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  • It is estimated that around 80% of disabled people live in the so-called global South. Many of these reside in rural areas in conditions of extreme and chronic poverty.


  • Disability and poverty are bound in a cycle. Poverty provides the conditions for impairment e.g. unsanitary living and working conditions, violence and conflict and inaccessible health care. Disability in turn exacerbates and shifts poverty.
  • It has long been established and known that disabled people and their families are often among the poorest of the poor. Their poverty is not only extreme, it is often chronic and inter-generational.
  • 1 in 5 of the poorest people are said to be disabled people.


  • Disabled people are often the most vulnerable in times of crises whether these are environmental or climatic
  • They are also among the weakest positioned when it comes to rebuilding their lives following a crisis.

Access barriers

  • Disabled people encounter disproportionate barriers to health care, education, livelihoods and infrastructure among others.
  • For example less than 2% of disabled people are estimated to have adequate access to health care and rehabilitation.
  • Inaccess to health care opens up possibilities of chronic ill-health, pain and secondary impairments. It also impacts mobility, livelihoods, and the socio-economic conditions of whole families.

No safety nets

  • Like many other poor people, disabled people in rural areas have no access to formal safety nets e.g. disability benefits and/or insurance.

Excluded from development and humanitarian programmes

  • Disabled people are also too often excluded from mainstream development, poverty reduction and other programmes and humanitarian efforts- no one’s business.

With no work, no formal support and only impoverished families to depend on, their lives are often marred by the most profound and extreme poverty, suffering and social exclusion

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