Submitted on Fri, February 15, 2013
The disability challenge
Having a disability places a person in the world’s largest minority group. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 10% of the world’s population – approximately 650 million people, of which 200 million are children – experience some form of disability. This figure will increase as the population ages. WHO also reports that ”Disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty and that about 80% of the world’s population of people with disabilities live in low income countries and experience social and economic disadvantages and denial of rights.” According to UN data, about 80-90% of persons with disabilities are unemployed or outside the work force. Most of those who have jobs receive little or no monetary remuneration.
Pattern changing innovations with a potential for global spread
Five percent of the 3,000 Ashoka Fellows work on disability, and many of them are disabled themselves. These social entrepreneurs have pioneered solutions that empower people with disabilities to participate on new and more equal terms in society -- as citizens, learners, teachers, parents, children, consumers or producers.
From this vibrant pool of Ashoka Fellows, the Ashoka Globalizer has identified solutions and entrepreneurs that have the strongest potential to change how disability is perceived and lived, be it solutions that: overcome hurdles that discriminate against otherness; turn disability into a competitive advantage and create new win-win opportunities; change attitudes in the work place and beyond; or harness the power of the internet to spur inclusion.
These Fellows will go through an in-depth preparation process and come together in Vienna in February of 2013. There they will meet and work intensively with leading global entrepreneurs, from the business and socialsectors, as well as key movers and shakers in the disability and employmentfields to strengthen their scaling strategies and form partnerships to help their powerful solutions reach the full demand that exists for them.