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Minnie's story

Minnie Akter, Disability Activist, Bangladesh

Minnie's Story.

Disability Activist, Bangladesh.

"I had Polio as a child and I lost the use of my legs.

I had no wheelchair so I needed to be carried to school. My family were very supportive and believed in me but I faced many barriers in the community. There was a lot of stigma towards me.

One day a shopkeeper in our village told my mother about a meeting that was being organised for disabled people. He told her to bring me but I was too shy. Instead, one of the disability activists came to visit me at my house. They sat and talked to me and told me about their work. They gave me the confidence to join the local self-help group and that's when I first met ADD International.

In our area disabled women are vulnerable to violence and abuse.

We wanted to do something help disabled women, so we went to ADD International and they said, ‘you decide how you want to proceed and we will help’.

We decided to form ‘Women’s Councils’ to tackle the problem. There are now 10 councils in our area where disabled women can report violence, torture, rape. To help run the councils, ADD International gave me trainings in finance, office management, IT, advocacy - I was completely ignorant about these things before. Now I can use a computer, I can send emails, make plans, use Excel, PowerPoint. I lobby different organisations at the government and non-government level to do more to protect disabled women. I give trainings to other grassroots organisations on disabled women's rights.

Now we are focusing on creating employment opportunities for disabled women. When women have an income they have more independence. This has been proven to reduce violence. We want to be free to choose the way we want to live."

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 Minnie are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.

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