Building livelihoods

Usha stands inside her petty shop in Kothara village, India.

Our impact last year

  • 100k people with disabilities supported to earn a living
  • 36k people received vocational training

People with disabilities in poor communities often find it difficult to earn a living because they can’t access education or training, face prejudice and discrimination or cannot access resources or loans to get started.

CBM programmes improve access to employment, training and working rights for disabled people, providing training and support to help them get a job or start their own business.

Disability, livelihoods and unemployment

  • In every country in the world, people with disabilities have higher rates of unemployment than anyone else.
  • In some countries, the unemployment rate among people with disabilities is as high as 80%, putting them among the poorest 15 – 20% of the world’s population.
  • Excluding disabled people from the labour market is damaging for all of society, for example failing to include people with disabilities in Bangladesh was calculated to lead to an economic loss of US$234 million per year.

How we help

CBM helps people with disabilities to earn a living by:

  • Offering training in vocational and life skills;
  • Helping people with disabilities to build their confidence and see themselves as active members of their communities, through one-to-one support from trained outreach workers;
  • Providing start-up resources to help people set up businesses, such as small loans or equipment like a sewing machine or computer.

In action

Building livelihoods through organic farming

Many people with disabilities and their families in India struggle to earn a living. This life-changing programme…

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Changing lives through livelihoods

When people with disabilities can build secure livelihoods, they can escape poverty, support their families and also…

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Group photo of a Village Savings and Loan Association holding up their membership books

Helping people with disabilities in Rwanda to be financially independent

Supporting people with disabilities to earn a living through training, support and village savings groups.

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Transforming lives

Eje sits at a computer that is in the shop that he owns thanks to ELIM in Nigeria.


“I never mind what people say about me anymore provided I get to where I want, because of the encouragement I received from Elim staff, who always go beyond people’s expectations.”

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Pooja from India has learning difficulties. His father is being trained in organic farming.


“Now I don’t have to worry about owing money. I am free from debt, and I can save some money to pay for Pooja’s medicine and appointments.”

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Rajesh was paralyzed from birth and is now is an organic farmer.


“I have always tried to help with the farming, but my abilities were not recognised in the family, or in the wider community… Now I have respect from them. They see me as a person, a successful person.”

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Gajanan (26) hails from Devgaon village of Amravathi district, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. He was affected by polio at the age of nine. Gajanan survived the reality of discrimination and completed his schooling and also completed his Diploma in Education. Today, he works with CBM partner 'The Leprosy Mission (TLM)' in Kothara, on a community project called 'Inclusive Holistic development of Individuals with Disability (IHDID)'. He facilitates formation of self-help groups, helps people with disabilities get their monthly pension, and also gives training on organic farming to villagers.
22nd Feb 2017

CBM organic farming programme shortlisted for livelihoods award

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Rajesh has a physical disability. He has been supported by CBM's organic farming scheme in India.
29th Nov 2017

Everyone has the right to work: Disability and Livelihoods

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