Ms. Nguon Veasna is 34 years old: she admits herself as the lesbian and living in a village in Battambang province. She has a disability amputee (leg). She expressed that she was living with loneliness and being discriminated against her disability and gender by people around her, even her family and relatives. She expressed:
“…living with a disability is already hard for life but facing discrimination and lack of motivation from the people around is the hardest situation for my life which forced me to almost give up on everything.”
She added that those people could not understand this feeling and it seemed like she was living alone in this world.
Ms. Veasna joined our network in 2021. She decided to apply for the membership since she thought it was a good program that focused on supporting women with disabilities and especially not discriminated with her gender or ethnicity. When she first joined the workshop, she was excited to see many other women with different impairments, and few of lesbian women with disabilities. She thought those women with disabilities also discriminated with the lesbian, but it was not what she expected. Everyone was friendly and motivated to her a lot. She felt warm and enjoyed learning together.
Within this group, she feels it’s a second home for her since she could confidently address and share her challenges as stated:
“…it is a safe space for us to share the stories that often are hidden and hard to explain to others and thanks to supporters and donors for supporting us.”
Throughout our work, we have learnt that actors in the field of development need to go through organizational and systematic processes of change within their programs to move towards sustainable (disability) inclusion. We support these processes at community, organizational and governmental level.