Botswana: Batshu Aware of Society for the Deaf Dispute
Botswana: Swailaman Releases Debut Album
Botswana: Munjangi Has Case to Answer
Botswana: BancAbc Registers Financial Loss
Botswana: WUC Implements Water Tariffs
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South Africa: Free State Protest for Communit...
Zimbabwe: ZCTU Warns Meikles Over Retrenchments
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Gaborone - Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu says he is aware that 13 employees of the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown lodged a dispute of failure to pay overtime at the Francistown district labour office on June 10 last year.
Answering a question in Parliament, he said the dispute was mediated on August 22 and September 24 last year.
Minister Batshu said since the matter was not resolved, a certificate of failure to reach a settlement was issued by the mediator on September 24, in terms of section 8(11) of the Trade Disputes Act, Cap.48:02.
Furthermore, he said the complaints thereafter registered their case at the Francistown Industrial Court (case No. IC 335/14) On October 7 and was scheduled to be heard on May 12-13 this year.
Mr Batshu said on October 21 last year, the same 13 employees lodged another dispute on unfair termination, severance benefit and leave pay at the district labour office, and the dispute was mediated on December 2 but was also not resolved.
"A certificate of failure to reach a settlement was issued on January 21 to allow either party to refer the matter to the Industrial Court in terms of Section 8(10) of the Trade Disputes Act, Cap.48:02 if they so wished, I can confirm that to this date the matter has not yet been registered with the industrial court," he said.
Minister Batshu further said a labour inspection was conducted at the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown on May 30, last year, and the inspection revealed non-compliance in the areas of overtime payment, workers compensation and public holidays.
He said the department of labour and social security consequently advised the board of the centre to comply.
"I am informed that while in the process of complying, the employees refused to work overtime and this resulted in their dismissal, but a follow up labour inspection will be conducted at the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown within the next two weeks," he said.
Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Mr Wynter Mmolotsi had wanted the minister to state if he was aware of the mass dismissal of employees of the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown and whether he was privy to details leading to their dismissal, and when he would consider sending an inspection team to the centre to investigate allegations of issues of abuse of workers and of constructive dismissal.
Source : BOPA
Somalia: Simha Condemns the Arrest of Visual Impaired Radio Journalist
SIMHA CONDEMNS THE ARREST OF VISUAL IMPAIRED RADIO JOURNALIST
Wednesday, 1st-April- 2015.
Somali Independent Media Houses Association strongly condemns the move by Somali security forces to detain visual impaired radio Journalist.
Abdulfatah Kalgaal who is a well-known visual impaired radio journalist in Mogadishu was arrested on Tuesday from his house in Wadajir district.
According to security forces he was arrested as a suspect after the killing of government soldier who is his neighbor at Mogadishu, Wadajir district home.
Abdulfatah works for local station Gobjog radio station as a reporter and is currently held at criminal investigation headquarters in Mogadishu for the second day.
SIMHA Chairman Hassan Ali Gesey has called for the immediate release of the journalist.
"It is unacceptable to witness the continuous harassment of Journalists by authority's day in day out," he said.
"Abdulfatah is innocent and should be released from detention immediately," he added.
Radio Dalsan reporter Mohamed Dek Osman Ali was also detained for six hours but later released.
Botswana: Help Develop the Hearing Impaired - Khame
By Bonang Masolotate
Ramotswa - The research monitoring and evaluation officer in the Office of the President under the disability office, Mr Phindi Khame says the population of people with hearing problems cannot develop on its own.
Mr Khame said this at the Botswana Society for the Deaf stakeholders sign language training workshop in Ramotswa on March 30.
"But only when we begin to involve them, recognise them and cater for their needs in the society just like we do for languages, that would be the beginning of a fruitful relationship," he added.
He said it was a disheartening reality to note that people with hearing impairment struggled on a daily basis in various public service departments. Mr Khame said extreme communication breakdown deterred the deaf community from getting satisfactory services.
Hence, he said the workshop was a positive stride on the part of Botswana Society for the Deaf to improve on the language barrier. He commended Botswana Society for the Deaf for the remarkable job they are doing with regard to representing and advocating for the right of the people with hearing impermanent.
He said Botswana Society for the Deaf is indeed a partner in the development in provision of services to the people with hearing impairment.
Another speaker, Botswana Society for the Deaf executive director, Ms Orapeleng Mokgosi said they are concerned about the high number of people with hearing impairment yet there are little efforts to raise sign language awareness.
Hence, she said they decided that it was important that they convene a stakeholder's sign language training workshop with an intention to break the language barrier.
Further, she noted that the society is putting an unnecessary strain on people with hearing impairment by failing to communicate with them.
She said there is nothing that those with hearing impairment can do other than using the sign language, hence the need for mainstreaming sign language.
Kgosi Mosadi said there is need to mainstream sign language to break communication barriers with people with hearing impairment.
Nonetheless, she noted that government has laid a foundation through capacitating Ramotswa Center for the Deaf Primary School and other schools which admit people with hearing impairment.
Source : BOPA
Liberia: LNOC Boss Commends SG Over Efficiency Despite 'Disability'AllAfrica.com-
By Leroy M. Sonpon, III
The Secretary General of the Liberia National Olympics Committee (LNOC), has been described as the "Integral backbone and key" to the promotion and development of sports in the country.
Mr. Joseph F. Willie, popularly known as Bob Willie, despite his disability, remains the brain behind the LNOC, according to president Philipbert S. Browne said.
"Up to present, Bob Willie remains the secretary general of the LNOC, whose efficiency on the job has not been deterred by his physical disability," the LNOC boss opined.
Browne said Bob Willie came into prominence as a sports administrator and as president of the Inter-School Sports Administration (ISSA). At the time, Browne was a director of sports for one of the schools that took part in the ISSA's League.
Later, Browne became vice president of Liberia Basketball Federation (LBF) and then its president - and Willie, being then president of the ISSA was automatically a member of the Executive Committee.
And by virtue of their positions at the LBF and ISSA both men were executive members of the LNOC.
Bob Willie was the secretary and Browne was vice president for operations.
Then came a period when the LNOC was mired in confusion in which Willie served as the mediator, with the case finally settled with support with Olympic officials in Switzerland.
In 2005, Browne was elected president and Willie got the secretary general's post.
Six years later, after building a vibrant, peaceable and answerable LNOC, Mr. Willie suffered from diabetes and one of his legs had to be amputated.
"Unfortunately, as the LNOC began to master its trade, calamity struck which almost brought the Liberian Olympic movement to its knees," Browne said.
During the 2012 London Olympic Games, Willie was treated in an advanced hospital and after a month returned home in excellent health.
Having fully recovered, Willie traveled to Ghana and got a prosthetic leg.
"Bob returned home with his new leg and started to take steps. It was good seeing my Secretary General walking again, but apparently that was just the beginning of his trouble," Mr. Browne noted.
Browne said: "That old devil wouldn't leave Bob alone, putting him through hell to curse God and die, but that wouldn't be the case.
"His faith as a Deacon at an Assembly of God Church was steadfast and would take whatever Satan would throw his ways."
Few days after Bob got his prosthetic leg; his second foot had gone bad and was amputated.
"I rushed to the hospital the next morning, but the surgery had been completed successfully- this time I made a complete fool of myself because I looked at Bob Willie and cried bitterly."
Deaf Association Tasks Buhari On Campaign Promises
BY VICTOR OKEKE
Apr 8, 2015 | 0 Comments
The Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) wants the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to honour his campaign promise to create a commission that will protect the rights of people with disabilities.
The NNAD national president, Alhaji Dagbo Sulaiman Saka in a statement congratulated Buhari on his victory, saying the victory was timely as it came at a time when so many Nigerians were yearning for change.
He said “we want to trust that the President-elect will honour his electoral promises, especially the pledge to urgently assent the National Disability Bill into law and create a commission to protect the rights of people with disabilities.”
Saka added that NNAD was confident the president-elect would, in accordance with party’s manifesto, establish six centres of excellence for special education while also putting policies in place that would make houses and public buildings accessible to people living with disabilities.
While assuring the General Buhari of the group’s support, Saka applauded the president-elect’s determination to form an inclusive government comprising the best brains.
“The deaf Nigerians are not short of talented and highly qualified persons, and we sincerely appeal for consideration for the appointment of some of our best to contribute their quota towards ensuring success of the in-coming administration,” he said.
DISABLED PEOPLE APPEAL TO ELLEN
The New Dawn Liberia
Published: Wednesday, 08 April 2015 00:30
Members of the disabled community in Liberia have advanced several appeals to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at a general assembly held in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia, seeking clear and direct budgetary appropriation for the National Disabled Union, among others.
Appealing to President Sirleaf yesterday at the commencement of the Disabled Union’s Annual General Assembly held at the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church in Sinkor, Rev. Fallah Boimah, Sr. said, funding continues to be a major challenge for the union.
The head of the disabled union said subsidy provided by government cannot underwrite rental and operational cost of the organization, describing the financial situation facing them as “precarious.”
He suggested that just as there is a clear budgetary line for the Federation of Liberia Youth or FLY within the budget of the line ministry, same should be the case with the budget of the National Commission on the Disabled because the organization for the disabled here was potent enough to discharge its duties.
Having earlier commended the Sirleaf-led government for its recognition and support to the disabled community, Rev. Boima urged that more steps be taken in terms of inclusion of persons with disability, capacity development and the creation of opportunities for the organization to be strong and self-sufficient.
In concluding, he pleaded with President Sirleaf to appoint to the National Commission on Disabled, three persons from the disabled organization whose names he said were since 2014 sent to the office of Vice President Joseph Boakai for nomination to the commission for appointment.
By Winston W. Parley
In response to the appeals, President Sirleaf, who attended the assembly, assured the National Union of the Disabled Organization that she would look into the issues they placed before her when she gets back [to office].
The Liberian leader pledged her government’s unbending determination to work with the Disabled Organization to achieve goals that will come out of the general assembly.
President Sirleaf says her administration remains strong to adopt open government that fosters mainstreaming of persons with disabilities to the political and development agenda of the country.
She told the disabled community that her leadership recognizes that “we are one people” entitled to equal rights and opportunities, pledging further that her administration will continue to support them.
Focus on Disability: The next hurdle for Ebola survivors
SciDev.Net (blog)-Copyright: Espen Rasmussen/Panos
This ‘post-Ebola Syndrome’ seems to include sight and hearing loss
The scale of the epidemic is a chance to improve our limited understanding
Ebola continues to dominate the headlines, with reports of a resurgence last week in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Since the start of the West Africa epidemic, more than 24,000 people have been infected with the virus, and approximately half have survived. As the epidemic eventually subsides, attention will turn to the survivors and what the long-term implications are for them.
The immediate aftermath is grim. Ebola survivors return home from treatment centres weakened from the disease, often to find that many family members have died. Their possessions may have been burnt in an effort to stop the disease, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And they often face stigma and isolation.
“Very little is known about Ebola’s long-term health impact on survivors. The scale of the current epidemic is a unique opportunity to learn more about this disease.”
It now appears that many survivors are also left with longer-term complications of the disease, including disabilities, that some doctors call post-Ebola Syndrome. Survivors are coming to clinics with uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease that can cause blindness.  Hearing loss also appears common, affecting 15 to 30 per cent of survivors. Medics are seeing survivors with pain and fatigue, and men complaining about impotence. Unsurprisingly, some also report psychological problems ranging from depression to memory loss and anxiety attacks.
Very little is known about Ebola’s long-term health impact on survivors. Most previous outbreaks have been too small to shed light on this question, and so most information comes from anecdotal evidence or small studies. The scale of the current epidemic is a unique opportunity to learn more about this disease.
Studies where survivors are systematically screened for disabilities and compared with people unaffected by Ebola would help to work out which conditions are associated with the disease, how common they are and how long symptoms last. It would also help to work out whether disabilities are because of Ebola itself, from any treatments or even from the disinfectants used as a precaution.
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At least some of the symptoms, such as those of uveitis eye disease, seem to arise from autoimmune reactions where the body starts to attack itself. Therefore, having a better understanding could point to options for treatment and prevention, for instance through steroids or other drugs to control autoimmune reactions. Going by initial estimates for the prevalence of hearing loss, some conditions may be so common as to warrant screening everyone systematically.
This brings me to another benefit of such studies: very few disability services are currently available in many of the areas affected by the epidemic. They will have to be built up, whether for prevention of disabling conditions, screening, treatment or rehabilitation. Research into the long-term impact of Ebola will help make the case for such care, secure funds and plan which services are needed the most.
Hannah Kuper is codirector of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. The centre is on Twitter as @ICED_LSHTM, and Kuper can be contacted on email@example.com
 Majid Moshirfar and others What we know about ocular manifestations of Ebola (Clinical Ophthalmology, November 2014)
First Lady Advocates For Equally Treatment Of Persons With Disability
NewsApr 9, 2015 0
The First Lady, Lordina Mahama has made a strong case for Persons with disability to be factored in every business set up. She said Persons with disability have been relegated to the background for far too long, especially by employers who doubt their capabilities, a situation, she said, is not supposed to be so.
First Lady greeting some of the disables in BerekumThe First Lady was speaking at Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region when she presented wheel chairs both automatic and manual, carts, white canes, pomade for albinos and working kits for 280 persons with disability who have graduated from a six months training course in ICT. The training in ICT was done by RLG Communications. The ceremony was to pass out 280 persons with disability across the region by the Government’s collaboration with Rlg communications Group which forms part of Government’s initiative of training 5000 persons with disability across the country. Graduants were also given working kits by the First Lady supported by the Head of RLG institute in Berekum, Kwaku Nsiah.
Persons living with disability have for long time expressed their right to participate fully in society on equal terms as everyone else. Unfortunately, misconception and discrimination has continued to be a bar and kept them from realising their full potential. But the Lordina Founfation which is there to help the underprivileged in the country will see to it that Persons with disability get the opportunity to realise their full potential. This the foundation will do by continuing to provide the necessary support in all spheres to equip them. The First Lady said the help in the form of working kits will cater for them and break barriers of education and training which often limit their job opportunities leading to poverty and social exclusion in accessing basic social amenities.
She also asked employers to make room for the disabled as they are endowed with great knowledge to impart onto others and businesses.
She also made a passionate appeal to stakeholders such parents, Teachers, Religious bodies, corporate organisations, NGO’s to continue to perform their social responsibilities to enhance the quality of life for persons with disability in the society.
The MCE for Berekum Akwasi Opoku Yiadom expressed appreciation to the First Lady for the kind gesture. He said over the years Government has supported the persons with disability in the area and passing out of the graduands attest to this fact. He mentioned that the Assembly has achieved a lot through internally generated funds .These include water supply where he stated that Chinese Engineers are already in town to start the project. Also nurses quarters, Chips compound and some feeder roads have also been constructed through this fund.
Liberia: DEA Agents Kill Disabled Man?
Report reaching The NewDawn reveals that a 30-year-old physically challenged man has died, days after allegedly being mercilessly flogged by a team of Action Agents of Liberia's Drugs Enforcement Agency or DEA led by a commander in River Gee County.
Well-placed security officials say they are not disclosing the name of the victim right now as well as the suspected DEA officers allegedly involved because investigation is ongoing into claims that the officers on last Saturday, April 4, 2015 allegedly flogged the victim before he allegedly died on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
The NewDawn's source in the county says some of the suspected DEA agents and their commander are being held under "protective custody" in Fish Town, the capital of River Gee County, pending the return of a joint security task force team that is expected today to visit a town in Tienpo District where the incident reportedly occurred.
When contacted via mobile phone Wednesday, the Chair of the Joint Security Task Force and County Attorney for River Gee, Atty. Wesseh A. Wesseh, confirmed that there is ongoing investigation involving DEA agents over the alleged death of a physically challenge man of the Bassa tribe.
Atty. Wesseh detailed that last Saturday; a team of DEA agents led by a commander went to Dartorken town, Tienpo District without a search warrant, and allegedly flogged a physically challenged man.
He said the victim was observed to have sustained bruises, and later died on Tuesday, April 7. As a result of the incident, Atty. Wesseh told this paper that a joint security team led by the Liberia National Police or LNP responded to the incident scene in Dartorken.
He additionally said a "corroner jury" was immediately constituted to establish whether there was foul play or whether the alleged flogging was the cause of the victim's death.
Atty. Wesseh explained that the corroner jury has so far reported that they observed that the victim had bruises or cuts all over his body; blood oozing from his nose; foam from his mouth and nose and blood on his head, saying, "The jury determined that there was foul play."
However, he told this paper that the jury team was unable to interview people on the crime scene because the area was hostile, and protests were ongoing.
As such, the County Attorney added that he will be heading a joint security team today, Thursday, April 9, 2015 to the crime scene to do in -depth investigation with other friendly citizens in the area of the incident.
A follow-up with the DEA Director Mr. Anthony Suah failed, as his phone rang endlessly in addition to text message sent him concerning the reported incident from River Gee.
Visually-impaired WASSCE candidates protest - No braille at exams
Visually impaired candidates writing this year’s May/June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have appealed to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to level the playing field for all candidates, irrespective of their conditions.
They pointed out that the two papers they had written so far revealed that some of the questions were not in braille and they had to wait for a resource person to get a copy of the question paper to read out to them before they could continue.
Un-braille question papers
Speaking at the Okuapeman Senior High School (SHS) at Akropong, the candidates said, for instance, that during the Social Studies paper, there were no braille questions from numbers 25 to 33, while in the Literature-in-English paper, questions 31 to 36 were not in braille.
“Fortunately for us, those questions that did not appear were very simple and had it not been the resource person who intervened, we would have lost those marks.
“As students, we would like to use this forum to urge WAEC that if it is dealing with us as an examination body, it should deal with all candidates and not discriminate in the course of its duties,” one of the students told the Daily Graphic.
They recommended to WAEC to contact the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) for “qualified personnel to handle our papers”.
Plight of past candidates
They recalled how their seniors had been unfairly treated, citing, for instance, that when the 2014 WASSCE results were released, some of the best candidates in the school scored E8s and F9s, “but when they called for re-marking, they had A1s”.
The candidates said it was clear that WAEC did not mark the papers before awarding the marks, stressing that this year “we are not going to tolerate that because we know what we are doing and we believe in ourselves”.
In a related development, the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) has expressed concern over the way WAEC was handling visually impaired candidates who are writing the WASSCE.
The union disclosed that over the years, WAEC had failed to provide the appropriate answer booklets, even though the candidates paid examination fees just like their sighted mates who were given answer booklets.
Blind Science candidates
The Executive Director of the GBU, Dr Peter Obeng-Asamoa, said, for instance, that eight visually impaired Integrated Science students who registered for the WASSCE would have to wait for the November/December examination because WAEC failed to provide them braille question papers.
He said five of the affected students are from the Adidome SHS, while the remaining three are from the Mawuli SHS, both in the Volta Region, saying they had developed the interest in the sciences following a STAR- Ghana intervention.
The blind are special
“The GBU wishes to remind WAEC that these are special persons and, therefore, must be given special attention. We are concerned not because we doubt the ability of WAEC to govern the examination situation properly but because there have been too many disturbing experiences in the past.
“The GBU wishes to petition WAEC to ensure that this year all examination procedures, especially the provision of braille question papers and timely and accurate release of results, are handled with the seriousness they require,” he added.
However, WAEC explained that its attention was yet to be drawn to the concerns, saying if they turned out to be true, it would “apply clemency to the affected candidates to ensure that they are not disadvantaged”.
The Principal Public Affairs Officer of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said investigations would be conducted and if the report turned out to be true, the necessary action would be taken, adding that the supervisor at the examination centre would have to submit a report on the issue.
On the Integrated Science candidates, she explained that in the past the visually impaired did not write Integrated Science and Mathematics, “ and that has been the trend, but this year we were informed that visually impaired candidates would be writing but I believe there were some lapses somewhere on the part of WAEC”.
“So we duly apologise to the candidates and are arranging for them to write the papers in November/December,” she said.
Touching on the number of visually impaired Science candidates, Mrs Teye -Cudjoe said as far as WAEC was concerned, it was aware of three such candidates at the Adidome SHS and not Mawuli SHS.
Concerning large-screen printing of examination papers, she explained that the important thing was for the schools with such candidates to report to WAEC to enable it to prepare adequately for them.
Kenya: Disabled Rights' Board
Kenya: Disabled Rights' Board
By Pili Chimerah Mombasa has formed a board to cater for the rights and privileges of persons with disability.
Youth executive Mohamed Abbas on Thursday said the disabled have been sidelined for a long time.
"The board will ensure equal rights to education, employment and participation in governance," he said.
Abbas was speaking during the launch of the board at the governor's office.
Mombasa is the first county to form such a board.
Abbas said the board will work with ministries to ensure all public facilities are disability-friendly.
Malawi deaf couple weds in style | Malawi Nyasa Times
April 12, 2015
Zawadi Chilunga -Nyasa Times
A hearing impaired couple on Saturday tied knots amid cheers from both families during a colorful wedding ceremony at Lilongwe’s Mtima Moyera Catholic Parish.
The couple at a wedding reception after saying ' I do'
"Couple ties the knot against all odds"
Middle aged Misozi Mwambo and his wife Lydia attracted applause from both family and church members as they smooched to signify their unity.
Neither the bride nor the bridegroom could hear what the priest was saying, but that made no difference.
The couple have all MSCE certificates and the husband works at Central Poultry in the capital. They both share a humble background.
But the couple has now overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their lives to claim their right to happiness.
We need disability friendly houses: TPTTP
The New Age Online
Apr 13 2015 3:30PM
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has launched a five-days long programme of Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape on Monday.
The programme, initiated in 2002, is set to give ordinary South Africans the opportunity to engage their chosen public electives on issues affecting them.
This years it will run under the theme 20 Years of a Democratic Parliament.
“This week also sees the start of presentations to Parliamentary Committees from departments on their annual performance plans, strategic plans and budgets,” the NCOP said.
The TPTTP programme wil end on Friday with an address of the plenary sitting of the NCOP by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Liberia: Union of Disabled Fiscally Strapped
By William Q. Harmon
The president of the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD), Rev. Fallah S. Cymbianoh, says the major challenge facing the union is funding and disclosed that the organization does not have a stable source of funding to support its activities.
Subsidies provided by government through the National Commission on Disabilities cannot even cover the monthly rent of the Union's office and presently, "we are facing eviction," Rev. Cymbianoh announced in his address at the opening of the two-day National General Assembly of NUOD in Monrovia last Tuesday.
The Assembly officially opened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, brought together delegates from all fifteen counties under the theme, "Getting to Zero New Ebola, Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities and Post-Ebola Recovery Plan."
"To put it more bluntly Madam President, the Union is in a precarious financial situation," said Cymbianoh, emphasizing the need to have at least 30 percent of the budget of the National Commission on Disabilities allocated to the Union to match its rising challenges.
Rev. Cymbianoh praised the European Union for its assistance since 2012 through a project that covered its rental obligations over the last few years but which has now expired.
While commending the President for reconstituting the National Commission on Disabilities and its role in directing the affairs of persons with disabilities, Cymbianoh appealed to her to appoint NCD's leadership from a shortlist already provided to her through the office of Vice President Joseph Boakai.
In her address, President Sirleaf assured members of NUOD that irrespective of their physical conditions they are part of the Liberian nation as one people and deserve equal opportunities, pledging that her administration remains committed to support Liberians with disabilities in the government's development agenda.
Her administration will not allow disability to be a disadvantage to their participation in the collective development of the country President Sirleaf said and promised to work along with NUOD in achieving the goals and agenda which emerged out of the Assembly.
The General Assembly also brought together various disabled people's organizations from all 15 counties. They meet in March of each year. During the conference held at the Mildred Page Hall of the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church, all chapters reported to the NUOD, which also makes a formal report of its activities for the past year.
Also during this Assembly, a new corps of officers was expected to be elected to run the affairs of the NUOD for a four-year term.
DRF School Journalists On Disability Issues
NewsApr 15, 2015 0
The Disability Right Fund (DRF) has taken a section of Ghanaian journalists from both state-run and private media through series of topics on disability, to help them better support disability activism in the country.
wpid-disability.jpgThe exercise formed part of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled joint efforts with the DRF, a US-based disability right organisation and advocacy,commitment, to build the capacity of the Media Caucus on Disability ? Ghana.
Mr Medi Ssengooba, Programme Officer for DRF Africa, guided the participants through topics such as‘what constitutes disability, interviewing persons with disabilities (PWDs), key terminologies used in disability and rudiments of the Ghana’s Disability Act, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.’
He noted that it was imperative journalists gained deeper understanding of conditions of disability and the environment in which PWDs live, since the two, were fundamental for improved reporting to ensure inclusive society where PWDs access quality healthcare, education and contribute meaningfully to economic growth.
He explained that people who were impaired in some form would only become disabled when built-in barriers in the environment prevented them from performing activities, accessing facilities or enjoying their rights.
The programme officer, who is also a lawyer, said it was wrong for one to say“disabled people or person” saying that the emphasis should be on the person and not the disability, adding that it ought to be “ person with disability or person with hearing disability,” for example.
Mr Ssengooba also advised journalists to cultivate the habit and interest in churning out stories about PWDs who have succeeded in life, like Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, and are contributing immensely to society in spite of the numerous barriers or odds facing them.
“I don’t see motivational stories about persons with disabilities, such stories are more inspirational, they give people courage to work hard, and I think we need to get to that thing of positive journalism,” he said.
Mrs Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of GFD, appealed to journalists to support the worthy course of PWDs, advocating an inclusive society through comprehensive and fair reportage.
She noted that discrimination and stigmatization were rife in society, and urged the media to work towards educating the public to minimize the acts.
The journalists, from the Ghana News Agency, GBC Radio, Public Agenda, Radio XYZ, Hot FM, Asempa FM, H4P and The Ghanaian Times, expressed gratitude to the organiszers of the training, saying,“it is an eye opener.”
The Media Caucus on Disability ? Ghana is a group of journalists in the country committed to researching and reporting on disability issues, highlighting on policy gaps and courting appropriate government interventions to ensure just, fair and inclusive society.
My stay at the South African hotel with 25 per cent deaf employees
The Observer (blog)-
Written by Andrew Kaggwa
Last Updated: 15 April 2015
Mathew Nomvalo one of the deaf employees gestures
He gently smiles when we arrive and says something, probably in Xhosa. With my black Cranes jersey screaming ‘Uganda’, I wonder why he chose to communicate in a language he was sure I would not understand.
I present my hand for a handshake and with a beaming, sincere smile, he warmly grasps it. He takes my luggage and we go on to the reception but I love talking, so I keep yapping lots of things; how we had an awesome journey, how I knew much about South Africa and how I was already deep in love with their hotel…yeah, I really talk too much.
Most of the times it is the only way I entice people to buy me free stuff or give me discounts. The fella is, however, not talking to me. In the elevator, now tired of pleasing his soul, I quietly imagined he, like most South Africans I had talked to, thought that Museveni’s little party paradise was located in northern Africa. These people!
On reaching my room, he gets my bags inside and again says a couple of things ? this time round, they are clearer but still unintelligible. Then it dawns on me, he is trying to tell me he is deaf. It is even engraved on his shirt; how had I missed that!
Come to think about it; he has been trying to talk to me using sign language, but in my self-absorbed persona, I thought something was terribly wrong with his hands! I had assumed this was a hospitality business dealing with many people, so contemporary talking was a necessity. Well, I was dead wrong.
If Ugandan activists want to understand how to truly push the “disability is not inability” envelope, they need to visit Park Inn by Radisson, in Cape Town. The bellboy at my service, Mathews Nomvalo, is deaf but will make new guests feel welcome every time the Park Inn doors open.
The inn that opened its doors to the public at the end of last December, has not given Nomvalo alone this chance, but to 26 other deaf people. The deaf make up 25 per cent of the 105 employees that work here.
Their objective is to have 30 per cent deaf employees, which, according to publications such as SABC, Times Live and Think Stories, makes Park Inn the leading employer of deaf people in the world. What makes Park Inn special is the fact that these deaf employees are spread throughout the departments and not limited to being gardeners, janitors, cleaners and other lower ranks; they compete fairly for jobs across the board.
According to Richard Mexson, the inn’s sales manager, they have deaf employees in finance, transport, front desk and room service, among other departments. On a good day, you will find Nomvalo waiting to usher in guests and on others you will find the likes of Andrew.
However, employing the deaf at Park Inn is no surprise; the inn stands on ground that used to house the Deaf SA offices ? an association of deaf societies in the country. After the business was completed, the managers along with Deaf SA thought it wise to let the deaf share the same opportunities as their able-bodied counterparts.
In fact, even a certain percentage of the profits go to Deaf SA. During my stay last month ? I was in Cape Town for the annual jazz festival ? the inn hosted an egg-painting challenge involving at least 40 deaf children from different schools around Cape Town.
An employee at Park Inn with two of the deaf kids
The deaf staff came in handy as they swiftly helped the children with many needs the other staff could not handle. But this has not come easy; the hearing staff had to be trained on how to work with the deaf, as well as training the deaf on how to use easily understandable sign language with the guests.
“None of our deaf staff had worked in the hotel business before and some had not even worked at all,” Mexson says.
Using a mixture of sign language and writing, Nomvalo tells me he was trained for three months. Because they have deaf staff and anticipated deaf clients, Mexson says, there are plans to send their hearing team on a sign language course.
To ensure that the project runs smoothly, Mexson says they have hired an interpreter who helps in seeing that the deaf and hearing staffs get along; even the key packs for guests have a basic sign language guide at the back.
Before joining Park Inn, Nomvalo was a teaching assistant at a school for children with impaired hearing. He took the job at Park Inn because he indeed loved dealing with and encouraging other people to learn.
He considers himself lucky that he has a job even with his disability, especially given the level of unemployment in the country, even for people without disabilities. Park Inn’s credit clerk Elzabe Van der Walt, for example, says she had to struggle for three years to find a job.
“In Cape Town you can’t easily find a job when you’re deaf; it is really challenging,” says my tour guide Mario Jacobs.
It is not surprising that to hire the 27 employees, they had interviewed more than 150 deaf candidates. To get the clientele’s heavy demands, though, the deaf team puts in extra effort; they are observant and try to read lips, body language or ask you to write things down if they are not sure of the order.
Nomvalo says they have had some challenges but have turned them around by involving the clientele.
“Some people can be impatient and speak so fast, making it hard to read their lips,” he notes.
In an interview with SABC TV, the hotel’s supervisor in charge of meetings and events, Dale Holmes, also one of the deaf staff, says communication is vital; so, regardless of how some clients become impatient, he asks until he is sure he has got what they are saying perfectly.
“It is very difficult without hearing aids; so, we try to do written communication, but for me I have hearing aid and I also train myself to try and speak clearly so to greet them and when guests see my ‘I am deaf’ badge, they are very accommodating and their attitudes gradually change.”
However, on an emotional note, Dale notes, “We lost our voices. We don’t even know what we sound like. We feel lost in the hearing world. So, we really want to teach our hearing colleagues a bit of sign language. We will catch up with [one another].”
In fact, when you show up, Park Inn is an ordinary hotel, but when you meet the deaf staff, your experience changes; one of the guests joked that they are efficient since they won’t easily gossip about guests the way staff that hear do.
Mexson notes that hiring the deaf has come with dividends; for instance, they have had a number of disabled travellers picking them over many other residential hotels in Cape Town. One of the Ugandan guests at the hotel notes that what Park Inn is doing is not only a challenge to South African hotels and other employers, but even those around Africa.
“When you think about it, many of these people can’t be employed in Uganda, yet they are doing a good job,” she says.
According to Mexson, the biggest lesson from all this has been not to judge a book by its cover and encourages people to dream on regardless of their disabilities.
“Nothing should hold people back; they should not sit back and resign just because they are deaf.” In fact, two days before our arrival, Mexson notes, one of the deaf staff had been promoted. Beautiful Cape Town may have its breathtaking sites such as Table Mountain, the passage to Robben Island and the amazing city, but on this trip what truly blew me away was the hotel I found myself staying at.
Kenya: Advice to Parents With Disabled Kids
By Jane Mugambi
PARENTS of children living with disability in Kajiado county have been asked to take their children for checkups.
Kajiado North head of education resource assessment services Karanja Mbugua said many parents do not know how to handle children with special needs because they have not taken them for assessment.
He was speaking on Monday at New Life Mission in Kajiado during a seminar for parents with disabled children.
"The challenge is alarming and there is a need for sensitisation programmes to create awareness," Mbugua said.
He said there are more than 2,400 special needs children in Kajiado North sub county.
Malawi: Lack of Awareness Increasing Disability Rights Abuses
GovernanceHuman RightsMalawiSouthern Africa
By Jabulani Kamngoya
Lilongwe - Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Edith Mkawa has said lack of public awareness among the public is increasing the abuse of disability rights.
She said many Malawians are not aware of the Disability Act and rights of people with disabilities saying concerted communication efforts would help increase awareness and reduce misconceptions on disability.
Mkawa said this at a stakeholders meeting on development of a disability communications strategy on Tuesday.
She said the current spate of abuses including that on people with albinism is fueled by lack of knowledge and awareness which she says would be overturned with proper communication.
"People have wrong beliefs about disabilities and now we need more correct information and increased publicity. Now we need everyone to know the rights of people with disabilities and how the general public should act towards people with disabilities.
"Change is necessary and the communications strategy will assist general public and decision makers to have correct information and act to ensure that people with disabilities have access to information and enjoy all human rights," said Mkawa.
Mkawa said the country already has laws underguiding disability and what remained was participation of all Malawians to safeguard the rights.
"At the local level the government enacted the Disability Act to facilitate promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities in the country. However, dissemination of these rights instruments has been a challenge.
"It is in line with this that the Department of Disability and Elderly Affairs started developing the Disability Communications Strategy to ensure well coordinated dissemination efforts of disability information and documentation. However due to financial constraints the process was not completed," she said.
She added, "For the public to be knowledgeable on disability information and documentation there is need for coordinated efforts and identification of communication methods among stakeholders in the sector. We are aware that effective communication is dependent on the availability of information and the way it is presented. As such, the department found it necessary to form a basis for successful and well coordinated awareness efforts."
Godfrey Banda a representative from Disability Youth Network from Blantyre said the general public and authorities should work together to support people with disabilities. He cited limited access to education among youths with disabilities as a major challenge.
The Department of Disability and Elderly affairs organized the meeting of stakeholders in disability to solicit information on developing the disability communications strategy. The communication strategy development has been funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Department of Disability has partnered with the Department of Information to work on the strategy.
Deaf staff get Balalaika hotel cooking
Mail & Guardian Online
17 APR 2015 00:00 THALIA HOLMES
The Balalaika hotel in Johannesburg is breaking new ground, focusing on opportunities for hearing-impaired workers.
Simamkele Twani, one of the deaf trainees at the Balalaika. (Gustav Butlex, M&G)
The area around the Balalaika hotel in Johannesburg’s bustling commercial capital of Sandton is so built up that no street parking is available. Metered taxies, buses and pedestrians crowd the road. Valets whisk guests’ cars away past the JSE in the direction of the colossal Sandton City shopping centre to a designated parkade. It’s difficult to imagine the hotel in its original state: as a countryside tea garden in an area that “reeked more of manure than mink”.
“The Balalaika was the first original business and building in Sandton,” said Karen Peters, the hotel’s marketing manager.
The hotel served as a stopover between Johannesburg and Pretoria before anything like Sandton existed.
The hotel’s founders proved prescient. Today, all the big names in the industry have rushed to establish themselves in the area.
In the same pioneering spirit, the Balalaika has established another first: four of this year’s 10 trainees going through its four-year hotelier course are deaf. The programme, which trains them in professional cookery and hotel management, has seen staff members making changes to the usual way of doing things.
“We needed to look at dynamics in the hospitality industry,” said Nancy Gaylard, the hotel’s training manager.
She put out feelers to determine the viability of a deaf programme and contacted Stephen Billingham, the owner of the HTA School of Culinary Art and president of the South African Chefs Association.
“Nancy asked me whether I thought it would work to upskill deaf people in professional cookery. I said the answer is yes,” Billingham said.
But there might be some limits to how a far a deaf person could progress in the kitchen, he acknowledged. “At the senior levels, communication, like calling out orders, becomes important. Then things like industrial relations also come into play. That might prove difficult. But this would be a sound opportunity for people to have a job, draw a stable salary and pay tax,” he said.
Gaylard spent the next 18 months in meeting after meeting, mapping out a training plan and forming partnerships with educational institutions. By the end of it, the Balalaika had set up an agreement to find suitable candidates from St Vincent School for the Deaf to join its training programme. HTA agreed to partner with the hotel to provide training for deaf trainees interested in professional cookery. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) agreed to take on a candidate who wished to qualify for hotel management.
The trainees began with a weekly experiential session at the hotel. Several months later, deaf and hearing trainees started the full-time training course together.
“We thought, ‘Why can’t we do this for deaf learners? What’s the hurdle?’ Well, it’s more than you think,” Gaylard said.
The programme involves an initial rotation of 12 months, during which the trainees spend a month in each department. This is followed by three years of specialisation in the trainee’s chosen field. This means the deaf trainees interact with almost every area of the hotel and mentors in each need to be able to communicate with them.
“You can’t just hire them and stick them in a corner. You have to learn the language,” Gaylard said.
The Balalaika hotel’s training manager, Nancy Gaylard, set up the programme for the trainees. (Gustav Butlex, M&G)
The Balalaika has sent 16 staff members on a 10-week South African Sign Language (SASL) course. More are scheduled for training in the coming months.
“I want at least half the hotel’s staff complement to be signing by the end of the year,” she said.
In the hotel kitchen, Nelisiwa Motaung (21), Goodness Wellem (20) and Simamkele Twani (22) wear white chef’s uniforms. The three are scattered around the kitchen, washing and chopping in preparation for a conference lunch and the next morning’s breakfast.
A senior hearing member of the kitchen staff gestures at Twani, instructing him what to do next. She doesn’t know sign language, but Twani nods and goes about his task.
“I want to be a chef. It’s my favourite thing to do,” he signed. “My heart is there for cooking.”
Twani has a mother and two siblings but he is the only deaf person in his family. Born in the Western Cape, his mother sent him to a normal school but his world was one of silence and con-fusion. “It was very difficult,” he said.
Later, his family moved to Johannes-burg and, when he was 10, Twani began to attend St Vincent and learnt SASL. It was then that his life “began”. He matriculated and spent some time working at the school’s tuck shop before being chosen for the programme at the Balalaika.
He and his colleagues have spent the past eight months at the hotel and are relishing the experience.
“I enjoy working here,” said Twani. “The opportunities for deaf and hearing are the same in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s difficult. But it makes it easier working with people who can sign. They explain and show how the work is done.”
Twani competed against other chefs in the kitchen for a chance to represent the hotel in the Cape Legend Inter Hotel Challenge, a prestigious national cooking competition. He won a spot on a team of three and is now preparing for the event, where the main dish will consist of his favourite meat ? pork. The team will use sign language to communicate.
One of his teammates, Jurie van Heusden (21), said it was initially difficult to communicate. “But now it’s easier since I have done the course.
“[But] there are some words that don’t have a sign, so we make them up,” Van Heusden said. “There’s no sign for curry, so we say ‘Indian hot food’.”
The hotel’s executive chef, Jacques Etsebeth, was initially sceptical about the programme. “Originally, I wasn’t too keen on the whole idea. I thought it was going to be far too difficult,” he said. “But Nancy guided me and showed me. It was actually damn easy.”
The experience had been amazing, he said. “They work hard, they’re eager to learn and, funnily enough, they’re actually very easy to communicate with. I find it extremely easy to work with them.”
About 4.5% of South Africans are considered either deaf or have a hearing disability (roughly 500 000 deaf and 1.5-million with a hearing disability, according to the most recent census). Deaf unemployment levels are estimated to be about 70%.
This abysmally high rate of joblessness is one of the reasons that UJ agreed to take on Poonam Kanjee (19), the Balalaika’s fourth deaf trainee, for one of its hotel management courses. She is the first deaf student at the university to attend lectures using SASL and an interpreter.
“Our main aim is to create more access for students with disabilities,” said Maria Ramaahlo, a psychologist in UJ’s office for people with disabilities.
Kanjee would require a level-two interpreter for each of her lectures and a data capturer to take notes during class.
“I think, as with any institution, the main difficulty in getting this right was funding,” she said. “However, thanks to the dedication of our team leader and management, who is very supportive, we managed to get funds through the university.”
Every night Kanjee rewrites the notes that the data capturer has taken. During lectures, she asks questions through her interpreter. Despite the difficulties, she passed her first exams with flying colours.
“It feels good. I have had a lot of support and help. The hearing people helped me when they found out I was deaf. They made friends with me and I helped them to sign.”
Ramaahlo said Kanjee’s success would open up the way for other deaf students at UJ.
“The successful implementation of this project has allowed us to indicate to management how to support deaf students in the future,” she said. “It almost creates a precedent of sorts.”
Kanjee has just finished her rotation in the hotel’s bookings and reservations department. Monday was her first day on the front desk. She will begin by shadowing a senior staff member, but will still be expected to help customers. She has already had her first challenge, dealing with a guest who asked her to make a phone call. They handled it by writing back and forth.
Next month, she’ll be working in the restaurant, taking guests’ orders and serving food.
“I’m very nervous. How will I communicate with the guests if I don’t know what they are ordering? It’s difficult when not everyone is deaf.”
Gaylard will need to gear the department up for Kanjee’s arrival, ensuring that the staff are versed in SASL and that there are ways in which she can fulfil her tasks.
Kanjee said every day brought new challenges. “Sometimes I feel nervous, communicating with guests. I don’t want to make them angry because I am slow and deaf.”
So far, though, the hotel management has had no negative feedback from guests. Gaylard recalled a time when guests lined up to be served eggs by Kanjee at breakfast, even though a hearing server wasn’t busy at the time. The hotel plans to offer guests a free app providing them with basic signs to communicate with deaf staff.
“It takes commitment. It’s not easy. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job.”
But Gaylard has been impressed by how everyone involved has accepted the challenge.
“So far, nobody that I have approached has said no. They have all said ‘how’?”
Jobs for the deaf
Kanjee feels most employers need to open more doors for deaf people in the workplace.
“I have a job here but other deaf people struggle to find a job. When someone writes that they are deaf on their CV, the employer puts the CV aside and won’t even do an interview,” she said. “There’s no support. It’s very little.”
Ingrid Parkin, the principal of St Vincent, agrees that business isn’t doing enough. “Employers don’t realise how deaf people contribute to businesses in a positive way, in that they are focused, hardworking and really appreciate opportunities to better themselves and contribute to the economy,” she said.
Gaylard has thrown down the gauntlet to other hotels in Sandton by building up the own deaf training programmes. And HTA, which now has a lecturer and facilities manager who are trained in sign language, hopes to expand the programme to other kitchens.
Parkin and Ramaahlo advocate collaboration between employers and educational institutions as a way to train and employ deaf people.
“Communication [for the deaf in the workplace] is always a challenge. However, this is not insurmountable,” Parkin said.
“Asking your employee what they require will help make the work environment accessible,” Ramaahlo said. “Employers need to have the mindset that deaf people can work in any environment that is supportive.”
Disability is not inability - Stonebwoy
The 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Artiste of the Year Stonebwoy born Livingstone Etse Satekla has disclosed that disability should never be a hindrance to stop one from achieving his or her dream.
With disappointment, Stonebwoy reminisces how people with disability are badly treated and neglected in the country.
According to the “Baafira” hit maker, the rights of persons with disability are not well enforced in Ghana thus making it difficult for the disabled to mingle with people.
He said that though he is physically challenged with his leg, that situation did not stop him from achieving his dream in life.
He made this known in an interview with Peace FM’s Akwasi Aboagye on Peace Entertainment Review pointing out his excitement about his victory over the weekend at the 2015 VGMA.
“Ever since I had an accident at the Tema Motorway, my leg had never been perfect. But I said to myself I will make it no matter the situation”, he stated.
Reggae Dancehall Artiste of the year at the 2015 VGMA added that he believes persistence and hard work can help him make it to the top.
Stonebwoy, who was adjudged the Vodafone Ghana Music Award (VGMA) Artiste of the Year 2015, competed for the prestigious award with other great musicians in Ghana including Sarkodie, Daddy Lumba, Edem and E.L. to climax a good year in his music career.
Foundation to construct disability education academy
Richoff Disability Sports and Educational Foundation, a disability club has acquired a 40-acre land for the construction of an ultra modern disability sports and education academy.
The land was acquired from Nana Ekaw Beisi II, Chief of Dominase Komenda, in the Central Region.
When the construction project is completed, the academy would provide educational support and skills training for persons with disability and orphans.
Mr Richard Offei, President of the Foundation, told newsmen at Accra Sports Stadium after a musical fund raising ceremony, that “this centre would provide opportunities for the disabled people though sports, education, training, employment and recreation”.
"It will also create a national platform for persons with disability and orphans to come together around sports, and also improve their social and economic status."|
Mr Offei, a former player of Liberty Professionals Football Club, said he suffered amputation after a tragic motor accident, after which he was neglected by his family and the society.
He said he consequently had to live on alms in the street.
However, determined to lead a more decent life, he joined the Ghana Amputee National Team and became the captain, which led him to various countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, UK, France and Turkey and Argentina, and won the first Amputee African Cup.
"After retiring from the amputee team, I decided to come the aid of the disabled," Mr Offei said, explaining that his decision was based on the fact that most of the disabled are vulnerable and have limited access to education, skill training, good health care, transportation and employment.
Some of the personalities at the show were the Ghana Football Authority boss Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi; music icons including Gyedu Blay Ambolley, A B Crentsil and Amakye Dede.
Mr Nyantakyi announced that a big launch of the musical programme would take place on April 30, and appealed to all to show interest.
Diana Lungu: Inspiring yet deaf
Zambia Daily Mail-
Posted in Fashion and Beauty, Life and Style on April 18, 2015 by Online Editor
DIANA Miss Deaf
FASHION TRENDS with ANGELA CHISHIMBA
THIS week, I am inspired as I write on a 20-year-old grade 11 pupil Diana Lungu, who has been, nominated to represent Zambia at the Miss Deaf pageant to be held on May 9, 2015, in South Africa.
Ms Lungu was discovered on the Zambia Fashion Week catwalk in 2012.
She is creative and also a member of the deaf choir of Livingstone.
Her dream is to grace the international catwalk.
Ms Lungu is confident of coming home with the crown.
The pageant will consist of among others an evening dress category, traditional and a creative segment where contestants show their various skills and talent through song, dance and drama.
Diana will be dressed by renowned Zambian fashion designer, Charity Nyirongo of Mo Creations.
All 15 SADC countries will be represented this year to also include Uganda.
Miss Deaf Africa pageant is a continental event that highlights the cultural diversity, beauty and potential of young deaf women across the African continent. The pageant advocates for equality of the deaf and indirectly solicits governments’ supports for the needs of the deaf in their respective countries.
The event was founded by Maria Sivertsen who organised the first event in Cape Town in 2012. The second peagent was held in Sandton, Johannesburg. This year’s event will be held in Hectospruit in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
The Miss Deaf Africa has appointed fashion icon Karen Nakawala as its Zambia ambassador.
Miss Nakawala was appointed because of her passion and work with the deaf which she is doing through the We Care campaign whose aim is to offer mentorship programmes for the deaf girls in Zambia.
Have a blessed weekend and ensure you keep warm.
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Disabled Somali trader aims to help injured countrymen
Bienne Huisman, City Press
Cape Town - Abdikader Shukri was left paralysed after two men shot him outside his grocery shop in Gugulethu during a spate of xenophobia attacks three years ago. But Shukri considers himself lucky, City Press reports.
The 32-year-old Somali has cousins and friends who supported him throughout the ordeal that saw him hospitalised for two months ? and now he wants to help fellow Somali victims of violence in South Africa.
Shukri founded the “Somalia Disabilities Board Cape Town SA” 10 months ago. Today, it has 27 members around the country and provides rehabilitation and counselling services. He also hopes to raise money to educate disabled Somali people in work that is less physically demanding than manning shop counters.
“As humanity, we normally focus on the number of people who died [in an incident]. But what about those left disabled, who are alive but whose lives have changed so much,” he asked during a recent interview with City Press at the Vangate Mall in Athlone.
He was accompanied by his friend Mohammed Warsame, whose wife was also paralysed when she was beaten at her shop in Philippi in 2011. She was pregnant at the time but, miraculously, their baby was born healthy.
Shukri’s cousin Saede Omar also came along, and pushed his wheelchair.
Shukri is soft-spoken, his speech laced with smiles. Occasionally he stutters. His T-shirt is a souvenir from a recent wheelchair race.
Shukri has official refugee status, which qualifies him for a monthly disability grant of R1 350.
“I’m so lucky to have people who care about me. For five months my cousins drove me to the rehab centre, where I swam and did exercises, enabling me to sit again,” he says.
It was at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre that Shukri first offered his services as a translator and life coach to fellow Somali shopowners injured during attacks.
“Some of the people from Somalia. They don’t speak English and they don’t have the education to understand what has happened to their bodies; why their legs aren’t working. So I explain to them. The people at the centre started to call me to explain.”
Right now he is counselling three Somalis who are being treated for spinal injuries at the centre. The one man was attacked in Kayamandi near Stellenbosch, another in Milnerton, and a woman, who was robbed and beaten at her store in Hermanus.
“When these people were discharged from the public hospitals there was just no support for them. So I’m coordinating that,” he says.
Shukri also interacts with disabled Somalis on social media. The board has an active Facebook page where he shares medical research and, in the past week, news of unfolding xenophobic attacks.
Shukri and his injured countrymen have been victims of random acts of crime rather than organised xenophobic attacks.
When asked about the violence that erupted in KwaZulu-Natal, the three men shake their heads.
“There is this constant fear that hangs over our heads; you just never know when the attacks could start or spread,” says Shukri.
Nevertheless, his life quality here is still better than it would be back home in Somalia, which has been devastated by civil war since 1991.
Thousands of Somalis have emigrated to South Africa, establishing themselves in the retail sector, selling snacks, soft drinks and clothing. About 20 000 Somalis were displaced in the Western Cape during xenophobic riots in 2008.
Angola: Disabled Athletics Team in Search of Competitiveness
Luanda - Angolan disabled athletics team start Thursday to participate in Open Brazil-Caixa Lotarias, in Sao Paulo city, aimed at providing team with competitiveness.
The assurance came from the national coach of the team, whose the average age stands at 20 years old, Jose Manuel.
Jose Manuel, who was speaking to Angop Monday before departure to the venue of the event, said that he hoped the young athletes achieve results that enabled them to qualify for 2016 Paralympic Games.
The coach, who is also the coordinator of disabled athletics in the country, explained that part of the athletes of the team are among the more than 30 young people cataloged by CPA aimed at reaching high levels in 2020 and 2024 Paralympic Games.
After good results in 2014 during the games of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) in Luanda, the African Games in Zimbabwe and last March at the meeting of Tunis, now the team wants to achieve medals in Sao Paulo, he said.
The coach stressed that the most important is to improve the results and get used to the high level sport.
DailyNews Online Edition - ‘Develop sign language to improve deaf people’s lives’Daily News- Published on Thursday, 23 April 2015 00:53
Written by FATMA ABDU
TANZANIA Association for the Deaf has asked the government and various institutions to prepare sustainable strategies and programmes in order to develop sign language, with the aim of removing communication barriers for the hearing impaired in the country.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Researcher in Tanzanian Sign Language, Prof Henry Muzale said that among strategies is teaching sign language as a subject in schools including those for the deaf and to help improve their living standards.
“We ask the government to prepare specific strategies and programmes to develop sign language for Tanzania in order to remove communication barriers and other problems for the deaf in the country,” he said, adding that by teaching sign language as a subject in schools, it helps to increase translators in the country.
He noted that deaf people are more likely to have income below poverty datum line and have no assets to cushion themselves against shocks; they are more vulnerable socially and economically.
Prof Muzale advised all Tanzanians to promote and develop sign language to improve living standards for the deaf in the country.
“We want to see the community recognising, accepting and co-operating with the deaf and ensure that they are not afflicted by poverty, injustice, segregation and any kind of discrimination,’ he explained.
Prof Muzale elaborated that by preparing programmes and strategies, society establishes a deaf community with better living standards, that build its capacity, is self-determining, has self-confidence, values and develops itself and participates fully, through Tanzanian Sign Language, in all development activities, economically and socially in co-operation with the government and various institutions.
Tanzania Association for the Deaf popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym ‘CHAVITA’ (CHAMA CHA VIZIWI TANZANIA) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), dedicated for advancement of deaf people in the country. CHAVITA was established to address problems experienced by deaf people in the country and improve their lives.
Groups task President-elect on anti-corruption war, disability bill
The Guardian Nigeria-
By Chuks Collins (Awka) and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos) on April 24, 2015
THE leader of the Nnewi Importers Association, Pastor Longinus Chukwuma, has insisted that the incoming administration under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari could only record success in its much-vaunted readiness to fight corruption in all spheres of Nigerian life if it would not mind sacred cows and make it a total war.
Chukwuma, who stated this yesterday in Nnewi while addressing journalists on other expectations of importers from Buhari’s administration, said in order to restore the dignity of Nigeria and sanity within the system, the fight against corruption should be total irrespective of party affiliation, social status, ethnic of origin or religious bias.
The leader of the association, who stated that most Nigerians were known to be smart and were always ready to circumvent any given policy unfavourable to them, advised that measures marshalled out by Gen. Buhari’s administration to fight corruption should be stringently followed to achieve the desired objective.
He said that there was need for balanced federal appointments to reflect the federal character, adding that the in-coming President should see the entire Nigeria as his constituency irrespective of ethnic or religious background.
Besides, the Nigeria National Persons With Disabilities Multipurpose Co- operative Society has urged the President-elect to sign the disability bill into law immediately he assumes office in order to make life more meaningful to the physically-challenged people in the country.
In a congratulatory message to Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, signed by its Founder/National President, Taiye Titus Oloye, the group said it has no doubt that Buhari will lead Nigeria to the promised land.
The group, which expressed optimism that the much-awaited change has come, noting that it is their belief that the in-coming administration would prioritise the issues of anti-corruption, injustice and move the country forward, said: “We are congratulating you and your deputy over this well-deserved electoral victory. We pray the Almighty God to continue to guide, lead and protect you and give you the spirit of wisdom and ability to deliver your promises and take the country to greater height. Gen. Buhari, you are God’s choice to serve our father’ s land.”
On the outcome of the presidential election, the importers’ leader said: “The will of the people is the will of God. One person must be a winner. We are not after who wins the election. We are more interested in the peace of the nation.
“We doff our cap for Jonathan. Indeed, he is the hero of Africa and what he did by congratulating the President-elect, Gen. Buhari, is not in the blood of the blackman. He saved so many lives and property by that singular act. He really did what he has always preached, that no personal ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
He advised lawyers handling various petitions at the elections petition tribunals not to delay in trashing out petitions before them in order to save time, cost and quell anxiety as he called for fair-hearing.
He said the President-elect was expected not to abandon good projects initiated by President Jonathan, adding that Buhari should consolidate on the gains of the out-going administration and improve on them, including the power sector.
He appealed to Buhari to implement to the letter the reports of the National Conference, which he said, should not be seen as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressives Congress (APC) document but one that concerned all Nigerians.
Malawi: Disability Body Claims Government 'Too Weak' On Support
By Happy Soko
The Malawi Against Physical Disability (MAP) on Friday commemorated the life of people who have become disabled due HIV and AIDs in Blantyre at Kachere Rehabilitation Centre.
MAP Physiotherapist Bester Kamakanda said people with HIV and AIDs and the same time are disabled face big challenges. He cited an increase of disabled people is due to abandoning of treating.
Kamakanda advised taking medication dairy will make people living with HIV and AIDs to have a prolonged life.
"The number of people who have been disabled due to HIV and AIDs is increasing. Those on treatment are advised not to miss the dosage," urged Kamakanda.
Meanwhile, MAP has lamented poor government support and patronage offered to the department. A situation that leads to poor service delivery.
MAP Country Operation Manager Alex Mzikambani said the department is facing a huge setback. He bemoaned the support it is receiving saying it is not meeting the needed capacity.
Kachere is the only Rehabilitation Centre running as of now. Other Centre like Zomba, Lilongwe and Rumphi have been closed down due to lack of funds.
He lamented the closure of other centres to have caused scramble for resources at Kachere.
" When it comes to solving problems like the ones we have here, I can say we are not getting enough support. The department is big with many operational areas. The outreach services have been stopped in regional offices like Rumphi, Zomba and Lilongwe due to lack of funds.
Now people from Nsanje to Chitipa come to access services at Kachere which is the only centre running,"
" Devices like wheelchairs and crutches are no longer manufactured." Mzikambani Stated.
Meanwhile, the department has appealed for financial support from the government and donor partners.
The function which is second to happen showcased patients who have acquired disability due to AIDS.
Ministry Of Health In NBG Support Polio Disabled Union Vocational Centre
The state Minister of Health in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Hon. Tong Deng Anei has revealed his ministerial ambitions to support the Polio Disabled Union Vocational Centre’s growth and independence by buying them wheel chairs which are locally made by the same group.
28 April 2015
By Agoth Abraham
AWEIL, April 28, 2015[Gurtong] - In his handing over remarks made at the Polio Disabled Group Union’s centre [PDGU] at Malou-aweer on Monday while distributing the brand new made wheel chairs to the polio victims, the minister reiterated their commitment in supporting the disabled saying they are part of the community and that it is always in his mind to share with them the little resources his ministry mobilize for them.
“We are today witnessing the distribution of 22 brand new, fixed and assembled bicycles which were made ready by the group you can see here in this vocational centre. We working hand in hand with other donors especially international humanitarian organizations operating in the state to look into their problems of making their lives easy as you can see here at what they did by themselves,” said the minister.
Each bicycle costs 300 USD which is paid directly to the groups after fixing a good number of bicycles which are witnessed and distributed to the beneficiaries among the group.
Under the theme ‘Disability is NOT Inability’ the group of disabled in Northern Bahr el Ghazal whose ability to perform other slight work duties like any other ordinary citizen does, have been performing their talent shows so rapidly where they luckily got external intervention for financial aiding to develop and expand their projects.
Moses Kiir, the Union’s Secretary encouraged his colleagues who feel are unable to perform normal light duties urging them to join hands together with them in doing equal workloads.
"I know the disabled are regarded as unable people but this not the case. As you can see now it goes to show that the disabled people as termed have abilities to perform duties like any other in the community." Moses expressed.
"In addition to our abilities, the disabled have abilities to participate in those activities like for example when it comes to sports, most of the disabled can perform sports activities while on their wheel chairs." He added.
GEMS Development Foundation is an international NGO working in partnership with NBG ministry to support disabled group as well as helping build capacity of medical personnel within the ministry.
Kenya: Pokot County Asked to Report Cases of Disability
West Pokot county residents have been urged to report families hiding children with disability.
It has been established that many disabled people are not allowed to be seen in public because of culture and traditions.
Rehab Mission coordinator Tom Mulati said 50 per cent of people living with disability in the county have not been reached.
"We urge residents to expose those who have been hidden for them to get help. Many are taken as a bad omen in the society while others are being ignored," he said.
Mulati was speaking yesterday in Kapenguria during a ceremony for Clement Musto, a child who successfully underwent a corrective surgery after in AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital.
Concerns Raised Over Ghana Disability Act Gaps
NewsApr 30, 2015 0
Professor Nii-Adziri Wellington, professor of Architecture and Heritage on Wednesday raised concerns over gaps in Ghana’s disability act and urged government to revise it now to conform to international standards and ensure inclusiveness in society.
DisabledHe said persons with disability, particularly autistic persons, face a lot of barriers in the society which calls for a law to comprehensively protect them and address their social and economic needs.
Prof Wellington made the call during an inaugural lecture organised by Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) on the theme: “Architecture for autism ? a technical response with mind and heart to a dire human need”.
The lecturer outlined how the topic evolved following a family request for a design of a special residential facility to manage and take care of a young adult member of a family with an extreme condition of an autism spectrum disorders.
He said the condition that characterises the member is found to be a harrowing experience and there is a manifestation of multifaceted forms of disabilities.
The disabilities ranged from the medically induced seizures and self- destructive tendencies to hyper-sensitivity to physically environmental sensory inputs.
Prof Wellington said though there is no statistics about the condition of autism in the country, there are about five centres located in Accra, while the situation is also said to be prevalent among males.
Autism spectrum disorders are characterised by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
However, symptoms and their severity vary widely, according to medical experts.
Prof Wellington said the symptoms are very important to allow architects to develop and design the right buildings to manage the condition of autistic persons.
He called on the government to press on the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to abide by building regulations and put up structures that would respond to the needs of persons with disability.
Prof Akilkpa Sawyer, President of GAAS described the lecture as stimulating, saying the presentation demonstrated that architecture goes beyond design and building.
He said it meant the application of science and technology to improve the living environment of human conditions.
Including Persons Living With Disability In The Scheme Of Things
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Apr 30, 2015 10:59 am | 0 Comments
A News Analysis by Femi Ogunshola, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Mr Austin Onwuamaegbu, President, Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria, has observed that public attitude to persons living with disability is worrisome.
He spoke in Abuja recently at Disability Empowerment Summit, observing that persons living with disability suffered alienation and discrimination due to lack of awareness.
He said that he was disturbed as a person living with disability in a community that failed to include him in the scheme of things.
“Since I grew up with disability, it is not encouraging when it comes to public attitude, acceptance and sensitivity to the plight of people living with various disabilities.
“It reminds me of my childhood when a casual walk with braces and crutches across my neighborhood invited curious onlookers and noisy name -callers.
“I realised that the name calling had to do with how I looked and walked and I started feeling different.
“I was treated differently from outside, I turned away from the world around me and confined my life to myself,’’ he said.
Onwuamaegbu observed further that a lot of children with disabilities and their parents were living a life of despair and isolation.
He noted that parents of such children would prefer to stay at home with the kids than to participate in social events and gatherings.
According to him, the social stigma on people living with disability adversely affected their inclusion in most events in communities.
He said this attitude, perhaps, could be the reason why some parents, whose children lived with disabilities, would not disclose that their children had such challenges.
“To add to the challenges, people offer an abundance of sympathy and ask people living with disabilities embarrassing questions in public.
“We have a society where some children mock a child with disability; we don’t expect the same child to feel comfortable in such society,’’ he observed.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sign into law Persons with Disability Bill before handing over on May 29.
Sharing similar sentiments, Miss Eberedo Onyinyechi, a civil servant and person living with disability, said that various organisations had refused to offer her job before she was eventually employed.
“Even with a proof that I am a graduate, I am discriminated against, rejected and some of us are sexually harassed while some people call us nuisance in our efforts to secure jobs,’’ she said.
Onyinyechi observed that a society without provisions to accommodate persons living with disability was not complete.
She noted that Nigeria ought to be a place where every citizen could enjoy equal opportunities, alleging that legislations had failed to guarantee active inclusion of persons with disability in the socio- economic and political events.
She, therefore, insisted that persons with disabilities should be empowered by removing certain barriers which could frustrate them.
She also called on Nigerians to give employments to persons with disability, pleading that a person with disability ought not to get a job out of pity but for what she or he could offer.
“A society that is all inclusive should provide means of movement to various work places for people living with disabilities such as vehicles and elevators.
According to her, it is glaring that persons with disability are being discriminated against as most of the buses and cars available for transport services in most cities were not designed to accommodate them.
“Likewise, toilets at work places should be designed to suit this group of persons with disabilities,’’ she said.
Onyinyechi called for signing into law of the Persons with Disability Bill to guarantee the rights of the people living with disabilities.
“Laws are meant to protect and greater protection must, therefore, be given to persons with disability to defend themselves in the society,’’ she insisted.
She also suggested a law that would strengthen punishment for sexual abuse against persons with disability.
Another person living with disability, simply identified as Grace, said that although she was a graduate with a good result, she had not got job because of her condition.
“I have gone to places, including private organisations and government agencies and ministries; no one wants to employ me because they see me as a burden,’’ she alleged.
She said that in some places where she got the privilege of working, the greatest barrier was climbing the steer case because there was no provision for persons with disability to move to offices assigned to them.
In his view, Mr Donald Uranka, Executive Director, Potters Gallery Initiative, Abuja, opined that inclusion of persons with disability should begin with their welfare through proper legislation that will guarantee their rights.
He said that the United Nations put the number of persons with disability at 22.5 million in Nigeria; more than the population of some sovereign countries in Africa.
He insisted that proper legislation on issues relating to persons with disability would help to aid their rights of participation in developments.
He called on the government to give persons with disability equal opportunities to contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
According to him, the government must review the cases of persons with disability while persons living with disability should also change their thinking about their challenges.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Nigeria: Hearing Impaired Adolescents Excluded From Sexual Health Education
By Chibuike Alagboso
Around 14 per cent of adolescents in Nigeria are hearing impaired, yet their specific sexual and reproductive health needs as young people with a disability have long been ignored.
According to the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (2013), the average age for women at first sexual intercourse is 17.6 years and for men it is 21.1 years. In addition, 23 per cent of adolescent women age 15-19 are either pregnant with their first child or already mothers.
Clearly, there is a need for young people to be educated in sexual and reproductive health issues before they become sexually active. But most television programmes and radio jingles that deal with these issues are targeted at those who can hear. Young people who are hearing impaired face multiple vulnerabilities, and little is being done to ensure they receive and understand vital information to protect their sexual and reproductive health.
Hearing impaired young people more vulnerable
At the 3rd Family Planning Conference held in Abuja last year there was a consistent call for the Ministry of Health to collaborate with other Ministries such as Education and Women's Affairs who have already developed strategies for communicating with hearing impaired young people.
Such a collaboration of special educators and behavioral change experts could help produce essential materials suitable for these young people.
However, so far, nothing tangible has been recorded in this regard according to Mu'azu Muhammed, a health communication expert at Targeted States High Impact Project (Tship Nigeria) and founder of Generation Development Initiative Nigeria.
Ibe Okenwa, dean of School for the Deaf in Imo state, confirms that they have no special educational materials available for students to learn about sexual and reproductive health. "It would be a very welcome development if concerned authorities can make it possible," he says.
Okenwa added that peer educator trainers occasionally come to talk to students about sexual and reproductive health issues. But an interpreter has to be around for the students to understand the messages being shared and these opportunities are few and far between.
Providing learning materials designed specifically to help hearing impaired adolescents learn about sexual and reproductive health issues, such as preventing unwanted pregnancies and HIV, could make a huge difference in helping them make informed choices.
One such project in Vietnam has already shown its value, allowing hearing impaired adolescents to take the initiative in dealing with their sexual and reproductive health.
Individuals battle to change the status quo
Dr Emmanuel Asonye is the coordinator and founder of Fighting for the Vulnerable, an NGO that is focused on addressing the needs of hearing impaired people in Nigeria.
He says the hearing impaired can have trouble trusting people around them as they can't hear them speak, and another issue is that communicating using sign language is not possible when it is dark.
Last year, Dr Asonye organised an event where hearing impaired young people were trained in ballet and hip-hop and got an opportunity to present a cultural programme. He says: "A major challenge we faced was nonchalance and a lackluster attitude from most local agencies and organisations we approached for partnership and sponsorship."
Dr Asonye believes that alongside the right supporting materials, such creative activities could be a great way to engage hearing impaired adolescents in sexual and reproductive health education. But apart from the few dedicated people like Dr Asonye, there is no concerted effort to ensuring the welfare and development of these young people in Nigeria. Ministers and other decision makers seem to have quickly forgotten the discussions from the Family Planning Conference.
Addressing the unmet needs for sexual and reproductive health education for hearing impaired young people needs to be given priority not just at the community level but also at the national level. Developing appropriate learning materials is a small, but essential, part in the effort to help hearing impaired adolescents develop to their fullest potential, and it mustn't be overlooked.