‘Participating in society improves your self-esteem’

Home‘Participating in society improves your self-esteem’

Nadia from Burundi:

After a successful job application, Nadia (33) was rejected at her new workplace because of her disability. Her employer questioned how she could do the job if she could not move around well. Nadia got invited to participate in a We are Able! training on inclusive governance and a training on lobby and advocacy. Now she works for VNG International (consortium partner of WaA!) in Burundi as a program assistant.

“A lot of people in my country think that if you have a physical disability that it touches your whole body and your mental and intellectual capacities as well,” Nadia says. She grew up in Burundi and studied clinical and social psychology. After her internship, she could not find a job. “That made me feel inferior, like anyone who cannot find a job,” she recalls. “But now that I have a job, it gives me a feeling of freedom as a person with a disability. I can participate and contribute in society. That improves your self-esteem.”

Recognition of capacities

Nadia observes a lot of change now she is working for the WaA! programme. “Capacities of persons with disabilities are more recognized,” she notices. “It gives persons with disabilities the opportunity to talk to public authorities. In the WaA! Programme, I witness that persons with disabilities themselves do the lobby and advocacy. So authorities take their needs and ideas into consideration.”

That brings about a significant change, she states. “At a district office for example, the administrators are located on the top floor. There was almost no access for persons that are not able to walk. Now, the administrator comes down for these people.”

Education for children with disabilities

Nadia was two months old when she got her disability. Her family did everything to support her in life. Nadia participated in a school for children with a physical disability. “I saw that some parents never came to see their children, but my parents always came. They were always supportive.”

In Burundi, a lot of persons with disabilities don’t have access to education. “Parents do not encourage these children to go to school as they don’t see their capacity,” she says. “I really wish that all persons with disabilities have the opportunity to study and that schools are more accessible.”

Nadia, a 33-year-old woman with a disability, at a learning event in Burundi.
Nadia, a 33-year-old woman with a disability, at a learning event in Burundi.
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