Everybody Matters: Stories and practical tips to put an often neglected topic on the map

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“Everybody Matters” is a publication about sexual and reproductive health and rights of people with disabilities in developing countries.  On 23rd November 2017, its first copy was presented in The Hague to special UN rapporteur Catalina Devandas Aguilar. This is done in the context of the eponymous meeting for policy makers and development organisations. Ms. Aguilar wrote the preface of the book and also presents her own recent research on the worldwide state of affairs regarding sexual and reproductive health rights of people with disabilities. This situation is serious: not only are they at increased risk of abuse, they also have much less access to relevant information and clinics.

The book “Everybody Matters” is made on the initiative of the Dutch Coalition on Disability and Development (DCDD) in cooperation with Share-Net. Lieke Scheewe, disability right advisor at Light for the World the Netherlands and coordinator at DCDD, is one of the co-editors: “In our work we see that sexual and reproductive health receives little attention for people with disabilities. In many countries there is a taboo on this theme. There are few good examples of organisations that are working on this. The stories and beautiful illustrations by De Beeldvormers will certainly inspire policymakers and development workers to get started with this subject.”

“When talking about sexual and reproductive health for people with disabilities, it is often about violence and abuse, but rarely about accessible healthcare. These practical matters are discussed in the book. In the composition of the book we have already seen nice developments: Disabled People’s Organisations are taking the subject on board. But also health organisations that do their best to reach people with disabilities. In the collaboration between these two types of organisations – both with their own expertise – beautiful, creative projects are created. That is what we want to achieve with this book.”