We are soon closing the year 2016, a year filled with changes, new issues and hard work. All major changes started already in autumn 2015 when the government of Finland decided to cut development aid funding drastically. The cut hit Abilis, among other NGOs and development aid agencies. The news was shocking, even though everybody knew the financial constraints of Finland and unfavourable attitudes towards development aid. Unprepared for such cuts, the NGO’s, Abilis included, realizing just how dependent they had been on government support, now found their very existence threatened and their future in the balance.
As a slave in your own family
There are over 500 million girls and women with disabilities in the world, in other words, 18 % of its entire female population. Discrimination and human rights violations are part of their daily lot in life. Because of their disability, they are deemed incapable of being mothers and wives. More often than not, they are forced to undergo abortions and sterilisation, they are being exploited sexually and have no access to healthcare and social services. The discrimination is systematic and takes place at home as well as in society at large. It is still not unusual for family members with disabilities to be kept hidden at home for years with no social contact. The situation of girls and women with disabilities in developing countries is bleak.
Arto Vilmi (62) is a visually impaired, independent man who has worked for six and a half years as project coordinator for Abilis Foundation. He is a true polyglot who knows more languages than anybody else at Abilis:” oh, four or five fluently,” he modestly admits. At the end of the year he is to retire with mixed feelings.