Kirgisistan: Asipa Musayeva

The main thing is not to give up! There is always a way out, even in the most complicated situation.

— Asipa Musayeva

Asipa Musayeva (born 1947) is the president of the Independent Association of Disabled Women of the Kyrgyz Republic. Over the past 15 years, she has accomplished a great deal for the organization and for disabled people, protecting their rights and advocating for them on a national level. She has successfully lobbied for laws to increase opportunities for disabled people to work and participate in society. Asipa conducts seminars, training courses for leaders, particularly from rural areas, on the importance of civil and economic rights for people with disabilities.

Asipa Musayeva began her activity in 1989 addressing economic and social problems of the disabled. She is disabled herself and carries out her work walking on crutches. Asipa is acutely aware of difficulties faced by people with disabilities. Fighting society’s discrimination against the disabled has become Asipa’s main objective. A strong and determined woman, she never gives up. For many of her compatriots who have experienced complicated, limiting physical situations, Asipa gives hope and provides an example of courage and optimism. She believes that the disabled are not a burden on society, but equal members of it, enjoying full rights together with other citizens, including the right to work. Asipa’s organization is the first cooperative body for disabled people in her country. Asipa realized that she would not achieve much working alone, so she decided to unite disabled people in an organization to fight for their rights in a joint effort. As it was previously prohibited for the disabled to work in Kyrgyzstan, she wanted to achieve the right to work. Under the former policy, people with disabilities would receive a meager allowance and had to stay home, idle. People approach her with their problems, and Asipa never refuses them help. She teaches people to remain determined, fight unjust circumstances, believe in their future, and embrace life. She works in cooperation with the government to gain recognition of her organization’s direct benefit to thousands of Kyrgyz citizens with disabilities. She lobbies for laws protecting the civil and social rights of disabled women of Kyrgyzstan. “At present in Kyrgyzstan, people with disabilities are not included in the process of designing laws affecting them,” Asipa says. Therefore, many laws intended to protect the interests of the disabled often do not do so.

Independent Association of Disabled Women