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AKASA case study: Part 3

In this video, N.G. Kamalawathie describes some of the projects her organisation AKASA has done to create access for women with disabilities.

In the last step you explored some organisations and individuals who are working to improve accessibility in everyday life. This may be by bringing disabled people together to organise or lobby; by undertaking projects that increase access for those most disadvantaged by ideas of normalcy; or by developing ideas and guidelines that start from disability, rather than assuming it is an “add-on”.

In this step, we look at how AKASA, an association of women with disabilities in rural Sri Lanka, works towards promoting access. You may have already been introduced to AKASA in Weeks 1 and 2 of the course. If not, you might like to look back to get some background into how and why AKASA was formed, and what it seeks to do.

In the above video, Kamala describes how AKASA works to make sure women are included in the community — for example, in ensuring that they have access to sporting and recreational events. She then provides two examples of the work AKASA has done.

Kamala explains how AKASA worked to provide physical access to the Ruwanwelisaya stupa, an important site for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. She also describes how AKASA works to enable women through livelihood projects, and describes one case where they supported a women with a disability to feel empowered in her community. Before the livelihood project, the woman had been ostracised by the community, but afterwards, she was respected as a valuable community member.

We critique different ideas about the contributions of people with disabilities in Week 5.

Talking points

  • Earlier in this week, you learned that access takes many forms. What different forms of access does Kamala describe here?
  • In what ways do you think a person’s perceived value as a community member is linked to the types of access they have?
  • In what ways do Kamala’s examples weave together the ideas we have been developing this week? Was there anything that particularly struck you?

This ends the Basics for Week 3. In the next step, we Expand our interests by examining the accessibility of information and communications technology.

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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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