She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “The main thing is not to give up! There is always a way out, even in the most complicated situation”.
She says also: “There were a lot of hindrances and mistakes, however, we gradually surmounted them and learned not to make them again, experience is the best teacher”.
They said us: “What do you need to go out for? Just sit at home like you did in the Soviet Union. Continue to sit, or go live in special hostel for invalids”.
Asipa Musayeva – Kyrgyzstan
She works for the Independent Association of Disabled Women.
Asipa Musayeva is the president of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Independent Association of Disabled Women of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Since 1989, she has accomplished a great deal for the organization and for disabled people, protecting their rights and advocating for them on a national level. She has successfully lobbied for laws to increase opportunities for disabled people to work and participate in society. Asipa conducts seminars, training courses for leaders, particularly from rural areas, on the importance of civil and economic rights for people with disabilities.
She was born in 1947 in the city of Frunzeh, and graduated from the Frunzeh Economic Technical School and Kyrgyz State University, with a specialization in finance. She has provided work for 66 people with disabilities, and lives with a disability herself, walking on crutches.
In the early 1990s Musayeva spearheaded an initiative in which people who were unable to walk, both men and women, began to knit, crochet and sew ready-to-use articles in their homes. Musayeva would gather the garments and bring them to the shops and market to be sold. There was a demand for these goods and the workers began to earn their own money for the first time. Through Musayeva’s program, the community’s disabled proved that they were able to work on the same level as others. Their action became an inspiring example for others with disabilities, who were encouraged to establish their own ventures.
In 1995, however, due to the closing of many businesses in Kyrgyzstan and the introduction of a new national currency, it became difficult to purchase raw material and sell ready-made garments in the markets. The country was facing an economic crisis and a worsening unemployment problem; the prospect of mass impoverishment loomed. Under these circumstances, the state did not provide any support to the disabled community’s garment venture. In December of 1995, they were forced to close their garment venture. It came as a severe shock for these people, who had just recently acquired the confidence in their capabilities to contribute productively and earn a living for themselves.
Asipa did her best to support her associates. She decided it was necessary to demonstrate to the society and the State that disabled people merited their support. In 1996, Asipa and her supporters established the Independent Association of Disabled Women of the Kyrgyz Republic, a non-governmental organization whose mission was to protect the disabled.
With no place to teach, and no financial support for her organization, this endeavor met many challenges getting off the ground.
Musayeva tried all practical methods of work on herself, because both she and her husband are disabled as well. She is well aware of how difficult it is to get around in a wheelchair, especially in Kyrgyzstan, where there are no special ramps designed for wheelchairs in the country’s public transportation, housing, and public buildings. Musayeva and her associates began to lobby for the establishment of a law concerning construction standards. The Government drafted but did not pass a law on construction standards and rules for the disabled. Officials said that disabled persons did not need the law.
The authorities did not want to spend money on the creation of conveniences for the disabled, such as special wheelchair pathways, which can be found in developed countries. But Musayeva continued to persuade them of the need. “This law on construction standards and rules would ensure for us an independent life, one in which disabled people can go out without help, enter any building or social establishment, and use public transportation. We, disabled people, would be able to study, work, create our families, and participate in the public sphere”, she said.
In 1999, Musayeva reconstructed her apartment to make a separate exit through the kitchen for her wheelchair as well as constructed banisters. At the time, local authorities did not grant permission for this, so they destroyed the construction and eliminated the banisters. Musayeva and her husband were left for six months with a broken open kitchen door.
Militia were put on duty everyday to prevent further construction. A few times, officers came to take her to the psychiatric hospital, on the pretext that the disabled did not have the right to work. She was told, “Why do you concern yourself with other people’s business? Take care of your own problems, your own diseases”.
Ever defiant, Asipa rounded up a vast group of disabled people to rally behind her in protest, and by means of mass media coverage, she demonstrated how serious the demands of this community were. For several days they protested in front of the government and city administration buildings. As a result, the disabled community was finally permitted to lawfully make appropriate constructions. Later, the Law on Construction Standards and Rules CSR for the disabled was developed and put into effect. Asipa had proven that disabled people are entitled to live a normal, productive life.
Later, regulations concerning disabled persons’ right to work were issued as well.
Musayeva kept trying to direct the attention of the authorities to the problems of the disabled. She visited the Ministry, but no one would receive her, asking who she was. Several times she went to the Cabinet of the President and Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan with her appeal, finally leading to definite results. The Council of the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on Disability Issues was established, and Asipa Musayeva became a member. At present, the Kyrgyz authorities acknowledge her organization’s influence in the area of disabled rights advocacy, and they listen to and take seriously her input.
Also resulting from Musayeva’s activism, some further addenda to the law on social protection for the disabled were adopted. She helped develop rules and standards for a medical expert commission, and laws concerning family, marriage and domestic violence. There were some changes made to the labor laws, whereby four percent of jobs were mandated for disabled workers. In addition, Musayeva helped develop legislation on labor injury, land, and social security, and she worked on incorporating changes to the Constitution of the Republic which involved the social service of disabled people. She participated in the national programs for support of the disabled, the children’s program, ‘Zhtkinchek’, and in a rehabilitation program for the disabled.
Musayeva is a member of a commission to raise funds for the needs of the disabled, the Commission of the National Program in support of the disabled, and the Commission for the Medical and Social Center for Rehabilitation.
In her 15 years of advocacy work, Asipa Musayeva has advanced disabled people’s position immeasurably in Kyrgyzstan and successfully promoted a change in the Government’s and society’s attitude towards the disabled. She continues to work actively to protect their rights and interests. Musayeva was awarded with an honorary diploma for her work from the President of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on 11 March 2001. (1000PeaceWomen).
Sorry, I can get no other information in english of Asipa Musayeva, Kyrgyzstan.
Sorry, the Independent Association of Disabled Women was not found on the Internet. But some organisations with the same characteristics from other countries: