In Bolivia, the disability organisations are working on issues concerning education, healthcare, employment and sports/recreation. One of the successes of recent years has been the fact that the new Disabilities Act, which came into force in 2014, includes several of the proposals that the disability organisations helped to draw up.
Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with the majority of the population living in poverty. The situation is particularly difficult for persons with disabilities. Bolivia has ratified eight of the central Human Rights conventions, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009).
The government submitted its first follow-up report to the UN in 2013, and 2014 saw the establishment of the new regulatory framework for the Disabilities Act (Act 223). In this process, MyRight and the national umbrella organisation participated in drawing up proposals and responding to the consultations, and several of the proposals that the disability organisations helped to draw up have been included in the legislation.
In recent years, persons with mental health problems have gone from being practically invisible in Bolivian society to organising themselves and getting mental illness recognised as a separate category of disability. Four years ago, the Swedish organisation RSMH provided support for the formation of Parasol-Bolivia, and the first nationwide organisation for persons with a mental illness was established in November 2014.
Persons with impaired hearing have also been recognised as a separate disability category, with advocacy work achieving various results, including a decision by the health authorities in Cochabamba to include hearing checks in the general health checks for children. This will enable any hearing problems to be identified at an early stage.
Organisations for deaf persons have worked to develop Bolivian sign language and its position in society, which has involved producing a new sign language lexicon. This marks an important advance, since a well-developed sign language is vital for the inclusion of deaf persons in society.
Initiatives in recent years on leadership training have led to several organisations appointing young people to leading positions in the organisations. Within several parental organisations, there has also been a clear positive trend for young persons with disabilities to begin organising themselves to a greater extent.
Office in Boliva
Phone: + 591 717 088 61
C. Maracaibo 1471 y
Parque Demetrio Canelas, Casilla 208
Partner organizations in Bolivia
- APANH – Asociación de padres y amigos de niños hipoacúsicos
- ASHICO – Asociación de Hipoacúsicos en Cochabamba
- Parasol Bolivia
- ASPAHIDI – La Asociación de Padres de Hijos con Discapacidad Intelectual
- FEDEBOISO – Federacion de Deportes Bolivianos de Sordos
- FEBOS – Federacion Boliviana de Sordos
- FENACIEBO – Federacion Nacional de Ciegos de Bolivia