What are your organisation’s activities?
Before the Convention, our organisation was already helping women. For example, we have a sewing workshop that helped women learn basic sewing skills. Women also have the opportunity to learn to make arts and crafts, to weave baskets. Also, there are projects, for groups and individuals. Our organisation can provide financial support to individuals or groups of individuals who have something that they want to do. We provide financial support, and we also provide capacity-building support. Each year, there are crafts, cooking and sewing workshops for organisation members. We even organise small outings in Madagascar for all members.
What impact has the Convention had on your activities?
The ratification of the Convention enabled us to better organise our actions, because the law is beginning to recognise their value. Also, it helps us protect, and provide financial support. Because now that the State has ratified the Convention, it can get more closely involved, to see how to help the organisation.
What has been the influence of the CRPD in your life?
The Convention is very important to me. First of all, because it enables me to protect my rights, but also because it enables me to realise my rights. If my rights are not respected in the ministries or administration offices where I go, I can make a complaint because the Convention is there to protect me. But, the Convention also enables me to participate as a citizen and have a potential impact for change in my country through my actions. I myself did not participate so much before, even within my own family. But I have changed, I can see that I have changed. I began to change at the beginning of the Convention. Before, I found it difficult to express myself. I can see that I have really evolved in this area: in terms of the actions I take for the organisation and for society in general.
How has the CRPD changed attitudes?
Of course, before, there was a fear of leaving the house; society had this stereotyped vision. Now, I think many persons with disabilities participate in civil society, and are involved in a variety of activities, be they personal or in NGOs, and even in political parties. We are already seeing greater inclusion, greater participation of persons with disabilities.
Are there visible impacts today for persons with disabilities?
Yes, I think so, because legislation has changed in various ministries to ensure that persons with disabilities are included. I think that there is already a shift in the willingness to honour the presence of persons with disabilities. In particular, for all persons with disabilities in Madagascar, the appointment of Ms. RAZAKA MANANTENASOA Ralphine, as director of the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of Women’s Persons with disabilities and elderly persons Division, was a key moment, as she herself is a person with a disability. It requires the collaboration of the state and of civil society, but also the participation of people with disabilities. We need to include people with disabilities in the Convention’s monitoring committees, to see whether the legislation we have established is in line with the Convention, so that it is not only fine words, but it actually comes true.
What are the main challenges to the Convention’s implementation in Madagascar?
The main challenge is the inclusion of persons with disabilities. And now there are also the SDGs. I believe that the CRPD’s objective is to achieve the SDGs. We must stick to the SDGs. Persons with disabilities must also be included in the State programme and State policies in order for the Convention’s implementation to be truly successful.