Aisha and friends

BodyTalk

Raising attention for relationships and sexuality amongst young people with a disability and their community.

Combined expertise

Body Talk, a project that runs in the Philipines, Vietnam, and Indonesia, offers structural support for young people with disabilities with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and relationships. The project is launched by Rutgers and the Liliane Foundation together with Yayasan NLR Indonesia, Research Center for Inclusion Vietnam, and NORFIL Foundation in the Philippines.

The topics of sexuality and relationships are often not discussed with young people with a disability by the people closest to them and who guide them to adulthood. There is little to no attention for sexual and reproductive health at school, and healthcare workers do not learn how to support young people with disabilities regarding sexual and reproductive health. These topics are heavily taboo, especially for (young) people with a disability.

Structural support

Sexuality as a natural part of life or an expression of love is not recognised for people with disabilities. It is generally assumed that young people with a disability cannot be good parents or spouses. As a result, stakeholders who should empower young people with disabilities, consciously or unconsciously, deny them the essential right to sexual and reproductive health and relationships. Body Talk aims to structurally support young people with disabilities on the subject of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SHRH).

Thanks to the complementary expertise of all organisations involved in Body Talk, the project offers a guideline, supporting resources, and tools for comprehensive sexuality education for parents and educators. A strong team of local trainers and advisors guides young people with disabilities on SHRH and shares their knowledge with the community. The public campaigns of Body Talk create more understanding of SRHR in the community and pressure governments to take responsibility for the sexual education of young people with disabilities.

Working with and for young people

In this project, young people with disabilities themselves play an important role: they are experts by experience and ambassadors for the rights of young people with a disability. We also collaborate with them on the development of materials. Through Body Talk, we share materials and knowledge with our regional and international network too, so more young people with disabilities worldwide can benefit from this project.

Objectives & results

  • Increase knowledge and empowerment of SRHR amongst young people with a disability;
  • Increase knowledge, acknowledgment, and acceptance in communities of SRHR for young people with a disability;
  • At least 8,000 young people with a disability, aged 12-25 years, are empowered to give their interpretation of their sexual and relational lives with confidence and a positive self-image.
  • Create publications, studies, and guidelines for the general public, governments, and (I)NGOs on how to include youngsters with a disability in their programmes.