Suleyman Akbulut (Season 06 - Episode 10)
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The Voice of Disability Rights: Suleyman Akbulut


Sabanci Foundation Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues in its 6th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to the social development. The 10th Changemaker of the 6th season is Suleyman Akbulut.


What would you do if your life changes in one night at the beginning of your twenties? The answer to this question tells the story of physically handicapped Suleyman Akbulut…He became physically disabled due to a traffic accident in 1991, while he was studying at the Faculty of Economics and Administration in Gazi University. He worked in the management of civil society organizations on disability. He worked in Turkey Spinal Cord Paralytics Association until 2008. He provided trainings to 40 civil society organizations through Social Rights and Studies Association that he had founded. He provided guidance to associations on a lot of issues ranging from civil society projects to legal struggle in public cases. He worked for the capacity development of these associations. 


Suleyman Akbulut played a significant role in the change of approach on disability from help-basis to rights-basis. He established platforms, so that other civil society organizations could also adapt a rights-based approach. In the course of these works, Suleyman Akbulut realized the lack of data on disabled people’s access to society and ensured the record of data through the projects he had led. He formed a basis for regulatory institutions.


Süleyman Akbulut was not weary of life due to his disability, on the contrary, he went out. He struggled for millions of disabled people like himself. He worked for disseminating the understanding that accessibility and equal access to society is not a favor for disabled people, but it is a legal right protected by international legislation. He contributed to the development of tens of civil society organizations. He touched the lives of millions of disabled people. He made a big difference in his own life as well as in the lives of the 8 million disabled people living in Turkey.

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