RAISEWISE: Empowering Women with Disabilities

“Being severely disabled I never thought exercising was possible for me. After attending sessions under ABLE program, I realised that even I could exercise and keep myself healthy. I also understood how important exercising is for health,” shares a confident Noor Jahan. Undergoing self-defense training, Noor is a beneficiary of AIF’s first of its kind initiative under the Ability Based Livelihood Empowerment (ABLE) program.

Locomoter disability requires Noor Jahan to use crutches, calipers and raised shoes

AIF is committed to enhancing women’s role in sustaining their families and communities, while also achieving gender equality (SDG 3, 4, 5, 8, 10). Leaving no one behind, AIF lays an equal stress on the empowerment of women with disabilities, as the challenges faced by them are even more complex in nature. Studies have shown that women with disabilities are more likely to earn less than men with disabilities. They often face high rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. Disabled women are at the same or higher risk of violence than those without disabilities, due to issues of power and control.

Through its “Raise Women with Disabilities in Social Engagement (RAISE)” initiative in Bangalore, ABLE program is providing a platform to empower and enable 100  women with disabilities to lead their lives with confidence and fearlessly.  With the colossal support of Circle of Hope (Boston),  ABLE program is utilizing innovative, and participatory learning approaches to empower women with disabilities in self-defense techniques; increase their awareness about gender equality, women safety laws and Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016; as well as influence and encourage their inclusion in employment.

Noor’s locomotor disability has never limited her to accomplish her goals and excel in life. She is not only financially independent, but is also a source of inspiration for her husband and son.  Working as an ortho technician at Rehabilitation Aids Workshop by Women With Disabilities (RAWWD), Noor’s job involves communication and collaboration with different types of people. She has to interact with patients, take measurements to make artificial limbs, and get them approved from the professional doctors. Her job requires good interpersonal skills. “After attending the life-skill sessions, I have a more polished way of interacting with people,” says a confident Noor, as she highlights the positive impact of ABLE’s training on her self-confidence.

This confidence is also reflected in Noor’s better understanding of Government schemes, facilities, entitlements, and services for disabled people. “I knew that there are government facilities for disabled people, but there were many facilities about which I had no clue about. Like I didn’t know about special bus pass and train pass for the disabled people. Now I am going to use all these facilities.”

We are grateful to Circle of Hope (Boston), for supporting AIF’s first of its kind initiative to empower women with disabilities to realize their full potential confidently and fearlessly.

As Director of Communications and Advocacy, Rowena Kay Mascarenhas holds the global responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation of AIF’s marketing, communications, and advocacy strategies across the Head Office, Country Office and Regional Offices.

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