"I am 50 years old but I have had to spend my life crawling around like a child. Can you imagine?
I am Pushpa Rani. I live in South Central Bangladesh. I had pneumonia when I was 8 years old, my situation deteriorated drastically and eventually I lost all movement in my legs.
I was married when I was only 12 years old. Due to my disability my father had to give 66 decimals of land to the groom as a dowry. I had my first child when I was 13; my second when I was 15. As a mother I couldn’t give my children what they deserve from me. My disability has deprived them of a normal life. They couldn’t study. I had to arrange my son’s marriage when he was only 14 so that his wife could assist me at home.
Can you imagine how selfish that is as a mother to do to your own son?
I thought there was no-one like me.
I still shed tears recalling those days. I am weak. Weak in a sense that I can’t participate in the decision making process in my family. My husband, son and daughter-in-law take all the decisions. My opinions are mostly disregarded. Even if I disagree with them I don’t oppose their decisions because I am totally dependent on them. I rarely go out of the house. The social discrimination that surrounds disability excludes me from society and has left me isolated.
I had no awareness of social issues or my rights as a person.
With the help of ADD International I joined a self-help group and then later a disabled person’s organisation. This engagement with other disabled people has enlightened me. It fills me with a feeling of unity and strength. Now I speak out in public forums. I don’t feel helpless. The unity of our organisation gives me the strength and hope for a better life. I have learned that the government is providing various services and facilities for disabled people, including a disability allowance. There is much more that the government and local councils could do to make my life less challenging, like providing a wheel chair so that I can move around easily.
I want to participate in community and societal matters. I want a voice."
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 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 other activists
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.
"My dreams have always been simple, just to meet my own requirements, to contribute to my family, and not to depend on others."
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.