Building inclusion capacity for women with disabilities

Since its establishment in 2018, the Centre of Research and Community Inclusive Support (Cormis) under the Da Nang city Union of Science and Technology Associations has helped to build inclusion capacity for the marginalised groups, particularly women with disabilities in Da Nang city and neighbouring localities.

Cormis not only helps to generate income for women with disabilities but also serves as a venue for them to share difficulties in life.
Cormis not only helps to generate income for women with disabilities but also serves as a venue for them to share difficulties in life.

Having more than 10 years of working in support of disadvantaged groups in the community, the centre’s director, Mai Thi Dung Dung held that there are many things to do to change the lives of this group of people, including creating jobs, providing training on teamwork and community skills, rather than simply offering them financial support packages or gifts.

Therefore, she decided to quit her job to establish Cormis with a vision to create a new and practical way to support people with disabilities.

Cormis’s first project was recycling and reusing leftover textiles and fibres, which were collected from hotels and resorts, and made into new products. Under the project, bed sheets, pillowcases, and curtains are processed and recycled into handkerchiefs, cloth bags, and clothes through the hands of women with disabilities.

Following the project’s initial success, Dung headed to major tailors in Hoi An, a touristic city in Quang Nam province, to expand sources of material. As a result, the project’s team now offers customers a wide range of products from face masks, purses, and handbags to laptop bags and hair ties.

Besides the efforts of upcycling wastes, Cormis has collected and presented upcycled clothes for people in need throughout many provinces, including Da Nang, Quang Nam, Lang Son, Son La, and Yen Bai provinces.

The centre has also worked with partners to study and adapt upcycling models using different kinds of waste and set up and train its member on the knowledge and skills of upcycling.

Building inclusion capacity for women with disabilities ảnh 1

Selected Cormis’ upcycled products made from leftover fabric and clothes.

Dang Thi My Trinh, 40, an Agent Orange/ Dioxin victim from Man Thai ward, Son Tra district, started working at CORMIS in 2019. This job helps her earn an average monthly income of 3 million VND.

Starting from a small group of women with disabilities in Da Nang, the project now attracts two more groups of 20 women in Thua Thien Hue and Quang Ngai provinces, who have created more than 320,000 recycled products. Not only utilising fabric, but they also recycle old fishing nets to make kitchen utensils, and cleaning utensils and they are piloting the recycling of coconut shell refuse.

In addition to generating income, the Centre also focuses on improving mental health care for people with disabilities by taking them to community activities where they can advertise and sell their products while increasing their communication and marketing skills and integration into society.

Cormis encourages its members to take part in community markets once a month and organises a vacation for them once a year, plus many activities helping them to improve spiritual health and relaxation. Therefore, the centre has attracted participation and appreciation from a larger number of people with disabilities.

In the coming time, Dung and her colleagues will focus on improving the operation of clubs for women with disabilities in localities in a bid to promote inclusion and increase the quality of life of the disadvantaged in society.