Supporting self-help groups in Indonesia  

Stories | November 4, 2022

CBM Australia works with partners in Indonesia to support people with disabilities to reach their goals and full potential. We want to make sure their rights are respected and protected. One of the ways our partners are achieving this is through self-help groups.

Self-help groups bring together people, both with and without disabilities, for a common cause. They often provide social support, motivation and empowerment, training and livelihood opportunities, and work to increase awareness of disability rights and advocacy.

In Aceh, Indonesia, one CBM-supported self-help group is helping change the lives of its members by supporting them to improve their livelihood and increase their income. They are also advocating for more vital disability inclusion in the village – a village which, before the project started, considered little about disability inclusion. And it’s working.

Since forming in mid-2019, the number of people involved in the self-help group has more than doubled, indicating that people are taking more interest in issues around disability.

While most of the members without disabilities work as rice farmers, many of the members with disabilities joined the group with no formal employment.

To improve the livelihood of all members, the group is helping farmers access affordable fertilisers – fertilisers that have become scarce and more expensive due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without this support, many farmers would not be able to continue growing crops, or they might have to make hard decisions about what they spend their money on – more expensive fertiliser or food for the family, medicine, or school fees.

The group is also helping create other business opportunities for those who are not farmers, including for people with disabilities, by producing products made from coconut oil. These products are now being sold by local vendors and in small local shops, giving producers both a source of income and a sense of purpose.

To increase impact and sustainability, the project helped get the self-help group formally recognised by the village government. This has given the group a greater voice on issues that matter to them.

Self-help representatives have met with village leaders and have been invited to village planning meetings to advise on disability inclusion. This benefits not just people with disabilities but the wider community, who are becoming more aware of the rights and needs of people with disabilities.

Learn more about self-help groups.

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

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