A disability is a lack of ability relative to a personal or group standard or norm. In reality, there is often a spectrum of ability. Disability may involve physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive or intellectual impairment, mental disorder (also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability), or various types of chronic disease. A disability may occur during a person’s lifetime or may be present from birth. (See more at: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/#sthash.SsEgJG1X.dpuf)
Our goal is to break the cycle of disability and poverty. Our projects improve access to education and medical care, support disabled people’s organizations, and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
According to “Disability World” Over 15% of Bolivia’s population is disabled. With a population of 10,500,000 as of the 2013 census, this translates into over 1.5 million Bolivians with some sort of disability, most of which are caused by preventable diseases such as polio, German measles and high malnutrition rates in children.
Living with a disability in Bolivia is not easy, especially if you are poor. Very few buildings and streets are accessible by wheelchair. According to Lucio Álvarez, an expert on disabilities at the medical faculty of La Paz’s public university, even this is not the greatest cause for concern.
Social stigma is the most serious concern. People suffer serious discrimination. Even teachers, police officers and doctors are not trained in how to deal with the disabled.
According to the “World Report on Disabilities” (WRD) published in 2010, people with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the employment rate of people with disabilities (44%) is slightly over half that of people without disabilities (75%). People with disabilities often do not receive needed health care. Half of the disabled cannot afford health care, compared to a third of non-disabled people. People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to find health-care providers’ skills inadequate; nearly three times more likely to be denied health care; and four times more likely to report being treated badly than non-disabled people. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend school than non-disabled children. Education completion gaps are found across all age groups in all settings, with the pattern more pronounced in poorer countries. Even in countries where most non-disabled children go to school, many children with disabilities do not go to school. For example, in Bolivia about 98% of non-disabled children go to school, but under 40% of disabled children attend school.
Founder Matt Pepe witnessed the scope of the problem first hand while living in Bolivia for two years. Volunteering in a prosthetic hospital, he observed that amputees in particular were highly discriminated against and received little support from neither foreign NGOs nor the Bolivian government.
Bolivians Without disAbilities will provide funding to Bolivian organizations that attempt to eliminate and/or alleviate disabilities in Bolivia. We will offer funding to non-profit Bolivian prosthetic organizations that provide prosthesis to low-income Bolivian amputees. We will also promote awareness in the United States of Bolivian disabilities, so that other interested organizations may provide their support, either in concert with our organization or on their own. We will also promote the transfer of technologies to Bolivia, such as locally manufacturable prosthetic components, hearing aids and batteries, the use of Adaptive Furniture Technology for babies and young children, and more. We will also attempt to coordinate the delivery of wheelchairs from international non-profits who donate wheelchairs to local partners.
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