Persons with disabilities are a heterogeneous group composed with those born with a disability, those who acquire a disability following micro-nutritional deficiencies and /or disease, as well as those who become disabled as a result of accidents or the trauma of life events. They include children and young people, adults and elderly persons. The disabilities may be extensive or moderate and they may have a single disability or be disabled in multiple ways. However, whatever their particular type or degree of disability, they have the same basic needs as other members of the age, gender, economic and socio-cultural group to which they belong.
People with disabilities who are members of poor rural families are therefore marginalised and disadvantaged by a variety of factors - lack of access to productive resources, and to the opportunities, information and skills which enable participation in social, economic and political processes. In addition to these, people with disability are further disadvantaged and handicapped when they encounter social, cultural, physical and economic barriers which severely limit their opportunities to participate in the life of their communities on equal terms with and to an equal extent as non-disabled persons. Because of the prevailing lack of understanding of and concern for their participation, rural persons with disabilities, particularly those who are members of poor families are most vulnerable to social handicaps.