National Disability Independence Day is held annually on July 26th to celebrate the first national U.S. law that broke down barriers for individuals with disabilities. Women with disabilities are one of the most marginalized groups around the world, facing obstacles to their education, work and personal freedom. Despite this, brave women with disabilities have been able to fight for and unleash their power.
To commemorate this day, we are highlighting the story of Margret Dure Edward, a 20-year-old South Sudanese woman with disabilities living in our Sobe site for internally displaced people.
In 2015, Margret's life was changed when she had a stroke which left her with permanent disabilities affecting her mobility. Her parents were able to care for her and she rested comfortably until 2016 when they both passed away during in South Sudanese conflict and she was left an orphan. Left on her own with difficulty walking, she had no choice but move from Lasu Payam (Yei River County) to Juba in order to get support from her brother.
Difficulties continued in Juba, and her sister in-law rejected her due to her disability in 2018. Her vulnerability, as her sister-in-law stated, became a "burden on her brother's home" because she needed additional support from family members. At this time, she began pushing the husband (Margret's brother) to send Margret back to Yei to live with her aunt.
According to Margret, the conflict in South Sudan worsened her situation. She noted she lacked skills to earn income due to the nature of disability, making her unable to cope while being an internally displaced person. She started several businesses but failed due to poor record keeping and low demand of the product she offered for sale. “I hated my disability condition", says Margaret, "I didn’t think I had any value to my relatives in any way ”
Her joy was restored when she finally joined WfWI training this year. She immediately developed a fresh business plan and restarted new business after receiving her April and May stipends of 9000 SSP (equivalent to $20 USD). She is currently selling cooking oil, onions, locally made powdered coffee, groundnuts and daga fish.
"Her joy was restored when she finally joined WfWI training this year. She immediately developed a fresh business plan and restarted new business after receiving her April and May stipends."
She is determined to use the social and community network session covered by her WfWI trainer to work collectively with both her community members and trainers for any psycho-social and business support she needs. She now knows that her friends and colleagues she met during the training are her family, and she is no longer alone.
Margret thanks Women for Women International for standing by all the women like her, no matter their disability or economic status.