the disability,” says Humaira.

At a young age, Humaira became very sick and high fever led to her physical disability. She attended school till the 8th grade but was forced to drop out due to financial hardship. After the death of her parents, Humaira lived with her brother, but was again forced to move once he married. Life was not easy for Humaira.

However, the benefits she has gained though the project has made life a little easier for Humaira. By joining a women’s SHG, Humaira has been able to connect with other women with disabilities and participate in training on leadership, managing people, and sign language. This has given her the skills and knowledge to effectively advocate for disability rights and inclusion.

“The training on sign language especially helped me to include those who have hearing disabilities in the group’s activities,” says Humaira.

Living with her sister and working as a tailor, Humaira is now the secretary of a women’s SHG and manager of a local savings group. She is very well accepted in her community and has become a strong voice for people with disabilities – fighting for greater access to disability support services, such as the disability allowance, assistive devices, and rehabilitation services. This has resulted in her becoming a great source of information for other marginalised people who often go to her for advice on what support is available and how to access it.

Humaira’s key achievements

Some of Humaira’s key achievements include arranging COVID-19 relief food packages for people in need, organising the distribution of winter clothes for vulnerable men and women, and supporting farmers to access seeds and fertiliser from government sources. All these have been made possible due to her involvement in SHGs, consistent advocacy, and the good relationships she has built with government and non-government officials.

“I am training vulnerable women in my community, and this is helping them to support their families financially. Empowerment of any person can create a ripple effect in the community, and I am the example of it,” says Humaira.

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

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