FODSWA praises His Majesty
THE Federation of Organisations of the Disabled People in Swaziland (FODSWA) has expressed gratitude towards His Majesty King Mswati III and government for providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live better lives.
Buyi Masuku of FODSWA said they were grateful to the King for an encouraging and challenging speech when addressing people with disabilities during the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards presentation ceremony at Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre last week.
“On behalf of people with disabilities, I would like to thank His Majesty for the encouraging words he shared with us. It is now up to us to take the King’s word and do as he would like us to do,” said Masuku.
Addressing them, His Majesty said much as they were handicapped, God had given them talents which they had to utilise in order to live better lives.
Masuku also thanked the ministry of enterprise and employment for always including people with disabilities in its activities.
“People with disabilities are under the ministry of health and social welfare, but despite that, the enterprise ministry is taking a leading role in providing opportunities for us,” she said.
Furthermore, Masuku urged people with disabilities to participate fully in all activities, especially those that provide them with opportunities to progress in life.
“It is also important for our members to be active in the various associations they affiliate to, for if they don’t, they will miss out on a lot of opportunities, which they would not otherwise have elsewhere other than in such forums,” she added.
“It is high time for people with disabilities to rise and do something about their lives. There is a lot we can do, as long as we are given opportunities. And now that these are becoming more and more available, people with disabilities should take them and not look back,” she further advised.
Eight entrepreneurs with physical disabilities joined the awards, two from each of the country’s four regions. The category for people with disabilities was won by Edward Ndzabandzaba, who is a shoe repairer based at the Mbabane Market. Ndzabandzaba won E10 000 in addition to the regional prize of E4 000.
Winners from the regions won E4 000 each and they are:
Hhohho Edward Ndzabandzaba
Manzini Patrick Dlamini
Shiselweni Nomvula Mkhabela
Lubombo Lindiwe Myeni.
Gambia: Strengthening the Disabled
FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)
1 November 2007
Posted to the web 1 November 2007
An interview with the Operational Manager of the Secretariat of the African Decades of People with Disability (SADPD) about the decade's plan, the ongoing work and the ultimate objective. Please follow the interview for details.
Can you kindly introduce yourself to the readership of the FOROYAA Disability Column?
Thanks, my name is Arne Nylund; I am the operational manager of SADPD
Where is your office located?
Our headquarters is located in South Africa. We also have a regional office in Dakar Senegal, which is responsible for West, Central and North Africa. During 2008 we hope to establish another regional office in Addis Ababa to better coordinate with AU and other important entities.
When was the African Decade of Persons with Disability proclaimed?
The African Decade of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the African Union for the period of 1999-2009.
What is the main objective of the African Decade Secretariat?
The main goals of the African Decade are to raise awareness about the situation of the estimated 60-80 million persons with disabilities in Africa, and to identify solution tailored to the African experience. We want to enhance participation, equality and empowerment of Africans with disabilities. The overall aims and priorities of the Decade were stipulated in a plan of action by the Pan-African Conference on the African Decade of Person with disabilities, which was held in Ethiopia in 2002. This plan of Action is ultimately what the Secretariat of the African Decade works to have implemented.
How did the Secretariat of African Decade come into being?
In May 2003 the African Regional Consultative Conference agreed to establish a secretariat to facilitate the implementation of the Decade. The Secretariat with disabled and non-disabled staff mainly from African countries was established in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004. Since then, rapid progress has been made
What is the role of the mission of the Secretariat of African Decade?
The mission of the Secretariat of the African Decade is to empower Governments, Decade Steering Committees (DSCs) Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) and development organizations to work in partnership to include disability and persons with disabilities into policies and preogrammes in all sectors of society in Africa. This will be done through, amongst other things, capacity building, advocacy and lobbying, coordination, monitoring and reporting.
What are your programmes within the framework of the African Decade Secretariat?
The strengthening of the Decade Steering Committee is the main priority of the Secretariat. We build capacity in DSCs in the areas of inclusive development, programme design and management, advocacy and lobbying, resource mobilization, leadership, as well as in monitoring and evaluation of programmes. However, in the absence of strong advocates for the rights and development of disabled Africans, the secretariat must also play a strong advocacy and awareness making role and sees itself as a lobby group for rights and development and against the overwhelming poverty of Disabled Africans.
Another important focus for the secretariat is to assist the most vulnerable disability groups, such as persons with mental disability, persons who are deaf-blind and those with albinism, to build strong continental DPOs. They need assistance to set up an organisational framework and to build capacity. This is a long term commitment. Continental Disabled Persons' Organizations, when they are well organized and skilled, play an important role in the advancement of human rights of persons with disabilities.
Our main thematic programs are disability and HIV&AIDS, PRSPs, gender, research and policy formulation, awareness-making, ICT for DPOs and DSCs and children and youth with disabilities.
One of the functions of the Secretariat is to coordinate efforts and resources that are put in to disability programmes in Africa. By working with other development organizations, such as Handicap International, WHO, UNICEF, ILO, UNESCO, UNDESA, VSO and CBM, the secretariat will use its resources in an effective and efficient manner, limit unnecessary duplication and enhance the spread of best practices.
Nigeria: Minister Advocates Equal Opportunities for Disabled
Daily Trust (Abuja)
2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007
The FCT minister of state, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe Wednesday called on employers of labour to give disabled persons equal opportunities as their able counterparts.
He made the statement during a sensitization seminar on employment opportunities for the disabled that was organised by the FCT Social Development Secretariat.
The minister called on the three tiers of government to create job opportunities for them, adding that with such opportunity disabled persons would be able to contribute to the development of the country.
Earlier in his address, the FCT Social Development Secretary, Mr Segun Awolowo, said the seminar was organized to raise awareness so that the public can understand the plight of disabled people in society.
"There is no gain in saying the fact that due to the special needs of the physically challenged, aids and appliances required for their day-to-day existence as well as access to both medical care and education continue to pose the greatest challenge to the families of persons with disability. As such the provision for their needs costs much more than that of an able person," he said.
He added that if the government is to succeed in its decision to make life easier for the disabled, it must be able to provide wheel chair mobility to public transportation and office buildings too. This he said will enhance their integration into the larger society, and reduce the vices often associated with the disability such as street begging, crime and dependency.
South Africa: Govt to Employ More Disabled Public Servants
2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007
A special report that examined the amount people with disabilities working in the public service, has found that while numbers of disabled public servants are growing, the pace remains slow.
This means, said the Minister of Public Service Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, that the target government had set for itself of having 2 percent of South Africa's public servants drawn from the ranks of the disabled by 31 March 2010, will not likely be met.
Ms Fraser-Moleketi was briefing the media on Friday on the programme of action of government's Governance and Administration cluster, along with Minister of Home Affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The minister covered a wide range of issues, from progress towards a single public service - for which consultations with unions, municipalities and other stakeholders are currently underway - to the Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy, launched last year.
On the question of government employing South Africans with disabilities, Ms Fraser-Moleketi said that a special report on issues of gender and people with disabilities in the public service had been prepared following a Cabinet request on levels of compliance with gender and disability targets within the public service.
The report, said the minister, found that the number of people with disabilities employed within the Public Service grew at 0.11 percent in March 2002, 0.16 percent in December 2005 and 0.2 percent in June this year.
Overall, between 2002 and 2007, the number of people with disabilities employed by the public service grew at an average rate of 0.09 percent.
This means, she said, that the 31 March 2010, target of having two percent of South Africa's public servants - which currently number over a million people - would not be met at the current rate.
Of South Africa's 1 172 416 public servants, there are only 736 women with disabilities employed at all levels, compared with 1 207 men in the service who have a disability.
Yet the issue of disability remains more complex than it appears, she said in response to a question on the matter.
She pointed out that a number of people working in or for the public service who have some form of disability remain reluctant to admit that they suffer from any disability at all.
And this was often also the case with certain government employees who may suffer from some form of "psychological" disability, Ms Fraser-Moleketi added.
While the minister did not expand on this, even a cursory analysis of symptoms displayed by the survivors of various forms of torture and repression during apartheid, for instance, would reveal the prevalence of some nature of disability, as was noted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
But the minister did add that a recent study conducted by the Public Service Commission on Gender Mainstreaming in 2007 highlighted that employment of people with disabilities in senior positions in the public service "is not being addressed appropriately by departments".
The figure for men with disabilities stands at 0.1 percent of the total; for females, it is 0.06 percent.
To address this, Cabinet has adopted the JobACCESS strategy to fast-track achievement of employment equity targets in respect of disability.
The JobACCESS strategy aims to urgently develop and skill people with disabilities for work in the public service.
Among other tactics, the JobACCESS strategy encourages departments to appoint dedicated Disability Focal Persons to advance mainstreaming of disability issues in the workplace, as well as advocating partnerships with disabled people's organisations and institutions of higher learning.
Also, a handbook - Called the Handbook on Reasonable Accommodation for People with Disabilities in the Public Service - has been prepared to assist government agencies to enhance accessibility to buildings to disabled people, as well as accommodation in terms of workspace, ergonomics and other assistance.
Meanwhile, the gender balance in the public service has progressed dramatically. Females now constitute 54.83 percent of public service employees, across all levels.
Of these, black women (namely, African, Asian and Coloured) comprise 87.81 percent, while white women comprise 12.19 percent.
However, the special report on gender and disability found that for every one woman at senior management service level in the public service, there are two men in management.
Gender-mainstreaming is continuing to be fast-tracked, with a target of 50 percent of women at senior level set for 2009.
"Vem Comigo" Project Assists Over 1,000 Handicapped Soldiers
Luanda, 11/03 - The third phase of the "Vem comigo" project, underway countrywide since last September, foresees to resettle, in a year period, some 1,200 disabled former soldiers, the co-ordinator of the project told ANGOP in Luanda.
According to Silva Lopes Etiambulo, the plan, estimated at one million dollars, is being carried out in the provinces of Luanda, Kuando Kubango, Lunda Norte, Moxico, Huambo, Kwanza Sul, Uige and Cabinda.
The initiative also includes a socio-professional training course in blacksmithing, computing, sewing and stone working, as well as assisting the beneficiaries to set up small-firms (farming and cattle-raising co-operatives).
The first phase, held from 2002 to June 2005, enabled the resettlement of 2,482 disabled people in the provinces of Luanda, Kwanza Sul, Bie, Huambo, Huila, Cunene, Benguela, Lunda Sul and Moxico, and cost USD 500,000.
Whereas the second phase, implemented between June 2005 and June 2007, worth USD 1.7 million was carried out in the country`s central and southern regions.
"Vem comingo" project is funded by the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security and implemented by the Angola`s National Association of the Disabled (ANDA). Founded in February 1992, ANDA has 47,852 members (disabled, officers and ex-soldiers) countrywide, and is assisted by the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security as well as by the Lwini Fund.
Cheap, effective relief for hard of hearing
David Jackson Published:Nov 04, 2007
Pushing back the frontiers of hearing- assistance technology has enabled entrepreneurial company GeoAxon to win the FNB Enablis award in the sector Information and Communication Technology - Business Idea.
The company aims to make hearing- assistance technology more affordable and effective by re-engineering the audiology industry, using technologies such as automated audiometry testing devices, telemedicine and the Internet.
According to GeoAxon’s Dirk Koekemoer, patients with hearing difficulties are now tested by audiologists, of whom there are about 400 in the country.
But through technological advances these specialised examinations could in future be undertaken by doctors - there are about 9000 registered doctors in the country - so enabling screening to take place where it is needed.
“Doctors will be able to make immediate decisions and to provide a better service to patients,” Koekemoer added.
He has been trying to obtain funding for his new concepts over the past seven years, of which the audiology technology was but one aspect.
“Enablis for the first time made it necessary for me to write my business plan, and to actually do a presentation, which was probably the most important element.
“We are a company that will facilitate remote [doctors’] visits through the technology we are developing.”
Koekemoer said the company’s first device was due to go to market in January next year, when it starts selling to audiologists and general practitioners in the public and private healthcare sector.
The plan is to focus on the SA market for the first nine months, and then move into the international market with a specific product. - David Jackson
Oyo govt increases feeding allowance for handicapped pupils
By Akin Durodola - 05.11.2007
The Oyo State government said that it had increased daily feeding allowance of each pupil in schools for the handicapped from N40 to N100.
The Commissioner for Education, Professor Nureni Olawore, disclosed this at a news briefing in Ibadan on Friday.
He said the government was spending N1.8 million as monthly salaries to handicapped workers for effective curriculum delivery.
According to him, the government had acquired a Perkins Braille Machine for the Aperin-Oniyere Commercial School For the Blind at a cost of N150,000,while N120,000 worth of Braille textbooks were also bought for all the schools for visually impaired students.
The state government, Professor Olawore said, was proposing the establishment of 20 additional schools for nomads and migrant farmers, adding that “efforts are being made to improve on the status of the existing 73 nomads and migrant schools.
On the ongoing recruitment exercise, the commissioner said that qualified applicants would soon be employed to fill the 12,142 teaching vacancies to beef up the existing 18,429 staff in the state public secondary schools.
Angola: 'Lwini' Fund Launches Collection of Works On Landmines Victims
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
6 November 2007
Posted to the web 6 November 2007
The "Lwini" Social Solidarity Fund launches on Wednesday here a collection of texts relating to the problem of victims of landmines in the country, aimed at calling the attention of the society to change their attitude concerning the situation of the disabled.
ANGOP learnt from a press release of that institution that this work results from the collection, during various months, of documents or legislation on the problem of physically disabled people.
The commission working on the elaboration of the collection was made up of experts, members and collaborators of the Lwini Fund, a philanthropic institution led by the Angolan First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos.
Victims of landmines in Angola are a direct consequence of the war lived in the country for 30 years, but there is no statistics on the exact number of victims.
Zimbabwe: 'Review Allowances for Disabled People'
The Herald (Harare)
7 November 2007
Posted to the web 7 November 2007
Government should review allowances for disabled people to cushion them against the rising cost of living, a Senator said yesterday.
Contributing to debate in the Senate on the mainstreaming of disability in Government ministries and departments, Chief Fortune Charumbira said the amounts being paid to these people were insignificant in the prevailing hyperinflationary environment.
"People living with disabilities are being paid a monthly allowance of $2 500 and they cannot do anything meaningful with that kind of money. "What can one do with that amount of money when they need at least $300 000 to board a bus to go and cash the cheque?" He said some chiefs were now carrying the burden of assisting disabled people due to failure by Government to pay meaningful allowances. Chief Charumbira urged communities as well as relatives of people with disabilities to assist in their upkeep so that they do not end up begging and living on the streets. "Government should also consider making life easier for people looking after the disabled by for example exempting them from paying income taxes," he said.
He said support to these people should be boosted as disability was not by choice. "Some are born like that while others, for example, became disabled during the war of liberation," he said.
The motion on mainstreaming disability was moved by non-constituency Senator Cde Joshua Malinga who said that there was widespread tendency by society to treat disabled and other disadvantaged people as objects of charity. -
South Africa: North West Prioritises Work for the Disabled
7 November 2007
Posted to the web 7 November 2007
The North West provincial government has embarked on Disability Focus Month, under the theme "Renewing our Pledge: Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities."
The period from 3 November to 3 December will profile the work being done in improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities. The last two weeks of the Focus Month will coincide with the launch of the International 16 Days of Activism of no Violence against Women and Children.
This is a period which will provide an opportunity for all to evaluate the extent to which government has moved in integrating and mainstreaming disability across government programmes. Furthermore, efforts by government will be intensified to educate the public and make them aware of what government is doing and has achieved in providing a better life for all, including persons with disabilities.
In moving forward, for this Disability Focus Month, the North West Provincial Government has resolved on, among others:
Further focus will also be placed on self-employment for persons with disabilities; transformation of protective and sheltered workshops for persons with disabilities and improving government's performance against disability employment equity targets
A number of activities will be held throughout the province which will all culminate in a big celebration on 3 December 2007 in Itsoseng, led by Premier Edna Molewa, which is the International Day for Disabled Persons.
Reaching out to Musoma's disabled
By Lizzie Cameron
MUSOMA, Tanzania (CNN) -- Lizzie Cameron is in Musoma, Tanzania working with the Musoma Engineering Project.
The Musoma Engineering Project is the only charity of its kind in the region and aims to provide teaching and support for local disabled children and teenagers.
With the project Lizzie will be helping the teachers teach skills like woodworking, leatherwork and dressmaking. Follow her experiences in her blogs and video diaries.
November 7, 2007
The ME (Musoma Engineering) Project has a community outreach training and rehabilitation program, which is a really important aspect of the organization, as the highest percentage of those with disabilities live in the rural areas of Mara (region) and cannot travel or afford to lodge in Musoma.
The program varies depending on the child's needs and ability; some are partnered with a local workshop and take up an apprenticeship. Others, who are less able - because they are restricted by immobility or lack the confidence (such as Peter) - are trained at home and given a start-up kit.
But it is not enough just to visit the child once at home, teach them a skill, provide them with some tools and leave them to it. A thorough follow-up of their progress is really vital to make sure that they are developing and really benefiting from the program.
Dennis has been really keen for me to go with him to the homes of these students, not only to see how they are progressing but for me to witness firsthand how they live and to really appreciate the hardships that they have to deal with on a daily basis.
Yesterday we went to visit a girl named Kadogo. Kadogo was born a twin and both were mentally and physically disabled. Unfortunately, due to malaria, her twin passed away last year.
Dennis was telling me that her twin was buried far away from her family home, as it is a custom of the Luo community that if a woman dies before she is married, she should not be buried within the home ground as that would bring about a curse to the family. To prevent such a curse, it is the culture of this community to hire a man to marry the deceased woman before she is buried so that he can bury her as his wife.
When Dennis previously visited Kadogo he was disturbed by her living conditions. She slept in a separate house from the rest of the family. Kadogo is totally immobile and no one was close by if she needed any assistance. The room had just a mat as her bedding and nothing else. There was no toilet or bathroom. The house had no door, the entrance just covered with a mat. The house used to keep the goats had a stronger door fixed to it and was closer to the family home.
Obviously it is disturbing that someone should have to live in such conditions, but I don't think her parents realized that they were doing anything wrong. It is just their custom and local tradition. People in this community would rather obey the local customs even it means depriving someone of their basic human rights.
After Dennis visited the home several times, and made complaints to the parents about the way she was being mistreated, they agreed to collaborate and discuss ways to improve her situation. She was given a wheelchair to enable her to be mobile and taught her how to produce simple hats by knitting reed leafs. These hats are popular and sell well in the local market.
On visiting Kadogo this time round, Dennis was really pleased with the change in Kadogo's health and general well being. Her living conditions had improved and she was now socializing with the family.
Nigeria: PTA Advises Govt on Disabled Children
7 November 2007
Posted to the web 7 November 2007
National chairman of the Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, Danjuma Haruna, has called on Gombe State government to look into the fate of children with disabilities with a view to giving them sound education.
He also hoped the government would pay special attention to children of disabled parents.
Alhaji Danjuma who made the appeal in Gombe State when he paid a courtesy visit on the state governor, Alhaji Mohammed Danjuma Goje, said the association was aimed at complementing government efforts in the provision of qualitative education nationwide.
Responding, Governor Danjuma Goje stated that anything that had to do with education should be given special consideration due to its role in the socio-economic and political advancement of nations, saying this underlined the attention his leadership accorded education since assuming office in 2003.
To this end, he assured that the disabled children would be taken care of because they were equally very important to the society since they could also contribute their quota to the advancement of the society if given the chance.
He acknowledged the contributions of the PTA to the development of education, pledging to continue to parley with them to uplift the quality of education in the state.
He however, emphasised on the need for parents and school authorities to closely monitor the activities of their children so as to curtail truancy, cultism and examination malpractices
Zizou kinder and gentler
Vastly different from the last time the world saw him, a mellower Zidane came to Cairo on a humanitarian mission, writes Reem Leila
Though he was sent off 14 times during his football life, which would include his notorious headbutt in last year's World Cup final in which his legendary career came to an inglorious end, French superstar Zeinedine Zidane does have a softer side, and it showed in abundance during his three-day stay in Cairo last week.
The football icon was in Cairo starting 31 October to launch a home for handicapped street children as part of a worldwide programme aimed at helping the most disadvantaged youngsters.
The former Real Madrid ace held a press conference conducted by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) last Thursday and participated in a mini- championship match with Egyptian children the following day, in which the midfield maestro showed off some of his skills. Zidane related to the children his life journey in football and about the life of professional players.
During Zidane's visit, the NCCM signed a protocol with a French dairy product company, for which Zidane is world ambassador, to grant Egypt LE1 million within the framework of a renewable two-year agreement to provide more than 80 handicapped and homeless children with shelter, healthcare and education.
"It gives me immense pleasure to inaugurate a home for the handicapped street children of Egypt," Zidane said. Should the project prove successful, more such homes can be built to house as many disabled street children as possible.
At the press conference, Zidane refrained from taking any football-relevant questions. The press corps had been ready to fire at him several questions about his attack on the Italian Marco Materazzi which earned Zidane a red card in the 2006 World Cup final. Zidane later said, and Materazzi admitted, that the Italian had said something derogatory about Zidane's sister. France ultimately lost the World Cup to Italy on penalties.
Both Zidane and Materazzi were suspended and fined for their infractions by FIFA. Despite the incident, Zidane was controversially voted the best player of the World Cup.
The care home, set up in the Dar Al-Salam district, will provide children with physical, psychological and educational support, with an end objective to re-unite them with their families. Face for Children in Need, a charity NGO, in cooperation with the NCCM, will equip the premises with furnishings and equipment necessary for housing children. The NGO will also operate and manage the shelter as well as hire and train the staff.
"The shelter specifically targets handicapped street children because they are more vulnerable than healthy children since it is more expensive for a family to look after handicapped children than those who are able-bodied," Mushira Khattab, secretary-general of the NCCM, explained. Part of the funding of the protocol will go to research studies to implement microfinance schemes for poor families. "Fighting poverty is not done by providing people with only food and shelter. It is much better to help them work in order to earn money to be able to support their families," Khattab said.
It is hard to tell how many children are living on the streets of Egypt, but one thing is clear; the numbers are huge and certainly growing. With the difficulty of quantifying the phenomenon, studies estimate that there are anywhere between 200,000 and two million homeless children in the country, most of them in Cairo and Alexandria governorates. The children lead an unhealthy and often dangerous life that leaves them deprived of their basic needs for protection, guidance, and supervision and exposes them to various forms of exploitation and abuse. "Undoubtedly I will be gratified when all the children of the world enjoy care, safety and protection," Zidane told journalists.
The NCCM began developing the National Plan of Action for Street Children involving all concerned partners. During the press conference, Khattab said that the focus will be on children already living in harsh conditions, ensuring that they receive access to the basic services they are deprived of. The rehabilitation and reintegration of street children back into society will be the focus, along with changes to the 1996 child law that will describe street children as victims and at risk rather than as deviants and criminals, as is currently the case.
Zidane, who says he is proud of his Algerian origin, has travelled extensively since he hung up his soccer shoes to help in solving the social problems affecting children around the world. He recently participated in laying the foundation stone of schools for children in Indonesia and inaugurated a microfinance project to provide families with job opportunities in Bangladesh. "Here we are today with you to contribute to dealing with an issue, which I am totally aware is considered a high priority to the Egyptian society, namely street children," Zidane said. "I am calling upon the private sector and all concerned authorities to exert more effort to realise the welfare of children, solve their problems, and significantly participate in providing them with the proper means which can help them in leading a decent life."
Zidane also announced Egypt's participation for the first time in the Danone Nations Cup for children aged between 10 and 12. The competition brings 600 children from 40 countries across the world. The competition is to be launched in France next year in July under the supervision of FIFA and the French Football Federation. Zidane, along with two of his three sons, played a friendly match in Wadi Degla in Maadi with Egyptian children who had the time of their lives playing with one of the sport's all-time greats. Needless to say, the match ended 9-3 in favour of Zidane's team.
Zidane led France to the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships. A central figure for Juventus and more so for Real Madrid, Zidane was selected world Footballer of the Year three times.
He retired from club and international football after the 2006 World Cup.
Zidane visited Egypt once before, in 2001, when he played against Cairo club Ahli which beat Real Madrid 1-0 in a friendly. Zidane had just signed for Real from Juventus for what was then a record transfer fee of almost $90 million.
Disability Festival promotes creativity
The Disability Festival - designed to allow those with disabilities an outlet for growth and self-fulfilment and opportunities for self-determination - takes place in Newtown this month and is presented by the City of Johannesburg’s Community Development Department.
The festival will be opened on Friday, November 23, by City of Johannesburg’s Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage Directorate Mr Steven Sack. MC is Mac Manaka who will also be reading one of his poems. Mac himself is disabled as a result of an accident but the art he creates is an inspiration to audiences.
The festival aims to promote creativity, independence, dignity and community integration. Highlights include a drumming session and gumboot dancing by the Harvey Cohen School; ballroom dancing from the Adelaide Tambo School; Indian dance from the Johannesburg Council for the Disabled (JOCOD) in Lenasia and a choral performance by the Hamlet Foundation.
There will also be performances by the Agulhas Theatre Works. The founder of the company is Gladys Agulhas, an award-winning dancer and choreographer. One of her interests is choreographing works for physically challenged dancers and she has presented a number of papers on the topic and is recognised internationally in this field.
There are loads of activities taking place at Mary Fitzgerald Square on Saturday, November 24 with schoolchildren being bussed in from around Gauteng. Activities include wheelchair basketball matches, storytelling and dance competitions. There are also dance performances by the ATW which features talented dancer Dilano Maritz whose achievements in dance are even more impressive considering that he is deaf and has never heard the music that he rehearses and performs to.
They will also be working with theatre practitioner and puppeteer Stacey Rozen who inspires the children to develop artwork in the form of life-size puppets. Working in pairs, the children trace their body outlines and painted puppets emerge from plain brown cardboard. These puppets then become an integral part of the theatrical vocabulary … characters that the children could connect, dance and partner with. Through puppets the children are not differentiated into able-bodied and disabled participants but are all united as artists and performers.
The Disability Festival is presented by the City of Johannesburg’s Community Development Department Directorate of Arts Culture and Heritage in association with Human Development, Sports and Recreation, the Johannesburg Zoo, Johannesburg Water, the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, ATW, MuseumAfrica, Revlon and Woolworths.
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Treat the disabled well
In September, The New Vision broke a story of Betty Namuyiga, a deaf 13-year-old girl, who was starved to near death by her stepmother, Margaret Namitala. She was admitted to Mulago Hospital with severe malnutrition, seizures and epilepsy for about one and half months.
Although Namuyiga was discharged, she can’t dress or feed herself or get onto her feet. Namuyiga lost her father in 2002 and her only brother aged 15 cannot support her.
She is currently under the care of the Deaf Community on Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road, Makerere.
However, none of the many human rights or child rights organisation in this country has ever condemned this act or pledged support, which should have been their mandate.
Had Namuyiga been able-bodied, endless condemnation of this barbaric act would have filled the newspapers and radio FM waves, but because she is deaf, nothing has been done.
This attitude of discrimination against the disabled has far-reaching negative impacts on the human rights of the vulnerable and voiceless.
Everybody is a candidate for disability of any form, so treat disabled people as human beings.
Uganda National Association of the Deaf
Published on: Saturday, 10th November, 2007
Zimbabwe: Disability Issues Are Human Rights Matters - Malinga
The Herald (Harare)
26 November 2007
Posted to the web 26 November 2007
Zimbabweans should take disability issues as developmental and human rights matters, which deserve to be taken seriously, a senior Zanu-PF official has said.
Speaking at a two day National Policy on Disability consultative workshop in Nyanga last Thursday, the Deputy Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged in the Zanu-PF Politburo, Senator Joshua Malinga, said disability should no longer be associated with charity and poverty. He said the National Disability Policy should seek to remove the National Disability Board from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, which he said was overburdened, and create focal persons in every ministry. "Disability is a struggle for social justice and should be supported by all stakeholders across the board," he said.
In his presentation, Advisor on Disability Issues in the Office of the President and Cabinet Brigadier General Felix Muchemwa said there was need for a firm disability policy which is neither charity nor medical which would lead to the formation of either a department or ministry on disability. "At the national level, the charity model policy on disability issues is based on the strong belief that Central Government should not and cannot afford a National Budget to be incurred for the disabled persons. There is also a strong conviction that disabled persons can easily beg individually and collectively to sustain themselves," he said.
He added that the State becomes the first discriminatory agent against disabled persons if charity becomes its principal policy. Cde Muchemwa said if disability was placed under the medical model theory, the problem would be of budgetary and personnel resources constraints. Stakeholders, including representatives of people living with disabilities and conditions, attending the workshop said the policy should oblige Government to introduce a disability levy modelled along the Aids levy so as to provide meaningful relief to the economic problems of people with disabilities.
They added that the monthly payments they were receiving from the disability fund were too little. The stakeholders said the policy should effectively address cross-cutting issues such as provision of health, education, employment, transport, accommodation, information and vocational training, among others, to cater for people living with disabilities.
Eritrea: Ministry Extends Interest-Free Loan to Demobilized War-Disabled Citizens in Assab
27 November 2007
Posted to the web 27 November 2007
The branch office of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare in the Southern Red Sea region extended interest-free loan to 37 demobilized war-disabled citizens in Assab. Accordingly, each beneficiary received 30,000 Nakfa.
The head of the branch office, Mr. Tesfamariam Berhe, said that the loan that would be paid back after three years is aimed at helping the demobilized war-disabled citizens become self-supporting. He further called on them to make good use of the loan. Reports indicated that a similar loan would be extended in all remote areas and sub-zones of the region.
In a related report, in line with the initiatives of Eritrean nationals residing abroad to support families of martyrs, over 20,000 Nakfa has been paid to five families in the Beilul administrative area, Central Denkalia sub-zone.
World Disability Day
By Lizzie Cameron for CNN
MUSOMA, Tanzania (CNN) -- Lizzie Cameron is in Musoma, Tanzania working with the Musoma Engineering Project.
The Musoma Engineering Project is the only charity of its kind in the region and aims to provide teaching and support for local disabled children and teenagers.
With the project Lizzie will be helping the teachers teach skills like woodworking, leatherwork and dressmaking. Follow her experiences in her blogs and video diaries.
November 27, 2007
Tomorrow, Dennis, 25 of the students and me leave for Mwanza to start our three-day sponsored cycle and World Disability Day celebrations.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty manic trying to get things organized. It's the first time I've really been part of something like this, although a few years ago Dennis participated in a similar event, walking 260 kilometers (161 miles) with two blind boys to raise money for a new blind school in Musoma.
On Wednesday at 7am, Mwanza's District Commissioner flags us off for the first leg of the journey.
We've organized for a police car to follow in front of us for safety, and an announcer to project details about the race and its purpose.
The main reason for the cycle is to heighten awareness of disabilities, but also to raise money for our new disabled center. The students have been out and about in town all week collecting sponsorships and we've been really pleased with people's willingness to donate.
The day will also be a good opportunity to launch the new name of our facility: "Lake Victoria Disability Centre", so I was keen to have the Web site completed. Visit the new MEP site at www.lakevictoriadisabilitycentre.org
The final day of our cycle will be on Sunday, December 2 (World Disability Day), where we will be joined by a group of physically disabled with their tricycles to complete the race with us.
We'll finish the race at the grounds where we have planned the sporting events and celebrations.
There will be games, speeches, traditional Tanzanian dancers and stalls selling local craftwork. In the evening, one of Musoma's leading hotels, Hotel Matvilla, has agreed to put on a dinner and dance for 250 of the disabled youths.
This is the first time something like this has taken place in Musoma.
Uganda: 'I Will Ensure My Husband Pursues His Passion for Disabled Children'
New Vision (Kampala)
27 November 2007
Posted to the web 28 November 2007
By Geresom Musamali
SARAH Brown, the wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on Friday visited the Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC) to acquaint herself with the challenges the organisation faces.
"As you know, I am in Uganda with my husband to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. He has only been in office for three months, but has been in the government for a long time," said Mrs Brown, while at the USDC offices in Kamwokya, Kampala.
"His passion is that every child with a disability throughout the world has an education and access to all other rights and opportunities. I will try to ensure that he pursues that passion to its fulfillment," she added.
Visually impaired Dennis Owiny, 15, of Ngetta Girls' Primary School in Lira entertained Mrs Brown to a solo musical composition. Agnes Nakatto, 14, of Luweero Parents School and James Ssewaya of Ntuumwa Primary School, also in Luweero, gave her locally-made crafts.
USDC is a local non-governmental organisation, committed to recognising and equalising the rights of children with disabilities. The society operates in 18 districts and focuses on the social and medical rehabilitation of children with diablilities. Each year approximately 5,000 children are directly assisted through the society's community-based rehabilitation programme.
There are 1.3 million children with disabilities in Uganda, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The Uganda Population and Housing Census 2002 found that 80% of the childhood disabilities are a result of preventable causes such as poor antenatal and maternity care, neglect of immunisation, war, accidents and ignorance.
Susan Kisitu, a USDC official said according to their research, only 33% of the children with disabilities complete primary school education. Kisitu said the Commonwealth Disabled People's Conference early this month developed a joint communique calling upon all member states to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
"We are still facing the challenge of mobilising more skills and resources for collaborative partnerships to continue supporting the specific needs of disabled children," said Kisitu.
Cameroon: Six Drown At Mile 6 Beach
Cameroon Tribune (Yaounde)
28 November 2007
Posted to the web 28 November 2007
By Nkeze Mbonwoh
A ceremony to launch a new Deaf Development Association in Limbe, has ended in drama leaving six persons dead at the Mile 6 Beach. The incident occurred Sunday 25 November between 8 and 9 am while a group of 40 went for swimming enjoyment. Unfortunately six of them drowned in the sea. The deceased include: Philippe Mve (35), Franklin Marcel Beke (33), Blaise Wafo Ndetatsin (33, born in Bafoussam), Stephen Laontso (32, born in Douala), Miss Gille Malogo (28, born in Yaounde) and John Amos (25, Nigerian).
It happened that last Saturday 24 November, over 70 persons including the deaf and dumb assembled at the Limbe City Hall to launch the Deaf Development Association of Limbe with its President Mrs Colette Mose, herself a deaf. The ceremony took till 4 am Sunday morning. All stayed the night at the ceremonial hall till dawn (Sunday). While others went home, some 40 of the participants at the ceremony decided to go for beach swimming enjoyment. At the Mile 6 Beach near the National Refinery Company (SONARA), the beach goers paid CFA 200 francs each to gain access to swim.
According to Paul Ndoka, a French teacher with the Buea School for the Deaf (who was amongst the swimmers), "After a few hours of swimming and playing at the beach, we noticed the absence of some of us and we raised alarm reporting the matter to the SONARA Gendarmerie. By afternoon, two bodies of the six disappeared persons were found: Mve and Beke."
The third body Blaise Wafo's was found the next day Monday 26 November. All the bodies were taken to the Limbe Provincial Hospital mortuary. Blaise's corpse was transported to his home-town Bafoussam Tuesday 27 November by his father Ndetatsin. The pathetic story about Blaise Wafo is that he was a "Maitrise" graduate in Biology. After a long spell of unemployment, he found solace to train as a Language Signs interpreter in the University of Gallaudet (Washington).
Gallaudet is said to be the lone university in the world that offers the specialty of Language Signs. Blaise Wafo was the second Cameroonian graduate of Gallaudet in that specialty after Njok Bibum Aloysius, today proprietor of the Deaf School of Buea. Blaise Wafo came to Buea a week ago to seek recruitment as a Language Signs teacher at the Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters in the University of Buea.
After a failed appointment the previous Wednesday, Wafo was due recruitment interview with UB authorities Wednesday 28 November. And that is what kept him waiting in Buea within which time he involved himself in the Limbe ceremony and subsequently met his death at the sea. Wafo was not handicapped in any way; neither was he deaf or dumb.
Drowning is not a rare phenomenon at the Limbe shores but this incident has raised questions as to how the Limbe shores and beaches are protected. To whom did the beach visitors pay money ? What service were they to offer in consideration of the money they received from the beach goers ? Who are those venturing into the sea without necessary swimming skills and life jackets ? Why was it absolutely necessary to go swimming at sea as early as 8 am ?
Uganda: Nebbi to Host International Disability Day
The Monitor (Kampala)
29 November 2007
Posted to the web 28 November 2007
By Warom Felix Okello
NEBBI District is set to host this years' International Disability Day on December 3.
The LC5 Chairperson, Mr John Pascal Wapokra , said they are making arrangements to host over 5000 participants' world wide. He said this would enhance sensitisation and empowerment of people with disabilities in the District. President Yoweri Museveni is expected to attend.
He said this would expose the District to reap support from participating countries.
Nebbi is organising the day in conjunction with National Union for Disabled Persons in Uganda and Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
Mr Wapokra said many persons with disabilities in the district lack the framework to protect and promote their rights.
They say that the laws in place, society has taken advantage of disabled people being illiterate. The day will be used as an advocacy age nda and a tool to educate the disabled about their rights with the district authorities.
"Even if they are vulnerable, we have the obligation to protect them from all forms of social injustices," Mr Wapokra said. The District is to raise Shs6 million for the occassion.
On International Disability Day, Number of States Ratifying UN Disability Rights Convention Climbs to Ten
Global Disability Network Urges Governments to Continue to Build on Momentum
(United Nations, New York, USA, 3 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Bangladesh, South Africa and Spain for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on November 30, 2007 and today, in honor of the UN's International Day of Disabled Persons. South Africa and Spain also ratified the Convention's Optional Protocol. As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI continues to urge all countries to ratify the CRPD and the Optional Protocol as soon as possible and without reservations and declarations.
Today marks the first UN International Day of Disabled Persons since the CRPD opened for signature on March 30, 2007. Both the Convention and the observance of the International Day aim to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and raise awareness of disability-related issues.
RI President Michael Fox stated, "RI applauds the Governments of Bangladesh, South Africa and Spain for recognizing the importance of this day by taking real steps toward improving the lives of persons with disabilities in their countries and throughout the international community. As only 10 more states need to ratify before the UN Convention becomes international law, we trust that this day will encourage more states to move towards achieving this significant threshold."
To commemorate the day's theme of "Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities," RI, the School of Information Science and the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Sycracuse University and the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network (GLADNET) organized a virtual dialogue with participants from different sectors (e.g., government, UN, private companies, disabled peoples' organizations) in New York, Washington DC, Beijing, Budapest, Geneva, Islamabad and Johannesburg, among others. RI extends its gratitude to the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office in Washington, DC, and the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in New York for sponsoring this event. Participants in the e-dialogue, entitled "Roadmap Out of Poverty: An Initiative to Promote Inclusive Economic Development and Work and Economic Empowerment Strategies for Persons with Disabilities Worldwide", discussed ways to address barriers to the employment for persons with disabilities and strengthen alliances for inclusive economic development. The dialogue opened with statements from Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador, who served as the first Chair of the CRPD negotiations, and Sheikha Hissa Al-Thani, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability.
The web dialogue is the first stage of the Roadmap Out of Poverty project, an 8-month initiative, which includes e-discussion, virtual forum activities, a repository of papers, and presentations on relevant topics such as employment, micro-enterprise, health, education, housing, transportation, good practices, and a series of checklists for the implementation of Article 27 and other CRPD articles related to decent work and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services - all of these interlinking issues must be addressed when it comes to promoting decent work and employment for persons with disabilities. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. (Attached is a current list of all signatories and state parties to the CRPD and Optional Protocol).
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For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (firstname.lastname@example.org), RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (email@example.com), Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.
About RI Founded in 1922, RI is a global network of people with disabilities, government agencies, service providers, researchers and advocates promoting and implementing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 96 nations, in all regions of the world.
RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) - a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities - and the International Disability Caucus (IDC) - a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.
For more information about RI, please visit our newly re-designed and accessible website: http://www.riglobal.org.
For more information on the UN International Day of Disabled Persons, please visit: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=22&pid=109.
Eritrea: International Day of the Disabled Marked Here
4 December 2007
Posted to the web 4 December 2007
In a press release it issued in connection with the observance of the International Day of the Disabled on December 3, the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare called on disabled citizens to exert utmost efforts in order to become self-supporting and actively participate in all socio-economic domains through overcoming attitudes of prejudices they might come across.
International Day of the Disabled was marked at the Denden Camp here in the capital at a national level. Outlining that the efforts being made to promote equal opportunities and rights to disabled citizens, the press release indicated that the Ministry has been and is still working diligently to ensure the equal participation and opportunities of the disabled through introducing a community-based rehabilitation strategy. It further pointed out that 81 million Nakfa has so far been disbursed for the rehabilitation program.
The Ministry called for increased contribution and participation on the part of all concerned government and non-governmental institutions, as well as the society at large, in view of the fact that the problems of the disabled could only be tackled through joint efforts.
Students of the Abraha Bahtu School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf presented different poems and shows on the occasion, in addition to sports activities. The Minister of Labor and Human Welfare, Ms. Askalu Menkerios, handed trophies and medals to those who demonstrated excellence in the competition.
The Day was marked for the 12th time in Eritrea and the 16th globally.
Ghana: Tradition affecting disabled
Posted on Wednesday 5 December 2007 - 11:35
Francis Ameyibor, AfricaNews reporter in Accra, Ghana
Persons with disabilities in Ghana have identified superstition and lack of education as some of the cultural factors that had compelled them to develop dependency syndrome.
Similarly, negative attitude and behaviour of able body persons towards them had also made some of them to look inferior, develop a sense of resignation, have a feeling of isolation and exclusion from the society.
These challenges have undermined the overall development of persons with disabilities thereby making it difficult for them to live better and decent lives.
Mr. Clement Bawellepuori, Chairman of the Resource Centre Steering Committee of the Organisation of Persons with Disabilities made these known at this year's United Nations International Day celebration of the Disabled at Jirapa in the Northern region.
The Day was on the theme: "Decent work and job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Ghana".
Mr. Bawellepuori called on traditional authorities and non-governmental organisations to work towards addressing these negatives cultural practices to pave way for disabled persons to develop their full potentials and contribute to national development.
He urged government to give its full commitment to United Nations Conventions to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, pointing out that the millennium goals for the eradication of poverty would not be achieved if disabled persons were not involved in that process.
He said exclusion of disabled persons had led to their suffering from chronic poverty with little opportunity of breaking through the poverty cycle.
Mr. Bawellepuori called on authorities at the Jirapa/Lambussie District Assembly to open a separate account and put their two per cent share of the common fund into it to benefit its members.
Mr. Bamuah Tahiru, Upper West Assistant Programme Officer of Action on Disability and Development, an NGO expressed regret that the inclusion of disabled persons in the policy making process had not changed the attitude and perceptions of some stakeholders in the country.
He said some stakeholders had often over looked disabled persons in the mainstream development work and treat them as recipients of welfare services rather than as people with equal rights to participate and contribute to society.
"We view disability equality in a similar way to a gender perspective. The rights and needs of disabled children and adults need to be considered during programmes design, implementation, and review," he pointed out.
Responding to the theme, Mr. Tahiru said disabled persons are always seen to best fit as baby sitters, family security or receptionists. Parents prefer to invest in their able children's education or livelihood skills to the detriment of the disabled children.
He called on government to implement the disability law and establish national council on disability and give serious consideration to the representation of disabled persons at all levels of decision-making.
Mr. Justin B. Dakorah, District Chief Executive for the area assured them of the assembly's support for them to benefit from government's interventions to enable them to contribute their quota to national development.
Uganda: Residents Warned On Violation of Rights of Disabled People
The Monitor (Kampala)
5 December 2007
Posted to the web 4 December 2007
By Fred Muzaale
STATE Minister for Disability and Elderly Affairs Mr Sulaiman Madada has said the government would take legal action against people who violate the rights of persons with disabilities.
Mr Madada was on Saturday speaking during the opening of Hajkji Thakibu Busaana Islamic Day and boarding Primary School in Busaana sub-county.
The private school is being run by a local NGO, Youth and Persons with disability integrated Development Association. Mr Madada said it is illegal for one to violate the rights of PWDS like access to public transport, education and others. "You must stop violating the rights of PWDs because it will land you in jail. A taxi operator in Kampala who stopped a disabled man from boarding his vehicle is already in court," he said.
He warned Muslim parents against marrying off their young girls saying it exposes them to HIV/ Aids and also ruins their future.
Mr Madada asked parents to invest in their children's education if their area is to develop faster. He encouraged inter-cultural learning between communities in the area with those in other countries so that they can copy how those people carry out their work and use the knowledge to develop the area.
Mr Madada criticised squatters for joining land lords and Mengo to oppose the land Amendment bill 2007 when it is intended to protect them.
Nigeria: Oni Proposes Bill on Employment for Disabled Persons
Daily Trust (Abuja)
5 December 2007
Posted to the web 5 December 2007
The Ekiti Governor, Mr Segun Oni, yesterday said the state government was proposing a bill to facilitate automatic employment to persons living with disabilities, who were graduates.
The governor gave the hint in Ado-Ekiti while playing host to management of a private business concern.
He said the bill would be ready soon and presented to the state House of Assembly.
He said the bill would propose that at least two per cent of employment quota be given to all other categories of persons living with disabilities.
Also to be proposed in the bill, according to the governor, was a free medical service for all treatments of all persons living with disabilities that patronised government hospitals.
Oni said already, another bill on the provision of scholarship to brilliant but indigent Ekiti students had been forwarded to the state House of Assembly.
When passed, the bill will provide for a scholarship of N500,000 each to students pursuing Ph.D programmes while those pursuing Master Degrees will get N150,000 each.
The undergraduates are also to receive amount ranging from N100,000 downward each, according to the provisions of the bill.
He clarified that the two proposed bills were meant to give disadvantaged persons access to education.
Cameroon: Disabled Persons Cry for Help
The Post (Buea)
10 December 2007
Posted to the web 10 December 2007
By Peterkins Manyong
Disabled people in Bamenda have cried out for assistance, saying without support from people of goodwill their lives would be miserable.
The appeal is contained in an address presented during the presentation of Christmas gift to the disabled, Saturday, December 8, by the Coordinator of the Community Resource Centre for the Disabled and Disadvantaged, CRCDD, Florence Ndwengwa.
"Most of our members are in dire need of crutches and Braille. Every academic year we find it difficult to provide school needs to disabled persons and children of disabled parents".
She outlined the objectives of CRCDD, which is to consolidate and create public awareness about disabled people, educate and encourage them to carry out responsibilities as well as evangelise.
She said her organisation has created a lot of awareness. She praised the Cameroon Teachers' Trade Union CATTU for assisting them through the donation of textbooks and also financially. Because of financial, material and moral support from the public, according to her, disabled people have accepted their situation and learnt to live normal lives.
Also addressing the disabled, "Jerry Club" a Bamenda based philanthropic group donated FCFA 50.000, a TV set and deck alongside a large quantity of good foodstuff. Jery Club President, Richard Jam, said they have also assisted an orphanage in Njinikom, a the leprosy settlement in Mbingo, a disabled centre in Bafut (SAJOCA) and a blind centre in Mbengwi among others.
The disabled displayed items they made such as the Northwest traditional dress, traditional umbrellas and stools.Northwest Delegate of Culture, Johnson Wang, praised the disabled and promised to find a market for the items they produced.
The disabled adopted a budget of FCFA 7 million to construct a centre, acquire computer skills etc. they appealed to other philanthropists to come to their aid.
Zimbabwe: Govt to Continue Supporting Disabled Persons - Goche
The Herald (Harare)
10 December 2007
Posted to the web 10 December 2007
By Bindura Bureau
INISTER of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Nicholas Goche said the Government will continue providing vocational training to equip disabled persons with necessary skills that enables them to secure decent employment in any sector.
This year's theme to commemorate the International Day of the Disabled is "Decent work for persons with disabilities" and seeks equalisation of opportunities in the employment sector for people with disabilities.
In a speech read on his behalf by the social services deputy director in the ministry, Mr Togarepi Chinake last week, Cde Goche said comprehensive efforts by Government, non-governmental organisations and the society were needed to provide decent employment for disabled persons.
"Disabled persons are often employed in low paid jobs like basket weaving or are a common sight as beggars on the street. This offers little, if any social, and legal security and often segregates them from main stream, market labour.
"I therefore urge all interested parties to come up with programmes geared towards rescuing the disabled persons from dependency by enabling them to become self sufficient," he said.
The minister said the Government had shown its commitment in providing funds to the disabled person's funds and this year alone a total of $7 billion was allocated to the fund with 49 projects being approved and spread across all sectors.
Ghana: PWDs Call for Establishment of National Council
Public Agenda (Accra)
10 December 2007
Posted to the web 10 December 2007
By Frederick Asiamah
Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have called on government to hurry with the establishment of the National Council on PWDs.
According to them, government's delay in setting up the council has become a source of worry to them because "the soul of the Disability Act resides in the Council."
The call came at the celebration of the 2007 International Day of the Disabled in Accra on Monday December 3. The day was observed under the theme: "Decent Work and Job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Ghana."
The Disability Act (Act 715) was passed in June last year but no meaningful implementation has taken place due the delay in setting up the council.
Addressing about 400 PWDs who attended the celebration, Mr. Yaw Ofori Debra, President, Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) said, "We call upon the President to expedite action on the setting up of the council."
He also called for government support for the various rehabilitation centres for the PWDs.
"We cannot talk of decent work and job opportunities for PWDs without addressing ourselves to the under-funding of the various rehabilitation centres and the unmarketable skills being taught there," he stated.
Consequently, "We are calling for increased and regular funding and impartation of skills that are of marketable value to help the graduands compete favourably in the economy."
Reacting, Hon. Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment acknowledged in a speech read on his behalf that "Work is a defining feature of existence for everybody."
He added, "An unemployed person means a very unhappy person."
In view of this, the Minister said government was working towards optimizing decent work and job opportunities for the PWDs.
He, therefore, asked the leadership of the GFD to counsel their rank and file to look out for opportunities under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) where many avenues abound for PWDs to work.
Equally, he urged the leaders to advise PWDs who have taken to the streets to beg to put a stop to the act, while government continues to explore avenues for improving their lot.
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, entreated world leaders in a special message to "Pledge again to do our utmost to achieve the vision of an inclusive, people-centred, development-oriented information society."
He added, "let us redouble our efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their human rights and play their full part in the economic, social and political lives of their societies."
The Secretary-General pointed out that every person deserves opportunities for productive employment in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity,
Uganda: Disabled Want Better Employment Rights
The Monitor (Kampala)
12 December 2007
Posted to the web 11 December 2007
By Ephraim Kasozi
THE Disability fraternity met to deliberate on how to fight discrimination against its members in work places.
The workshop, organised by the National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (Nuwodu) convened in Kireka on Monday.
The aim was to find ways of integrating PWDs into the work force.
"Discrimination, stigmatisation and low literacy rates of PWDs, coupled with ignorance and negative attitude of society are factors that continue to undermine employment of PWDs in Uganda," Ms Hellen Grace Asamo, the chairperson of Nuwodu said.
The conference was attended by the disabled, organisations, development partners, legislators and officials from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The conference was themed, Promoting employment of PWDs through effective legislation.
Ms Asamo said the challenges of employment among PWDs can only be addressed through effective policies and legislation that can enhance the employability and employment of PWDs through popularising the existing laws.
Mr William Nokrach, the member of Parliament for PWDs in the north said employment for PWDs remains a challenge due to the low level of awareness among the people.Mr Nokrach accused the employers of marginalising PWDs by looking at their physical capacity rather than their ability to do the jobs.
"Employers keep on asking people with disabilities undermining, intimidating and challenging questions without considering their education and training background," Mr Nokrach said.
"This is worsened by most job adverts that require one to have a driving permit."
Not every disabled deserves help-minister
BY KAREN MSISKA
15:31:42 - 12 December 2007
Minister of Persons with Disability and the Elderly, Clement Khembo on Monday told a group of disabled people that his ministry would not entertain anyone ‘disabled from crime’ because such people do not deserve help.
The flare-up by the minister came after some disabled people led in a chorus of boos during his speech to protest at a donation of capital items to only a few of them.
The group of disabled persons had gathered at the Blantyre City Civic offices for a donation of assorted items from their ministry, but started protesting soon after the director of disability programme, Felix Sapala, announced that only 20 people would receive the items.
Some openly called for the minister to take the items back because he “was not ready to donate to them.”
The booing continued even after Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) executive director, Steven Msowoya, appealed for calm for the sake of the minister.
However, this fell on deaf ears and when Khembo stood to address the gathering, he berated the protestors.
“Those lunatics should get out of here,” he shouted, those who begged for disability because they are thieves, should get out of here because they are not my clients. Go to Ernest Malenga [Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security] because yours is a police case,” he said.
Sapala said the donation to only a few people was a continuing process, under which 20 people receive the items each month.
On Monday, beneficiaries from Bangwe, Ndirande and Mbayani received sewing machines, chicken feed, hurricane lamps and baking equipment to start them up in small-scale income generating projects.
Tunisia advocates the employment of handicapped
Within the framework of the particular attention allocated by the Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to people with specific needs, “Besma” Association for the Promotion of Employment for the Disabled Persons , chaired by Mrs. Leila Ben Ali, the Tunisian First Lady, organized, on Tuesday December 11, 2007, in Zaghouan, a meeting to discuss the employment of handicapped people in the region.
The stress was laid, during this meeting which was attended by the members of the association and several regional officials, on the constant concern the Head of the State allocates to promote the situation of the handicapped, their integration in the economic and social fabric and their contribution to the process of development.
The organization of this meeting lies within the scope of the contribution of the “Besma” association to the concretization of the objectives of the specific programme for the employment of the people carrying handicap; a programme the realization of which was ordered by the President of the Republic to support the employability of this category.
Efforts have been made to help the handicapped people establish contacts with the heads of companies and take note of the available opportunities of employment and the mechanisms of creating projects. There has been also an attempt to sensitize of the heads of companies so as to become aware of the aptitudes of this category as well as the privileges and encouragements guaranteed by the legislation for every company employing people carrying handicap.
The meeting was marked by the distribution to several handicapped people, of contracts of employment, approvals for the creation of sources of income, and agreements for the granting of credits by the Tunisian Bank of Solidarity and associations of development in the region.
An exhibition of products carried out by handicapped people was organized, on this occasion. Multidisciplinary workshops specialized in the transformation of the esparto, painting, the manufacture of artisan cages, the industry of leather and the training in data processing also took place.
Places to sell products made by handicapped people were opened in the Craft Village in Zaghouan.
On this occasion, the participants expressed their thanks and gratitude to the President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Mrs. Leila Ben Ali, inviting the Head of State to stand as a candidate for the presidential election in 2009, in order to continue his guidance of Tunisia on the path of progress and invulnerability.
Public Lecture：“Millennium Development Goals and International Health ”
We will soon hold a public lecture by Kiyoko Ikegami, Director of United Nations Population Fund（UNFPA）Tokyo Office. She will discuss how young people, including alumni, can best solve the pressing problems of today ’s global society. If you wish to attend, please download an application form from jfUNU’s website, http://www.jfunu.jp/contents/H_english/H_alumni/eng_02lecture.htm, fill it out and return it to jfUNU by fax(03-5467-1349)by Thursday, 13 December 2007. For security reasons, please bring that reply sheet with you to the event.
Send inquiries to: Ms. Kobayashi and Ms. Ueda, jfUNU
E-mail: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
日 時Date：2007年12月14日(金) 17：00〜18：00
Friday, 14 December 2007 17：00〜18：00
U Thant Hall, UNU (UN House) 3F, Tokyo, Japan
UNU研修コース同窓会UNU Capacity Development Course Alumni Association
国際連合大学 United Nations University（UNU）
国連大学協力会 The Japan Foundation for UNU （jfUNU）
16：30 受付開始 Registration
“Millennium Development Goals and Global Health”
Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tokyo Office
＊This Lecture is open to the public, free of charge. Interpretation will be provided.
Countries that have ratified the Convention
Countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol
Northern region most disabled friendly
The Saboba-Chereponi district of the Northern Region has been commended for being the best district in the three northern regions in terms of its responsiveness to the needs of Persons with Disabilities. The district has put up a modern resource centre for them.
This positive development makes the district arguably the only district in Ghana with more than 1,000 identifiable disabled persons engaged in income generating activities such farming, soap making and weaving instead of begging on the streets.
This was made known during this year’s UN international Day of Disabled Persons at Saboba. In an address, the District Chief Executive Azumah Namsoro Sanda pledged the assembly’s continuous support for persons with disabilities adding that the assembly has had interactions with the leadership of the association to see how best to improve their lives.
Posted on: Tuesday, 18, December, 2007 Source: GBC NEWS
Gambia: President of the Disabled Association Speaks Out
FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)
18 December 2007
Posted to the web 18 December 2007
By Yava Bajo
The President of Bundung Association for Disabled and Their Children (BADAC), Mr. Demba K. Darboe, remarked that his association which was conceptualised barely a year ago is a humanitarian non-governmental body aimed at addressing the plight of disabled people. A highly optimistic Mr. Darboe made this revelation on Wednesday December 12 in an hour-long chat with this reporter at his office complex at Number 93 Bundung Highway, opposite the Bundung Police Station.
"It is no news to know that disabled people in The Gambia lack relaxed minds, access to information and life skills, thus forcing them into begging on the streets. We therefore came out to promote the development and growth of disabled people and their children with a view to attaining a dignified living standard in the society," he said. He added that the Association's primary focus is to provide education and agricultural development to their members to serve as a mechanism for empowering them and to alleviate their suffering. At this point, Darboe showed this reporter a bunch of students' scholarship files that the association is currently sponsoring in various schools within the Kanifing Municipality.
The BADAC president also divulged that the association aims to establish bases in various hinter land regions that are evaluated as viable project sites. He said the projects in these areas will include nursery or kindergarten schools and the graduate support scheme.
Mr. Darboe further enumerated his Association's aims and objectives as thus.
The primary purpose of the project is to protect and improve the quality of life for disabled people and their children,
To support all programmes geared towards nation building;
To fully protect them and their children from all kinds of abuse or exploitation;
To encourage skills transfer within the association and also from one group to another;
To mobilise both internal and external resources for use by the disabled people and their children for development;
To teach them to know their reproductive health, rights and responsibilities in the society;
To fully give them care and comfort and not to stigmatise them simply because they are victims of disability;
To enable them have access to information and life skills to protect themselves rather than resort to begging and;
To sponsor their children in educational and skills and or vocational centres.
Mr. Darboe concluded by re-assuring that the Bundung Association of Disabled in The Gambia brings a new blessing to disabled people in the country.
Senegal: Disabled Students Conquer Daily Challenges
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
18 December 2007
Posted to the web 19 December 2007
On the campus of Cheikh Anta Diop University in the Senegal capital Dakar, physically handicapped students can often be seen crawling unaided up concrete staircases or across dirty bathroom floors.
With a few exceptions - such as the main library and a new amphitheatre - buildings on the sprawling, sandy campus have no handicap accessibility.
"Users of hand-powered or motorised wheelchairs have to crawl to access certain buildings," the disabled students association said in a recent letter to the authorities. The association compiled a list of their grievances and proposed solutions and presented it to university officials at the beginning of the school year.
Serigne Diop, a government official, says he cannot erase from his mind what he calls an "unbearable" image. "I saw a severely handicapped student trying to make it up a spiral staircase on crutches. I think she did not want to crawl so as not to get her clothes dirty," he said. "Other students passed by her without bothering to help at all."
Given the difficulties of getting around, physically disabled students often arrive late to classes. That is for those who have on-campus lodging. For those who do not, commuting is a problem, as public transport vehicles have no accommodations for wheelchairs, the disabled students association says.
In their dorm room, which also serves as the headquarters of the association, students lament two disabled female colleagues who had to abandon their studies for lack of on-campus housing.
They were not the first and likely will not be the last, say handicapped students.
"These two students, who had passed the university entrance exams, had to drop their academic ambitions and return to their home villages simply because they did not find housing on campus," Fulbert Manga of the association told IRIN.
Disabled students remaining at the university say they face the same struggle daily - lack of housing, lack of access to most school buildings and public transport, inadequate financial assistance and difficulty getting decent jobs.
While Senegal's constitution includes laws protecting the rights of disabled persons, and the country is a signatory to related international conventions, the daily reality is otherwise, students say. For the disabled, arriving at university means taking on a huge battle far beyond keeping up with studies.
The handicapped students association in November staged a protest at the university, calling for better housing. For some 250 disabled students, at least 162 beds should be made available according to quotas agreed to by university officials, but only 107 beds are available, fourth-year sociology student Insa Sane said.
The director of housing, Makhtar Ndoye, says given the wider problem of housing at the university the housing department has had to fight to keep even 107 spaces for handicapped students. At Dakar's main university, only 5,136 beds are available with a student body of some 55,000.
Bathrooms also pose a constant problem for disabled students. "In not one single men's room will you find a sit-down toilet, and that's the case even in some women's restrooms," Yague Toure, a second-year physics and chemistry student, told IRIN.
"We are constantly protesting these inhumane conditions in the toilets." In many restrooms, inaccessible in a wheelchair, the floors are wet from faulty faucets. "Those of us who use wheelchairs are forced to crawl in dirty water." Housing official Ndoye says the university plans to install sit-down toilets and repair the faucets.
Djibril Sow, West Africa director of an African Union institute for the physically handicapped, said disabled people face such barriers in public places across the region. He said many more disabled students would likely be in university were conditions better.
"Certainly if conditions were improved, the number of physically handicapped students in Dakar would be multiplied by 10 or 20. From Dakar to [the Burkina Faso capital] Ouagadougou, the disabled face the same kinds of problems."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Nigeria: Ile Aanu School Holds Christmas Concert
This Day (Lagos)
18 December 2007
Posted to the web 19 December 2007
By Uchechukwu Nnaike
It was fun all the way for pupils from Wesley School for children with special needs (hearing impaired), Atunda Olu Schools for pupils with special needs and Greenwood House School, all in Lagos, as they participated in a Christmas concert with pupils of Ile Aanu Olu pre- school unit for physically challenged children, Surulere, Lagos, which was organised by the latter's management.
The teacher- in- charge, Mrs. Mary- Jane Caulcrick said the school seeks to provide an educational and social climate, which would supplement the children's restricted experiences at home, so that they can live normal lives, despite of their handicap.
Aside education, she said, the school also provides medical treatment and advice needed to ensure that their handicap is minimised, as their condition may be worsened, if no treatment is given before the age of six.
She explained that the yearly Christmas concert is organised to raise funds for the running of the school, adding that most of the school's funds are got through such events.
According to her, one of the school's greatest challenge is the negative attitude of people towards the children, which must change, because the children are also legitimate members of the society. She therefore implored all corporate bodies, societies, associations and members of the public to contribute towards the school's upkeep.
Invited schools presented Christmas carols, poems and drama sketches, which reflected the joyous season of Christmas.
Bagbin: 10 yr period for implementation of disability act must be reviewed
Cynthia Boakye , 19/12/2007
The Minority Leader, Alban Bagbin is calling for a review of the ten year grace period within which public buildings will be made accessible to persons with disability captured in the of the disability Act which was passed in August last year.
In his view, the ten year grace period given before the implementation of the act is rather too long and must be ratified to ensure that persons with disability have access to all facilities in the country within the shortest possible time.
Speaking in support of a statement on persons with disability made on the floor of the House yesterday, by the Deputy Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Mr Bagbin suggested, that a team be set up to sensitise architects to include special features for persons with disability.
Other Members who spoke in support of the statement expressed similar views saying that owners of existing public building should endevour to create space for people with disabilities.
The maker of the statement, told the House that research indicates that the World has over 650 million persons living with disabilities. Besides, two billion people daily live with disabilities.
He said, "disability in our part of the World is seen as a charity issue, a disabled person is not seen as a person who can have a life, get a job and live independently even to think of him/her enjoying his/her fundamental human needs".
This according to him is very much against human rights, There is a huge need for awareness work in our country.
The Deputy Majority leader observed that as part of its oversight role, the committee on Education, and the Committee on Employment and Social Welfare have undertaken site visits to some government projects to ensure that such projects are disability-friendly but the situation on the ground is nothing to write home about.
He called on the House to ratify the Convention to end the injustice, discrimination and violation of rights that confront most persons with disabilities. Saying that "The Act passed by this august House on its own is not enough, if we do not add our voice and hands to the ratification which will bond us together with other countries and organisations to promote, protect and project persons with disabilities".
Meanwhile the Electoral Commission's budget sum GH¢ 36,803,056 million, which was deferred by the House because the Minority felt it was meager was approved the House with a direction from the Speaker Ebenezer Sakyi- Hughes that a supplementary budget for the commission be brought before the house before February.
Member of the Minority side who hitherto disagreed with the amount earmarked for the EC agreed and the question was put for approval.
Again the budget sum ofGH¢236,091 million for the National Media Commission which was also deferred due to inconsistencies in the report by the Special Budget Committee has been approved.
A sum of GH¢21,310,291 million has also been approved for the services of that Ministry of Manpower Youth and Employment.
But the House failed to approve the budget sum of 14,049,117 for the Audit Service because the Minority felt it was too meager and woefully inadequate for all their activities of the service.
According to Haruna Iddrisu, (NDC, Tamale South) the service has to show its presence in all 192 districts in the country but the report of the committee, the Service has offices in only 60 districts.
According to him, though the Service saves about ¢100 million for the country, the budget that has been allocated to it is lower that what was given to them last year which in itself was very inadequate.
Though Osei Prempeh, Deputy Attorny General called on the House to approve the leadership stood it down for more discussion on the allocation.
Together for accessibility: ICT for the blind and visually impaired
19-12-2007 (Addis Ababa)
A workshop was organized on 13 December 2007 at the Pioneer Collegiate for the Blind, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) by UNESCO and the Adaptive Technology Center for the Blind (ATCB) to bring together members of the visually impaired community and other interested stakeholders. The workshop focused on ensuring greater harmonization of efforts and developing an action plan to support access to ICT assistive tools by visually impaired students at the Addis Ababa University (AAU).
About 60 persons from government, universities, NGOs and international organizations working on disability issues participated. The workshop focused on four key areas:
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are recognized as a key driving force in virtually all initiatives that rely on knowledge-based and skills-oriented development activities in all spheres of human endeavour. There is also growing recognition that, if equipped with the necessary adaptive and assistive technologies, persons with disabilities can perform equally well in the classroom and workplace.
A number of practical measures are however needed, such as ensuring access to training, development of relevant content, provision of software and hardware resources and greater awareness about existing opportunities. While a number of policies regarding the rights of persons with disabilities exist in Ethiopia, efforts to monitor their implementation are necessary.
The Workshop participants identified the following priority areas for follow-up action, and a working group was created to develop a strategy for addressing these challenges in the first quarter of 2008:
Currently there are hundreds of visually impaired students at AAU and already there have been over 700 visually impaired graduates at the Bachelors and Masters level in the fields of law, education and social work. KCTE is one of the institutions in Ethiopia that is implementing the Ministry of Education programme to train teachers in supporting the needs of students with disabilities.
UNESCO and ATCB have been working together for several years to foster access to ICT amongst the visually impaired community. Some of the initiatives undertaken include ICT projects targeting rural schools for the blind and the training of teachers and other civil servants with visual disabilities.
Zimbabwe: Take the Disabled Seriously, Govt Told
The Herald (Harare)
19 December 2007
Posted to the web 19 December 2007
GOVERNMENT'S efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities will be in vain if it continues to take their issues as charitable matters without affording them total representation at the highest level, Zanu PF Politburo member, Senator Joshua Malinga has said.
In an interview yesterday, Sen Malinga said Zimbabwe was doing a lot to improve the lives of people with disabilities on the international scene without much being done in the country.
"We have participated in different fora representing the country in discussing the lives of people with disabilities but as a country we have not done much to improve the lives of these people.
"Zimbabwe was part of the discussions leading to the UN Convention of the Rights and Dignity of People Living with Disabilities but up to now we have not ratified the convention," he said.
He said Zimbabwe was also participating in the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities running between 1999-2009 and although the decade is almost coming to a close, nothing much has been done to include people with disabilities in influential positions.
"The Continental Plan of Action for the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities is aimed at implementing priority activities on disabilities during the period, proclaimed by the 35th Session of the AU (then OAU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Algiers, Algeria in 1999.
"But if you look closely, besides us having representation in the Zanu-PF structures from the cell levels to the Politburo, nothing much has been done in streamlining disability in various ministries," he said.
Cde Malinga who is also the Zanu PF deputy secretary for the disabled and the disadvantaged in the Politburo, said the best way to redress the situation in Zimbabwe was to come up with a ministry that could cater for people with disabilities.
"We are currently under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare but putting our issues as a social welfare issue is dealing with us as destitutes. Putting us in the department of social welfare is treating us in charity.
"How do you expect a social welfare officer without a car or a bicycle to take care of someone else? Is he not also seeking assistance? There is no way they can fully represent our concerns when they also need help."
He added that disability was a crosscutting development issue that needs to be taken seriously by the Government and the people in general.
"The issue of disability is an economic, cultural and political matter and people especially those in Government should take it seriously," he said.
Cde Malinga added that Zimbabwe was one of the few countries in Southern Africa without a ministry catering for people with disabilities.
United Nations renames International Day
UNITED NATIONS, 19 DECEMBER -- Yesterday afternoon the United Nations General Assembly renamed the International Day of Disabled Persons, observed every year on 3 December, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The 192 Member States of the General Assembly took that decision unanimously when adopting a resolution on "Implementation of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons: realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities". The Assembly also called on United Nations agencies and bodies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and protection of the environment to ensure that the disability perspective is incorporated in their work.
In a related development, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is now six ratifications away from coming into force. It was ratified by Mexico on 17 December, by El Salvador on 14 December and by Nicaragua on 7 December. Twenty ratifications are needed to bring the treaty into force. For information, see http://www.un.org/disabilities/
Also, the "Handbook for Parliamentarians on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" is available on-line at http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=212 .
Experts Call for the Protection of the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Person with Disabilities
19 December 2007
BRASILIA-Experts from around the world met here this week to highlight the importance of including persons with disabilities-particularly their right to sexual and reproductive health-in national policies and programmes around the world.
The Global Expert Group Meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Persons with Disabilities discussed ways to promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006. The two-day meeting, organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the World Health Organization, was intended to validate and finalize a Draft Guidance Note on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Persons with Disabilities.
According to Dr. Hilda Aloisi, a Clinical Psychologist who works for the social inclusion of other persons with disabilities, the event was an important initiative to raise awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities regarding sexual and reproductive health.
“This was the first and a pioneer step to make our rights really effective,” said Dr. Aloisi. “We’ve been fighting for this for more than 20 years and I finally have hope that I can and I should be treated as everyone. I mean loving and be loved, be in relationships, and especially being a complete woman.”
About 10 per cent of the world’s population -650 million people- live with a disability, and their sexual and reproductive health has been neglected. Adolescents and adults with disabilities are as likely as persons without disabilities to be sexually active. Globally, it is estimated that 80 per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, most without social systems to support them.
“Unless such huge numbers of people are part of development policies and programmes, it will be impossible to attain international development goals,” said UNFPA Technical Support Division Deputy Director, Hedia Belhadj, at the gathering. “First, we have to recognize the diversity of needs and respond accordingly. Disability is not restricted to any social or economic group, culture or age group. Rather, anyone at any time can be born with or acquire a disability.”
“Persons with disabilities must know how to protect themselves against unintended pregnancies, HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and sexual and gender-based violence,” added Dr. Belhadj. “Such information and services must be made available in accessible formats, including alternative communication formats.”
More resources are not necessarily required, according to Dr. Belhadj. “Often, it is only a matter of physicians, nurses and midwives and programme managers learning to communicate and taking the needs of persons with disabilities into account, ensuring they have the necessary information and can take advantage of family planning, maternal health and HIV prevention services already available,” she said.
Stigma, lack of support, and discrimination are also problems. Negative and stereotyped attitudes in society and the lack of disability-related support often lead to low self esteem and psychological barriers in terms of sexual and reproductive health.
“Events like this are good opportunities not only to understand what are the real needs and demands of persons with disabilities, but also to show that persons with disabilities have an important contribution to make to society as whole,” said Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Representative in Brazil. “This can only be achieved if their rights are fulfilled and we as citizens are able to tackle stigma, provide the support they need, and stop discrimination,” she added.
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028
Publication: Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons with Disabilities
Funds To Promote The Inclusion Of People With Disabilities Within Development Activities (USAID)
USAID has been advocating for and working toward fuller inclusion of people with disabilities in our foreign policy and development efforts.
In support of these efforts, USAID announced to Missions and Washington Offices the availability of funds to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities within its development activities.
Qualified U.S. or non-U.S. entities, such as private, non-profit organizations (or for-profit companies willing to forego profits), including private voluntary organizations, disabled persons organizations, universities, research organizations, professional associations, and relevant special interest associations are eligible to submit concept papers to participating Missions USAID Missions within the field and USAID Washington Operating Units (WOUs) (ie Regional or Technical Offices and Bureaus that are headquartered in Washington D.C. such as Democracy and Governance Office, Global Health, Economic Growth and Trade, among others).
The announcement given to USAID Missions and WOUs outlined the broad funding objectives of:
a) increasing inclusive development programs and practices within USAID Missions and WOUs;
b) strengthening the capacity disabled persons organizations (DPOs) to promote inclusion and equality; and
c) supporting data collection and/or assessments that will assist USAID Missions and WOUs to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in future programs, policies or practices.
USAID missions and WOUs have been invited to identify suitable local partners and solicit applications for assistance.
Please note the following:
Please contact USAID Missions or WOUs to see if they are participating in this Request for Concept Paper process and for additional information.
For more information about the USAID Mission Directory, please click here.
For more information about USAID funding, developing a concept paper, details of the application process and to read the USAID "Frequently Asked Questions", please click here.
World Disasters Report 2007 - Focus on discrimination
“ "Hurricane Katrina is now symbolic of what happens even in the most 'developed' of countries, when disaster hits communities already disadvantaged by deeply rooted forms of discrimination. This vital report demands awareness of the reality of discrimination in the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance.". ”
Gay J. McDougall, United Nations Independent Expert on minority issues
Gender, race, colour, religion, age - there are so many reasons why people can be excluded from their society. Those who are face an uphill struggle for equality, even if they have the strength and wherewithal to take the first steps. However many do not.
What, then, is the reality for these groups when disaster strikes? Hidden, ignored or simply invisible, the most vulnerable - and those potentially in the greatest need - are rarely, if ever, at the forefront of aid operations.
This report turns the spotlight on these groups, examining how and why they face discrimination. It calls on communities, governments and agencies to work harder to identify the most vulnerable and work together to ensure that their specific needs are addressed in an emergency.
The World Disasters Report 2007 features:
Published annually since 1993, the World Disasters Report brings together the latest trends, facts and analysis of contemporary crises - whether 'natural' or human-made, quick-onset or chronic.
USAID grants 95,000 dollars to support Disabled Sports
GNA | Posted: Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Sports Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) has received a grant of 95,000 dollars from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) towards organizing a national basketball competition. The grant will also go towards the procurement of equipment including modern wheelchair basketball chairs for men and women’s teams, hand-bikes, helmets, bikes for single leg amputees for their cycling programs, jerseys and a training program in the maintenance of the chairs.
Mr Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, Chairman of GSPD Sports told the GNA Sports that the competition would be used to select talented men and women to form the national wheelchair basketball teams to adequately compete in international competitions.
He explained that the grant which falls under the USAID’s Sports Diplomacy Initiative seeks to advance the mission policy of inclusion for people with disabilities.
Mr Mohammed expressed gratitude to the government and people of USA for their generosity and gave the assurance that the grant would be used towards the development of disabled sports in the country.
The Chairman said the society will ‘take full advantage of this rare opportunity to develop general sports for the disabled and urged many of the disabled in the communities to join hands with the Society to lead fruitful lives instead of earning a living through begging on the streets.
Nigeria: Disability Not Excuse for Begging - Cripplence Holder
Daily Trust (Abuja)
22 December 2007
Posted to the web 24 December 2007
By Mustapha Isah Kwaru
While thousands of physically challenged persons hide under the guise of disability to beg for alms, a courageous polio victim in Katsina State, Saminu Salisu Saulawa, who has been crippled for 23 years, says disability shouldn't be an excuse for begging. Saulawa, in this interview revealed how he assisted other physically challenged persons to become self-reliant. Excerpts:
Please introduce yourself...
I was born in 1977 in Katsina town; I attended Nagoggo Primary School then Government College, Katsina in 1988 and later proceeded to the Federal College of Education (FCE), Katsina where I obtained NCE in Business Education in 2004. But after I completed my secondary education, I was employed as a primary school teacher by the Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board, while teaching, I proceeded to the FCE, Katsina from where I obtained my NCE. In addition, I have acquired certificate on computer science at the Katsina Vocational Training Centre where I graduated as the overall best student among my entire course mates, and this performance earned me a motorcycle as a prize given to me by the former Commissioner for Education in the state, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa.
At what stage in your life did you become a cripple?
Actually, I was born without any sign of disability but when I reached the age of seven, I contracted a serious illness, as a result I was given injections several times without any improvement. Later, I got infected with polio and since then, I have been a cripple.
As a physically challenged person, how did you acquire all the qualifications you have?
That credit goes to my parents and other relatives who vowed that if I grow up as a man would depend on myself for a living. We are about 29 children in my family but I am the only disabled person among them. So, I think that was why they trained me to be on my on instead of becoming a liability to them and today, I am proud of my disability because I achieved what my colleagues have not. In fact, I am better than some people without disability because a lot of them are illiterates and have no legal source of livelihood. I expres my gratitude to Almighty God and my entire family members who stood by me to ensure that I am self-reliant.
Did you experience any form of discrimination while schooling?
Well, the only problem I faced during my study was transportation because when I was admitted into secondary school, I had no bicycle, so I found it very difficult to go to school, even though I was enrolled into primary school with my younger brother so that he could take care of me. Although a lot of people were publicly delighted with my courage of going to school, others, especially my friends, insulted me saying I was just wasting my time and punishing myself by going to school. According to them, begging was my best option but I failed to listen to them and today everyone is surprised at what God has made me. One interesting thing to note is that when I was admitted at the FCE Katsina, I was not discriminated against because I am a cripple. In fact, other students unanimously adopted me as the candidate for the Secretary General of the Student Union Government and I won the election.
Are you making any effort to mobilize other disabled persons especially cripples to abandon begging for other sources of livelihood?
Well, I have been propagating this crusade long ago. I succeeded in mobilising six of my colleagues who are now receiving extensive skills acquisition training on knitting, tailoring, carpentry and shoe making, among others. I told them that if they will not go back to school, they should engage themselves in training centres and learn trades instead of dabbling with begging, thank God they have accepted my advice.
Are you supporting those agitating for the ban on begging?
If governors of the 19 Northern states could introduce special vocational training for the disabled and adequately equip the centres, it would go a long way. And soft loans could also be given to the trainees, then I am hundred per cent in support of this idea. It is unfortunate that begging by disabled persons became rampant among Hausa communities due to greed, selfish interest and the desire to make money quickly. Something should be done urgently to control this ugly trend as it tarnishes our image and integrity.
Blind Group Appeals to DAs
The Ghana Association of the Blind has expressed concern about the failure of most of the district Assemblies to abide by the Government’s directive to disburse 2% of the District Assemblies Common Fund allocation to disabled persons.
The National Vice President of the Association, Kofi Bediako said the situation is creating a lot of problems and inconveniences to disabled persons and appealed to the assemblies to disburse the monies to them without any further delay.
He was speaking at the celebration of the International Disability Day, organized by the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana Association of the Blind in Kumasi. Mr. Bediako commended the government for passing the Disability Act and expressed appreciation to the Ghana Education Service and other educational institutions for employing members of the association.
The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the Association, George Kyeremateng said a large tract of land has been acquired at Kokode in the Bosomtwe-Atwima-Kwanwoma District of Ashanti for the establishment of a school for the blind. He appealed to individuals, churches and organizations to assist the association with funds to enable it to establish the school.
Posted on: Sunday, 23, December, 2007 Source: GBC NEWS
First Lady asks women to vote for Kibaki
Sun, December 23, 2007
By NATION Team
Last updated: Sun, Dec 23, 2007 23:19 PM (EAT)
First Lady Lucy Kibaki Sunday asked women to vote for her husband’s re-election.
Mrs Kibaki was addressing the women at Gusii Stadium in Kisii District during a meeting in which men took the rear seats as women dominated.
The only man who addressed the rally was the minister for Roads, Mr Simeon Nyachae.
The minister led the gathering in declaring the region’s support for President Kibaki.
The First Lady argued that President Kibaki’s competitors were campaigning on gains that had already been made by the current government.
She reminded Kenyans of Vision 2030 on which the foundation for the development of the country had been laid.
Elsewhere, President Kibaki’s son Jimmy Sunday urged the 1.4 million disabled people who are registered as voters to re-elect his father, so that their plight could be addressed.
Mr Kibaki said his father had performed well in the past five years.
Speaking at Milimani Hotel in Nairobi, where he met scores of disabled people, Mr Kibaki said the achievements realised in the country were not because of his father alone, but all Kenyans.
“Kibaki is just a manager of this country. His work should continue for another five years,” Mr Kibaki said.
The coordinator of the President’s campaign team in charge of the disabled, Ms Muthoni Kihara, called on the Head of State to establish a ministry for disabled people, if he won the Thursday election.
“We also want to be nominated to Parliament,” Ms Kihara said.
The group called on the Government to operationalise the Disabilities Act.
Separately, the Party of National Unity, on which President Kibaki is running for re-election, Sunday claimed that ODM planned to bring self-exiled former permanent secretary John Githongo to disclose more on the Anglo Leasing scandal during the party’s final rally Monday.
Finance minister Amos Kimunya claimed that those who were behind the financial scam would be unveiled at the meeting.
Speaking at PNU offices in Nairobi, Mr Kimunya wondered why the new information had not been given to the parliamentary accounts committee when it went to London to interview Mr Githongo last year.
Reported by Julius Bosire, Angwenyi Gichana, and Lucas Barasa
Taking advantage of the disabled
Publication Date: 12/24/2007
The physically and mentally challenged persons are quite diverse in degree and type of disability and ability to grapple with their environmental challenges.
They are also so scattered all over the country that it is difficult for them to come together to form a single national body to represent them.
But of late, some persons with disabilities have fronted themselves in the news media claiming to be bona fide national representatives of persons with disabilities, possibly with anticipation that they might be nominated to Parliament next year.
These people are impostors and opportunists who have taken advantage of their proximity to the news media and the seat of government in Nairobi.
Persons with disabilities need a well-structured organisation similar to the Kenya National Teachers Union to represent their interests.
Unfortunately, persons with disabilities at the grassroots level do not have finance, structures and the logistics through which to realise the above.
Cleric appeals to LGs to employ qualified disabled persons
Monday, Dec 31, 2007
A Catholic Priest has appealed to local government council chairmen in the country to provide employment opportunities to qualified disabled persons.
Rev. Father Alex Yayok of the Catholic Church, Manchok, made the appeal at a reception/fund raising ceremony for the disabled in Kaura, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Yayok said that if the physically challenged were given employment, it would give them a sense of belonging and help them contribute their quota to the development of their community.
The cleric observed that some disabled persons were very talented, “unfortunately the talent is being wasted due to lack of encouragement from government.”
He said that such monies received in the guise of supporting widows, orphans and the less privileged never got to them.
The Chairman, Interim Management Committee of Kaura Local Government, Mr Kumai Badu said, “disability is not the end of life and not a license to beg.”
He urged parents to send children with disabilities to school, promising that the local government would take up the responsibility for their training.
The chairman of the occasion and Council Secretary, Jema’a Local Government, Mr David Kajit, said the organisation of the event by a disabled person was a challenge to the privileged ones in the society.
“I want to challenge us not to be consumed by our sense of guilt but to make a quick reversal and develop a more positive attitude towards the less privileged,” he advised.
Kajit, said that wealthy individuals should feel challenged to contribute towards the uplift of the plight of the disabled, particularly, the qualified ones in the society.
He stated that the event was to give a common voice to all the disabled and less privileged in Kaura for the benefit of the physically challenged persons.