Living Life: Disabled Street Preacher
In Living Life today, we tell the story of a 27-year old disabled graduate, who took to the streets to preach in his graduation gown after failing to get employment.
He is not bound by the fact that he has lived in a wheelchair all his life but has instead decided to use his situation to praise God. In Living Life today, we bring you the story of a 27-year old graduate, who took to the streets to preach in his graduation gown after failing to get employment.
Africa: View On Disability - Are Disabled Kids in School After All?
By Joshua Howgego
SciDev.Net recently reported on an economic analysis by Nobel laureate Eric Maskin that presents education as a solution to inequality. Education is often promoted as a route out of poverty. And when it comes to schooling disabled children, many global development professionals believe the biggest challenge is to simply get them into the classroom, according to disability researcher Hannah Kuper of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.
But a new study she led indicates that the majority of disabled children in the developing world are in some form of education. So, she says, it's time for the debate to move on from "getting bums on seats" to focusing on the quality of education these children get and their overall school experience.
The study by Kuper's team was published in PLOS One last month.  It used data from surveys of almost a million children in 49 nations across the developing world that are sponsored in programmes run by children's charity Plan. And it showed that, generally, 60-70 per cent of surveyed children with disabilities were in school (although there were exceptions to this rule - see graph).
The study shows that on average 60-70 per cent of disabled children are in education, which in developing nations may not be so far from the proportion of children without disabilities. Nonetheless, there are some countries - including Egypt and Guinea - where the inequality is more pronounced.
The surveys were designed to inform the letters Plan sends to update Western donors who sponsor the children. Although the questions are basic, one asks whether the child has an impairment or disability.
Since the exact same questions are used in each country, the resulting data are directly comparable and therefore powerful, Kuper tells me.
"The vast majority of the literature on disability is small, qualitative studies," she says, noting that even the WHO's World report on disability is built on information from such studies.  "Our study is large and uses the same question across different countries, so it's comparable - and that's what's unique about it."
A caveat is that the children that Plan helps have received aid and so may be more likely to have access to education and to come from poor backgrounds than the rest of the population. But Kuper says several other studies she conducted in individual countries back up the finding. One, conducted in Malawi, found that 73 per cent of the 2,700 children with disabilities surveyed were in education. 
Kuper adds that other NGOs - including World Vision, which runs its own sponsor-a-child programme - conduct similar studies using the data that they already collect for research.
The PLOS One study also reveals that, among those surveyed, about a third more boys than girls have disabilities. And the results show differences in the prevalence of different types of disability reported across continents - for example, mental disabilities were seldom reported in Africa but were more commonly flagged elsewhere. Although Kuper has theories about the causes of these trends, she says more research is needed to unpick their genesis.
But her main aim is for her results to help move debates around the schooling of disabled children away from merely getting such children into education and towards discussing how to ensure the teaching they get is good quality.
Joshua Howgego is SciDev.Net's deputy news and opinions editor. @jdhowgego
 Hannah Kuper and others The impact of disability on the lives of children; cross-sectional data including 8,900 children with disabilities and 898,834 children without disabilities across 30 countries (PLOS One, 9 September 2014)
 World report on disability (WHO, 2011)
 The Malawi key informant child disabilit
Sudan: Providing Education for Central Darfur's Deaf Community
By Sharon Lukunka
Anour Mohammed Anour, a 55-year-old, is one of the oldest students enrolled at the Centre for the Deaf in Zalingei, Central Darfur. The centre is the only facility of its kind providing formal education for deaf students in the area.
The students are taught how to write and use sign language in an enabling learning atmosphere. They come from nearby camps for internally displaced persons as well as from Zalingei town and surrounding villages. The centre first began its activities with only seven students and over the time that number has risen to more than 60 students.
All the students in the centre are deaf ranging from primary school ages to elderly men and women. Hanan Bakhit, a 12-years-old, and Khadiga Taha Rezegalla, a 16-years-old, both from Hamediya camp for displaced persons, indicate that this is the only form of education they receive because the other schools in the camp are not able to accommodate students with a disabilities, especially the ones with a hearing loss.
Talib Eldean Adam Idries was born deaf and didn't learn how to communicate until he enrolled at a school for deaf people in Khartoum in 1985. He explains that he was working in the Sudanese capital when he learned that there was a specialized institution for deaf people nearby.
Following the completion of his studies, he returned to his home in Zalingei and established the first union and the centre for the deaf in 2006 aimed at providing a platform for the deaf community from different backgrounds to learn how to communicate. Some of the students travelled long distances to attend the lessons that at the beginning were conducted under a make-shift tent made of thatched grass.
Mr. Idries says that his centre has not benefitted from financial support from local institutions. UNAMID and other UN agencies have been providing much needed support including the construction of classrooms, toilets and a perimeter wall as well as the distribution of educational materials.
Through UNAMID's quick impact projects, Civil Affairs funded the construction of three classrooms in 2007. Currently, one room is used as office space for the teachers while the other two are used for primary and secondary school education for the deaf students. The Mission also plans to construct additional classrooms and a workshop to enable the centre with a form of income generating activities.
"Every child deserves an education, especially children with disabilities. That is why within our limited resources, we took up this project to assist the school so that students can acquire an education to learn how to communicate, it is their right," says Tahir Cevik, UNAMID Civil Affairs Team Leader in Central Darfur.
In addition, in 2012, UNAMID's UN Volunteers programme painted the classrooms and the fence as well as constructed a shelter as part of its community activities. UNAMID is also mobilizing support from other relevant agencies operating in the area to assist the centre for deaf.
Mr. Idries says the parents have expressed appreciation to the school for such assistance because before they brought their children there some parents were unable to fulfil their child's special needs, some stayed at home to take care of it while others were seen roaming the streets.
Many children with such disabilities were not accepted in formal education and even after their graduation no one would hire them so they had to return to their lands to farm. "They are sometimes marginalized and segregated within their own communities," affirms Mr. Idries.
Mr. Idries is not discouraged by the lack of funding that the centre he created is suffering. Even if the school has some limitations, for example, there is only one text book available for all the students due to its high cost, he is satisfied that he can assist the deaf community in his hometown and would like to reach out to more in other locations.
"The centre has become a home and a school for these students where they can receive such adequate training," says Mr. Idries, who is proud of his achievements.
Disabled Union In NBGS Calls For International Support For Peace In South Sudan
In a memo presented to United Nations Mission In South Sudan branch office in Aweil, one to the governor office and another one to the peace commission in the state, hundreds of disabled Union members in the state capital matched in rows as they shout for ‘PEACE! PEACE!’
07 October 2014
Disabled Union In NBGS Calls for International support for Peace in South Sudan
Disabled members posed for group photo in their centre at Malou-aweer after presenting their petition to UNMISS [Photo|Gurtong Correspondent}
By Gurtong Correspondent
AWEIL, 6 October 2014- Under theme ‘Support peace loving citizens for peaceful coexistence’ they strongly called on international communities to recognize and support the ongoing peace talks in Addis-Ababa so that citizens of South Sudan enjoy everlasting peace.
“We, the disabled Union in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state are calling for the international communities to support the ongoing peace process in Addis-Ababa. We are urging for every peace loving people around the globe to support and stand with our legitimate president H.E Salva Kiir in order to safeguard the lives of innocent citizens of South Sudan who have suffered for more than 50 years.” The petition reads in part.
They also urged the warring parties to respect and commit to final peace dealt as they go back for another peace round talks in the upcoming days in Ethiopian capital, Addis-Ababa. In recognition of the losses incurred on citizens and properties, the group calls for an immediate cease fire from both ends so that there is no more bloodshed across the country.
“We strongly condemn this senseless war led by the rebels’ leader Riek Machar Teny and we are much concerned about this; and would like to express our appeal through this petition that Riek Machar must accept an unconditional peace. We don’t need any more increment of disabled this country… enough is enough of what happened in the past.” The petition partially reads.
“To be precise and focus, we assembled here as the disabled community to call for UN agencies, International organizations operating in NBGS through UNMISS to convey this message of our concern that we want peace to prevail in our country , we want every citizen in this country to have every right they deserve to as people of one country.” The letter further reads.
Northern Bahr el Ghazal state Union of Disabled [NBGUD] was established in 2007 and became officially operational in 2008. The Union has the departments of blind, deaf and lame. So far, only 154 lame members have been registered since its establishment. The union uses to get little fund from an international organization known as CSI which provides them with wheelchairs and tents.
Disabled persons in Aweil protest against war
AWEIL (7 Oct.)
Dozens of members of the disabled community of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State demonstrated for peace on Monday and against the country’s ten-month old war, which has been led by the SPLA faction leaders Riek Machar and Salva Kiir.
Fighters of the two warring factions SPLA-IO and SPLA-Juba have displaced 1.7 million people, killed tens of thousands of people, and pillaged the towns Bor, Mayom, Malakal, Leer, Bentiu, Nasser, and numerous villages.
Protesters in the state capital Aweil on Monday marched and wheeled their way toward the base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where they presented a petition urging the international community to support peace efforts. They also presented their petition to the state government.
William Deng, representative of the disabled, said that the war has created hatred, tribalism and injustice.
“We don’t need more disability to happen in the South because this will wound the nation itself,” said William, speaking on the UN radio service in South Sudan.
For its part, the UN peacekeeping mission says that it urges disabled persons to “spread the message of peace” in their communities.
This is one of the first peace protests reported in the Bahr al Ghazal region since the start of the war. The region is controlled by the SPLA-Juba faction.
Photo credit: Hannah McNeish/IRIN
Reaching the Deaf for Christ: Part Two
Mission Network News
PUBLISHED BY KATEY HEARTH ON OCTOBER 8, 2014
(Graphic cred: WitsLanguageSchool.com)
(Graphic credit WitsLanguageSchool.com)
Africa (MNN) - In Part Two of our series about reaching the deaf for Christ, we’ll explore challenges and growth in Africa with Wycliffe Bible Translators, Wycliffe Associates, The Seed Company and Deaf Opportunity OutReach (DOOR).
With help from the Wycliffe coalition, DOOR is equipping national believers to tackle the stigma surrounding deafness and introduce people to Christ.
DOOR’s Rob Myers says many challenges face the families of hearing-impaired people in Africa compared to those in Western civilization; prime among them are prevalence and perception.
Healthcare issues in the underdeveloped and often impoverished nations of Africa contribute significantly to the commonality of deafness.
An African child signs "I Love You" in gratitude for the Gospel DVD he received from DOOR. (Photo cred: DOOR)
“You tend to find a higher percentage of deaf people among the populations,” Myers notes. “Oftentimes, children between the ages of five and eight will contract a disease that will subsequently cause them to lose their hearing.”
Another challenge to reaching the deaf for Christ in Africa is the perception of deafness itself. Many communities view deafness as a curse.
“The [deaf] child often becomes a source of shame for that family,” explains Myers. The perception of deafness as a curse usually results in deaf children being hidden away and completely isolated from society.
“90% of deaf children are actually born to hearing parents, so most of the time they grow up in a dysfunctional family because they have no means of communicating with their parents,” Myers adds.
Liberating Africa’s Deaf
Since many deaf communities in Africa are unreached, DOOR uses an “alternative” method of sign language Bible translation to introduce deaf people to Christ. It’s called “Chronological Bible Storying (CBS).”
DOOR uses a three-step CBS process and materials for evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship called Know God How, Follow God How, and Serve God How, respectively.
“That entire series constitutes 110 stories and lays a primary biblical foundation for a people group so that they can really understand what Christianity is about,” Myers explains.
DOOR staff in Africa celebrate the translation of evangelism, discipleship and fellowship materials. (Photo cred: DOOR)
Five African nations-Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Tanzania-recently completed translation and production of the complete 110-story series. DOOR held a grand celebration to mark the occasion, and more breakthroughs came forth.
“During that celebration, we had the country of Nigeria finish the first series of 32 stories,” shares Myers.
“We also had our Kenya translation team finish a series of translator notes and Bible study notes, or commentaries, that we call ‘The Deeps.'”
He says these commentaries will be extremely helpful for future sign language translation work.
As you pray, ask the Lord how He would have you support deaf ministry in Africa. For more details on the ministry of DOOR, click here to visit their Web site.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore how you can be a part of reaching the deaf for Christ in your own community through Faith Comes By Hearing.
Read Reaching the Deaf for Christ: Part One.
Neglected Wa School for the Deaf calls for help
As difficult as it is for students at the Wa School for the deaf to communicate with persons who do not understand sign language; they have been rendered incapable of speaking even among themselves at night.
Owing to the current unavailability of light bulbs on the school campus, students have been deprived of the ability to communicate with each other.
Speaking to Joy FM’s Upper West correspondent, Rafiq Salam, headmaster of the school, Babiina Samuel Babinuo explained that aside from the light bulbs fitted in the students’ dormitories, none exist on other parts of the over forty acre campus.
Mr. Babinuo explained that the pupils communicate through sign language and facial expressions; something that’s difficult to interpret without adequate visibility, and especially at night.
“We talk with our hands; we don’t talk with our mouths and the person who is listening will have to listen with his eyes. So if the person listening with the eyes can’t see then it will be useless,” he said.
He expressed concern over the inability of students to conduct prep in their classrooms in the evenings, and for their safety as they move about the campus; especially as streetlights, despite being wired, are also not fitted with light bulbs.
Of the three latrines, which serve over three hundred students on the campus, one is in deplorable condition; having been overtaken by weeds.
Despite school authorities closing the structure down and earmarking it for demolition, Mr. Babinuo stated that the students sneak out to attend to nature’s call at the facility, and raised concerns over the possibility of a student(s) falling into the pit.
He mentioned that the school has written to the Wa Municipal Assembly on several occasions to assist with demolition of the structure and has yet to receive a response.
Further deploring the lack of support to properly run the school, Mr. Babinuo said the buildings on the campus were in a state of massive disrepair.
He stated that a contractor had been brought in four years ago to renovate the buildings - to fix problems such as crumbling walls and leaky roofs. The contractor, however, only ripped off the roofs of some of the buildings, rendering some classrooms water-logged.
“The failure of the contractor to finish the job has hindered students and staff in several ways. Because it is a special school we are supposed to have about seven students in a class but we are now forced to have over twenty in a class," he posited.
He lamented the unavailability of transportation for the school as all three vehicles for the school have ruined tyres which have not been replaced.
This unfortunate situation, he said, has resulted in the school mothers (teachers) piggy-backing sick children to and from the campus whenever they are in need of medical attention.
‘‘We are not fair to the school mothers; we shouldn’t use them like pack animals,” he concluded.
Caring mom takes up struggle of the deaf
Sowetan Live (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog) By Vicky Somniso-Abraham | 10 18, 2014 HOUSE number 55 at Esangweni Section in Tembisa on the East Rand has become a safe haven for the deaf community.
It is a home where wonderful and painful stories of many deaf people are shared. Due to the number of people who flock to the four-roomed house, one could mistakenly think it belongs to an established organisation for the deaf.
But it is owned by South African sign language (SASL) interpreter Senzi Motha who has opened her heart and home to the deaf.
Motha, 53, was introduced to sign language by her adopted deaf daughter and former colleague, Sylvia Manganye, 37, in 2002. Back then she could not sign and they had to communicate in writing.
"When she joined our company in Wynberg, I asked her to teach me three letters of the alphabet a day until I completed 26. She then taught me how to sign names and that's where everything started. On the eighth month, I was interpreting for her when we had meetings at work," Motha recalls.
Their relationship grew stronger and, in 2004, Manganye moved in with Motha and her late husband Titus. This brought Motha closer to other deaf people she met through Manganye and she has now become a pillar of strength to many.
"I'm in good relations with the deaf community. I have 30 sons and 50 daughters who are deaf.
"They flock to my house to seek help and my son [her biological son Nkosinathi] would jokingly say 'incane lendlu [this house is smal]; we'd better call the house DeafSA' and we would laugh about it."
This good Samaritan also offers counselling to abused women and those who are HIV-positive as well as marriage and relationship counselling.
"I normally encourage people to get tested so that they can know their status. I inform those who are HIV-positive that it is not a death sentence, there is still life afterwards. They need to take treatment and live a healthy life. I also encourage those who are not, to abstain from sex or use protection."
Motha worked at DeafSA Gauteng as a volunteer HIV/Aids project interpreter from 2010 to 2013 and would assist in other departments.
She says the major challenge in the deaf community is the lack of qualified interpreters. Realising this shortage, Motha decided to learn basic sign language at Wits University in 2004.
Because of her affection for the deaf, she now interprets for them at weddings, funerals, during court cases and at disciplinary hearings at no cost.
"I interpret what the pastor is saying when they exchange marriage vows. During funerals I interpret songs and their messages. I also go with them to hospital and to private doctors for consultations because the doctors cannot sign," Motha says.
"The deaf people are supposed to pay me but they don't. I don't worry about that because it's a calling to help them," she says.
This year she intervened in a sexual harassment dispute between Manganye and a colleague at her workplace in Midrand. The case was heard at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court and the court granted Manganye a protection order against the perpetrator for five years. The order prohibits him from having any physical contact with her, sexually harassing her or assaulting her in any manner.
Despite learning the basics at Wits University, Motha could not practise as an interpreter until she had completed her matric. This she did at Kwazini Adult Centre in Tembisa in June this year.
"Passing matric will help me to find a permanent job as I am freelancing and helping the NPOs (nonprofit organisations) in Tembisa."
Motha says the scandal that broke out during former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service through fake interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie speaks of their many challenges.
"It hurts that people who are fooling others get top jobs, but I know God will reward me".
For more stories like this one, be sure to buy the Sowetan newspaper from Mondays to Fridays
After world travels, resident continues to help deaf community
Frederick News Post (subscription)-
John Madison is an American Sign Language interpreter for students at Frederick Community College.
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2014 2:00 am
By Paige Jones News-Post Staff | 0 comments
Posted on Oct 19, 2014by paigeleejones
After working in education for more than 50 years, John Madison moved to Africa to further pursue his calling of helping the deaf community.
Madison, a New York native who now lives in Frederick, published the first Namibian sign language book in collaboration with a deaf artist, allowing beginning signers in the country to learn the language. “The fact that the signs in that book were Namibian signs” was significant, he said, because allowing Namibia’s deaf community to record their language was empowering.
“In some countries, American Sign Language is imposed on deaf people,” Madison said. “It’s wrong.”
During his three years in Namibia, Madison also collaborated with deaf people to extend Namibian sign vocabulary for secondary education, adding signs for academic words such as democracy and precipitation. The absence of these words had prevented most deaf Namibian children from pursuing secondary education since none were able to pass the required test.
After his experience in Africa, which also included a year in Malawi, Madison returned to the U.S. in 2006 and soon after moved to Frederick with his wife.
“If I was younger, I’d go back” to Africa, Madison said.
Madison, who is partially deaf, said he survived school by glancing at his fellow students’ desks ? for notes, page numbers and more. His grades would plummet the years he had a soft-spoken teacher and was often unable to hear the lessons. While most of his peers detested the teachers with loud, shrill voices, Madison said he enjoyed them because he could hear what was being said.
“We had little desks bolted to the floor,” he said, describing the school he attended as a child in the countryside of New York. “It was like ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ but not much better.”
Despite his early struggles in education, Madison graduated from high school and attended college at the State University of New York in Geneseo. He worked 40 hours a week to pay his way through school and took classes six days a week, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and elementary education in 1962.
After graduation, Madison taught all levels of education in New York, Illinois, Maryland and even Florida, where he used computers and video cameras to teach students from all over the country online at Nova Southeastern University during the mid-1990s.
“I wanted to see what it was like teaching with technology,” he said. “It was a good experience. I enjoyed it.”
It was not until Madison joined Gallaudet University as a faculty member in his 40s that he learned American Sign Language. After an intensive orientation, he continued to learn sign language while teaching classes, seeking help from his deaf students when needed.
Today, Madison is retired but continues to serve as an American Sign Language interpreter for local organizations and schools, including Frederick Community College and Frederick County public schools.
“I decided to do it all,” he said.
Follow Paige Jones on Twitter: @paigeleejones.
South Africa: Basic Education Department Is Neglecting Deaf LearnersAllAfrica.com-
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Tanzania: Telecom Firm Continues to Support...
By Sonja Boshoff
A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that only 92 teachers of the total number of 1 232 teachers in Schools for the Deaf are qualified in South African Sign Language. The reply also revealed that an additional 127 teachers have received rudimentary training that covers grammatical or linguistic structures of South African Sign Language.
This shortfall cannot be accepted and I will, therefore, be requesting a meeting with the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshegka and the Chief Director of Inclusive Education, Dr Simelane, to discuss what interventions will be put in place to ensure that these learners are given the education they so desperately need.
Another aspect which is of concern is that of the 30 schools for the deaf, only 15 have the requisite equipment to record learner assessment activities.
This serves to highlight the neglect of children in our education system who are vulnerable. It is a clear indication that these learners are faced with serious backlogs. Not dealing with this severe backlog will only serve to compound the problem and will leave deaf children and children with hearing impairments without the necessary skills to make a living and deal with the everyday challenges faced by the deaf.
The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, must align her department with the National Development Plan (NDP) and ensure that all South Africans have access to training and education of the highest quality. Only then will education become an important instrument to opening opportunities and the reduction of inequality.
It is vitally important that in the new financial year funds be made available to purchase the necessary equipment for these schools and that more emphasis is placed on teacher training in appropriate sign language.
Amend ballot paper for the deaf - activist
The Coordinator of the Federation of the Disabled, Shirley Keoagile, has appealed to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to amend the ballot paper to include face pictures of politicians.
By MARANYANE NGWANAAMOTHO Wed 22 Oct 2014, 17:02 pm (GMT +2)
She said they had realised this after they conducted an assessment among the disabled and trained them on how to go through the voting process. Keoagile explained that the deaf depend on sight, and would need to see facial pictures of the representatives. “The deaf want to see pictures of faces because they know only a few politicians, and might also not know the parties and which of those certain individuals belong to,” she said. She added that party symbols would be confusing more especially as there are new political parties.
“It would be hard to pin point who belongs to which party. With pictures, the process would be easier as they would recognise faces and could immediately identify people,” she said. Keoagile said the IEC had recently introduced Braille for the visually impaired, which was a positive development. She however pleaded that the deaf be included. The IEC has reportedly stated that they don’t have a budget to accommodate the deaf.
“There are four forms of communication which are English, Setswana, Braille and sign language. It is not fair to leave the other out and say it is because you do not have money,” she said. She said Botswana should learn from other countries, like South Africa, which included everyone in their election communication debate. Keoagile claimed that she had suggested to Botswana Television (Btv) management to have a sign interpreter during the elections’ debates that were hosted for Members of Parliament on television.
“They however said it was expensive. I then suggested sub-titles but they didn’t do that either. This is not fair. We are part of society and have the right to not only vote but also partake in the political discourse,” she said.
She added that the television debates would have been very helpful especially to the disabled who are unable to access freedom squares to get the message for themselves.
“Old people, even the young struggle to push wheelchairs to freedom squares. They have missed out on all the information but they still have to vote which is not fair,” she said. Meanwhile, IEC has reportedly agreed for the federation to submit its own people to observe how the disabled fare at polling stations. “We want to know if our people are struggling to read, to see, to use Braille and document their whole experience,” said Keoagile. Officials from Btv and IEC were not available for comment at the time of going to print.
- See more at: http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=46852#sthash.G5mpUZoQ.dpuf
Rwanda: Deaf and Mute Girl Sits PLE, Wants to Become an Accountant
By Jean d'Amour Mbonyinshuti
When Alice Mugwaneza started primary education at the age of seven, she was overwhelmed with joy and was optimistic about the future.
But her excitement was short-lived as her teachers said they could not help her owing to her hearing loss and muteness.
Mugwaneza was, therefore, compelled to sit at home for some years since there was no other school in her area that could admit her.
But she never lost hope and continued to look around for an alternative school.
A few months later, Mugwaneza got an opportunity to join Wisdom Nursery and Primary School and is now sitting her Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) that started on Tuesday.
A total of 165,284 candidates are sitting for this year's Primary Leaving Examinations from various examination centres across the country.
Candidates started with Social Studies and Mathematics. Yesterday, they sat for Science and Elementary Technology and the exams are expected to end today with English.
Life at school
At Gashangiro II in Musanze District, Mugwaneza sits calmly in the examination hall and smiles as she puts the last full stop on her Mathematics script.
Much as she can't speak to me, she writes on my note book to share her impression about the exams.
"The exam was simple. I am now preparing for the next paper," Mugwaneza says before her interpreter, Jacqueline Mukandayisenga, joins us.
Mugwaneza, the last born in a family of three, explains that her hearing and speech limitations do not hinder her concentration in class.
She says she mainly focuses on the blackboard, the teacher's lips and signs used to explain a concept. And she has never repeated any class.
"My parents want me to do tailoring but my dream is to become an accountant," Mugwaneza says.
She appeals to the community not to discriminate against people with disabilities but rather to accord them all support so they can access education and health care.
"If I succeed, I will help as many deaf people or people with disabilities as possible so that they can be independent," Mugwaneza says.
Unlike her disabled friends who are stigmatised in other schools, Mugwaneza says her school is different as she socialises with other students freely.
Mugwaneza's parents say she is courageous and well behaved.
"She first studied in Kigali but we transfered her to a school in Kisoro District, Uganda after failing to find a place in the boarding section," says Beatha Nyiramutuzo, her mother.
"Although she had passed Primary Seven exams in Uganda, maintaining her there became expensive. She came back to Rwanda and was asked to go back to Primary Four at Wisdom Nursery and Primary School two years ago so she can better adjust to the new environment," Nyiramutuzo adds.
What teachers say
Mukandayisenga says despite Mugwaneza hearing and speech limitations, she beats most of her 'normal' classmates.
Elie Nduwayesu, the founder of Wisdom Nursery and Primary school, says deaf learners study alone for four years while acquiring technical and vocational skills before they join 'normal' students.
He, however, says they still face some kind of discrimination in school and the community as a whole.
Address abuse of common fund allocation to persons with disability
The President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), Mr Yaw Ofori Debrah, has condemned the abuse of the 2% of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) that is meant for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Mr Debrah, was speaking at a press conference held by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) under the theme, ‘Promoting the rights of the marginalised: A case of the abuse of the Common Fund Allocation to Persons with Disability.’
Challenges the president of the Federation pointed out included the withholding of information about the funds to the disability fund management committees, the use of the fund without the knowledge of the district PWD organisations, the reluctance of some parents and guardians to educate their disabled wards with their own money but with the funds, the non-release of the statutory funds by the government, the usurping of the use of the funds by the assemblies, and to a smaller extent, the mismanagement of the funds by some members of PWD organisations.
The president also used the occasion to express his gratitude to the MFWA and to the media for supporting their cause.
He also gave examples of some of the benefits PWDs have obtained from the fund, including business and education financing.
He observed that apart from South Africa, Ghana was the only other African country he knew with a specific funding policy for PWDs.
He also used the occasion to explain the hardships that PWDs endure.
He said that many of them had had to result to begging since they had no other source of income or support.
They have also been largely excluded from matters of policy.
He concluded by calling on government to co-operate with GFD to monitor the disbursement of the funds.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA, expressed his shock that funds as little as 2% of the DACF were not being regularly made available to PWDs.
He called for all stakeholders to do their best to ensure the regular disbursements of these funds.
Deaf association pleads for help
By Tuyeimo Haidula
THE Namibian National Association of the Deaf has once again raised public awareness of the many challenges it faces, among them academic financial assistance for hearing impaired learners.
There are currently about 27 000 deaf people in Namibia.
NNAD executive national chairperson Paul Nanyeni said with the support of founding President Sam Nujoma the association will be hosting a fund-raising gala dinner to raise funds for the association. The University of Namibia's Foundation will also join hands.
Nanyeni said his organisation wishes to advance the training of sign language interpreters in Namibia, and to develop sign language dictionaries for use in schools for the deaf.
He said NNAD also plans to hold workshops for the deaf community on HIV-AIDS and other diseases. “We need to facilitate advocacy workshops in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Nanyeni said.
NNAD was established in 1991 and is officially registered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services as a welfare organisation, and is the sole representative of hearing impaired persons in Namibia.
The gala dinner will be held on 6 November 2014 at the Windhoek Country Club and Casino, and a braai on 8 November at the Zoo Park.
Nanyeni requested interested individuals and companies to book a table valued at N$10 000 to support the initiative.
Deaf football team cry for help
The national deaf football team has appealed to corporate entities and the government to help facilitate their second participation in the upcoming West Africa Deaf Football tournament slated for the Keque Stadium in Lome, Togo, from November 3 to 9.
The team’s parent body, the Ghana Paralympic Committee (GPC), which made the appeal, stated that many attempts to solicit support from some corporate agencies had proved futile, hence resorting to the state to step in.
“We are still canvassing for financial support to make the trip to Lome through corporate agencies but it has yielded no results, so we are on our knees appealing for support from well-wishers and corporate agencies to come to our aid”, Ignatius Elletey, Secretary General of the GPC said.
Team coach, Winfred Chartey Annan, told the Daily Graphic last Friday that the players were in high spirits and are prepared for the tournament but lack of funds was hampering their efforts.
“I am appealing to all stakeholders in football and the government to support us for this trip and ensure we travel to Togo for this all- important tournament for these physically challenged athletes,” he stated.
The deaf squad last won silver at the third edition of the tournament in Benin last year and hope to go for the gold in Togo if funds are released for their participation.
The team is due to begin a non-residential camping on October 27 in preparation for the eight-nation tournament.
The participating teams are Republic of Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo.
Disabled want their own department
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY FAITH MATETE
THEY'RE PART OF US: Kisumu police boss Musa Kongoli and regional traffic commandant Joseph Omukata after a forum for the disabled at Central police station on April 13.Photo/Faith Matete
PEOPLE living with disabilities in Kisumu county want the county to create a department to address their needs.
They said the department should not be hidden under the department of Health and Social Services.
Speaking in Kisumu town on Tursday, their representative Singi Osodo said the department should be well-funded.
Osodo said the county government should allocate them an easily accessible office at the county governments building.
He said with the existence of the department, it would be easier for the governor to address the problems disabled people face.
The chairman said the department will also ensure people living with disabilities are not left out in resource allocation.
“We urge employers not to look at the disability of a person but find out what they can do," he said.
Osodo appealed to the county government to fight for their rights because they are taken for granted by some leaders.
“Whenever events are organised we should be considered. We need interpreters for us not to feel isolated," he said.
Disabled 'cry' over 2% common fund
Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has raised concerns about what they say is the misuse of their two percent share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF).
They blamed the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDAs) of misappropriating the fund meant for the welfare of disabled people in their area.
President of the Federation, Yaw Ofori Debrah expressed this frustration at a workshop to discuss the implementation, disbursement, management and the monitoring of the District Assemblies Common Fund organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
He blamed the MMDAs of flouting the guidelines which explicitly states the provisions for the disbursement.
Mr Debrah described as worrying the unclear guidelines, disbursement and utilization of the fund by district executives makes it difficult to evaluate what the districts are doing with the funds meant for disabled beneficiaries.
“The provision provides that the MMDAs separate accounts for the 2% of the DACF at each MMDAs. Formation of a disability fund management committee comprising a representative of the local Ghana federation of the disabled” he added.
Mr. Ofori Debrah said the disabled in the country resort to begging on the streets due to untoward hardships they face in their daily lives.
“Persons with disability are the vulnerable in the society and as such needed to be well-taken care of to reduce poverty among them and to improve their standard of living” he bemoaned.
For his part, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Ibraimah called on the MMDAs to use their share of the common fund to alleviate poverty among persons with disability.
He stressed that the “two percent allocation is supposed to go into activities that will support our brothers or sisters who need some level of special support.”
Mr. Ibraimah also urged the media to focus more on the issues concerning the disabled and champion their cause.
Chilima inaugurates Malawi Council for the Handicapped flag week
– Malawi breaking news in Malawi
October 27, 2014 Nyasa Times Reporter
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima on Monday inaugurated the 2014 Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) Flag Week in Lilongwe with a call to uplift and empower people with disabilities, saying they too can contribute to national development.
Chilima inaugurates this year’s MACOHA Flag Week
The aim of the MACOHA Flag Week is to raise funds as well as awareness on the need for inclusiveness of people leaving with disabilities.
“The Malawi government, under the leadership of his Excellency the President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is committed in the implementation of disability programs and also uplifting the lives of persons with disabilities in the country,” said Chilima in his speech after buying the first flag.
The Vice President appealed to organizations and individuals to contribute something to MACOHA during the week.
“I would like to appeal to all Malawians to generously donate towards the MACOHA 2014 Flag Week. We should all remember that disability is a National issue not an Individual issue - therefore we must all take part in empowering persons with disabilities,” he said.
Speaking earlier, both Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and Peter Ngomwa acting Executive Director for MACOHA said there is need to do much to reach out to the about half a million people with disabilities especially those in rural areas.
The MACOHA Flag Week, which started Monday (October 27, 2014) will on November 1, 2014.
Assemblies Borrow Disability Fund
spyghana.com NEWSOCTOBER 28, 2014-NO COMMENT
The Federation of Disabled, has expressed concern about the mismanagement of the two percent of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund allocated to Persons With Disabilities.
GHANA FEDERATION OF DISABLEDMr Isaac Tuggan, Advocacy Officer for the Federation, alleged that management of the fund was fraught with problems because the districts borrowed the money and did not pay back.
Mr Tuggan named some of the districts which were allegedly involved as the Lawra and Bole which had borrowed the money and were yet to pay. Ketu South which had also borrowed some of money, had paid back
Mr Tuggan who said this at a press conference in Accra alleged that Ledzokuku-Krowor and La Dade Kotopon Municipal Assemblies had also “become purchasing officers of items meant for the Federation, adding that they buy the items from friends at very high prices”.
The conference was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), to bring to light challenges faced by the Federation with the disbursement and utilization of the fund.
He said if the Committee managing the fund could provide bank statement to the Federation, it would help members to have an idea of how much money was provided, how much was spent and what was left, instead of keeping the information from members.
Mr Ofori Debrah, President of the Federation, said Common Fund Allocation for the last quarter of the year 2013 was provided only last month, but the Federation had not received anything thing at all for this year..
“As we talk now we haven’t seen anything and don’t see any sign either”, he said, adding that the amount varies from district to district.
He said though the fund was laudable, people who should benefit, did not get the full benefit, adding that sometimes information from the banks as to the availability of the fund was also difficult to get.
Mr Ofori urged government to do some monitoring of the utilization of the fund, and appealed to the Media to keep an eye on the allocation and disbursement of the fund to disabled persons.
He said the existence of the Federation had helped many disabled persons to be empowered, to occupy positions in government and other offices, citing the example of the Minister for Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, Dr Seidu Danaa.
Mr Ofori explained that due to the delay in the disbursement of the fund some of their members were forced to go on to the streets to beg.
Mr Sulemana Braimah, Sulemana Braimah, , asked Journalists to carry out investigations to unravel some of the mismanagement issues.
8,000 Children are visually impaired
About 8,000 children below 15 years are visually impaired in Ghana.
The major causes of childhood blindness are malnutrition, measles, vitamin A deficiency, use of harmful traditional eye medicine among others. The Director of Eye Care, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Oscar Debrah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Junior Graphic said some eye diseases in children which often led to blindness could have been prevented if detected early.
He, therefore, asked parents to look out for any abnormalities in their babies’ eyes when they are born.
Dr Debrah asked parents to be suspicious when the eyes of children begin to discharge any fluids or are bigger than normal.
He also said that if a baby closes or turns away the eyes when it sees light around the period that it is one week old or right after birth, parents should report to the clinic.
He added that if parents notice that the cornea or black part of the eye was white or hazy and also has a white patch in the centre of the cornea, it could be congenital glaucoma or congenital cataract and should not be ignored.
Dr Debrah said when this occurred parents should take the child to a health facility for further tests since some of such conditions could be corrected or the mother would be advised to bring the child to the hospital for assessment at a later date.
“Usually parents delay in sending such babies to a health facility with the excuse that the baby was too young. They wait for over a year by which time some of the damages would have become permanent”, he explained.
He encouraged parents to send their children regularly for immunisation so that some of the major causes of childhood blindness such as measles or vitamin A deficiency could be prevented.
He was happy to note that due to the frequent immunisation programmes, the cases of cornea scar which is as a result of these diseases have been reduced.
Dr Debrah said when children played with sharp objects such as pencils and pens or broomsticks which were usually infected if they accidentally pierced the eye it caused trauma to the eye.
When this remained untreated, Dr Debrah said it could also result in blindness and advised parents, guardians and teachers to discourage children, from playing with sharp objects.
He said before a child starts school, he/she should go for a refraction test ( vision test ) because a child could suffer from long or short sightedness and might need glasses to correct it else that could affect his or her academic performance because reading from the blackboard or notes would be difficult.
Dr Debrah said if a child needed spectacles it was important for parents not to refuse to provide it because wearing spectacles corrected the problem.
He also advised students to use bright lights to study when the lights go off so that they do not strain their eyes.
South Africa: Taking Basic Education to Greater Heights
By More Matshediso
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says while a lot of progress has been made in improving the standard of education in the country, more needs to be done to take education to the next level.
"We have made progress towards universal coverage of school going children. We have made progress in the introduction of Early Childhood Development," she said.
Minister Motshekga was addressing teachers during the 8th National Congress of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) held in Boksburg, Gauteng.
She said SADTU was a beacon of hope and commended it for its "bravery, tenacity and a firm resolve to put the interest of South Africa's children first, for all of the past 24 years".
She said there has been progress towards eliminating mud schools and inappropriate school structures, replacing them with state-of-the-art buildings, especially in historically neglected areas.
"Our anti-poverty strategies include the expansion of school nutrition programmes in both primary and secondary schools. We have recorded significant milestones towards free education through fee-exemption programmes," the Minister said.
She commended the steady improvement in the Matric results.
"We yearn for quality education, for greater retention of learners within the system for at least 12 years. We must understand that quality education is foundational to any successful and modern economy," she said.
She said the divided apartheid education system that discriminated against black people have been replaced with one system for all, regardless of race, with appropriate curricula and funding.
"Twice as many students attend university and graduate - three quarters are now African. We have added a year of schooling to prepare children (Grade R).
"The matric pass rate is up from a meagre 57% in 1994 to an average of 75% in 2013. At the heart of our progress over the years have always been committed teachers, the bulk of whom are SADTU Members," the Minister added.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Minister Motshekga revisited the National Development Plan (NDP), which says ECD is crucial for later cognitive capabilities.
"Delays in cognitive and overall development before schooling can often have long lasting and costly consequences for children, families and society. The most effective and cost-efficient time to intervene is before birth and the early years of life. Investment in Early Childhood Development should be a key priority," she said quoting from the NDP.
She also announced that Cabinet has approved the South African Integrated Programme of Action, in which the Department of Social Development, Departments of Health, Basic Education and other stakeholders has developed.
"This process is now at an advanced stage," Minister Motshekga said.
Mass Literacy Campaign
"The Kha Ri Gude (KRG) Mass Literacy Campaign caters for adult literacy learners and has been very successful and the country is well on the way to achieving global literacy targets," said Minister Motshekga.
She added that 800 ECD volunteers have been training on 0-4 year stimulation.
"Certificates have been issued to blind and deaf volunteers that received the training, during the disability sector training session held from 4-6 July 2014. Registration of the 619 000 learners are currently in progress," Minister Motshekga said.
"Classes for the disabled learners commenced on 1 August 2014. Classes for the able-bodied group began on 1 September 2014," Minister Motshekga said.
Trials of a physically impaired elderly man
Publish Date: Oct 30, 2014
By Caroline Ariba
Picture yourself pressed hard and needing to ease into a toilet to let out that source of bodily discomfort. But then, you can’t just ease into the facility. Instead, you have to drag your whole weight using not your feet, but bare hands across the floor of a not-so hygienic toilet facility. Such a picture definitely does not settle well in your mind.
But for 68-year-old Kirilo Oku, that imagination is reality.
I stumbled across Oku at the Adjumani district offices, who was displaced by the Moyo border conflict, and it’s here that I saw him struggle to access a public toilet there. His situation calls to attention the need to consider people living with physical impairment whenever any public structures are put in place. Watching his pain-stricken face as he endured the steep walk, then crawl just to answer nature’s call, was beyond mortifying.
I struggled to contain my emotions and so I let my camera do much of the talking . . .
Life in a wheelchair
Whilst people freely answer nature's call, his will be a mission so tough
Clearly, it's an uphill-of-sorts climb for him, so he ponders his next move
If he is going to do this, he has to get off the wheelchair and put his hands to use
It is way far from being an easy task . . . we are speaking mind over matter here!
Giving up is not his option . . . and so he has to push on and on
And closer he inches . . .
Yes, it is fiercely frustrating
Finally, he makes it, but . . .
. . . he has to touch the toilet floor with his bare hands
Since he cannot stand on his feet to use the urinals, he must use the toilet, but opening the door is another challenge
Finally, he does open it, but then the sight that greets him is not rosy at all, but then, what has a man to do?
He is worried he might catch whatever disease is lurking on the toilet floor
Despite easing himself, his face reads exhaustion. Mzee Oku is tired! Such, and many more tribulations, is what the elderly man is resigned to.
Disabled fall by the wayside in Parliament
Tuesday’s unveiling of the four Specially Elected Members of Parliament, has put paid to the hopes of the physically challenged for a representative in the National Assembly to articulate their needs.
By MARANYANE NGWANAAMOTHO Thu 30 Oct 2014, 16:45 pm (GMT +2)
Kitso Mokaila, Kenneth Matambo, Eric Molale and Unity Dow were chosen by majority as Specially Elected legislators in an election that quickly established the dichotomy between the ruling party and the opposition. Prior to the vote, Federation of the Disabled coordinator, Shirley Keoagile had said they were denied a representative in the previous Parliament “under the pretext that Letlhakeng-Lephephe MP Liakat Kablay, was their man”.
Kablay was returned to Parliament over the weekend with 5,265 votes against 4,996 of his closest rival. “Not even once have we heard him saying anything about the disabled. We are not happy with him and we ask to be given a chance in Parliament,” she said.
“During the political campaigns, not even one politician visited the disabled. This is not fair because we have to vote the same people to represent us in parliament. How can they represent us if they do not even know us or engage us.”
She said that a lot of issues concerning the disabled were lagging behind which is why the federation was campaigning for self- representation to advocate for these issues to be addressed. “We believe there is nothing for us without us. We have to be part of the solution to our challenges because we know them better. We cannot have people decide what is best for us without engaging us,” she said.
Keoagile added: “We want implementation. People have been saying they will do this and they will do that. We have had enough of that. What we want now is implementation and self-representation,” she said.
Zambia: I Dedicate My Professor Award to Disabled Women
THIS is a very difficult time in the history of this great country as we mourn the great son of this land his Excellency the President, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. I can only say that he has finished his race and as Zambians, there is a lot to learn from his leadership style which is irreplaceable.
It was a privilege for me to work with him so closely when he was National Secretary for the MMD and I was an official in Chilanga constituency.
I, therefore, call upon all, to mourn our late President in dignity and to remain united.
Friday 31st October 2014 at Mulungushi International Conference Centre will forever remain a special day and month for me when a 21st Century movement of Christian Colleges and Universities, the International Colleges of Fellows appointed me as Associate Professor in recognition of my humble contribution to advocacy and promotion of rights of the disabled both locally and internationally.
I have dedicated this achievement to women with disabilities and their children and my hope and prayer is that this will encourage my brothers and sister who are children of the disabled that if I have archived this, they can equally do it. I know what we go through as children of the disabled parent within communities and families in terms of been isolated and discriminated against but this should encourage you guys to do more.
The fight for the rights of persons with disabilities demands concerted efforts by all and on this special day I was privileged to graduate on the same day with great men who have done so much in uplifting the welfare of the disabled people and they have committed their lives to serve the poor.
I graduated with Dr Gaudenzio Masimino the chairperson for Cheshire Homes Society Zambia and President of Cheshire Homes Southern Africa. ICOF Colleges Seminary and Universities which run Centre for Disability Development Research Law and Policy (CDDRLP honoured Dr Rossi with a Doctorate Degree in Disability Management and Development in recognition of his contribution to the welfare of disabled people around the world.
Accepting this humbling honour, Dr Ross said helping the poor should come first if we are change lives of the needy people within our communities and families.
This was a great and special day because Miyoba Hamuhuma, the national executive director for Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work after studying for four years as a distance learning student.
Mr Miyoba is my young brother and I was happy to graduate with him. This young man is very competent despite him being a wheel chair user and under his leadership; a good number of developments are taking place at Cheshire Homes Zambia proving that disability is not inability.
I commend the National Council for Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia for appointing him as executive director, for me and our friends in the disability movement, we are very proud of his works.
It brings joy in my life to seeing disabled people being appointed to high positions in Government like we now have a permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Mrs Patricia Jere and also at Food Reserve Agency (FRA) we have Chola Alex Kafwabulula as executive director appointed by the board based on performance and qualifications.
Mr Kafwabulula has done a lot in the disability movement at home and abroad and I have mentioned these two because I know them and they should be used as a practical example of the ability disabled people have which should be used as positive measure of ability to work and prove that they can do it if given the opportunity.
For me, my happiest moment will be when a person with a disability from the movement will be appointed minister.
This will be a huge motivation to the disabled people in Zambia and by this, I mean people like Frank Musukwa,Chola Kafwabulula,Miyoba Hamuhuma,
Felix Mutale,Serah Brotherton, Keshi Chisambi,Elijah Ngware,Felix Simulunga,Lango Sinkamba,Felix Silwimba and many others from the movement.
ICOF Colleges Seminary and Universities also recognised the leadership Frank Musukwa a disability rights activist has provided to the Zambia Deaf Youth and Women with his strong views on inclusive education for all. The university awarded him with a certificate in leadership development.
Let me recommit myself that this column will continue to bring real issues affecting persons with disabilities beyond borders and boundaries.
In 2014 the United Nations international day of Disabled persons theme was "Nothing about us, without us and to observe this important day the world focused on active involvement of persons with disabilities in the planning of strategies and policies that affect their lives.
The motto "Nothing about Us, without Us" relies on this principle of self participation. Mr Musukwa said to achieve the full participation and equalisation of opportunities for, by and with persons with disabilities would only come by through self participation in political governance of this great country.
In accepting this honour, Mr Musukwa said preaching about a society for all was the only way to address challenges of an inclusive Zambia better for persons with disabilities.
Persons with disabilities should be allowed to participate in the developmental agenda, political, social and economic sectors as compared to Dr Kaunda's era and neighbouring countries in the region.
Several administrations have overlooked the principle that disability is not incapability even if our society seems to believe that disabled people are a burden to society and themselves.
Mr Musukwa also mourned the passing of President Michael Chilufya Sata.
Mr Sata demonstrated political leadership toward us persons with disabilities immediately he assured power in 2011 by repealing the Disability Act number 33 of 1996 and partial domestication of United Nation Convention on the rights of us persons with disabilities.
It is our hope that the next President will do more to empower persons with disabilities and create a disability advisory desk at State House and stand alone Ministry of Disability.
It is also hoped that in future God will allow one of our own to be the President of Zambia.
The author is Associate professor for the Faculty of Social Science and Disability Studies of ICOF Colleges, Seminary and Universitieswww.
icofusa.net , Disability policy Analyst for SADC and Inclusive Development Advisor at the Centre for Disability Development Research, Law and Policy in South Africa
Cameroon: Attention, the Deaf Also Watch TV!
By Nkendem Forbinake
Preparations are in very high gear across the country for the commemoration of the International Day for the Handicapped coming up in the early days of the month of December.
There are worrying statistics about the number of persons with disabilities in our country with figures going as high as ten per cent of the population. Quite high indeed! When one observes the grave state of deprivation in which many of our handicapped people live, it is difficult to fathom the marvelous work being done on the field by social workers whose limitations only come by way of difficult financing.
This situation notwithstanding, government has continued to show concern even if simply through the political will of addressing the problems of the handicapped best manifested by the creation of the Ministry of Social Affairs back in 1975 and which remains one of the ministries to have kept to the initial mission assigned to it at its creation some 39 years after.
The occasion of the International Day of the Handicapped however begs for some concern for a category of handicapped people so often ignored. We are talking here of the deaf and dumb. Even if one high-level government-run institution exists in Yaounde, several other such institutions are run purely by non-State institutions or persons of goodwill with the best known found in Kumba, South West Region, and another in the Biyemassi neighbourhood in Yaounde.
This means very few possibilities exist for the large numbers of affected persons to get any form of education through specialised teaching methods while a similar number is excluded from mainstream national activity simply because of their inability to hear. This is an important part of the national population which could have probably contributed significantly to national growth if their inherent skills were tapped through adequate training or getting them participate in the same way as other citizens in national life.
The high success rate registered by trainees from institutions for the dumb and deaf in public examinations is rather encouraging and should encourage a more resolute posture on decision-makers when it comes to addressing the plight of the deaf and dumb. Public neglect of this category of disabled people jumps on the eye, especially when it comes to television programmes. While in other countries with the same level of emancipation as Cameroon, there is an effort to ensure that most programmes are made available to the deaf by placing sign language experts on one side of the the TV screen to translate messages for the deaf, such initiatives are still a veritable luxury in Cameroon.
Public television and even the most-widely viewed channels still do not have special viewing facilities for deaf viewers. Even during the most important moments of national life such as presidential addresses or messages, election campaigns and debates in the Parliament, the nation's deaf have been kept out of touch. And yet, technology has made it very easy to get these other potential viewers on board. The recruitment of a few more specialized staff will not certainly overstretch the budgets of television stations and even if it were to be so, that could be considered as their own contribution to the national solidarity Cameroonians are in search of.
In the wake of the feet-dragging observed in the different TV stations about this matter, government can also step in by providing the necessary material, financial and human resources to help promote this inclusive social policy. After all, it is already doing so by emphasizing that public buildings, at their conception stage, take into account the fact that users of same may include physically-challenged persons. And if what is good for the goose can also be good for the gander, the same conditions can be required of TV stations so that they can obligatorily recruit sign language experts for their information and other mass education programmes.
Ebola: helping people with impaired vision to stay safe
UNICEF Connect (blog)
Basiru Bah is a visually-impaired advocate for children, living in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Basiru Bah, 17, explains how Ebola prevention methods present a special challenge to those who are visually-impaired.
(c) UNICEF Sierra Leone/2014/Yolanda Romero
In Sierra Leone, social mobilization teams have been spreading the message out about how best to protect yourself from the Ebola virus. One large billboard sponsored by UNICEF and the Sierra Leone Football Association is typical: promoting hand washing and the 117 Ebola hotline. Elsewhere, what are often quite graphic posters, explain the symptoms and what to do.
The messages are clear for all to see. But they’re not accessible to everyone, especially the country’s more than 40,000 visually-impaired people.
UNICEF and the Government of Sierra Leone co-lead the social mobilization pillar, which includes a subgroup for people special needs, so that they are not forgotten in the overall messaging. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) have even helped produce Ebola messaging in braille.
Basiru Bah, 17-years-old, is visually impaired and explains some of the struggles as he seeks to share the right messages with his friends. “
When I go to any Ministry to make my advocacy work, if there is no person standing near the point where the bucket with chlorinated water is, I can’t use this preventive measure.”
The commonly heard mantra ‘Don’t touch’, is also problematic: “I need to touch the shoulder of the people who guide me. Giving our family members the correct messages on prevention could be a solution. In blind associations they suggest we use long sleeves [to reduce human contact], ” he says.
Like all of his fellow Sierra Leoneans, Basiru’s life has been deeply affected by the Ebola outbreak. “I’m an advocate for the children’s rights, both for impaired and non-impaired children. Because of Ebola, I decided to move from my family house to the School for the Blind in Freetown,” he says. Now he is closer to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology where he sees that he has a role to play.
“My advocacy plans have been disturbed by the outbreak,” he says. Now when he goes to any institution to advocate for the rights of the children the answer is always the same: Ebola is the priority.
Moreover his studies are in limbo: “I was preparing my West African examination when the outbreak started and it was put on hold for all the country because of Ebola.” According to UNICEF, more than 100,000 children in Sierra Leone have been affected by the postponed dates of the examination.
“I used to have a very active social life,” says Basiru. “Now I don’t even ask my friends to go and visit them.” Even the religious prayer has changed: “I’m Muslim,” says Basiru, “and in the Islamic preaching we shake our hands when we finish, and we are not doing it anymore.”
Yolanda Romero is a consultant working with UNICEF Sierra Leone.
Sizakele Dladla crowned Miss Deaf Swaziland
The Swazi Observer
10/11/2014 03:00:00Stories by Samukelisiwe Ginindza
WINNERS: 21-year-old Sizakele Dladla (c) and her Princesses Siyanda Sihlongonyane and Seyenzile Dlamini surrounded by well-wishers after their crowning at the School for the Deaf on Saturday. (Pic: Samukelisiwe Ginindza)
21-year-old Sizakele Dladla was crowned the Miss Deaf Swaziland during a contest held at the School for the Deaf Primary in Siteki on Saturday.
Dladla snatched the crown from nine other hopefuls.
The second Princess is 14-year-old Siyanda Sihlongonyane and third Princess is17-year-old Seyenzile Dlamini.
The queen and first princess were both crowd favourites.
The winning trio was selected from the top five which also included Lindokuhle Mamba and Lindelwa Dlamini whose journey however came to an end after the all-important announcement.
This educationally significant event was themed ‘Back to Our Roots’, as the pageant was hosted by the school where it originally began. The 10 contestants who took part in this pageant were from both the high school in Matsetsa and the primary in Siteki and five contestants were chosen from each school.
Entertainment was rendered by the schools’ cultural dancers, sibhaca and ummiso teams. The audience was also entertained by the contestants’ dance routines and catwalks.
In her remarks, the school’s Principal Simangele Magagula stated that the Deaf Pageant began after series of invitations to Deaf Games in South Africa where the teachers adopted the idea, as they wanted to achieve their goals of broadening the knowledge of the learners about what was going on in the world around them and nurturing the self esteem of the learners.
“Only after a few years, the pageant gained popularity and it attracted the interest of other organisations who adopted it and continued with it away from the school, planting it into the world of adults and with grace the Swaziland Deaf Association soon realised that while those may have been good intentions in the minds of the organisers who took over, that move did come with many challenges and today we are glad the pageant is back to its roots,” the principal explained.
SBPA President speaks on bogus directors
The Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association President Tony Dlamini stated that he is delighted the Miss Deaf Swaziland pageant is finally back to its roots and that the School for the Deaf successfully hosted it this year.
Without giving away any names, he further alleged that some of the directors misused their titles. “This pageant almost fell into the wrong hands of some directors who were on the verge of changing it into something that it is not and also turning the girls into charity cases, defying the mandate of the pageant and that of the school they are from,” Dlamini stated.
He also alleged that some of the girls who were crowned and put under the hand of these directors came back to complain and one of the things they reported that shocked the association was that, these director took the girls to a number of different churches in the country, asking for donations to be made for the girls, because of their disability.
“The people of God were touched and they did give offering to the girls only that the girls never received a penny of those donations, as the director used it for his/her own good while she asked for it in the name of the girls,” he went on to say.
He applauded the Swaziland National Association of the Deaf (SNAD) for finally coming to its senses and taking the pageant back to where it was originated, as it is the school and the Deaf community that knows best what the deaf child wants and needs to make it in this world and to be a better someone, who is educated and knows what is going on around her, without using the disability as a charity case.
21-year-old deaf beauty in race for coveted Miss Tourism title
The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release)
By Philip Mwakio and Tobias Chanji Updated Wednesday, November 12th 2014 at 09:50 GMT +3 0
Twenty one year old Babelynn Mukila who is deaf displays her beauty and smile during a photo session at her Mtopanga residence, Sunday November 09, 2014.
She is among the finalists who will contest for the Mombasa County Miss Tourism pageant which will be held this coming weekend.
Photo by Gideon Maundu/Standard.
As the curtains open for this year's edition of the Miss Tourism Kenya, Mombasa County, one contestant will be making history of sorts.
Babelynn Mukila, a 21-year-old hearing impaired beauty, will on Saturday night battle it out with others for the coveted crown.
Ms Mukila, who lost her hearing when she was four, is the third of six children.
"We are excited to bring her on board.
She went through the rigorous auditions and satisfied the judges," said Brian Stevens, who was the chief judge and the models' trainer.
Mukila is currently doing a beauty course at New Image Beauty College in Mombasa and is a former student of St Angela's School for the Deaf in Mumias, Kakamega County.
"It has always been her passion to participate in beauty pageants and we thought it fit to have her enter the Miss Tourism contest, and here she is," said Margaret Malonza, Mukila's mother, adding that the family has firmly supported her daughter's ambitions.
Mukila's interpreter, Catherine Matara, expressed her excitement at the achievement and described her as a fast learner and a highly disciplined individual who is up to the challenge.
"By having her participate, we have achieved a feat like no other and managed to change people's attitude towards those with hearing impairments," said Ms Matara.
Mukila will be running against Neyomi Ochanda and Tima Ochiel, both law students from the University of Nairobi's Mombasa campus, as well as Mombasa-based actresses Winnie Bwire and Anita Wawuda, among others.
Hotelier Debra Mwango and Moi University student Madina Ali will also be among those fighting for the crown.
Event organiser Salome Murithi said preparations for the event were in top gear.
"We have partnered with organisers of the first ever in-house beauty show and hope to have a memorable event as we select our new Miss Tourism, Mombasa County, queen," said Ms Murithi.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Stacy Zalambi won the Miss Tourism Kenya, Kwale County, title on Friday night and bagged Sh100,000 at a colourful fete in Ukunda.
Ms Zalambi, an International Relations student at the United States International University in Nairobi, received the cash award from the county government.
Cash rewards In addition to other goodies given, she will spend two nights in the Maasai Mara and also earn a monthly salary of about Sh10,000 for one year to help market the county.
She will also have her own desk at the the county offices.
Hundreds of fans thronged the famous Ukunda showground to witness the event that was presided over by Governor Salim Mvurya.
"I will seek to promote the unity of all Mijikenda communities and emphasise education for all as these are the pillars of our development," she said.
The second cash prize of Sh60,000 went to Rehema Ganguma from Matuga while Mercy Kanana from Msambweni came third and won Sh40,000.
Mr Mvurya said the event had come at a crucial time when the county's Diani Beach has been declared the best destination in Africa.
He asked the Western countries that had imposed travel advisories to lift them, insisting that the county was safe.
"The winner will help us market our county and this could not have come at a better time as we are enjoying the limelight of being named the best destination," he said.
The governor said the county was strategically placed as a giant in tourism and culture, and had partnered with the Presidential Music Commission to help select four categories of local talented productions to take part in international competitions.
"We want people to know about our resources and are ready for any competition; things will not be the same again," he noted.
Tourism Executive Adam Sheikh said his office had identified other programmes in strategic locations at airports that would boost the number of guests coming to the county.
Others present at the fete included deputy governors Fatuma Achani (Kwale) and Peninah Malonza (Kitui).
MPs inspect the disability friendliness of public buildings
NEWSNOVEMBER 12, 2014-NO COMMENT
wpid-Ghana-Parliament.jpgThe Parliamentary Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises, has begun an inspection of state and public facilities to ensure that they comply with provisions in the Disability Law.
The Law, Act 715, 2006, stipulates among other things that public building should be disability friendly, with facilities that enable disabled or physically challenged persons access to such buildings with ease.
The Committee visited Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, West Hill Mall at Weija, George Walker Bush (N1) Highway, and University of Ghana campus.
At the end of the first leg of the inspection which took three days, the Committee expressed mixed feelings about the institutions visited.
While some of the institutions visited were disability friendly, others still have long miles to go to catch the 2016 deadline for state institutions to upgrade their facilities as required under the law.
Mr Joseph Amenowode, Member of Parliament (MP) for Afadzato South and Chairman of the Committee, decried the delay or refusal of authorities of some public facilities to effect the necessary structural improvements to enable people with disability use those facilities without discomfort.
He said it is very important that all physical structures across the country be disability friendly in order to bridge the gap in the activities of the able and the disabled to foster national development.
The Chairman urged Ghanaians to accord the physically challenged the necessary compassion, right and space in society, explaining that people without physical challenges may at one time or the other fall sick and would have to be wheeled or carried in that form as result of incapacitation.
“Whatever we do today, we should remember that what the Disability Law prescribes is not only for the physically challenged but for also those who are presently without physical challenge but may become challenged because of circumstances.
“We need to ensure that all public buildings and structures are disability compliant before the deadline set by the Law. We need to do this with dispatch and for posterity,” he said.
The Committee suggested that public institutions, particularly health facilities, should utilise the services of qualified sign language interpreters to improve communication with people who have hearing and speech challenges.
The Committee after inspecting the NI Highway, asked the Ghana Highway Authority to, as a matter of urgency, provides ramps at vantage points on the highway to enable the disabled cross the road without difficulties.
The Committee commended Engineering and Development Consultants Limited of Israel, the contractors working on the 600-bed University of Ghana Teaching Hospital at Legon for installing disable-friendly structures in the hospital.
The Committee was however not enthused with the level of compliance in the lecture halls and hostels, urging the University authorities to rectify the situation.
Nigeria: 2015 - Deaf Manifesto Launched in Abuja
Nigeria: 2015 - Deaf Manifesto Launched in Abuja
By Abbas Jimoh
As part of measures to integrate the persons living with the hearing impairment into the nation's political processes, a manifesto tagged "The Deaf Agenda" was Wednesday launched in Abuja.
The manifesto designed by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) also has a sub-theme: "Mainstreaming the Deaf Agenda into Political Parties Manifestoes and Government Policies" among others seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against deaf persons in all spheres of life and include them on issues concerning their welfare and ensure appropriate ways of handling deafness in line with international best practices.
Speaking at the event, NNAD President Alhaji Dagbo Suleiman, urged Nigerians to support the manifesto to address their marginalisation, imposition, cheating and exclusion from actively participating in issues and policy thrust bothering on needs and welfare as citizens of Nigeria.
"The manifesto spelt out and demanded for the rights of deaf people. I, on behalf of the nine million deaf Nigerians, call everyone to join hand and help us recognise and implement this manifesto. This will go a long way to boost the talent and potentials of deaf Nigerians. Already we have produced graduates in all areas of national endeavour, deaf doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators and bankers among others. Deaf people around the world form a distinct socio-cultural group. Thus we have our own language which is sign language, cultures, history and arts. We have the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) as our socio-cultural and professional body. Thus WFD is dully represented in UN bodies like the ILO, WHO, UNESCO, INUCEF and ECOSOG," Suleiman said.
Country Director of IRI Robina Namusisi, said the manifesto was part of efforts to increase the participation of deaf persons in political parties processes and enhance public communication between deaf persons with the general public, and also to guide political parties and elected officials during the development of platforms and policies regarding the inclusion and participation of deaf persons in Nigeria.
"In 2007, the IRI began to research the subject of Persons Living with Disability (PWDs) in Nigeria with the intent of discovering how civil society organisations could advocate for them. In May 2008 IRI began working with the Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities (JONAPWD) on the plights of PWDs. What we witnessed today is a giant step in the determined efforts to end the contentious exclusion of marginalised groups in the society. Although the level of awareness on the plight of this vulnerable group has increased, time has come for the leadership of this country to 'take the bull by the horn' and provide direction as to how the PWDs should be included in aspects of life in Nigeria," she said.
Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State represented by the state's commissioner of Health Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, INEC's deputy director in charge of CSOs Mrs Rosemary Anthony and former Chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) Prof. Abduraheem Oba and others were unanimous in urging the government and Nigerians to support the vulnerable and the marginalised participate in the 2015 elections and the nation's electoral processes.
Deaf people thrill, amaze Imo audience at talent show
BY OUR REPORTER ON NOVEMBER 12, 2014 ORIENTAL NEWS
Our Reporter: GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, Owerri
People living with speech and hearing impediment are perhaps one of the most vulnerable group in the country because very little attention is paid to them unlike in the western societies where the governments give them special attention by ensuring that their welfare is well taken care of.
But not in this clime, where most people, including members of their own families, see the deaf as necessary “evil”.
However, It was an eye-opener for most people who attended the first Deaf Talent Show tagged “Naija Deaf Got Talent,” held in Owerri, Imo State capital on October 26, as they were thrilled by the elegant performances exhibited by these “special” people as they danced to the rhythm of the music to the amazement of the audience.
The event which featured cultural dance, ballet dance and drama was put together by Save the Deaf and Endangered Languages Initiatives-S-Deli, a non-governmental organization in collaboration with All Seasons Hotel Owerri, was aimed at bringing out the latent talents in those with speech and hearing impairment.
The Project Head of the S-Deli, Dr Emma Asonye, told Oriental News that the organization was primarily conceived to fight for the vulnerable in the society, especially the deaf, as well as to give them voice through different unique human development programmes and events such the Naija Deaf Got Talent.
He revealed that the organization would be embarking on ICT training for the deaf children in Imo State as part of the Millennium Development Goals.
“Save the Deaf and Endangered Languages Initiative S-Deli is conceived as a medium through which we can give speech to the speechless and voice to the voiceless through different unique human development programmes and events such as the one we are witnessing today. It is a long term project whose first five years is dedicated to the training of deaf children in Imo State in ICT education, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals of our country. Naija Deaf Got Talent, the debut of fighting for the vulnerable is the first ever deaf talent show in the history of Nigeria,” he said.
He also stated that deaf people ought to be part of the nation’s work force, contributing their quota to the nation’s socio-economic development and working out a better livelihood for themselves and their community, but that their age long marginalization has continued to shut them out of the larger community.
“We all - the families, the government, the church and the entire society - have ignorantly contributed to the situation in which they are, ” he noted.
Also speaking at the event Mrs Ngozi Opara, a retired vice principal, said she was very happy to see some of her former students performing at the talent show and thanked the organizers for giving the students a sense of belonging.
Mrs Opara admonished parents not to isolate their wards who have speech and hearing impairment but to instead give them the opportunity to be educated and develop on their own pace, saying that isolating them would only result in their becoming aggressive.
“Isolating children with speech and hearing impairment is stigmatization and it would make the children to become overtly aggressive because having speech and hearing impairment is already enough communication problem, and so isolating them would create a bigger problem because they will feel neglected. So, parents should learn the necessary skills, especially the sign language to help their wards with such problem to integrate in the society.
“Most people will be surprised that those students performing this cultural dance are actually deaf, but they are to put up this wonderful performance because those who have been teaching them were able to bring out the innate talents in them and this is what we are saying that if given the confidence and encouraged that those in their situation would become useful not only to themselves, their families but also the society at large,” she said.
Similarly, Prof V. Obioma of the Imo State University who was also thrilled by the performance of the deaf students stated that what the talent event had shown was that being deaf was not the end of the world.
“Being deaf does not mean that you don’t have talents. These young persons have shown today that their disability is not the end for them and I must commend the organizers for this wonderful initiative and they should make it a regular event,” he pleaded.
Uganda Teen Learns Sign Language For The First Time At 15, Captured In Heart-Warming Documentary
November 13, 2014 5:09 PM By Dana Dovey
Watch 15-year-old Patrick Otema learn sign language for the first time.
Photo courtesy of YouTube screenshot
The lack of sign language teachers in Northern Uganda may seem like an inconsequential problem when sized up against other world issues, but to 15-year-old Patrick Otema, it’s the difference between a life of isolation and the chance to share his thoughts with others. Britain’s Channel 4 recently released a preview of Patrick Speaks, a film which highlights just how much a conversation can change a person’s life.
In America, the deaf lead lives nearly identical to the hearing. The deaf go to school, chat with friends, even go viral on the Internet with a dancing video. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t quite as pleasant for deaf individuals who don’t live in the vicinity of a school designed to facilitate their handicap. Channel 4 reporter Kiki King explains in the film how the majority of deaf individuals in sub-Saharan Africa have never been taught sign language.
The World Health Organization reported that sub-Saharan Africa actually has the highest rates of disabled hearing children in the world. This is due to a large number of people becoming deaf after contracting disease such as measles, malaria, and mumps. For example, according to Hearit.org, a quarter of all cases of hearing loss in Nigeria can be attributed to meningitis.
In the documentary, which is set to premiere on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, we are introduced to Raymond Okkelo, a sign language teacher who hopes to change the lives of Patrick and other deaf individuals in the area. Okkelo’s students are diverse, ranging from a 9-year-old boy to an 80-year-old woman. In the film, you can see the shy and withdrawn Patrick become lively and all smiles as he finally learns to communicate with others.
“Patrick’s transformation is amazing. It’s almost impossible to believe it’s the same boy we met yesterday,” King says.
To watch the full story and see Otema’s transformation from start to finish, tune into the world premiere of “Unreported World: 15 and Learning to Speak,” next Friday, and make sure to bring tissues.
DEAF showcases sign language film
DEAF showcases sign language film
November 19, 2014 in Entertainment, Life and Style
DEAF Zimbabwe Trust (DZT), in partnership with local mobile operator NetOne last Friday co-hosted the screening of a sign language movie titled The Home at Harare Gardens.
The event saw about 300 deaf people converging to watch the movie which is a re-adaptation of the biblical story of the Prodigal Son, but packaged in a contemporary set-up.
It features an entire cast of deaf actors and actresses.
Jacob fresh out of school and dissatisfied with life asks his Father for capital to start a business venture in Johannesburg. Upon arrival he finds himself caught up in gambling bars and ladies of the night.
Back home his father becomes increasingly worried by his silence that he decides to send his elder brother Benjamin to look for him.
Ade Wale, who sourced the film from a Cape Town-based company on behalf of the DZT, said most of the audience on the day were airtime vendors and NetOne sponsored the screening as a gesture of appreciating the work being done by the deaf.
Speaking to NewsDay soon after watching the film, Nyasha Chikiwa urged relevant stakeholders in showbiz and filmmakers to consider producing films in sign language.
DZT national co-ordinator Lyndon Nkomo called upon various stakeholders in the arts industry to consider the plight of the deaf.
“Lack of deaf infotainment in the mainstream media prompted the screening of this film.
“For instance, at the country’s leading movie houses you do not find any film tailormade to suit the needs of the deaf. As such, they miss out a lot on entertainment and end up involved in anti-social activities,” Nkomo said.
Deaf murder suspect languishes in remand prisonNew Zimbabwe.com-
A DEAF and dumb man who allegedly beat a relative to death during a beer drink is still languishing in remand prison two years after he was arrested for the offence, NewZimbabwe.com heard this week.
Nathan Ngwenya, 47, of Jambezi area, is alleged to have beat up Moses Michael Netha, whose age was not given, during a traditional beer drink. Netha died a few days later at his homestead on October 12, 2012.
Ngwenya was arrested and has since then tried without success to have the trial start. The matter was transferred from Victoria Falls to Hwange and back again to Victoria Falls because the police claim they are still to wrap up investigations.
The state now wants to alter the charge from murder to assault.
Magistrate Sharon Rosemani heard that Ngwenya and Netha were talking in sign language while drinking traditional beer on the fateful day when a misunderstanding ensured.
It is alleged that an incensed Ngwenya started assaulting Netha with fists and also kicked him on the head and body several times. The State led by Takunda Ndovorwi alleges that Netha suffered internal injuries that led to his death a few days later.
MMDAs urged to sustain the disability employment project
NEWSNOVEMBER 29, 2014-NO COMMENT
Mr Kofi Attor, the Administrator of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), has appealed to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to supervise and sustain the disability employment project to offer livelihood opportunities to people with disabilities in their localities.wpid-GIFEC.jpg
He said the fund had started piloting the project in all the 10 regional capitals and had set up trading booths for people with disabilities to sell credit units for telecommunication networks and it was the responsibility of the MMDAs to supervise them.
Mr Attor made the appeal at the closing session of a three-day training workshop on the disability employment project of the fund in Sunyani on Thursday.
It was attended by the Regional Heads of the Department of Social Welfare, and chairpersons of the Social Services sub-committee of some selected MMDAs in the country.
Mr Attor said GIFEC would be in a position to extend the pilot project to cover other districts depending on the success story and advised the beneficiaries to manage them well.
Mr Martin Amoani, Assistant Corporate Affairs Manager of GEFEC, said beneficiaries of the pilot project selected through the support of the Department of Social Welfare, and the Disability Council.
He said very soon the fund would rollout other income generating opportunities and advised people with disabilities who had not registered with the association of the disabled to do so to benefit from the project and other support from the fund.
The GIFEC was established in 2004 as an agency of the Ministry of Communications to facilitate the spread of Information and Communication Technology and its use in the unserved and underserved communities in the country.
It is helping to promote research and reading culture, through ICT use, thereby empowering people in rural communities to directly participate in development and decision-making processes at local and national levels.
DEAF COMPLAIN OVER INADEQUATE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION INFO
Times of Zambia
Published On November 30, 2014 ≫ 204 Views≫ By Davies M.M Chanda ≫ Latest News, Stories
ZICTA LOGO SMALLBy HUMPHREY NKONDE -
THE deaf on the Copperbelt have complained that they do not have adequate information relating to the forthcoming Presidential by-election on January 20, 2015 due to lack of sign language interpretation on ZNBC programmes.
Zambia goes to the Presidential by-election following the death of President Michael Sata on October 28, 2014.
Deaf groups on the Copperbelt said that was so because sign language interpretation was only done during news time and asked ZNBC and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to correct the situation.
They made the complaint last Friday during a workshop that was organised by the Zambia Information Communication Authority (ZICTA) regarding information communication technology for the disabled at Ndola’s Fatmols Lodge.
The deaf could not follow debates on the Presidential by-election because there was no sign language interpretation on ZNBC programmes.
They paid licences but were not getting benefits out of television programming including important national issues such as debates and adverts regarding the forthcoming Presidential by-election.
One deaf woman said that there was inadequate information on the funeral procession of President Michael Sata in sign language and in future such national events should be user friendly to the disabled.
A physically challenged participant wondered whether ECZ would offer the blind, ballot papers with Braille impressions so that they voted independently in the forthcoming Presidential by-election.
The workshop, which was organised ahead of the International Day for the Disabled (IDD) on December 3, was attended by the deaf, blind, the physically handicapped and albinos resident on the Copperbelt.
In response, Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) licensing manager Muchemwa Sinkala said that when the Act was formed it did not take into consideration aspects of disability.
Mr Sinkala said that even the sign language interpretation on ZNBC news was done on request rather than it being legally binding on the national broadcaster.
He, however, said that IBA encouraged proposals on how public and private broadcasting could be improved generally and how it would cater to the specific needs of the disabled.
The IBA licensing officer said compliance regarding the needs of persons with disabilities in broadcasting was difficult by ZNBC and other broadcasters without adequate legislation.
Mr Sinkala said that some of the problems in broadcasting would be solved next year once Zambia migrated from analogue to digital broadcasting whose programming would have pictures, sound and text displayed at the same time.
He said that digital broadcasting would have more space and that some channels may be specifically for the disabled.
Disabled Federation petitions President appoint more PWDs
November 30, 2014 | Filed under: Latest news | Posted by: VibeGhana
Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has appealed to President Mahama to appoint at least two Persons with Disability (PWDS) in each assembly to help mitigate difficulties members face and to promote building inclusive society.
“The GFD wishes to request the President to appoint at least two competent persons with disabilities at each of the 216 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies as part of the 30% appointments made by the president,” GFD said.
The Federation noted that the appeal was critical to ensure that the representation of PWDs was increased from 18 persons to 432 persons out of the 8,160 assembly members in the country.
It said the appointment of Dr. Seidu Dannaa as a Minister of State was good but disproportionate, considering that PWDs make over 15 per cent of Ghana’s population.
The GFD expressed confidence that if progressive and consistent steps are taken to get PWDs participate in national and local decision making process, they would be fully integrated and included in all facets of nation building.
It suggested that in appointing the two PWDs for each of the assemblies, the President should appoint a male and a female in consultation with relevant stakeholders in the Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies, and the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, the face and voice of disability in Ghana.
PWDs face barriers in competing for elective positions due to environmental, communication, information and attitudinal barriers.
Mr Yaw Ofori-Debrah, a visually impaired, told the GNA that persons with visual or physical disability find it extremely difficult to tour communities to campaign for votes because the built-environment was not accessible.
“A person with a hearing impairment who is contesting in a local election will need a sign language interpreter throughout the campaign, which will be too costly to bear, these difficulties, among others, are impediments for PWDs interested in serving their communities,” he added.
According to the Federation, PWDs campaigning for elections or positions are stigmatized while those already appointed to positions might also be stigmatized on the ground of the disability.
He said the GFD has in the last couple of years embarked on series of activities to identify and build the capacities of PWDs in the districts in preparation for their representation at the district assembly level.
The Federation argued that there had been grave challenges in the implementation of pro-disability policies and legislations, and therefore believes that significant representation of PWDs would act as a catalyst in the implementation of the laws.
PWDs face the challenge of provisions on accessibility, elimination of discrimination and stigmatisation among others.
“The mainstreaming of disability concerns at the district level through planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and implementation is critical to this appeal,” said Ofori-Debrah.
He said the appointment of at least two competent PWDs as Assembly Members at each of the 216 assemblies would symbolise a good start towards the realisation of proportionate representation of PWDs in decision making processes and to promote the building of an all-inclusive and equitable society. GNA
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South Africa: Social Development to Host Disability Awards
The Department of Social Development will on Tuesday host the National Disability Awards.
The awards will celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities.
"As part of the National Disability Rights Awareness Month, the Department of Social Development, in partnership with INSETA, will host the National Disability Awards at the Southern Sun Cape Sun in Cape Town on Tuesday, 2 December," said the Department on Sunday.
The first National Disability Awards were successfully run in 2009.
On the day, persons with disabilities and those that have been working towards the empowerment of persons with disabilities come together to showcase the skills, abilities, contributions and achievements of persons with disabilities.
As South Africa celebrates 20 years of the rights of persons with disabilities in democracy, the following awards will be recognised:
- National Disability Business Leader Award
- National Disability Champion Award
- National Disability Company Award
- National Disability Higher Education Institution Award
- National Disability Woman Achievement Award
- National Disability Young Leader Award
- Entrepreneur Award
- Lifetime Achievement Award
South Africa celebrates National Disability Rights Awareness Month annually between 3 November and 3 December. Additionally 3 December marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Koforidua School For the Deaf gets Facelift from The Sangy Foundation
Out of the many needy disability educational Institutions in the country, The Sangy Foundation led by its Vice President, Sara Nana Yeboah and a team of volunteers have given a deserving facelift to various dilapidated facilities on the campus of the Koforidua School
For the Deaf.
She noted the priority to chose the school among numerous applications to benefit from the Glam School Initiative was the foundation received emails with pictures of the various structures and with special deliberation with the board, the school was finally approved. The team which arrived in very early in Koforidua on Friday amidst welcome from the Headmaster and students quickly took a tour to confirm the request made by the school.
Various Structures including the school’s dining hall, headmaster’s bungalow, classrooms, and dormitories were all painted within the next two days. The project also saw some of the students voluntarily picking brushes to assist the volunteer who could interact with them with their own version of sign languages.
In a special interaction with the two adjudged volunteers; Wisdom Kwashie Mensah and Nathaniel Noye, they expressed their belief that the facelift will motivate the students to learn hard and make teachers more committed to their duties in a refreshed environment. After 48 hours of dedicated painting and minor cement works, the president of The Sangy Foundation, Mr. Godfrey Yeboah handed over the finished project with more paints to renovate other facilities the team couldn’t reach out to in a short handing over ceremony.
The headmaster in his appreciation speech thanked The Sangy Foundation for their kind gesture on behalf of the school authorities, staffs and students and extended calls to government and other NGOs to come to the help of the special school made for the deaf. This special project dubbed the Glam School Initiative was organised by The Sangy Foundation with kind support Westcoast Beverages Ltd as led sponsor, Kwaku David, Vin Leo Donkor, Jennifer Agyeman, Dr Annie Gbedzie and others.
South Africa: Parliament Hosts Successful Disability Rights Event
By Elijah Moholola
The staging of the inaugural Disability Rights Parliament should result in the formation of a society that not only talks about social inclusion but also displays this social inclusion in our daily lives.
This was the view expressed by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, in his closing remarks following the successful and historic staging of the Disability Rights Parliament.
Parliament hosted this event at the Old Assembly Chambers under the theme: "Celebrating 20 years of the rights of persons with disabilities in our democracy! Together we move South Africa forward through radical socio-economic transformation."
Mr Tsenoli said all issues that were raided by the delegates - who presented recommendations in the five government priorities of health, education, justice, job creation and rural development - would be taken further to form part of the programme of the fifth Parliament.
"Members of the Select and Portfolio Committees, who are sitting here, have also been listening to these discussions. We do want to emphasise that as Parliament we benefit intensely from feedback such as the one we got here," said Mr Tsenoli.
Earlier, Mr Tsenoli had stated during his opening remarks that the Disability Rights Parliament was being held at an opportune time ahead of the process to finalise Parliament's Five-Year Strategic Plan. He said the issues raised would be considered to form part of the programme of the fifth Parliament.
He added that Parliament did not want to see these issues being reduced to just events, hence there were multi-party sectoral parliaments established to deal with them throughout the year.
Mr Tsenoli also remarked that the sitting was taking place only two days before the first anniversary of the passing away of the first democratic president Dr Nelson Mandela.
"President Mandela, who we remember on the first anniversary of his passing away, came from a tradition of struggle that understood that people are their own liberators. The idea of an inclusive society that respects the rights of everybody is an agenda that belongs to the organisation that he led bravely along with others."
The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, also assured the delegates that their recommendations would be dealt with by the government.
She further told delegates that, among other things, the White Paper on Welfare Services would be reviewed and that a Disability Census - the first in the world - was set to be carried out by the government.
KwaZulu-Natal Delegate Mr Michael Mkhize, who was elected as Deputy Speaker, presented the Declaration that outlined numerous recommendations by the first ever Disability Rights Parliament.
"Our inaugural Disability Rights Parliament is historic in that it takes place shortly before the first anniversary of the departure of the father of our nation, Mr Nelson Mandela. He laid a firm foundation for a united, democratic and inclusive South Africa that disregards any form of unfair discrimination. We will continue to pursue the ideals that he represented," said Mr Mkhize.
Among the key recommendations made on the five priority areas: were improved access to healthcare by persons with disabilities; addressing the needs of children with disabilities at early childhood development phase; the implementation of plans to enable people with disabilities to access economic opportunities; improved physical access to courts and other justice centres; and a deliberate effort to ensure ownership of land by people with disabilities.
Some of the delegates raised concerns that there were no government ministers in attendance at the sitting, but Ms Bogopane-Zulu explained that the ministers were attending a Cabinet meeting, while Mr Tsenoli said the relevant Committee Chairpersons were present.
Crisis affects over 60 disabled in Eastern Equatoria
JUBA (3 Dec.)
Over 60 South Sudanese disabled mostly women and children at Bongo area of Eastern Equatoria state have been badly affected by the ongoing national crisis in South Sudan, according to the Secretary-General of the South Sudanese Disabled Union Elizayo Malesh.
Malesh told Radio Tamazuj that the government has stopped the support that it was previously giving to the disabled in the area, which worsened the humanitarian situation of the disabled especially students.
The head of the disabled union called on the political leaders to stop the ongoing war. He added that the conflict is just wasting resources and increasing the number of disabled people in South Sudan.
The government opened a school for disabled at Rajaf Payam, but it was interrupted by the war. “All the projects were halted since then and the organizations that had been helping stopped their operations since the war started,” he said.
World Disability Day: South Sudanese woman overcomes blindness to reach safety
News Stories, 3 December 2014
Nyantay with a friend in Tierkidi, which she reached after a terrifying journey from her home in South Sudan.
TIERKIDI, Ethiopia, December 3 (UNHCR) - The sound of gunfire filling her ears, Nyantay Gatkuoth, 40-something and blind, could only catch snippets of conversation from people running past her about what was happening.
As she felt her way around her village of Maywut, in South Sudan's Upper Nile state, she knew the fighting was bad, that relatives and neighbours were grabbing her hands and dragging her to the forest. But she can't remember when her hand slipped out of the last person's, leaving her alone with the bullets snapping at her heels. "I just kept running," she says. "I heard the people shooting and I felt very scared, as I could see nothing and was running by myself."
The obstacles Nyantay faced included holes that upended her, trees that she ran into and the heat and exhaustion of running. At one point she sat down in the forest, hoping for a quick, if grisly death. "I could hear the lions and the hyenas," she says. "I just wanted them to come and eat me as I was in such a bad place, hurting and lost."
She continues: "I just waited and thought: 'If the animals eat me, that's fine. If the soldiers kill me, that's fine.' I no longer felt fear. I couldn't think or care about anything but dying," she says.
The next day, some neighbours stumbled across Nyantay and took her to a safe place. She eventually crossed the border into Ethiopia and came to Tierkidi refugee camp, where she was reunited with the husband and four children she had presumed had died.
"When I heard their voices and knew it was them, I just passed out, then completely lost it. People had to pour water on me to calm me and then I couldn't stop being sick from the shock," Nyantay says. UN agencies provided her with basic assistance, but UNHCR regards her as particularly vulnerable and in need of specific help.
The sprawling Tierkidi camp houses almost 50,000 of the nearly 200,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Ethiopia in the past year. Since fighting erupted last December between government and rebel forces, children, women, older people and those living with disability have frequently been made targets.
Nyantay has only been blind since January 2011, when South Sudan's people voted for independence in a referendum after years of civil war with Sudan. "After the vote, it all went dark," she recalls. "Now, I can separate the morning and night, but that's all." She does not know the cause, though many people in South Sudan face sight problems due to cataracts, lack of basic sanitation and disease.
Away from the smells and sounds of a village she knew so well, Nyantay feels lost in Tierkidi, where she relies on her stepmother to feed and dress her, take her to the latrine and lead her around.
"I can't find anything here good because of my eyes. Everything I need, others have to do for me, so I spend my time feeling bad," she says. "I miss seeing the floor, if there are things to trip on, and my food, to see if there are insects or bad things in it."
Blind and in exile, Nyantay fears there is no future for her. But she does have hope for her children, who are attending school in the camp, and this helps her.
But Nyantay misses her bed most as she says the only time she sees is when she dreams. But she has trouble sleeping: "My bed at home was so comfortable, not like here . . . And I miss seeing the sunrise. I used to get up early to watch this. Eyes are very important. You can see where you're going, you can see danger and distance, but now it's all gone."
Cradling a relative's baby, she adds, "I can't see a future for me. Here, I just sit in one place feeling sad." But Nyantay does have hope for her children, who are now attending a school in the camp that has more than 6,000 pupils.
"They can help my suffering, as the only people that can do well are those that have seen and known," she says, a smile spreading across her face as the baby whose tiny toes she has been stroking starts playing with her cheeks.
Nyantay's oldest son, Gatwech, 15, knows that he can never give his mother back her sight. But he is determined to finish school and one day be a leader who will create the country his mother wanted to see, who will turn the darkness into light.
"I want to work for the government one day to correct the people who are creating violence," he says. "I want to stop that. I could build the country, bring roads, electricity, hospitals - the things that people need."
Disabled Persons In Ondo State Blast Mimiko, Accuse State Government Of Abandoning Them
“In one of our protests some months ago, some government officials were quoted saying that they will poison many of us because we are of no benefit to the society. This is the same set of officials you will see begging for our votes during elections,” said Ayebusi Abiola of Akure.
BY SAHARA REPORTERSDEC 04, 2014
Persons with disabilities in Ondo State on Thursday turned an event marking the “2014 International Day For Persons With Disabilities” into a demonstration highlighting the government’s neglect of their well-being.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko
Sahara Reporters Media
The disabled persons, who had traveled down from the 18 local government council areas of the state and converged in Akure, the state capital, for the celebration, accused Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the state government of abandoning them.
They noted that the yearly celebration has been a “season of suffering” for disabled persons in the state.
A SaharaReporters correspondent noticed that trouble started when an announcement was made by the organizers (Agency For the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities) that Governor Olusegun Mimiko was consciously absent and would be represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Kola Ademujimi.
The announcement, our correspondent reports, angered the disabled persons, many of whom said “Mr. Governor is in Abuja to attend to some political meetings but can assure he is here in spirit."
A programme of event given to SaharaReporters at the commencement of the celebration featured the governor, his wife, the deputy governor and his wife, house of assembly members, and other top government officials. All were deliberately absent without explanation.
Attendees disclosed to SaharaReporters that they had lost some their colleagues as a result of government abandonment and insensitivity to their plight. They also added that the Mimiko administration refused to provide them with fitting jobs.
“Some of us were encouraged to learn any profitable handiwork, but since we finished learning the jobs and graduated from the workshop government has refused to provide us with equipment, machines, and funds. All you see them doing is empty promises and jamborees,” stated Ifeoluwa Adepoju from Akoko North.
“I can’t count the number of deaths that have been recorded this year alone not to talk of the ones we have recorded since the assumption of this present administration. Many of us who are graduates have been roaming the streets begging for alms, and the government of Governor Olusegun Mimiko has failed to recognized us,” said Funmi Ijabiyi from Ilaje.
“In one of our protests some months ago, some government officials were quoted saying that they will poison many of us because we are of no benefit to the society. This is the same set of officials you will see begging for our votes during elections,” said Ayebusi Abiola of Akure.
According to them, some of their colleagues who engage in sporting activities and won good laurels for the state were not properly rewarded and cheated because they were disabled.
While comparing the past governments in the state with the present administration of Mimiko, the disabled persons maintained that things have worsened because of the incumbent government.
“The administration of late Governor Adefarati and Agagu were not like this. They took good care of us and provided us with jobs while many of our graduates were employed and given equal opportunity in the society. Since the assumption of Governor Mimiko in 2009 things have worsened with the retrenchment of our colleagues," a disabled attendee said.
Attending persons also berated the state government for its constant declarations on both television and radio programs that persons with disabilities were being well taken care of.
Tanzania: The Disabled in Kinondoni Need Special Care
By Deogratias Mushi
MARY Antony is a disabled who stays at Makumbusho area, Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam Region and she operates her business at Kariakoo Market in Ilala District.
Now in her early thirties, Mary uses crutches to enable her walk to a nearby daladala station to catch a bus to her working place. I wish you could have observed one day how she struggles to enter a crowded bus in vain.
Though she normally arrives at the bus station around six o'clock in the morning, Mary is able to catch a bus after the heavy traffic has reduced at around eight oclock.
What is really disappointing is that the rest of the passengers pass as if they don't see her and generally, nobody takes the responsibility of making sure that in her disability, Mary is helped to get into the bus on time.
Nobody cares people with disability when it comes to getting help from the community. It is sad to note that municipals like Kinondoni have not established some by-laws that should give directions on how people with disability may be helped by the community around them to get social services like transport.
Early this year, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) II was implemented in Kinondoni District and it addresses different problems, including how women, especially those living in disability should be helped to assume their status in the community.
Gewe II was implemented by Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA) Crisis Resolve Centre (CRC), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) and Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA), to make sure that the rights of such people are taken care of.
Godwin Mwambene, a paralegal who lives at Mbuyuni area in Kinondoni District got the opportunity to attend the GEWE II training early this year and early this week he organised a meet of all disabled women in his area, to discuss how they can be helped, especially getting to their places of work on time.
Mr Mwambene says that the women have resolved to lay down strategies that shall help them get assistance at bus stations, so that they get first priority when a daladala bus arrives at a certain station.
"To start our campaign, we have identified to bus stations where people with disability may be gathering while waiting for transport. At these particular stations there shall be somebody to assist them and there shall also be some billboards indicating that the disabled need special treatment while going to work," he says.
According to him, GEWE II initiative is still needed in Kinondoni District because the training was very successful though it was run in few days. "If they come again and together we evaluate our success and failures, definitely we can make some improvement in future," he insists.
According to Mr Mwambene, one of the impacts of GEWE II initiative is that some women have abandoned drinking alcohol, as that was one of the reasons making them fail to assist their children dutifully.
Some women admit that they have been able to save money and pay school fees for their children. One of the problems that people living with disability in Kinondoni District, Dar es Salaam Region face is the humiliation they suffer from the community around them, including insufficient care.
Disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these. It is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions.
An individual may also qualify as disabled if he/she has had impairment in the past or is seen as disabled based on a personal or group standard or norm. Such impairments may include physical, sensory and cognitive or developmental disabilities.
Mental disorders (also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability) and various types of chronic disease may also qualify as disabilities. Disability includes those things that prevent people with impairment from functioning properly in the society. Yes, it might be true that a person is blind. Yes, it might be true that a person might be using a wheel chair, but it is not true that such a situation is totally useless in the society and such people need some help to make them achieve their goals.
At times the society fails to realise the diverse nature of disabled and therefore fail to make provision to accommodate my needs. That is why there is a disability.
A recent world report has it that about 15 per cent of the population of any country in Africa is living with disabilities. What this means is that 15 per cent of Tanzanian population is presently living with disabilities.
Experts also believe that the causes of impairment could be anything. They say it could be disease, it could be sickness like polio and others, concluding that every human being is vulnerable to disease and attack that may render him or her disabled. Recently, there has been an out cry by many Tanzanians on the negative attitude towards people living with one form of disability or the other.
For example, people who have impairment in Kinondoni District go through a lot of obstacles and barriers. They have environmental barrier, architectural barrier, institutional barrier and attitudinal barriers.
Some people have even gone far and say that some pretty girls with disability may not easily get spouse and that at times affect them psychologically, though they may be earning some good income every month. In Dar es Salaam today, some policies and programmes have failed to take into consideration people with disability in the society to make sure that they are equally treated when it comes to social services delivery.
Experts argue that people living with disabilities are not actually the problem, because they contribute only 20 per cent to the problem of stigmatisation in the society. The other 80 per cent is contributed by the society at large.
The society often finds it difficult to accept people with disabilities into the society properly and when people see you with clutches or wheelchairs or walking sticks in Dar es Salaam, they are often blindfolded from seeing other potentials in you.
At times the society sees such people as if they are the cause of the problem or that they brought the disability upon themselves. This often leads to discriminate against the disabled as many people also associate disability with failures.
People with disabilities in Tanzania often feel totally excluded from the mainstream and the initiatives like those in Kinondoni District should serve as examples to other districts. The central idea is to involve everybody in caring for the rights of people living with disabilities.
Public institutions tasked to provide disability friendly facilities to physically challenged
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation-
Parliament has charged the Ministry of Health to take immediate steps to engage the services of sign language interpreters at Health Institutions and provide other disability friendly facilities to adequately offer health services to the physically challenged.
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies have also been reminded to ensure that all existing and new public buildings are made disability friendly.
These were raised on the Floor of the House when the MPs made statements to mark the International Day of Persons with Disability.
The First Deputy Speaker, Ebow Barton-Odro who made the first statement said existing public institutions must immediately make alterations to their buildings to make them disability friendly.
Liberia: Hope for the Deaf Devises House-to-House Outreach
By Joaquin Sendolo
Hope for the Deaf, a local organization that seeks the welfare of hearing impaired people, has devised a house-to- house strategy in meeting its social obligation to the disabled group.
According to the organization's director, David T. Worlubah, they have over time realized that many people rush to them when they take food rations to a community, thus causing them not to properly identify the targeted group.
As a result of that experience which they had on two occasions, Mr. Worlubah said they are moving from house to house identifying the deaf and talking to their parents or relatives about how important it is to pay attention to them (the deaf).
He told this newspaper yesterday that as they were leaving for Tubmanburg, Bomi County to meet the deaf community, they were considering house to house visits so as to enable them to meet the 60 persons targeted for the food rations and buckets they took along.
When Ebola worsened in the country, Hope for the Deaf lobbied and secured funds from overseas partners to enable the organization to reach out to the disadvantaged deaf people with messages of prevention and some food rations.
Since the funds were secured, Hope for the Deaf has been reaching communities in Grand Bassa and Margibi counties, where people rush for rations while the targeted ones are sometimes left without anything.
"This little rations we give the deaf people are only meant to complement efforts by government and the international partners in meeting the needs of these disadvantaged people. It is not meant to sustain anyone but to help address the food crisis Ebola has posed on everyone in the country," he added.
They will continue to lobby with their overseas partners to give them what they can in order to meet the needs of the disadvantaged.
He said as they approach partners to help impoverished Liberians in this health crisis, the organization equally makes sure to manage it properly in order to convince the partners that those for whom the assistance is intended benefit.
PWD Insists There Is Ability In Disability
By Ruth Choji
Dec 6, 2014 | Leave a comment
Last week, the world celebrated the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (PWD). ruth choji, who participated in some of the activities in the Federal Capital Territory, writes on the need to assist such physically challenged persons in order for them to contribute optimally to national growth and development
Most Nigerians applauded when in March 2009, the Senate passed a bill outlawing discriminations against people with disabilities in the society. The law requires government and public institutions as well as individuals to provide convenient access for physically challenged persons. The law, among other things, states: “… public building shall be constructed with the necessary accessibility aids such as lifts (where necessary), ramps and other facility that shall make them accessible and usable to persons with disability. But since then nothing has changed because the bill is still awaiting Mr President’s accent.
But for the average disable person on the streets, it is still a life of pain, rejection, poverty and neglect by loved ones and society. They are most times treated as second class citizen by family and society. Some see them as being possessed by evil spirits while others make them regret why they are still alive.
Danlami Abubakar, born lame on both legs stated that, “being lame is a curse in Nigeria, because most people don’t think we can do anything except to drag our buttocks on the ground. I have a wife with five children. I didn’t go to school but I beg and that way, I take care of my family. I don’t know what happened to me, but I was told that my mother had a difficult delivery and because there was no hospital in our village then, the traditional birth attendant (local midwife), who attended to my mother in the night could not help her. They gave her some herbs which seemed to have helped her but she died few days after I was born and the birth effected my two legs. Although I’m now 43 years old, I still look small because I don’t walk like others.”
Elisha Gyang, a disable technician who hates to be described as invalid said, “being disabled does not mean I am unable to do things able persons do. It is just one of my legs that is paralysed and so people should not use it to describe me. I am more than that. I have got talent and skills and I’m using it to feed my family and dependents. Sometimes people want to use it to pity me but I get angry because I don’t need anybody’s pity, what I want is an opportunity to prove myself.”
Pascal Dimkwat, retired school teacher who became disable through an accident said, “it is unfortunate how disabled persons are treated in Nigeria. You will not understand the pains until you have a loved one who is disabled or it happened to you. You automatically become an object of pity. Some principals will not even give physically challenged candidates admission because of their disabilities. In so many cases, some families prefer to hide their disabled members because they are ashamed of them while others are treated as objects for charity. My first wife left me because she was ashamed that her husband is disabled as if I brought it upon myself. Our government is not helping matters because they don’t care about the person living with disability. It is only during international days like this that you hear them talk about us and make empty promises that they never fulfil. Most of the vocational training centres set up by government are ill-equipped and ill-maintained. That is why you see the illiterate ones amongst us begging on the street. I don’t like the way we are being treated. We all know that Nigeria is a signatory to many international conventions that support equal opportunities for all their citizens. And this is supposed to include the provision of conducive environment, housing and transportation, social and health services, educational and work opportunities, including sports and recreational facilities. Yet, the same government has not given effect to the provisions of this international instrument by failing to domesticate it through a national legislation as required.
Daniel Amos, another disabled engineer who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday said “physically challenged persons are suffering in Nigeria because of the inability of the government to provide a robust legal framework that will protect and defend the rights of People Living with Disability. People who discriminate against disable persons are not punished. Disable persons are treated like second class citizens at home and in the society. Most public buildings are inaccessible to disabled persons, not even the schools for disable persons, it is better if one attends a regular school because they will take care of you as a special case. I still can’t understand why Mr President has refused to accent to the ‘Disability Bill’ which was passed by the Senate in 2010, I also know that on February 5, 2013, the amended bill passed its second reading in the senate and we all know that, there are over 20 million people living with various forms of disabilities in Nigeria. The physically challenged in our midst must be empowered to help themselves and their families and contribute their bits to the growth and development of the society. If the president will not accent to the bill passed by National assembly on disability, then we should adopt the Nigerian disability degree of 1993 which the military government promulgated which says in section 1A
(a) The purpose of this Decree is to provide a clear and comprehensive legal protection and security for Nigerians with disability as well as establish standard for enforcement of the rights and privileges guaranteed under this decrees and other laws applicable to the disabled in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and section 2 says: (1) Disabled persons shall be guaranteed treatment as equals to other Nigerians for all purposes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Accordingly it shall be the duty and responsibility of organs of government and of all authorities and persons to adopt and promote policies that will ensure full integration of the disabled into the mainstream of the society. (a) Disabled persons are fully integrated into the national economy. (b) Disabled persons shall have equal rights, privileges, obligations and opportunities before the law. (c) Disabled persons are provided equal and adequate education. These are laws that if put into effect will go a long way in coping and alleviating the plight of the disable in Nigeria. We are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.”
On her part, the minster of women affairs and social development whose purview the persons with disability fall said that, “the Need to work and harness the power of technology to promote the inclusion and to help realise the full and equal participation of Persons with Disabilities in national development efforts will be the main focus, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2014 International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Maina said, “With the theme, “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology”, this year’s celebration was therefore aimed at highlighting available technologies to support the activities and economic production of Persons with Disabilities, so as to ensure their optimal contribution to national growth and development.
According to the minister a lot of Persons with Disabilities are resourceful and are venturing into various economic empowerment programmes, even as she expressed optimism that they can do a lot more if supported and encouraged, especially with the use of simple and accessible machines.
She therefore enjoined stakeholders to mark the day with activities that will focus on issues related to the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in society and development, both as beneficiaries and agents of change.
United nations General Assembly Resolution of 1992 instituted December 3 of every year as a day for Persons with Disabilities. The Resolution called on member nations and organisations to observe the day every year and intensify their efforts towards improving the situation of Persons with Disabilities.
Sisi - 4 New Cities to Be Established for Handicapped
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced on Friday that the government will establish four new cities for the handicapped by funds of "Long Live Egypt" fund.
During the inauguration of the 8th Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games, the president said that the cities will be built in Upper Egypt, Alexandria, Ismailia and Cairo in which a school, a hospital and a club will be built in each city for the disabled.
Meanwhile, Sisi greeted all the participants and thousands of people who came to attend the inauguration in the Air Defense stadium in Cairo.
On Thursday evening, Sisi, during his first phone call to a TV show, accepted an invitation from a handicapped who urged the president to attend the inauguration.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi urged all those who donated to "Long Live Egypt" fund and its Board of Trustees to fund the construction of the new cities.
He thanked all ministries, volunteers, and companies who contributed to organizing the Olympics games.
Tanzania: User-Unfriendly Infrastructure Irks People With Disability
By Deus Ngowi
Moshi - PEOPLE with disability in Kilimanjaro region have expressed their disappointment with the way they are treated and not availed user-friendly infrastructure in various areas, making their lives difficult.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities festivities held at Moshi bus terminal grounds, Mr Deogratius Chami, who is a paraplegic, said there were serious challenges those with disabilities faced in their daily lives.
Mr Chami, a graduate from Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), said some members of the public thought that people living with disability were just those who use wheelchairs, the blind and deaf.
He said they faced countless challenges in schools and at bus terminals as there were no special pathways or special toilets. "People with disability find it very difficult to lead their lives.
Just think of our health centres, financial institutions, recreation centres, business places such as the Machinga Complex, playgrounds and markets like King George Memorial.
Nobody cares for them, so there are no user friendly facilities," said the community economic development expert.
He wondered why the Contractors Registration Board (CRB) would not be proactive and make sure all buildings, including administration blocks at regional and district commissioners' offices and district councils, to be equipped with the required facilities for the disabled, saying some people gave up study or job offers because the institutions missed user-friendly facilities.
Mr Chami said although people with disability had low income, yet they were forced to buy some gear, such as hearing aids, at high prices, urging the government to consider assisting them in procuring them.
Botswana: Disability Organisations Receive Over P19 Million
Gaborone - Parliament has been informed that government issues annual subvention to the different disability organisations through the Botswana Council for Disabled (BCD), which is the mother body of these organisations.
Answering a question in Parliament from the MP for Kanye South Mr Abram Kesupile, the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Phillip Makgalemele said the total amount of money received by disability organisations in the financial year 2014/15 is P19 159 042.
In addition, he said the coordinating office conducted two workshops on disability and HIV/AIDS for disability organisations during the financial year 2014/15.
To further demonstrate their collaboration and support for the association, he said his ministry in collaboration with BCD commemorated the International Day for People with Disabilities on December 3 in Palapye.
The Day was commemorated under the theme: Sustainable Development: the promise of technology.
MP Kesupile had asked the minister to state how many associations of the disabled were funded to carry out their annual advocacy mission. He was also to state the amount of money they received in the financial year 2014/15.
MP Kesupile further requested the minister to state the number and focus of the workshops conducted by the coordinating office in their favour in the financial year 2014/15.
Source : BOPA
SA offers incentives for hotels to retrofit for disabled
By Lorraine Kearney
Park Inn Newlands, designed with universal access for disabled people, is a world leader. (Image: Lorraine Kearney)
8 December 2014
A day after the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an innovative and unique hotel was opened in Cape Town - Park Inn Newlands.
The 122-bedroomed, mid-market, three-star hotel is designed and built for universal accessibility for disabled people, and a third of staff members is deaf. The hotel is also 40% owned by DeafSA, which has its offices on the first floor.
The balance is evenly split between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which funded construction, and Meridian Property Holdings, a Cape Town developer. It is operated under the Radisson brand by international hotelier Rezidor.
DeafSA has about 800 000 hearing impaired members countrywide. For it, the hotel is a key broad-based empowerment initiative that has created income generating, skills transfer and employment opportunities for its members. As a shareholder, it will mean the NGO is less reliant on donor funding.
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening on the night of 4 December, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom called Park Inn Newlands a "shining example of what is possible" and "an inspiration".
"We will be announcing a programme early next year to give incentives to product owners to retrofit their establishments. Will be starting modestly, targeting only graded establishments, because we will be piloting not only for universal accessibility for disability, but also retrofitting for energy efficiency."
Raising the bar
"It is a hotel where 30% of the staff is deaf. This kind of raises the bar altogether. It sets kind a new standard, if you'd like," he said. "It also speaks wonderfully of our tourism sector and adds to the awards we won for responsible tourism at the World Travel Market in London about a month ago.
"It is a real shining example of responsible tourism and inclusion, ensuring not only that there is community inclusion but that [the deaf community has] real ownership of the hotel."
Starting on a pilot basis, his department's incentive programme would support retrofitting of establishments through modest redesign, beginning with assessments of needs.
"We have done some of that already, doing a needs assessment of 187 graded establishments in Cape Town and Durban. Of these, 15 were not even compliant with grading requirements. So we must be aware that some establishments don't have the cash flow to do this retrofitting."
The pilot phase would show what was possible. "We have approximately 6 000 graded establishments and we can't reach all of these at once. We have to tailor our programmes to incrementally reach the goal of more efficient energy use and better design. We will announce a more detailed programme in the next two months."
Regarding energy efficiency, the incentive programme would begin in the accommodation sector. "There will be an element of self-selection, if you'd like - serious people who do the right things. Over time, we hope that it will be clearly demonstrably that it makes sense on the economic front."
Regarding universal accessibility, it would extend to other tourism products. "We will, for example, train tour guides in sign language. At the moment we are trying to enhance our tourism offerings and make sure that people with disabilities can enjoy what our country has to offer," Hanekom said.
It would also offer sustainable employment for disabled people. "There are over a million people in South Africa who are extremely hard of hearing or deaf," said Hanekom. "These people can be described as having a disability; of course, it poses challenges but it ought to be a really limited challenge. There is not a lot I can do that a deaf person can't do.
"Deaf people could be our leading scientists, engineers, hotel managers, even our minister of tourism. There is very little that deaf people cannot do, and this project demonstrates this in very real terms.
"In truth, we must express our pride in what so many people have done to make this project a reality. We must applaud the many people at DeafSA who said, 'we can do it', and did something that has not been done anywhere in the world."
His department would showcase the hotel worldwide "because it is inspirational. But it is terribly important that it should be a success story, and a sustainable success story. Because that's when you say five years later that not only did they do the right things, but they achieved great success when they did the right things."
Park Inn Newlands is built on the premises of the old Bastion of the Deaf, a landmark for the deaf community and the Cape Town offices of DeafSA. The hotel is a landmark project that has been designed to cater for the needs of all disabled people. It welcomed its first guests on 13 October, and in the first six weeks of trading has exceeded projections. It has a staff complement of 92, of whom 28 are deaf.
It is close to several sport stadiums and institutions, such as Newlands Cricket Ground, Newlands Rugby Stadium, South African Rugby Union headquarters and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. The University of Cape Town is only a short distance away, as are many office parks and company headquarters.
Deaf, dumb take over Imo Govt House
BY OUR REPORTER ON DECEMBER 10, 2014 ORIENTAL NEWS
…Lament state’s refusal to fund their Abuja trip for athletic competition
FROM GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, OWERRI
How will you deal with angry deaf and dumb sports men and women who dared the security agents to do their worst?
This was exactly the situation in which the security personnel at the Imo State Government House found themselves in recently as the angry members of the Imo State Deaf Sports Association stormed the Government House in protest of the non-release of N23 million meant to enable them travel to Abuja to participate in the ongoing National Deaf Games.
They had barricaded the main gate to the Government House for over three hours, making the security personnel at the gate looked helpless as the association members ensured that no one entered or left the Government House until their demands were met.
Oriental News gathered that Governor Rochas Okorocha who was in the Government House when the physically challenged arrived had instructed his security aides not to disturb the protesters, but had quickly left the Government House via the back exit with his aides, including the Commissioner for Sports, Kenneth Emelu to Delta State in continuation with his consultation with the APC delegates to the national convention of his party which comes up on the December 10.
According to the chairman of the association, Mr Chamberlin Inyama who spoke to newsmen, they were protesting the refusal of the state government to approve funds for them to participate in the third national games for the deaf which was slated for November 24 and December 6, pointing out that their letter had been with the governor in the past six months even as the governor had made series of promises to them without fulfilling any.
He wondered why the state could not provide funds for the athletes who are defending champions.
“It is really unfortunate that they cannot defend the title they won because the state government has refused to release funds and vehicle to enable them travel to Abuja for the games. The governor has promised to provide a bus to the association but we are yet to see any and even the request for funds to enable us to participate in the National Deaf Games was about six months ago and he had promised to provide it but till this moment we have not seen anything. It quite unfortunate for a governor of a state not to honour his promises.”
Also, Mrs Gertrude Chidinma Ejibas, a Short Put Coach, who was livid with anger over the action of the state governor said that they were supposed to join the national association sports festival Abuja 2014 slated to begin on November 24 to December 6 and that they have been appealing to the government to release funds to the association to enable them participate in the games which they are the defending champions to no avail.
Her words: “We are supposed to be in Abuja to participate in the Deaf Games and we have been asking the state government to approve money and bus which will convey us to Abuja but all attempts to see the governor has not yielded any fruit. All the 36 states, including Abuja are going to participate in the games except Imo State which is the defending champion. The previous administration of Chief Ikedi Ohakim was sponsoring the Association”.
Mrs Ejibas accused Governor Okorocha of not attending to the plight of the physically challenged, pointing out that the governor has not fulfilled the promise he made to them during his electioneering campaign to assist them if he was voted for.
“Okorocha had forgotten that we suffered to vote him into office and he had promised to help us, but today he has abandoned us to our fate; we are supposed to be in Abuja to play alongside Plateau, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna states in Group B, but we cannot even attend the event let alone defend the title we had won earlier,” she lamented.
Speaking on behalf of the governor, the APC South East Youth leader, Hon Paul Chukwuma, who pleaded with the aggrieved deaf athletes to go back to their homes said that the governor was already out of town, but had mandated him to speak on his behalf.
However, he promised to deliver their message to Okorocha whenever he was back from his travels.
Sauti Sol's 'Nishike' tops list of most watched music videos in Kenya
Sauti Sol's "Nishike" was Kenya's most watched music video of 2014 on YouTube, according to Google. The video has over 900,000 views to date.
The group, which was named Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, also had the third most watched music video - "Sura Yako", which featured Sarakasi Dancers - behind Willy Paul and Size 8's "Tam Tam" remix.
(READ: Sauti Sol delivers first ever MTV EMA award for Kenya)
"Open Your Eyes Kenya", an advertisement by the Safaricom Foundation, was the most watched video of the year, with just under 1,340,000 views on the site as of December 9, with Coca-Cola claiming the second and third spots.
The 2014 Fifa World Cup anthem "The World is Ours" (Africa version) has attracted nearly 1.1 million views to date, while Fans United has around 558,000.
A KTN investigative programme, "Makri ya Injili", was fourth on the list. The investigation, exposing the activities of Victor Kanyari, who allegedly faked miracles and coached testimonies at his church, has drawn just under 519,000 views to date.
(READ: Kanyari: All churches eat ‘seed’)
Vera Sidika's interview on NTV's "The Trend" was sixth on the list (371,462), behind Barclays Africa's advertisement "What Does to Prosper Mean to You? (395,259). A Capital FM video of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta finishing the inaugural First Lady's Half Marathon and running into the arms of President Uhuru Kenyatta was the ninth most watched video in Kenya, with around 158,000 views.
TOP 10 VIDEOS
Open Your Eyes Kenya
The World is Ours (Africa version): Coca-Cola's 2014 FIFA World Cup? Anthem
Coca-Cola Fans United
Makri ya Injili
Barclays Africa | What Does to Prosper Mean to You? #ProsperAfrica
#theTrend: Socialite Vera Sidika's new look
Airtel TRACE Star
My Bukusu Darling: Asian lady defies parents and strict traditions for love found in a Bukusu man
First lady runs into Uhuru’s arms
Mwanaharakati asimulia yaliyotendeka Raila akiwa ng'ambo
TOP 10 MUSIC VIDEOS
Sauti Sol - NISHIKE (TOUCH ME) Official Music Video
Willy Paul feat. Size 8 - Tam Tam Remix (Official Video)
Sauti Sol - SURA YAKO Official LIPALA Dance Instructional Video feat. Sarakasi Dancers
Elani - Kookoo [@elanimuziki]
Jaguar Kioo (Official Video) Main Switch
Bahati - Barua (Official Video)
Elani - Milele [@elanimuziki]
Mfalme Wa Mapenzi -Sanaipei OFFICIAL ULTRA HD VIDEO
Kitanzi - Willy Paul & Gloria Muliro [GloriaMuliroTV]
Victoria Kimani - Prokoto (Official Video) ft. Ommy Dimpoz, Diamond Platnumz
Why more Nigerians will go deaf ?Dr (Col) Andrew Imogu (rtd), ENT president
11.Dec.2014 DISQUS_COMMENTS Sade Oguntola
Dr (Col) Andrew Imogu (rtd), the President, Ear, Nose and Throat (Oto-Rhino-Laryngological) Society of Nigeria, in this interview with Sade Oguntola, examines challenges to ensuring people with hearing deficit are helped and what individuals must know to maintain good hearing, among other issues.
What is the situation with hearing loss in Nigeria and how many ENT experts are available to attend to problems like this?
There are between 150 and 200 ENT surgeons to Nigeria’s population estimated at about 150million people. This is obviously inadequate and the reason for this is the paucity of accredited training institutions for ENT surgeons. It is one of the core super specialities that require special equipment. For both the National Postgraduate College of Nigeria and the West African College of Surgeons to accredit a training institution, there are some requirements that must be met. But definitely we need more accredited training institutions; we need the public to be aware that there is this speciality.
But saying that one is a doctor that treats ear, nose and throat sounds strange?
It may sound strange in Nigeria; it is not so in other climes. In the major urban centres of Nigeria, it is gradually not sounding too strange because people are becoming more and more aware. The speciality attends to conditions that affect the ear, nose and throat. This includes such things as sore throat, snoring, hearing loss, difficulty in speech, changes in the voice, swellings around the head and neck and so on. That is the basis of referring to them as Ear, Nose and Throat/ head and neck surgeons.
What are the common conditions that are attended to?
This included tonsillitis (sore throat), which leads to inflammations of some organs at the back of the throat. In younger children, it comes in the form of difficulty in breathing. The child may also be snoring at night, what is known as adenoids or adenoiditis.
There are many cases of hearing problems; some people have difficulty in hearing; some with noise in the ear, what is called tinnitus. At times, some people feel a light bit dizzy and it might look as if the room was spinning round, what is called vertigo. Nasal blockage, which is generally known as catarrh, is quite common.
Is noise induced hearing loss a problem in Nigeria and can such be overlooked?
Definitely, it is problem in Nigeria. It is because we do not have strong laws for noise pollution. It is common to have religious groups blasting noise through the loud speakers. People make a lot of noise for different reasons, including social ones, but only few states have regulations to regulate noise levels in the environment. This is important to manage the problem of noise induced hearing loss.
Currently, the lifestyle of using ear pieces for telephoning and listening to music as well as the blaring music at motor parks have continued to increase the burden of noise induced hearing loss. Even when legislation is made about public noise, individuals’ still need to discipline themselves on noise control.
What is population of Nigerians that may have hearing deficiencies?
It is as high as two per cent of Nigeria’s population. Noise exposure affects everybody, and the exact percentage of people affected by it can only be determined by a nationwide study. Currently, there is no population based figure for hearing loss problem in Nigeria.
We have five special senses, and hearing is one of them. These special senses help us to avert danger. When that sense is not, the warning is lost and it becomes a disability. So, noise-induced hearing loss is a form of disability.
Aside being exposed to danger, people with hearing loss have limited ability to engage in conversation. Their ability to take part in a learning process like in school, in conferences and so on is limited. Invariably, their quality of life is affected.
Which gender is more affected by hearing loss?
Studies have not shown clearly which gender is most affected in Nigeria. A nationwide survey would have shown the gender, age group and social strata more affected by hearing loss. Such information is necessary for health planning to tackle such a problem.
Do we have cases of children that are born with hearing loss?
There are cases of new born babies in Nigeria with hearing loss. About two to three of 100,000 births are born with hearing loss. However, we do not have the exact figures on children born with hearing loss problem.
Unfortunately, there are no screening policies to ensure that such babies are detected early. Some countries carry out universal neonatal hearing screening to detect babies with hearing loss at birth and ensure early intervention. Others carry out what is called targeted neonatal hearing screening. They screen babies that they suspect may likely have hearing problem. These include premature babies, babies with neonatal jaundice and some other health challenges at birth. In children, the earlier those who have hearing problem are detected, the better for correction.
Aside noise, what are the other common things that contribute to hearing loss?
Some hearing losses are due to childhood diseases such as measles, meningitis and neonatal jaundice. Due the poor hygienic situation in quite a number of communities, children are exposed to ear infections and other infections in the ear, nose and throat, which could subsequently lead to hearing loss.
Is hearing loss same as deafness?
Deafness means total inability to hear, but hearing loss means reduced ability to hear. Also, deafness is total, while hearing loss is in degrees. It is like saying poor eye sight and blindness. What is done to solve the problem also depends on the degree of the hearing loss.
There are several modalities to help those with hearing loss, including hearing aids and surgical operation. In fact, some can be surgically corrected. Cochlear implants one of such methods of surgically correcting some cases of hearing loss.
Several centres in Nigeria are doing cochlear implants and they are reasonably successful. But cost is a major challenge to people assessing cochlear implant surgeries. Cochlear implant surgery may cost between N3 to N5 million. This is definitely not an amount an average Nigerian can cough out. That is why we are pushing for the passage of the national health care bill, so that like in other climes, subsidy could be provided for people requiring cochlear implants.
No doubt, formulating local policies that will help ENT surgeons work well within the difficulties of our environment will go a long way to help ensure we could render help to people with hearing loss to improve their quality of lives.
What are the common myths that surround ear, nose and throat conditions?
A common one is the thinking that deafness or hearing loss, especially in children is diabolical or voodoo. Hearing loss in children is real, a medical problem and not voodoo. It is a common thing all over the world. It is just our inability to screen and catch them early that is the handicap. Practically every form of hearing loss is correctable to a large extent if proper medical expert’s help is sought.
Lifestyle habits are also contributory to hearing problems. For instance, the use of some native and conventional drugs can cause damage to ear, thus leading to hearing loss. They are toxic to the ear. When people, self medicate they a stand a higher risk of experiencing some side effects of these drugs, one of which is hearing problem. Drugs that are bad for the ear include antibiotics such as gentamycin and some hypertension medications.
In addition, exposure to second hand smoke increases the risk of developing problems of the ear, nose and throat, including hearing loss. So people that go clubbing, who are exposed to loud noise, drinking and cigarette smoke have a higher chance of hearing loss. All these things are promoters of hearing loss.
For Nigeria as a country, what should be done?
A: We should pay more attention to issues relating to hearing loss, especially in terms of policy formulations, policy enforcements funding of research programmes to do with hearing loss and ear, nose and throats in general because it houses the special senses have direct effect on the quality of life.
Constant teasing at school forces disabled boy to quit
Publish Date: Dec 13, 2014
When Luke Yakobo, 12, felt he could not take the too much teasing at school any more, he decided not to go back. (Photo credit: Vivian Agaba)
By Vivian Agaba
On a first time meet, Luke Yakobo easily appears as any ordinary young boy - physically strong with such an adorable innocent smile curved on his lips the moment you say hello to him.
This immediate impression does well to conceal his physical deficiencies, well, until you start a conversation with him.
He cannot sustain a spoken line despite his spirit being much willing to. His words come off his tongue in a way difficult to understand on the receiving end point of view.
His predicament makes for perfect reference to the proverbial saying: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
The 12-year-old boy from Lira district in northern Uganda has been out of school for a year now - not by his liking, but due to circumstances he himself could not control. He was a victim of mistreatment from a person expected to nurture and encourage people of his age - his teacher.
Towards the end of last year, Yakobo suddenly refused to go to school and whenever his parents forced him to, he would stop on the way and then make a U-turn back home.
He tried to explain to his parents why he did not fancy going back to school, but in vain. His parents just could not understand clearly what he was trying to tell them.
Luckily around that time, Anne Akite, a support person from the same district working with the Uganda Parents of Persons with Intellectual Disability (UPPID), learnt of Yakobo’s situation and decided to pay a home visit.
When Yakobo tried to explain to the visiting Akite why he did not want to go back to school, she immediately understood him simply because she is trained to work with children of Yakobo’s kind. ‘Often teased and shouted at’
So she explained to the boy’s parents what he had always labored to make them understand.
“He told me about a female teacher in his class that always insulted and shouted at him in the presence of other children, shaming him, and the end result was him being laughed at by his classmates.”
Yakobo further told Akite that her teacher would beat him regularly for failing to answer questions in class or emerging the last in exams. To worsen his plight, fellow pupils frequently teased him “for being a stupid boy”.
This recurring experience made him feel so out-of-place that he finally decided to quit school.
All this while, his abusive female teacher did not know the boy had a problem - one he himself had no control over. He had a mental disorder referred at as intellectual disability.
Many people with this mental disorder learn things more slowly than the normal people would averagely.
One of the characteristics of this condition is below-average intelligence, something that explains why Yakobo always trailed in class, consequently making him the centre of classroom ridicule.
Also, intellectually disable people are said to experience speech delays - a problem that long stood in the way of Yaboko’s attempts to make his parents comprehend why he wanted out of school.
Impaired adaptive and social functioning is also cited as another characteristic of intellectual disability - also known as intellectual development disorder or mental retardation.
Although Yakobo has not gone back to school for months now, his parents have been supportive, according to Akite. In fact, they are planning on enrolling him into a special needs school next year.
Akite says the problem of discrimination of children suffering from intellectual disorder is on the rise in Lira, and urges organisations involved in supporting and defending the rights of such children to intensify efforts in sensitization of families and communities as a whole.
On the bright side though, there is plenty of hope to lean to.
Anne Gidudu, the coordinator of UPPID, says as a result of already existent efforts that have been extended to affected communities, people are learning to appreciate and love them.
As the negative attitude towards intellectually retarded children dips, there is growing boost in their self-esteem, says Gidudu.
Meanwhile, Yakobo was among a group of other children with his kind of medical condition that took part in a four-day national camp at Hotel Atlas in Mukono district organized by UPPID as celebration of the International Day of People with Disability (PWDs). This special day, marked every December 3, is endorsed by the United Nations and aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
The camp Yakobo took part in was wrapped up by several activities including entertainment (dance and drama by the children themselves), exhibition of various handcrafts these children make back at their respective centres located in different districts.
They were from Kumi, Lira, Kisoro, Ibanda, Masaka and Rakai districts, with each district being represented by eight children who also visited and cleaned Mukono market as part of UPPID’s corporate social responsibility.
According to a recent UNICEF study on children with disabilities(CwDs) living in Uganda - based on estimations - the child disability prevalence is about 13% and that is approximately 2.5 million children living with some form of disability in the country.
The statistical information available in Uganda indicates extremely low enrolment and completion of primary and secondary schools by such children.
In fact, only about 9% of CwDs of school-going age attend primary school, compared with a national average of 92%, and only 6% of them continue studying in secondary schools (national average: 25%).
God made me beauty queen despite my disability -Juliet Ofodile, Mr. Chef First Lady
BY OUR REPORTER ON DECEMBER 14, 2014 ENTERTAINMENT
BY TOSIN AKINOLA
A palpable silence descended on the hall prior to the announcement of the winner that Friday night. It was indeed a moment everyone had been waiting for. Who wins the maiden edition of Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show? Who among the bevy of ladies would be lucky enough to cart away a Hyundai Sports Utility Vehicle, N1.5 million cash, a LED television set, and a double-door refrigerator?
Before the grand finale that took place at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos on November 21, 2014, 37 women who were selected from auditions across the country and conducted by the show’s producers, X-Media Communications Ltd, had undergone six weeks of intensive grooming in homemaking, character building, personality management and development of their business acumen. The women also learnt the basics of entrepreneurship and social interaction and at the same time gained valuable insights from accomplished Nigerians who had shared personal and professional experiences with them.
That night, however, a drama played out as soon as Miss Juliet Onyinyechi Ofodile was pronounced winner of the competition. Stunned and overwhelmed, the first ever Mr. Chef First Lady simply shed tears of joy. To emerge victorious, the 24-year-old University of Lagos undergraduate had despite her disability defeated 18 other contestants at the show designed to discover the “total woman who best epitomized the essence of womanhood”. victorious, the 24-year-old University
A graduate of International Law from Babcock University, Miss Sophia Onyeka Okoroafor, 20, placed second, receiving a cash prize of N1 million, a LED television set, and a double-door refrigerator while 23-year-old University of Lagos Mass Communication undergraduate, Miss Ifeoluwa Ruth Obi, came third, winning N500,000, a LED television set and a double-door refrigerator. Each of the other 16 ladies who made it to the grand finale received N100,000 and a bedside refrigerator.
According to Mr. Piyush Nair, Managing Director, Bayswater Industries, makers of Mr. Chef beef and chicken seasoning cubes and sponsors of Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show, the contest was a corporate initiative to discover ready-to-face-the-world women who are not only beautiful but also brilliant, homely and economically strong to stand on their feet.
Describing her victory as a triumph of vision and will power, Juliet Ofodile said “I feel very happy to have been crowned Mr. Chef First Lady. I have very strong confidence in my ability as a woman who is determined to excel in whatever I set my mind upon. Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show has empowered me to believe more in myself and in everything that I do.”
Her elated mother, Mrs. Ify Ofodile, said “As her mother, I feel very happy that she won; I am very proud of her. Right from childhood, she has never believed that any girl was better than her in spite of her disability. Her life’s story confirms the saying that there is ability in every disability.”
In this exclusive interview with The Entertainer, the new queen opened up on her travails and triumphs as a physically challenged damsel. Excerpts:
Can we meet you and how do you feel today?
My name is Juliet Onyinyechi Ofodile. I am a student at the University of Lagos. I am 24-years-old. I am very excited today for being declared the winner of Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show. It’s really amazing, I never expected this today as a physically challenged girl. It’s the grace of God that brought me thus far; God has always been faithful to me.
How did you get to know about Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show?
Really, a friend of mine told me about it and I went to their website to register. Some days after, I got a letter that I’d been selected to participate in the Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show, and I was so happy about it.
How did your parents react when you told them about the show?
When I told my mum about it, she agreed with me because she always supported me in whatever I do. But she later said, ‘you and your beauty pageant, they always promise without fulfilling their promises’. I told her to calm down, that she should pray for me to be successful in this one. I was so sure God would crown my effort .
Do you have a boyfriend? If yes, how did he react to your victory?
Yes, I do, but he’s not here tonight because of one or two assignments he’s engaged in elsewhere. He has been so supportive. He gave me hope and has always encouraged me. He’s the guy that I love; he’s the guy of my dream.
How did you lose one of your hands, were you in an accident or what?
(Silence) Hmm, I give glory to Almighty God, the unquestionable God, God of the beginning and the end, the God that we can’t see but can feel His presence, the mighty God that can kill in a second and no one can challenge Him. The only one who gives everlasting joy. I told you that God has been faithful to me. I was born like this (without a left hand) and my mother and father could not do anything about it. I knew God created me for something great; I knew I was born to rule.
So, how do you feel being physically challenged and winning Mr. Chef First Lady competition?
I’m so excited for being the winner of Mr. Chef First Lady Reality Show. It’s a privilege for me to be the winner. I never expected this at all, but I believe God was at work. I am not prettier than other contestants, I am not more intelligent than they are, or even smarter than them, but I just believe God created me for a reason. I knew I was born for a purpose. I am short of words because I am so happy. I also want to thank Mr Chef for ensuring that the playing field was level for all contestants to exhibit their talents.
As a physically challenged person, do you encounter challenges from friends and colleagues?
Yes, a lot. Some of my friends left me because of my disability, and whenever they left I never bothered myself. I always believed they were not meant to be my friends. However, some of my friends stood by me, and I’m using this opportunity to thank them for their love and support.
But why did you choose to always contest in beauty pageants?
I love doing what people think a disabled person can never do. This is not my first time of contesting a beauty pageant. I’ve contested several beauty pageants, and at times, I ended up as the first runner-up or even the second runner-up, but the organisers have not been fulfilling their promises. Anyway, I’m passionate about what I am doing. Here I am today, God has favoured me despite my disability. Mr Chef, too, has fulfilled its promises to all contestants. The good thing is that all the contestants that made it to the grand finale were well rewarded unlike in some other contests where winners take all.
ECG threatens to disconnect Ashanti School for the Deaf
Sunday 14th December , 2014 6:00 am
Students at School for the Deaf
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is threatening to disconnect power from the Ashanti School for the Deaf for owing an accumulated electricity bill of GH? 80, 127.96.
The school authorities say they are financially handicapped and are therefore incapable of settling such a whopping amount.
The Headmaster of the school, Ofosu Boachie, who expressed worry over the disconnection threat said when it is carried out, the pupils will be unable to communicate or study at night.
The school’s only source of income is government feeding grants of GH? 2.20p per pupil per day, which has, in recent times, been increased to GH¢3.3 but is yet to be effected.
“It is the feeding grant we rely on. It does not come regularly, that is what we manage to do maintenance, buy fuel and fire wood etc. We can’t even pay our creditors…they are always on us and we have to lie to them all the time,” Mr Boachie said.
He said though the school has a standby generator donated to it by Sokpo, a non-governmental organization from the Netherlands, the authorities could not afford to pay the GH? 75 worth of fuel required to run it.
The cooks use fire wood, though the school has a Liquefied Petroleum Gas tank which has been empty for nearly a year due to lack of funds.
The 595 disability students are living in bed-bugs-infested dormitories for two years and the authorities say they are financially weak to fight the pest-ridden creatures, because the charge for the fumigation process is GH? 1,200.
“We face serious challenges with the frequent light off, and some of the children ease themselves indiscriminately around the dormitories and the bathrooms at night because they cannot communicate to their colleagues to accompany them for nature’s call,” a teacher said on condition of anonymity.
“The situation becomes more serious when a child is sick at night, because how will he or she going to communicate or who can see the sign of he or she to find out what is wrong?”
Nearly 45 pupils are crammed into one classroom designed for 15 pupils due to acute deficiency in classrooms.
Russian film on disabled tops Morocco festival
MARRAKECH - Film “Corrections Class,” dealing with a group of disabled teenagers in a Russian high school, has scooped the top prize at the Marrakech Film Festival in Morocco.
The jury headed by French actress Isabelle Huppert awarded the Golden Star to “Corrections Class” by debut director Ivan Tverdovsky from a field of 15 films from across the world.
Also honored at Saturday night’s awards ceremony were British actor Jeremy Irons, US star Viggo Mortensen and Adel Imam, a veteran of Egyptian cinema.
The 10-day festival featured 87 films and paid tribute to Japanese cinema by showcasing a retrospective of more than 20 movies at an event traditionally dominated by Arab, French and American films.
The Jury Prize award went to “Chrieg,” a feature film debut by Swiss director Simon Jaquemet. - AFP
Namibia: Visually Impaired Attend Indaba
By Matheus Hamutenya
Fifty-five delegates from across the country attended the Namibian Federation of the Visually Impaired (NFVI) annual meeting at Keetmanshoop.
The meeting, which brought together delegates from different associations and leagues, was aimed at revising the current activity plan, discussing next year's activities, and having a relook at the current financial situation of the federation.
In a speech read on his behalf by //Kharas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi, Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi urged stakeholders to work towards an inclusive society.
Kamwi said there must be a supportive social environment and a legal framework for persons with disabilities to live as equals among others citizens and participate in development.
He said he was aware of many barriers faced by people with disabilities such as ignorance, fear and stereotyping which forced their exclusion from employment and other activities in society.
Kamwi said it was for this reason that Government adopted the Namibian National Disability Council Act, Act 26 of 2004 to create a legal framework to achieve full participation and equality for people with disabilities.
Kamwi assured the delegates that his ministry would continue taking the plight of people with disabilities seriously and collaborate with other stakeholders involved in the promotion of inclusive technologies for creating a society for all.
He underlined collaboration as an important factor that would ensure an inclusive society is achieved.
"Efforts to create an inclusive society should not be the responsibility of the government alone, but also that of people with disabilities themselves, NGOs and the private sector," he said.
After delivery of the minister's speech, the delegates had an opportunity to interact with the governor. Some raised concerns about the poor conditions people with disabilities live in, their none-participation in national celebrations, land issues they faced and the lack of a centre for the visually impaired in //Kharas Region.
Swartbooi responded saying poverty was a common challenge and urged the delegates to not just come up with problems but also suggest ways to solve such challenges. "We want to address the problem with you, not for you," explained the regional governor.
He advised that they write down their concerns and forward them to the relevant authorities.
The main aims and objectives of NFVI are to provide services needed by its members including rehabilitation and promotion of well being of all the visually impaired and partially sighted persons.
NFVI also works towards promoting social integration in all fields of life and enhancing a positive attitude among the community towards visually impaired persons.
The 4-day meeting started on Thursday at the Keetmanshoop Multi-purpose Youth Centre and ended yesterday.
Association Urges Media, Govt To Enage Language Interpreters
DECEMBER 15, 2014 ADMIN 0 COMMENTS
ABUJA - The Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN) has urged broadcasting television stations and government to engage the service of language interpreters to ensure that hearing impaired persons in the country were informed.
The National President of the Association, Mr Timothy Tinat, made the call in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria had a large population of people with impaired hearing that needed to be carried along.
Tinat added that the interpreters’ association work as a bridge in communication between the deaf and the public, as well as act as advocate for the deaf.
He noted that although the media was doing a lot for people with disabilities, more still needed to be done to address the existing gap being suffered by persons affected by hearing loss.
He said “we have approximately six to seven million persons affected with hearing loss of different kind and the only way to get them informed is through visuals.
“It is only those that are educated that can read through text messages and the braille. Those that are not educated strongly rely on sign language interpretation.
“This is why we are calling on television stations to carry information through sign language interpreters, so that the deaf audience can be carried along.’’The ASLIN president also urged government to engage the service of sign language interpreters during national broadcasts and public gatherings.
Tinat, however, said this could only be achieved when the disability bill was signed and passed into law.
“The disability bill has a provision that sign language interpreters should be made available at all public gatherings,’’ he added.
He said members of the Association sometimes voluntarily go to public functions to communicate to people with hearing loss.
“By the time the bill becomes a law, you will find out that if there is presidential broadcast, there will be an interpreter.
Bedbugs invade Ashanti deaf school for years
Ashanti Deaf School
Ashanti School for the Deaf have been under bedbugs attack for two years forcing dozens of the 595 children with varied degrees of disabilities loitering at nights while others are reported sleeping in classrooms.
The parasites have invaded the children’s mattresses along the seams, bed sheets and blankets, cracks on wooden slabs, wall cracks or crevices and chop boxes.
But school authorities say they are financially handicapped to fight the pest-ridden creatures, because it could not afford the charge of GH?1,200.00 required for the fumigation process.
Mr Ofosu Boachie, Headmaster of the school who expressed worry about the situation said there was nothing the school could do giving that the school’s only source of income is government feeding grants of GH?2.20 per pupil per day, which has, in recent times, been raised to GH?3.30, but has not been effected.
“It is the feeding grant we rely on. It does not come regularly, that is what we manage to do maintenance, buy fuel and fire wood and so on. We can’t even pay our creditors…they are always on us and we have to lie to them all the time,” he said.
“We also face serious challenges with the frequent light off, and some of the children ease themselves indiscriminately around the dormitories and the bathrooms at night because they cannot communicate to their colleagues to accompany them for nature’s call,” a teacher said on condition of anonymity.
“The situation becomes more serious when a child is sick at night, because how will he or she going to communicate or who can see the sign of he or she to find out what is wrong?” the teacher added.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), however, is threatening to disconnect power from the School for owing the company accumulated electricity bill of GH?80, 127.96.
A visit to the school by the GNA showed that dozens of the children sleep on uncovered mattresses placed on the bare ground with multiple cracks on the floor and walls.
A room designed for 10 three-in-one beds, contains about 20 beds, with many without slabs fixed on the beds compelling the children to squeeze themselves into the limited space.
Nearly 45 pupils are crammed into one classroom designed for 15 pupils due to acute deficiency in classrooms.
The classrooms are not carpeted, and the walls are equally not acoustically treated to repel noise as required in any normal school of the deaf and so interfere with teaching and learning.
“Their living conditions are horrible and pitiable, the dormitories and the classrooms are overcrowded. We have to put chop boxes in the classrooms,” another teacher told the GNA under strict sense of anonymity.
Meanwhile, health experts say frequent feeding of bedbugs on humans can disrupt people's sleep and make them irritable, and seeing bites might also cause emotional distress in some people.
Heavy rates of feeding can result in significant blood loss and eventually lead to anaemia, especially in malnourished children, health experts added.
Tanzania: When Varsity Architecture 'Forgets' People With Disability
By Issa Yussuf
Zanzibar - ON Saturday December 13, 2014 I was lucky to be among the journalists who were invited by the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) for a press conference held at its main campus, Tunguu Village, about 35 Kilometres, South of the Stone Town.
With the traffic jam and path-holes in the road, which forced us to drive a snail's pace in many areas of the road, it took us about 35 minutes to reach the University still with construction work going on. Almost all its buildings are new, at the university shifted to the place last year from the State Town where it started operating in 2001.
The new SUZA main campus was planned for permanent trade fair ground, but the plan failed to materialise, and the Government of National Unity (GNU) opted to make the changes.
We started to climb upstairs to the conference room, third floor; but as we made our way one of our colleagues asked jokingly, whether there was lift because it was difficult for him to climb up!
One of the university staff, who was behind us, answered: " We do not have a lift here," he retorted. Our colleague asked further: "These steps are difficult to climb, what happens to visitors and students with disability? Is there any building on the campus which is friendly to disabled?"
There was no answer this time While negotiating the stairs, activist argued that in a disabled state, it is so difficult for one to go to lecture rooms, and also difficult for disabled people to go around the University premises or office buildings that haven't been constructed keeping the disabled in mind.
Since our colleague is an activist for the right of people with disability, she decided to raise the same question about the University environment and disability to the Vice chancellor of SUZA Prof Idris Rai, during the press conference.
Prof Idris Rai explained many success stories of the university since it was established including increasing skilled labour (lecturers), and students, but when asked whether the university environment is disabled friendly. "Unfortunately our University environment is not friendly to the people with disability because the 'University' was not involved in designing and construction of buildings," Prof Rai replied.
The situation was bad around the University due to the architecture of the Learning Centre, high upstairs, no ramps or lifts to enable people with disability. In more than a decade of SUZA 'existence,' it has just recently enrolled at least six students with disability (with visual and hearing impairment), and that some students are reluctant to report their disability status.
"But we have been carrying out an exercise to identify students with disability in the University, so that we can improve the environment mainly learning facility including hearing Aid and brails in place," said Prof Rai.
Buildings at SUZA and other higher learning institutions on the islands have not been constructed keeping in mind the special requirements like the - uneven patterned floor for the visually challenged, and ramps for physically challenged.
Mr Adil Mohamed (a visually impaired), Secretary- Zanzibar National Association of the Blind (ZANAB) comments that although there are laws to protect people with disability, and the Tanzania/Zanzibar have accepted the convention on People with disability, still there is no visible and practical commitment in promoting the rights of people with disability.
He said that there is a need to sensitise people at all levels about the sheer practical requirement of having disabled friendly infrastructure and that people with disability require access to various places. Access for people with disabilities means access to buildings, public spaces, and any other place a person might need to go for work, play, education, business, and services.
Activists and people with disability have been calling upon responsible bodies including the government to make sure that all people have equal opportunity in all sectors, mainly education. The right to education is reflected in international law in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The right to education has been reaffirmed in the 1960 UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Everyone has a right to an education appropriate to his/ her talents and needs, as laws in many other countries, guarantee education to students with disabilities. But in many countries like Zanzibar the environment for disabled people still remains practically unfavourable.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights treaty of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law.
The Convention has served as the major catalyst in the global movement from viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing them as full and equal members of society, with human rights.
It is also the only UN human rights instrument with an explicit sustainable development dimension. The Convention was the first human rights treaty of the third millennium.
The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Backed by the constitution, 'Zanzibar the Rights and Privileges Act No.9 of 2006,' and policies: 'Zanzibar National Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2010 - 2015 (MKUZA II),' and 'Zanzibar Disability Development Policy', and the Zanzibar Disability Development Fund, not much has been done for the people with disability, as the environment for education is still unfriendly.
Since many countries like Zanzibar have either passed specific laws concerning the rights of people with disabilities, or have enshrined those rights in their constitutions, they must enforce the laws. Ms Ruwaida Khamis (blind), a graduate in law said it is a matter of fairness and respect, "Everybody has a right to live as normal life as possible, and people with disabilities have the same rights as others, including the right to fully participate in community life."
She said that access for people with disabilities improves access for everyone and that making public spaces and facilities physically accessible for people with disabilities also makes them more accessible for people who may not have disabilities. Making ramps a built-in feature of the environment is good for everyone.
Mr Abdalla Saleh, deaf man has advised that when new public facilities are being designed and/or built as a public facility (e.g. sports stadiums, schools, and other public facilities) must be accessible to different groups of people or to accommodate people with different abilities, but good design can make accessibility total and essentially invisible.
It's important that designers, builders, policy makers, government officials, private sector, and people with disabilities themselves think about how best to provide access. University of Kansas (United States), through its 'Community Tool Box' says where there are laws, they must be enforced in order to have any effect and that ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities means more than building ramps.
The University encourages pressure groups to work with legislators to pass laws that guarantee equality of access and opportunity to people with disabilities.
Spaces that need to be physically accessible include buildings, restaurants, retail stores, hotels, conference centres, medical and other offices, theatres, sports stadiums, educational facilities, historic sites, courts rooms, police stations, and other tourist attractions.
Access here includes not only access to the buildings, but also to the specific rooms or halls where events take place or where the public must go to conduct business or receive services.
3 Airlines sued for disregarding Disability Law
The Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) has filed a motion on notice, praying the Human Rights Division of the High Court to restrain three local airlines from discriminating against persons with disabilities by way of refusing to sell flight tickets to them.
It is also seeking an interlocutory injunction against the respondents not to deny such persons who desire to travel on their aircraft services, pending the determination of a substantive suit.
The respondents are Antrak Air, Africa World Travel and Starbow Air. Joined to the action is the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, who the applicant wish the court would restrain from overlooking, and or refusing to ensure that the other respondents comply with Section 28 (1) of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).
Section 28 (1) of Act 715 states that: “The Civil Aviation Authority and any other authority responsible for the management of a port shall provide facilities that will aid the movement of a person with disability at the port”.
An affidavit in support of the motion and deposed by Mr Elvis Kosi Alikpui, a member of the society, said the applicant had caused a writ of summons to be issued against the respondents jointly and severally, which had been duly served on them.
According to the affidavit, the applicant had reliably been informed from a more reliable source that the three respondent airlines, after being served with the writ of summons and statement of claim and having been aggrieved and embarrassed by the action, had decided to take some steps to also embarrass and deny their services to members of the applicant.
It said the applicant had been informed that the three airlines had vowed not to make their services accessible to any of the applicant’s members and or persons with disability as a whole.
The affidavit expressed the belief that if the three airlines were allowed to continue with their discriminatory acts, it would not be only members of the applicant organisation that would suffer, but also other innocent persons with a disability.
The plaintiff is being represented by Dr Kwaku Nsiah, an Accra-based lawyer.
When contacted, an official of Antrak Airline said, “We handle passengers with reduced mobility, although there are categories that we are unable to accept for carriage since we do not have the equipment to handle such, and may add more complications to passengers if compromised.”
The official said it could handle passengers requiring wheelchairs for ramp and for distance to and from the aircraft.
What we cannot do
The airline official, however, said, “We are unable to process the following: “Wheelchair for Stairs ( WCHS). Passenger is unable to ascend/descend steps, but is able to make own way to/from cabin seat, requires wheel chair for distance to/from aircraft and must be carried up and down the stairs.
“Wheelchair for Cabin Seat (WCHC). Passenger is completely immobile; requires wheelchair to/from aircraft and must be carried up/down steps and to/from the cabin seat,” the statement said.
“The codes above are International Air Transport Association (IATA) Standard of categorisation of Wheelchair passenger(s) and wheelchair for Ramp (WCHR) is the category of Wheelchair passenger(s) Antrak Air carries. The passenger in question is a Wheelchair for Cabin Seat (WCHC) and Antrak Air cannot carry,” it said.
Need for advanced notice
On the part of Africa World Travel, the Operation Officer of the company, Mr Apigy Afednu, insisted that his company was on record for airlifting persons with disabilities and could not explain why it was jointly sued.
He, however, explained that for people in that category, there was the need for forehand knowledge to enable the airline to put in place the needed facilities. Mr Afednu emphasised that safety was paramount in the airline industry, stressing that “Normally, when you call to buy an air ticket, we ask you a lot of leading questions, for instance if you have a special need.
“If you do not declare in advance that you are disabled and all of a sudden you appear, and you are wheelchair bound, we cannot do much,” he said.
Mr Afednu said the association should have sought for an amicable solution instead of resorting to the law court.