Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views, Issue no. 7 March-April 2001

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Disabled Women in Pakistan Start Newsletter

A report from The Society For Disabled Women Alliance

Pakistan is a country with an Islamic outlook. The women are the most vulnerable part of the society. SDW was a result of a long baseline survey and work at the grass roots level. The society came into being three years back. When woman (Naziran bibi) working in factory lost her legs and was the only one supporting to the family, her husband is drugs addicted and have seven daughters, studying in schools in different levels, but after that the girls left school and the family was from hand to mouth. Sumera George was also disabled since birth, she was seventeen years old at that time and was getting primary education in a school opened by the church in the evening for the disabled, she is mentally strong and can feel the problems. She was very sorry to hear about the incident of Naziran bibi. She discussed the matter of Nazirn Bibi with the other girls in the school, all of them were helpless in this regard. They discussed the problem with the priest in the church and they reached the conclusion that you all get together, work as a team, all together were 33 in the evening school. So they decided to make a plan about disabled women in the society, today one Naziran bibi is facing problem, and what about the other women facing problems. So they decided to form a society for the betterment and uplift of disabled women.

The Society for Disabled Women is an alliance against poverty, discrimination, injustice, and uncertain situations. Total members of SDW are 105. The various activities are in process, all the members are active and are engaged with the work like sewing, cloth markets, factories etc. The society looks after the needs of the members. The society organizes programs to collect funds for the on going activities. Few local well-known persons support occasionally. SDW office is in the local church boundry.

  • To provide assistance to the women with special abilities to stand at their own feet.
  • To fight for the recognition of the role of the special women in the society.
  • To develop a resource centre for the special women to help the sick and poor people and provide education and skills.
  • SDW has a mission to provide platform to disabled in the society.
  • Work for the recognition in the society.
  • Build elementary school to improve literacy rate among the individuals.
  • Promote awareness through activities.
  • Find ways to give help and solve problems.
  • Build bridges with other societies about disabled.
  • Provide health awareness and shelter.

"Society for Disabled Women"
Jan 2000 to October 2000
Address: St. 9 Barkat pura Faisalabad
E-mail SDW08@yahoo.com

Access to global communication
In June 2000 SDW got access to global communication, before that the correspondence was between the local community based organizations, due to the less resources and lack of awareness, experience, work force, and guidance.

Still we do not own computer, we use Internet and get our paper work printed from outside. We are happy that now messages can be easily sent to the other organizations abroad, and are part of the global community. (report 12 June)

Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment
SDW is involved in various activities for the disabled women, in the last meeting of the board it was realized that we are one step ahead by getting access of global communication. The plan was discussed that we should show our strength on the National level. We are still fighting for a broadening of the definition of torture to include actions. e.g. (domestic violence). It is a big plan but we can look for support from other established organizations working for disabled, so for this purpose communication plan will be launched to get favor of the donors. (report 26 June)

Measuring Progress
The SDW is the power of disabled women, the women are so keen to participate in the activities and it is the combined efforts of all that SDW is reaching a stage after three years to achieve its goals. This is the consistency of all members that all are struggling for the development not for temporary welfare. (report 29 May)

Seminar "Discrimination Against Women"
The local 18 NGOs working for women in different fields participated in the seminar organized by the SDW 8th of March 2000. The definition of discrimination was discussed in detail. It was an awareness program for the local NGOs to make them clear the concept of discrimination and distinction against women.

The idea was taken from the IWTC newsletter 1999. As defined, "Any women, exclusion or restriction made on the basis sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or null.

Residential Camp for the Disabled Women (July to August 2000)
The residential camp was a pilot project to assess the practical needs of the women with special capabilities but physical or mental handicap. Total thirty women participated in this camp and SDW with its volunteers work with these women. Out of thirty participants 20 were born disables mostly with physical handicaps and ten have had some accident.

The SDW volunteers taught them a short course of Adult Literacy and the women allmost all the women had some kind of skill like cutting, sewing or embroidery work. Some of them made decoration pieces using the local material. The material made by the women and young girls at the camp was sold in the market.

It is important to mention that these women were never accepted by their families nor by the society that they have any skill. So they were not interested to keep them at homes. They are only burdens on the families. What we wanted to achieve was to get them recognized as the use full members of the society. For three months they lived at SDW Camp House, where they learned reading and writing and new skills.

SDW wanted to keep the camp for long time but the financial constraints did not let us continue the activity.

Meal and accommodation expenses for thirty women per day Rs 6,000 (Rs 200 x 30)
Expenses of the training material per month Rs 5,000
Material used for products to sell in the market per month Rs 3,000
Total per month Rs 14,000
Total for one year (Rs 14, 000 x 12) Rs 168,000
The amount required in US $ (US$1 = Rs 56) US $ 3,000

Follow-up Plan:
SDW plans to keep the first badge of the women in the camp for one year and train them to earn their own living. Once these women are able to make the products according to the market standard, SDW will start a new badge and the women of the last camp will have contact with the market through SDW workers. They will earn their living sitting at the home. This way we will continue making the disabled women economically independent.

"Society for Disabled Women"
Jan 2000 to October 2000
Address: St. 9 Barkat pura Faisalabad
E-mail sdw08@yahoo.com

A Society For Women Alliance
Address: st.9 Barkat Pura Faisalabd, Pakistan
E-mail: sdw08@yahoo.com
Ph: 92-041-548792

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