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Human Rights Day: CBM promotes the rights of people with disabilities

Stories | November 25, 2021

Over seven decades ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a document that acknowledges the fundamental rights and freedoms of all human beings. Since then, many other human rights treaties have also been developed to protect people. Yet, despite this, people with disabilities continue to face higher levels of poverty, discrimination, violence, poor health, unemployment and illiteracy than those without disabilities.

So, on December the 10th, please help CBM Australia celebrate Human Rights Day and remember that many people still have to fight for their human rights.  

In Bangladesh, CBM have been supporting partners to implement a project focusing on promoting 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 person to benefit from the project is Rekha, a woman with a disability who, after participating in training on disability rights and leadership, developed the confidence and necessary skills to be able to effectively advocate for the rights of people with disabilities – including access to a disability allowance and access to interest-free loans – to the government. As a result of her efforts, a number of people with disabilities received interest-free loans.

In addition to her advocacy work, Rekha also worked with students to increase their awareness around child abuse, safeguarding and mental health, and is a member of a School Management Team, promoting inclusive education.

Now Rekha is the General Secretary of a SHG and President of the SHG federation, and local leaders will often come to her to discuss disability issues. For example, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the local government made Rekha a member of the Relief Distribution Committee to ensure support reached people with disabilities. 

Due to Rekha’s leadership and contribution to the welfare of her community, she is considered an outstanding example of women’s empowerment in the eyes of people who used to look down on people with disabilities. 

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

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