...IZ KRUGA – VOJVODINA
Four-hour training on the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women with Disabilities took place in Pancevo in the premises of the Inter-Municipal Organization for Deaf and Hard of Hearing on September 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The training is an activity of the project Capacity building of women with disabilities to advocate and educate professionals about sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender based violence of women with disabilities and improving accessibility of the relevant information materials. The project is carried out by IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA with the United Nations Population Fund Serbia, as part of the program We Decide. The activities are realized in municipalities Kovin, Krusevac, Pancevo, and Ruma in cooperation with the local organizations of persons with disabilities.
The training in Pancevo was organized in cooperation with the Dystrophy Association of South Banat District, with significant support from a spokeswoman, Sladjana Radenkovic, who included other organizations of persons with disabilities and invited local media. Notable help for the realization of the project was supplied by the Inter-municipal organization of deaf and hard of hearing. They provided their accessible rooms for the training and their sign language interpreters, Suzana Belic and Sanja Janjanin, who interpreted in and on sign language lectures, workshops, and discussions with great enthusiasm. Other associations of persons with disabilities, Association of Blind and Partially Sighted, Multiple Sclerosis Association, Association Na pola puta, and Association MNRO, gave support by encouraging their members to join the training.
In the training, 23 women with different types of disabilities took part, and the entire educational event was led by project associate Dusica Petrovic, a woman with disabilities herself, who in a previous project cycle went through similar training and is now passing on her knowledge and experiences to other women with disabilities. terrain from his local community of Raska.
– Women with disabilities are often invisible, especially in small communities. They are not familiar with their sexual and reproductive rights. They get to know their rights in educational sessions like these and are empowered to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, to advocate for their sexual and reproductive rights and life without violence. They also learn that they are worthy as partners, spouses, and mothers, just like any other woman – Dusica Petrovic pointed out.
The training participants followed sessions with interest, actively contributed to the work, and cited the obstacles they faced in accessing sexual and reproductive health protection services.
- They persistently call out my name, even though it says on the health card that I can’t hear, so I sit and wait, not knowing that I have been called.
- I was fifty-six years old last year. I went for a check-up at the gynecologist, and she threw me out shouting: ” What are you doing here, you are old. You don’t even have hormones anymore!”
- I was having a check-up, and the doctor shouted at me:” You, blind woman! What are you doing here? Why do you need a check-up?
- I just feel he is not interested in doing the check-up. We simply chatted for a while, and he didn’t do the examination.
- To get on the gynecological examination table one has to climb a few steps. The staff won’t help, and I cannot do it by myself.
- The traffic in the city is not accessible, which means I cannot reach the health institution without assistance. I often give up because there is no one to assist me.
With the mentorship from IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA, the training participants will, in the next period, map the obstacles that prevent women with different types of disabilities from exercising their sexual and reproductive rights and accessing protection services from gender-based violence in their local communities. Than, the mapping results, they will make available to intersectional mechanisms for policy creation, and they will organize educational sessions for health workers to present Guidelines for treating women with disabilities and Key messages for the road to equality of women and young persons with disabilities developed within the We decide program.
Women with disabilities deserve to live in a system that supports their sexual and reproductive health and provides protection from gender-based violence. For this to become a reality for women with disabilities, we need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the problem. Local media and civil society may contribute notably to it.
IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA is grateful to the journalists Olga Jankovic from Politika, Snezana Djuric from RTV Vojvodina, Ana Vugrinec from the web portal and weekly magazine Pancevac, and and a social network of IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA content creator Mirjana Jaksic for their contribution to the visibility of this notable event and theme.
We invite you to follow the work of IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA on the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women with disabilities, and protection from gender-based violence on our website and social media. According to your capabilities, support the work of IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA and get involved in this work as well.