100727 Disability and Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene Timor Leste

Disability and Rural Water Sanitation and Hygiene Timor Leste




Disability means an inability to function in areas where others are able. The impact of a disability is

individual and depends upon how the person adapts to their disability and how they function. A disability

can influence access to education and employment, relationships, transport and basic activities of daily

living - bathing, toileting, cooking, eating, dressing, washing clothes and cleaning. Disability has many

social and cultural impacts. People with disability often experience alienation and stigma due to

community misunderstanding and fear.

There is very little data existing on disability in Timor Leste, but previous surveys indicate that less than

two percent of the population suffer from a disability. Globally, people with disability comprise an

estimated ten percent of any population, so it seems that the current figures in Timor Leste are grossly

understated. It is hoped that the 2010 population census will reveal more accurately the disability situation

in Timor Leste.

Qualitative information was gathered from 15 people with disability, 2 technical experts and one disabled

people’s group, using semi-structured interviews. Issues raised for RWASH agencies covered a number

of areas, primarily being the promotion of inclusive programs, the importance of community and agency

education about disability, the necessity for consultation and partnership, the priority of access for all, and

understanding about disability hygiene and the importance of water for women.