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Expanding your interests: AKASA case study – Part 2

In this video, N.G. Kamalawathie and Dinesha Samararatne describe the ways in which human rights frameworks have been implemented in Sri Lanka.

This video is Part 2 in our case study of AKASA, an organisation for women with disability in rural Sri Lanka, headed by N.G. Kamalawathie (Kamala).

As Dinesha explains, women with disabilities in rural Sri Lanka are a particularly vulnerable group who commonly experience barriers to realising their human rights and accessing a good life. She cautions that success in applying human rights frameworks in these contexts can depend on one’s ability to translate the Eurocentric rhetoric of human rights into terms that are locally meaningful. Despite these challenges, Kamala explains that as a whole, human rights frameworks have enabled her to justify the importance of her work, attract funding, and successfully advocate to the local government that people with disability in Sri Lanka be treated equally. In particular, she says that the local and international recognition of AKASA’s work has increased as a result of greater international awareness of disability and human rights.

Talking points

  • According to Dinesha, what are some of the reasons why women with disabilities in rural Sri Lanka are a particularly vulnerable group?
  • How do other aspects of human diversity — such as gender, religion and socioeconomic status — intersect with disability and human rights?
  • In what ways does Kamala’s story weave together the ideas we have been developing this week?
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