Namibia: Paralympics Team Scoops 26 Medals At SA Champs
The Namibian (Windhoek)
1 April 2008
Posted to the web 1 April 2008
A Namibian Invitational Paralympics team of 12 athletes scooped 18 gold medals, five silver and three bronze during the South African National Paralympics Championships held in Stellenbosch last week.
Four of the Namibians broke six South African records while five of them qualified for the Paralympics Games set for Beijing, China in September.
Four others received wildcards to the Paralympics.
The group flew to South Africa on March 22 to compete in the Nedbank-sponsored championship from March 20 to 28.
Host South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho took part in the SA championships that served as qualifiers for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Paralympic Games.
Although most Namibian athletes did well, one athlete who stood out was sprinter Martin Aloisius, who won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m events and at the same time broke the South African records in each of those disciplines.
Aloisius, a visually impaired runner, qualified for the Beijing Paralympics in the 400m race and received wildcards for the 100m and 200m events.
Another great performance came from visually impaired sprinter Sondaha Namutenya, who also won gold in 100m, 200m and 400m, which also earned her qualification to the Paralympics.
Joachim Bohitile, also a visually impaired sprinter, won gold in the 400m and 800m, while he managed silver in the 200m.
He won wildcards to the Paralympics in the 200m, 400m and 800m races.
Pelgruna Nduma (visually impaired) won gold in the 100m and 200m.
Totally blind sprinter Ananias Shikongo won gold and broke the South African record in the 100m and won silver in the 200m and 400m disciplines and received wildcards to the Paralympics for the 100m and 200m events.
Johanna Benson won gold in the 100m and 200m in the T37 cerebral palsy category.
She slashed the South African 200m record, while her first place in the 100m earned her a place in the Paralympics team for Beijing.
Namibia won another gold courtesy of F36 cerebral palsy athlete Reginald Benade in the shotput event and silver in the discus throw.
He qualified for the Paralympics with his second place in the discus and for still holding the South African shotput record.
Field athlete, David Ndeshenhen, an arm amputee, won gold in the discuss throw, while another arm amputee Simson Gariseb won gold in the 100m and 400m and silver in the 200m races.
Wheelchair-bound power lifter Ruben Soroseb, competing in the 100kg category, won a gold medal when he managed to lift 170kg.
With his attempt, he also broke the South African record that stood at 162kg.
He salso qualified for the Paralympics.
Another wildcard was awarded to Francois Beukes (cerebral palsy) for still holding the SA javelin record.
He did not participate in javelin this year but won bronze in the shotput and discus events.
Epriam Tjiueza (visually impaired) won Namibia's third bronze medal in the 100m.
The only athlete that did not do well is wheelchair-bound Frans 'Tupac' Paulus, who participated in the 400m, 800m and 1500m races.
Unfortunately, his outdated racing wheelchair was no match for the top-of-the-range wheelchairs used by his competitors.
Head coach Michael Hamukwaya told Nampa on Sunday that his athletes did exceptionally well, considering that the team was in camp for one week only.
The group received clearance to compete as an invitational team from the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), which also funded their participation.
Hamukwaya said that they could not get full national colours because the Namibia Paralympics Committee did not have national trials to select a team.
He added that the 12 athletes were originally destined for the All Africa Games in 2007 but were left out due to administrative hitches.
Hamukwaya said his team could win a good number of medals at the Paralympic Games if they are properly prepared and equipped.
Uganda: Empower Disabled - Activist
New Vision (Kampala)
2 April 2008
Posted to the web 3 April 2008
Disabled youth should be empowered and mentored to boost their esteem at the workplace, the executive director of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda, Michael Sebuliba, has said.
"Apart from offering academic and career guidance, the youth with disabilities need effective role models for leadership, interpersonal and problem-solving skills in order to be independent," Sebuliba said.
Sebuliba told The New Vision recently that there was still need to change the attitudes of many disabled youth, who are not receptive to attending school.
"We need to work towards increasing the school attendance rates, higher secondary school enrolment and educational aspirations."
Sebuliba criticised society for stigmatising disabled children.
Malawi Union for Blind wants parliament meet to pass Disability Bill
Ruby Suzgika on 02 April, 2008 08:43:00
Pressure continues to mount on President Bingu Mutharika who is refusing parliament to meet for fear of losing bulk of his members of parliament in the implementation of floor crossing Section 65.
On the latest to ask for the reconvening of the august House in the Malawi Union of for the Blind (MUB).
Addressing newspersons in Blantyre, the Executive Director of MUB Ezikiel Kumwenda highlighted the need for parliament to meet and pass the Disability Policy Bill, which was drafted in 2003.
"We people of disabilities drafted a disability policy in 2003 but until today, parliament has not yet passed it. We know there are many equally important issues to be tackled during the next sitting of parliament, but we are asking Members of Parliament to seriously consider passing the bill," said Kumwenda.
He said the bill tackles issues like their right to education and access to HIV and AIDS information among other challenges the blind face in their lives.
Once the bill is passed, Kumwenda explained that persons with disabilities would fully enjoy their right to education, travelling and access to HIV and AIDS information just like the able people do.
MUB director also said it was key for parliament to resume and seriously consider to pass the disability bill to allow most of the blind and visually impaired people to manage to vote in the next year's polls.
"It is the wish of every partially visually impaired and blind person to vote on his or her own in the 2009 elections. We no longer want someone else to vote on our behalf," he said.
"When others vote on our behalf, we are not 100 percent sure that they have indeed voted for the candidate we wanted. We feel that some of them vote twice for their own favourite candidates and not ours," Kumwenda said.
Malawi Union for the Blind was established in 1994 with the aim of among others, looking at the needs and interests of the visually impaired people in Malawi.
Ghana: State Media to Blackout Disabled Again?
Public Agenda (Accra)
4 April 2008
Posted to the web 4 April 2008
Between today and Sunday, regional and district executives of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD) from the northern sector of the country would be gathering in the northern regional capital, Tamale for a workshop.
But leaders of the group are uncertain about receiving any media coverage, particularly from the State-owned media, following a boycott of a similar event held at Oyibi near Accra last month. It was the second major event in seven months to be boycotted by all State-owned media.
Like their colleagues from the southern sector, the northern sector participants to be drawn from the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions would be gathering as part of a GSPD-Busac Project christened: "Advocacy for Economic Empowerment of PWDs through Access to District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF)and the Capacity Building Project on Livelihood Support."
With the exception of the Public Agenda, and later the Daily Guide and TV3, no media house covered the society's southern sector workshop which brought together some thirty GSPD regional and district executives from the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, Central and Volta Regions.
Journalists from the Daily Graphic, the Ghanaian Times, the Ghana News Agency, GBC Radio and Ghana Television were all conspicuously absent because they reportedly had other programmes to attend. This forced organizers to cancel the opening ceremony scheduled for the morning of Saturday March 15.
In August 2007, only Public Agenda turned up at the 27th anniversary celebration and 13th biennial national congress of the GSPD, which took place at the Aburi Girls' Senior High School in the Eastern Region under the theme: "The Achievements of Persons with Physical Disabilities in the 50 years of Ghana's Independence."
In an interview with Public Agenda during the southern sector workshop, Mr. Alexander Tetteh, National Administrator of the GSPD regretted the media blackout, especially that of the State-owned media.
He said the State-owned media has an obligation to give equal and fair coverage to all groups because they are public funded.
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana provides under Article 163 that "All State-owned media shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions."
This weekend's event would be used to "share and disseminate information on the outcomes of a survey conducted in five districts of Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions on the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF)."
The workshop will also be used to plan and redefine strategies to influence target groups at national, regional and district levels. It will also be used to develop a strategy on employment for physically disabled persons, as well as, "to develop a position paper on the DACF."
Cameroon: Kumba Handicapped, Orphans Deprived of Donation
The Post (Buea)
4 April 2008
Posted to the web 4 April 2008
Olive Ejang Tebug Ngoh
Handicapped people, orphans, NGOs and other vulnerable groups in Kumba have not benefited from the money and other items worth FCFA 7 million, which Social Affairs Minister, Catherine Bakang Mbock, had allocated for them.
The Minister's visit to Kumba on April 1 exposed this as the beneficiaries were left with hopes of another allocation apparently next year.The Post learned that in an earlier scheduled visit to Kumba for February 26, the Minister reportedly sent FCFA 7 million for the handicapped, orphans and other vulnerable people and groups.
Of this amount, FCFA 3 million was used to buy tricycles, trucks, foodstuff and cell phones amongst others, to be distributed to handicaps in Kumba.The remaining FCFA 4 million was to be distributed amongst earmarked needy persons, Common Initiative Groups and NGOs.
Unfortunately, the recent unrest caused the Minister to postpone her visit. Meme Social Affairs Delegate, Aaron Nimbom Yong, claimed that bandits who were among rioters invaded his Delegation, stole the money and items allocated for the beneficiaries and burnt the building. He also estimated the damages on the building at FCFA 14 million.
Nimbom told the press that he had hoped that since the Minister had postponed her trip, the same amount (FCFA 7 million) would be sent to his Delegation to prepare the gifts and donations to the needy.
The Minister stopped in Kumba on her way to Mundemba as part of her working visit in the Southwest Province.She doled out FCFA 500,000 to five needy groups that came out to welcome her.
But Bakang Mbock, in her speech, stated that what was lost in the strike cannot be replaced. She said FCFA 3 million was part of the money which government sent to orphans and vulnerable children yearly as HIPC funds since 2005.
The Minister regretted that Kumba would not benefit form the donation this year because of the malaise.She, however, told the disabled to remain hopeful.
Ghana: MTN to Give Disabled Persons Stable Jobs
Public Agenda (Accra)
4 April 2008
Posted to the web 4 April 2008
Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Ghana, the leading telecommunications service provider in the country, has announced its readiness to offer stable jobs to more disabled persons at its new state-of-the-art call centre at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
Miss. Mawuena Adjo Dumor, Corporate Services Executive of the company, disclosed this at the second MTN Editors Forum.
She noted that the previous operator of MTN provided jobs for disabled persons by furnishing them with specially made wheelchairs and tricycles to enable them to work as vendors of the then Areeba transfer units and scratch cards and also offer mobile communication centre services.
"But MTN is taking it to another level by really integrating them fully into the MTN family to work at our new state-of-the-art call centre, where they will have the opportunity to work as permanent staff of MTN Call Centre in a more comfortable and less stressful atmosphere," she said.
Miss Dumor, however, said the vendor wheel chair system would not be entirely abolished as yet.
On subscriber figures, she noted that between December 2006 when MTN took over from Areeba and December 2007, subscriber numbers in Ghana had increased from 2.6 million to four million, making Ghana second to Nigeria in the West and Central Africa (WECA) region of MTN operations.
"The MTN Group is pleased to announce that it has recorded 61.4 million subscribers across its 21 operations as at 31st December 2007. This is an increase of 53 per cent from 40.1 million subscribers as at December 2006," she said. Ms. Dumor said as a result, MTN Group revenue increased by 42 per cent over the same period and hit US$9.12 billion, adding that, within that period over two billion dollars of that amount was spent on network infrastructure improvement alone, besides other heavy investments into technological improvement.
"In Ghana, network enhancement continued to take priority during the review period with the installation of 718 new Base Transmission Stations (BTSs), bringing the total number of BTSs since 2006 to 1,660."
Asked if MTN would consider listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) to enable Ghanaians have a share in the profits it was making from local subscribers, Ms. Dumor said that, it was a possibility but the nitty-gritty needed to be looked at critically before such a crucial decision could be taken.
She said going forward from the just ended African Nations Cup tournament, dubbed: 'MTN Ghana 2008,' the company would continue to make substantial investment into social interventions through the MTN Foundation, which was geared towards providing high impact and sustainable assistance in the areas of education and health.
Ms. Dumor said MTN would, for instance support the upcoming UNCTAD conference in Ghana, which was in line with the company's commitment to supporting development discourse in all the countries MTN operated in.
Some editors who attended the forum appealed to MTN to provide subsidized mobile phones and phone lines for journalists to cover the upcoming general elections more effectively.
Others called for "a fair distribution" of the MTN advertisement funds to benefit as many media houses as possible.
The argument was that, "since all media houses are considered as channels to reach MTN target groups when it comes to issuing press releases from MTN, it is only fair to do same when it comes to reaching the same target groups through adverts."
Uganda: MP Wants Interpreters in Courts
New Vision (Kampala)
7 April 2008
Posted to the web 8 April 2008
COURTS should provide interpreters to deaf suspects if they are to get justice, an MP for people with disabilities has said.
Sofia Nalule (PWD Female) noted that people with disabilities deserve equal treatment in all spheres of life like any other groups in society.
"Sign language is like any other language. Disabled people are also entitled to justice, especially the deaf and dumb," she said during a dialogue at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
It was organised by the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda in conjunction with the Justice Law and Order Sector.
"Some organisations deny the disabled people services. We should not be judged according to our appearance."
Nalule asked the courts to provide well-trained people in sign language to interpret proceedings to the deaf suspects to avoid "miscarriage of justice."
However, the Justice Law and Order Sector, the MP observed, should be commended for fighting forms discrimination against the disabled and other disadvantaged people.
Nalule also thanked the Government for various efforts geared at empowering people with disabilities and protecting their rights.
She cited representation in Parliament where the disabilities MPs lobby and/or argue for the laws that favour their lot.
Namibia: Supreme Court Hears Appeal On Rape of Disabled Hostel Child
The Namibian (Windhoek)
8 April 2008
Posted to the web 8 April 2008
A landmark judgement, in which the High Court last year ordered the Minister of Education to pay more than N$100 000 to a mentally handicapped child and her guardian because of an incident in which the child was allegedly raped by a teacher during a weekend when she was supposed to be in the safety of a State school hostel, went on appeal in the Supreme Court yesterday.
The question whether it was indeed proven that the girl had been raped or sexually assaulted took centre stage during the hearing of the appeal before Judge of Appeal Gerhard Maritz and Acting Judges of Appeal Johan Strydom and Simpson Mtambanengwe.
The three Judges reserved their judgement after hearing arguments on the appeal from Christie Mostert, representing the Minister, and Lynita Conradie, representing the child's grandmother and lawyer Susan Vivier, who had been appointed by the High Court to represent the child's interests in the legal proceedings that were started as a result of the alleged rape or indecent assault of the girl.
Judge Elton Hoff ordered the Minister - and by implication, the public treasury - on August 30 last year to pay N$80 000 to the child for general damages and damages for emotional shock, pain and suffering that she was claimed to have experienced as a result of events that were claimed to have happened on the weekend of August 2 to 4 2002.
Judge Hoff further ordered the Minister to pay N$25 000 to the child's grandmother and foster parent as damages for emotional shock that she was claimed to have experienced over the same incident, as well as N$1 346,70 to compensate her for medical expenses incurred when the child was treated in hospital after the alleged incident.
The girl was 17 years old at the time of the incident.
According to evidence heard by Judge Hoff, she was mentally handicapped, with the result that she at that age had the mental capacity of a pre-school child.
She was a pupil at Moreson School in Windhoek, and was living in the school hostel.
Before the weekend in question, her grandmother informed the hostel superintendent by telephone that she would not be able to fetch the girl for the weekend.
The grandmother asked the superintendent to keep the child in the hostel that weekend.
The grandmother did not give any written permission that the girl could spend the weekend with anyone else.
However, during the weekend of August 2 to 4 2002, the superintendent allowed the child to leave the hostel to spend the weekend at the home of another staff member of the school in Windhoek.
The superintendent did not have the discretion to allow that to happen without permission from the girl's grandmother, Judge Hoff found.
After the girl had returned to the hostel, it was noticed that her behaviour had changed.
She had lost appetite, was less spontaneous, and was more aggressive.
While visiting her grandmother 12 days later, she reported that a teacher who had been in a relationship with the woman at whose home she spent the weekend, had raped her and threatened that he would kill her if she reported the incident.
The girl never returned to the school after that.
A disciplinary hearing was later held, and it was recommended that the teacher in question should be dismissed.
Two psychologists testified before Judge Hoff that the girl had been severely traumatised, and stated that it was unlikely that she had fabricated her claims about the incident.
Judge Hoff found that the girl was a very vulnerable child and that it would have been expected that special care would have been taken and precautionary measures put in place to prevent harm from befalling her.
He found that the hostel superintendent was negligent in allowing the girl to be taken out of the hostel for the weekend.
Because the superintendent had done this in the scope of her duties in the employ of the Ministry of Education, the Minister was according to the law liable for damages caused by her actions, it was ruled.
Mostert argued yesterday that it had not been proven that a rape or sexual assault had taken place.
He pointed out that there was evidence that the child was seen to be smiling when she returned to the hostel on the Sunday of the weekend - something that would not be expected if an incident had taken place as was claimed later, he indicated.
Judge Hoff had made a mistake when he found that the probabilities of the case favoured the version that the child had indeed been raped, Mostert also argued.
He further argued that even if the court accepted that such an incident had taken place, it had not been sufficiently proven that the girl's grandmother had also suffered emotional shock that would make the Minister liable to compensate her for damages suffered.
If this had been a criminal case, there would have been a problem to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the child had been raped, Conradie conceded in her arguments.
She added, though, that it had been proven on a balance of probabilities - the standard of proof needed in a civil case like this - that such an incident had taken place.
It could not just be a coincidence that the child's behaviour had changed so drastically after that weekend, she argued.
The change in the child's behaviour and the evidence that experts found that she had been seriously traumatised cannot just be explained away, Conradie also argued, saying that if the facts in the case were viewed in their totality, it had to be found that a rape or indecent assault had taken place.
It would follow that the Minister would have to be held liable for the damages suffered, she also argued.
The case is the first of its kind to have been steered through Namibia's High Court and now up to the Supreme Court.
Zambian delegation checking out state's disability efforts
In the midst of a 10-day visit here, a delegation of Zambians is hoping to bring back to their country ideas and strategies that will improve the lives of the southern African nation's disabled and sick.
The nine visitors - including several priests and nuns and a representative of the Ministry of Education - toured the Minnesota State Capitol Friday and met with Minnesotans involved with the disability community. The group wraps up its stay on Sunday.
They are participating in a program organized by Arc Greater Twin Cities, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Arc describes the visit as "a learning exchange of best practices, policies and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families."
Zambians hope to ease stigma for citizens with disabilities Often in Zambia, people with disabilities don't get educational opportunities or chances to work, said the Rev. Patrick Chisanga, a church official in the province of Zambia. "There is a stigma; some disabled people may be accepted by their families, but many don't ... and stay isolated in their houses," he said.
Much of the advocacy and aid comes from churches and missionaries, he said. But there is little collaboration among the many groups. Sister Joyce Phiri, of the Sisters of St. Francis, and Chisanga said they were impressed by the cooperation of disability organizations in the Twin Cities. The group sat in on a meeting of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities, an umbrella group of 100 organizations that advocate for the disabled.
Although much of the meeting was about current legislative strategies in Minnesota, the Zambians thought it impressive that leaders of so many groups work together.
They also seemed captivated by an electronic speech machine used by Bob Gregory of United Cerebral Palsy. "We do not have those at home," said Phiri.
Rep. Diane Loeffler, DFL-Minneapolis, spoke briefly to the group, urging them to inspire others and build partnerships. Even though there are never enough resources, Loeffler said, working together with other interested people and groups can leverage their actions and improve conditions.
Kim Keprios, CEO of ARC Greater Twin Cities, said the Minnesota group hopes to send a delegation to Zambia this summer to further cement relationships and offer more training.
Visitors impressed with interagency cooperation Grace Banda, of the Zambian Ministry of Education, said she was impressed by the cooperation among parents of children with disabilities and the many organizations that provide help. "Our country is not fully developed yet, so we do not have as much cooperation," she said.
One strategy she particularly like here, and hopes to implement back home, is individual learning plans for children with special needs. She saw some specific examples, using words and pictures, that will be very applicable in Zambia, she said.
Several of the Zambians work with those infected with HIV; it's a major problem in the country and receives much of the attention, and much of the limited funding, available from government and outside sources.
Sister Phiri, who works primarily with HIV patients, said the training received in the United States will help her organization form more support groups. Much of the existing support comes from close family members, but joining them together - as ARC and other groups do here - will make their advocacy even more effective, she said.
As well as learning much from the disability groups in the Twin Cities, Chisanga said he was also impressed with another Minnesota feature. The early April snow was a treat for him and many of the other Zambians. "We saw people drive on frozen water," he said.
Disabled demand for tax break
Written by Albert Muriuki
April 9, 2008: People with disabilities are demanding immediate action from Finance minister Amos Kimunya to enable them enjoy tax benefits that are provided for in a law that Parliament passed five years ago.
The law, which received presidential assent in 2003, exempts people with disabilities from paying income tax “to help mitigate the extra costs that comes with disability.”
These benefits are, however, yet to accrue to qualified people because the minister is yet to bring it into force through a gazette notice. For this law to come into effect, the minister must gazette new rules on the levying of income tax.
Mr Lawrence Mute, a visually impaired lawyer and a commissioner with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), described the delay in bringing the law into force as discriminatory.
“The privileges and rights conferred by this legislation (Disabilities Act) have as yet to be enjoyed by those for whom they were enacted. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
It is estimated that there are about three million Kenyans living with disability and about 500,000 earn some income that is taxable.
“We are not asking for any favours. All we are saying is that exempting us from the income tax puts us on a level playing field with the rest of society,” said lawyer Tim Wetangula, a nominated councillor who is physically disabled.
Persons With Disabilities Act states that all persons with disabilities who are in receipt of an income may apply to the Finance minister for exemption from income tax and any other levies on their income.
The Act also states that materials, articles and equipment, including motor vehicles, that are modified or designed for the use by persons with disabilities are exempt from import duty, value added tax, demurrage charges, port charges and any other government levy.
Similarly all goods, items, implements or equipment donated to institutions and organizations of or for persons with disabilities should be exempt from import duties, value added tax, demurrage charges, port charges and any other government levy which would in any way defeat the purposes of or increase the cost of the said donations.
Eighty per cent of the world’s 650 million persons with disability live in developing countries, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
There are no statistics on the number of people with disability in the formal labour market.
In the United Kingdom, 75 per cent of the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange have been found to have failed to meet basic levels of accessibility for disabled persons. This it is said to make them miss out on more than $147 million in revenue annually.
In the current Parliament, no political party nominated a person with disability. Safina is the only party in the history of Kenya to have nominated a person with disability, Mrs Josephine Sinyo, to Parliament, who was visually impaired.
“It is as if people with disabilities are not Kenyans and our issues are thrown to the periphery,” said Mr Mute.
CNE to Provide for Polling Booths for Disabled Persons
Luanda, 04/09 - Angola’s National Electoral Council (CNE) might set up special polling booths to suit people living with physical disability and move on wheelchairs.
This was announced Wednesday in Luanda by CNE chairman, Caetano de Sousa, who said the measure is intended to enable that group of persons to participate on equal terms with physically unimpeded people in the legislative elections set for September this year in Angola.
Caetano de Sousa was speaking to journalists after a meeting he held with the chairman of the National Association of Disabled People of Angola (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, that served for the two to discuss the creation of conditions facilitating people with physical disability to cast their vote.
According to him, some will cast their ballot standing, but others will vote seated, due to their specific condition.
"We have come to consult with ANDA, to learn about the most common disabilities in order for us to create the conditions helping its associates with the voting process,” he stated.
In his turn, Silva Lopes Etiambulo said a study has been conducted to see how people with disabilities can reach to the booths without constraint.
He admitted this will take some time as the number of people moving on wheelchairs in the country is high.
He stated as well that the possibility of the blind to vote with the help of their guides is being considered as many do not master the appropriate reading techniques.
Fund raising for cripple kids
The Greater Accra Region Physically Challenged Educational Fund has been launched with a call on government to provide scholarships for children with disability from the basic to tertiary level. The National President of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Joseph Adu Boampong, who made the call said the society would identify and advocate better socio economic facilities for its members to improve their living conditions.
He said it is essential that the society is educated on the need for disabled children to attend school like their colleague able bodied children. The Director for the Special Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, Victoria Donkor urged the public to show love to the physically challenged and help them to develop their talents.
Posted on: Sunday, 13, April, 2008
The disabled demand recognition in new order
Story by CAROLINE WAFULA
Publication Date: 4/13/2008
People with disabilities are calling for the creation of a department under the Office of the President or Prime Minister to address their issues.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner Lawrence Mute said there was need for the such an office to deal with issues of persons with disabilities.
This, he said, would give people with disability visibility, resources and political goodwill. It would also enhance monitoring and reporting across government ministries and departments. The disabled also want a special advisor appointed to guide the government on disability issues. They further demand appointments to key positions in the grand coalition government.
“As Kenyans with disabilities, we have for far too long been forced to remain on the periphery of this country’s policy and legislation making processes,” said Samuel Kabue of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (Edan).
“Even where policy or legislation has recognised our needs, its implementation has been patchy and half-hearted,” he added. Mr Kabue said the marginalisation of the disabled encouraged the society to heighten discrimination against them in the family, education and work.
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, has been in place for almost five years, with little progress in implementation.
Timothy Wanyonyi of the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation asked the grand coalition government to fulfil election promises to ensure the rights and development needs of the disabled were addressed. They urged the government to finalise the review of the constitution in one year.
The group noted that the Bomas draft captured a lot of their concerns and desires, particularly to the extent that it included specific articles on their rights.
The new review process, they said, must ensure that the Bomas gains are retained and other provisions included to ensure that they have effective representation in national and local governance structures.
The deaf teaching the deaf
The conversation rippling through the conference room in Benoni on Gauteng's East Rand was animated. Several of the 60 people packed around half a dozen tables were talking to one another at the same time.
Despite the hype of activity and tangible energy, everything was dead silent. Those who were present are deaf and were talking in sign language.
They are the chosen ones who will soon go into South Africa's towns and villages to find illiterate deaf people who could benefit from the government's Kha ri Gude mass literacy campaign.
Ingrid Parkin of DeafSA, which represents the interests of deaf people and has been instrumental in recruiting the volunteers and conceptualising the training for the campaign to reach the deaf, says the process is unique.
"Using the deaf to teach the deaf -- this can set a trend for the rest of the world," says Parkin, who is studying towards her master's degree in inclusive education.
One of the benefits is that the hearing world -- and hearing trainers -- may not be adequately tuned into the culture and the needs of deaf people and are often uncomfortable in the presence of hearing people.
According to Parkin, who is married to the Olympic swimmer and medal winner Terence Parkin, the country has a 75% illiteracy rate in the deaf community (an estimated one million people).
The campaign will give illiterate deaf people a limited ability to sign, the basics of South African sign language, before teaching them to read and write in English (they don't know other South African spoken languages).
Jabaar Mohamed, a young deaf graduate and one of the coordinators of the deaf trainers, says the Kha ri Gude campaign will change lives.
"The majority of deaf people cannot read or write. This is the start of many things for deaf people in South Africa," he says.
Hilda Mbetha from Cape Town already works as a teaching assistant at a school for deaf children.
"In the past there has not been education for the deaf. They cannot write their names, they can't manage their money or take their tablets correctly. Maybe in 2010 when visitors to the World Cup get lost, deaf people can write directions for them," she says.
As part of the campaign aimed at people with disabilities 100 blind volunteer educators will be trained to assist, ultimately reaching 1 000 blind illiterates this year. In addition, the campaign hopes to reach some of the estimated 280 000 disabled children who are not attending school.
REPORT ON POST ELECTION VIOLENCE IN KENYA
[Last updated Monday, April 14, 2008]
The KENYA ASSOCIATION FOR THE INTELECTUALLY HANDICAPPED (KAIH), members of Inclusion International, has put together a report on the post elections violence and the impact on the Persons with Intellectual disabilities and their families.
The report provides graphic details of the horrors of the situation and it includes recommendations to be adopted in order to help prevent further such situations. Please take time to read this touching and useful document.
click here to read the report
Khembo says handouts campaign for disabled, elderly to continue
Judith Moyo on 15 April, 2008 13:32:00
Minister responsible for people with Disabilities and the Elderly, Clement Khembo, says the government of President Bingu Mutharika will continue with its campaign to give handouts of cash and items to the disabled and the elderly as one way of empowering them.
Khembo also disclosed that government would soon introduce a universal social pension scheme for all the disabled who are over 60 years old as one way of enhancing their standard of living.
He was speaking when he donated assorted items worth over K500, 000 to the disabled and the elderly in Mzuzu City and Nkhatabay District.
He said the items donated would enable the recipients to engage in various business ventures.
"It is our hope that through the start-up capitals, the number of beggars in our country will be reduced," said Khembo.
Zambia: Magwero School Band Lives Up to Adage 'Disability's Not Inability'
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
15 April 2008
Posted to the web 15 April 2008
THE name Magwero to many people in Eastern Province has been misconstrued as a place where people synonymous with different disabilities live and attain their special education.
This misapprehension has persisted in the minds of many for a long time especially about Magwero school for the blind and deaf in Chipata, Eastern Province.
However, recent visitations to Magwero have proved wrong many assertions about the school because the visually impaired school boys and girls at the Reformed Church in Zambia (RCZ) mission are full of eagerness, hope, promise, creativity and more interestingly very able to take up the tasks the so called able bodied are able to handle.
"Disability is not inability" so goes the old adage which defines the challenges faced by people with disabilities all over the world regardless of their colour, race or creed.
People with disabilities all over in the world including those at Magwero have and possess rare talents which should be harnessed and supported by the able -bodied people by forging strong partnerships with their brothers and sisters in such conditions brought about not of their own will but by the will of God.
Magwero school for the blind has a band composed of 18 members and has just released a 10 track debut album entitled, 'Magwero' , a typical example of the misplaced word disabled.
The song Magwero which means the beginning, has rhumba -gospel lyrics sang in Bemba and was composed by, Mekelani Sakala , a grade 9 pupil who is the band's bass guitarist.
The song urges or is asking the people of Zambia to praise God for he is the owner of everything.
The band which has 10 boys and eight girls, all of whom are visually impaired, is a marvel to watch on Tuesday afternoons from 14.30 hours to 16.00 hours as they go about belting out their newly released hits and heart rending songs.
The follow up number at position two and others at seven, eight and ten were composed by, Brian Siame, a visually impaired teacher at the same school.
Siame penned down Anthu a mu Zambia tili pamodzi a Kalindula tune, Nivichani ivi vimene nimvela which has an R & B touch, AIDS ilibe sankho and Freedom for Africa .
The band's chairman, John Phiri, a grade 10 pupil says the album was directed by Tadeo Phiri, another visually impaired teacher and pastor who is the band's patron.
Phiri told the Times that it was very difficult to produce the album because they used dry guitars.
Two other songs Africa my motherland and Tilimbike in the album were written by former Magwero school retired teacher, Noah Mwale, who has now settled down in his home town of Lundazi .
Africa my motherland, has a South African beat and in the song the band is asking African countries to be united for peace and development.
The rest of the songs are The Devil is a Gong'a, Mwanawasa musogoleri wa chitukuko and Ineumoyo wanga umayopa Mulungu completing the album.
The Devil is a Gong'a was written by James Mwale a grade 12 pupil while the song that has been dedicated to Dr Mwanawasa was written by Jairos Tembo a former pupil at the school and now living in Lusaka .
Magwero school, established in 1903 by the Dutch Reformed Church is one of the first schools in Central Africa for the blind.
School head teacher, Mastoni Shawa, who has rendered a lot of moral and material support to the band described the album's release which was directed by Tadeo Phiri, as a dream come true for the band.
Mr Shawa said he felt proud because the moral and spiritual support he rendered to the band had finally yielded results and was now appealing to President Mwanawasa and well-wishers to help the band to put the music on CDs as well as audio tapes.
The headteacher's sentiments were echoed by the band's chairperson John Phiri, a grade 10 pupil who is visually impaired.
"My special appeal goes to Dr Mwanawasa, business houses and well-wishers and individuals to help us produce CDs and audio tapes so that the music can be on the market.
We are asking those who would like to assist us, Magwero school for the blind band raise K45 million required to produce CDs and tapes of this album to come and God will reward them richly," Phiri said.
He said the visually impaired at Magwero have identified their talent and it was for this reason that they have decided to direct their energies and time towards that direction so that they could as well use this talent in future as a career depending on how they perform academically.
The band chairperson said that if these promising young boys and girls are not supported there is a likelihood that they could start begging for alms in the street.
"If they can not prosper in music, they will go on the street begging which is not healthy. The truth of the matter is that disability is not inability," Phiri said.
He howeversaysthe band was faced with problems such as lack of modern musical equipment and disclosed that it was very difficult to produce their debut album because they used dry guitars.
Phiri says the band would welcome both financial and material support especially in terms of a new set of electrical musical equipment that includes guitars and drums among others.
The band said it had decided to dedicate a song to President Mwanawasa because it felt he has done well in as far as fighting corruption was concerned.
The band leader said Dr Mwanawasa had shown that he was serious about the crusade against corruption and as such appreciated his efforts which they said have brought about development to the rural areas in Zambia.
In the song entitled Mwanawasa musogoleri wachitukuko which is cut number five on the album, the band eulogises President Mwanawasa for his tireless efforts to fight the scourge and urges him to continue with the fight because it says the sustained crusade against the vice has had a positive impact on the rural population.
It urges the President to continue because the rural population appreciates his work which has resulted in the construction of schools, clinics, provision of clean and safe water and rehabilitation of road network.
If these young and promising visually impaired boys and girls will be supported in their newly found musical career, then the sky will be the limit because they possess not only amazing skill and melodious voices in music but also unmatched determination to succeed against all the challenges facing them.
Uganda: Disabled Stuck in Camps
New Vision (Kampala)
15 April 2008
Posted to the web 16 April 2008
Flavia Nakagwa And Michael Odeng
IT is mainly the elderly and the disabled who are still stuck in displaced people's camps, a study by the ministry for the disabled has revealed.
Herbert Baryayebwa, a commissioner, said the two vulnerable groups form almost 80% of the people still living in camps.
Addressing journalists in Kampala recently, he said children also posed a special problem.
"Voluntary resettlement is taking place but majority of the young people who were born in the camps have nowhere to go."
The commissioner also said the ministry was working on a regulation demanding all buildings be made friendly to the disabled.
"Most disabled persons have difficulty accessing several infrastructure like buildings and vehicles, but we want to bring an end to their suffering."
Minister Sulaiman Madada said there was need to economically empower the physically handicapped.
"We shall ensure that the disabled get enterprise-based skills."
Uganda: Mukwaya Advises PWDs
New Vision (Kampala)
17 April 2008
Posted to the web 18 April 2008
Trade minister Janat Mukwaya has advised people with disabilities (PWDs) to train in courses that give them marketable skills.
Mukwaya also urged the disabled with vocational skills to make products that are marketable overseas and appeal to tourists.
"You need to look at what is on the market. If you continue training in tailoring and cannot get a tender to make school uniforms, then you are wasting your skills," she said.
Mukwaya was on Tuesday speaking during the International dissemination workshop on PWDs' skills and enterprises at Sports View Hotel in Kireka.
The workshop was organised by the gender ministry and the National Union for Disabled Persons (NUDIPU).
Mukwaya asked the disabled to also engage in aqua culture, agriculture and art and craft.
"Growing the artemisia grass used to manufacture malaria drugs is profitable because it grows very fast, and the market is available here. Why can't you venture into it?"
The NUDIPU chairman, Francis Kinubi, said the disabled wanted to be allowed to freely contribute to the social and political structure of the nation.
The disabled feel left out in AIDS war
Disabled persons in Botswana have said they have been left out in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
They said at a two-day workshop this week that it is unfair for anybody to talk about success stories in the fight against AIDS without mentioning young people with disability. The theme of the workshop organised by the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) was: 'Commit to Zero Transmission Lifestyles: Youth with Disabilities Leading by Keeping the Promise to Stop AIDS'. It was held at Kagisong Centre in Mogoditshane.
Speaking at the workshop, Shirely Keoagile said it is sad that while people are saying HIV/AIDS rates are now declining, people with disabilities have not been reached.
She said that in the just ended Month of Youth Against AIDS (MYAA) campaigns, no youth with disabilities was reached "which means we are not part of the society". Keoagile said the laws seem to address the problems of non-disabled people. She added that Botswana's response to AIDS is not serving the disabled. "We cannot make significant progress on national AIDS statistics unless government and community efforts better respond to the needs of people with disabilities," she said. She called for an urgent comprehensive national strategy. She said people with disabilities have been silent for many years and it is time to speak out.
"We need to take pride in our national anthem to wake up and rise and tell our government about our rights and concerns," she said.
She said major HIV/AIDS intervention and gender violence programmes do not take into account the specific conditions, needs and experiences of the disabled.
She said it is important for people with disabilities to target and challenge their negative self-image and to raise their voices to be heard. Other disabled people at the workshop shared her sentiments.
Kenya: Standard to Support Mentally Disabled
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
18 April 2008
Posted to the web 17 April 2008
THE Standard Group Managing Director, Mr Paul Wanyagah, has expressed shock that 2.7 million Kenyans are living in deplorable conditions due to mental disability.
The chief executive officer of Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped (KSMH), Ms Eddah Maina, the stigma attached to mental disability had hampered proper management of the condition.
Wanyagah said the issue is serious and needs visibility and support from Kenyans
"We at the Standard Group will evaluate the issues and identify how to support KSMH's noble cause," he said.
KSMH has organised a charity walk on June 15 to raise Sh11.5 million for 500 affected families.
The disabled pitch their case over continued relegation
Story by CAROLINE WAFULA
Publication Date: 4/18/2008
Poverty, exclusion from decision making forums and general inequality in society are some of the key issues that affect disabled people more than any other group in society.
Kenya Paraplegic Organisation executive director Tim Wanyonyi (right) with Ms Teresa Njoroge of Friends of Disabled and Mr Lawrence Mute of Kenya National Human Rights Commission address a Press conference in Nairobi last week.Photos/FILE People with disabilities have pointed out in various forums that they are twice more likely to live in absolute poverty than able-bodied people.
It has further been noted that disabled people experience oppression, discrimination and violation of basic human rights on a daily basis.
Most disabled people, regardless of their age and gender, are prevented from making decisions that affect their daily lives, according to crusaders of disability rights.
With the formation of the grand coalition Government, the disabled in the country are in for another round of exclusion from key decision making level since none of their own was appointed to serve in the Cabinet.
This is because none of them was elected to the 10th Parliament or nominated by any political party, despite pressure from the fraternity.
It was the same case with party nominations, according to Mr Phitalis Were of Leonard Cheshire International. He says many candidates with disabilities offered themselves and worked tenaciously towards being elected as MPs and councillors but due to “shambolic and unjust nomination exercises”, as well as resource constraints, their effort became stillborn.
With the unveiling of the grand coalition Government, they were hoping that an office of the Status of Persons with Disabilities under the Office of the President or that of the Prime Minister would be included.
Such an office, which they had proposed, was to comprehensively deal with issues of persons with disabilities.
The fraternity of people with disabilities, led by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner Lawrence Mute, says it would have been more appropriate to create such an office in the Prime Minister’s office since the premier will coordinate and supervise Government departments and ministries.
Under the new Government structure, disability issues are handled through the ministries of Gender and Children Affairs and Youth and Sports.
But according to disability rights crusaders, under the relevant ministry, the disabled receive relative negligible attention and disability remains a poor cousin of apparently more important matters such as sports and gender.
“Disability entails multi-dimensional and cross-cutting agenda that cannot be pigeonholed in a single ministry,” Mr Mute stated on behalf of the group.
This measure, he argued, would give disability in Kenya much needed visibility, resources and political goodwill. It will also enhance monitoring and reporting across all Government ministries and departments.
Alongside a full fledged disability office, those with disabilities want the Government to appoint a disability adviser to provide technical advice to the Government.
They cite South Africa, Senegal and Namibia as some of the countries the model operates well.
Another expectation of the disabled fraternity is that the new grand coalition Government will ensure that persons with disabilities are employed in governance positions.
They state that people with disabilities should have effective participation and representation in planning and decision-making organs.
They want persons with disabilities to be appointed in senior public positions like permanent secretaries, constitutional offices (including the Judiciary), the diplomatic service, parastatals and to review/reform committees.
The group reiterates the need for all these players to ensure that the development needs of Kenyans with disabilities are at the heart of national policy priorities.
“As Kenyans with disabilities, we have for far too long been forced to remain on the periphery of this country’s policy and legislation making processes,” says Mr Samuel Kabue of the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (Edan). “Even where policy or legislation has recognised our needs, its implementation has been patchy and half-hearted,” he added.
The overall consequences of this status quo, according to the group, have included the continuation of exclusion occasioned by their physical, sensory or intellectual impairments.
“This marginalisation has also encouraged society to heighten discrimination against us in the classroom, the workplace, the hospital and the family setting too,” Mr Kabue says.
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2003, has been in place for almost five years, yet little progress with regards to implementing and enforcing it has been made.
Mr Timothy Wanyonyi of the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation says members of the grand coalition Government (ODM, PNU and ODM Kenya) should therefore stay true to their election promises and act decisively to enable the rights and development needs of over three million disabled Kenyans.
Policymakers and implementers should as well prioritise disability rights in public policy, legislative and administrative matters, he states.
The group proposes several steps, which they say should be taken urgently both by the grand coalition Government as well as by other public actors.
The fraternity wants full implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act and calls on the new Government to gazette all sections of the Persons with Disabilities Act which as yet remain inoperable. They include Section 22 of the Act which requires proprietors of public buildings to adapt them to suit persons with disabilities, Section 23 which provides that operators of public service vehicles shall adapt it to suit persons with disabilities and Section 39 which requires all television stations to provide a sign language inset or sub-titles in all news casts and educational programmes, and in all programmes covering events of national significance.
The fraternity also wants the Government to finalise and the development of the National Disability Policy which has remained in draft form for the last couple of years and have Parliament pass it in the course of this year.
It is now one year since the Government signed the convention which aims to enable the better protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
“The grand coalition Government should this year ratify the convention. It should also review all legislation covering disability issues so that domestication of the convention may happen,” Mr Kabue says.
Special interests can be best articulated by those directly affected and so inclusive policies and legislation will only be implemented if persons with disabilities are involved, according to the disability rights crusaders.
In this regard, they state that both public and private employers should be required or encouraged to employ persons with disabilities in their establishments. The guiding standard in the Persons with Disabilities Act is where at least five per cent of employees are disabled.
To all the people with disabilities, however, the constitutional review process holds the key to the solutions to the myriad of problems affecting them.
They urged the Government to finalise review of the Constitution in one year.
The group says the Bomas of Kenya Draft Constitution captured a lot of their concerns and desires “particularly to the extent that it included specific articles on our rights as persons with disabilities”.
They say the review must, therefore, ensure that the Bomas of Kenya gains are retained and that other provisions are included to ensure that persons with disabilities have effective representation in national as well as local governance structures, says the fraternity.
Kenya: Province Takes Two Titles As Special Schools Event Ends
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
19 April 2008
Posted to the web 21 April 2008
Central clinched the football title after humiliating defending champions Western 3-0 at the finals of the Special Schools competitions played at Nakuru Boys' grounds.
The victors, who were playing in the hearing impaired juniors' category, started the title chase on a sound note and took an early lead in the 12th minute through Jacob Wainai.
Still reeling from the defensive lapse that led to the opener, Western hopes of retaining the trophy all but disappeared when Wainaina notched his brace 15 minutes later.
Boniface Kenga scored the all-important third in 45th for Central to secure the title as his team eventually ran out 3-0 victors.
In the semis, Western edged past Nyanza on post match penalties 5-3 win while Central topped Coast 2-1 a close encounter to qualify for yesterday's decider.
In the volleyball boys' junior category, Central continued their sterling performance, trouncing Western 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-18) to scoop the trophy.
To book a berth in the finals, the winners beat Coast 2-0 while in another encounter, Western hit Eastern 2-1.
In the Mentally Impaired category, Western walloped Eastern 10-0 to win the handball girls' title for the second year running.
Western had given an early indication for their serious bid for the trophy when they humiliated Coast 14-1in the semi-finals before Eastern ousted Nairobi 4-0 to qualify for the decider played at Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology.
In other matches, Eastern beat Nyanza 4-3 as Coast humbled Central 10-0 with Western hitting Rift Valley 6-1.
In the boys' category, Central trounced Eastern 6-2 before clawing Rift Valley 5-4 and then lost 13-12 to Western.
Excluded from the fight
By BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI
FOR FEAR OF THE STIGMA that usually comes with HIV and Aids, Christine Kyaterekera lived in denial for 10 years - a decision that eventually contributed to her blindness.
“I feared going to hospital. I feared discrimination if people knew I was HIV positive. I lived in self-denial for 10 years,” she said.
Kyaterekera, who has lived with the virus for 17 years, said that, without treatment, blisters and a dry cough intensified. She only got relief after her family decided to take her for an HIV test.
“On December 31, 2000, we held a family meeting and my children resolved that I go for a test. I was found to have the virus and tuberculosis in January 2001. I took TB drugs for eight months and I recovered.”
Talking to The EastAfrican during the 2nd Meeting of the Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV and Aids in Kampala, Kyaterekera, who has gone public about her status, recalled that in early 2002, she started experiencing pain in one eye.
“I went to hospital and the health workers claimed it was an allergy caused by the drugs I was taking for HIV. It was then that my husband became very sick and re-infected me with TB. I was put on TB treatment again, but my eye pain persisted.
“On April 1, 2003, I woke up to realise that my left eye had gone blind. I went to hospital and the doctor told me that once the virus gets to the eyes, they don’t easily recover,” Kyaterekera recalled.
“By then, the vision in my right eye was also dimming. I was then advised to start taking ARVs. Unfortunately, my right eye never recovered and I became very ill in May 2003. My husband died in November the same year.”
The 49-year-old mother of seven later joined Blind But Able, a non- governmental organisation, where she has learnt to use the cane, knitting and Braille.
“My biggest challenge was to get used to my status and how to look after my young children, who were traumatised. Though I have now got used to my disability, my experience is that whenever parents get HIV, it is the children who suffer most. My neighbours discouraged their children from playing with mine for fear of infection.”
ACCORDING TO THE WORLD Health Organisation, nearly 34 million people are currently living with HIV and Aids worldwide. Cytomegalovirus retinitis is the most common cause of vision loss in Aids patients.
“Although the prevalence of cytomegalovirus retinitis is decreasing in industrialised countries because of the widespread availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy, between 10 and 20 per cent of HIV- infected patients worldwide can be expected to lose vision in one or both eyes as a result of ocular cytomegalovirus infection,” Philippe G. Kestelyn and Emmett T. Cunningham Jr, wrote in a paper titled, “HIV and Aids and Blindness,” published in the WHO Bulletin in 2001.
“Less frequent but important causes of bilateral vision loss in patients with HIV and Aids include varicella zoster virus and herpes simplex virus retinitis, HIV-related ischaemic microvasculopathy, ocular syphilis, ocular tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and ocular toxic or allergic drug reactions,” Kestelyn and Cunningham Jr, added.
“At present, most patients with HIV and Aids in developing countries who lose their vision have a very limited life expectancy.
“As antiretroviral therapy makes its way to these countries, however, both life expectancy and the prevalence of blindness related to HIV and Aids can be expected to increase dramatically,” they warn.
Although Kyaterekera is on ARV treatment through the Aids Support Organisation (TASO), 80 million people are being excluded from the fight against HIV and Aids in Africa simply because they are disabled.
They make up a large proportion of people in the poorest communities, which are also severely affected by HIV and Aids.
The National Union of Disabled People of Uganda in partnership with the Secretariat of the African Decade and Handicap International organised the Kampala meeting from March 11-13 this year under the theme, “Making Access for All a Reality.”
The meeting provided an important opportunity to review progress towards achieving the Africa Campaign objectives, to exchange lessons learned and to plan involvement in the International Conference on Aids and STI in Africa in Dakar, Senegal in December 2008. It was attended by delegates from over 20 African countries and seven countries in Europe and North America.
PERSONS WITH DISABILIties in Africa are at equal or greater risk of HIV infection, compared with their non-disabled peers. For many, being disabled means that they are less likely to marry and more likely to have several sexual partners.
Disabled women, girls and boys are also more likely to be victims of sexual violence. Other factors such as physical dependence, life in institutions and lack of access to legal rights, also make them particularly vulnerable to infection and abuse.
The Kampala Declaration on Disability and HIV and Aids issued at the end of the meeting suggested among other things that national Aids strategic plans recognise people with disabilities as vulnerable to HIV and Aids as well as valuable contributors in the response to the scourge at all levels, including planning, implementation and monitoring.
Uganda: 'Diasbled Denied Loans' - Minister
New Vision (Kampala)
20 April 2008
Posted to the web 21 April 2008
FINANCIAL institutions should not ignore the elderly and the disabled.
"Many cases have been reported about elderly persons and the disabled being denied loans because it is feared they may not pay back," said the state minister for the disabled, Sulaiman Madada.
"Laws to cater for the rights of disabled persons are already in place although implementation is still missing. It is not only a challenge of the Government, but also the beneficiaries, we all need to work together," he said recently at the close of an international business workshop for the disabled at Sports View Hotel in Kireka.
"We are going to write to all employers on the rights of the disabled. Those who fail to comply will be prosecuted," he warned.
‘Teachers should go for training’
BY SELLINA NKOWANI
12:42:29 - 21 April 2008
Teachers who teach children with special needs need to go for refresher courses to keep them in tune with the ever-changing world, Head Teacher for Mountain View School for the Deaf in Bvumbwe, Thyolo Cassidy Magreta has said.
Magreta said this last Friday when he received a donation of K2 million and hearing aid kits for the pupils and stationery from a visiting team of Freemasons from the Province of Ross and Cromarty in Scotland.
He said most teachers at the school were failing to instruct pupils properly in sign language because they lack proper training.
“There is need for more training to keep them in tune with the new technology. We would love if these teachers would go for further training,” he said, adding that this was one of the challenges the school was facing.
In his speech, leader delegation Ramsay Mc Ghee said he was delighted that the school had managed to raise some funds on its own through self-help projects.
He added that the money would help the school to expand poultry and dairy projects.
“We have heard about what you do and we are impressed with what you are doing and we also want to help in whatever small way we can,” he said.
The 13-member team would be in Malawi for seven days and would support the initiative of the Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell and they would be meeting Malawian Freemasons to “exchange ideas and further cement the ties between Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Brethren in Malawi”.
“We want to encourage vocational skills. Next week, we will hand over the construction of two poultry houses,” Mc Ghee said.
Mountain View School for the Deaf opened its doors in 1997 and has full boarding facilities.
The school, which has about 200 pupils, enrolls pupils as young as six years old.
‘Disabled need our love’
21 April 2008
The message is clear. “In God’s eyes we are all the same.’’
That was the message to the congregation at a special service at the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s ministry for people with disabilities in Orlando West, Soweto.
More than 200 disabled people attended the service.
Guests included pupils from the Sizwe School for the Deaf in Dobsonville, which the church adopted two weeks ago, and the Sizanani School for the Disabled in Doornkop.
Sizanani caters for 100 disabled children and adults. It was founded by Sydney Ngwenya, who is physically disabled, in 1996.
Ngaka Tsagae, a committee member of the ministry, said the main purpose of the event was to highlight the plight of the disabled community.
“We need to show these people love all the time,” Tsagae said. “The love and respect we show them at church needs to spread to our homes and communities.
“So there is much to be done. Most of our public places, for example, are unfriendly to the disabled and we need to stand up for their rights.”
Woman who lost legs and an arm graduates
April 21 2008 at 10:21AM
After surviving a vicious attack which resulted in her losing both legs and an arm, a woman has received a social sciences degree.
Nellie Ndlovu, 25, now wants other crime victims to know that there is life after crime and that being disabled need not be a hindrance.
"In the beginning it is very difficult, but you need to live past it. If you survive, it means life will carry on," she said on Sunday.
Ndlovu was among hundreds of students who graduated from the University of KwaZulu Natal during the weekend.
Ndlovu, from a rural community in Dududu, on the South Coast, said it took physical and emotional strength to achieve success.
Not having the finances to study, she also had the additional challenge of going out into the world disabled after her attack. "When I went to study it was a blind shot because I did not have the resources. But I did manage to get a bursary.
"In terms of my disability, when I decided to study I was okay, but when I arrived at Howard College (a campus at UKZN) it was very hilly and I was intimidated. But the varsity disability unit helped me and I had a motorised wheelchair," she said.
Ndlovu was attacked while walking near a railway line in Dududu in 2002. "During the attack two men knocked me unconscious and they placed me across the railway line. I was hit by a train and that is how I lost my legs and an arm. The men were never caught and so I do not know what the motive was," she said.
Ndlovu said getting used to her disability took time. "I was frustrated because I could not do everything I used to do. Even now I still have moments when I get frustrated."
In 2005 Ndlovu went to further her studies at UKZN. She said leaving home and a familiar environment was intimidating. "I was scared sometimes but you have to take the leap in order to succeed."
Being the first in her family to get a degree, Ndlovu's family is ecstatic. "My family has always supported me through everything, especially my mom and my nephew. And I have great friends at varsity too," she said.
Justice ministry plans to review disability bill
BY DEBORAH CHIPOFYA
12:45:15 - 21 April 2008
Ministry of Justice has finalised reviewing the draft Disability Bill and was now ready to present it to various interest groups for their input, Minister for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly Clement Khembo said last Friday.
Khembo was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony at Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha) Lilongwe Vocational Training Centre.
He said after finalising consultations with stakeholders, the Bill would go before cabinet before it is finally presented to Parliament for adoption.
“When the Bill is passed into law, it will remove all forms of discrimination towards the disabled and anyone who discriminates against the disabled will be punishable by law,” said Khembo.
The Disability Bill was drafted in 2004 and intends to replace Malawi’s sole disability specific law, the Handicapped Persons Act of 1971.
The Bill includes extensive provisions on employment and education and also addresses accessibility, transport and health requirements.
At the graduation ceremony, Macoha Executive Director Steven Msowoya thanked government for its efforts in promoting and empowering persons with disabilities.
“We are glad that the Bill is now out of Ministry of Justice and ready to be tabled before various stakeholders for further discussion,” said Msowoya.
Macoha graduated 50 trainees in tailoring, financial accounting and information technology.
Rwanda: Living With an Unknown Disability
The New Times (Kigali)
21 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008
Since the age of four, Harerimana has been stuck in a squatting position.
This is the story of a disabled man who despite life's challenges has been able to lead a normal life. Once strong and fit, now crippled, Harerimana is only able to move from one place to another while squatting, his arms and legs shuffling him slowly forward.
His bones are deformed and keep him this position. His life is plagued by unrelenting trials, isolation and loneliness.
"You mean you want me to come and visit you?" Harerimana asked with disbelief upon receiving my invitation for a chat in a quiet place.
Thirty-six years ago, Vianne Harerimana was born a happy child like all others, four years later he vividly recalls waking up crippled in bed, unable to stand straight.
"At the age of about four, I woke up to find everyone gone fetching firewood and could not arouse because I was unable to stand straight," Harerimana begins his untold tale in a low and dry tone. From that day forth, he has never been able to walk upright.
However, Harerimana's life today is remarkably normal. He has a partner who is four months pregnant whom he hopes to walk down the aisle next month. He pays monthly rent of Frw5,000 and looks to the future with optimism.
But Harerimana has never discovered the cause of his disability. Having lost count of the medical centres he has visited, none of which have shed light on his condition, Harerimana has come to suspect that he was bewitched.
"Doctors could not establish the disease I was suffering from. I even went to the traditional ones but none helped me," says the father to be.
He even went to Gahini centre of the handicapped in 2003 hoping to get some assistance but all efforts to have his dilemma resolved seem to fall on barren ground and for him.
Harerimana recalls vividly the incident he believes to be the reason behind his crippled body. A neighbor had cows and while away grazing, the attendant fell asleep and the cows ate from people's gardens.
Being young, Harerimana had gone with this man whose name he does not remember very well and it is then that the trouble started. Three of the cows were hacked to death and both eyes of another one were pierced out by the angry garden owners.
"The attendant went on the run and his boss started accusing me. When I asserted that I was not responsible, he picked up a broom and then used its handle to strike me. He began to hit harder and harder and he kept hitting me with it. I can remember the pain and the force of the weapon," recalls Harerimana. Harerimana was hit mostly about the legs and also around the stomach.
"I can remember the bruises I had for several days after this vicious attack. I can clearly recall my friends fighting for me during this attack and made all attempts to stop it," revealed Harerimana.
"I can not remember my immediate reaction as result of this abuse but I can recall the incident being "swept under the carpet" and the next thing I knew, I could not stand on my own."
"I have always remembered this attack by my neighbor. I can still feel the emotional pain of this abuse when I focus on, or describe it," said Harerimana.
"I tried all medication but it didn't pay off because there was no change at the end of the day. Regardless of all this I remain hopeful that life continues against all odds."
His father Reverend Bubakimana Daniel and mother Zebriah Bampire live in the village and they can not stop to wonder why it is only Harerimana out of the whole family who has this rare disability.
"It was a shocking revelation most especially because he developed the deformity later after his birth," said Bubakimana upon learning that his son was never to walk again.
Born in a family of six, Harerimana who hails from Bugesera has two brothers and three sisters. Choosing not to follow his father's footsteps and become a man of the church, Harerimana always wished to become a businessman. To date he has not lost his vision.
"I feel like if I got money now, I would open up a shop in Nyabugogo," he said with hope. To look at he looks like a broken, vulnerable man, but Harerimana is a man of sound mental capability.
"After marrying my wife and producing children, even if I die I will have died a happy man," said Harerimana who started living with his better half mid last year.
Silent theatre punches through sound barrier
Published: Tuesday, 22 April, 2008, 01:39 AM Doha Time
By Sarmad Qazi
THE stage is set and actors are playing out their roles. The audience - initially doubtful - is fully immersed and fascinated by the act which has no score or vocals. This is Silent Theatre, all the performers are deaf.
The theatre set up three years ago, was the brainchild of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD), and has now gone international, winning several awards on the way.
Florence Mukasa Nightingale of the UNAD’s Deaf Silent Theatre, gave a presentation that included visuals of the artistic prowess of the deaf, here yesterday.
Her talks was part of a symposium on ‘Enhancing ability through sport and theatre for deaf and blind’ on the second day of the 3rd Annual International Shafallah Forum.
“Deaf people possess amazing ability to excite their audience, families or children. They can do anything and everything except hearing. There is no reason why they cannot be included in society,” she said. Uganda has 700,000 deaf people - the majority are children - which is almost 10% of its population. It was the first country in the world to make sign language part of the constitution. UNAD advocates the human rights of the deaf and the promotion of sign language.
“Our theatre has increased awareness among both deaf and normal people, and empowered our actors, who now realise their status in society,” said Nightingale who is also deaf.
She said, that service providers in the health sector have also realised that the deaf or people with disabilities (PWDs) are susceptible to diseases like HIV/Aids and steps are being taken to educate and provide health care for them.
Donalda Ammons, who is the president of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), echoed Nightingale’s views on social inclusion of PWDs as well.
“Recent studies show that deaf or blind people’s IQ distribution is nearly identical to that of normal people. Deaf children are more similar to hearing-children when it comes to motor and vehicular abilities. It is society that diminishes their ability to learn,” said Ammons.
“For example, too often people are anxious to make deaf children ‘normal’ or to ‘fix’ them. In the process children become more deprived due to their lack of understanding of certain things,” she said. According to her, ICSD - one of the oldest sports organisations in the world (established in 1924) with a membership of more than 100 countries, serves 10mn deaf athletes.
“ICSD is now extremely active in the Middle East and in the Gulf region in particular. The presence of deaf athletes from Arab countries continues to grow tremendously,” said Ammons.
Susan Flanagan of the British Columbia Blind Sports and Recreation Association in Canada talked about social inclusion - through community and specialised programmes - as well, from the perspective of blind persons. She was of the view that before a blind child is engaged in a social activity, his or her intellectual level of understanding has to be assessed first.
“We have to first find out the current needs of a child and the efficiency of his skill. We have to make sure that the child is not light sensitive and whether he likes sun light or grey light; only then can we encourage them to participate in community programmes,” said Flanagan,
“It is important to remember that it will take a blind child 7-8 trials of an activity to have the same understanding, than people with regular sight. Therefore, patience is the key for teachers, coaches and trainers,” she added.
Metro cuts off cash for sick kids’ school
Victor Khupiso Published:Apr 22, 2008
School for the disabled relies for funding on two billboards that council wants removed
An Ekurhuleni school for the disabled says it is being victimised by the metro council, which is taking away the school’s biggest source of income.
The council insists that two advertising billboards on the grounds of the Ezibeleni School for the Physically Disabled ? which bring in almost R18000 a month for the school ? must be removed because they violate council by-laws, said the school.
Advertising company Primedia Outdoor has been paying the school close to R18000 a month for the past nine years for its use of the billboards .
The school receives a small government subsidy but has relied on the money generated by the billboards for its survival.
School principal Benzi Tenza said the government subsidy was not enough to run the school and the move by the council to force Primedia to remove the billboards was both “insensitive and irresponsible”.
“The 221 children who attend this school suffer from various ailments, such as brittle bones; there are those who can hardly push their own wheelchairs, those with no limbs. Others need urgent medical attention, such as those with lung conditions and epilepsy .”
Among those at the school are South Africa’s longest-surviving Siamese twins, Monde and Nomonde Mokoena.
Only a quarter of parents can afford to pay the school fees of R110 a month for day scholars and R220 a month for live-in students.
“The money from the billboards helped us a lot; we used it to buy groceries. The children are fed three times a day,” said Tenza.
“What we don’t understand is why these billboards should be removed now. They have been here for nine years. ”
Tenza said the school had applied to the council for financial assistance but had been rejected.
Ekurhuleni council said “the proper channels” were not followed when the billboards were erected.
Zweli Dlamini, spokesman for the council, said that though the metro understood the principal’s concern, the billboards were erected illegally.
“ There are by-laws with regard to the erection of billboards. It does not mean that we are against the school,” he said.
“If the company wants to continue to use the area, it must reapply [ for permission].”
Primedia was not available for comment.
Disabled get gift of 1000 wheelchairs
22 April 2008
Thousands of poor and disabled South Africans need wheelchairs. In Soweto alone about 70000 people, mostly children, do not have wheelchairs.
But that is about to change after the Northcliff Rotary Club in partnership with Absa Bank donated 1000 wheelchairs yesterday to disabled people throughout Southern Africa.
“We realised there is a huge need for wheelchairs as some people still use their hands to move around,” said Northcliff Rotary Club wheelchair project convenor Terry Heslop.
He said the initiative started 15 years ago, and that 16000 wheelchairs have been distributed.
Annemarie Mostert, head of public relations of the executive at Absa, said: “We are doing this to empower disabled people.
“We want them to be mobile.”
South Africa: Visually Impaired Centre to Receive R40 000 Donation
22 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008
A deep rural non-governmental organisation, the Rivoni Society for the Blind in Limpopo, will receive a cheque of R40 000 from African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) on Tuesday.
ARM Executive Manager of the Corporate Social Investment Unit, Noluthando Vavi will hand over the donation to the chairperson of the Society's Council, Dingaan Shishavele at the centre.
"We are going to hand over a cheque of R40 000 to Rivoni Society of the Blind, which we hope they will use for fencing their centre," she said.
According to Ms Vavi, the company is primarily committed to assist training centres and projects in the deep rural areas that are addressing the imbalances of the past in terms of skills development.
Speaking to BuaNews on Tuesday, Ms Vavi said funding from ARM is always reserved for education and training, skills development, HIV and AIDS projects as well as building infrastructure in schools and centres within the historically disadvantaged communities.
She said the priority in terms of funding was given to institutions in the communities where there were mines.
"As a company, we decided to stamp out what had been happening in the past, where mining companies were just interested in mining and less interested in developing communities, so we expanded our helping hand even to communities where we do not have business," she said.
Every financial year, ARM allocates R7 million to its social and investment unit for community and nation building.
In September 2006, ARM donated a cheque of R100 000 to Mvelaphanda Community Skills Development Centre.
Mvelaphanda specialises in training people from the historically disadvantaged communities in the former Venda Homeland in fashion design, business skills, baking and cooking, sewing and motor mechanics.
Rivoni Society for the Blind was established in 1975, by a Swiss woman, Dr Erika Sutter with the purpose of preventing the spread of trachoma.
Trachoma is a contagious eye disease that results in eventual blindness. The centre is managed by rural people.
It has already developed from a community-based organisation into a training facility dedicated and committed to improving the lives of visually impaired individuals.
According to Mr Shishavele, since its establishment, Rivoni has provided training to 1 800 visually impaired people from Limpopo and outside the province.
"We are not raising funds to pay our personnel, but to start projects that will empower our visually impaired people," he said.
Every year, Rivoni increase its capacity by assisting 150 visually impaired people through the financial contribution of First National Bank (FNB).
Special bash for disabled kids - With ex-first lady as host
By TESSY OKOYE
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
For Christians across the world, the Easter season is usually a time to reflect on the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and the liberation his resurrection brought to mankind. Though regarded as a period for deep sober reflection, it is a special season that rekindles the spirit of fun and happiness in the lives of disabled children in Lagos State.
For the helpless kids, the day is usually one to look forward to because of the dotting love showered on them by well meaning individuals in the society.
This year’s celebration was no different, as children from different physically challenged homes and schools across the state were treated to a lavish, fun-filled party hosted by the former first lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Foluke Mudashiru, in conjunction with the Soroptimst International Lagos.
The get-together, an annual event for disabled children every Easter Monday, was held at the Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired Children in Surulere area of the state. The occasion provided a convivial atmosphere for kids to make merry and meet new friends. With much to eat and drink, and creative games to mentally engage the children, guests were duly entertained by the kids who were out to make truth of the aphorism that "there is ability in every disability."
The children whose ages range between five and17 displayed a high sense of maturity as they smiled and responded with non verbal clues to comments made by guests at the event. In a well articulated choreography that would make any gymnast green with envy, the physically challenged children gave a grand performance that earned them a standing ovation from everyone present.
Mrs. Mudashiru disclosed that she initiated the Easter Picnic 24 years ago as a pet project and has since been able to sustain it as an annual tradition. To the ex-first lady, Nigerians need to focus more on the needs of physically challenged children in the society. In that way, she stressed, everyone could tap from their rich potentialities.
She revealed that her undiluted passion for the plight of less fortunate kids in the country has sustained the project, despite challenges threatening its continuity. Mudashiru equally decried the rate at which children with disabilities were neglected by their parents, noting that the trend puts the kids at the risk of imbibing deviant habits.
"The sight of physically challenged children begging in the streets and filling stations gives me heartache and sleepless nights," she said. "Parents should dissuade the children from begging and encourage them to engage in gainful ventures, like sewing, shoemaking and other money earning jobs. These children are gifted and people would be surprised at what they can achieve with their hands. This call is a test for parents and the society in general to show how much they love these gifted kids", she said. Highlighting the ills of begging and the negative effects it has on the country’s image, the former first lady restated her commitment to the course of giving the less privileged an opportunity to be great in life, even as she urged government and private organizations to map out programmes that could make them self dependent.
"Begging is an unprofitable and demeaning habit," she said, adding: "When these children beg and are not given anything, they steal and end up as very violent deviants. The female veer into prostitution and find their way into brothels. The very unlucky ones get infected with tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases and worse still, HIV/AIDS. These are very expensive ailments to treat and the kids might not get necessary medical attention. We must all kick against this shameful act to protect the image of this country".
The former first lady is not done. Said she: "Physically challenged children are specially gifted, and if given the necessary encouragement, can become independent and contribute to the development of the country. The society is not doing enough for physically challenged people. Very few people would think of giving them scholarships to further their education. Even with the knowledge they have acquired in other skills, many still feel reluctant to employ them. These children might be physically handicapped, but they have abilities which can be tapped for their overall development."
The Lagos State coordinator for the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Olugbemiga Benson, in her goodwill message, noted that every Nigerian child, irrespective of their physical status, is entitled to basic educational training. She disclosed that the Lagos State government was working frantically to make special provisions for disabled children in the state. The SUBEB boss commended the efforts of the Soroptimist International for extending their goodwill to the children during the season. She also appealed to members of the public to close ranks with the authority to make the state conducive for everybody.
"Members of the public should equip challenged individuals with necessary tools to empower them. It is not their making that they are handicapped. Nature made them what they are and there is nothing anybody can do about it. The public needs to complement the effort of the ministry of education to make these children achieve their dreams", she appealed.
Before leaving for their various homes, with gifts and health foods specially packaged by the former first lady, the children were led to the dance floor by the guests. And for many on-lookers, it was fun watching the kids trying to match the adults step-by-step, momentarily forgetting their physical disabilities.
Disabled man jailed for rape
April 23 2008 at 03:41PM
A disabled man was jailed for 20 years by the Grahamstown High Court on Wednesday for raping his 13-year-old niece.
The 55-year-old accused appeared before Judge Jeremy Pickering after pleading guilty on Tuesday.
He was convicted of raping the girl on January 27 2007, at his house in Elliot.
The man cannot be named in order to protect the girl's identity,
In his plea explanation, he said he had "drank brandy with friends and had been overcome by his sexual urges, when he forced the girl to have sexual intercourse with him".
Handing down sentence, Pickering said he had taken into consideration the man's age, and his disability caused by a tractor accident in 1994.
He was also illiterate, and had never been to school.
"There are substantial and compelling circumstances in this case that allow me to consider imposing a lesser sentence, than the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment," the judge said.
"He has shown remorse and apologised for his actions, and pleaded guilty, but having been caught by members of the community, naked and on top of the girl, he really did not have much of an option."
Pickering said an aggravating factor was the fact that the girl had trusted the accused.
"The fact that she was an innocent girl and she regarded the accused as her grandfather is an extremely aggravating factor. He has grossly abused that trust she had in him," the judge said. - Sapa
Disabled to receive N500,000 settlement for discrimination
Written by Emmanuel Aziken
Thursday, 24 April 2008
The Senate yesterday pushed on a bill seeking to pay N500,000 to individuals with disability who face discriminations from corporate organizations. The Discrimination against persons with disabilities (Prohibition) bill was sponsored by Senator Bode Olajumoke.
The bill stipulates in section (1) that “No person with disability shall be discriminated against on the ground of his or her disability by any person or institution in any manner or circumstance whatsoever.’’
The bill further stipulates that any person in contravention of the provision of the proposed law “if a corporate body, a minimum of N500,000 damages payable to the affected person with disability.’’
Individuals who cause the discrimination shall be made to pay damages of N100,000 to the disabled or in the option, serve a six month prison sentence or both.
The bill also provides that no person with “disability shall be subjected to prejudices or harmful practices, including those based on sex, age or tradition, in any area of life.
Moving his bill, Senator Olajumoke regretted that Nigerians with disability have over the years faced discrimination in all areas of life.
He cited the case of Prof. Chinua Achebe who he said was forced to relocate from Nigeria to live in the United States on account of his disability.
“It shall be the responsibility of this commission to ensure that over 19 million persons with disabilities are empowered to contribute to socio economic development of our country. Money spent in setting up and running of this commission is money wisely invested because it will definitely yield impressive dividends,’’ he said.
“The heavy cost involved in setting up the Commission, should be seen as money properly utilized to take care of the welfare and wellbeing of the less privileged in the society. It should not be a deterrent,’ he added.
Senator Paulker Emmanuel (PDP, Bayelsa Central) seconded the bill before it was passed on to the Senate Committee on Sports for further deliberation.
Uganda: Deaf Student Wins Ticket
New Vision (Kampala)
28 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008
The first time Samson Kisule left the country was in 2003, the circumstance was sad. He was going to have an operation in a London hospital after he developed an ear infection while in P5.
The operation though successful left Kisule with a hearing impairment which disrupted his education, at St. Charles Lwanga High School Kasasa. But in August Kisule will be flying out of Uganda for the second time - this time on a happy note.
Kisule on Saturday became the fifth and the last person to win a ticket to Beijing Olympics to be held in August this year. He won the ticket in the final draw of the Coca-Cola draw held at Kamwokya market.
"I love Inzikuru, am happy I will be going to Beijing to see her running," said the 27-year-old who has a stammer.
Namibia: Disabled Child Tied to Tree
The Namibian (Windhoek)
29 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008
A Swakopmund mother, who had tied her six-year-old son to a tree on and off for the past four years to keep him in check, was freed by the Police yesterday after being questioned briefly.
The evidently distraught mother said she was very shocked when the Police arrived at her home yesterday to ask her and her son to accompany them to the Police station.
She was assured that the Police just wanted to help, though. Eva Jacobs Edwards, a resident of the Mondesa township at Swakopmund, told the Police that she had resorted to this measure because the boy had been dangerously hyperactive since the age of two. "He was a danger to himself, and the only way I could have control over his movements was to tie him to a tree in our yard," she said. "At least I knew that he would stay where I last saw him, and that he would not be able to get hold of anything dangerous."
According to Police Inspector Daniel Langer, the mother would not be charged with child abuse or neglect, but would rather be helped to find a way to look after her son better. The little boy was in a healthy condition and appeared well cared for, he said.
Inspector Langer said consultations would be held with the local social services to see what could be done to assist the mother "in what seems like a very difficult situation". "We're not intending to take the child away from her; we just want to help," Lange said. Edwards told The Namibian that her son often wandered off, leaving their yard and ending up in the street without realising what he was doing.
He would also do dangerous things, like eating anything he got hold of or playing with dangerous objects, she said. She said she had only tied him to the tree when it was not possible for her to be within eyesight all the time. He was never left out in the cold or allowed to go hungry, she added.
Edwards said she had requested help on several occasions from the local State hospital, inquiring about the possibility of putting the boy in an institution where he could be cared for, but she had never received any feedback.
Invite someone with a disability to work
Article: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 2228
In an e-mail sent to individuals with disabilities, organisations for the disabled, companies, schools and setas, Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) announced that it has placed disability as a strategic focus within the organisation.
Guided by a disability framework developed by them last year, UYF now works towards ensuring that its products are accessible to all those wanting to partake in them. They are also committed to creating awareness and workplace experience through its 'Invite a Person With a Disability to Work' campaign.
The aim of the campaign is threefold: to create awareness around disability for participating SA companies and to expose them to those with disabilities in a workplace setting; to expose disabled people to the workplace and provide basic life skills to allow them to enter this environment; and to identify opportunities in the area of skills development and employment for the disabled.
The campaign runs on April 22 and 23, when people with disabilities will participate in the success of the campaign, allowing for a database of disabled people to be compiled. Their CVs will be made available to anyone interested in employing them or placing them in a skills programme.
Only 2000 candidates (of which about 400 are scholars, specifically Grade 12s) were accepted this year and the campaign, which this year takes place in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the W-Cape only, will serve as pilot for future campaigns.
Contact Western Cape project manager Peter Muller on 074 302 2929, 021 689 2035 or e-mail PMProjects@iafrica.com for more information.
Author: LW Olwagen
Africa: The Plight of the Disabled HIV/Aids Patients
The Monitor (Kampala)
30 April 2008
Posted to the web 29 April 2008
Eye complications is a rising issue affecting people living with HIV. Despite the growing international attention to desisabled people's rights, African governments and Aids policy makers rarely consider disability issues when formulating their strategic plans, writes Bamuturaki Musinguzi
For fear of the stigma, discrimination and pointing fingers that usually come with HIV/Aids she decided to live in denial for ten years - a decision that eventually contributed to her blindness.
Christine Kyaterekera says: "I do not regret living in denial," adding: "I feared going to hospital. I do not know whether I was afraid of knowing the truth, but I feared discrimination if people knew I had got HIV/Aids. I lived in self denial for ten years."
Kyaterekera, who has lived with HIV for 17 years, says that with the self denial and no treatment, blisters and a dry cough intensified. She only got relief after her family decided she had to go for HIV testing. "On December 31, 2000 we held a family meeting and my children resolved that I go for HIV testing, which proved I was HIV positive and diagnosed with TB in January 2001. I took TB drugs for eight months and I recovered."
Talking to Daily Monitor at the sidelines of the second Meeting of the Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV and Aids in Kampala, Kyaterekera, who has gone public about her status recalls that in early 2002 she started to get en eye problem. "I went to hospital and the health workers claimed it was an allergy caused by the drugs I was taking or HIV. It is then that my husband got very sick and re-infected me with TB. I was put on TB treatment again, but my eye pain persisted."
"On April 1, 2003 I woke up only to realise that my left eye had gone blind. I went to hospital and the doctor told me that once the virus gets to the eyes they don't easily recover," Kyaterekera recalls.
"By then, the right eye was dimming-up because I could see someone's face only. I was then advised to start on ARVs. Unfortunately my right eye never recovered and I got very ill in May 2003 that came with a mental problem for six months. I don't recall what happened in this period. My husband's death came in November 2003."
Kyaterekera, the 49-year-old widow and mother of seven later joined the NGO, Blind But Able (BBA) where she has learnt to use the cane, knitting and Braille.
"My biggest challenge was to get used to my blind status and how to look after my young children, who were traumatised. Though I have now got used to my disability my experience is that whenever parents get HIV, it's the children that suffer most with people pointing fingers at them saying 'Your mother has HIV'. My neighbours discourage their children from playing with mine for falsely fearing being infected. But no one has pointed fingers at them due to my blindness."
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), nearly 34 million people are currently living with HIV/Aids worldwide and ocular complications are common, affecting 50 percent to 75 percent of all such patients at some point during the course of their illness. Cytomegalovirus retinitis is by far the most frequent cause of vision loss in patients with Aids.
"Although the prevalence of cytomegalovirus retinitis is decreasing in industrialised countries because of the widespread availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy, between 10 percent and 20 percent of HIV infected patients worldwide can be expected to lose vision in one or both eyes as a result of ocular cytomegalovirus infection," Philippe G. Kestelyn and Emmett T. Cunningham Jr, wrote in a paper titled, HIV/Aids and Blindness published in the WHO Bulletin in 2001.
"Less frequent but important causes of bilateral vision loss in-patients with HIV/Aids include varicella zoster virus and herpes simplex virus retinitis, HIV-related ischaemic microvasculopathy, ocular syphilis, ocular tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, and ocular toxic or allergic drug reactions," Kestelyn and Cunningham Jr, added. "At present, most patients with HIV/Aids in developing countries who lose their vision have a very limited life expectancy.
As antiretroviral therapy makes its way to these countries however, both life expectancy and the prevalence of blindness related to HIV/Aids can be expected to increase dramatically," they warn.
Although Kyaterekera is on ARV treatment through The Aids Support Organisation (Taso), eighty million people are being excluded from the fight against HIV and Aids in Africa simply because they are disabled.
They make up a large proportion of people in the poorest communities, which are also severely affected by HIV and Aids. Despite their exclusion, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are both willing and able to positively contribute to the response to the pandemic. The Uganda Aids Commission does not have disaggregated figures to do with PWDs and HIV/Aids.
The National Union of Disabled People of Uganda (NUDIPU) in partnership with the Secretariat of the African Decade and Handicap International organised the second Meeting of the Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV and Aids in Kampala at Hotel Africana from March 11 - 13, 2008 under the theme: Making Access for All a Reality.
This meeting provided an important opportunity to review collective progress towards achieving the Africa Campaign objectives, to exchange tools and lessons learned as well as to plan involvement in the International Conference on Aids and STI in Africa (ICASA) in Dakar, Senegal in December 2008.
PWDs in Africa are at equal or greater risk of HIV infection, compared to their non-disabled peers. For many, being disabled means that they are less likely to marry and more likely to have several sexual partners. Disabled women, girls and boys are also more likely to be victims of sexual violence. Other factors such as physical dependence, life in institutions and lack of access to legal rights, also make them particularly vulnerable to infection and abuse.
Some PWDs in Africa receive blood transfusions; others might use injection drugs, still others may seek services from traditional healers whose practices could facilitate HIV transmission. These risk factors parallel those of the general population. PWDs have poor access to HIV/Aids information and services, according to the Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV/Aids. Only 1-2 per cent of disabled children receive an education, therefore most miss out on school based education programmes.
The Africa Campaign on Disability and HIV and Aids aims to reduce the vulnerability of PWDs to the impact of HIV and Aids. The Africa Campaign is a unifying umbrella under which disabled people's organisations, organisations of people living with HIV and Aids, NGOs, HIV and Aids services organisations, researchers, activities and other citizens work collectively to achieve: Equal access for PWDs in Africa to information and services on HIV and Aids. And a coordinated response involving persons with disabilities in African countries to achieve inclusive national HIV and Aids policies and programmes.
The Africa Campaign is led by the Secretariat of the African Decade for Disabled Persons (1999 - 2009) and Handicap International and operates through individual commitments and networks in African and worldwide.
Speaking from a disability social activist perspective, George Onyango of the African Deaf Union/Deaf Social Counseling, Kenya, said, "The blind always encounter communication barriers when they have to visit health centres," adding, "There is also a bad attitude towards the PWDs. The public thinks we do not have sexual desires; we cannot get married and have children, and get employed. Give PWDs opportunities and see what they can do."
In her keynote address titled: "Rationale for mainstreaming people with disabilities in the response to HIV/Aids on the African continent," the South African Member of Parliament, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, who is visually impaired, said: "We people with disabilities know what stigma can do on any group of persons. We have experienced it and gone the full cycle of discrimination and denied our rights. We can give a hand to persons living with HIV/Aids in determining, highlighting and raising the bar."
Experts also noted that Africa has not documented the best practices that PWDs have gone through the years. PWDs are left out of HIV/Aids policies and programming. Despite growing international attention to disabled people's rights, African governments and Aids policy makers rarely consider disability issues when formulating their strategic plans.
The national coordinator, advocacy, public relations focal officer for civil society at the Uganda Aids Commission, Joyce Namulondo Kadowe admitted that PWDs were not brought on board in the early stages of the pandemic because of misconceptions. "The HIV/Aids problem was huge and enormous in the beginning in that PWDs were invisible because it was assumed that they do not have human rights. Today they are on top of our agenda," Kadowe said.
The Kampala Declaration on Disability and HIV/Aids issued at the end of the meeting suggested among others that national Aids strategic plans recognise PWDs as vulnerable to the impact to HIV and Aids as well valuable contributors in the response to HIV/Aids at all levels inclusive of planning, implementation and monitoring.
Uganda: Employers Urged to Recruit the Disabled
New Vision (Kampala)
1 May 2008
Posted to the web 2 May 2008
EMPLOYERS should recruit disabled people because they are disciplined and effective, a councillor for disabled persons in Jinja has said.
"Research has shown that disabled persons work more diligently than the able-bodied people," said Patrick Mutaasa.
"They value work and I have never heard of any accused of embezzlement."
He was speaking at the graduation ceremony of Mpumudde Rehabilitation Centre on Tuesday.
Thirty-nine diasbled women received certificates in tailoring, cookery and knitting.
Mutaasa advised the graduands to have self-confidence and work for their well-being.
The Mpumudde division chairman, William Ebusa, commended the Government for emancipating vulnerable groups.
A member of the FDC party, Ebusa, said: "I don't subscribe to the NRM party, but we need to give credit where it is due."
The administrator, Kussain Wegulo, asked the Government to appoint more permanent staff at the institution.
The centre, Wegulo noted, has been facing food shortages since the World Food Programme cut supplies in 2007.
FNBB Embraces The Deaf And Hearing-Impaired
The First National Bank of Botswana (FNB) last week said it has produced a 15 paged Banking Sign Language Booklet aimed at improving the communication of those with hearing impairment as they engage in banking activities.
The bank's chief executive officer Danny Zandamela handed the booklet to the Patron of The Botswana Society For the Deaf and also the former President of Botswana Festus Mogae on Wednesday. The bank said in a statement that the production of the Banking Sign Language Booklet is a result of partnership between FNBB, Godisa Technologies Trust Deaf employees and Botswana Association of the Deaf.
Godisa Technologies Trust is a non-profit enterprise established to offer hearing-impaired people affordable access to hearing through the provision of appropriate technologies. The 2007 World Health Organisation Statistics on Hearing has revealed that hearing impairment is considered the most prevalent impairment in the world and that it can affect up to an estimated 20 percent of the population in a developing country like Botswana.
In Botswana alone, there are nearly 20, 000 people with hearing- impairment and of every thousand babies born one is deaf.
Zandamela said acknowledging these facts, FNBB saw the need to support the production of the booklet which will go a long way in ensuring that the hearing-impaired are not marginalised from economic activities that are important for a livelihood. FNBB's community engagement is administered through the FNBB Foundation, a Fund which aims to aid educational, arts and culture, support for the disadvantaged and handicapped, sport and recreation and social welfare development in Botswana by identifying beneficiaries who are in need and deserving assistance.
The FNBB Foundation Fund has a Staff Volunteer Programme that affords the bank's employees an opportunity to identify a project of their choice and commit time, share skills or donate funds to support the project to achieve its objectives.
The partnership between FNBB and Godisa Technologies Trust was initiated by FNBB Kgale Branch employees.
The employees engaged in sign language classes to gain an understanding of the concepts covered in the Banking Sign Language Booklet.
The long term plan partnership between FNBB and Godisa Technologies Trust is to continue equipping the bank employees with Sign language knowledge to eliminate any communication barrier, hence easing communication between banking staff and the hearing- impaired.
Uganda: We Just Can't Let These Defilers Off the Hook
The Monitor (Kampala)
5 May 2008
Posted to the web 6 May 2008
The case of Ms Namusoga (not real name for respect of the girl's privacy), the 13-year-old disabled girl who gave birth last week in Iganga after being defiled by an unknown pedophile has once again brought to the fore the growing problem of child abuse in the country.
Apart from being underage, Namusoga is blind, crippled and deaf. But her condiotion did not stop a senseless man from defiling her- leading to an unwanted pregnancy that could only impair the victim further. Imagine the physical torture and mental anguish of this little girl who could not see nor protest against the criminal acts of her tormentor.
And it cannot help matters either if it's established that in this specific case, the grisly sexual assault was carried out by a family relative. The fact that the girl was crippled after a severe attack of a curable disease- malaria is also testament to the gross violation of children's rights in poor developing countries like Uganda .
Defilement is the leading form of violence against the girl child in Uganda, according to human and child rights organisations. Strangely though, most defilement cases are settled at family level even when the offence of aggravated defilement like in the case of Namusoga carry a mandatory death penalty on conviction.
This means that the wider Ugandan society does not take defilement as a serious offence. In most cases the offenders are let off the hook after an exchange of small material gifts. In other cases, the defiled children's dignity is traded for one or two goats. This is sad to say the least.
But what's child abuse?
In simple terms this is any mistreatment or neglect of a child that results in non-accidental harm or injury and which cannot be reasonably explained. Child abuse include physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect.
We don't want to pass judgement here, but why would the relatives of this disabled young girl leave her at home alone? This is the kind of inhuman treatment that most disabled persons experience in their daily lives. Society looks upon them as outcasts. For goodness' sake disability does not extinguish a person's fundamental rights to live a health, happy and decent life.
According to social workers and human rights activists, among the factors that contribute to child abuse include lack of parenting skills, unrealistic expectations about children's behaviour and capabilities, a parent's own negative childhood experience, social isolation etc. Child abuse therefore is a symptom that parents/guardians -whoever is in care of a child are having a difficulty coping with the obligation imposed by a duty of care for the young ones.
Ugandans should therefore wake up and stand firm to fight one of the worst forms of human torture and brutal crime of child defilement. All of us have a responsibility to ensure children are safe whether they are our relatives or not . There is a community responsibility to nurture, protect and guide the young generation to grow up and become responsible citizens.
The law governing the welfare of children especially those with disabilities imposes a strict responsibility on the parents and the state to afford children with disabilities facilities for their rehabilitation and care by provision of equal opportunities.
But there is an urgent need for parliament to re-examine and harmonise the laws that govern the welfare of children . The Children and Penal Code Acts are particularly lacking when it comes to child abuse related offences.
The law for instance should punish parents/relatives who conspire with defilers to defeat justice by not reporting defilement cases to the authorities. The penalties provided for in the Children Act for child abuse offences are too weak to have a meaningful deterrent effect.
The country owes this little girl, Namusoga, a debt that would possibly never be paid. Defilement is horrible and inhuman and it must be fought by every sensible citizen.
The writer is a journalist and advocate.
SA disabled Golf Open underway
May 06, 2008, 07:45
Some of the world's top disabled golfers are currently taking part in the Nedbank South African Disabled Golf Open. The tournament is being played at Erinvale Golf Estate in Somerset West.
Swimmer Natalie du Toit is living proof that those who don't give up on dreams will succeed. These golf players haven't given up on life either. Some only have use of one arm, others move around the course confined to a wheelchair, while the visually impaired are also eager competitors.
Being played at Erinvale for the second year running, the SA Disabled Open has grown into a truly international event. Eleven of the 91 participants are from overseas representing the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Mick Horseley a leg amputee from England and Northern Ireland's Jan Dinsdale playing in the visually impaired section are both hunting their third SA titles. The South African challenge is led by Danie Slabbert, Iglin Grobbelaar and Robin Singh.
Gov't asked to make quality health care to disabled
The Alliance for Reproductive Health Right has called on Government to make quality health care accessible to all especially the disabled. The Alliance said for the country to fully realize the mandate, as captured in the Millennium Development Goals, basic requirements must be put in place to favour the disabled. The Programme Officer of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Right Sidua Hor made the call at a Health Care Seminar in Accra.
The programme was organized by the Alliance in collaboration with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled for Women with disabilities. Mr. Hor mentioned poor roads, inadequate health facilities and communication barriers as some challenges facing quality health care delivery in the Country. He called on women to seek information on issues affecting their health in order to source for the appropriate assistance. The Senior Programme Officer of Action on Disability, Charles Appiagyei noted that everyone has a right to a standard of living which promotes their well-being.
Africa: Our Round One Victory Over Disability
Business Daily (Nairobi)
14 May 2008
Posted to the web 14 May 2008
The entry into force on Monday of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol heralds a new dawn in the fight for the well-being of people with disabilities - a struggle rooted in the fundamental principle of universal human rights.
We have arrived at this milestone through the unstinting efforts of an unprecedented coalition. Seven years ago, President Vicente Fox of Mexico asked the General Assembly to consider a "comprehensive and integral convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities".
His call placed this Convention within the broader context of addressing poverty, promoting social integration and creating just and equitable societies.
Since that day, the United Nations, its Member States, civil society organisations, and countless persons with disabilities have worked tirelessly to deliver on this vision. We can now declare success.
It is especially fitting that we do so in 2008 - the year in which we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights. The theme of this anniversary is 'Dignity and justice for all of us'. There can be no better way to give meaning to this slogan than through the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
But as our journey to create the Convention concludes, an even more challenging path stretches ahead. Now we must take concrete steps to transform the vision of the Convention into real victories on the ground. We must address the glaring inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities.
We must counter discrimination and prejudice. We must deliver development that is truly for all. And we must convince more and more nations, organisations and individuals to join this cause.
I congratulate all States Parties to the Convention, as well as those countries that are working towards ratification. I also urge those countries that have not yet done so to consider ratification of the Convention and its Optional Protocol at the earliest possible date.
And I applaud the many civil society organisations that are already working hard to translate the spirit and letter of the Convention into action.
For its part, the United Nations system, spearheaded by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is taking steps to promote the purpose and principles of the Convention. We recognise that if we are to deliver on our ambitious agenda, we need everyone's input, everyone's ideas and everyone's energies.
Above all, we are proud to stand with all of you in building inclusive societies.
Ki-Moon is United Nations Secretary General.
Kenya: Disabled People Left Out of Aids War, Say NGOs
The Nation (Nairobi)
14 May 2008
Posted to the web 14 May 2008
Disabled people have been left out in campaigns to reduce Aids infections, NGO officials said on Tuesday.
Mrs Esther Gatua of Health Policy Initiative said most of the 3.5 million disabled people were affected by the disease.
And although they were vulnerable to sexual violence and rape due to their condition, they lacked access to treatment, care and information about Aids.
She spoke during the launch of the national campaign on disability and HIV. The drive is aimed at reducing the rates of Aids infections among the disabled. It will involve creating awareness on their vulnerability to HIV and lobby for them to be given the treatment, care and support extended to other patients.
Mrs Farida Asindua from Handicap International said the campaign could only succeed if the disabled were fully involved in making decisions and planning national strategies to fight Aids.
There is no information on the number of disabled people living with Aids in Kenya. Mrs Asindua said much of what was known about HIV and disability was based on assumptions.
If facts and figures were available, she said, they could be used to influence policies and change some practices.
She urged political leaders to lobby the Government to ensure that the disabled were not left out in the campaign to reduce Aids infections.
During a meeting held in Kampala earlier this year, the disabled asked the Government to include issues affecting them in the campaign to reduce poverty.
Ghana: Disabled Women Call for Better Medical Care
Public Agenda (Accra)
16 May 2008
Posted to the web 16 May 2008
Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration, to which Ghana is signatory states, "Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability "
Accordingly, it is the aim of objective 7 of Ghana's Disability Policy to ensure access of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to effective health care and adequate medical rehabilitation service.
But the situation currently on the ground is said to be at variance with these declarations and objectives, according to some 20 women with disabilities who participated in a seminar on "rights to healthcare for women with disabilities."
The women, drawn from the various associations under the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), took part in the seminar on Tuesday in Accra. It was organized by the federation with support from the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR).
The participants established, for example, that persons with hearing impairment often do not receive the desired medical attention due to misinterpretation of sign language by doctors. They identified, therefore, the need for government to train more sign language interpreters to be deployed to various health facilities to assist doctors in this regard.
Also, persons with physical disabilities always have difficulty climbing onto medical examination beds because these facilities are too high. In addition, Miss Ruth Odoi of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD) complained that calipers were too expensive and many of them could not afford.
Ms Nana Yaa Agyeman of Sharecare Ghana lamented that the special condition of people with autoimmune diseases or diseases of the central nervous system had not been factored into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body attacks its own cells. There are over 40 human diseases classified as either definite or probable autoimmune diseases and almost all of them appear without warning or apparent cause. There is as yet no cure for autoimmune diseases, but the symptoms are largely manageable with drugs.
According to Ms Agyeman, the condition of people with this disease is so peculiar that it requires special attention under the NHIS.
She explained that for autoimmune conditions, every breakdown in health worsens the state of disability. The condition, therefore, requires regular medical attention; generally, once every month and medical care is very expensive.
At the end of the day, the women identified the need for government to deal with the limited access to healthcare under the NHIS. They also called for the free registration of unemployed PWDs under the NHIS.
Furthermore, they called on government to address the problem of inadequate health facilities and asked that those facilities be made disability-friendly.
The women also resolved to as often as possible protect themselves against infectious disease like sexually transmitted infections through the use of condoms. They also saw the need to go for regular checkups, breast screening and voluntary HIV/AIDS testing.
Educating the women on the health component of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Mr Sidua Hor, ARHR, said PWDs have the power to change their health conditions by alerting government and demanding their right to health from government.
Mr Charles Appiagyei, Senior Programme Officer, Action on Disability and Development (ADD), wondered whether Ghana was pursuing healthcare delivery in line with the overall goal of the Ghana Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) II, which is to ensure that every Ghanaian has access to good and quality healthcare.
Referring to the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s definition of health, Mr. Appiagyei said "Health is not just the absence of disease but the state of total wellbeing of the person." Thus, it comprises a person's physical, social, emotional and economic well-being.
Need to train more sign language teachers for deaf-and-dumb - Siaw
Sun, 18 May 2008
Ms Monica Siaw, Agona West Municipal Officer of Department of Social Welfare has appealed to Government to train more sign language teachers for people with hearing impairment at public functions and health facilities.
She made the appeal at a two-day training workshop for members of Agona West and East Association of the Deaf at Agona Swedru in the Central Region.
It was organized and financed by Agona West Municipal Assembly. Ms Siaw said most of the deaf-and-dumb could not tell their stories to nurses and doctors when they attended hospital either for personal treatment or for their sick children and relatives for better medical attention.
She said sign language teachers employed by management of Television stations could interpret their programmes especially news to the deaf-and-dumb to enable them understand government policies and programmes. Mr Serdrick Sackey, Agona West Municipal Director of Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) said people with disabilities should be admitted to the same school as other people. He suggested that special means of transport be acquired for the people with disability to ensure easy movement.
Mr Sackey expressed concern that infrastructure for the public lacked access for people with disability against the United Nations Accord
Handle mental disability with care, govt cautioned- Expert tells gov't
Fred Tetteh Alarti-Amoako , 19/05/2008
Though people with mental disabilities are viewed by some as a nuisance on the streets, a mental health expert says government should not attempt to drive them from the streets since that is not the best solution.
"The way forward is not to bundle them and drive them several kilometres out of the town and leave them there, for they will definitely return," Peter Bedimak Yaro, Country Programme Manager of BasicNeeds Ghana, an NGO has stated.
The sure way, he said, is to "pursue the simplest, less expensive yet sustainable measure: reunite them with their families by impressing upon them to come and take them off the streets and seek attention for them from the psychiatric units."
Mr Yaro, who disclosed this at a two-day workshop for Coordinating Directors and Planning Officers in the Northern Region on issues of mental health, said there is the need to create opportunities for mentally ill people that will enable them acquire a skill. This move, he explained, will keep them busy as well as help them create and produce and ultimately earn some income.
He noted that efforts must be made to make the streets of Ghana clean and free of mentally ill people as the country attempts to boost and diversify the tourism sector. He added: "A good tourism sector does not only mean development of tourist sites and good hotels, restaurants and bars but clean spacious streets that are devoid of vagrants."
The workshop was organised for the technocrats and political authorities with the intention that district budgets will include items for addressing vulnerable groups including mentally ill people, people with epilepsy and their carers.
Mr Yaro further called for the extension of poverty alleviation funds such as the Micro-finance and Small Loans Schemes to the mentally challenged.
According to the 2001 report of the World Health Organisation on mental health, an estimated 23 percent of all populations will experience some form of mental illness in their life-time. Mental illness accounts for 12.3 percent of the global burden of disease. It is also projected that by 2015, neuro-psychiatric conditions will surpass cardiovascular diseases.
ITU observes World Telecom/Info Society Day
Rosemond Araba Rockson , 19/05/2008
The International Telecommunication Union, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication has observed the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Accra. The theme for this year's observance is "Connecting Persons with Disabilities: Opportunity for ICT."
Speaking on the occasion, Daouda Toure, UNDP Resident Representative said this year's theme highlights the importance of making ICT equipment and service accessible to meet the needs of persons with disability.
He said it is vital for people to change their attitudes and approaches to persons with disability to ensure that all fundamental rights and freedom are honoured, including the right to fully participate in the information society, and bring forth inputs, ideas and efforts from their community.
According to him the significant development challenge need creative solutions, including the development of new assistive technologies, and facilitates a broader access to ICT.
"Information and Communication Technologies play a key role in assisting developing countries in driving inclusive economic growth and reaching the Millennium Development Goal as well as their various National Development Goals. Extending access to ICTs and deploying it to address various development challenges and opportunities has become very important in human development perspective," he added.
He commended the government for recognising the use of ICTs as a tool for bridging the gap between the served and underserved communities, empowering the more vulnerable, and providing the uninformed with timely information at all levels.
He urged policy-makers and industry leaders to accelerate scientific and technical research aimed at developing technologies that will be inclusive and accessible to all and also stick to the guiding principle of the Convention on the rights of persons with disability and work together to "connect all humankind equally to the present opportunities and those yet possible in our ever-evolving world".
Hamadoun I Toure, ITU secretary general said "our focus this year on meeting the ICT needs of persons with disabilities is aimed at empowering every citizen with information and knowledge, improving the lines of communication to the remotest and most vulnerable groups, and building an inclusive information society geared towards the advancement of a better, more peaceful and productive world."
According to him, increasing awareness of the need to adopt policies and strategies that would meet the ICT needs of persons with disability by stakeholders is the only way of ensuring an inclusive information society and also enable member states to meet their obligation under Article 9 of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
He urged all stakeholders to join hands to connect everyone, especially the disabled to the remarkable opportunities offered by ICT.
Ghana: "Connecting Persons With Disabilities"
Accra Mail (Accra)
19 May 2008
Posted to the web 19 May 2008
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was observed over the weekend, Saturday 17 May 2008. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in a statement asked the world community to "pledge to adhere to the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and work together to connect all humankind equally to the present opportunities and those yet possible in our ever-evolving world." Below is the full text of his statement.
Starting with the earliest drum beats, telegraphy -- "writing in distance" -- has been with us in dynamic, evolutionary motion. The ability to relay important information quickly across vast distances, closing the gaps of time and space, has expanded exponentially all manner of human activity, from sending out personal messages to completing complex financial transactions to engaging critical matters of war and peace. World Telecommunication and Information Society Day heralds the enabling and transformative role of communications and information in societies, and the universal need to communicate and cooperate across borders.
It is also the day in 1865 when the International Telecommunication Union was founded. At the time, the idea to transmit electronic signals across wires had already set forth a dramatic chain reaction of competing technologies. ITU was formed to address the growing need for international standards. From these early days, ITU has played a key role in connecting the world, a challenge which continues today with 3G mobile and broadband technologies.
Yet the reach of communications technology is not universal, its benefits have not been shared equally. The World Summit on the Information Society, held in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005, linked information and communication technology (ICT) with human development and called on Member States to build a global "inclusive, people-centred and development-oriented information society" through the sharing of information and knowledge.
The Summit also urged Member States to address the special requirements of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The theme of this year's observance, "connecting persons with disabilities", highlights the importance of making ICT equipment and services accessible to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. There are an estimated 650 million persons living with disabilities worldwide. Including their families, there are nearly two billion persons who are directly affected by disability, almost a third of the world's population. It is important to remember that anyone can become disabled at any moment.
It is vital that we change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities, ensuring that all fundamental rights and freedoms are honoured, including the right to fully participate in the information society, and bring forth input, ideas and effort from the disability community.
This is a significant development challenge. But we must find creative solutions, including the development of new assistive technologies, and facilitate a broader access to ICT. I urge policy-makers and industry leaders to accelerate scientific and technical research aimed at developing technologies that will be inclusive and accessible to all.
On this day, let us pledge to adhere to the guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and work together to connect all humankind equally to the present opportunities and those yet possible in our ever-evolving world.
Liberia: Disabled Watchdog Organized Monthly Forum for Albert Porte
The NEWS (Monrovia)
20 May 2008
Posted to the web 20 May 2008
The Disabled Rights Watchdog for Peace Building and Democracy (DIRWAPDEM) says it has organized a monthly intellectual forum in memory of the late Mr. Albert Porte.
The forum according to a release is named in honor of Mr. Porte for his legacy of advocacy for social justice in Liberia.
The group said the forum under its media and advocacy pillar would bring together stakeholders as well as policy makers to discuss democracy and identify factors impeding the growth and survival of the disabled community.
According to DIRWAPDEM, the forum is aimed at strengthening governance, ensuring the adherence of the rule of laws and exploring the involvement of the disabled community in the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) paper which takes effect in July this year.
The group said the forum shall also educate policymakers on the rights of disabled persons as enshrined in the United Nations Covention on the rights of the disabled and explore means by which th disabled can be fitted into the gap of fighting HIV/AIDS, illiteracy as well as gender based violence.
Meanwhile, the organization is calling on the government to ensure disabled inclusion in the (PRS) paper by identifying some of the cross cutting issues in the document.
The group said it is unfair for the level of exclusion the disabled community had experienced in the interim poverty reduction paper, something which the group viewed as a blatant violation of the disabled people's rights.
Society for the disabled appeals for assistance
Wed, 21 May 2008
Mr Effah Guako, President of Nkoranza District Branch of Society of the Physically Disabled, has appealed for adequate financial support to enable members engage in income generating ventures. Speaking to Ghana News Agency at Nkoranza, Mr Guako said the branch had 150 members some of whom had had training in dressmaking, hair dressing, shoe making, radio mechanics and electronics as well as agriculture.
“Those in the agriculture sector engage in cashew and oil palm production as well as bee keeping and livestock,” he added.
Mr Guako appealed to Nkoranza District Assembly to consider their plight and support them to start or expand their businesses for improved living standards. He noted that the society had difficulty in accessing its percentage of the Common Fund from the assembly.
“As a result of lack of financial support, most of our members have chosen to beg for alms at the markets, a practice that affects our image,” he said. Mr Guako appealed to parents who had children with disabilities not to hide them at home but expose them for skill training.
He called on philanthropists and NGOs to support the society.
Namibia: Trust Provides Hope for Disabled
New Era (Windhoek)
21 May 2008
Posted to the web 21 May 2008
Onyose Trust Chairman Ludwig Beukes has urged parents to entrust their children who suffer disabilities, with responsibilities that will enable their integration into society.
The trust rehabilitates people with disabilities for them to play a meaningful role in society and also to be able to help themselves.
Beukes said although some children with disabilities are sent to school, some go back to the streets because they have nothing to do afterwards.
The trust therefore empowers communities to look after their loved ones.
Beukes was speaking during the Onyose Trust Awareness Day 2008 last Saturday, which was organised to raise awareness about activities and programmes that the centre offers to the community.
The trust, which became independent in 2001,provides people with disabilities with skills to live as independent individuals in their communities and also provides training to families, caregivers, community members and volunteers on providing care and stimulation for people with disabilities.
One of the parents, Antonia Kangumine, advised fellow parents of children with disabilities to expose their children to activities that would help them develop, considering that disabled children have the potential to do things like the rest of the children.
"We want our children to learn, but we don't even allow them to handle money," she said.
Kangumine said parents should accept their children's uniqueness, motivate them to work according to their capabilities and appreciate them.
"Every child is unique. There are no panel-beaters for human beings and we can't change them," she added.
The trust has two programmes - day programmes and community based rehabilitation programmes (CBRs).
Presently, the day programme at the centre in Khomasdal has 45 children and adults, while its community based rehabilitation programme caters for more than 200 individuals.
A survey conducted by the trust recently found 80 more people in the community who will be added on its programmes.
Due to the perception that people with disabilities cannot help themselves, the centre provides non-formal education and vocational training to its clients.
It provides a safe environment and security, and ensures that the clients' needs are met, while providing education and guidance.
The day programme supports people with disabilities who could otherwise be locked up at their homes and those who would wonder on the streets.
The programmes include daily living skills, literacy and numeracy, health education including HIV/AIDS, cleaning and basic kitchen skills, crafts and horticultural skills.
Some of the day's activities include hand-made cards, jewellery making, used stamp collection, gardening and making products from recycled paper.
The CBR programme, which started in 1995 and is an internationally recognised approach to improve the independence and integration of people with disabilities within their own communities, delivers direct interventions and makes referrals to specialist medical and social services.
Its activities include regular home visits, advice and counselling, support group meetings, community mobilisation and prevention of blindness. The programme also provides wheelchairs and glasses for the aged.
Although the programme predominantly works with people in Katutura and Khomasdal, it runs regular outreach programmes in rural areas and provides support to CBR committees in the regions.
Although the trust has one permanent donor, Kindernothilfe from Germany, Onyose Director Ebenesia Tjiveta said more support is needed for the trust to carry out its activities effectively.
The Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Liliana Fund of Germany also fund the centres's activities.
Tjiveta said donors could make donations, sponsor projects or donate clothes, food, toys, school and craft supplies. The centre also sells vegetables and crafts that are produced at the centre as an income-generating activity.
The community can collect used stamps for the stamp unit and hire contract workers from the centre.
Spirit carries Natalie du Toit to the Olympics
Natalie du Toit lost her leg in 2001, but worked so hard that she has qualified for the Beijing Olympics, writes Rohit Brijnath
Natalie du Toit speaks with the speed of a woman who has somewhere to go, owns a musical laugh, and is proof of the athlete’s desperate chase of a dream. As a six-year-old who had just learnt to stop hating water, she dreamt of going to the Olympics. Now, 18 years later, when the women line up for the 10km open water swim at the Beijing Olympics, she’ll be there.
She will be hard to miss because she will be the only one there with one leg.
Natalie du Toit’s left leg is amputated through the knee. Look at it, it’s okay, she is used to it. On the phone from South Africa the other day, we spoke of it. Never has an athlete with such a disability qualified for the Olympics, and it’s understandable you will look at her leg.
But eventually, get over the leg. It is part of her, yet she is more than it. She’s not interested in your sympathy, she is not bridging some divide between abled and disabled athletes. She sees herself as just like all those other 10,000 odd men and women who are coming to the Olympics. She’s just “an athlete trying to get better.”
What du Toit is telling us is, please, look at my ability, not only at my disability.
Chasing her dream
Du Toit made it to the Olympics because she sweated and believed like everyone else, because she would not let go of her dream. Even when a car ran into her in 2001. “The Olympics have nothing to do with my disability,” she says, “it’s a dream I had as a six-year-old.”
“Swimming is my passion, it lets me be free,” she says. Here, in the water, life is simple. The harder she works, the better she does. So, four months after her foot was amputated, it is to this water she returned, this water in which you cannot see her leg or the lack of one. Here she is anyone else.
This is a cheerful, matter-of-factly woman, allergic to pity. So what she went through, you must imagine. So imagine, then, a body without a familiar stability, a technique gone awry, an inability to push off the wall during turns, a lack of a sprint to the finish because of no kick.
Imagine the self-belief that propelled her, the strength of the work ethic, the refusal to accept her quest was over. It was an acceptance of a challenge that was, well, Olympian.
Ask her about inspiration and she points to Lance Armstrong. “He cycled when it was snowing, when others were scared of getting injured,” and she is not referring to the cyclist’s cancer but his intensity. “It’s about putting in that little extra,” she says. And so she did. A year later, in 2002, she got to the 800 metres freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games, an astonishing feat for no disabled athlete had swum in an able-bodied event. And three weeks ago she qualified for Beijing by coming fourth in the 10km open water world championship.
du Toit, who does not use a prosthetic and compensates with a thrower’s upper body, says, “I never thought of being disadvantaged” but she is.
Which is why coaches told her to try the 10k, “because there are no turns and not much sprinting so you don’t lose as much.”
It is a race that demands from the mind, for, as she says, “after one hour you’re already aching, you start to hurt, but everyone is hurting, and you have to raise your game.” It’s a race where flying elbows are OK but seaweed is not, and she is makes it clear ? “I hate seaweed” ? believing as she does that sharks occasionally linger there.
There is a spirit to Natalie du Toit that makes us feel puny, unworthy, yet her spirit also lifts us. So look for her at the Games. She’ll be easy to spot, simply because of the wide smile on her face.
On her website her motto reads, “Be everything you want to be.” And because she lived it from six years old, she’s finally where she wants to be. At the Olympics.
Report: 4.6% Kenyans disabled
Written By:George Kithuka , Posted: Wed, May 21, 2008
At least 4.6% of Kenyans experience some form of disability.
In a preliminary report on disabled persons launched Wednesday, the highest number of disabled persons are aged between 0-14 years.
The report launched by the assistant minister for planning and national development Peter Kenneth at a Nairobi hotel shows that the highest number of disabled persons live in the rural areas.
The report says 50% of those who are physically impaired are male compared to 49% who are female.
Of those who are mentally impaired, 45% are male while 54% are female. The report further indicates that 66% of the disabled males have access to basic education compared to just 33% of the disabled females.
A substantial number of the disabled persons country wide have access to health services.
According to the World Health Organization 650 million people in the world, of who 200 million are children experience some form of disability.
Today the most common forms of disability are associated with chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, accidents and other diseases.
The report by the Kenya National Survey for the People with Disability is expected to be available to the public in August this year.
Neglect keeps people with disability in poverty
Story by GATONYE GATHURA
Publication Date: 5/22/2008
About five per cent of Kenyans have disabilities.
And since the country’s population stands at about 31 million, this translates to about 1.5 million people with disability.
Of these only about 500,000 are in formal employment, according to the first ever study on disability in the country.
The Kenya National Survey for Persons with Disabilities was carried out by the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development with the help of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The survey, whose results were unveiled last week, sought to establish the number of people with disabilities, their distribution, the nature of their disabilities and their causes.
It also examined the challenges that those living with disabilities faced and how they were coping.
It also sought to establish the nature of services and rehabilitation programmes available to this group.
With the deadline for achieving the millennium goals only seven years away, experts are urging developing countries to include persons with disabilities in their development programmes and policies.
Most of these countries have no idea how many people in their borders have disabilities, or what types of disabilities are common.
Neither can policy-makers agree on exactly who is a person with disability.
Tapping the potential contribution of people with disabilities is the new frontier in development planning.
But those pushing for this trend also recognise that disabled people have much lower rates of education and economic activity.
According to the World Health Organisation, disability affects 10 per cent of the population but it would appear that Kenya is doing better than most countries.
The latest survey indicated that about 4.6 per cent of Kenyans have some form of disability, including those associated with chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, Aids and injuries resulting from accidents, land mines and violence.
About 15,000 households were interviewed for the survey.
Researchers say that due to lack of data, persons with disabilities remain a huge untapped resource, whereas they should be potential employees, employers, taxpayers and contributors to development.
According to the World Bank, about 80 per cent of people with disabilities worldwide live in poor countries where they experience social and economic disadvantages besides suffering human rights abuses.
It is estimated that one in every five poor people is a person with disability.
Besides having to live with stigma, this group also has to contend with poor policies and other barriers that magnify their disabilities.
The World Bank also found a strong link between poverty and disability. Poverty may cause disability through malnutrition, poor healthcare and hazardous living conditions.
Case studies in developing countries show that higher disability rates are associated with higher rates of illiteracy, poor nutrition, lower immunisation, lower birth weight, higher rates of unemployment and underemployment.
Disability can cause poverty by preventing the full participation of persons with disabilities in the economic and social life of their communities.
Among the various disabilities, the largest proportion was physical impairment followed by poor eyesight.
Nyanza Province had the highest number of people with disabilities, while North Eastern had the lowest.
More men than women had mental disabilities, while more women than men suffered from visual disabilities.
In March last year, Kenya signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the only human rights treaty adopted by the international community this century.
South Africa: People Living with Disabilities to Showcase Their Skills in eThekwini
22 May 2008
Posted to the web 22 May 2008
People living with disabilities will have an opportunity to showcase their skills at the upcoming Disability Exhibition.
The two-day exhibition, which is to take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on 3 and 4 June, is being hosted by the municipality.
"The event will give a platform to people with disabilities to exhibit their work and identify business opportunities. Most of all to give people living with disabilities exposure," said Manager for Vulnerable Groups in eThekwini Municipality, Dudu Mokoena.
The exhibition will display arts and craft made by disabled people, such as cane furniture, knitting, drawing, sewing and beadwork, among others.
People with disabilities, Ms Mokoena said would also show the public that they could do most of the things that the normal people could do, such as driving a car and a blind person using a computer.
The purpose of the exhibition is to:
* Identify business opportunities and establish markets for exhibitors with disabilities,
* Enhance partnerships with relevant role players,
* Give government and the private sector an opportunity to share information on services they can provide for people with disabilities and
* Raise awareness on issues of disability.
Different organisations would be present during the exhibition to give information to the general public and to educate families about disabilities and how to treat them.
Parents would also be taught skills to identify signs of impairment in their children from a young age and how to care for them.
Ms Mokoena said the event would also give government and the private sector an opportunity to share information about their services designed for the disabled and establish markets for those with disabilities.
People with disabilities will also have a chance to interact with the Department of Health to find out what types of assistance they are entitled to.
Registration forms for the event are available at the Sizakala Centres and the Municipality's Communications and Community Participation and Action Support Unit.
子供向けの権利条約ブックレット ‘It's about ability'
日本ユニセフ協会の友人に紹介してもらった以下のウェブ記事の中に、セーブ・ザ・チルドレンや障害当事者団体と協働して、UNICEF と Victor Pineda Foundation が作った子供向けの権利条約ブックレット ‘It's about ability' がありました。若い世代のリーダーやピアエジュケーター、教師や地域ワーカーが使えるように、 いくつかの教材と合わせて配られる予定のようです。
Celebrating the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
'It's About Ability: An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' (PDF)
Nigeria: Uwais Committee - Disabled Seek Electoral Relevance
This Day (Lagos)
25 May 2008
Posted to the web 26 May 2008
Tunde Sanni Lagos
In another environment, their presence was enough to evoke hot tears and bitter emotions but the environment at the Cultural Center, Ibadan venue of the public sitting of the Presidential Committee on Electoral Reform was different last Wednesday as people with disabilities stormed the venue to make their presentations before the committee.
Altogether, about 50 individuals, professional groups and political parties appeared before the committee to make representations on flawed areas of the electoral process where they sought for improvement.
Operating under the aegies of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria (JONAPWD), the disabled came in different forms. Some on wheel chairs, some escorted to the venue to underscore the visual disability, yet others came with shortened hands and limbs but they still made it to the venue to beat the deadline for the submission of their paper to join other able bodied persons to canvass for the desired change in the electoral reforms of the country.
Led by Prince Ayodele Adekanmbi, the Special Assistant on Disable Matters in Oyo state, the persons with disabilities traced the history of their marginalization in the electoral process to 1960 from which period they observed they have been finding it rather difficult to engage in the political/electoral process of the country. "The fear of stigmatization and marginalization kept many such persons indoors rather than bothering to go to the polling booths to be counted and represent their views."
They impressed it on the ERC that they infact existed in the polity and should be counted among the eligible voters' in the country. "Tremendous effort at awareness creation, first on the fact that persons with disabilities do actually exist in the country and secondly, that they have rights like all Nigerians to engage in the political and electoral process" and reinforced that the Electoral Act 2002 recognised the place of persons with disabilities, some of whom have stood under different political parties to contest.
However, they expressed joy that they are winning the war against marginalization on appointments into political office as Adekanmbi revealed that seven states in recognition of their roles in the polity have appointed some of them into political office as Special Adviser/Special Assistant on Disable Matters. The states are, Ogun, Oyo, Kano , Kebbi, Plateau, Adamawa and Bauchi with Plateau going the extra mile by encouraging their appointments as special assistants to local government chairmen in the state. "More still needs to be done if persons with disabilities are to engage themselves fully in the political and electoral processes. The Electoral Act must be made conducive to the needs of persons with disabilities.
The disabled persons demanded that the role given to INEC under the act must be made mandatory so that persons with disabilities can feel confident of having the support of the electoral agency. "Political parties must open spaces on a gratis basis to welcome persons with disabilities and provide them the opportunity to compete" while money politics must be downplayed to enable persons with disability a chance of moving on.
They recommended independent candidacy which they believe is an effective way of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor and giving the marginalized, especially persons with disabilities an opportunity to participate fully and effectively in the political processes.
With a tone ladened with emotions, Adekanmbi declared, "if we are disabled, our vote is not disabled. We are tired of fighting for our rights. He added that as a visually impaired person they could not get a free and fair attention at the poll as they could capitalize on their disability to make them vote for a candidate they did not desire.
According to him, "on matters of election, you cannot even trust your wife if the two of you belong to different political parties as she can goad you to vote for her candidate whereas she knows that I have my own candidate. But because she knows I am blind and there is no how I could detect the candidate I am voting for, I will vote as she guides my thumb."
To forestall such scenario, the visually impaired official demanded for the "use of electronic audio voting machine for the blind and other persons with disabilities and all vulnerable Nigerians in order to give such persons independence at the polling booth."
He wanted the electoral agency to employ a sign language interpreter both at the headquarters and state branches for the polling booths to assist the deaf.
The disabled people demanded for adequate security for all especially for persons with disabilities in case of electoral violence or crisis.
The public sitting of the committee also provided an alternative opportunity for radical minds to call for the practicability of the Option A4 electoral system of the annulled June 12, 1993 believed to have been won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola as well as the two party system of the General Ibrahim Babangida era.
Several speakers also wanted the Uwais committee to canvass for the independence of the electoral commission as well as security agencies such that they will be insulated from the power of incumbency.
They decried the current multi party system where individuals float political parties in order to receive grant from the government and submitted that such grant should be paid in two installments which should be before and after the poll depending on the seats sponsored and won by such political party.
The Justice Uwais-led committee which arrived in Ibadan last week Monday went on courtesy calls to the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Odulana in his palace and the seat of power to announce their arrival to Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala where Uwais explained that the public sittings came about in order to give other Nigerians who could not submit memorandum the opportunity to air their feelings on the nation's electoral system and stressed the need for Nigerians to contribute to the electoral process of the country.
Uwais expressed the determination of his to effect the reform of the nation's electoral process.
In his submission to the committee, Akala clamoured for stiff penalty for politicians and their supporters found to have run foul of the provisions of the Electoral Act and recommended that "to be eligible to field candidates, a political party must have been registered at least one year before the election, while candidates seeking elective positions must equally have been a member of a political party for one year.
Akala, wanted the committee to de-emphasise money politics from electoral processes as he noted that it has been the root cause of some ills in the process.
Former governor of the state, Alhaji Lam Adesina, identified the flaws in previous polls to the selection of the INEC members by the sitting President who is a card carrying member of a political party and as well craved for the complete overhaul of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC).
The ex-governor remarked that the current lopsided composition of the electoral body was largely responsible for undermining the electoral process and suggested that future electoral bodies should comprise representatives of some labour, religious and professional groups.
Adeshina recommended that the future INEC should be composed of people drawn from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and other professional unions.
He said only the 1979 and 1999 elections, which were conducted by the military, had a semblance of credibility and emphasized that membership of the proposed electoral body should include the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other recognized bodies.
He said each of the associations should forward three names to the President for onward transmission to the National Assembly, from where one person each would be picked after thorough screening.
Adesina wanted the "Air Force and the Army to be insulated from the election process while the electoral body should be funded from the first charge consolidated revenue account.
"The appointment of the Inspector-General of Police should be made by the President on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission.
"This will end the era whereby a serving IG will pledge loyalty to the President that appointed him, instead of pledging such loyalty to the country.
The governor said elected office holders seeking reelection must first resign from their appointment before contesting fresh election.
The Ibadan Elders Forum, a non-partisan indigenous pressure group, in a presentation by Chief Theophilus Akinyele described Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the puppet of a serving President and suggested new measures that could give birth to a truly independent commission that will meet international standards.
The forum in a 10-point proposal, which was read at the public sitting, regarded the current INEC as only independent in name as the 1999 constitution vests in the President the power to appoint its chairman and other members, thereby giving enormous power to the President to control the commission as he desires.
It proposed that members of the commission should be drawn from sources including political parties, professional bodies, women, labour and youth organizations civil society groups and the Nigerian media, adding that the commission should be allowed to appoint its chairman from among members.
"Nigerian electoral umpire is only independent in name. It is bedeviled by a number of governmental attitudes, policy and directives that belie its claim to independence. The appointment of the Electoral Commission should not be by the President alone. Members of the commission should be drawn from various sources including the political parties, professional bodies, women organizations, youth organizations, civil society groups and the media organization. The commission should be allowed to appoint its chairman from among its membership", it proposed.
It also faulted the appointment of the state Resident Electoral Commissioners by the President and recommended that such power should be exercised in consultation with the Council of States.
On the funding of the electoral agency, the Ibadan elders lent its support for the recommendation of the National Political Reform Conference of 2005 that the commission should draw its funds directly from the Federation Account and added that if accepted, the Forum opined that it will necessitate the amendment of Section 154 (2) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and that funds shall be released to the commission without delay to avoid having adverse effect on its preparation for elections.
It also recommended the sanitisation of the electoral process, party funding, remuneration of political appointees, independent candidacy, training of electoral staff and education of politicians, among others.
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in its position represented by its state leader, Dr. Busari Adebisi remarked that the interruption to the tenure of sitting office holders through courts fiat arising from election petitions need to be revisited as it said that the cost of conducting bye-elections is quite enormous as well as constitute unnecessary expenditure on the economy.
In order to remove such cog wheel, the ANPP suggested that all elections should be conducted six clear months before the expiration of the tenure of such elected persons so as to pave way for the filing and conclusion of election petitions.
In his presentation, Maj. Adeola Amao, caused a stir when he called for a revolution, which he said was the solution to the shortcomings being recorded in the country's electoral process.
He left the audience filled with awe when he said the resources of the country should be aggregated and shared evenly among the country's vast population to bridge the yearning gap between the poor and the rich.
Some speakers which included Mr. Taofeek Lawal of the Ibadan Polytechnic called for the scrapping of the State Electoral Commissions while their functions should be taken over by the federal electoral body in the conduct of all manners of election at the local, state or federal level.
On his part, Mr Chinedu Ogueri advocated for the reservation of some seats in the lower and upper legislative chambers of the National Assembly for Nigerians in Diaspora. He advised Nigeria to follow the examples of Portugal which reserves four seats and Italy which reserves six seats for their citizens in the Diaspora.
This photo taken on May 25, 2008 shows Alexander Mwanza Phiri (R) of Zimbabwe, secretary general of African NGO, South Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD), speaking to the press after an NGO meeting called "People's TICAD" in Yokohama. Activists attending this week's major conference in Japan on African development, the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), expressed dismay on May 26 that they would have only limited contact with leaders.
TICAD IV関連 セミナー 開催案内 「アフリカでビジネスを行うためにーCSRを通じたコミュニティーとの共存ー」
TICAD IV関連 セミナー 開催案内
TICAD IV〜「元気なアフリカを目指して(Towards a Vibrant Africa)」〜の開催で
２． 日時： 平成20年5月26日（月）14:00〜16:30 （受付開始：13:30）
３． 会場： 国際協力銀行9階講堂（〒100-8144 東京都千代田区大手町１ー４
冒頭挨拶 国際協力銀行理事 松井 英生
JETROアジア経済研究所地域研究センター長 平野 克己
国際厚生事業団事業部長 野崎 慎仁郎
モデレーター 国際協力銀行専任審議役 橋本 和司
・ 三菱商事株式会社理事・ヨハネスブルグ支店長 是永 和夫
・ 日本経済団体連合会国際第二本部長 讃井 暢子
・ 慶応義塾大学医学部教授 竹内 勤
・ 外務省国際協力局総合計画課長 前田 徹
・ JETROアジア経済研究所地域研究センター長 平野 克己
・ 国際協力機構（JICA）産業開発部長 新井 博之
・ 国際厚生事業団事業部長 野崎 慎仁郎
総合司会 国際協力銀行開発セクター部長 築野 元則
セミナー事務局：国際厚生事業団 野崎、松柴 (Tel: 03-3225-6591)
７． 国際協力銀行担当者 開発セクター部 樫葉、土橋(Tel:03-5218-9649)
Nigeria: Win and Rule - At Asaba, Even the Disabled Ruled His World
26 May 2008
Posted to the web 26 May 2008
As the Second National Operator, Globacom, last week presented 12 brand new cars in Asaba, Delta State, as part of redeeming its promises of giving out 500 cars in the current Win and Rule promo it flagged off last year, perhaps, one winner, Mr Uchenna Echem, may have captured all the attention.
Funny enough, it was not for his good looks because the Grand Hotel Asaba, venue of the event was filled to the brim, with gorgeously dressed and good-looking gentlemen and ladies of all walks of life, who had come to witness if it was actually true that common Nigerians could be presented with brand new cars just for merely subscribing to a network.
RULING HIS WORLD: Physically challenged winner of Globacom's Win And Rule Promo, Echem Uchenna, raising his crutches in celebration at the prize presentation ceremony in Asaba, recently.
Yet beyond all the excitement and jubilation on seeing the brand new cars lined up to be given out, very thick doubts were still building in a lot of people's mind that a physically challenged Echem could throw his clutches at the back seat of a brand new car and drive away a car owner just for recharging his phone with common N500 Glo recharge cards.
But that was exactly what happened at the end, because Echem was presented with a brand new Kia Rio car and he left the premesis a car owner. Perhaps, the height of the moment came when immediately after presenting him with his car, Echem, stunned the whole crowd by lifting the pair of his clutches up, standing on his feet, praising God and thanking Globacom for being the vessel for God's promises to his life.
Ebonyi State-born Echem actually was not born a cripple but lost his legs to a ghastly motor accident he was involved in some years back, but it was amazing seeing a physically challenged pull such courage as a show of true joy.
Some other brand of cars given out at the event apart from the Kia Rio, included BMW, Peugeot and Nissan Sunny series and a total of 12 winners drove them home.
So for Echem, "God has used Globacom to turn my tears to joy by providing this car when I never expected. But in all, he commended Globacom for not only being customer friendly, but could take seriously the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as it was doing with both the promo and a lot of other initiatives.
However, Echem was not the only one to confess miracle. Messrs Happy Anighoro Edegua and Ikeh Christian Mmaduabuchi took home a brand new BMW 3 series car each. They attributed their luck to God's blessing and expressed hapiness that it was manifested through a truely Nigerian company like Globacom.
Addressing the gathering, the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof) Chief Edozien who was represented by his wife, Modupe Edozien, said the only way to reciprocate the kind of good name Globacom was bringing to Nigeria through this kind of promo, was for all Nigerians to patronize the network, adding that Glo was a very effective network particularly on international calls.
Also, wife of Delta State Deputy Governor, Mrs.Nelly Utuama while congratulating the winners, enjoined them to spread the good message of Globacom to the people as a way of paying back the investment lavished on them.
Earlier, while welcoming guest to the occasion, the Chief Operating Officer of Globacom Mr. Mohamed Jameel who was represented by the Zonal Manager, Mr. Chudi Nwoye said "at Globacom, we are not just celebrating this promo, we are celebrating a resilient network, a network that continues to grow and earn the confidence of the generality of the people daily. We have demonstrated our commitment towards network improvement by striving to complete our optic fibre installations around the country. In the last few weeks, we have commissioned the installations in Minna, Enugu , Owerri and Onitsha to make qualitative telecoms services, phone calls, data transmission and video communication more accessible to Nigerians."
He said the company was expanding its network to accommodate more than 35 million subscribers.
Overcoming disability in sportUPDATED ON:
She is the first amputee ever to qualify for the Olympics, and one of the most successful disabled swimmers in history.
Natalie Du Toit competed as an able-bodied athlete at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, before losing her leg in a motorcycle accident.
The 24-year-old South African kept on swimming and won five Paralympics gold medals, but this year she fulfilled her dream - qualifying for the Beijing games, and giving herself the chance to compete with able-bodied athletes once more.
Sportsworld's Dan Williams reports.
It has been quite a year for another South African Paralympian.
Oscar Pistorius - dubbed the 'blade runner' because of his carbon fiber prosthetic legs - has been given the go-ahead to race against able-bodied athletes and try to qualify for this summer's Beijing Olympics.
The court of arbitration for sport's decisions overturned a ban imposed on the South African by the governing body of world athletics, the IAAF.
And as Louise Potter reports, it is a decision that could set a remarkable precedent.
Athletes with disabilities and those with special needs often do not get as much credit as their able-bodied counterparts when it comes to sport.
Yet the Paralympics and the Special Olympics are aiming to change all of that.
This summer's Paralympics games will be the biggest ever, featuring 20 sports and around 4,000 athletes, but as Farrah Esmail reports, a lot still has to be done to change public opinion about disabilities in sports.
It is not surprising that football has been low on the list of priorities in Liberia.
The West African country has recently endured 14 years of civil war.
But now, the Football for Peace project has been making its contribution towards uniting former warring factions, and they are doing it through amputee football.
The Michael Jordan of wheelchair basketball
Troy Sachs is hardly a household name in international sports, but he will be one of the most experienced athletes at the Beijing Games.
He is a world record holder, a gold medalist and has even been compared to Michael Jordan.
For the last 16 years, Sachs has been a key player in the Australian wheelchair basketball team, which will this summer compete for their second Paralympics gold medal.
Sportsworld's Wayne Hay reports.
JOLLYWOOD movie production based in Johannesburg, South Africa representatives arrive in the country on Friday for a presentation on how best Swaziland can do low-budget movies. The presentations will be held at the Swaziland Theatre Club on Saturday and Sunday, courtesy of the Matiwane Manana Art Foundation.
Cameroon-born Jollywood producer Leonard Ashu, director Sechaba Ramotoai and actor Sipho Manzini will be making the presentations on the days.
The art foundation’s chairman, Khethabahle Mthethwa invited independent producers, among others to attend the event.
“The presentation is targetted at independent producers, actors, actresses, scriptwriters, make-up artists and would like to invite them to this event which will assist them make their own films at a low price,” Mthethwa said.
He noted that Jollywood was the fourth largest movie industry in the world and the producer, Ashu was involved in producing all the Nigerian movies.
“One of the films he has produced include ‘Rainbow Love’ which he did in nine days at only E46 000.
This shows that in one month, he could produce a number of films.” The presentations start at 8.30a.m. till 5p.m. on both days and it will be on first come, first serve basis as the venue is too small.
On another note, Mthethwa said the Universe Deaf Theatre facilitators began their work yesterday at the School for the Deaf in Siteki and will be there till Sunday.
“They will leave Swaziland for Cape Town on Monday. They will check out at Siteki Hotel on Monday morning.”
Mbabane Mayor Walter Bennett donated E1000 towards the facilitators’, Harold Holmes together with his son, Dale travelling expenses.
He also pledges a beast for them to share with the School for the Deaf whilst they go about their project. Mthethwa further announced that on Thursday a play titled ‘Crossroad Boy’ would be performed at the Swaziland Theatre starting Thursday night at 7p.m.
“The play from the Market Theatre in Johannesburg will be staged on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Theatre lovers are invited not to miss out.” Admission to the show is E40 for everyone. The art foundation’s chairman said on Sunday after the presentation short movies done in South Africa would be shown at the venue.”
He further thanked all those who were part of the festival reception held on Saturday night at the venue.
“We are grateful for all the pledges, to funders for this year and all those who attended the reception for the contribution they made to see the event a great success. We are hoping for a bigger event next year.
Second Sharia bank opens
Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 5/27/2008
Competition in the Islamic banking business is set to intensify with a second Sharia compliant bank opening its doors to Kenyans Tuesday.
First Community Bank, a stand-alone Islamic bank licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya a year ago, joins another Sharia compliant institution?Gulf African Bank, which started operating in January.
“We welcome both Muslim and non-Muslim clients to our services driven by ethics,” Nathif Adam, the bank’s CEO, told the Nation.
Based on fixed profit lending, Islamic banking does not approve of, among others, levying of interest on its services.
Mr Adam said the bank, with an approved Sh1 billion capital base and licensed a year ago, seeks to expand from the initial three branches to 17 in the next three years.
The institution, which has a 51 per cent Kenyan shareholding, joins a market that already has attracted mainstream banks like Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank, I&M and Dubai that have Shariah compliant products. It offers current, saving and investment deposit accounts as well as asset and services financing.
Meanwhile the Cooperative Bank is to open a special counter for its disabled customers, a bank official has said.
Coast chief manager Willis Osir said that for many years disabled persons have lived in a “discriminatory environment that has denied them opportunities their counterparts without disabilities enjoy.”
Mr Osir also called for an affirmative action where disabled people are given priority in the job opportunities available in the country.
ジェンダー、アフリカ、インフラ、災害、気候変動など、さまざまな課題が盛り込まれたワークショップです。TICAD IV会場のSecurity AreaはIDカードがないと入れませんが、このイベントはID
(The Role of Infrastructure on Women’s Economic Empowerment)
日時：2008年5月29日(木) 9:00 - 12: 00
ワークショップ参加を希望される方は email@example.com 宛に 氏名・所属
公開セミナー 「アフリカの開発に貢献する障害者」洞爺湖サミット開催1ヶ月前、世界的な注目が集まりつつある2008年5月、アフリカ開発をテーマとする国際会議TICADIV（第４回アフリカ開発会議）が日本政府、国連（UNDP,OSSA）および世界銀行との共催で横浜にて開催されます。今回、ジンバブエからTICADIVのアプローチのひとつである、人間の安全保障の確立としてのMDGｓ（ミレニアム開発目標）達成における障害問題へ取り組むアレキサンダー・フィリ氏がTICADIVに参加します。障害当事者の視点から、TICADIVにおける障害問題、AU（アフリカ機構）の宣言によるアフリカ障害者の十年（2000年〜2009年）と権利擁護、またアフリカ障害者運動の今後の課題について、報告会を行いたいと思います。 アフリカの障害者の現状と、国際会議におけるアフリカの障害問題について当事者からの最新情報が聞ける良い機会となっております。皆様、ふるってご参加ください。
Disabled by deceit
Saturday May 31 2008 19:23 IST
There’s nothing formulaic to Oscar Pistorius’s story. There’s no story like his either. Born with congenital absence of the fibula in either limb, this South African runner overcame amputation of both legs below the knee when he was 11 months old to become world record-holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres events for disabled athletes. So dominant did he become against the physically-challenged that he took on able-bodied men of international-class pedigree… and more than proved his ability to compete.
Thus was born Pistorius’s stated desire to compete in the Olympics. The world replied by clattering its teeth in a variety of languages.
Based on tests conducted by German scientist Gert-Peter Brueggemann, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), on January 14 this year, ruled that the carbon-fibre prosthetic blades used by Pistorius as mechanical limbs were ultra-light, fatigue-proof, springier and more energy efficient than human legs and, thus, gave him an unfair advantage over ‘normal’ runners. The double-amputee was banned from competing in events conducted under IAAF rules, including the Beijing Olympics he so desperately dreamt of competing in.
Even though he may never be able to convince those who are of the instinctive view that he does not belong on the track with his bipedal blades, the temptation to side with Pistorius is immense for the simple reason that his story is so inspirational, so emotionally-uplifting.
But emotion shouldn’t carry Pistorius into the Olympics, and neither should it keep him out of the Olympics.
Pistorius himself, much to his credit, once conceded that his ultimate quest of qualifying for the Olympics would be meaningless if, despite doubts over the acceptability of his artificial legs, the realisation of his dream was the outcome of a heart-warming favour by the authorities concerned.
And yet, unfortunate as it may sound, the truth appears to be just that.
Subsequent to Pistorius appealing against the ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, he was, on May 16, declared eligible to compete in the Olympics by the IAAF. Why?
Yes, why. Because whether or not artificial legs will make for artificial competition at the Beijing Olympics is no longer the question. Has Pistorius been allowed to compete because scientists at six universities across three countries concluded that the available evidence on his prosthetic limbs conferring an undue advantage was insufficient?
Or because the IAAF’s ruling is the inevitable result of global paranoia over excluding anyone, least of all someone as disadvantaged by biology as Pistorius, for fear of hurting feelings or being labelled a brow-beating bully or elitist snob?
In that nothing has ever barred disabled athletes from competing in the Olympics as long as their participation is not aided by mechanical devices offering unjust advantage, the overturning of the IAAF’s initial verdict on Pistorius - hailed in certain quarters as a great day for the disabled - was, in effect, a great day for just one disabled athlete: Pistorius.
Has the IAAF allowed legless swimmers with carbon-fibre flippers to compete in the Olympics? Or legless high-jumpers with spring-loaded prosthetic limbs? No. No.
The CAS has been careful enough to open the door only for Pistorius. Its decision allows him, and only him, to use a certain model of prosthetic blades, while leaving open the possibility for future research to inarguably conclude that he enjoys an unfair, disqualifiable advantage.
When, ironically, even the verdict in Pistorius’s favour is so implicitly against him, there must be compelling reasons for the IAAF’s culture of acceptance. And these reasons are: one, it won’t win any points by coming down on a legless runner; two, with high-profile protests and political issues threatening to sidetrack the Olympics, it needs a feel-good story to divert global attention from the negative publicity.
Oscar Pistorius is that feel-good story.
Those capable of keeping the emotional pull of this story at a safe distance suggest that telling Pistorius to compete in the Paralympics rather than the Olympics would not be an insult to either his ability or his dream. For minds so inclined, Pistorius’s story, great as it is, is not necessarily an Olympic story.
For minds more emotional, it would be an unpopular argument not to say that, as much as the IAAF, we need that feel-good story. Coupled with the emotional pull of a double-amputee redefining the term ‘Olympic athlete’, this gives to Pistorius and his supporters, despite everything on the other side of the ledger, a feeling of entitlement to that feel-good story.
Which is how the IAAF, with our complicity, has subverted the truth. Which is how the IAAF’s deceit, abetted by our refusal to recognise it as such, has disabled Pistorius’s dream more than biology could ever have.
Which is why it does not seem to matter anymore that the other stories have been lost.
That if the technology of Pistorius’s prosthetic blades offers an undue advantage, how is it that only one man has run fast enough to make it an issue? That it’s not technology that makes Pistorius fast; it’s Pistorius himself. That whether or not he actually attains the qualifying time needed to find a place in the Beijing Olympics will be decided by an emotionless judge who can never be influenced by his inspirational story - the stopwatch.
But for now, Oscar Pistorius is running for all of us. Feel good about it.
Sports Editor, The New Indian Express Group. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the International Human Rights Colloquium?
The Colloquium is an annual capacity building and peer-learning event designed for young activists from the Global South (Africa, Asia and Latin America). The objective of the VIII International Human Rights Colloquium is to strengthen the impact of human rights activists work and to offer the opportunity to build new collaborative networks among activists, academics and the Organization of the United Nations (ONU).
The Colloquium offers lectures, seminars and working groups. In the morning sessions, participants will attend lectures, while in the afternoon sessions, they will take part in workshops and working groups, as well as visit human rights organizations.
The VIII Colloquium is organized by Conectas Human Rights together with Sur ? Human Rights University Network. The VIII Colloquium is supported by Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), among others.
Who can apply?
Young human rights defenders from the Global South who demonstrate commitment to the human rights cause as well as at least two-years of professional experience in the area. Additionally, criteria such as race, gender, and regional/social origin will be taken into consideration during the selection process. Candidates who have participated in previous colloquia are not eligible for participation in 2008.
Fees and Scholarships
In order to cover costs, each participant must pay a participation fee. A limited number of scholarships will be granted to guarantee participation of individuals. Candidates should submit a written request along with the application to be considered for a scholarship.
-1 Reference Letter (to be sent by mail or e-mail);
-Letter of Support from your organization;
-Resume/C.V. (1 page);
-Writing sample (1 page)
Applications for the VIII International Human Rights Colloquium will be accepted until June 30th, 2008.
Candidates can apply on-line
Ghana: Deaf Association Cautions Public
Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 3 June 2008
The Ghana National Association of the Deaf has expressed grave reservations, about how some members of the public are exploiting its members, for monetary gain.
It has uncovered that some members of the public, have devised a new method to deceive unsuspecting and innocent citizens, to solicit for financial assistance.
This was made known by the President of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Mr. Samuel Kwesi Asare, in Accra.
Speaking at a one-day sensitization workshop in Accra, the National President regretfully announced how unfortunate, disgracing, heart-breaking and disappointing, their activities were to the association. v Often times, he noted, these fraudsters, most of whom are foreign nationals from Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast and Liberia, engage the services of the deaf, to carry out their nefarious activities.
These deaf beggars, with the support of their 'contractors,' often design and print out fake identity cards, forms, letterheads and rubber stamps, all in the name of the association, School for the Deaf, and the Ghana Education Service (GES), which they distribute to individuals, groups and organisations for support.
What the exploited deaf beggars receive in return for their service is a commission, based on the day's output.
Considering the negative image, which this practice is carving for the association, and the entire nation, Mr. Asare has asked the public not to support such persons, since it was against the rules and regulations of the Association.
This, he said, demeaned their personalities and that of the Association.
He also advised members of the public, to refrain from offering financial support to these deaf beggars.
Instead, he has urged the public to refer them to the Association, or report them to the nearest Police Station.
In effect, the Association has distanced itself from this shameful act.
Mr. Asare underscored the importance of putting an end to the activities of these contractors of the deaf.
The Association has encouraged its members to do their best, to support their respective families, and the entire nation.
"It was for this reason that the association organizes programs, to create sources of livelihood for unemployed members of the association, by implementing income-generating projects, on a per region basis," he noted.
These programmes include breadmaking, batik and tie-and-dye production in the Central Region, soap-making in the Brong Ahafo Region, gari-processing in the Eastern Region, and farm projects in the Ashanti and Volta regions.
That notwithstanding, he emphasized that the Association also implements Family Welfare Projects, aimed at educating the deaf on reproductive health, family planning and responsible parenthood, gender-based violence, and HIV/AIDS.
Sports Development Projects are also implemented in the regional and district branches, to develop and enhance the physical and social well-being of the deaf, as well as promote their participation in sporting activities, in the country and abroad.
On this basis, the National President expressed concern about why the deaf would engage themselves in such shameful acts, with regards to the association's efforts to provide a better living for them.
Disabled in Upper East asked to Patronize NYEP
Tue, 03 Jun 2008
Mrs. Agnes Chigabatia, Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, on Tuesday advised disabled youth in the region who have skills to patronize the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
She assured them of the support of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) saying, “the RCC is very happy about the efforts you have made individually to live independent lives and would continue to support you to achieve your desired aspirations.”
Mrs. Chigabatia said this when she inaugurated the Regional Federation of the Disabled Youth made up of the blind , deaf and physically challenged in Bolgatanga.
She said the government, in its quest to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities, had introduced programmes and policies that would help make life bearable to the disabled.
“The various youth leadership training institutes, craft centres, special schools for the education of the visually impaired and the deaf and dumb had been established throughout the country to cater for the educational and training needs of people with various forms of disabilities”, she said.
She said the RCC, through its Municipal and District assemblies, was supporting disabled young people in their education through sponsorship packages that include payment of school fees and their transport needs.
Mrs. Chigabatia urged those in schools to study hard and aim at achieving the best education could give them.
She told them that the country’s universities and other tertiary institutions were opened to all who had the right qualification regardless of their physical structure or sight.
The federation elected a new Executive with Mr. Mark Akubire as the Chairman, Jamilo Osman, Vice Chairman and Mr. Ania David, Secretary.
Mr. Akubire appealed to people not to discriminate against the disabled and see them only as beggars or nuisance but accord them the respect due everyone.
He appealed to the politicians and the public to avoid conflict during the political campaign period as well as the voting day as the vulnerable suffers most when there is violence.
Mr. Akubire appealed to NGOs and kind people to help their new office in Bolgatanga with stationary and means of transport.
Uganda: Disabled Demand Special Health Workers
New Vision (Kampala)
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 4 June 2008
PEOPLE with disabilities have asked the health ministry to train health workers in sign language and recruit interpreters to help deaf expectant mothers access information, especially during antenatal services.
Safia Nalule Juuko, an MP for the disabled, said disabled women could not access quality services because they could not express themselves.
"Let there be at least one sign language interpreter at a health centre, so as to enable people with disabilities, especially the deaf, to access information."
Juuko made the appeal on Saturday during a two-day consultative workshop for disabled persons held at Exotic Inn, Kampala.
The conference drew participants from Kampala, Kalangala, Kiboga, Nakaseke, Rakai and Mubende.
Juuko said the breakdown in communication affected the deaf women most during childbirth.She said hospitals should procure adjustable beds to cater for lame mothers.
The MP's remarks followed a complaint by a participant that midwives rudely order them to climb labour beds even when they can not. "How did you climb when conceiving?" the participant quoted the midwives as asking.
Alex Ndeezi, another MP for the disabled, said interpreters should also be positioned at health centres to help patients with hearing disabilities.
"The public should know that the disabled, just like any other person, need to express themselves freely. Therefore, they need to access medical and other services through these interpreters."【付記】上記ニュースのURL
South Africa: North West to Prioritise Disability Sector
3 June 2008
Posted to the web 4 June 2008
The North West Government has developed the provincial disability programme of action which will spell out the priority intervention areas by government for the disability sector.
According to the Office of the Premier, the programme includes commitments on economic empowerment of people with disabilities and improving the internal capacity to manage the disability programme.
"It will further increase accessibility of services to persons with disabilities and broadening their participation in decision-making processes," said Premier Edna Molewa, while tabling her Budget Vote on Tuesday.
This financial year, she added, her office will launch the Provincial Disability Machinery that will further ensure the mainstreaming of disability issues across all sectors.
Ms Molewa said this will include government, business, labour, academic institutions, religious bodies and all civil society organisations.
"The Office on the Status of People with Disabilities will also convene a Provincial Disability Summit to develop a medium-term provincial plan on disability. This will be succeeded by the finalisation of establishment of municipal disability forums in all municipalities," the premier said
This, she added, will also develop a database of people with disabilities this year.
"The intention is to make sure that our intervention is targeted and responds to the real needs of the affected people.
"The database will cover areas around skills within the sector, categories, geographical spread, gender and age groups," said Ms Molewa.
The premier added that her office will strengthen units dealing with Children and Older Persons' programmes as they deal with some of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
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Uganda: Disabled Children's Home Seeks Support
New Vision (Kampala)
4 June 2008
Posted to the web 5 June 2008
OVER 200 children with disabilities, who need intensive care, cannot be accommodated at Katalemwa Cheshire Home due to limited space, the executive director has said.
Connie Tinka on Monday launched the "Shelter a disabled child" campaign to raise awareness about childhood disability and solicit funds to construct a 30-bed hostel at the home in the first phase.
She said the construction effort sponsored by Barclays Bank is dubbed "Buy a brick for sh1,000 and help build a home for a disabled child."
"Each day on average, we receive over 200 children with about 130 residing at the home.
"Their treatment takes about 10 to 12 weeks," Tinka explained at the home in Mpererwe, Wakiso district.
"Unfortunately, most of them have to be discharged to complete their recovery at home because of shelter limitations."
Tinka pointed out that despite the increasing number of children with neurological disorders, many of them did not receive medical attention "yet they require more atttention than normal children."
Katalemwa Cheshire Home is a charity involved in rehabilitation of children with physical disabilities.
"Make a small sacrifice today to make a big difference for a child desperately in need," said Patrick Ayota, the Barclays Bank chief financial officer.
He urged the public to buy bricks at Game Stores Lugogo, Garden City, Wandegeya and Kisementi, all in Kampala, on June 28.
Any financial contribution towards the campaign can be deposited on Account No. 6140688 in the name of Katalemwa Cheshire Home. Pledge cards will also be available at all Barclays Bank branches.
Tinka commended Barclays Bank for sponsoring the campaign and for its commitment over the years to help the home.
Expanding opportunities for deaf Peace Corps volunteers
Since the 1970s, deaf volunteers have assisted people suffering hardship around the world through the Peace Corps, a U.S. federal agency which is in its 47th year of promoting world peace through its American volunteers and development assistance funding.
Over the past 10 years, deaf volunteers have been primarily sent to work as educators in Kenyan schools for deaf students. Although their experiences have been positive, returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCV) have expressed their desire to open up volunteer positions in all regions of the world and in all areas, such as youth outreach, community development, business development, agriculture and environment, health and HIV/AIDS, and information technology.
To explore this idea, representatives of Gallaudet, Peace Corps, and returned peace corps volunteers (RPCVs) came to campus in May to discuss the possibilities.
The three regional directors representing all Peace Corps programs and three RPCVs were invited to campus by Dr. Amy Wilson, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Research, to discuss expanding programs to include deaf volunteers in more countries and in more fields of service.
Present to report first-hand on the potential of deaf Peace Corps volunteers were National Technical Institute for the Deaf and American University alumna Norma Moran, Gallaudet alumna Julie Hochgesang--both of whom served recently in the Peace Corps as deaf educators in Kenya--and Trish Ross, who is hearing and a graduate of Gallaudet’s Department of Education, and is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and Jamaica and a Peace Corps trainer for Kenya. The RPCVs made the point that deaf people can work in any position in any field with the appropriate support.
By working overseas where attitudes about deafness may be negative, volunteers show that deaf people are capable of being productive, independent, and equal to hearing people in the community. It has been shown time and again that deaf Peace Corps volunteers become role models to other deaf people and motivate and encourage them to take positive steps in their lives. However, the RPCVs made it clear to the Peace Corps representatives that they are interested in having deaf volunteers reaching out to all communities, not only deaf people.
This is an opportune time for the Peace Corps to become more accessible and inclusive of deaf volunteers--their work overseas is supported by the recently ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a human rights treaty aimed at erasing rampant discrimination, segregation, and lack of opportunities for the world’s 650 million people with disabilities?74 million of whom are deaf.
This historic treaty comes at a time when an increasing number of people who are deaf or have disabilities are becoming more mobilized and interested in offering their assistance in developing countries. A case in point is Gallaudet, which offers opportunities to study international development in the Graduate School and is dedicated to integrating social justice and community service with instruction in its new curriculum. For anyone graduating from college who wishes to reach out to those who need development assistance in developing countries, the Peace Corps offers a golden opportunity.
Representing Gallaudet at the meeting, in addition to Wilson, were Dr. Barbara Gerner de Garcia, chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Research; Dr. Richard Lytle, special assistant to the president and former chair of the Department of Education who has had extensive experience working with Chinese government officials in improving educational opportunities for the country’s deaf population; and Dr. Asiah Mason, director of Regional, National, and International Outreach Programs.
While the RPCVs acknowledged that it would be helpful if the Peace Corps had a unit dedicated to training deaf people, they emphasized that, like anyone?hearing or deaf--the level of support a volunteer needs varies from person to person. For example, Hochgesang said some deaf volunteers may want an interpreter, while some may want to tackle communication issues on their own. Moran pointed to Frances Parsons, a Gallaudet alumna and former professor who served as a Peace Corps professional participant in the mid-1980s and traveled throughout Southeast Asia without an interpreter. “Deaf people are such skilled communicators that within five minutes they are going to get their message across,” said Ross, adding that from her observation, “It’s the hearing (Peace Corps) volunteers who get the most frustrated,” when facing language barriers.
The three agreed that because the Peace Corps already has excellent training and support programs in place for its volunteers in developing countries, the main thing deaf people entering the program will need is access to existing services. “The Peace Corps is a fabulous program,” said Ross. “I think every American should have an opportunity to do it, including deaf people.”
“You’ve raised the issue of giving all people who want to work to be able to,” said Henry McCoy, Peace Corps regional director for Africa, at the conclusion of the meeting. “I believe the answer is yes.” But McCoy said the Peace Corps first must figure out how to provide deaf volunteers all the resources they need, particularly interpreters, even when they are stationed in remote areas.
The regional directors will continue their discussion with Gallaudet and the three RPCVs in the near future, said Wilson.
Posted: 5 Jun 2008
Help arrives for disabled brothers
BY LUCAS BOTTOMAN
11:57:05 - 06 June 2008
CROSSROADS Hotel of Lilongwe last Saturday came to the rescue of a single mother in Chirimba, Blantyre, whose four sons have been struck by disability through a donation of various items worth K250,000.
Blessings Chavula’s sons Kenson, Manuel and Elia out of her six children were disabled when they reached the ages of 10, 11 and 12.
One son, Joshua, seems to have been spared the disease that caused the disability of his three brothers because he is now above the age of 12 and normal.
“My first born of 1987 was Kenson who got disabled at the age of 12 before he died in 1998. Manuel was born in 1989 and got crippled 10 years later. My third born is a girl Kamia of 1991 and is not affected. My other son, Elia was born in 1992 and was disabled at 12,” Chavula said.
According to Dr. Charles Dzamalala of the College of Medicine, and Dr. Yohannie Mlombe, a heamatologist, the boys have been attacked by a disease called duchenn which involves the wasting away of muscles and exclusively affects boys due to genetic nature.
The Rooms Division Manager Bridget Mangulama Goneso who led the Crossroads Hotel staff said the donation, in cash and kind, was a response to a plea by the deputy Minister of Disability and the Elderly who had approached and asked the Crossroads Hotel chairman Haroon Sacranie for assistance.
“This donation is our chairman’s response to the deputy minister of disability’s request after he had learnt through the media about the Chavula family’s plight. We were also moved to help the family because Crossroads Hotel has a social responsibility programme which aims at helping the underprivileged,” Goneso said.
Crooroads gave the Chavula family beddings, food, clothing plus K50,000 cash.
The deputy minister of disability Yunusu Mussa called on others to follow the example set by Crossroads Hotel.
“Let me on behalf of the Chavula family thank Crossroads Hotel for their positive and timely response when I personally knocked their chairman’s door and presented the plight of the family,” said Mussa.
Mussa also presented a donation of wheelchair and Wheelchair Foundation certificate to each of the disabled boys.
Speaking on the same function, Member of Parliament for the area Rashid Gaffar commended the good work of Malawi News in exposing this family’s plight to the public.
Gaffar has since promised to always look after the Chavula family.
Gaffar also donated K20,000 cash in addition to purchasing a bale of jackets at K45,000 that Crossroads Hotel donated to Chavula Family as a way of reducing the burden and hustles she could have in selling the jackets on the market.
Among the donated items were duvets, clothes, mattresses, bed sheets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, bathing and washing soap, vaseline, rice, maize meal, cooking oil and 50 packets of vita meal.
Ghana: The Failed National Policy On Rehabilitation Centres
Public Agenda (Accra)
6 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008
Convention 159 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to which Ghana is a signatory, states that each ratifying member country "shall consider the purpose of vocational rehabilitation as enabling a disable person to secure, retain and advance in a suitable employment and thereby to further such person's integration or reintegration into society.
"Each ratifying member, in accordance with national conditions, practice and possibilities, shall formulate, implement and periodically review a national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons.
"The representative organizations of employers and workers shall be consulted on the implementation of the said policy, including the measures to be taken to promote cooperation and coordination between public and private bodies engaged in vocational rehabilitation activities."
Obvious questions that arise from the above are for instance, what is Ghana's national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons and how often is it reviewed to ensure that it responds to changing needs?
Under the management of the Department of Social Welfare, the government of Ghana has since 1962 established rehabilitation centres to engage all manner of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Employable Skills to enable them live independent and dignified lives in Society.
A number of disabled persons have over the years, been given such training, some of whom have gone on to do well in society.
The number of disabled persons found on the streets begging in recent times and the current state of rehabilitation centres in the country are ample testimony to the fact that all is not well with vocational rehabilitation in the country.
Some disabled persons prefer being on the streets to beg as those who undergo the training end up without tools with which to establish themselves in society.
Research has indicated that many disabled people do not patronize rehabilitation programmes. Many who try it leave dissatisfied. Most of the disabled people will rather migrate to the cities to beg. Many reasons, including economic and location of rehabilitation centres in the cities, have been assigned for this trend of affairs. Begging is often seen as the fastest way to gain some independence, reduce stigma and avoid stigmatized environments.
Master Kwaku Appiah, 40, a graduate of the National Vocational Training Institute in Cape Coast currently lives and begs at the Airport junction in Accra after he had learnt shoemaking for four years at the institute.
Mr. Asamoah Daniel,45, a blind farmer from Ofuman in the Techiman Municipal Assembly of the Brong Ahafo Region, ever received such training after which he could not get support to set up a workshop.
He went into farming and in 2002 was awarded the "District Best Physically Challenged Farmer."
On 27 May 2008, Mr. Asamoah appeared at the Brong Ahafo Regional Peoples' Assembly held in Techiman with a letter dated 2 April 2007.
The letter indicated that he had written to the MCE Hon. Prince Yaw Donyina to support him with four million old cedis from the disabled share of the Common Fund to enable him expand his farm.
The question Mr Asamoah asked was why he had still not gotten a response to his letter and that if he was not going to be given the money then he should be given license to go and beg on the streets.
In response, Mr. Prince Yaw Donyina assured him his letter would receive the needed attention.
While at it, the current state of the Sunyani Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre provides a classical example of how rehabilitation centres across the country are struggling to make good their mandate.
The centre is one of those under the Department of Social Welfare that are supposed to provide training to persons with various forms of disabilities to facilitate their integration into society.
The centre has over the years, provided this service to disabled people from various districts in the Brong Ahafo Region.
It currently undertakes about nine different vocational training programmes including shoe and dressmaking.
The number of disabled students at the centre currently stands at 29 and the number of able students stands at one hundred and forty-nine.
The number of disabled students could have been far higher if disabled people in the region had shown more interest.
The Centre Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Wozuame told the Public Agenda during a research that the idea of bringing the disabled students and their abled counterparts together to learn under one roof started in 2004 and was aimed at integration.
This arrangement is today the lifeline of the centre. This is because government subvention is not forthcoming to cater for the needs of the disabled students who do not pay fees. As such, the fees paid by the abled students are what the centre lives on. "The last time we received government subvention was about two years ago and it was one million cedis," says the centre manager.
Meanwhile the cost of materials for the various vocational programmes keeps stretching the finances of the centre.
Nevertheless, Mr. Wozuame says he sympathises with the Department of Social Welfare, the decentralized mother body. "They are equally under resourced."
The disabled students are from various districts, which could have borne the cost of their training. However, the centre manager says several appeals to the various District Assemblies towards it have not been heeded.
Things would have been worse for the centre but for the episodic intervention of some philanthropic organizations. Kristo Asafo and the Catholic Relief Services have been helping with staples and other food items.
Man Escapes Lynch From Disabled Youths
Disabled (Crippled) youths numbering six on Saturday June 7, 2008 at Bogobiri, a Hausa suburb, in Calabar, Cross River State capital man- handled an able bodied man, Isa Yakubu, over a disagreement. The incident occurred in the early hours of the day when Isa Yakubu, 30, went to where the disabled were sitting begging for alms and forcefully attempted to take a long bench used by the cripples.
Isa who was force down by the cripples shouted for rescue when the people who refused initially to help were watching and laughing at the incident. The cripples were seen on top of Isa, unleashing several blows on him. It was a more or less a mild drama as the six disabled youths whose ages range between sixteen and twenty were displaying with their hands, trying to proof a point that their disability should not be taken for granted.
Narrating their grievances, one of the disabled person, Mohammed alias buggy boy, who spoke to our correspondent said "this man think say we no get legs him fit do any thing he likes.' Just look at that bench, Na Baba Kanu give us, we de take sidon, na him where him wan come take, we no gree him take am, that is why we fight him, Allah na these people save him, we for kill him here" he stated
When confronted, Mr Isa Yakubu said he lives close to the Junction at Bogobiri alleged that he is the owner of the small bench, which the disabled youths have been using since last year, claiming that he needed to make use of the bench which was why he came for it.
Uganda: Muyenga Rotary Puts Smiles On Disabled Children's Faces
The Monitor (Kampala)
9 June 2008
Posted to the web 10 June 2008
If it is through compassion that people achieve the peak and deepest reach for their search for self-fulfilment, then Rotarians of Muyenga Rotary club could have gone a considerable mile in the search when they went down to share love, smile and donate to the underprivileged little ones at Katalemwa Cheshire Home for Rehabilitation.
The beaming smiles from the children whose happiness is short-lived because many of them have broken legs and amputated arms among other disablements showed their joy.
They clapped, sang and a few simply observed, tightly clasped to their mothers' chests as Rotarians unveiled one package after another that would ease life at the 38-year-old charity home.
The home was enriched with medical facilitation, workshop and administration equipment worth Shs24m. As David Balaka the President Rotary Club of Muyenga noted that the donation is in combined effort by the Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of greater Albany (US). The donation also included a timber lathe machine to be used in the production of orthopaedic appliances as well as various steel items and timber.
The charitable organisation which was set out to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to children with disabilities is involved in empowering both the children with disability and their families and hence the need for their participation and involvement in the rehabilitation process, the Executive Director Connie Tinka explained.
Uganda: Nancy Take Deaf Title
New Vision (Kampala)
9 June 2008
Posted to the web 10 June 2008
LIRA's NANCY school won the inaugural deaf inter-schools soccer league held at Namboole on Sunday.
The school fielded a team in the U-15 boys and girls U-15 categories which they dominated to win.
NANCY boys team beat Edgars Youth Programme deaf team 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in normal time.
Ambrose Ikwong scored a brace for NANCY while Jamil Kabugo also hit a double for Edgars in regular time to take the take to the penalty shoot-out.
NANCY had beaten Buckley 1-0 in the quarter finals and Mulago 2-0 in the semi finals.
The girls final pitted Mulago against NANCY who had all won their previous games .
But a lone goal by NANCY's Caroline Acilo in the final ensured the Lira school topped both categories of the one-day gala.
The gala attracted 17 boys and girls teams including representatives from Kisoro, Kumi and Masaka.
The tournament was sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy.
Ugandans need insurance against physical disability
Tuesday, 10th June, 2008
If you were unable to work because of a long-term disability, how would you provide for yourself and family? What if you became permanently disabled and confined into a wheelchair for the rest of your life? Research shows that 10% of disabilities occur on jobs when, for example, a worker gets an accident or sickness and eventually becomes disabled while on duty.
According to World Health Organisation, three million of the projected 30 million Ugandans are living with disabilities. With five people per household, this means 15 million Ugandans face the dire consequences of disability on a daily basis.
Insurance companies in Uganda should start offering disability policies and sensitise people about the policies. People with disabilities face challenges like abject poverty, low self-esteem, stigmatisation, marginalisation and discrimination. Most of these challenges rotate around finances. If one’s paycheck is insured ? as people insure their houses, businesses and cars against various risks ? the disabled would be assured of the means of livelihood.
Ugandans are prone to many causes of disability such as diseases (mostly malaria and polio), land mines, accidents, witchcraft, use of drugs and poverty.
In the US, May is the Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM). It was gazetted to get American workers to think about the need to protect their greatest asset ? their ability to earn an income. DIAM is an industry-wide effort that is coordinated by the non-profit LIFE Foundation to sensitise and urge people to get disability insurances.
Like in Uganda, it is difficult to qualify for workman’s compensation and the social security in the US. Matthew Tassey, the former chairman for LIFE Foundation, once said: “Most people have a false sense of security when it comes to being financially prepared for a long-term disability. The reality is the majority of workers do not have disability coverage through work, and disability benefits offered by government, as social security or worker’s compensation, can be very difficult to qualify for.
“If you work for a living, you must recognise that your ability to work and earn income is one of your most valuable assets and must be adequately insured. Disability insurance is the only coverage that will work when you can’t to replace your income in the event you become ill or injured and can’t do your job.”
There are over 60 million individual disability insurance policies in force in the US.
Under the NSSF scheme in Uganda, one cannot get their money until they reach retirement age. This is above the life expectancy of most Ugandans. When people get the money in lump sum, they misuse it and after a few months they run broke.
Workers’ compensation only covers you if you get injured, ill or die as a result of your job, and only 10% of disabilities occur on the job. Nevertheless, workers’ compensation payments are offered by few employers and many applicants fail to qualify.
For those who are self employed, your businesses may collapse if you become disabled. For example, you may be admitted in hospital following an accident and later get confined in a wheelchair. This makes you unable to adequately run or supervise your business.
Having a disability cover is the best way to ensure that you will be financially protected in the event that you become disabled.
Just as one would insure his or her valuable assets, it is important to insure the paycheck. The challenge, therefore, is for insurance companies to start offering this policy to ensure financial stability of Ugandans.
The writer is the Information Officer of Uganda National Action on Physical Disability
Seek to improve lives of disabled
Publication Date: 6/11/2008
Results of a survey of persons with disabilities carried out last year by the National Co-ordinating Agency for Population and Development have been released.
The data collected will be of no value if it is not used to remove barriers that hinder improvement of quality of the life of the disabled.
The Government has been lethargic in dealing with issues of the disabled.
One wonders whether the Government is now ready to set in motion measures that will prohibit discrimination and stigmatisation of the disabled.
Is it ready to work with the disabled themselves in solving their problems?
Despite the fact that direct nominations of persons with disabilities into institutions of governance is the only way to ascertain their inclusion in decision-making, the Government has failed to apply it.
Many persons with disabilities have, for lack of representation, been forgotten and are living in abject poverty and indignity.
The survey indicates that about 4.6 per cent ? about 1.6 million Kenyans are disabled. Now that we know their statistical number, type and nature of their disability, we have an opportunity to plan on how to address their issues.
Besides seeking to reduce poverty among them, we need to modify our transport infrastructure to accommodate them.
Some of them are on wheelchairs, are blind or use crutches and cannot run, push and shove to get into buses and matatus.
The buses have narrow doors and steep steps making it impossible for people on wheelchairs to access them.
The Persons with Disabilities Act that was signed by the President in December, 2003, has not been implemented to date though the disabled have always implored the Government to implement it.
We know that disability is a problem in our society and is not simply a disaster that needs quick remedy.
It is a serious condition that requires long-term policy, adequate regular Government financial allocations, and a consistent, focused plan of action that should result in a dignified ,improved quality of life for persons with disabilities.
Chairman, Butere-Mumias Persons with Disability.
Namibia: Government Under Attack
New Era (Windhoek)
11 June 2008
Posted to the web 11 June 2008
Government has come under fire for failing to address the plight of thousands of Namibians with disabilities.
"We, the majority of people with disabilities in Namibia, have lost hope in the top government especially those whom we thought could make a difference for the people with disabilities in Namibia," Chairperson of the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia, Martin Tjivera, said.
Tjivera made the remarks during the national disability day commemoration yesterday, which was preceded by a march that saw about 200 people participating. He lashed out at the Government for allegedly acting in a slack manner in ensuring that a council, as per the National Disability Act of 2004, is established. This situation has subjected most people with disabilities to increasing abject poverty, he added.
"Policies and programmes meant to address the needs and aspirations of the people with disabilities in Namibia are still falling short, resulting in people with disabilities not getting intended benefits," he said.
Although people with disabilities feel all Namibians should be supportive of initiatives aimed at uplifting their li-ving standards, Tjivera singled out the Ministry of Health and Social Services as particularly neglecting the needs of this section of the society. "Empty promises by top government officials in the ministry frustrate the majority of more than 85000 people living with disabilities," he said. Those affected allege that there is no vision for disability development programmes and thus called for the Office of the Prime Minister to intervene. They further called on the Government to ensure that people with disabilities are represented at different levels of society throughout Namibia. That, according to Tjivera, will enable the Government to address issues that affect people living with disabilities at local, regional and national level.
Disability Advisor to the Prime Minister, Tjiueza Tjombumbi, advises that the Head of State is the only one who can ensure that disability issues are coordinated from one of the highest offices in government. "If we truly want to speed up the implementation of the National Disability Council Act, African Decade of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Government in particular, the Head of State should ensure that disability issues are coordinated," he said.
He added that the main challenge is how to change the attitudes and perceptions of those responsible for making the decisions regarding disability issues. Tjombumbi said decision makers are ill informed by those around them and those they consult on the basis that they are well versed in disability matters.
In an effort to ensure that policies and laws that favour people with disabilities are implemented, the Office of the Prime Minister requested different agencies, ministries and offices to submit their disability plans of action. Tjombumbi revealed that only 12 submissions have been received and 11 people have been appointed to act as focal disability persons. These would capacitate from the human rights perspective and ensure that there are disability action plans.
People with disabilities remain invisible in the employment arena. Tjombumbi says more needs to be done to ensure that these people benefit from the Affirmative Action Act, Black economic Empowerment, the resettlement programme, rural po-verty reduction programme and the millennium account. In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Minister of Finance, Tjekero Tweya, President Hifikepunye Pohamba acknowledged that disability issues cut across all facets of the social and economic development.
Because of that, the Government has included a disability sub-section in its National Development Plan (NDP III). The President also urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure inclusion and support for projects managed by people living with disabilities. In the same way, he also said the Ministry of Education should facilitate the inclusion of education and increased bursaries to accommodate the special needs of people with disabilities.
"Our government will continue to raise awareness and the need for mainstreaming disability issues through constant consultation with people living with disabilities and other stakeholders," he said.
Disabled Union Petitions Legislature Today On Ratification of UN Convention
By Alaskai Moore Johnson
Published: 12 June, 2008
MONROVIA, The National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD) is expected to petition the National Legislature today in order to have that august body rectify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ghana: Persons With Disabilities Appeal for Office Accommodation
Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
12 June 2008
Posted to the web 12 June 2008
William N. Jalulah
THE UPPER East Regional Chairman, of the newly- formed Ghana Federation of Disabled Youth (GFDY), Akubire Mark, has appealed to the government, for inclusion of all persons with disabilities in all social protection policies and human resource development.
The National Health Insurance Scheme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and Information Communication Technology (ICT), were named as some of the policies, which could help give a boost to persons with disabilities.
Making the appeal at the elections, and inauguration of the federation in Bolgatanga, Mr. Akubire further appealed to the government, benevolent organizations and individuals, to provide the federation with office accommodation, means of transport, equipment for documentation, and funds for the smooth running of the federation effectively, and efficiently.
He said the GFDY was made up of three individual disabled youth organizations - Ghana Association of Blind Students and Youth (GABSAY); the Society of Physically Disabled Youth and Students (GSPDYS), and the Ghana National Association of the Deaf Youth (GNADY).
The chairman said these three organizations came together to form the federation, because they have similar aims and objectives.
Mr. Akubire lamented that persons with disabilities had suffered a lot.
He said initially, they were ignorantly known by the society as evil spirits, a curse to society, and thus discriminated against, and denied education, employment, healthcare, information services, culture and sporting activities.
Mr. Aban-Gos, Regional Coordinator of the National Youth Council, alleged that some responsible people in society sometimes hide and have sexual intercourse with women with disabilities.
He said such people left the innocent women to their fate, when they conceived, as a result of the sexual intercourse.
He condemned this barbaric act, and suggested that whoever was interested in these women, could come out openly, and make their intention clear, so that they could be held responsible in case of any misunderstanding between the two.
Namibia: Mayor Condemns Injustices Against the Disabled People
The Namibian (Windhoek)
12 June 2008
Posted to the web 12 June 2008
The Mayor of Keetmanshoop, Simon Petrus Tiboth, has condemned injustices against disabled people committed by their relatives and communities.
"It is sad to observe that the rights of disabled persons are violated daily in our communities knowingly and unknowingly, even by their very close family," Tiboth remarked.
Speaking at National People with Disabilities Day celebrations at Keetmanshoop yesterday, Tiboth said the day aimed to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. "We are here to remember that disabled persons have to be integrated in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life," he said. He said State disability grants were often misused. "Some disabled children only look clean and well cared for when they are with their parents or guardians on the day of receiving disability grants.
On the other days of the month they are neglected and forgotten," Tiboth said. In his message, Karas Governor Dawid Boois appealed to disabled people to make full use of training opportunities in order to become involved in social development.
He also called on the community to promote the full participation of disabled people in family affairs and all spheres of life.
Rwanda: Deaf And Mute Children Are Not Stupid Kids
Focus Media (Kigali)
15 June 2008
Posted to the web 16 June 2008
When Sister Angela Casciaro visited Rwanda in 1987, she paid special attention to the situation of the deaf and speech impaired. She found it was not good. Back in Italy, she started working on a program to set up a school for the deaf-mute in the country. This became reality, when the Institute F. Smaldone opened its doors in Nyamirambo in 1992.
Neither the special interest of Sister Casciaro, nor the name of the school, were a coincidence. Casciaro was a member of the order of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, which was created by Saint Filippo Smaldone in 1885 in Italy exactly to help him in his pioneering work with the deaf-mute.
During his life from 1848 to 1923, Smaldone set up schools for the deaf and dumb in Naples, Lecce, Rome and Bari, all in Italy. He later extended his work to blind children, orphans and other disadvantaged children.
The school bearing his name in Kigali, which is a fitting homage to his life's work, started out with 50 children, both in kindergarten and primary. Today, it accommodates 150 pupils, both day-school and boarders. Most of the latter come from distant regions like Kibuye, Ruhengeri, Gisenyi or Rwamagana.
"They don't pay school fees," says director Antonia Gadaleta, "they just contribute something to run the school programme-Frw 20,000 for the day students and Frw 30,000 for boarders."
Students who pass primary level have the choice of going to a special school in Gatagara in Butare, or to join Gatenga professional school in Kicukiro where they get skills in different disciplines such as arts and crafts or carpentry. Moreover, the speech impaired children are mixed with able children at Gatenga.
Some of the students even do some small work at school, such as four girls doing odd jobs and one pupil acting as sports teacher.
Adapted sign language
However, educating the speech impaired is still a huge challenge. One of the biggest problems, says director Gadaleta, is that there exists no adapted syllabus.
"In Butare, which was the first special school for such students, you find that the sign language they use is borrowed from abroad, for example from Uganda and other parts of the world. But the pupils need their own sign languages, adapted to the culture and things done in the country-we have different cultures, so things vary.
"If you taught a pupil of Rwanda the sign language for a king from Uganda, for instance, these are kings whose dressing code varies from the kings here; so the child may grow up with a false understanding, which will be difficult to correct," Antonia Gadaleta explains.
In order to remedy this, she has approached the ministry of education and submitted a proposal to write a sign language book that could then be used in schools.
"The ministry gave me the go-ahead, and even some subsidies," the director says, adding that she has already finished the first part, with the second one expected to be finished in 2009. Afterwards, she intends to present the book to experts from the region and the rest of the world to help finalize it.
At the same time, Gadaleta also wants to tackle the problem of interpreters capable of using sign language.
"We are planning to begin teaching people very soon, and once the book has been approved, they will even be better able to communicate with the children, so that they can go to higher levels of education," the director says.
On the level of the students too, a lot remains to be done. A huge problem, according to Antonia Gadaleta, is that of discrimination, mainly due to the difficulties of communicating with the children.
"They get less parental care than other children, most often as a result of lack of communication," the director explains. "When these pupils are here with us life seems to be good for them because we understand and can communicate with them, but when they leave for home things change.
"Regularly they are abused and intimidated on their way home, which is very discouraging. Some are then so disheartened that they are even inclined to go and sit by the roadside to beg, so we always send one of our staff to go and visit their homes to see how they are doing," Gadaleta says.
Sister Bernadette Mukankusi, who is one of those responsible for visiting the pupils, says that she doesn't only go to their homes, but they also invite the parents to the school to explain them how they can better deal with their children.
"Most of these parents are poor, so on many occasions they ignore their children which forces many kids to go begging, and sometimes they even end up as thieves," Mukankusi explains. "Responsibility begins at home. If these parents don't love their children, then what do you expect from the society?"
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『毎日新聞』2008年5月20日朝刊. 26ページ (東京版).
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Angola: Disabled People to Get Better Working Opportunity
Angola Press Agency (Luanda)
21 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008
The administrator of the Portuguese jewellery firm "OuroNor", Alvaro Freitas, said Saturday in Luanda that his institution intends to provide job opportunity to Angolan disabled people, as jewellery manufacturing might be in a diversified way.
Speaking to ANGOP during the International Minerals Fair (FIMA) taking place from June 18-22 in Luanda, the official said that his organisation is also facilitating the access of disabled people to workshops, as a means of helping them find jobs, taking into account the possibility of work using hands.
According to Alvaro Freitas, OuroNor will provide professional training to ill-favoured people, due to the fact that they need the society's attention.
South Africa: Workplaces Should Reflect More Women, Disabled People
23 June 2008
Posted to the web 24 June 2008
There is a need to address challenges delaying the achievement of representivity of women and people with disabilities in the workplace, says Nomboniso Gasa from the Commission for Gender Equality.
Ms Gasa was speaking during the national celebrations of Africa Public Service Day (APSD) in Pretoria on Monday.
"Departments should ensure there are reasonable accommodation of women and people with disabilities in the workplace," she said.
Ms Gasa said areas that needed attention included reinforcing the pillars that support growth and development to ensure that the gains achieved can be sustained.
Representing the Public Service Commission (PSC), Commissioner Koko Mashego said the transformation trajectory in the country inspired the public service to meet the needs of the citizens in a responsive manner and involve them in policy making processes.
She said this had created a sense that policy development was a shared responsibility between government and civil society.
"As public servants we need to respond to people's needs, while the public need to be encouraged to participate in policy making," she said.
She said Batho Pele loosely translated as People First principles were developed to serve as acceptable policy and legislative framework regarding service delivery in the public service.
In South Africa, the principles are aligned with the Constitutional ideals of:
Also speaking at the celebrations was Professor Shadrack Gutto from the University of South Africa, who said public servants should refrain from acting as bosses in order to improve the quality of services.
"Public servants who regard themselves as bosses need to change their mindset which is hindering service delivery," he said.
According to the professor, those who regard themselves as bosses, they see the state as separate from people.
He said such mindsets need to be eradicated because the state is like a charity organisation which caters for those who are less fortunate in life.
APSD is an annual event in which all African countries share best practices, challenges and progress in respect of transformation programmes.
The Pan African Conference of Ministers in 2001, declared 23 June as the APSD Day.
Its chair is South African Minister of Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser- Moleketi.
The main purpose of the day is to bring public servants together to commemorate the value and virtue of service delivery improvement to the communities they serve.
This year's theme is "From Policy to Result-based Implementation" and the day was celebrated in partnership with the United Nations.
2 years after passage of Disability Law some hope insight as…PWD’S are to benefit from LEAP
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson, on 24-06-2008 09:32
The deputy minister of Manpower Youth and Employment Akosua Frema Osei-Opare has disclosed government’s decision to extent the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme embarked upon by government to Persons with Disability (PWD’’s).
She said “LEAP through monthly grants will very soon be extended to identified PWD’’s with severe functional limitations in 50 districts” The sector minister said government has also instituted a Micro Credit and Small Loan Scheme (MASLOC) to be accesses by PWD’’s who are engaged in economic activities adding that “so far approximately 900 PWD’’s have benefited from this facility.” This she said among other interventions is expected to emphasize governments commitment to PWD’’s.
Akosua Frema Osei-Opare who was speaking at the celebration of the 2nd National Day of the Disabled under the theme:” the state of the Disability Law: Challenges and prospects” said no nation can achieve any meaningful and sustainable development without harnessing all its human resource capital.”
For this reason she said “he GPRS II under its key pillar seeks to among others ensure that the vulnerable and excluded including PWD’’s are empowered to maximize their physical and mental capabilities, have access to regular services and opportunities to achieve full social integration within their communities.
She further disclosed that government through the District Assembly Common Fund Administrator has been directed that up to 2% of the District Assembly Common Fund be set aside for the disbursement on Disability issues.
The Member of Parliament for Asutifi North and Chairman of the Parliament Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises Mr. Paul Okoh commended government for the passage of the Disability Law.
He said “12 years after the promulgation of the constitution, little was done until 2005 when the NPP administration took the bull by it horns to lay the Disability bill before parliament.” Mr. Okoh said “2 years after the passage of the law, very few public places are being renovated to make them disability friendly, the sad news is that not only is the private sector guilty of this but government institution as well.”
Yaw Ofori Debra, the president of the Ghana Association for the Blind (GAB) in an Advocacy statement read on behalf of the Ghana federation of the Disabled (GFD) bemoaned among other things unemployment among skilled and qualified persons with disability, exclusion from decision making processes, neglect of sign languages, limited educational opportunities, non-recognition and respect for the rights of PWD’’s and cultural conceptual biases.
Mr. Debra said the passage of the Disability Act 2 years ago raised the prospect of safe and secured future for PWD’’s adding that “the regret however is the unexplained delay in the setting up of the National Disability Council which has the pivotal role in the implementation of the Act. He recommended that to promote and expedite the process towards inclusion and participation of PWD’’s in the national development programmes:
Unit committees, area councils and District Assemblies should have representatives of PWD’’s. That the constitution of Ghana be amended to provide for a quota system where PWD’’s women and other interest groups can be fairly represented to have their concerns well articulated. That Sign Language be recognized as one of the national languages used daily on the television and state functions.
The National Day celebration coincided with the launch of the Network of Journalists for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Improved homes for the disabled
25 June 2008
The Gauteng department of housing has announced that the quality of life for people with disabilities and those dependent on state help is set to improve substantially.
The department is currently building custom-made houses, which include specialised fittings and gadgets, as part of the special needs subsidy programme.
Under the programme, applicants with disabilities will now have houses that will meet their special needs.
The housing delivery to meet special needs is another dimension of the policy direction pursued by MEC for housing Nomvula Mokonyane.
The one-size-fits-all approach has been abandoned for a work with the people, not for the people strategy.
Housing applicants with disabilities would in the future be prioritised in the allocation of houses.
Mokonyane said: “The department has identified seven categories of people with disabilities for assistance.
“These are: interventions related to walking, hearing, loss of vision and partial or total loss of movement.
“Millions of rands have been allocated for variations on the existing-housing subsidy for the procurement of walking, hearing and visual aids to be fitted in houses as part of the housing norms and standards provision,” Mokonyane said.
In addition to the standard allocation of a normal RDP house for an able-bodied person, additional variation amounts would mean the government will spend more for each house allocated to a person with a disability.
Mokonyane said: “The programme is already underway and the first phase is complete at Lakeside Proper in the Vaal, south of Johannesburg, where 197 houses have been rectified by state-owned agency Servcon Housing.
“The first phase involves restoring cracked walls, levelling floors and painting, while the second phase will move to renovate the houses for disabled beneficiaries.”
“The programme seeks to restore the dignity of people by ensuring that structural defects due to shoddy workmanship are corrected, and special needs are addressed.”
Ghana: Implementation of the Disability Law - How Long Do We Wait?
Accra Mail (Accra)
25 June 2008
Posted to the web 25 June 2008
"A yardstick to measure the level of development of a nation is by how far the most vulnerable of society - the aged, disabled, women and children are integrated" President Thabo Mbeki
Ghana has about a tenth of its population being persons with disability. These are people with physical, mental or sensory impairments suffering from physical, cultural and social barriers that substantially limit their participation in major life activities - making them vulnerable, deprived and socially excluded.
Seeking integration and respect of their rights as persons and as citizens, people with disability in Ghana, spurred on by the international climate in 1981 when the UN International Year for Disabled People [IYDP] was declared, and the subsequent Declaration of the Decade on Disability [1983-1992] which brought in its wake the UN Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities , were relentless in their demand for legislation, policies and programmes to improve their lives.
In Ghana, rewards of their strive are the Articles 29 and 37.2b of the 1992 Constitution, the National Disability Policy Document of 2000, Part V of the Labour Act, 2003 and Persons with Disability Act, 2006, among others. Persons with disability have therefore secured a good measure of provisions for the promotion and protection of their rights. What is left is their enforcement.
Implementation of the disability law and policy, not to mention other provisions for people with disability like that on employment in the labour law and the 2% allocation of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF), are all suffering. It has been two years since the disability law was enacted yet the body established by the Act to ensure its operation - the National Council on Persons with Disability [NCPWD] - is not in place.
The Council, whose governing body shall include representatives of the Ministries of Manpower, Youth and Employment; Health, Education, Women and Children's Affairs and Local Government and organizations such as the Employer's Association and Ghana Federation of the Disabled, is expected to monitor and evaluate disability policies and programmes, formulate strategies for broad-base inter-sectoral and inter-disciplinary involvement in the implementation of the national disability policy, coordinate disability activities, advocate on disability issues at all levels, research and provide education and information on disability to the public.
Additionally, it is to mobilize resources for the attainment of these objectives mentioned which in any case are not exhaustive. Such is the onerous task that awaits the Council. Its establishment and functioning are therefore imperative and must not wait.
Public buildings are springing up each day without disability access. Public education and information hardly reach the deaf because sign language interpretation is absent. Stigmatization and exclusion are still rife because of lack of awareness on disability to erode negative mindsets and attitudes. Poverty and disability keep reinforcing each other because of employment and education challenges; and people with disability live unempowered. These and more are what the law, which provides on the rights of people with disability, their education, employment, health and transportation seeks to address.
"Addressing disability is a significant part of reducing poverty. Bringing disabled people out of the corners and back alleys of society, and empowering them to thrive in the bustling centre of national life, will do much to improve the lives of many from among the poorest of the poor around the world" James D. Wolfenson
Government has to be proactive on the implementation of the law. The Council the law establishes must be set up to work. It will implement the disability policy whose long term goal is to "fully mainstream all persons with disability into national development process and improve their quality of life through equalization of opportunities by the year 2020".
The time has come for special incentives to people with disability in business and employers of people with disability [enshrined in both the labour and disability laws] to be spelt out to promote employment for people with disability. Their status and profile must be raised so that they can be earners and managers of their local work groups than roaming the streets for alms - an enterprise criminal and self demeaning.
District Assemblies should be sensitive to disability issues. They ought to have the clout to build and to approve only structural designs that are disability-friendly and incorporate the needs of people with disability in their plans and budgets.
Service providers should recognize the market they are missing from inaccessible environment - about 10% equity patronage from people with disability and their dearest and nearest. Some banks have taken the cue with provision of ramps and customer attention to persons with disability. All an internet cafe needs to get a blind patron, for instance, is a speech device [JAWS] to one of the computers to make it accessible.
The Parliamentary Subcommittee on Social Services and other collaborators last year conducted access audit with visits to many public facilities across the country. It was a laudable exercise but how have the findings been used?
The media must partner persons with disability and their organisations to create awareness on the law, advocate its implementation, monitor its compliance and evaluate performance. Generating and disseminating relevant information on disability will add to advocacy and sensitization.
Persons with disability must not only participate fully in society but must contribute positively to its growth and development. They are capable if opportuned and that is what the disability law seeks to do - providing the enabling environment and leverage.
Disability is a social construct and it is everybody else's responsibility to de-construct it. The law must work to afford people with disability social justice, integration, greater livelihood, security, full inclusion and participation in the lives of their communities, more independence and self-determination. The affront to our humanity and dignity should end.
Ghana: Disabled Bags GH¢20,000 From GES Contract
Public Agenda (Accra)
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
The Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) will bag more than GH¢20,000 from a contract to supply the Ghana Education Service (GES) with 50,000 boxes of white chalk.
Following a March 14, 2008 bid from the GSPD to supply the item, the GES notified the society of the award for the supply of white chalk for basic schools at a "total sum not exceeding Twenty Thousand, One Hundred and Twenty-Five Ghana Cedis only (GH¢20,125) inclusive of delivery cost to Prep 1 Warehouse Tema within sixteen (16) weeks."
The two parties then put pen to paper. Since then the chalk production department of the society has been engaged in production to meet a sixteen-week deadline.
The award of the contract is in fulfillment of a pledge, which the GES made in 2007 to give the society a yearly quota in the supply of white chalk.
The Monday July 30 and August 6, 2007 editions of Public Agenda highlighted the plight of the GSPD at a time the society could not attract buyers for 30,000 boxes of white chalk. All nineteen (19) physically disabled employees of the factory had been laid off because the society was broke.
Public uproar, as well as, reactions from the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) put pressure on the GES to go to the aid of the society. Consequently, GES offered to buy all 30,000 boxes of chalk the society had in stock and hinted of its intention to purchase 50,000 boxes of chalk per annum from the society.
According to this year's contract document, "The white chalk should be packaged in sets of hundred (100) pieces/sticks in one box and fifty (50) of such boxes in one carton."
As regards payment, the document indicated that it would be effected in two installments. "On delivery of 50% of goods, fifty (50) percent of the contract price shall be paid to the supplier within thirty (30) days after the date of receipt of claim letter, supported by store receipt vouchers and an acceptance certificate issued by the purchaser."
The second installment of payment would be made on "Acceptance of remaining 50% of goods."
In addition, the document stated that the contract price was fixed and not subject to any variation in the cost of labour and material components or any factors during the course of the contract.
It however warned that any unexcused delay by the supplier (GSPD) in the performance of its delivery obligations shall render the supplier liable to a minimum penalty of 0.5% of the delivery price for each week of delay. Also, until actual delivery, there could be up to a maximum deduction of 10% of the delayed goods.
During a visit to the factory this week, workers were feverishly working on the consignment.
Earlier, Mr. Elvis Kosi Alipui, Chalk Production Manager told this paper that the department was aiming at producing at a capacity of 1,000 boxes per day.
He said at its present capacity, the factory was capable of producing enough chalk to cater for the 50,000 boxes offer from the GES, as well as, demands from private educational institutions.
Mr. Alipui also said the factory had diversified its production with the introduction of blue coloured chalk and planned to produce other colour variations depending on the market response.
Ghana: Disabled Shocked By Establishment of Council
Public Agenda (Accra)
27 June 2008
Posted to the web 27 June 2008
The disabled community has greeted with shock news that the National Council on Persons with Disability has already begun operations.
The Persons with Disability Act (Act 715), 2006 required the establishment of the council to give impetus to the implementation of the law. But two years after the enactment of the law, there still was uncertainty about the establishment of the council. It was not until Monday June 23, 2008 when news of its establishment broke in Accra during the observance of the Second National Day of the Disabled.
The event was marked by the Ghana Federation of Disabled with support from the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), the Sight Savers International (SSI) and the Action on Disability and Development (ADD).
"One can say that, without this all important Council, all the efforts we have put in the enactment of the Disability Law had been delayed for almost two years," said Hon Paul Okoh, Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.
"However all is not lost yet, because I am reliably informed that the Council has been formed and has started its operation," he stated.
This sounded like a new hymn in the hymnbooks of the disabled community, especially because they did not know about its inauguration even though they made nominations to the council.
And as if he anticipated this reaction, Hon Okoh said, "Yes! The Council has not been inaugurated because we want it to be done by the President. However, due to its important role it has been given the nod to start its operations.
"At least, I know that Prof Gyimah Boadi is the Chairman," he added.
Hon Okoh acknowledged however that after the enactment of the law, the strides by government, stakeholders and indeed the private sector "has been irritatingly very slow."
Hon Akosua Frema Osei Opare, Deputy Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment confirmed that the council was in place and was in fact meeting. She also confirmed that Prof Gyimah Boadi was the chairman of the council.
Regarding the implementation of Act 715 on the whole, Hon Osei Opare said moving the act forward was not an easy task. "We are still to do a Legislative Instrument."
Meanwhile, she said government was doing well with other interventions aimed at alleviating the plight of PWDs. These, according to her, included allocating a percentage of the Common Fund to support programmes of PWDs and making available loan facilities through the Micro and Small Loans Centre. In addition, she said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) initiatives were ones PWDs could take advantage of.
Mrs Chris Dadzie, a policy analyst in charge of Human Rights and Development at ISODEC, urged PWDs to learn the provisions of Act 715 and other legislation on disability by heart to enable them demand for their rights more cogently.
According to her, it was important for PWDs to be adequately informed about whatever rights they demanded for, hence the need to know all relevant provisions on disability rights.
Earlier, Mr S.K. Asare, President of the GFD, explained in a welcome address that the June 23 was chosen as a day of the disabled because Act 715 was passed on June 23, 2006. He congratulated the government, development partners of the GFD and the media for their effort in getting the law enacted.
However, he pointed out that the enactment of the law was one thing and its implementation another thing. In view of this, he said, "government should expedite action on the law. We want the disability council formed and inaugurated."
Singing from the same hymn book, Hon Yaw Ofori Debra, Vice President in charge of Advocacy, GFD, said the passage of Act 715 "raised the prospect of safe and secure future for PWDs. The provisions of the Act are relevant and responsive to a wide range of needs for PWDs."
But he regretted "the unexplained delay" in setting up the disability council which has the pivotal role in the implementation of the act.
"In view of the crucial role the council is tasked to play, the government should act now to inaugurate the council and establish the secretariat for its effective functioning," he concluded.
Stop denying PWDs jobs - Minister
Sunday, 29th June, 2008
By Donald Kiirya
THE gender state minister, Rukia Nakadama, has criticised employers who deny people with disabilities (PWDs) jobs. She noted that PWDs were being treated as the least educated and skilled.
Nakadama argued that due to lack of awareness about the causes of disabilities, communities associate disability with superstition.
“PWDs are often considered as people of a lower class and they always receive less education, skills and medical attention, which has reduced their employment opportunities,” she noted last Thursday.
The minister made the remarks during an annual general meeting of the Integration of Disabled People Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisation (SACCO) at Najja Guest House in Iganga town on Thursday. PWDs from over 20 districts in eastern Uganda attended the event.
Nakadama, who is also the Mayuge Woman MP, added that micro-finance institutions don’t give PWDs loans, thinking that they might fail to pay back. “The formation of a regional SACCOs for PWDs is in line with eliminating poverty among you,” she said.
She said the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development had the mandate to promote and protect the rights of PWDs. “The Government has ensured that PWDs are recognised in the society.”
The minister urged them not to engage in gambling and begging but instead start income-generating projects.
She commended the Government for giving a sh400m grant to SACCO to enable PWDs to fight poverty. Eastern region PWDs MP Julius Balyejusa said the SACCO had over 600 members.
Tour operators to organize quiz competition
Travel/Tourism | Mon, 30 Jun 2008
The Tour Operators Union of Ghana is to spend GHC 60,000 in organising an essay competition on domestic tourism for some basic schools in Brong-Ahafo.
The competition, which is jointly sponsored by British Always, Gemini Life Insurance and Golden Beach Hotel, would commence on July 10 this year.
Mrs. Stella Apenteng, President of the Union, disclosed this at the launch of the eighth edition of the regional domestic tourism awareness creation at the Institute for the Deaf at Bechem in Tano South District on Monday.
She said the competition would feature 40 students selected from different schools in the Tano South District, including the Institute for the Deaf as well as seven Junior High Schools in Sunyani and Techiman municipalities.
The Union President noted that the relevance of tourism to national and individual well-being could not be overemphasized in the globalised world.
“Aside from the leisure aspect of tourism, the educational, economic, inter-cultural exchanges and health benefits of the travel industry continues to give an impetus to our goal of making domestic excursion a reality to young people as possible”, Mrs. Apenteng added.
She said the Union was convinced that the period of childhood was the appropriate time for “planting seeds that made learning a life-long experience” and stressed the importance to advocate and promote domestic tourism for school children.
“With the vast improvements in safe forms of transportation, road networks that foster swift movements within and between regions and the availability of a variety of budget lodging facilities that suit all, we are confident that children should be encouraged to get to know their country”, Mrs. Apenteng stressed.
She underscored the need to provide the younger generation with an avenue for visiting and acquiring understanding and respect for the diversity of the Ghanaian heritage through domestic tourism. Mrs. Apenteng called on the Ghana Education Service to “come out with a policy on domestic tourism in basic and second cycle schools to make education an experimental activity.” Rev. Emmanuel Wiseman Kusi, District Director of Education, said tourism played a very crucial role in national development.
He advised teachers to encourage their students to develop interest in tourism and participate fully in the competition to polish their writing abilities.
Nana Fosu Gyeabour II, Omanhene of Bechem traditional area who presided, stressed the importance of traditional authorities in helping to protect natural resources, especially tourist sites to enhance eco-tourism.
He commended the Union for their efforts in promoting the growth of the tourism industry.
Disabled call for share of Common Fund
General News | Mon, 30 Jun 2008
The Administrator of District Assemblies Common Fund has been called on to channel the share of the society of the physically disabled of the Common Fund to its accounts in the various Municipal and District capitals.
Mr. Effah Guakro, president of Nkoranza district branch of the society who made the call explained that the measure would remove problems that branches of the society encountered from the Assemblies.
He said, in spite of a government directive to Assemblies to release two per cent of the fund for the rehabilitation of the disabled, “only a fraction of the main sum reaches the disabled”.
Mr. Guakro made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Nkoranza at the celebration of the national day of the disabled and mentioned challenges confronting the disabled.
“What is more disheartening is how the leadership of branches of the society would have to impress on the Assemblies on several times before they would receive part of their due share.
“If the money is sent to our (branches) accounts it will greatly relieve us from the confrontations that we have with the authorities of the Assemblies”, he stated.
Mr. Guakro expressed concern about how a number of disabled persons were denied formal education and promising ones in basic school were not encouraged to pursue senior high level education and tertiary institutions.
He appealed to the government to set up a scholarship scheme to support the education of the disabled in second cycle institutions and the universities.
The district branch president cautioned parents with disabled children not to hide them at home but rather to enroll them in special schools so they would become assets and not liabilities.
“There are more than 100 disabled persons in Nkoranza District and a number of them have been able to acquire skills in shoe-making, dressmaking and radio mechanics at the craft production centre and are managing themselves”, he said.
He deplored the practice by some disabled to by the road side to beg for alms and advised such people to desist from the practice.
Mr. Guakro commended Mr. James Kwabena Appiah-Awuah, Nkoranza South District Chief Executive for his concern for the disabled, saying through his efforts the District Assembly last year provided 2000 Ghana cedis for their up-keep.
Zimbabwe: Translator Finally Secures Sponsorship for Pageant
The Herald (Harare)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
Linda Francis' translator in the Miss Deaf World beauty pageant, Medeline Yowane has finally secured sponsorship from a private sponsor to enable her to travel with the model to Czech Republic.
Kiri Davies a cosmetologist will also assist with Francis' facials while, Joyce Chimanye of Zuva Ecowear Fashions would provide a dress for the contest.
"I am excited about what our sponsors did, now we are able to continue with our journey, without any problems," said Medeline
She added that Francis was geared up for the contest and will certainly bring the title home.
"We are promising the people of Zimbabwe to fly the flag high, we will emerge as victors," she said.
Audrey Chakara, who represented the country last year and is now based is the Czech Republic came eighth out of 19 countries worldwide, while attaining the fifth position in the continent. The pageant will take place on July 12 and the pair is expected back home on the 15th.
Ghana: Sefakor Shows the Way in How to Combine Marriage And Career
Public Agenda (Accra)
30 June 2008
Posted to the web 30 June 2008
For many able-bodied women, marriage alone is one heck of a problem, how much more a combination of marriage and career. Our courts actually have stockpiles of files on divorces, much of which occur within the very first year of marriage.
So it demonstrates how difficult it is for any woman to do a combination of marriage and career, especially a person that belongs to a group, which the Ghanaian society deems incapable of doing anything. But Mrs Sefakor G.M.A. Pomeyie has demonstrated that this is doable, and easily too.
Born on 29th on November to Mr and Mrs Kumadu in the Volta Region, Sefakor, as she is affectionately called, became disabled at a tender age of eight months as a result of polio attack. Currently, she uses two crutches with two callipers, as well as, a wheel chair to go about her daily activities.
Every year, when July 6th comes around, the day reminds her of many bitter-sweet experiences. Exactly five years ago, Sefakor tied the knot with A.S.I. Believe Bubu Pomeyie of the Ghana Immigration Service.
"Hmmm, this day reminds me of both sweet and bitter experiences. In fact, bitter experiences before the marriage and sweet experiences after the marriage but I want to say that God has led us through, all the same," she told me.
What are some of the bitter experiences? She replied, "Actually it's not good to revive the wounds." But reluctantly, and in order to encourage her fellow disabled women she said, "I will just tell you a little about some of the challenges, pointing out that "We did not have it on a silver platter."
According to her, some of their friends, especially those of Bee (this how she calls Mr Pomeyie), "became our major obstacles." For instance, "some of my husband's friends rejected him for marrying me" and some "called me so many derogatory names." Sefakor said, "I could remember someone asking him if he ever thought of the future; how blurred it was for him considering the fact that I am using crutches and callipers."
Weird of all, "some of the friends even warned him against wedding me because they thought wedding was for the able-bodied." She stopped there and explained "As I said earlier, its advisable to recollect the sweet memories rather than the traumas we went through because anytime l recollect those scenes, tears fill my eyes."
On the contrary, she stated, "we never had any problem from both families." Bee's family were very supportive because they knew that Sefakor was very industrious. "They never looked at my disability as a hindrance but rather, they encouraged me to go further and make a mark."
She also found the words of Bee very motivating. "My husband always tells me 'Don't listen to anybody's story but let's swallow everything together', hence he calls me Mimi (which means let's swallow it in our local language)."
So how industrious could she be? "You know, there is no single job on this earth that as a woman, I don't do; be it cooking, washing, ironing, receiving visitors, counselling, nursing and the rest, that any able-bodied can do to keep the home."
Sefakor has translated this ability to manage the home into a great asset with which she has been managing her career as a tutor and an advocate on disability rights.
After schooling at the Mount Mary Training College she made it to the University of Cape Coast to pursue a degree course in Bachelor of Arts where she majored in French and English. Presently she works with the municipal office of the Ghana Education Service at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
Besides, she is the Vice President of the Women's Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) in the Eastern Region. She also chairs the GSPD branch in the Akwapem South Municipality. In addition, Sefakor says she is a lobbyist for the GSPD and has been undertaking a number of advocacy projects for the group nationally.
"Indeed, I am an advocate and a lobbyist of GSPD." Among others, she has been writing change-oriented advocacy articles for publication in newspapers since December 2006. "I also do some counselling and coaching."
Last year, under the auspices of the GSPD, she was in Denmark, where she participated in a course on human rights as they related to the disabled. According to her, "the course broadened my horizon. For example, we learnt about the UN Convention on Human Rights of the Disabled, Disability Sports, Journalism, Self realization of the disabled, Organisational Structure and how the whites see the Disabled as compared to how we as Ghanaians see them."
Out of the lessons learnt, and the experiences acquired, Sefakor has started a program on GTV from which everybody will benefit. "My first program came on the 26th April this year." She has also already written to the special education unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to do something about disability sports.
So how does she blend marriage with her career as an advocate and a professional teacher? Her answer was, "Actually my husband has been very helpful because at times when he realises that I'm busy, he will help in the cooking and other chores in order to allow me do my GSPD or office work."
But like many other advocates, the challenge always lies in funding, she said. "It's only God!" She said, "no money comes from anywhere" but out of the sheer commitment and dedication she has towards the course of her fellow persons with disabilities, she is able to "go the extra mile."
She also contends with lack of commitment from a good number of PWDs who are unwilling to associate themselves with the GSPD. "Also, some of my colleague disables come with a lot of demands especially financial ones, since most are unemployed."
So she counsels that "my colleagues should try to learn and try to be productive. They must be confident and bold about themselves and not what society says about them .They have to take up a challenge so that they can change the mindset of the Ghanaian society."
While she remains committed to her dual role as a wife and a career, Sefakor says "I still pray that his (her husband) love for me should continue to be genuine because I still believe through Christ, my husband becomes the paragon of my life."