Bringing Hope To Uzbeks With Disabilities


In Uzbekistan, the disabled don’t have special ramps or access to buildings. It is very expensive to use a taxi able to accommodate a wheelchair. The lack of infrastructures designed for people with disability keeps them at home, hidden from the public. But a dynamic 50-year old woman wants to change that.

Zora Rahmatullaeva, herself wheelchair bound, is fighting to get fundamental rights for the Uzbek handicapped. She discovered how life was much easier for her when she took her first trip to the US in 2001. She could easily access public buildings, take elevators and use special toilets. Back in Uzbekistan, she thought, if she couldn’t move the red tape bureaucracy fast enough at least she could do something by herself.

Zora is the head of the National Association of Businesswomen with Disabilities of Uzbekistan. She encourages other women to get out of their home and start an activity. In Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, she also manages a club that has been proven very popular among women with disabilities. They come for the social interaction but mostly to get active. They are sewing and embroidering, they make breads and there are plans to open a greenhouse. The goal is to sell their production to add to their small income.

For Zora, the most important part of the plan is to empower these women who are used to be dependent on others. She wants them to be in charge. She teaches them leadership skills. That’s what freedom is about. Via