Building Movements

Youth with Disabilities march in Nairobi, Kenya

The Disability Rights Fund believes that a strong movement — extending from local to national to global levels — is the cornerstone for rights to be recognized and achieved for all persons with disabilities.

We also believe that it is critical to work across rights movements as we all have multiple identities; we are women and disabled; we are indigenous and disabled; we are children and disabled.

Activists with disabilities around the world are rejecting a charity approach and asserting the human rights of one billion people with disabilities. Their unique perspectives on rights make them a tremendous asset to the broader rights movement. But mainstream leaders and funders are only slowly recognizing that disability rights are fundamentally human rights.

The newest international human rights treaty – the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – ratified by more than 160 countries, has propelled leaders worldwide to join the movement to change the lives of one billion people with disabilities around the world.

We believe that innovations from this new rights movement can benefit the larger human rights community.

DRF strengthens movements through our:


  • We fund marginalized groups, such as the Deafblind and people with psycho-social disabilities, so they can be part of the broader disability movement and demand change together with other actors
  • We fund coalitions that include partnerships between disabled persons organizations and other civil society actors, such as women’s rights groups, to challenge unequal power relations and strengthen connections for change for all
  • We fund cross-movement work between the disability movement and other movements, such as the Indigenous Peoples movement, to counteract silos between human rights actors and come together for change


  • We advocate to and work with other social justice movements, such as the women’s rights and Indigenous Peoples movements, to ensure they are inclusive of all
  • We assess and monitor trends, progress, and setbacks at the country level to jointly strategize advocacy for change with grantees
  • We forge collaborations with donors to raise awareness and increase resources for persons with disabilities at international and country levels

Technical Assistance

  • We strengthen the capacity of disabled persons organizations to enable them to build strong movements, advocate for lasting systems change, and monitor rights
  • We hold annual grantee convenings in target countries so that organizations of persons with disabilities can share their work and gain access to key decision-makers within government, development agencies, and broader civil society

Read Our Stories