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Studies have shown that people with cataracts were poorer than controls in terms of assets, self-rated wealth and monthly expenditure than controls with normal vision (Hannah Kuper and Sarah Polack, ICEH/LSHTM)
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A circle of change

© CBM India
Zubeida has been associated with CBM supported inclusive organic farming. In this image she is with a five-year-old girl with who has Cerebral Palsy and is making great progress thanks to the rehabilitation support which is now part of the project.

What began as a disability inclusive livelihood initiative supported by CBM has now evolved into a harbinger of hope for involving the whole community into supporting and appreciating needs of persons with disability and challenging the age-old stereotypes.

As we settled into a relatively dark but well-built house, Zubeida, 35, explains to us this new phase of a three-year-old project that has created successful champions of inclusive organic farming in eastern Uttar Pradesh, one of the most populous states that also has the largest number of people living below India's official poverty line.

Challenging stereotypes

”These stereotypes and low level of expectations from children with disabilities force the family to look away from their needs and rights,” said Zubedia, while getting a five-year-old girl (name not disclosed) ready for her physiotherapy exercises. The girl has Cerebral Palsy and Zubedia has been working with the family of the child to change the way they have been caring and engaging with her.

The girl herself is a bundle of energy and eager to engage with people around her. Through her laughs and gestures she messages people around her. Her favourite gesture being a sign of high-five.

“The girl has undergone a remarkable improvement since we have started following the counselor. She can now even eat independently and can stand on her own,” Zubedia added as she showed us an improvised spoon that has a lever that stops it from falling off from the girl’s hand.

Coming together

©CBM India
Zubeida, though not herself a person with disability, has been championing their rights, especially engaging with families and care givers to end stigma and challenge stereotypes of dependence.
"When people come together and stop hiding from the needs of persons with disabilities, things change fast. It gives families and parents the confidence to ask for support and inclusion,’’ Zubedia added.

The new phase of the project is now inspiring partners and the local communities to take up dimensions of health care and rehabilitation among other aspects.

Zubedia is herself an example of how the circle of champions for disability inclusion is expanding through this approach.

She is not a person with a disability but her father-in-law has a disability and that is how her family became a part of the CBM supported disability inclusive organic farming.

As the project is inclusive and involves non-disabled people she started marketing organic vegetables and organic manure. She also raises poultry and goats.

From a housewife only a few years ago Zubedia is now president of the women’s group, self-help group, and also the farmer group.


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