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Glenda is pictured here with her son. Both have felt empowered by ABM’s program with partner VIMROD-IFI.

Glenda, from Santa Fe, has a child with cerebral palsy. Families with a member who has a disability are often stigmatised and stereotyped in rural communities in the Philippines. Fortunately, Glenda heard about the Maricaban Persons-With-Disabilities Group. This group was formed in 2017 by two people with disabilities who had played leadership roles in one of the many registered People’s Organisations, formed by ABM’s partner VIMROD-IFI to improve the livelihoods of groups of people, with funding from ABM’s supporters and the Australian Government.

The group’s leaders had learned a great deal from VIMROD-IFI about their rights as people with a disability during the time the group was supported by the program, and they sought to start their own registered disabled persons organisation.

In mid-2018, VIMROD-IFI added the newly-formed Maricaban Persons-With-Disabilities Group (MPWD) to its Assets-based Community Development Program. The group has 29 members, 13 women and 16 men. Many have a disability, and some are families of children with a disability. As with all groups in the program, MPWD meets monthly for project planning and review.

Initially, without any external funding, the group decided to share what funds they could gather to build a small convenience story (called sari-sari shops in the Philippines). With profits from sales, they began a backyard gardening project and shared seeds so that all could plant a flourishing backyard garden.

In 2019, MPWD received funds to develop their retail store and begin to raise livestock.

Not only has MPWD benefited its members materially, it also launched a series of joint coastal clean-ups with their Local Government Unit.

 “I was encouraged to join MPWD after learning that people in my community who had a disability were working together for their own interests. Having experienced this kind of development, I am now committed to encouraging other families who have members with a disability, or who are disabled themselves, never to be afraid of stereotyping and bullying. We all have equal rights and inherent dignity,” Glenda said. 

ABM receives some funding for this project from the Australian Aid Program #ANCP.