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Empowerment of disabled women was the focus of cross disability workshops in Kerala

December 16, 2018

Over the past many years, women in India have been fighting for their rights and demands instead of confining to the four walls of their homes. In the case of disabled women, they are sidelined and ignored without their voices being heard. Mobility International USA has been conducting exclusive workshops for empowering women. The Women's Institute of Leadership and Disability (WILD) is a signature women's leadership training programme of Mobility International USA. Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala, hosted two WILD programmes in the past three days. These cross disability workshops was truly a big hit amongst women from disabled community.

On 11 December, Jyothirgamaya, an NGO that empowers blind people, hosted the event under the leadership of its founder Tiffany Brar. The event was jointly organized by Action Council Vellarda and Pallium India.

Tiffany is a blind person and Ashla Rani is a wheelchair user. Both of them had attended WILD at Sri Lanka. They came back and conducted the workshop back in their hometown at Thiruvananthapuram.

The 7 day workshop that we attended in Sri Lanka was very interesting. They gave us a detailed insight into networking, health awareness and also about our rights as women with disabilities. We were supposed to conduct the same workshop back here. We got some great responses from the participants. So we plan to conduct this in other parts of Kerala very soon- Tiffany Brar

At Thiruvananthapuram WILD, sessions were conducted on awareness of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPWD), self-defence, meditation and even yoga. Over 20 women with various kinds of disabilities took part in the event. Each participant had a platform to express their grievances and opinions, ask questions and learn and lot of things in the process.

The workshop conducted by Ashla Rani was held on 15 December with over 22 women with various kinds of disabilities participating. Most of them were graduates below 30 years of age.

"We had sessions on sexual and reproduction health, open discussions and also a few activities. Disabled women face discrimination in getting education and even employment. WILD was a rare opportunity because hardly women with different kinds of disabilities come together for a workshop. Usually, blind people or those in wheelchairs have their own workshops and sessions. This cross disability workshop was a platform for everyone to know more about the difficulties faced by another person with a different disability from theirs. Being a wheelchair user, I never knew what a blind person goes through. It is also an opportunity where we could come together and discuss what we can do", said Ashla Rani.

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