The organisation Fight for Right works to unite women with disabilities in Ukraine. When Russia launched its large-scale invasion, they were one of the first to help women with disabilities and their families evacuate.
The women-led organisation Fight for Right in Kyiv works to unite women with different disabilities in their advocacy for disability rights in Ukraine and internationally. Their director, Tanya Herasymova, started as a participant in one of the organisation’s previous projects.
“A few years ago, I participated in the first edition of our project called ‘LIDERKA’, which was a school of political participation for girls and women with disabilities. Thanks to the school, I was able to get an internship at the Central Election Commission and when that ended, my old team at Fight for Right invited me to work with them,” says Tanya.
She started as communication manager and coordinated the school project, and late last year was promoted to director. In early 2022, they were a small team of ten people. The organisation has grown fast and now they have a big team working for their emergency response.
Since Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, the organisation has been focusing on providing evacuation assistance for people with disabilities and their families. In addition, they have been advocating for an inclusive process of post-war recovery that will consider needs and rights of women with disabilities ever since the start of the current conflict in 2014.
“We help people with disabilities because nobody else will, and we started to evacuate people when nobody else did. We monitored the situation with humanitarian support and looked at how the state managed to help women with disabilities during the war,” says Tanya.
Their project “Supporting women with disabilities during the Russian war in Ukraine” aims to provide direct psychological, legal and coordination support for women with disabilities in the East of Ukraine. Moreover, it advocates for including them in planning and executing the emergency response in Ukraine.
“We’re invisible as a target group, no one pays attention to women with disabilities. So, the most important thing for us is to be heard. But we really need additional support and accessibility. Some organisations provide support for women, but they are not accessible for women with disabilities.”
Tanya and her colleagues have fought to get a seat at the decision-maker’s table and know what it takes to get it.
“No one will give you your rights, you have to take it. So, of course we work a lot to raise awareness about women with disabilities and to improve the knowledge of women. That’s also why we have our leader school and why we have programmes like ‘Political Participation in Woman Leadership’ programme. It is our way to show girls that they can be decision-makers,” says Tanya.
The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation has supported women’s rights in Ukraine since 2014. When the full-scale invasion by Russia started in 2022, Kvinna till Kvinna activated our emergency fund to provide urgent support to women’s rights organisations and individual women human rights defenders in and from Ukraine in their work to help women exposed to violence, displaced women and families in need of immediate support. Learn more about our work in Ukraine.