Exploring the Links Between Poverty and Disability in Rural Bangladesh

It is widely recognised that poverty can cause disabilities, and at the same time can exacerbate the detrimental impacts experienced by people already living with various impairments. Also, it is recognised that in many circumstances, disabilities contribute to the kinds of pressures that cause impoverishment.

While these relationships have been recognised across many countries, including in development contexts there is a need to better understand how these causal mechanisms work in particular settings. This paper focuses on exploring examples of how the interaction between poverty and disability takes place in rural Bangladesh in particular cases. We examined these using a chronologically focused life history method of conducting interviews.

This paper is part of a wider mixed-methods project which attempts to explore, and learn from, the experiences of poor people in Bangladesh, to improve policy and social action concerned with both reducing poverty, and with empowering people and their families to cope with disability.

This study draws from 60 life history interviews from 48 households conducted in three districts of Bangladesh by a team of researchers in March, 2016. All the households had a person with a disability as a member, and in three households, two household members had a disability. This paper explores the mechanisms by which poverty caused or exacerbated disabilities, and how people with disabilities fell into poverty, were prevented from escaping poverty, and, in some cases, succeeded in escaping poverty.

Click here to download the paper (via Orandox) 

Author: Peter Davis