Living Life: Disabled Street Preacher
In Living Life today, we tell the story of a 27-year old disabled graduate, who took to the streets to preach in his graduation gown after failing to get employment.
He is not bound by the fact that he has lived in a wheelchair all his life but has instead decided to use his situation to praise God. In Living Life today, we bring you the story of a 27-year old graduate, who took to the streets to preach in his graduation gown after failing to get employment.
Africa: View On Disability - Are Disabled Kids in School After All?
By Joshua Howgego
SciDev.Net recently reported on an economic analysis by Nobel laureate Eric Maskin that presents education as a solution to inequality. Education is often promoted as a route out of poverty. And when it comes to schooling disabled children, many global development professionals believe the biggest challenge is to simply get them into the classroom, according to disability researcher Hannah Kuper of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.
But a new study she led indicates that the majority of disabled children in the developing world are in some form of education. So, she says, it's time for the debate to move on from "getting bums on seats" to focusing on the quality of education these children get and their overall school experience.
The study by Kuper's team was published in PLOS One last month.  It used data from surveys of almost a million children in 49 nations across the developing world that are sponsored in programmes run by children's charity Plan. And it showed that, generally, 60-70 per cent of surveyed children with disabilities were in school (although there were exceptions to this rule - see graph).
The study shows that on average 60-70 per cent of disabled children are in education, which in developing nations may not be so far from the proportion of children without disabilities. Nonetheless, there are some countries - including Egypt and Guinea - where the inequality is more pronounced.
The surveys were designed to inform the letters Plan sends to update Western donors who sponsor the children. Although the questions are basic, one asks whether the child has an impairment or disability.
Since the exact same questions are used in each country, the resulting data are directly comparable and therefore powerful, Kuper tells me.
"The vast majority of the literature on disability is small, qualitative studies," she says, noting that even the WHO's World report on disability is built on information from such studies.  "Our study is large and uses the same question across different countries, so it's comparable - and that's what's unique about it."
A caveat is that the children that Plan helps have received aid and so may be more likely to have access to education and to come from poor backgrounds than the rest of the population. But Kuper says several other studies she conducted in individual countries back up the finding. One, conducted in Malawi, found that 73 per cent of the 2,700 children with disabilities surveyed were in education. 
Kuper adds that other NGOs - including World Vision, which runs its own sponsor-a-child programme - conduct similar studies using the data that they already collect for research.
The PLOS One study also reveals that, among those surveyed, about a third more boys than girls have disabilities. And the results show differences in the prevalence of different types of disability reported across continents - for example, mental disabilities were seldom reported in Africa but were more commonly flagged elsewhere. Although Kuper has theories about the causes of these trends, she says more research is needed to unpick their genesis.
But her main aim is for her results to help move debates around the schooling of disabled children away from merely getting such children into education and towards discussing how to ensure the teaching they get is good quality.
Joshua Howgego is SciDev.Net's deputy news and opinions editor. @jdhowgego
 Hannah Kuper and others The impact of disability on the lives of children; cross-sectional data including 8,900 children with disabilities and 898,834 children without disabilities across 30 countries (PLOS One, 9 September 2014)
 World report on disability (WHO, 2011)
 The Malawi key informant child disabilit
Sudan: Providing Education for Central Darfur's Deaf Community
By Sharon Lukunka
Anour Mohammed Anour, a 55-year-old, is one of the oldest students enrolled at the Centre for the Deaf in Zalingei, Central Darfur. The centre is the only facility of its kind providing formal education for deaf students in the area.
The students are taught how to write and use sign language in an enabling learning atmosphere. They come from nearby camps for internally displaced persons as well as from Zalingei town and surrounding villages. The centre first began its activities with only seven students and over the time that number has risen to more than 60 students.
All the students in the centre are deaf ranging from primary school ages to elderly men and women. Hanan Bakhit, a 12-years-old, and Khadiga Taha Rezegalla, a 16-years-old, both from Hamediya camp for displaced persons, indicate that this is the only form of education they receive because the other schools in the camp are not able to accommodate students with a disabilities, especially the ones with a hearing loss.
Talib Eldean Adam Idries was born deaf and didn't learn how to communicate until he enrolled at a school for deaf people in Khartoum in 1985. He explains that he was working in the Sudanese capital when he learned that there was a specialized institution for deaf people nearby.
Following the completion of his studies, he returned to his home in Zalingei and established the first union and the centre for the deaf in 2006 aimed at providing a platform for the deaf community from different backgrounds to learn how to communicate. Some of the students travelled long distances to attend the lessons that at the beginning were conducted under a make-shift tent made of thatched grass.
Mr. Idries says that his centre has not benefitted from financial support from local institutions. UNAMID and other UN agencies have been providing much needed support including the construction of classrooms, toilets and a perimeter wall as well as the distribution of educational materials.
Through UNAMID's quick impact projects, Civil Affairs funded the construction of three classrooms in 2007. Currently, one room is used as office space for the teachers while the other two are used for primary and secondary school education for the deaf students. The Mission also plans to construct additional classrooms and a workshop to enable the centre with a form of income generating activities.
"Every child deserves an education, especially children with disabilities. That is why within our limited resources, we took up this project to assist the school so that students can acquire an education to learn how to communicate, it is their right," says Tahir Cevik, UNAMID Civil Affairs Team Leader in Central Darfur.
In addition, in 2012, UNAMID's UN Volunteers programme painted the classrooms and the fence as well as constructed a shelter as part of its community activities. UNAMID is also mobilizing support from other relevant agencies operating in the area to assist the centre for deaf.
Mr. Idries says the parents have expressed appreciation to the school for such assistance because before they brought their children there some parents were unable to fulfil their child's special needs, some stayed at home to take care of it while others were seen roaming the streets.
Many children with such disabilities were not accepted in formal education and even after their graduation no one would hire them so they had to return to their lands to farm. "They are sometimes marginalized and segregated within their own communities," affirms Mr. Idries.
Mr. Idries is not discouraged by the lack of funding that the centre he created is suffering. Even if the school has some limitations, for example, there is only one text book available for all the students due to its high cost, he is satisfied that he can assist the deaf community in his hometown and would like to reach out to more in other locations.
"The centre has become a home and a school for these students where they can receive such adequate training," says Mr. Idries, who is proud of his achievements.
Disabled Union In NBGS Calls For International Support For Peace In South Sudan
In a memo presented to United Nations Mission In South Sudan branch office in Aweil, one to the governor office and another one to the peace commission in the state, hundreds of disabled Union members in the state capital matched in rows as they shout for ‘PEACE! PEACE!’
07 October 2014
Disabled Union In NBGS Calls for International support for Peace in South Sudan
Disabled members posed for group photo in their centre at Malou-aweer after presenting their petition to UNMISS [Photo|Gurtong Correspondent}
By Gurtong Correspondent
AWEIL, 6 October 2014- Under theme ‘Support peace loving citizens for peaceful coexistence’ they strongly called on international communities to recognize and support the ongoing peace talks in Addis-Ababa so that citizens of South Sudan enjoy everlasting peace.
“We, the disabled Union in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state are calling for the international communities to support the ongoing peace process in Addis-Ababa. We are urging for every peace loving people around the globe to support and stand with our legitimate president H.E Salva Kiir in order to safeguard the lives of innocent citizens of South Sudan who have suffered for more than 50 years.” The petition reads in part.
They also urged the warring parties to respect and commit to final peace dealt as they go back for another peace round talks in the upcoming days in Ethiopian capital, Addis-Ababa. In recognition of the losses incurred on citizens and properties, the group calls for an immediate cease fire from both ends so that there is no more bloodshed across the country.
“We strongly condemn this senseless war led by the rebels’ leader Riek Machar Teny and we are much concerned about this; and would like to express our appeal through this petition that Riek Machar must accept an unconditional peace. We don’t need any more increment of disabled this country… enough is enough of what happened in the past.” The petition partially reads.
“To be precise and focus, we assembled here as the disabled community to call for UN agencies, International organizations operating in NBGS through UNMISS to convey this message of our concern that we want peace to prevail in our country , we want every citizen in this country to have every right they deserve to as people of one country.” The letter further reads.
Northern Bahr el Ghazal state Union of Disabled [NBGUD] was established in 2007 and became officially operational in 2008. The Union has the departments of blind, deaf and lame. So far, only 154 lame members have been registered since its establishment. The union uses to get little fund from an international organization known as CSI which provides them with wheelchairs and tents.
Disabled persons in Aweil protest against war
AWEIL (7 Oct.)
Dozens of members of the disabled community of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State demonstrated for peace on Monday and against the country’s ten-month old war, which has been led by the SPLA faction leaders Riek Machar and Salva Kiir.
Fighters of the two warring factions SPLA-IO and SPLA-Juba have displaced 1.7 million people, killed tens of thousands of people, and pillaged the towns Bor, Mayom, Malakal, Leer, Bentiu, Nasser, and numerous villages.
Protesters in the state capital Aweil on Monday marched and wheeled their way toward the base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where they presented a petition urging the international community to support peace efforts. They also presented their petition to the state government.
William Deng, representative of the disabled, said that the war has created hatred, tribalism and injustice.
“We don’t need more disability to happen in the South because this will wound the nation itself,” said William, speaking on the UN radio service in South Sudan.
For its part, the UN peacekeeping mission says that it urges disabled persons to “spread the message of peace” in their communities.
This is one of the first peace protests reported in the Bahr al Ghazal region since the start of the war. The region is controlled by the SPLA-Juba faction.
Photo credit: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Reaching the Deaf for Christ: Part Two
Mission Network News
PUBLISHED BY KATEY HEARTH ON OCTOBER 8, 2014
(Graphic cred: WitsLanguageSchool.com)
(Graphic credit WitsLanguageSchool.com)
Africa (MNN) - In Part Two of our series about reaching the deaf for Christ, we’ll explore challenges and growth in Africa with Wycliffe Bible Translators, Wycliffe Associates, The Seed Company and Deaf Opportunity OutReach (DOOR).
With help from the Wycliffe coalition, DOOR is equipping national believers to tackle the stigma surrounding deafness and introduce people to Christ.
DOOR’s Rob Myers says many challenges face the families of hearing-impaired people in Africa compared to those in Western civilization; prime among them are prevalence and perception.
Healthcare issues in the underdeveloped and often impoverished nations of Africa contribute significantly to the commonality of deafness.
An African child signs "I Love You" in gratitude for the Gospel DVD he received from DOOR. (Photo cred: DOOR)
“You tend to find a higher percentage of deaf people among the populations,” Myers notes. “Oftentimes, children between the ages of five and eight will contract a disease that will subsequently cause them to lose their hearing.”
Another challenge to reaching the deaf for Christ in Africa is the perception of deafness itself. Many communities view deafness as a curse.
“The [deaf] child often becomes a source of shame for that family,” explains Myers. The perception of deafness as a curse usually results in deaf children being hidden away and completely isolated from society.
“90% of deaf children are actually born to hearing parents, so most of the time they grow up in a dysfunctional family because they have no means of communicating with their parents,” Myers adds.
Liberating Africa’s Deaf
Since many deaf communities in Africa are unreached, DOOR uses an “alternative” method of sign language Bible translation to introduce deaf people to Christ. It’s called “Chronological Bible Storying (CBS).”
DOOR uses a three-step CBS process and materials for evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship called Know God How, Follow God How, and Serve God How, respectively.
“That entire series constitutes 110 stories and lays a primary biblical foundation for a people group so that they can really understand what Christianity is about,” Myers explains.
DOOR staff in Africa celebrate the translation of evangelism, discipleship and fellowship materials. (Photo cred: DOOR)
Five African nations-Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania-recently completed translation and production of the complete 110-story series. DOOR held a grand celebration to mark the occasion, and more breakthroughs came forth.
“During that celebration, we had the country of Nigeria finish the first series of 32 stories,” shares Myers.
“We also had our Kenya translation team finish a series of translator notes and Bible study notes, or commentaries, that we call ‘The Deeps.'”
He says these commentaries will be extremely helpful for future sign language translation work.
As you pray, ask the Lord how He would have you support deaf ministry in Africa. For more details on the ministry of DOOR, click here to visit their Web site.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore how you can be a part of reaching the deaf for Christ in your own community through Faith Comes By Hearing.
Read Reaching the Deaf for Christ: Part One.
Neglected Wa School for the Deaf calls for help
As difficult as it is for students at the Wa School for the deaf to communicate with persons who do not understand sign language; they have been rendered incapable of speaking even among themselves at night.
Owing to the current unavailability of light bulbs on the school campus, students have been deprived of the ability to communicate with each other.
Speaking to Joy FM’s Upper West correspondent, Rafiq Salam, headmaster of the school, Babiina Samuel Babinuo explained that aside from the light bulbs fitted in the students’ dormitories, none exist on other parts of the over forty acre campus.
Mr. Babinuo explained that the pupils communicate through sign language and facial expressions; something that’s difficult to interpret without adequate visibility, and especially at night.
“We talk with our hands; we don’t talk with our mouths and the person who is listening will have to listen with his eyes. So if the person listening with the eyes can’t see then it will be useless,” he said.
He expressed concern over the inability of students to conduct prep in their classrooms in the evenings, and for their safety as they move about the campus; especially as streetlights, despite being wired, are also not fitted with light bulbs.
Of the three latrines, which serve over three hundred students on the campus, one is in deplorable condition; having been overtaken by weeds.
Despite school authorities closing the structure down and earmarking it for demolition, Mr. Babinuo stated that the students sneak out to attend to nature’s call at the facility, and raised concerns over the possibility of a student(s) falling into the pit.
He mentioned that the school has written to the Wa Municipal Assembly on several occasions to assist with demolition of the structure and has yet to receive a response.
Further deploring the lack of support to properly run the school, Mr. Babinuo said the buildings on the campus were in a state of massive disrepair.
He stated that a contractor had been brought in four years ago to renovate the buildings - to fix problems such as crumbling walls and leaky roofs. The contractor, however, only ripped off the roofs of some of the buildings, rendering some classrooms water-logged.
“The failure of the contractor to finish the job has hindered students and staff in several ways. Because it is a special school we are supposed to have about seven students in a class but we are now forced to have over twenty in a class," he posited.
He lamented the unavailability of transportation for the school as all three vehicles for the school have ruined tyres which have not been replaced.
This unfortunate situation, he said, has resulted in the school mothers (teachers) piggy-backing sick children to and from the campus whenever they are in need of medical attention.
‘‘We are not fair to the school mothers; we shouldn’t use them like pack animals,” he concluded.
Caring mom takes up struggle of the deaf
Sowetan Live (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog) By Vicky Somniso-Abraham | 10 18, 2014 HOUSE number 55 at Esangweni Section in Tembisa on the East Rand has become a safe haven for the deaf community.
It is a home where wonderful and painful stories of many deaf people are shared. Due to the number of people who flock to the four-roomed house, one could mistakenly think it belongs to an established organisation for the deaf.
But it is owned by South African sign language (SASL) interpreter Senzi Motha who has opened her heart and home to the deaf.
Motha, 53, was introduced to sign language by her adopted deaf daughter and former colleague, Sylvia Manganye, 37, in 2002. Back then she could not sign and they had to communicate in writing.
"When she joined our company in Wynberg, I asked her to teach me three letters of the alphabet a day until I completed 26. She then taught me how to sign names and that's where everything started. On the eighth month, I was interpreting for her when we had meetings at work," Motha recalls.
Their relationship grew stronger and, in 2004, Manganye moved in with Motha and her late husband Titus. This brought Motha closer to other deaf people she met through Manganye and she has now become a pillar of strength to many.
"I'm in good relations with the deaf community. I have 30 sons and 50 daughters who are deaf.
"They flock to my house to seek help and my son [her biological son Nkosinathi] would jokingly say 'incane lendlu [this house is smal]; we'd better call the house DeafSA' and we would laugh about it."
This good Samaritan also offers counselling to abused women and those who are HIV-positive as well as marriage and relationship counselling.
"I normally encourage people to get tested so that they can know their status. I inform those who are HIV-positive that it is not a death sentence, there is still life afterwards. They need to take treatment and live a healthy life. I also encourage those who are not, to abstain from sex or use protection."
Motha worked at DeafSA Gauteng as a volunteer HIV/Aids project interpreter from 2010 to 2013 and would assist in other departments.
She says the major challenge in the deaf community is the lack of qualified interpreters. Realising this shortage, Motha decided to learn basic sign language at Wits University in 2004.
Because of her affection for the deaf, she now interprets for them at weddings, funerals, during court cases and at disciplinary hearings at no cost.
"I interpret what the pastor is saying when they exchange marriage vows. During funerals I interpret songs and their messages. I also go with them to hospital and to private doctors for consultations because the doctors cannot sign," Motha says.
"The deaf people are supposed to pay me but they don't. I don't worry about that because it's a calling to help them," she says.
This year she intervened in a sexual harassment dispute between Manganye and a colleague at her workplace in Midrand. The case was heard at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court and the court granted Manganye a protection order against the perpetrator for five years. The order prohibits him from having any physical contact with her, sexually harassing her or assaulting her in any manner.
Despite learning the basics at Wits University, Motha could not practise as an interpreter until she had completed her matric. This she did at Kwazini Adult Centre in Tembisa in June this year.
"Passing matric will help me to find a permanent job as I am freelancing and helping the NPOs (nonprofit organisations) in Tembisa."
Motha says the scandal that broke out during former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service through fake interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie speaks of their many challenges.
"It hurts that people who are fooling others get top jobs, but I know God will reward me".
For more stories like this one, be sure to buy the Sowetan newspaper from Mondays to Fridays
After world travels, resident continues to help deaf community
Frederick News Post (subscription)-
John Madison is an American Sign Language interpreter for students at Frederick Community College.
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014 2:00 am
By Paige Jones News-Post Staff | 0 comments
Posted on Oct 19, 2014by paigeleejones
After working in education for more than 50 years, John Madison moved to Africa to further pursue his calling of helping the deaf community.
Madison, a New York native who now lives in Frederick, published the first Namibian sign language book in collaboration with a deaf artist, allowing beginning signers in the country to learn the language. “The fact that the signs in that book were Namibian signs” was significant, he said, because allowing Namibia’s deaf community to record their language was empowering.
“In some countries, American Sign Language is imposed on deaf people,” Madison said. “It’s wrong.”
During his three years in Namibia, Madison also collaborated with deaf people to extend Namibian sign vocabulary for secondary education, adding signs for academic words such as democracy and precipitation. The absence of these words had prevented most deaf Namibian children from pursuing secondary education since none were able to pass the required test.
After his experience in Africa, which also included a year in Malawi, Madison returned to the U.S. in 2006 and soon after moved to Frederick with his wife.
“If I was younger, I’d go back” to Africa, Madison said.
Madison, who is partially deaf, said he survived school by glancing at his fellow students’ desks ? for notes, page numbers and more. His grades would plummet the years he had a soft-spoken teacher and was often unable to hear the lessons. While most of his peers detested the teachers with loud, shrill voices, Madison said he enjoyed them because he could hear what was being said.
“We had little desks bolted to the floor,” he said, describing the school he attended as a child in the countryside of New York. “It was like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ but not much better.”
Despite his early struggles in education, Madison graduated from high school and attended college at the State University of New York in Geneseo. He worked 40 hours a week to pay his way through school and took classes six days a week, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and elementary education in 1962.
After graduation, Madison taught all levels of education in New York, Illinois, Maryland and even Florida, where he used computers and video cameras to teach students from all over the country online at Nova Southeastern University during the mid-1990s.
“I wanted to see what it was like teaching with technology,” he said. “It was a good experience. I enjoyed it.”
It was not until Madison joined Gallaudet University as a faculty member in his 40s that he learned American Sign Language. After an intensive orientation, he continued to learn sign language while teaching classes, seeking help from his deaf students when needed.
Today, Madison is retired but continues to serve as an American Sign Language interpreter for local organizations and schools, including Frederick Community College and Frederick County public schools.
“I decided to do it all,” he said.
Follow Paige Jones on Twitter: @paigeleejones.
South Africa: Basic Education Department Is Neglecting Deaf LearnersAllAfrica.com-
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Tanzania: Telecom Firm Continues to Support...
By Sonja Boshoff
A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that only 92 teachers of the total number of 1 232 teachers in Schools for the Deaf are qualified in South African Sign Language. The reply also revealed that an additional 127 teachers have received rudimentary training that covers grammatical or linguistic structures of South African Sign Language.
This shortfall cannot be accepted and I will, therefore, be requesting a meeting with the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshegka and the Chief Director of Inclusive Education, Dr Simelane, to discuss what interventions will be put in place to ensure that these learners are given the education they so desperately need.
Another aspect which is of concern is that of the 30 schools for the deaf, only 15 have the requisite equipment to record learner assessment activities.
This serves to highlight the neglect of children in our education system who are vulnerable. It is a clear indication that these learners are faced with serious backlogs. Not dealing with this severe backlog will only serve to compound the problem and will leave deaf children and children with hearing impairments without the necessary skills to make a living and deal with the everyday challenges faced by the deaf.
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, must align her department with the National Development Plan (NDP) and ensure that all South Africans have access to training and education of the highest quality. Only then will education become an important instrument to opening opportunities and the reduction of inequality.
It is vitally important that in the new financial year funds be made available to purchase the necessary equipment for these schools and that more emphasis is placed on teacher training in appropriate sign language.
Amend ballot paper for the deaf - activist
The Coordinator of the Federation of the Disabled, Shirley Keoagile, has appealed to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to amend the ballot paper to include face pictures of politicians.
By MARANYANE NGWANAAMOTHO Wed 22 Oct 2014, 17:02 pm (GMT +2)
She said they had realised this after they conducted an assessment among the disabled and trained them on how to go through the voting process. Keoagile explained that the deaf depend on sight, and would need to see facial pictures of the representatives. “The deaf want to see pictures of faces because they know only a few politicians, and might also not know the parties and which of those certain individuals belong to,” she said. She added that party symbols would be confusing more especially as there are new political parties.
“It would be hard to pin point who belongs to which party. With pictures, the process would be easier as they would recognise faces and could immediately identify people,” she said. Keoagile said the IEC had recently introduced Braille for the visually impaired, which was a positive development. She however pleaded that the deaf be included. The IEC has reportedly stated that they don’t have a budget to accommodate the deaf.
“There are four forms of communication which are English, Setswana, Braille and sign language. It is not fair to leave the other out and say it is because you do not have money,” she said. She said Botswana should learn from other countries, like South Africa, which included everyone in their election communication debate. Keoagile claimed that she had suggested to Botswana Television (Btv) management to have a sign interpreter during the elections’ debates that were hosted for Members of Parliament on television.
“They however said it was expensive. I then suggested sub-titles but they didn’t do that either. This is not fair. We are part of society and have the right to not only vote but also partake in the political discourse,” she said.
She added that the television debates would have been very helpful especially to the disabled who are unable to access freedom squares to get the message for themselves.
“Old people, even the young struggle to push wheelchairs to freedom squares. They have missed out on all the information but they still have to vote which is not fair,” she said. Meanwhile, IEC has reportedly agreed for the federation to submit its own people to observe how the disabled fare at polling stations. “We want to know if our people are struggling to read, to see, to use Braille and document their whole experience,” said Keoagile. Officials from Btv and IEC were not available for comment at the time of going to print.
- See more at: http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=46852#sthash.G5mpUZoQ.dpuf
Rwanda: Deaf and Mute Girl Sits PLE, Wants to Become an Accountant
By Jean d'Amour Mbonyinshuti
When Alice Mugwaneza started primary education at the age of seven, she was overwhelmed with joy and was optimistic about the future.
But her excitement was short-lived as her teachers said they could not help her owing to her hearing loss and muteness.
Mugwaneza was, therefore, compelled to sit at home for some years since there was no other school in her area that could admit her.
But she never lost hope and continued to look around for an alternative school.
A few months later, Mugwaneza got an opportunity to join Wisdom Nursery and Primary School and is now sitting her Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) that started on Tuesday.
A total of 165,284 candidates are sitting for this year's Primary Leaving Examinations from various examination centres across the country.
Candidates started with Social Studies and Mathematics. Yesterday, they sat for Science and Elementary Technology and the exams are expected to end today with English.
Life at school
At Gashangiro II in Musanze District, Mugwaneza sits calmly in the examination hall and smiles as she puts the last full stop on her Mathematics script.
Much as she can't speak to me, she writes on my note book to share her impression about the exams.
"The exam was simple. I am now preparing for the next paper," Mugwaneza says before her interpreter, Jacqueline Mukandayisenga, joins us.
Mugwaneza, the last born in a family of three, explains that her hearing and speech limitations do not hinder her concentration in class.
She says she mainly focuses on the blackboard, the teacher's lips and signs used to explain a concept. And she has never repeated any class.
"My parents want me to do tailoring but my dream is to become an accountant," Mugwaneza says.
She appeals to the community not to discriminate against people with disabilities but rather to accord them all support so they can access education and health care.
"If I succeed, I will help as many deaf people or people with disabilities as possible so that they can be independent," Mugwaneza says.
Unlike her disabled friends who are stigmatised in other schools, Mugwaneza says her school is different as she socialises with other students freely.
Mugwaneza's parents say she is courageous and well behaved.
"She first studied in Kigali but we transfered her to a school in Kisoro District, Uganda after failing to find a place in the boarding section," says Beatha Nyiramutuzo, her mother.
"Although she had passed Primary Seven exams in Uganda, maintaining her there became expensive. She came back to Rwanda and was asked to go back to Primary Four at Wisdom Nursery and Primary School two years ago so she can better adjust to the new environment," Nyiramutuzo adds.
What teachers say
Mukandayisenga says despite Mugwaneza hearing and speech limitations, she beats most of her 'normal' classmates.
Elie Nduwayesu, the founder of Wisdom Nursery and Primary school, says deaf learners study alone for four years while acquiring technical and vocational skills before they join 'normal' students.
He, however, says they still face some kind of discrimination in school and the community as a whole.
Address abuse of common fund allocation to persons with disability
The President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, has condemned the abuse of the 2% of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) that is meant for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Debrah, was speaking at a press conference held by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) under the theme, ‘Promoting the rights of the marginalised: A case of the abuse of the Common Fund Allocation to Persons with Disability.’
Challenges the president of the Federation pointed out included the withholding of information about the funds to the disability fund management committees, the use of the fund without the knowledge of the district PWD organisations, the reluctance of some parents and guardians to educate their disabled wards with their own money but with the funds, the non-release of the statutory funds by the government, the usurping of the use of the funds by the assemblies, and to a smaller extent, the mismanagement of the funds by some members of PWD organisations.
The president also used the occasion to express his gratitude to the MFWA and to the media for supporting their cause.
He also gave examples of some of the benefits PWDs have obtained from the fund, including business and education financing.
He observed that apart from South Africa, Ghana was the only other African country he knew with a specific funding policy for PWDs.
He also used the occasion to explain the hardships that PWDs endure.
He said that many of them had had to result to begging since they had no other source of income or support.
They have also been largely excluded from matters of policy.
He concluded by calling on government to co-operate with GFD to monitor the disbursement of the funds.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA, expressed his shock that funds as little as 2% of the DACF were not being regularly made available to PWDs.
He called for all stakeholders to do their best to ensure the regular disbursements of these funds.
Deaf association pleads for help
By Tuyeimo Haidula
THE Namibian National Association of the Deaf has once again raised public awareness of the many challenges it faces, among them academic financial assistance for hearing impaired learners.
There are currently about 27 000 deaf people in Namibia.
NNAD executive national chairperson Paul Nanyeni said with the support of founding President Sam Nujoma the association will be hosting a fund-raising gala dinner to raise funds for the association. The University of Namibia's Foundation will also join hands.
Nanyeni said his organisation wishes to advance the training of sign language interpreters in Namibia, and to develop sign language dictionaries for use in schools for the deaf.
He said NNAD also plans to hold workshops for the deaf community on HIV-AIDS and other diseases. “We need to facilitate advocacy workshops in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Nanyeni said.
NNAD was established in 1991 and is officially registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services as a welfare organisation, and is the sole representative of hearing impaired persons in Namibia.
The gala dinner will be held on 6 November 2014 at the Windhoek Country Club and Casino, and a braai on 8 November at the Zoo Park.
Nanyeni requested interested individuals and companies to book a table valued at N$10 000 to support the initiative.
Deaf football team cry for help
The national deaf football team has appealed to corporate entities and the government to help facilitate their second participation in the upcoming West Africa Deaf Football tournament slated for the Keque Stadium in Lome, Togo, from November 3 to 9.
The team’s parent body, the Ghana Paralympic Committee (GPC), which made the appeal, stated that many attempts to solicit support from some corporate agencies had proved futile, hence resorting to the state to step in.
“We are still canvassing for financial support to make the trip to Lome through corporate agencies but it has yielded no results, so we are on our knees appealing for support from well-wishers and corporate agencies to come to our aid”, Ignatius Elletey, Secretary General of the GPC said.
Team coach, Winfred Chartey Annan, told the Daily Graphic last Friday that the players were in high spirits and are prepared for the tournament but lack of funds was hampering their efforts.
“I am appealing to all stakeholders in football and the government to support us for this trip and ensure we travel to Togo for this all- important tournament for these physically challenged athletes,” he stated.
The deaf squad last won silver at the third edition of the tournament in Benin last year and hope to go for the gold in Togo if funds are released for their participation.
The team is due to begin a non-residential camping on October 27 in preparation for the eight-nation tournament.
The participating teams are Republic of Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo.
Disabled want their own department
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY FAITH MATETE
THEY'RE PART OF US: Kisumu police boss Musa Kongoli and regional traffic commandant Joseph Omukata after a forum for the disabled at Central police station on April 13.Photo/Faith Matete
PEOPLE living with disabilities in Kisumu county want the county to create a department to address their needs.
They said the department should not be hidden under the department of Health and Social Services.
Speaking in Kisumu town on Tursday, their representative Singi Osodo said the department should be well-funded.
Osodo said the county government should allocate them an easily accessible office at the county governments building.
He said with the existence of the department, it would be easier for the governor to address the problems disabled people face.
The chairman said the department will also ensure people living with disabilities are not left out in resource allocation.
“We urge employers not to look at the disability of a person but find out what they can do," he said.
Osodo appealed to the county government to fight for their rights because they are taken for granted by some leaders.
“Whenever events are organised we should be considered. We need interpreters for us not to feel isolated," he said.
Disabled 'cry' over 2% common fund
Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has raised concerns about what they say is the misuse of their two percent share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF).
They blamed the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) of misappropriating the fund meant for the welfare of disabled people in their area.
President of the Federation, Yaw Ofori Debrah expressed this frustration at a workshop to discuss the implementation, disbursement, management and the monitoring of the District Assemblies Common Fund organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
He blamed the MMDAs of flouting the guidelines which explicitly states the provisions for the disbursement.
Mr Debrah described as worrying the unclear guidelines, disbursement and utilization of the fund by district executives makes it difficult to evaluate what the districts are doing with the funds meant for disabled beneficiaries.
“The provision provides that the MMDAs separate accounts for the 2% of the DACF at each MMDAs. Formation of a disability fund management committee comprising a representative of the local Ghana federation of the disabled” he added.
Mr. Ofori Debrah said the disabled in the country resort to begging on the streets due to untoward hardships they face in their daily lives.
“Persons with disability are the vulnerable in the society and as such needed to be well-taken care of to reduce poverty among them and to improve their standard of living” he bemoaned.
For his part, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Ibraimah called on the MMDAs to use their share of the common fund to alleviate poverty among persons with disability.
He stressed that the “two percent allocation is supposed to go into activities that will support our brothers or sisters who need some level of special support.”
Mr. Ibraimah also urged the media to focus more on the issues concerning the disabled and champion their cause.
Chilima inaugurates Malawi Council for the Handicapped flag week
– Malawi breaking news in Malawi
October 27, 2014 Nyasa Times Reporter
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima on Monday inaugurated the 2014 Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) Flag Week in Lilongwe with a call to uplift and empower people with disabilities, saying they too can contribute to national development.
Chilima inaugurates this year’s MACOHA Flag Week
The aim of the MACOHA Flag Week is to raise funds as well as awareness on the need for inclusiveness of people leaving with disabilities.
“The Malawi government, under the leadership of his Excellency the President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is committed in the implementation of disability programs and also uplifting the lives of persons with disabilities in the country,” said Chilima in his speech after buying the first flag.
The Vice President appealed to organizations and individuals to contribute something to MACOHA during the week.
“I would like to appeal to all Malawians to generously donate towards the MACOHA 2014 Flag Week. We should all remember that disability is a National issue not an Individual issue - therefore we must all take part in empowering persons with disabilities,” he said.
Speaking earlier, both Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and Peter Ngomwa acting Executive Director for MACOHA said there is need to do much to reach out to the about half a million people with disabilities especially those in rural areas.
The MACOHA Flag Week, which started Monday (October 27, 2014) will on November 1, 2014.
Assemblies Borrow Disability Fund
spyghana.com NEWSOCTOBER 28, 2014-NO COMMENT
The Federation of Disabled, has expressed concern about the mismanagement of the two percent of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund allocated to Persons With Disabilities.
GHANA FEDERATION OF DISABLEDMr Isaac Tuggan, Advocacy Officer for the Federation, alleged that management of the fund was fraught with problems because the districts borrowed the money and did not pay back.
Mr Tuggan named some of the districts which were allegedly involved as the Lawra and Bole which had borrowed the money and were yet to pay. Ketu South which had also borrowed some of money, had paid back
Mr Tuggan who said this at a press conference in Accra alleged that Ledzokuku-Krowor and La Dade Kotopon Municipal Assemblies had also “become purchasing officers of items meant for the Federation, adding that they buy the items from friends at very high prices”.
The conference was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), to bring to light challenges faced by the Federation with the disbursement and utilization of the fund.
He said if the Committee managing the fund could provide bank statement to the Federation, it would help members to have an idea of how much money was provided, how much was spent and what was left, instead of keeping the information from members.
Mr Ofori Debrah, President of the Federation, said Common Fund Allocation for the last quarter of the year 2013 was provided only last month, but the Federation had not received anything thing at all for this year..
“As we talk now we haven’t seen anything and don’t see any sign either”, he said, adding that the amount varies from district to district.
He said though the fund was laudable, people who should benefit, did not get the full benefit, adding that sometimes information from the banks as to the availability of the fund was also difficult to get.
Mr Ofori urged government to do some monitoring of the utilization of the fund, and appealed to the Media to keep an eye on the allocation and disbursement of the fund to disabled persons.
He said the existence of the Federation had helped many disabled persons to be empowered, to occupy positions in government and other offices, citing the example of the Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Seidu Danaa.
Mr Ofori explained that due to the delay in the disbursement of the fund some of their members were forced to go on to the streets to beg.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Sulemana Braimah, , asked Journalists to carry out investigations to unravel some of the mismanagement issues.
8,000 Children are visually impaired
About 8,000 children below 15 years are visually impaired in Ghana.
The major causes of childhood blindness are malnutrition, measles, vitamin A deficiency, use of harmful traditional eye medicine among others. The Director of Eye Care, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Oscar Debrah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Junior Graphic said some eye diseases in children which often led to blindness could have been prevented if detected early.
He, therefore, asked parents to look out for any abnormalities in their babies’ eyes when they are born.
Dr Debrah asked parents to be suspicious when the eyes of children begin to discharge any fluids or are bigger than normal.
He also said that if a baby closes or turns away the eyes when it sees light around the period that it is one week old or right after birth, parents should report to the clinic.
He added that if parents notice that the cornea or black part of the eye was white or hazy and also has a white patch in the centre of the cornea, it could be congenital glaucoma or congenital cataract and should not be ignored.
Dr Debrah said when this occurred parents should take the child to a health facility for further tests since some of such conditions could be corrected or the mother would be advised to bring the child to the hospital for assessment at a later date.
“Usually parents delay in sending such babies to a health facility with the excuse that the baby was too young. They wait for over a year by which time some of the damages would have become permanent”, he explained.
He encouraged parents to send their children regularly for immunisation so that some of the major causes of childhood blindness such as measles or vitamin A deficiency could be prevented.
He was happy to note that due to the frequent immunisation programmes, the cases of cornea scar which is as a result of these diseases have been reduced.
Dr Debrah said when children played with sharp objects such as pencils and pens or broomsticks which were usually infected if they accidentally pierced the eye it caused trauma to the eye.
When this remained untreated, Dr Debrah said it could also result in blindness and advised parents, guardians and teachers to discourage children, from playing with sharp objects.
He said before a child starts school, he/she should go for a refraction test ( vision test ) because a child could suffer from long or short sightedness and might need glasses to correct it else that could affect his or her academic performance because reading from the blackboard or notes would be difficult.
Dr Debrah said if a child needed spectacles it was important for parents not to refuse to provide it because wearing spectacles corrected the problem.
He also advised students to use bright lights to study when the lights go off so that they do not strain their eyes.
South Africa: Taking Basic Education to Greater Heights
By More Matshediso
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says while a lot of progress has been made in improving the standard of education in the country, more needs to be done to take education to the next level.
"We have made progress towards universal coverage of school going children. We have made progress in the introduction of Early Childhood Development," she said.
Minister Motshekga was addressing teachers during the 8th National Congress of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) held in Boksburg, Gauteng.
She said SADTU was a beacon of hope and commended it for its "bravery, tenacity and a firm resolve to put the interest of South Africa's children first, for all of the past 24 years".
She said there has been progress towards eliminating mud schools and inappropriate school structures, replacing them with state-of-the-art buildings, especially in historically neglected areas.
"Our anti-poverty strategies include the expansion of school nutrition programmes in both primary and secondary schools. We have recorded significant milestones towards free education through fee-exemption programmes," the Minister said.
She commended the steady improvement in the Matric results.
"We yearn for quality education, for greater retention of learners within the system for at least 12 years. We must understand that quality education is foundational to any successful and modern economy," she said.
She said the divided apartheid education system that discriminated against black people have been replaced with one system for all, regardless of race, with appropriate curricula and funding.
"Twice as many students attend university and graduate - three quarters are now African. We have added a year of schooling to prepare children (Grade R).
"The matric pass rate is up from a meagre 57% in 1994 to an average of 75% in 2013. At the heart of our progress over the years have always been committed teachers, the bulk of whom are SADTU Members," the Minister added.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Minister Motshekga revisited the National Development Plan (NDP), which says ECD is crucial for later cognitive capabilities.
"Delays in cognitive and overall development before schooling can often have long lasting and costly consequences for children, families and society. The most effective and cost-efficient time to intervene is before birth and the early years of life. Investment in Early Childhood Development should be a key priority," she said quoting from the NDP.
She also announced that Cabinet has approved the South African Integrated Programme of Action, in which the Department of Social Development, Departments of Health, Basic Education and other stakeholders has developed.
"This process is now at an advanced stage," Minister Motshekga said.
Mass Literacy Campaign
"The Kha Ri Gude (KRG) Mass Literacy Campaign caters for adult literacy learners and has been very successful and the country is well on the way to achieving global literacy targets," said Minister Motshekga.
She added that 800 ECD volunteers have been training on 0-4 year stimulation.
"Certificates have been issued to blind and deaf volunteers that received the training, during the disability sector training session held from 4-6 July 2014. Registration of the 619 000 learners are currently in progress," Minister Motshekga said.
"Classes for the disabled learners commenced on 1 August 2014. Classes for the able-bodied group began on 1 September 2014," Minister Motshekga said.
Trials of a physically impaired elderly man
Publish Date: Oct 30, 2014
By Caroline Ariba
Picture yourself pressed hard and needing to ease into a toilet to let out that source of bodily discomfort. But then, you can’t just ease into the facility. Instead, you have to drag your whole weight using not your feet, but bare hands across the floor of a not-so hygienic toilet facility. Such a picture definitely does not settle well in your mind.
But for 68-year-old Kirilo Oku, that imagination is reality.
I stumbled across Oku at the Adjumani district offices, who was displaced by the Moyo border conflict, and it’s here that I saw him struggle to access a public toilet there. His situation calls to attention the need to consider people living with physical impairment whenever any public structures are put in place. Watching his pain-stricken face as he endured the steep walk, then crawl just to answer nature’s call, was beyond mortifying.
I struggled to contain my emotions and so I let my camera do much of the talking . . .
Life in a wheelchair
Whilst people freely answer nature's call, his will be a mission so tough
Clearly, it's an uphill-of-sorts climb for him, so he ponders his next move
If he is going to do this, he has to get off the wheelchair and put his hands to use
It is way far from being an easy task . . . we are speaking mind over matter here!
Giving up is not his option . . . and so he has to push on and on
And closer he inches . . .
Yes, it is fiercely frustrating
Finally, he makes it, but . . .
. . . he has to touch the toilet floor with his bare hands
Since he cannot stand on his feet to use the urinals, he must use the toilet, but opening the door is another challenge
Finally, he does open it, but then the sight that greets him is not rosy at all, but then, what has a man to do?
He is worried he might catch whatever disease is lurking on the toilet floor
Despite easing himself, his face reads exhaustion. Mzee Oku is tired! Such, and many more tribulations, is what the elderly man is resigned to.
Disabled fall by the wayside in Parliament
Tuesday’s unveiling of the four Specially Elected Members of Parliament, has put paid to the hopes of the physically challenged for a representative in the National Assembly to articulate their needs.
By MARANYANE NGWANAAMOTHO Thu 30 Oct 2014, 16:45 pm (GMT +2)
Kitso Mokaila, Kenneth Matambo, Eric Molale and Unity Dow were chosen by majority as Specially Elected legislators in an election that quickly established the dichotomy between the ruling party and the opposition. Prior to the vote, Federation of the Disabled coordinator, Shirley Keoagile had said they were denied a representative in the previous Parliament “under the pretext that Letlhakeng-Lephephe MP Liakat Kablay, was their man”.
Kablay was returned to Parliament over the weekend with 5,265 votes against 4,996 of his closest rival. “Not even once have we heard him saying anything about the disabled. We are not happy with him and we ask to be given a chance in Parliament,” she said.
“During the political campaigns, not even one politician visited the disabled. This is not fair because we have to vote the same people to represent us in parliament. How can they represent us if they do not even know us or engage us.”
She said that a lot of issues concerning the disabled were lagging behind which is why the federation was campaigning for self- representation to advocate for these issues to be addressed. “We believe there is nothing for us without us. We have to be part of the solution to our challenges because we know them better. We cannot have people decide what is best for us without engaging us,” she said.
Keoagile added: “We want implementation. People have been saying they will do this and they will do that. We have had enough of that. What we want now is implementation and self-representation,” she said.
Cameroon: Attention, the Deaf Also Watch TV!
By Nkendem Forbinake
Preparations are in very high gear across the country for the commemoration of the International Day for the Handicapped coming up in the early days of the month of December.
There are worrying statistics about the number of persons with disabilities in our country with figures going as high as ten per cent of the population. Quite high indeed! When one observes the grave state of deprivation in which many of our handicapped people live, it is difficult to fathom the marvelous work being done on the field by social workers whose limitations only come by way of difficult financing.
This situation notwithstanding, government has continued to show concern even if simply through the political will of addressing the problems of the handicapped best manifested by the creation of the Ministry of Social Affairs back in 1975 and which remains one of the ministries to have kept to the initial mission assigned to it at its creation some 39 years after.
The occasion of the International Day of the Handicapped however begs for some concern for a category of handicapped people so often ignored. We are talking here of the deaf and dumb. Even if one high-level government-run institution exists in Yaounde, several other such institutions are run purely by non-State institutions or persons of goodwill with the best known found in Kumba, South West Region, and another in the Biyemassi neighbourhood in Yaounde.
This means very few possibilities exist for the large numbers of affected persons to get any form of education through specialised teaching methods while a similar number is excluded from mainstream national activity simply because of their inability to hear. This is an important part of the national population which could have probably contributed significantly to national growth if their inherent skills were tapped through adequate training or getting them participate in the same way as other citizens in national life.
The high success rate registered by trainees from institutions for the dumb and deaf in public examinations is rather encouraging and should encourage a more resolute posture on decision-makers when it comes to addressing the plight of the deaf and dumb. Public neglect of this category of disabled people jumps on the eye, especially when it comes to television programmes. While in other countries with the same level of emancipation as Cameroon, there is an effort to ensure that most programmes are made available to the deaf by placing sign language experts on one side of the the TV screen to translate messages for the deaf, such initiatives are still a veritable luxury in Cameroon.
Public television and even the most-widely viewed channels still do not have special viewing facilities for deaf viewers. Even during the most important moments of national life such as presidential addresses or messages, election campaigns and debates in the Parliament, the nation's deaf have been kept out of touch. And yet, technology has made it very easy to get these other potential viewers on board. The recruitment of a few more specialized staff will not certainly overstretch the budgets of television stations and even if it were to be so, that could be considered as their own contribution to the national solidarity Cameroonians are in search of.
In the wake of the feet-dragging observed in the different TV stations about this matter, government can also step in by providing the necessary material, financial and human resources to help promote this inclusive social policy. After all, it is already doing so by emphasizing that public buildings, at their conception stage, take into account the fact that users of same may include physically-challenged persons. And if what is good for the goose can also be good for the gander, the same conditions can be required of TV stations so that they can obligatorily recruit sign language experts for their information and other mass education programmes.