More than a billion people in the world have a disability, according to the World Health Organization. That’s one out of every seven people.
Some of these people are lucky enough to live in places where their rights are respected. But many more are not. Because of physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers, persons with disabilities are denied the right to make their own decisions, excluded from education, and locked in institutions.
In this video, Diana Samarasan, the founding executive director of the Disability Rights Fund, talks about how her organization supports grassroots, marginalized, and emerging groups of people with disabilities to advocate for human rights. The Fund’s mission is clear: ensure that the rights of every person with a disability are respected.
Since its establishment in 2008, the Fund has been an important player in building the disability rights movement globally. It provides grants to disabled persons’ organizations to support the advancement of rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to ensure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full equality.
The Fund plays a vital role in supporting groups that few other donors manage to reach. Underpinning all of its activities is the spirit of the disability community’s slogan: “Nothing about us without us”—an inclusive, rights-based empowerment approach.
“Through this funding, people with disabilities are taking control of rights struggles,” says Samarasan. “We’re seeing people defining themselves for themselves.”