Benefits for Bond Villains

Disabled villains, humanitarian crises, and how Judy changed the world

Hello Debriefers,

Today is one of our all-you-can-eat news updates, picking up from last month. This curation of news powers all the analysis and reporting we do.

The highlights alone cover a wide range of issues, from disability representation, religion, to remembering Judy Heumann. We also start to get into a disability view on the latest developments in artificial intelligence technology.

Explore below the latest research and news of how disabled people are changing the world, from New York to Somalia. And find out why villains in Bond films aren't eligible for disability benefits.

Disability Debrief is supported by the people and organisations that read it. This edition was produced with backing from Sightsavers and Center for Inclusive Policy. Thanks to new contributions from El, Ina and Martyn.

Villains, vigilantes, victims

“Were they not successfully self-employed, most of Bond’s enemies would likely qualify for disability benefits.” An essay on the disabled villain trope explores how narratives use disability: “outer difference [shows] inner monstrosity.”

An open letter to the entertainment industry shows how, since the beginning of cinema, movies have cast scarred characters in versions of the roles of villains, vigilantes, victims, and outcasts. The letter asks for “real, human stories that involve the communities they’re characterizing [because this can] prevent unnecessary harm and marginalization.”

Meanwhile, in Hollywood, creators are asking that shows hire disabled writers. They point to an interesting dynamic where the industry hires consultants to advise on disability but that this is “often done instead of — not in addition to — hiring disabled writers, directors and producers to lead these projects”.

As disabled people, it's tough for us to navigate these concerns about representation. Practical everyday advice comes from satire news-site Squeaky Wheel on how we can be less “inspirational disabled” and more “badass disabled”, “like the hot people with mobility aids from the woke TV commercials.”

“God has told me that you will transform”

In Cameroon, Kesah Princely explores how churches can be a “breeding ground” of exclusion for the exclusion of disabled people. One pastor assumed he was a beggar just because he was blind. Disabled people are seen as “sites of potential healing” rather than full individuals.

In South Africa, Nafisa Mayat explores disability in Islam. She similarly acknowledges “a huge gap in the Muslim community around understanding disability, and broadly within other faith-based organisations too”. But she also points to the importance of religion and spirituality for us to make sense of the world and how research on both disability and religion have neglected these relationships. “In the Qu’ran there is no discrimination around disability”.

Meanwhile, in the United States, where 19 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, Oklahoma tried to pass a bill to bar schools spanking disabled children. It was voted down, including by a lawmaker who quoted from the Bible, Proverbs 29 ‘The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame’.

On the edge of an abyss

Solidarity with Sudan. A power-struggle has the country “on the edge of an abyss”. People are sheltering-in-place. Supplies, including medicines, are running short. Hospitals are in chaos. Those that can are leaving Khartoum. Some disabled people are among them, others are the people “left behind”.

  • If you have news on how disabled people are affected in this tragedy, or relevant contacts, please let me know.

In Ukraine, a photoessay on impossible choices and the situation of disabled people and their families.

In Turkey and Syria, government agencies in the earthquake recovery did not anticipate disability or access needs. Here are the profiles of disability-led organizations that are responding to those needs.

Putting a price-tag on participation

In Australia, an attempt to quantify the cost of excluding disabled people puts it at $30 billion USD. Another estimate, based on a household survey, estimates that the economic dividend of including disabled people would be $56 billion USD.

Meanwhile, in the United States, a report on how much foundations give on disability suggests that only 2% of 2019 grant-making was on disability-related grants. And, on top of that, it mostly focusses on services and supports rather than rights and justice.

Who pays the price? Disabled people, of course. The UK government is chasing people to pay for social care they can't afford, and in Australia they were chased whether they owed the money or not.

How Judy changed the world

Our movement is still reeling from the passing of Judy Heumann. The boss of the Ford Foundation shares how Ford was one of the many organizations Judy influenced, through her advocacy, connections and generosity:

“This is how Judy changed the world: Person by person, from the corridors of New York City’s public schools to the streets of Berkeley to the halls of power around the globe.”

Michael Ashley Stein, of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, paid tribute to the “world’s most significant disability rights champion”:

‘Ultimately and thoroughly, Judy was a teacher. Completely fearless, she eagerly approached anyone at any time whenever she spied a “teachable moment.” Judy would speed up to them in her power wheelchair and insist, “Excuse me, can we talk for a minute?” What followed was invariably a polite, concise, but direct lesson on how that individual could alter their behavior to be more equitable, if not disability-empowering, in similar circumstances in the future. “Next time, when you . . .” No one was exempt from receiving her sagacious advice.’

How artificial intelligence might change the world

Rapid developments in artificial intelligence technology have significant opportunities and challenges for disabled people. It's already being used to assess web accessibility and the visual assistant app Be My Eyes is exploring using it as a virtual volunteer.

There's a long way to go to understand how transformative these tools will be, and there are already serious concerns about how ableist algorithms “dominate digital spaces”. Employer use of AI in hiring and firing is a risk for “hundreds of millions of people” worldwide.

Social pushback of the encroachment of artificial intelligence also raises questions about ableism. For example, how we perceive its role in educational and learning:

“If ChatGPT can be used to make education more accessible, then why are so many educators against it? I suspect that part of the reason is that ChatGPT threatens to disrupt able-bodied privilege, which is an entrenched feature of the education system—something used to make decisions about grading, publishing, and hiring.”

I'll be writing more about AI and ableism soon, so let me know if you have any links, thoughts or questions.

A fight for inclusion (with reports)

In Europe, an EU review of Social Protection Schemes for persons with disabilities. The review shows how disability benefits hold us down: they are more linked with the idea of “ability to work” than getting rid of our barriers; they limit what we can earn; the amount of support is small; they are often restricted based on residency or nationality.

Black Disability Justice Syllabus: a reading list that's “an opportunity to honor the legacies of Black disabled artists, thinkers, activists, and leaders and a tool for future work” (Sins Invalid).

From Beijing to the CRPD: evolution of international advocacy by women with disabilities in the past 30 years:

“The absence of a global movement of women with disabilities, representative of women in all their diversity and intersectional experiences, has meant that the fight for inclusion that women with disabilities fought for in Beijing [in 1995] has had to be repeated time and again, in both online and offline spaces” (IDA)

Included, Every Step of the Way: Upholding the rights of migrant and displaced children with disabilities. “The rights of this group of children are commonly violated [and] there is much we have yet to learn about them”. (UNICEF)

The second Global Report on the Situation of Persons with Deafblindness: Good Practices and Recommendations for Inclusion. “This report seeks to improve the positions of persons with deafblindness within the disability movement as well as within broader mainstream services.” (WFDB)

“Why do you dance when you walk?”

Growing up in the pandemic. I certainly wonder how the covid pandemic, lockdowns and school closures affected young people. This article gives a global view on how adolescents with disabilities were particularly affected in education, health and social connectedness, and what needs to be done now.

A nation of disability rights wakeup”. It's good to see the Somalia Disability Network's 2022 annual report. Founded in 2020, it brings together 15 member organizations led by people with disabilities. Impressive to see interventions in a range of areas and growing collaborations with different stakeholders.

International charities are trying to place nice: reflections from CBM Global on a process for localization and a guide from Inclusive Futures on partnerships with organizations led by disabled people.

There's only one trick left if you don't want to be inclusive... A video for World Down Syndrome day on the ridiculous excuses people make not to be inclusive.

“Dad why do you dance when you walk?” A sensitive profile of award-winning Djiboutian author, Abdourahman Waberi. His confrontations with ableism are linked to explorations of self, nation and colonialism.

“I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of fragility and life.” A memorial statue has been made to Stella Young, known around the world for her Ted Talk rejecting inspiration porn. See also a website dedicated to her life and memory.


Recent highlights on the Debrief were our features and original reporting:

Stay in touch, I love hearing from you all, and I rely on readers to keep up to date with news from around the world. Press reply, leave a comment, or find me elsewhere.



Curated News


We have 264 links from 60 countries and regions, organized by these topics:

Accessibility and Design

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In Malaysia, Poor disabled-friendly facilities a bane for handicapped persons in Kedah. “I am unable to visit wet markets, grocery stores, hospitals, clinics, shops, restaurants, cafés, books stores and ATMs, when I'm in my wheelchair.” (Mar, New Straits Times)

In Netherlands, The Netherlands is still lagging behind in accessibility for wheelchairs. (Mar, NL Times)

In Nigeria, Nigeria ramps up efforts to improve accessibility of sustainable spaces. (Mar, EnviroNews Nigeria)

In South East Asia, ASEAN countries continue to struggle with accessibility | FairPlanet (Mar)


In International News:

Lawsuit Uncovers Chicago’s Failure to Provide Disability Protections in Housing. “Advocates say people with disabilities are suffering the worst consequences of the U.S.’s affordable housing crisis.” (Feb, Truthout)

In the United States, Disability Justice Isn’t Possible without Housing Justice (Mar, Urban Institute)

Assistive Technology

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In International News:

Sony launches point-and-shoot camera for people with vision disabilities. (Mar, Disability Insider)

In India, Who Pays the Price When Cochlear Implants Go Obsolete? “Some cochlear implant users can’t afford to keep up with compulsory technology upgrades. After becoming dependent on the devices, they’re losing their hearing and feel abandoned by manufacturers.” (Mar, Sapiens)

Black Lives Matter and Racial justice

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In Brazil, The Situation of Black People with Disabilities in Brazil “The historical context of the black population with disabilities in Brazil is underpinned by the history of enslavement and the impacts of colonization that last until today.” (Mar, Minority Rights International)

In the United States,

  • Black Disability Justice Syllabus. “An opportunity to honor the legacies of Black disabled artists, thinkers, activists, and leaders and a tool for future work.” (Feb, Sins Invalid)
  • Ableism, racism, and the quality of life of Black, Indigenous, people of colour with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “When BIPOC with intellectual and developmental disabilities lived in regions of the United States which were more ableist and racist, they had a lower quality of life, regardless of their demographics.” (Feb, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities)
  • 12 Black Disabled Activists and Advocates You Need to be Following (Feb, World Institute on Disability)


Back to contents.


In International News:

Spaces of Exclusion and Neglect: The Impact of COVID-19 on People With Disabilities in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Uganda. (Mar, Space and Culture)

In New Zealand, Disabled were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19. “People who received disability support services in 2022 were 13 times as likely to die from Covid-19 than the general population, new data shows.” (Mar, Stuff)

In South Africa, How did South Africans with disabilities experience COVID-19? Results of an online survey: “people with disabilities in South Africa experienced many negative impacts of the pandemic. Strategies to control the virus largely ignored attending to human rights and socioeconomic well-being of this marginalised group.” (Feb, African Journal of Disability)

In the United Kingdom, ‘Government Just Made it Worse’: COVID’s Disproportionate Impact on Disabled People of Colour Revealed. (Feb, Byline Times)


In Middle East and North Africa, Disability inclusion in health responses to COVID-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: results of a rapid assessment (Dec, WHO EMRO)

Living with COVID

In International News:

Creating a better post-pandemic future for adolescents with disabilities. (Mar, BMJ)

In the United Kingdom, Two-thirds of UK workers with long Covid have faced unfair treatment, says report (based on survey of 3,000). (Mar, the Guardian)

In the United States, Long Covid disabled them. Then they met a 'broken' Social Security disability process. (Mar, CNN Business)

Civil Society and Community

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In International News:

Foundation Giving for Disability: Priorities and Trends reports. About 2% of 2019 grantmaking went to disability-related grants. And, on top of that, it mostly focusses on services and supports rather than rights and justice. (Jan, Disability and Philanthropy)

Our Resistance stories of disability rights activists. (Dec, We are Purposeful)

Ridiculous Excuses not to be inclusive short, entertaining video of excuses people have used, including: “I'm sorry, but we already have one of those kids”. (Mar, CoorDown)

In Cameroon, How churches are a breeding ground for the exclusion of Persons with Disabilities: “Many church leaders subscribe to the charity model of disability” (Jan, Minority Africa)

In Ethiopia, Restricted participation: Drivers, experiences and implications of disability stigma. (Jan, African Journal of Disability)

In Malaysia, Sen. Ras Adiba Radzi disability-rights advocate honored in Washington. (Mar, BenarNews)

In Poland,

In Somalia, Somalia Disability Network Annual Report 2022. (Link to PDF, Jan, SDN)

In South Africa, Disability and Islam: PhD examines unconscious exclusion, burden of responsibility. (Mar, UCT News.)

In Spain, Views Of Life Interview with Cristina Barreto Cristina Barreto - Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE). (Mar, EBU)

In the United States, Borealis Philanthropy and Ford Foundation Launch $1 Million Disability x Tech Fund to Advance Leadership of People With Disabilities in Tech Innovation. (Feb, Ford Foundation)

In Uzbekistan, Dreaming beyond the impossible: A story of disability rights activism in Uzbekistan. (Feb, UNSDG)

In Zimbabwe, Youth with Disabilities and their Participation in the Zimbabwean Society. (Feb, This Ability Hub)

Climate Crisis and Environment

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In International News:

On the Debrief: Where disability and climate meet: Disabled wisdom and an invitation to community. (Apr, Disability Debrief)

Nothing about us without us: The urgent need for disability-inclusive climate research. (Mar, Plos Climate)

In Ethiopia, The invisible children in climate crisis. “As drought worsens in the Horn of Africa, children with a disability bear the heaviest burden” (Mar, UNICEF)

In Ireland, Climate actions must not undermine rights of people with disabilities, committee warned. (Mar, The Irish Times)

Communication and Language

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In International News:

People need to understand information to live their lives independently: about easy-to-read. (Mar, Inclusion Europe)

Sign Languages

In Kenya, Deaf Persons Open A Centre To Promote Use Of Kenya Sign Language. (Mar, Kenya News Agency)

In the United States, Crip Linguistics Goes to School:

“Because the school environment provides another way for deaf children to acquire language, professional signed language fluency is critical. Yet, in other second language acquisition contexts, fluency is not necessary for effective teaching and often highly racialized. If perceived fluency is often dependent on proximity to whiteness, and language fluency is not necessary for effective teaching, then why is it necessary to require professionals to be fluent in signed languages before teaching and working with deaf children?” (Feb, Languages)

Conflict and Peace

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In Ethiopia, Incoming Tigray interim leader pledges to address grievances of disabled Tigrayan soldiers following protest rally in Mekelle. (Mar, Addis Standard)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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In International News:

How Can Art Reach Out and Touch Us? A primer on haptic tech innovation and new possibilities for access in dance. (Jan, Laurel Lawson)

The disabled villain: why sensitivity reading can’t kill off this ugly trope. “For centuries, fictional narratives have used outer difference to telegraph inner monstrosity. As someone who uses a wheelchair, I’ve learned you can’t just edit out a few slurs or bad words to fix this – it’s often baked deep into the story” (Mar, the Guardian)

In Australia, Artists unmask disabilities in push to break barriers and challenge attitudes around music in Australia. (Mar, ABC News)

In New Zealand, Spreading kōrero of disability and music technology (Mar, Arts Access Aotearoa)

In South Africa, Athenkosi Kwinana breaks the stigma about Persons Living with Albinism (PLWA) through art (Feb, Biz Community)

In the United Kingdom, Barbara Hulme shares a showcase of watercolour portrait paintings titled 'Men's Health' – highlighting their disability/ health stories. (Feb, Disability Arts Online)

In the United States, Performance by Gaelynn Lea a musical welcome to Microsoft's Ability Summit. (Mar, MSFT Enable)

TV and Film

In International News:

A Position Paper on the Inclusion of the facial difference community. “For almost one hundred years movies have cast scarred characters in different versions of the same roles: villains, vigilantes, victims, outcasts.” (Mar, Face Equality International)

In Chile, Cromosoma 21: the Chilean series that is making impact on Netflix (In Spanish, Feb, Yo También)

In India, Streaming apps woo differently-abled (Feb, Mint)

In the United States,


In International News:

‘A View From Somewhere’ DJP Staff, Partners, and Fellows Reflect on Two Years of “Taking Back the Narrative” on Disability (Mar, Disability Justice Project)

In Kenya, Interview with Alan Herbert “a Kenyan journalist, social inclusion advocate, and behavior change communications professional.” (Feb, Disability Rights Flordia)

Clothing and Fashion

In International News:

These fashion designers are putting braille right on their clothing. (Mar, Fastcompany)

Data and Research

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In International News:

The importance of citizen-generated disability data. (Mar, CBM Global)

Global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children and adolescents: a systematic umbrella review. (Feb, Frontiers in Public Health)

In China, Report on disability data with a focus on employment. (In Chinese, Feb, JSTV)

In the Pacific, Introduction to Disability Data Advocacy Workshop for Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (Mar, UNFPA)

In Uganda, We are able: interactive radio campaign. Respondents without disabilities more likely to say disabled people experience food insecurity because of low self-esteem and negative attitude than because they face exclusion. (Apr, Trac FM)


In International News:

Intellectual disability a perspective on how anthropology can study intellectual disability: “anthropological research reveals dimensions of the social and cultural life of intellectual disability that biomedical and professional research rarely enquires into, let alone comprehends.” (Feb, Open Enyclopedia of Anthropology)

In Africa, Developmental disabilities in Africa: A scientometric review “revealed a trend of broadening research towards systems of care, away from a medical model of disease.” (Feb, Research in Developmental Disabilities)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

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In International News:

Practicing digital accessibility in the workplace. Access conclusions taken from reading Reddit. (Mar, Adobe Blog)

Create inclusive content with the new Accessibility Assistant in Microsoft 365. (Mar, Microsoft 365 Blog)

Washington Posts sharing its accessibility checklist, testing strategies and considerations. (Jan, Washington Post)

Artificial Intelligence

In International News:

Can ChatGPT Make The World More Accessible? (Apr,

AI for Accessibility: discussion of opportunities and challenges. (Mar, Equal Entry)

Equally AI Releases ChatGPT-Powered Report on Web Accessibility Websites in the US, Urges Business Leaders to Prioritize Inclusivity. (Mar, PR Web)

How ableist algorithms dominate digital spaces “From clumsy social media ads to problematic automation in recruitment, algorithms are often unintentionally stacked against disabled professionals” (Feb, IT Pro)

Cognitive diversity-centred AI can improve social inclusion. “Artificial intelligence can address some of the challenges and discrimination that people with cognitive diversity and other disabilities face in everyday life.” (Apr, World Economic Forum)

Ableism and ChatGPT: Why People Fear It Versus Why They Should Fear It:

“If ChatGPT can be used to make education more accessible, then why are so many educators against it? I suspect that part of the reason is that ChatGPT threatens to disrupt able-bodied privilege, which is an entrenched feature of the education system—something used to make decisions about grading, publishing, and hiring.” (Mar, APA Blog)

ChatGPT for Robotics: Design Principles and Model Abilities: “We extended the capabilities of ChatGPT to robotics, and controlled multiple platforms such as robot arms, drones, and home assistant robots intuitively with language.” (Mar, Microsoft)

AI-powered HR technology has a disability problem: “AI recruitment tools have become the first line of defence against high-volume online hiring. But unless the unintended consequences of AI-powered HR technology are urgently addressed, hundreds of millions of people worldwide face lifetimes of economic and societal exclusion” (Mar, The Forum Network)

Be My Eyes Announces New Tool Powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 to Improve Accessibility for People Who are Blind or Have Low-Vision. (Mar, Business Wire) See background on the collaborations that made it happen, and a reflective piece on riding the AI hype wave.

GPT-4's new capabilities power a 'virtual volunteer' for the visually impaired (Mar, TechCrunch)

In the United States,

  • Denied by AI: How Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need. (Mar, Stat)
  • Not magic: Opaque AI tool may flag parents with disabilities. “The couple was stunned when child welfare officials showed up, told them they were negligent and took away their daughter.” (Mar, AP News)

Online Accessibility

In International News:

The WebAIM Million: The 2023 report on the accessibility of the top 1,000,000 home pages. (Mar, WebAim)

Are you making these five mistakes when writing alt text? (Mar, The A11Y Project)

Social Media

In the United States, Senator Markey Demands Musk Reinstate Twitter’s Accessibility Team, Online Features for Users with Disabilities. (Feb, Ed Markey)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

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In the Pacific, Australian NGOs enabling disability-inclusive disaster prep in Pacific (Mar, Pro Bono)

Economics and Social Protection

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In Australia,

  • The case for philanthropy in disability: “Deloitte Access Economics used HILDA data to examine benefits to health and wellbeing ($57bn), employment ($25.6bn) and education ($1.7bn) if Australia deliberately includes people with disability. This analysis shows that the cumulative inclusion dividend is $84bn per annum.” (Feb, Achieve Foundation)
  • Disability royal commission says neglect and abuse costs $46 billion a year. Analysis quantifies economic impacts: “The cost of system failures – such as lost productivity due to low employment – was calculated at $27.7 billion. [...] Interpersonal maltreatment – such as violence in the home, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect – was costed at $18.3 billion.” (Feb, The Sydney Morning Herald)

In New Zealand, Unaffordable home heating increases risk of severe mental distress. (Mar, PHCC)

In the United Kingdom, Broke and disabled in Tory Britain: the reality of life on one meal a day. (Mar, the Guardian)

Financial Inclusion

In the United Kingdom, New debit card lets relatives track spending of relatives with dementia. (Mar, This is Money)

Social Protection

In International News:

On the Debrief: How do we look after each other? Rethinking care systems with policy and personal experience (Apr, Disability Debrief)

In Australia,

  • Suggesting NDIS cuts to pay for expensive submarines is the latest attack on disabled people. “The last few weeks have seen an intensification of the predicted pre-federal budget attacks on the NDIS, with a wide range of articles and interviews being published, and the conservative social media in full agreement. These pieces are often shared alongside disgusting slurs against disabled people.” (Mar, the Guardian)
  • Disability services need to employ more people with lived experience. “New research from the University of Sydney finds almost a quarter of Australian disability services do not employ any people with disability, and 20% employ less than three people with disability.” (Feb, Phys Org)
  • “There’s been no apology for a mistake that nearly killed me.” The disability community speaks out on Robodebt. (Feb, Hireup)

In Bosnia, MPs adopted Amendments to the Law that will significantly increase Disability Benefits up to 80 percent of the minimum wage. (Feb, Sarajevo Times)

In Ethiopia, Family quality of life and children with disability: The role of support providers. “Ethiopian families of children with disabilities need holistic support that incorporates spirituality, the whole family’s needs and disability awareness-raising. Collaborative and committed engagement from all stakeholders is necessary to support Ethiopian families to flourish.” (Feb, African Journal of Disability)

In Europe, Social protection for people with disabilities An analysis of policies in 35 countries (Mar, ESPN) See a summary from EDF.

In Iran, Protests at non-payment of social protection benefits. (In Persian, Mar, @dscampaign1) See coverage on how the protests may have been attacked by police.

In Mexico, Irregularities in Teletón and benefits for the wellbeing of people with permanent disabilities. Also: what Teleton owes us. (In Spanish, Feb, Yo También)

In Palestine, #PensionsForPalestinians: The story of Mohammad, 68. (Mar, Helpage)

In South Africa,

In the United Kingdom, Social care costs see thousands chased for debt. “More than 60,000 adults with disabilities and long-term illnesses in England were chased for debts by councils last year after failing to pay for their social care support at home.” (Feb, BBC)

Education and Childhood

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In International News:

Global State of Inclusion in Education “the vision of international inclusive education is falling short of including all learners, no matter their identity, background, or ability.” (Feb, Special Olympics Global Youth and Education) See also an overview: “too many children with intellectual disabilities remain marginalized.”

In Africa,

In China, Discussion on Families We Need Erin Raffety's book on Disability, Abandonment, and Foster Care's Resistance in Contemporary China. (Podcast without transcript, Mar, New Books Network)

In Congo-Kinshasa, Violent Discipline in North Kivu: The Role of Child Gender and Disability Status in Cross-sectional Analysis: “levels of violence in conflict-affected households in North Kivu, DRC are high, with women reporting higher levels of violent discipline overall, and amplified use of violence against girl children with disabilities.” (Feb, Maternal and Child Health Journal)

In Indonesia, Discussion paper: Key issues for children with disabilities. (Feb, UNICEF)

In Kenya,

In Mexico, Inclusive education: four years after reform, only 2% of matriculating students have disabilities. (Mar, Yo También.)

In Uganda, Experts blame special needs poor grades on few teachers. “The poor performance among special needs learners, both in classwork and at national examinations, has been attributed to a lack of skilled teachers and inadequate learning materials and equipment, a top education official has said.” (Feb, Monitor)

In the United States,

Higher Education

In Bangladesh, A shot in the dark: The state of higher education for persons with disabilities (Feb, TBS)

In Bhutan, Understanding Inclusion and Accessibility in Higher Education: A Case Study from Bhutan. (Jan, Fora Education)

Employment, Business and Work

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In Africa, Cross-Country Brief on Trends in Inclusive Employment (Mastercard Foundation)

In Australia,

In Cambodia, The Government sets quota of 2% for the recruitment of persons with disabilities. (Mar, Khmer Times)

In Chile, How businesses manage law 21.015 on inclusion of disabled people in the labour market. (Dec, Azarbe)

In China, Supported employment helps people with Down syndrome find jobs (Mar, Xinhua News)

In Ireland, Graduates with disabilities are less likely to be employed – and are paid less. (Feb,

In Mozambique, Solution and Success: Felix’s Story of Farming in Gorongosa. (Jan, Spark)

In Nigeria, Decent work inaccessible to most workers with disabilities: a survey of 600 workers with disabilities. “Most of the 660 workers surveyed are self-employed and in the informal sector. Almost half of respondents earn less than Nigeria’s minimum wage and say their work environment is not accommodating to their disability.” (Mar, Solidarity Center)

In Norway, This is a pretty tough industry: an initiative for recruitment into IT jobs. (In Norwegian, Feb, Kode24)

In South Africa, In search of a landing place for persons with disabilities: A critique of South Africa’s skills development programme. One of which is that “focusing exclusively on providing hard skills fails to account for complex challenges faced by persons with disabilities”. (Mar, Int Journal of Discrimination and the Law)

In the United States,

  • ‘An inherent indignity’: the fight to get workers with disability a living wage. “Advocates are highlighting a system of state tax credits across the US that allow employers to pay employees as low as $3 an hour” (Mar, the Guardian)
  • Women of Color Lose Billions Each Year a report on the negative effects of job segregation on women in the workforce and its impacts on women of color and women with disabilities:
“The 10 occupations employing the most disabled women pay, on average, $41,200 per year – $15,800 less than the average annual wage across the 10 most-common occupations for non-disabled men. If that gap were closed, disabled women in these 10 occupations would make $9 billion more in a year.” (Mar, National Partnership for Women and Families) - Disability Justice—in the Workplace (and Beyond) (Feb, NPQ)

Gender Equality and Women with Disabilities

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In International News:

From Beijing to the CRPD: the missing keystone. (Mar, IDA)

In the United States, Book review of V. Jo Hsu's Constellating home: trans and queer Asian American rhetorics which “enfolds transnational and Black feminism, critical race, disability, queer and trans studies into its’ theoretical framework.” (Mar, Disability & Society)

International Women's Day

In Mexico, Look at me, I'm also a woman demands of women with disabilities. (In Spanish, Mar, Yo También)

In Rwanda, A journey at the intersection of gender and disability. (Mar, LFTW)


Back to contents.

In International News:

The doctors selling bogus treatments to people facing blindness. (Mar, BBC)

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities and implications for health services research. (Feb, Journal of Health Services Research and Policy)

In Egypt, Opening of addiction treatment center that provides services for people with disabilities. (In Arabic, Mar, Cairo24)

In Europe, Denied the right to health: persons with disabilities have more difficulty accessing healthcare. (Mar, European Economic and Social Committee)

In India, A disability-inclusive healthcare delivery system is the need of the hour (Mar, Times of India)

In Indonesia, Interview with Luthfi Azizatunnisa studying for her phd. (Mar, Missing Billion)

In Malawi, ‘We live in fear because of our skin’: Malawians with albinism demand action to reduce cancer risk. (Feb, the Guardian)

In the United Kingdom, Thousands with learning disabilities trapped in hospital, some for years “because of a lack of psychological support and overly complicated treatment systems” (Mar, the Guardian)

In the United States, Inside the Private Group Where Parents Give Ivermectin to Kids With Autism “experts have repeatedly said is designed only for large animals and is so concentrated that it can be toxic when ingested by humans.” (Mar, Vice)

History and Memorial

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In Australia,

  • Remembering Stella Young a webpage dedicated to her life and memory. (Mar)
  • Remembering Stella Young a statue of Stella in her hometown, Stawell. “I am not a snowflake. I am not a sweet, infantilising symbol of fragility and life. I am a strong, fierce, flawed adult woman. I plan to remain that way, in life and in death.” (Mar, Northern Grampians Shire Council)

In Egypt, Recognising inequality: ableism in Egyptological approaches to disability and bodily differences (Mar, World Archaeology)

In France, A series on disability and collective mobilizatons: a demonstration by young blind people in 1939, by the old and unwell in 1963, deaf people in 1993 and a blockage by Handi-social in 2018. (In French, Mar, Balises)

In Malaysia, Disabled activist Anthony Thanasayan passes away aged 63. (Feb, The Star) Also celebrated on the Debrief.

In the United States,

Remembering Judy Heumann

In International News:

Obituary: Judy Heumann, Who Led the Fight for Disability Rights, Dies at 75 (Mar, New York Times)

Human Rights Watch Mourns Loss of Judy Heumann. (Mar, Human Rights Watch)

Judy Heumann obituary: Disability rights activist who helped shape global protocols and played a decisive role in fighting discrimination in the US. (Mar, the Guardian)

Remembering Judy Heumann tributes and memories. (Mar, Women Enabled International)

Unafraid, unbowed, and unapologetic: The life and legacy of Judy Heumann. “This is how Judy changed the world: Person by person, from the corridors of New York City’s public schools to the streets of Berkeley to the halls of power around the globe.” (Mar, Ford Foundation)

On the Debrief: Our movement is in mourning. Remembering Judy Heumann, and how she changed us. (Mar, Disability Debrief)

Disability rights activist Judy Heumann dies at 75. A rich tribute and obituary by Joseph Shapiro. (Mar, NPR)

Honoring Judy Heumann’s Legacy a tribute from Michael Ashley Stein:

‘Ultimately and thoroughly, Judy was a teacher. Completely fearless, she eagerly approached anyone at any time whenever she spied a “teachable moment.” Judy would speed up to them in her power wheelchair and insist, “Excuse me, can we talk for a minute?” What followed was invariably a polite, concise, but direct lesson on how that individual could alter their behavior to be more equitable, if not disability-empowering, in similar circumstances in the future. “Next time, when you . . .” No one was exempt from receiving her sagacious advice.’ (Mar, Harvard Law Review)

The World Mourns the Passing of Judy Heumann (Mar, Judy Heumann)

In Brazil, World loses Judy Heumann (In Portuguese, Mar, Jornalismo Diário PcD)

In the United Kingdom, Samantha Renke on how Judith Heumann was, and is, my role model. (Mar,

In the United States,

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

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In International News:

Key principles and recommendations for inclusive cash and voucher assistance (Feb, Calp Network)

People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergencies and Situations of Risk a policy submission to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (Feb, Human Rights Watch)

Included, Every Step of the Way Upholding the rights of migrant and displaced children with disabilities. (Feb, UNICEF)

In Mozambique, Addressing the needs of children with disabilities affected by emergencies. (Mar, UNICEF)

In Turkey,


In International News:

Empowering Disabled Refugees: Mustafa Rifat's experiences navigating the refugee resettlement process as a disabled refugee, and his concrete recommendations for resettlement agencies, disability services organizations, (Mar, Down to the Struts)

In Australia, Perth family facing deportation as son's Down syndrome diagnosis deemed taxpayer burden. (Mar, ABC News)

In Italy, Disability, Rehabilitation, and Assistive Technologies for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Italy: Policies and Challenges. “The lack of a standardized vulnerability assessment represents the main barrier to the organization of specific services for migrants within the community.” (Mar, Societies)

In the United Kingdom, Vulnerable asylum seekers 'prisoners in their own homes' after fleeing war zones. “Many claim they have been placed in unsuitable properties that are littered with tripping hazards and have broken lifts.” (Feb, Mirror)

Indigenous People and Minority Communities

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In the United States, Understanding Disabilities in American Indian & Alaska Native Communities, a toolkit to increase awareness and knowledge. (Mar, NICOA)

Institutions and Deinstitutionalization

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In Japan, Freeing Disabled People from institutions in Japan: conversation with Misako Yasuhara. (Feb, ENIL)

In South Korea, Grave concern on recent claims in Korea that institutions for disabled people in Europe are models of good practice. (Mar, ENIL)

International Cooperation

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In International News:

How can building collaborative alliances support disability inclusion? (Mar, Inclusive Futures)

A guide to building successful partnerships between INGOs and disability organisations. (Jan, Inclusive Futures)

CBM Global’s Power Shift Journey: “The diversity of views received were not always easy to reconcile or harmonise – a fair reflection of the diversity of the disability movement.” (Feb, CBM Global)

In Africa, Working with self-advocates through the Inclusion Matters project. (Mar, Inclusion International)

In Europe, Toolkits for cooperation between DPOs and EU delegations. Guidance on how disabled-led organizations can engage with the largest humanitarian donor in the world. (Feb, EDF)

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Changing Latin American Lives through JICA’s Training: The Independent Living Movement of Persons with Disabilities. (Jan, JICA)

In Malawi, Deepening Diversity for a More Inclusive Malawi (Feb, Disability Rights Fund)

In the United Kingdom, UK government strategy: Sightsavers calls for further action for women and girls with disabilities. (Mar, Sightsavers)

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In Australia, Detainees with disabilities in 'spiral of hopelessness' “People with disabilities in the criminal justice system feel like they exist in a "black hole" after an international torture prevention body cancelled a visit to Australia.” (Mar, ABC News)

In Bahrain, Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur, condemns detention and ill-treatment of Dr Abduljalil al Singace (Apr, Gerard Quinn)

In Mexico, The right for all persons to decide over their own lives. (In Spanish, Feb, Yo También)

In the United States, For Deaf People in Prison, FCC Mandates Videophone Call Access. (Mar, The Marshall Project)

Lived Experience and Opinion

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In Australia, My talking, flameless stove How my talking induction stove gave me the confidence to cook. (Mar, ABC News)

In Brazil, Would you buy a friend for your child with disability? Isolation lived by disabled people can lean to loneliness and psychological suffering. (In Portuguese, Feb, Sler)

In Djibouti, Searching for identity “The award-winning Djiboutian author, Abdourahman Waberi, shares his reflections on writing, power and living with a disability.” (Mar, Africa is a Country)

In Indonesia, ‘We Are Born Perfect’ Rina Prasarani Has a Message for Disabled Women: “Don’t Give Up, Keep Fighting, and Show We Can.” (Mar, Disability Justice Project)

In Kenya, Top 40 Under 40: feature on Patricia Mativo. (Mar, BDO)

In Malaysia, A day in the life of people with visual impairments. (Mar, Malaysia Now)

In Mexico, Short-film “Sufficient” features five disabled people and the barriers they have faced. (In Spanish, Mar, Yo También)

In Nigeria, From telecoms engineer to disability advocate: interview with Dolapo Agbede (Feb, Techpoint)

In Somalia, The Social Worker Making a Difference: Meet Dahir Abdulle. (Mar, UNICEF)

In the United Kingdom, ‘I did not expect motherhood to legitimise me’: parenting with a disability – “four families share their eye-opening stories of love and joy” (Feb, the Guardian)

In the United States,

“Care is not a checklist of tasks and responsibilities. Care is a shared value and actions operating in a larger political context within a hypercapitalist, racist, ableist society that devalues certain types of labor and bodies. Conversations by policy experts and advocates about the caregiving crisis can be too abstract, and any meaningful structural and cultural change must acknowledge the tensions, human toll, material consequences, complexities and nuances about care from the people who provide and rely on it.” (Feb, CNN)
  • Alice Wong on Hospitalization, Crowdfunding Medical Care, and Finding Love In Community: “a paper tiger is delicate and light, it can fold and transform itself, resisting the forces that seek to crumple it” (Feb, Teen Vogue)

Mental Health

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In Europe, Mental health of people with intellectual disabilities and family members: “Mental health and intellectual disabilities diagnoses are being used to deprive people of their right to decide about their lives.” (Feb, Inclusion Europe)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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In the United Kingdom, Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging (Jan, Motability)

Air Travel

In Canada, Flight Attendant Refuses to Store Passenger's Wheelchair. the story unfolds on TikTok. (Mar, Distractify)

In India, IndiGo staff 'abandons' visually impaired flyer. (Mar, Times of India)

In the United States, Austin Jailer Breaks Elderly Deaf Woman’s Arm at Airport “what was supposed to be a three-hour layover at Austin-Berg­strom International Airport turned into an arrest, a weekend in the Travis County Jail, and an arm broken by a jailer and left untreated for three days.” (Mar, The Austin Chronicle)

Policy and Rights

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In International News:

Global Report on Deafblindness: Good Practices and Recommendations for the Inclusion of Persons with Deafblindness (Apr, WFDB)

In Australia, Australia’s disability strategy 2021–2031 outcomes framework: first annual report (Feb, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)

In Ethiopia, Disability-Inclusive Education and Employment: Understanding the Context (Mastercard Foundation)

In Ghana, Disability-Inclusive Education and Employment: Understanding the Context (Mastercard Foundation)

In Kenya,

In New Zealand, Accessibility legislation a tokenistic toothless failure say disabled people, including the Debrief's own Áine Kelly-Costello: “This proposed bill is systemically ableist to its core”. (Feb, 1 News)

In Nigeria,

In Peru, Experts of the CRPD Commend Peru’s Reform of Disability Legislation, Ask Questions on Discrimination of Migrants, Refugees and Minorities with Disabilities. (Mar, OHCHR)

In Rwanda, Disability-Inclusive Education and Employment: Understanding the Context (Mastercard Foundation)

In Senegal, Disability-Inclusive Education and Employment: Understanding the context. (Mastercard Foundation)

In South Africa, Government committed to supporting people with disabilities opening remarks at the meeting of the Presidential Working Group on Disability. (Mar, SA News)

In South Sudan, South Sudan signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. (Feb, LFTW)

In Tunisia, Experts of the CRPD Commend Tunisia on Distributing Accessible Technology, Ask Questions on Disaster Response Plans and Access for Refugees and Asylum Seekers with Disabilities to Essential Services (Mar, OHCHR)

In Uganda, Disability-Inclusive Education and Employment: Understanding the Context (Mastercard Foundation)

Politics and Elections

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In Peru, On the Debrief: Disabled People in Peru's Political Protests: Breaking stereotypes about protest and taking an active role during a crisis (Mar, Disability Debrief)

In Uganda, Short video on Deputy Mayor Kauma “Fazira Kauma Toppled Political Barriers in Uganda When She Became the First Woman and the First Blind Citizen To Be Appointed Deputy Mayor in Jinja” (Mar, Disability Justice Project)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States, How a Senate aide and her guide dog made Capitol Hill more accessible for all. (Mar, The 19th)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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In International News:

The Right to Marry: Barriers to intimacy for persons with disabilities. (Mar, HPOD)

In India, Autonomy, agency, choice: Yes these are for us. A panel discussing gender, sexuality and disability. (Feb, In Plainspeak)

In Uganda, Ugandan Parliament Passes Extreme Anti-LGBT Bill:

“But one of the most egregious provisions – the bill calls it “aggravated homosexuality” – calls for the death penalty in certain circumstances, including for “serial offenders,” or for anyone having same-sex relations with a person with a disability, thereby automatically denying persons with disabilities the capacity to consent to sex.” (Mar, Human Rights Watch)

Space Exploration

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In the United States,

  • Disabled in Space with Denna Lambert. “Denna’s experience as part of the second disabled cohort to experience zero gravity and its implications for access here on Earth, and how being a single mom to a four-year-old is sometimes like being in space.” (Mar, Down to the Struts)
  • ‘You Are Not Leaving Without Us’: “AstroAccess is on a mission to make it possible for disabled people to live and work in space. By doing so, it’s making space safer and better for everyone.” (Mar, GizModo)

Sport and Paralympics

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In Australia, Paralympics Australia announces new plan for Para-sport to Brisbane 2032 and beyond. “Paralympics Australia (PA) has called out the inequity in funding and support for the Para-sport system” (Mar, ABC News)

In France, Paris 2024 Olympics: Slow roll-out of accessible services worries disability campaigners (Feb, Le Monde)

In Mozambique, Coach Muianga on mission to add Para powerlifting to Mozambique's sports agenda (Mar, International Paralympic Committee)

In the United Kingdom, “I want motorsport to be accessible for disabled people.” (Jan, RedBull)

In the United States, Born without hands, Brandon Canesi is playing golf on his own terms. (Feb, CNN)

Violence and Harassment

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In the Czech Republic, Czech courts are lenient towards sexual violence against people with intellectual disabilities. (In Czech, Mar, CT24)

In the United Kingdom, Kaylea Titford’s parents jailed for manslaughter after daughter died in ‘conditions unfit for any animal’. (Mar, the Guardian)

In the United States, Police Brutality: A (Speech) Disability Concern. (Feb, Communication First)

War in Ukraine

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Appeals and Statements

In the Ukraine, Joint statement on the forcible transfer, deportation, and adoption of children from Ukraine by Russia. (Mar, EDF)

Evacuating or Leaving Ukraine

In Georgia, WHO supports an inclusive response to refugees with disabilities in Georgia. (Feb, WHO)

In Moldova, Enabling support for Ukrainian refugees with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova (Mar, WHO)

In Poland, Profile of Mudita Association and its support to refugees with disabilities. (Mar, Borgen Magazine)

In the Ukraine, Study Report: Rapid Assessment of the Experience of Evacuating People with Disabilities in Ukraine Due to the War in 2022. (Mar, UNDP)

Situation in Ukraine

In International News:

Perils of War for Children in Institutions. “Russia Should End Deportations; Kyiv, Allies Should Support Families” (Mar, Human Rights Watch)

In the Ukraine, Impossible Choices A photoessay: “Life was a struggle for families of Ukrainians with disabilities before the war. It’s even harder now” (Mar, CNN)


In International News:

Immediate needs and an inclusive future: Persons with disabilities in Ukraine need more support. (Mar, EDF)

In the Ukraine, Decolonising disability and other ableism reflections. “Decolonising aid, and in particular decolonising disability, is a battle worth fighting. We want to address discriminatory and ableist practices within the humanitarian response in Ukraine. Funding needs to reach people with disabilities and their representative organisations.” (Mar, EDF)


Many thanks to readers and Sightsavers for the support that keeps this going. News curation is done with support of the Center for Inclusive Policy.

The Debrief is produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Opinions or mistakes are mine.