People with disabilities subsist on the outer edge of a community and have little or no chance of being seen or heard. Through our global projects, we advance the role of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes. We support organizations, policy makers and other stakeholders to identify barriers and opportunities to promote active participation of persons with disabilities and their organizations.
The burden of eye conditions and vision impairment is often far greater among our target groups. People who have disabilities face greater challenges in accessing eye care services than those who do not. Direct costs, including transport to appointments and related pharmaceutical interventions are barriers to accessing care. Acceptance of wearing spectacles is often influenced by factors such as cosmesis, the belief that spectacles identify the wearer as having a disability, or that vision worsens with continued spectacle wear.
Persons with disabilities on average as a group are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities. Poverty may increase the risk of disability through malnutrition, inadequate access to education and health care, unsafe working conditions, polluted environment, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation. Disability may increase the risk of poverty, through lack of employment and education opportunities, lower wages and increased cost of living.
We Are Able! is a five-year project that aims to empower people with disabilities in Africa to the extent that they can fully participate in society. In this project, six aid organisations from the Netherlands and Africa work together with people with disabilities and their representatives. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funds the programme.