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  • Sruti Mohapatra

Intersections of Disability in Development Agendas

Education: Schools are often reconstruction priorities after conflict or disaster. Individuals with disabilities, families and entire communities are negatively affected if schools and training facilities are planned without considering diverse needs and abilities of community members and are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Differences in educational opportunities increase social and economic inequality between those who are supported to learn and those who are not. Educational facilities, classrooms and teaching practices must be designed to accommodate the needs and abilities of all learners to avoid excluding people with disabilities.


Healthcare: Crisis situations often result in injuries and disabilities that can require short and long-term support from healthcare providers. Providing services and supports that are inclusive and accessible to all people, and tailored to meet disability-specific requirements, is important for all community members. Depending on an individual’s specific circumstances, appropriate health-related help may include assisting with medication or giving information in alternative formats (Braille) and languages, such as sign language.


Transportation: Individuals’ ability to participate in their community, and access education and healthcare, can be impossible without accessible transportation. This involves the design, construction and maintenance of a system to be used by all people, including those with disabilities. Transportation must be affordable for people with disabilities living on low incomes. An accessible system includes vehicles that can transport individuals with their mobility aids (such as walkers or wheelchairs), large print and Braille signage, and facilities with ramps and lowered ticket counters.


Poverty: Disability and poverty are often related. Sometimes disability leads to poverty, but poverty can lead to disability or worsen an existing disability. For example, being injured due to accepting unsafe work to meet basic needs. People with disabilities often face barriers to employment and can rely on the state or aid organizations for income assistance to meet their basic needs. Basic needs include food, water, and accessible shelter. Basic needs for people with disabilities may also include medication, mobility or

communication aids, or access to a care provider.


Refugee/Relief Supports: Organizations responsible for refugee/relief camps (natural or man-made disasters) need to identify refugees/relief campers with disabilities and their needs upon entry and ensure supports are in place to meet those needs. Refugee/relief camps must be physically accessible and safe for people with disabilities. Those designing food and water distribution systems need to think about accessibility barriers. Forms to apply for visas and asylum/ government relief distributions must be available in accessible mediums, and some refugees /relief campers with disabilities may need additional support to complete forms.

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