Since 2002, EWDNA has striven to provide valuable opportunities for women with disabilities to improve their lives and overall standing in society through initiatives focused on the following areas:
Develop and facilitate economic opportunities and training for women with disabilities to promote self-reliance and an improved quality of life
Create awareness on critical issues and concerns of women with disabilities
Disseminate knowledge about HIV/AIDS and reproductive health
Promote the social inclusion of women with disabilities and reduce discrimination, misconceptions, & stigma surrounding disabilities
Provide psycho-social support to EWDNA members
When natural and manmade disasters occur, children and women are the most vulnerable. In developing countries in general, disability also occurs at a higher rate due to poverty and lack of understanding & resources in primary health care during antenatal, birth, and postnatal stages. According to the International Rehabilitation Review, nearly 10% of the world’s population lives with a disability, of which 80% live in developing countries. Women with disabilities constitute half of this population.
When it comes to access to rehabilitation services, disabled people (and specifically disabled women) in developing countries are often denied such support outright due to a lack of resources and low levels of awareness. As a result, in every sphere of life, women with disabilities in the developing world experience a triple bind of discrimination on account of their sex/gender, disability, and poverty. Women with disabilities also experience a high incidence of abuse (physical, psychological and sexual), and are frequently victims of discrimination, social marginalization, and neglect.
As one of the 15 least developed countries in the world, the situation for women with disabilities in Ethiopia is particularly severe. Traditional believes and practices hinder to access of education, information, health service, social interaction, and employment opportunities. Challenges in transportation, building access, and infrastructure serve as limiting factors for many women with disabilities in enjoying public spaces and social services. Disabled women face these problems even at home - from stairs to toilets to living spaces that do not adequately accommodate them. Communication issues serve as another barrier for many women. The list of challenges goes on and on.
For these reasons and so many more, EWDNA is dedicated to serving and empowering women with disabilities in Ethiopia. There is much, much more work to be done!
- Hosting weekly coffee sessions for members to socialize and discuss important issues
- Providing interpreters for the deaf at hospitals and in legal situations
- Providing vocational training and livelihoods development support for economically vulnerable women
- Serving as a liaison between members and government agencies, NGOs, etc.
- Providing social support for women and their families
- Helping women to access credit through Hulunalfa Credit Association (an offshoot of EWDNA)
- Literacy programs (with support from Abilis Foundation)
Featured Project: Deaf Women Empowerment
In early 2016, EWDNA launched a new partnership with Visions Global Empowerment (“Visions”), a Los Angeles-based global nonprofit organization dedicated to youth education and empowerment, for the empowerment of Deaf women in Ethiopia.
The purpose of this new partnership is to provide livelihoods development support for Deaf women, to conduct leadership & empowerment training for Deaf women in becoming community advocates, and in building the capacity of EWDNA itself.
§ Provided vocational training & livelihood development assistance to 16 deaf women in Addis Ababa for the establishment of small businesses, followed by the provision of start-up capital & guidance
§ Conducted 5 days of leadership training in both Addis Ababa (for 44 persons) & in Bahir Dar (for 55 persons; in partnership with the Kal Center for Special Needs) in May - July 2016
§ Engaged communities and families of deaf women through awareness-raising sessions about deafness & Deaf culture