the editors

Meet the Editors and Contributors to the Virtual Roundtable

PART ONE: Introduction – contextualising disability activism

Introducing disability activism

This a short description and introduction of Disability activism touching on the subjects of social policy, global health, inclusive education, intersection of disability, independence, advocacy, disability rights

Maria Berghs


Maria Berghs is an anthropologist with a PhD in sociology and social policy. She works in the field of medical anthropology and sociology, specialising in disability studies. Her research interests include disability, global health (sickle cell), humanitarianism, ethics, gender and West Africa (Sierra Leone).

To learn more:

With Tsitsi Chataika, Abraham Mateta and Kudzai Shava wrote “From Whose Perspective Anyway? The Quest for African Disability Rights Activism” a chapter in:  and inspired by them Ubuntu and activism:

Read “Mi At Don Poil: A Report on Reparations in Sierra Leone” which she wrote with Edward Conteh:

Her PhD was published as “War and Embodied Memory: Becoming Disabled in Sierra Leone”

She is also one of the authors of an article entitled “Do Disabled People need a Stronger Social Model?”:

Her more recent work has focused on the neglected global public health issue of sickle cell in the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone. For an example, read:

Read about “Creating Diverse Coalitions for Equity in Neoliberal Times: Locating the Emancipatory City” conference organised with Kriss Fearon, Sana Rivzi, Periklis Papaloukas, Bright Sparks and SUCRAN (with thanks to the British Sociological Association and De Montfort Univerisity’s CURA) : 

Twitter: @MariaBerghs 

Tsitsi Chataika

senior lecturer

Tsitsi Chataika is the Chairperson and a senior lecturer in disability and inclusive education in the Department of Educational Foundations, University of Zimbabwe. Her recent publication is the ‘The Routledge Handbook of Disability in Southern Africa’. 

To learn more: 

To read about Tsitsi Chataika’s work: and

To watch a video about her:

To access her academic work:

Tsitsi Chataika was nominated  as one of the eleven international disability experts to the United Nations  programme on disability:< of the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (see

The Division is undertaking a series of efforts to analyse the current status of research on disability inclusion in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including an evaluation and follow-up of the 2018 United Nations flagship report on disability titled: “Disability and development report 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities

She is also the editor of “The Routledge Handbook of Disability in Southern Africa”:

Twitter: @ChataikaTsitsi

Yahya El-Lahib

Assistant Professor

Yahya El-Lahib is a long-time disability activist and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. His research focuses on the intersection of disability and displacement as interlocking systems of oppression that continue to shape the marginalization experiences of people with disabilities within and outside state borders.

To learn more:

Read a connected article, “Dominant Health Discourses in Action: Constructing People with Disabilities as the “Inadmissible Other” in Canadian Immigration” in

Read Yahya El-Lahib’s PhD thesis, “Ableism, racism and colonialism in Canadian Immigration: Exploring constructions of people with disabilities.” at

Read about his work featured in the press about improving experiences of refugees fleeing war-torn countries:

Watch a webinar about this work:

Kudakwashe Dube

Chief Executive

Kudakwashe Dube is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Africa Disability Alliance and has over 30 years of experience designing, managing, evaluating and monitoring development and disability programmes with international and grassroots movements. He is also chair of trustees of ADD International that fights for independence, equality and opportunities for disabled people living in poverty, alongside organisations of disabled people.

To learn more:

To learn about ADD’s partnership with activists:

Watch Mr. Kudakwashe give a speech on domestic resource mobilisation to ensure inclusion in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This was on behalf of the International Disability and Development Consortium and the Africa Disability Alliance during the Informal Interactive Hearing for Civil Society in preparation of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development on 9 April 2015 at the United Nations: or you can read the transcript:

About ADD International:

To read an article about the African Network for Evidence to Action on Disability:

PART ONE: Virtual Roundtable

Krishna Bahadur Sunar

disability advocate

Krishna Bahadur is a youthful disability rights advocate from Dalit community of Nepal who has a lived experienced of double tires of discrimination and exclusion. Krishna has been advocating for disability rights and inclusion for more than a decade, associating with different like minded social organisations. He is a second generation leader of Nepali disability rights movement, who has been initiating a critical discourse on disability from academic perspective. Having completed a Master Degree in International Cooperation and Development, he is also a development professional with an expertise on disability, human rights and inclusive development. Krishna is currently the Secretary of the National Association of the Physical Disabled-Nepal.

To learn more:

National Association of the Physical Disabled-Nepal:

Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability:

Disabled People International – Asia Pacific Region:

Samantha Sibanda

Disability ACTIVIST

Samantha Sibanda has eight years of experience as a disability activist. She is the Founder of Signs of Hope Trust, Zimbabwe, which empowers and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. She believes in the interdependency of society and that in our diversity, we bring different solutions to development in any area. Her work promotes empowering and self-representation of people with disabilities so that they contribute to decision making. Samantha also coordinates an inclusive Zimbabwean online magazine, ‘Hope Magazine’. She is currently studying special education, with the hope of contributing to the inclusion of children with disabilities in education.

To learn more:

Read about Samantha’s work here:

Watch a film about an advocate explaining some of the issues disabled people face in Zimbabwe:

Abraham Mateta


Abraham Mateta is a lawyer by training and a disability rights activist by calling. He holds among other qualifications, a Bachelor of Law from the University of Zimbabwe and a Masters in International and European Human Rights from the University of Leeds. Mateta has worked in government and the civic society and currently, he is into private practice. He works with various organisations engaging in disability. Mateta is currently the Secretary for the Lawyers with Disabilities Association Zimbabwe Trust, which seeks to advance the rights of disabled lawyers and the rights of all disabled people to get access to justice.

To learn more:

Watch Abraham Mateta advocating for disability rights during elections:

An article about his work:

Read about his legal work getting access for visually impaired voters:

Read about his work championing legal and policy reform for persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe:

With Tsitsi Chataika, Maria Berghs and Kudzai Shava, he wrote “From Whose Perspective Anyway? The Quest for African Disability Rights Activism” a chapter in:

Twitter: @abrahammateta


To learn more:

Disability activism

In the Global North and South current disability activism is focusing on the impact of COVID-19 and how this will affect disability lives:

Read statement form the International Disability Alliance:
Read statement from the European Disability Forum: 
Read an academic article about how medical responses should be disability inclusive:
United Nations (UN) resources on disability and COVID-19: 
Disability and COVID-19: The Global Impact: 
 To understand some of the issues linked to disability in the Global South: 

Read the “World Report on Disability”:

Watch an ADD International film on disability activists:

Watch ‘Fight’ a film by The Guardian about Bolivian disability activism:

Check out academic journals based on and located in the Global South:

Disability and the Global South Journal:

African Journal of Disability:

To understand some of the history of disability activism in the Global North:

Judith Heumann explains why the fight for disability rights is not done yet:

Watch ‘Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution’ to understand disability history in America and Judith’s role:

Read why disability activism in the United States has begun a new movement:

A list of disability activists:

Listen to Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility podcast:

Watch a screening of the film ‘Defiant Lives’ about history of disability activism: 

Defiant Lives introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.