meet Mir Tol - a happy and driven young man of 24 years old
“Knowing about my rights helped me a lot. And that’s why I want to help others.”
Tol born without a right foot lives with his parents in Prey Kabas commune in Takeo Province. He has a small business - weaving silk. “My life was hard and difficult before I came in contact with CDMD. I had various problems: little money, no property and very little self-esteem.”
The latter is one of the major issues where people with disabilities are coping with, according to Tol. “Feeling sad, depressed and inferior are very common. I did too. Knowing about my rights - as a person with a disability- certainly helped me a lot to overcome this.”
Empowerment is essential to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities to access basic human needs. The change starts with them! In order to encourages people with disabilities to become more effective agents of change in their own communities CDMD has set-up various Self-Help Groups. It is an important part within the CBR Program of CDMD where people with disabilities can come together, provide mutual support and address that need. That’s how Tol was helped.
“When the CDMD field staff told me about the Self-Help Group I was very excited. This kind of program was new for me. I even never heard of other people with disabilities in my community. Through the Self Help Group I got a loan to invest and improve my business of weaving silk. But above all being part of the group and actively involved as treasurer has made me stronger and more empowered.”
Often the Self Help Group springs up around particular issues such as improvement of life of its members, and then takes on another issue that are of concern within the community, as housing or sanitary.“Through the grant of CDMD our primary goal now is to improve the livelihoods of each member and their families. But hopefully with the increase of the group’s capital we will be able to do more and create bigger impact within the community.”
Besides the financial support CDMD provides the group training regarding their rights of education and equal opportunities, disability issues and leadership qualities. “Even though I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills, I am aware more awareness about disability is needed within the community. That’s why I have become a community volunteer to help others.”
Every week Tol visits various people with disabilities and their families listening to their stories and needs. Together, and with the help of CDMD, they look for solutions. “Helping others, setting an example - and actually be the change within my community - give me great pleasure and a lot of happiness!”
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