PeaceWoman of the Month
PeaceWoman from Bangladesh
Mohua Paul has overcome immense barriers to get to where she is today. At the age of twelve, she was diagnosed with the neurological condition, transverse myelitis. She not only had to cope with the lower limb paralysis which this caused, but she was also denied access to her school, which was unwilling to handle the extra responsibility of a disabled child. Mohua Paul nevertheless continued educating herself and took her exams, completing her secondary education in 1988.
A chance visit to the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) in Dhaka was a turning point in her life and she started to work there. Its Women’s Center is her brainchild, arising from her observation that if the mother of a child with a disability is trained to provide basic treatment and comfort to her child, it helps them both cope better.
Mohua decided in 2008 to widen her vision to include people with disabilities other than spinal injuries. She co-founded the “Access Bangladesh Foundation”. This organisation works at the national policy and advocacy level and aims to enable people with disabilities to leave their traditional roles of recipients of charity and welfare.
With her life-long dedication to her cause, Mohua Paul’s role, influencing policy makers on the local and national levels, has become a very strong one and her voice cannot be ignored. She is a true pioneer in Bangladesh, a champion of the rights of people with disabilities, especially women and children.
Although Mohua acknowledges that there is still a lot to be done, she says: "I can see change. I see how society [and] people’s attitudes are changing."