A Tongan non-governmental organization says many women with disabilities who face sexual abuse do not seek help as they think it is their fault.

The Talitha Project runs programs for young women in leadership and health as well as programs aimed at helping women and girls with an intellectual disability in Tonga.

The director of the Talitha Project Vanessa Heleta told Pacific Beat that the program is targeting girls between the ages 12 to 19 who often experience violence and are unable to defend themselves.

"A lot of disability girls go through sexual abuse so we're going to try and teach them about their bodies and how to say no to abuse," she said.

"We are also teaching them about sexual encounters and how to know themselves and give them information (on) how to protect themselves."

Ms Heleta says so far, about 200 young girls have been trained on the different forms of violence they could experience.

She says once women are aware of what sexual abuse is, they feel liberated and are more willing to seek help.

"Some of them have come out and share that they have been sexually abused and they thought it was their fault," she said.

"It's a very hidden topic in Tonga, it goes around in the families but young girls they don't say anything because they think its their fault."

Ms Heleta and her team is running a special camp for women with disabilities, called Camp Shriver, for the first time ever in Tonga.

Camp Shriver was founded in the US back in the 1960s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of former US President John F Kennedy, whose vision was that through sports, the lives of people with intellectual disabilities would be transformed and public perceptions would be changed.

"Tonga is one of those countries who shuns people with disabilities especially women and girls, they tend to keep them indoors," Ms Heleta said.

"What we do with people with disabilities (is) we get them to come out and play sports.

"The main aim of the sports is to have fun."

The camp hopes to develop the potential and skills of women with special needs through sports.

Ms Heleta says many are not aware of the challenges faced by special needs people.

"A lot of times, young women without disability look down on women with intellectual disabilities," she said.

"This whole program is really trying to break down that barriers and try and cultivate those skills and potentials of girls with intellectual disability, that they are capable of doing something.

"Not as good as the normal girls without mental disability but just try to get them to appreciate the girls with mental disability and see that they have values and want to be respected."

"Even though it is a disability, we are trying to change it to ability," Ms Heleta said.