AIF Circle of Hope Brings Awareness of Women With Disabilities


BOSTON–AIF Circle of Hope kicked off its third year awareness of women with disabilities event. The kick off event was organized by AIF Circle of Hope founding members Farida Kathawalla and Nirmala Garimella

“One in five women are women with disabilities and they are leading the way towards inclusive disability and women’s rights movement around the world,” said Diana Samarasan, Founding Executive Director of the Disabilities Rights fund.

This is the third year of the women’s giving circle based out of Boston that brings women’s philanthropists together to work towards AIF programs impacting women and girls in India.

Ms. Samarasan said that her organizations puts people of disabilities in the decision-making process which is critical to their work as they are the best people to understand the issues and help in policy making.

“Women everywhere in the world who have some form of disability are the most vulnerable and need support. Many of them live in rural areas and do not have access to the opportunities and benefits that can help them” she said.

The Disability fund helps shape policy and puts pressure on governments to pay attention to these issues.

The discussion tied up neatly with the funding that Circle of Hope members had allocated to a program in India called RAISEWISE (Raise women with disability in Social Engagement) in Bangalore last year that ended successfully with 100 women with disability  learning self-defense techniques and life skills.

This year, the Project will train 500 girls and women with disabilities in self-defense through the TOT model working with local partners and the women and the girls chosen from the program will be around Delhi NCR. Circle of Hope Boston will fund this program again with a $25,000 grant.

Neeru Oberoi, one of COH earliest members remarked: “An insightful evening. For me personally I never realized that rights, policies and implementation for the disabled requires private funding”

Vibhu Nagral, COH member commented “Beautiful warm evening and thought-provoking insight into giving and supporting people with disabilities.”

Tanuja Sud, also COH member, said:“I am glad that COH is continuing the self defense program that teaches women to take care of themselves.”

All the women members of Circle of Hope hail from New England. They are: Preetha Chally, Neeru Oberoi, Pratima Srinivasan, Nalini Sharma, Anu Chitrapu, Mona Godbole, Namita Krishnan, Sangita Thakore, Asha Shah, Maegan Oberoi,Tanuja Sud, Mithu Bhargava, Vibhu Nagral, Deepa Acharya- Gupta, Sharda Kaul and Alankrita Narang besides the two co-founders Farida Kathawalla and Nirmala Garimella.


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