Celebrating World Day of Social Justice

CBM celebrates World Day of Social Justice on 20 February 2020. This year's theme is “Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice”.

CBM Calls for Equal Opportunities for a Just World

48-year-old Athanase from Rwanda has a hair salon. What's special about it? He has a visual impairment. "No, of course I don't use the scissors, and I don't cut people's hair," he says with a smile. He has an employee for that.

Nevertheless, his situation in Rwanda, as in many other countries around the world, is very unusual: he has his own income and can provide for himself. Eighty percent of people with disabilities cannot do this and live in poverty.

Just over a year ago, the United Nations presented a report highlighting inequality. The report shows that among the world's population, the proportion of people living in poverty is twice as high if they have a disability. Their literacy rate is 23 percent lower than that of people without disabilities. And even a doctor is three times less likely to see them when they need it.

Real equality of opportunity

In Rwanda, CBM supports savings groups specifically for people with disabilities. Such projects ensure that money is raised and that people with disabilities can catch up. CBM trains business mentors, who in turn train savings group members on how to conduct business profitably. Members pay 12 cents a week into a pot - with a corresponding business idea they can then take out a small loan.

This is what Athanase did with his hair salon. He realized that there was no hair salon in his village and seized the opportunity. He was able to supply his salon with electricity through a €20 loan from his savings group. "I would have never gotten a loan from a bank. It's very difficult for people with disabilities," says Athanase, stressing how important this savings group is for him and the other members. With his business, the father of three children can feed his family. His surplus income also allows him to indulge his hobby - he loves making music and is surprisingly good. He has already won several national music competitions by playing the piano. In this way, his salon not only allows him and his family to live a dignified life, but also contributes to cultural life and enriches society.

Athanase playing his piano.

Athanase playing his piano.