You are here:

Arefa's story

Arefa, disability activist, Bangladesh

Arefa's Story.

Disability Activist, Bangladesh.

"I used to have a negative attitude towards disabled people.

Then I became disabled myself. I was young and I got sick. The medicine they gave me left me physically impaired. I felt like a burden. That people would despise me. These ideas were fatal to me. I lost my mental balance.

My father encouraged me to keep studying, but after I finished my Masters I became a recluse. I didn't leave my house for 5 years. I couldn't face people's stigma or abuse. I felt so worthless.

Meeting other disabled people gave me confidence.

ADD International’s approach is to make disabled people believe that they are human beings, that they have rights and are entitled to dignity. That is the reason I like ADD very much. There is no organisation like them. They have helped disabled people in many areas.

In my area ADD has helped us organise ourselves and to learn about their rights. Together, we have campaigned to get rude comments about disabled people removed from school text books, to get money providers to extend their loans to disabled people, and for government buses to have reserved seating for disabled people."

Let's build movements together.

Millions of disabled people in Africa and Asia are still condemned to a life of poverty and exclusion. Right now, disability activists like Arefa are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.

Meet more disability activists

Kaddush, Bangladesh

Kaddush, Bangladesh

Kaddush is visually impaired. For a long time he was ashamed and isolated, but he now leads an organisation of over 4,000 disabled members fighting for disability equality.

Elizabeth, Uganda

Elizabeth, Uganda

Ignored by her family, Elizabeth was bullied and beaten at school and abused by her neighbours for her disability. Her husband later abandoned her and she was the victim of an attempted kidnapping plot to trade her body parts. Read how she turned her life around through her activism and resilience.