The Observatory

Ending the Cycle of poverty and disability

Christoph Ziegenhardt

According to the latest WHO report on disability, over one billion people in the world live with disabilities and about 80 per cent of these people live in developing countries. There exists a strong undeniable direct link between disability and poverty.

We call it the Cycle of Poverty and Disability. It is a cycle that must end!

This is why End the Cycle is excited to have Vision 2020 Australia on board. As the peak body for the eye health and vision care sector, it’s great that the organisation is part of giving voice to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

End the Cycle, an initiative of CBM Australia, aims to educate and raise awareness, promoting the human rights and empowerment of people with disabilities living in the world’s poorest countries. 

Edwin BabanisiPeople like Edwin Babanisi, from the Solomon Islands. He was born totally blind, but has some light perception. While he works for the Ministry of Health and Medical Service he says: 'The majority of Solomon Islanders see me as just a person with a disability that does not contribute to society and the Government. Those are the people who do not know me.'

End the Cycle is about helping Australians understand attitudes and other barriers to disability inclusion. We’re also finding that many people in the development sector are using our stories to bring the voice of people with disabilities into their organisations as they seek to become more inclusive.

In Edwin’s words: “Disability is not Inability. This means that if you are a person with disabilities you still can - you are able to do things as other people can do.”

I’m inspired by Vision 2020 Australia’s global goal to maximise Australia’s global contribution to the improvement of eye health and vision care in the developing world.

Vision 2020 Australia’s work has tremendous impact in providing access to services and breaking down barriers and disabling attitudes. And that’s all part of ending the cycle of poverty and disability.

End the Cycle just launched a new website. Check it out to read more stories like Edwin’s and see powerful videos in which people with disabilities tell their stories in their own words.

To get involved sign up to the campaign here and follow End the Cycle on Twitter or Facebook.

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About the Author

Christoph Ziegenhardt

Christoph Ziegenhardt

Christoph Ziegenhardt is a Community Engagement Officer at CBM Australia, managing the End the Cycle Initiative. He’s also a photographer and loves Africa, journalism and social media. Read more by this author →

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