Turkey's Changemakers: Story of effort to make disabilities invisible
Lutfiye Kelleci Birer (L) began working with civil society organizations operating in the field of disabilities while she was a university student.Sabanci Foundation Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to the social development. This week’s Changemaker is “Lutfiye Kelleci Birer” and the “Association of Women with Disabilities” she has founded.
Lutfiye Kelleci Birer began working with civil society organizations operating in the field of disabilities while she was a university student. But she also wanted to work within the women’s organizations. When she realized that neither women’s organizations nor disability organizations were addressing the issue of ‘women with disabilities’ properly, she decided to found the “Initiative of Women with Disabilities” in 2009 and in 2011, she founded the “Association of Women with Disabilities” with a group of friends having disabilities.
The Association has 40 members, 35 of whom are women with disabilities. The project of the Association called “Rights based approach of women with disabilities” was supported by the Sabanci Foundation Social Development Grant Program. In this project, trainers give trainings to other women with disabilities on the rights-based approach. Through the project implemented under the leadership of Lutfiye Kelleci Birer, the Association aims to raise awareness on discrimination, disabilities, gender, violence against women and rights-based approach. Within the project, workshops were organized in Samsun, İzmir and Ankara and women were trained on different topics such as rights-based approach, gender and violence against women. As a result of the experiences, a document was formed on “Being a woman with disabilities” to be shared with women with disabilities in particular and the broader public in general.