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
South Africa: Can Vavi Seize the Working Clas...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
 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.