Christoph Ziegenhardt is Coordinator of End the Cycle, an organisation that seeks to break the complex cycle between poverty and disability.
India recently celebrated the eradication of polio - a huge achievement by the Indian government and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with their partners. 12 months without a case of polio in India for the first time in history is great news for future generations.
Globally, Polio is now 99% eradicated and there are only Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan where much work is needed to achieve the global goal of 100% eradication of polio. The Global Poverty Project’s The End of Polio Campaign is playing an important part in this, too – building a movement of people speaking up for funding for this important work.
But our focus on eradicating polio shouldn’t mean that we forget about those who live with permanent disability because they contracted polio some years ago... in fact, it is extremely important that we don’t forget about these people with disabilities, as they are often amongst the poorest and most marginalised people in developing countries.
I recently heard the story of 25 year old Mosua Islam, a young man from Bangladesh who lives with a disability caused by polio.
It struck me what a huge impact Polio had on his life.
Mosua in his story tells of how he mostly stayed in his house, just lying at home. Living with a disability, he recalls his childhood: “I went to the primary school nearby, to grade five, but when it was time to go to high school I couldn’t because it was too far, and I couldn’t crawl that far.” Getting to school in a rickshaw was too expensive and so he remembers “I couldn’t go to school anymore.”
Mosua says this, pretty matter-of-factly, but I think I would have been pretty devastated if I hadn’t been able to run around with friends, get to school and just simply enjoy life as a child.
I am disappointed when I see the exclusion of people with disability in places where disability and poverty meet. It shouldn’t be this way! Which is why I’m also excited about leading End the Cycle’s campaign promoting the human rights and empowerment of people with disabilities living in developing countries.
To educate and raise awareness of the cycle of poverty and disability, End the Cycle collected new stories, creating avenues for people like Mosua to tell their own stories in their own words.
The great thing is that for Mosua, empowerment, training and access to a mobility aid, which was provided by a local Disabled People’s Organisation, meant that he was able to start his own business. “Now I can go wherever and whenever I want, I can move around town as I wish. I feel good that I am not a beggar, and people feel happy that a man with a disability is doing business. I feel good about that.”
End the Cycle is pleased to have the Global Poverty Project partner with us in this task of ending the cycle of poverty and disability and creating an inclusive world for all people with disabilities.
To find out more about End the Cycle, watch more of our videos, and to sign up for the rights of people with disabilities, visit our website