International Women's Day 2017

8 March 2017

Disabled women in developing countries face double discrimination when it comes to access to education and employment.

Through our Access to Livelihoods programme, supported by Accenture, we provide support to disabled people in 28 locations in six countries across south and south-east Asia and South Africa to acquire new skills, and of those trained enable them to secure a job or start a business

Jayakodi is from Cuddalore in southern India. She had polio in early childhood, and is now unable to walk.

'I did not go to school because of my disability. The nuns who run a school and hostel near my village approached my parents and requested them to send me to school.' — Jayakodi

Jayakodi in front of a sewing machineAfter completing her schooling, Jayakodi joined a tailoring institute to learn tailoring, and started her own tailoring shop in her village with personal savings.

Leonard Cheshire's Livelihood Resource Centre in Chennai met with Jayakodi, provided her with a small credit to purchase some tools and equipment for her shop.

They also trained her to develop her business further by modernising and customising her tailoring work with embroidery and ‘Ariya’ work (innovative design and embroidery with beads and thread work on blouses).

'Today I am the main "breadwinner" of my family. My family gives me a lot of importance. They always involve me in the family decision-making.'

Jayakodi has since started running a self-help group for 14 disabled people in her community. She approaches government departments for assistance with aids and appliances for her peers.

'I use my tailoring knowledge to help rural women, especially the people with disabilities living in the surrounding villages.

'I have now learnt to do business in a planned way, deal with customers, source recent development and trends, and explore markets for purchasing raw materials.

'I value Leonard Cheshire's Livelihoods Resource Centre's role and contribution to my career development.'

The theme for International Women's Day this year is 'be bold for change'. Find out about our other livelihoods development work.

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