Visually impaired lawyer cries discrimination by judiciary
By SAMUEL OGIDAN, Abuja
Monday, January 5, 2009
Though visually impaired as a result of a small pox affliction that struck him at the age of six, Barr. James Ehondor never wanted to be a liability to the society. He struggled to become a graduate of law from the University of Benin in 1999, passing his law school examinations in 2003.
On graduation, Ehondor had heaved a sigh of relief, believing that the society would, at least, give him kudos and appreciate his effort by providing a platform for service through a decent job. That way, he hoped to take care of his needs.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Instead, he has been wandering from one law chamber to the another, from organization to organization in search of the proverbial greener pasture. But for the kind-hearted proprietor of City of Refuge Orphanage Home in Maitama, Ehondor would have become a beggar in the street of Abuja today despite his academic achievement.
Born in November 8, 1976, Ehondor attended the Prince Primary school, Benin City. He became blind as a result of small pox in 1982 at the age of six. For three good years, Ehondor was not able to go to school because of the ailment, which finally led to his visual impairment. According to him, “it was a very serious disease that would have taken my life, but God intervened, instead of losing my life I ended up losing my sight”.
For three years, he said, “I did not go to school, it was in 1985 that a family friend of mine who is now late advised my dad to take me to a blind primary school in Benin and that was how I went to the primary school where I was thought Braille, reading by touching and typing and also listening by the use of tape recorder”.
Determined to become somebody in life, Ehondor proceeded to Benin Technical College where he had his secondary education in 1989-1993. In 1994, he entered the University of Benin to read Law and graduated in 1999. Still dreaming to overcome his visual disability, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School where he was called to Bar in February 25th, 2003.
Challenges and discrimination
Since he was called to the Bar, Ehondor said he has had to grapple with uncountable challenges. By far, however, the major one is how to overcome unemployment which comes as a result of discrimination by even the judiciary that is supposed to be his immediate constituency. “Virtually all the private chambers do not employ visually impaired persons. Those of us in this profession are the ones championing justice, equity and fair play and if we are not living by what we champion that would amount to hypocrisy.”
Just as the National Assembly is tinkering on a bill to fight against the discrimination of the disabled, many in the society still find it uncomfortable to employ the disabled hence the discrimination.
Recalling how he was discriminated against in the course of seeking employment, Ehondor said not even the National Human Rights Commission, a body that primarily exists to ensure that Nigerians are not denied their inalienable rights was immune to the social disease.
He told Daily Sun: “I approached the former Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, to assist me get a job anywhere. He said I should go to the National Human Rights Commission, that he had instructed the executive secretary to absorb me among the people they were going to employ. I went to the Human Rights Commission and the woman (executive secretary) said I should give her till the first quarter of 2007. When the first quarter came, she told me that the jobs available at that moment were for lawyers from the North-East zone and I am not from the zone.
“She later said from the recommendation letter that was sent to her by the Hon. Minister, she would not accept me, reasons she did not give. I saw some foul play and I reported the matter to the DPM of the Ministry before taking the matter to the Minister. The DPM told me that the woman reported me to them that I was harassing her and that was the reason she was not fair to me. I told him that it was not true. How could I have been harassing an individual of such high profile when I am looking for an employment opportunity? Within me I felt I was being discriminated against,” he said.
The Edo State-born lawyer said he had been to the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and was promised to be employed as soon as the minister gave the directive. At the Federal Civil Service Commission, he was told that names of physically challenged employment seekers had been received ahead of the planned forth-coming recruitment into the Federal Civil Service, and the blind lawyer is still waiting.
In some other places to which he had applied, they did not care to respond to his application. “For example, I wrote to the Hon. Minister of Interior, Godwin Abbey, he made promised. That was September last year. But up till now, nothing has happen. I tried to see him, but I couldn’t up till today. I also went to the former Minister of Information, Chief John Odey, who collected my CV and promised but up till now, I have not heard any thing from him,” he said.
If the public sector was not eager to employ him, the private sector was less willing. At some private law chambers, his CV would be collected with promises to get back to him. And up until now none has got back to him.
“In Edo State, there was a time I approached the wife of Governor Igbinedion when he was the governor of Edo State, she collected seven copies of my CV and promised to help me get a place in Edo State Ministry of Justice before they left office. I was not able to see her again, the promise she made she did not honour. Those have been some of the unemployment challenges I have been facing for quite some time now, but I thank God for every, He has been taking care of me all this while without job,” he said.
The National Assembly intends to legislate on National Commission on Disability (NCD) to provide care for disabled.
Over 19 million persons are said to be disabled in the country. According to Ehondor, the bill will help to solve some lingering problems like discrimination. “Any individual or group that discriminates against physically challenged, those physically challenged can bring such matter before the commission and then the commission can bring an action on their behalf. It will help to ameliorate the plight of the physically challenged in Nigeria.
“Second, it will provide employment for the physically challenged, it will also collaborate with various ministries particularly if government has something to do, the commission will always be there on behalf of the physically challenged, help them to channel their requests before those ministries, if it is scholarship, if it is employment, if it is grants, so that the physically challenged can also benefit in the interest of justice, equity and fair play.”
Needless to say, life has not been easy for Ehondor who said he has been surviving through the help of well meaning Nigerians. “Even where I am now in this City of Refuge compound, my learned senior colleagues have been very helpful to me, she accommodated me when I was stranded, she said I should stay, pending when I have a job and a house of my own. Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship has been very helpful to me too. I want to thank God for all those who have been helping me in one way or the other and I prayed that God should reward them.”
Explaining how he discovered the Orphanage Home, Ehondor said after he lost the friend he was staying with in Area 1, he became stranded, but as God would have it, the first time he attended the Full Gospel Fellowship, the wife of the President of the chapter when she heard that he was staying in a hotel, said he should come and stay in her orphanage , pending when he was able to get a job and a house of his own, because he must have been paying so much staying in the hotel.
Asked whether he can compete with sighted lawyers, Ehondor said, “even if I am visually impaired, I have competed with many sighted counterparts in school. I can say I am not the worst and I am not the best, but, at least, I was still able to do my best with the opportunity given to me, I still believe if given an opportunity and with a level playing field, I think I will do better provided that enabling environment is created and all the materials that I needed to do my job effectively are provided,” he said.
He implored the corporate organizations to come up with policies that will help employ two or three physically challenged persons in their respective organizations any time there is employment opportunity, as a way of complementing the efforts of the government. This will help to reduce ignorance on the part of Nigerians and reduce unemployment on the side of the disables, he said.
Further, Ehondor pleaded with lawyers who have private chambers to employ visually impaired persons, because at the moment he believes that private chambers do not employ visually impaired to work in their chambers. Pointing out that lawyers are the ones championing justice, equity and fair play, he said it amounted to nothing other than hypocrisy if they don’t practise what they champion. According to him, “the law says that he that must come to equity must come with clean hands.”
Message to physically challenged.
He counseled the physically challenged not to give up in their struggle for a better deal, reminding them that Rome was not build overnight. “Nigeria is still a developing country. I still believe that Nigeria will do better; it’s a matter of some years to come from the way we are going. The physically challenged should keep trying; they should not give up and they should accept the fact that even though they are physically challenged there are a lot of things they can still offer to themselves, families, communities, this nation and the world. They should keep the struggle and not give up,” he encouraged.
He however appealed to government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to his aid by helping him get the special tools for blind lawyers, including talking computer, reading machine, talking dictionary computer, braille computer, colour identifying computer, money identifying computer and practising law books, so that he can open his own chamber and practice as a lawyer.
Red Cross inaugurates rehabilitation center for disabled in South Sudan
Monday 5 January 2009 02:30.
January 4, 2008 (KHARTOUM/JUBA) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will inaugurate tomorrow the first center for physical rehabilitation for disabled people in southern Sudan.
After more than two decades of war in southern Sudan, the Sudanese government led by the National Congress Party and the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement signed a peace deal on January 9, 2005. The armed conflict left an estimated 35,000 disabled people in this part of the country.
"Many people in Southern Sudan are physically disabled because of gunshot wounds or other injuries sustained during the decades of war that devastated the region," said Patrick Vial, head of the ICRC Sudan delegation.
"The centre will improve their access to good-quality prostheses, orthoses, crutches and physiotherapy, which they need to live with dignity," he added. The new Red Cross center for disabled people is built and equipped with a total roofed area of 1200 m2 at a cost of 1.8 million US dollar. It will be able to treat and accommodate with all necessary facilities 60 inpatients and will serve up to 100 patients per month.
The facility will be officially inaugurated on 5 January in the presence of representatives of the Government of Southern Sudan.
The ICRC’s physical rehabilitation programmes aim to enable the disabled to regain mobility, thereby helping them to become economically independent and to be fully integrated into society.
To maintain the quality and sustainability of the services offered, the ICRC sponsored the enrolment of 26 Southern Sudanese from the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs in various training courses in Rwanda and Tanzania, and within Sudan.
The ICRC has been caring for the war-wounded in Southern Sudan since 1984, mainly out of the hospital it managed in Lokichokio, in neighbouring Kenya until 2006. Elsewhere in Sudan, the ICRC is also providing physical rehabilitation services in Khartoum, Nyala, Kadugli, Kasala and Damazin.
Visually impaired hold AGM
06 January, 2009 11:35:00
By Calsile Masilela
THE Swaziland Association of the Visually Impaired persons (SAVIP) yesterday held its AGM. The event ends tomorrow at Thokoza Church Youth centre.
Present during the event was Minister of Foreign Affairs Lutfo Dlamini, United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) Assistant Representative Majorie Mavuso, Senator Tom Mndzebele, FODSWA's Buyi Masuku, SAVIP Chairperson Joshua Simelane, Lesotho visually impaired organisation Public Officer Tumelo Khetsi and others.
Senator Tom Mndzebele said the visually impaired persons were one organisation formed in unity and that was why it had been able to achieve some of the objectives.
He said their main challenge was that of an office as they were now operating without one. "We have a lot of ideas that we want to integrate but due to the unavailability of funds and office space they have been delayed.
“We need to help as many blind people as we can in Swaziland through educating them with the use of Braille," said Mndzebele. He said a lot of parents were hiding their visually impaired children thus depriving them of the right to education.
The senator promised to buy white canes for blind people. Minister Dlamini urged the visually impaired persons to always think positively and never look down upon themselves for they had special talents.
He applauded SAVIP for making a point that they include government in everything they do because he noted that there were organisations that bypass government if not badmouth it.
He further applauded the organisation for developing a Braille calendar which he said was first of its kind.
He told them that in parliament Braille had been introduced and it would become handy for the senator who is visually impaired. The minister said his election agent was a disabled person and he said that showed how capable such people could be.
"It has been said that over 8 000 people are blind in Swaziland and one wonders where they are. May I warn those parents who hide their children at home because of their visual impairment that they are committing a sin before God," said Dlamini getting emotional.
Dlamini also encouraged the Christ worshippers choir members composed of visually impaired young people to continue with the wanderful singing because God gave them the talent for a purpose.
Disabled athletes expect upgrading of facilities in Lagos
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-08 09:33:33
LAGOS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Athletes with physical disabilities have called on the Lagos State Government to upgrade facilities at the Teslim Balogun Stadium to suit the needs of special athletes.
A tennis player, Oluwakemi Adegbesan, said the toilets at the stadium were not designed to serve the athletes with physical disabilities, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Special athletes require special treatment and facilities that will enable them enjoy and fit into the society properly, she said.
The Teslim Balogun Stadium lacks those facilities that will make us enjoy camping and be able to perform well, she added.
Editor: Fang Yang
Disabled get 92 wheelchairs
Wednesday, 7th January, 2009
image: Kawanga and Muwonge (in suit) handing over a wheelchair to one of the beneficiaries
By Ali Mambule
THE Masaka and Mengo Rotary clubs and the Wheelchair Foundation have donated 92 wheelchairs worth sh32m to disabled persons’ in Masaka district.
The Masaka club president, Steven Muwonge, handed over the wheelchairs to the beneficiaries at Masaka Sports Club on Monday.
He said the club had mobilised over sh600,000 which was paid as handling fee before the chairs were delivered.
“Masaka Regional Hospital, Makondo Health Centre and Villa Maria Hospital also contributed towards the handling fee to have these chairs delivered to Masaka district,” he said.
Muwonge said this was an annual project which would see more disabled persons get free wheelchairs every year.
“The responsibility of paying the handling fee for the chairs is ours as a rotary club and the beneficiaries who are the grassroot people will receive them without paying a coin.”
Muwonge added: “Mobilising the disabled will help them fight poverty and become more respectable than the case was in the near past.”
He said the club would lobby for funds from banks, hotels and other organizations to buy more wheelchairs next year.
“We have great hope that next year we shall donate over 1,000 wheelchairs to the disabled persons with the help of cooperate organisations.”
He lashed out at people who undermine disabled persons.
“It should be a responsibility for every one to respect calls made to care for disabled persons,” Muwonge said. Masaka municipality MP JB Kawanga said the disabled had contributed a lot to the country’s development.
“Mathias Kasamba, the MP for Kakuuto, developed the disability at a mature age but he is the chairperson for the security committee. It is time to stop hiding our children inside our houses because they are disabled,” Kawanga explained.
He warned those creating associations with intentions of conning that they would be arrested.
Vodacom helps visually impaired in SA
January 12, 2009 in Mobile and Telecoms
THE blind and visually impaired in South Africa received a R30 000 boost this weekend from the country’s leading mobile network services provider.
Vodacom would contribute the amount after two of the soccer teams it sponsored scored a combined three goals over the weekend.
Per every goal that a Vodacom-sponsored team scores in a league match, the company donates R10 000 to restore the sight of these vulnerable members of society.
Bloemfontein Celtic gave them the biggest boost after scoring two goals in a drawn match with Platinum Stars in Rustenburg while Kaizer chiefs beat former league champions Mamelodi Sundowns with a solitary goal in Johannesburg.
Vodacom introduced the charity initiative during the annual Vodacom Challenge that features Chiefs, its other sponsored team Orlando Pirates and a visiting side.
Mthobi Tyamzashe, chairman of the Vodacom Foundation, said, “With these cause-related campaigns, we have raised awareness of the work the projects are doing to assist communities and people on the one hand, and of Vodacom’s commitment to become a caring corporate citizen on the other.”-ITNewsAfrica.
MALAWI: Hilda Malikebu, "Disability is not inability"
LILONGWE, 12 January 2009 (IRIN) - Hilda Malikebu is a 34-year-old newspaper editorial assistant. She spoke to IRIN about the difficulties faced by people who are physically challenged in Malawi - from basic problems around access to buildings, to the psychological toll on self-esteem a life-time of obstacles can generate.
"I get a lot support from my colleagues at my place of work. My seniors are very supportive. [But] in general, when you look at the picture of the disabled in Malawi, there is a lot that needs to be done.
"People who are physically challenged are not considered when it comes to structures such as houses, public buildings, entertainment centres, schools and offices. They have to rely on someone to carry them to the office where they work, or [when they have to visit] someone.
"In schools, children with disability rely on their friends to have access to classes that have steps. If their colleagues decide not to assist them, then they don't have access to classes, and eventually miss lessons.
"Some of our young men and women are denied access to institutions of higher learning because university campuses are quite unfriendly ... Most institutions were constructed without considering those with disabilities.
"Many people with disabilities are frustrated, and they stay away from school. The result has been that many people with disabilities are among the poorest of the poor. They are reduced to beggars in our streets.
"The physically challenged, or people with disabilities, need to be empowered, and the best way to do [that is] through education. Once they are educated they will support themselves and their families.
"Let them have access to loans, just like anyone else. Let them do small-scale businesses and their world will change forever. But the misconception that the physically challenged cannot do business is killing us. We think just like everyone else, we reason just like everyone else, what stops us from doing business?
"People should start looking at us as people who have the ability to deliver. They must understand that disability is not a disease but just a limitation to somebody [in performing] a certain function.
"Malawians must do away with the negative attitude towards people with disabilities. We also want to fully participate in all sectors of the economy, thereby contributing to the development of our country. Yes we can. Disability is not inability."
Oshakati Councillor Warns Against Disabled Ill-treatment - by Helvy Tueumuna
13 January 2009
OSHAKATI - The Councillor of Oshakati East Constituency, Lot Kuushomwa, has warned people who violate the constitutional rights of people living with disabilities.
During a Christmas party that was recently held at Dr Frans Indongo Special Care Centre, Oshakati West, Kuushomwa said relatives of some people living with disabilities treat them inhumanly.
According to Kuushumwa, the ill-treatment is either physical or emotional.
"Some people chain our disabled people, and some even hide them from the public, and this is painful," says Kuushomwa.
Other abuses include financial neglect, whereby disabled people are deprived of their own disability grants. Kuushomwa said this was a human right violation and should be stopped.
At the event the Deputy Mayor of Oshakati Skinny Hilundwa said the Oshakati Town Council decided to celebrate Christmas together with the people living with disabilities. Hilundwa said the celebration marks a suitable platform for him to inform people living with disabilities in his town that disability is not inability.
"You should use what you have - your brain, and come up with new innovations. We have a lot of technologies that were invented by people living with disabilities," said Hilundwa.
The Projects Coordinator for the centre Aili Shilongo also expressed concern about the behaviour of some citizens towards people living with disabilities. Shilongo said it was depressing to see how fa-milies of some of the children at her centre treat them.
"They dump their children at the centre with no food or money, and if you ask them why, they will tell you that they have given the money to the more able children.
According to Shilongo, from time to time, she and other employees at the centre who are all volunteers have knocked at the doors of good samaritans for assistance.
"We are not only taking care of our people but we rehabilitate them as well. That is why we need assistance from time to time.
Shilongo, however, applauded individuals and different corporate organisations for the assistance rendered to the project. These include Oshakati Mayor Katrina Shimbulu who donated the building, Bank Windhoek, NamPower, Project Hope and others.
FCE gets P11 million facelift
FRANCISTOWN: The Francistown College of Education (FCE) is getting a considerable facelift that will take in laboratories, walkways, dormitories and staff houses, according to the principal, Sir Wonder Masebola, who said this when addressing the first general assembly for this year yesterday.
Under the P11-million, the college is also going ergonomic by installing an elevator in the admin block, for use mainly by the disabled.
"We want to create a friendly environment for the disabled," Masebola said. "I had to source extra funds from the Ministries of Finance and Education because there were things that were not included in the bill of quantities.
The Ministry of Finance has given us an additional advance P2 871 880 00 and I am waiting for a letter of authority from the Ministry of Education, which is also giving us a handsome amount to refurbish walkways and lecturers' houses."
The aluminium sheets on the multi-purpose hall are to be replaced, as will the old beds in the dormitories.
Masebola said the contractor, Buildswana Construction, was actually ahead of schedule, having handed over some dormitories which now boast sick bays replete with consultation rooms.
To ensure better care of the improved facilities, students will sign a certificate of occupancy on moving into the dormitories.
"If something goes wrong, you will be surcharged," the principal told his students. SRC President Chalegwa Bagwasi encouraged his fellow students to take care of the facilities.
"Do not write on the walls or put any graffiti on them," Bagwasi said.
ZANFOB asks RB to appoint more disabled people into govt.
January 14, 2009
The Zambia National Federation of the Blind (ZANFOB) has called upon government to increase budgetary allocation to the disabled people in the country this year.
Federation Secretary General, George Mizinga has since asked President Rupiah Banda to consider appointing more disabled persons in his government.
Mr. Mizinga said there was need for persons with disability to be fully represented in the government in order to have their voices heard.
He said with the economic crisis the country was experiencing, there was need for the government to look into the plight of the disabled in the country.
Mr. Mizinga told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today, that disabled persons were also capable of performing different activities, just like their able bodied colleagues anywhere in the world.
He urged government to put in place measures that would help address the economic hardships the country was experiencing.
He has also called upon the government to quickly ratify the United Nations (UN) Convention on the blind.
Mr. Mizinga said there was need for the government to also consider looking into the conditions of Citizens Economic Empowerment Funds (CEEF).
And Federation Information and Publicity Secretary, Chalwe Mapulanga has called on the disabled people in Zambia to rise to the challenge and participate in national development.
Mr. Mapulanga said the disabled people should not just sit back and wait for assistance but should actively contribute to national issues.
He said the disabled people should not feel intimidated by their able bodied colleagues because they could help develop the nation.
2009年01月15日 08:56 発信地:バマコ/マリ
image: マリの首都バマコ（Bamako）で、アルビノの人々を救うためのチャリティ番組に出演したマリ人アーティストのサリフ・ケイタ（Salif Keita、中央、2009年1月10日撮影）。(c)AFP/HABIB KOUYATE
【1月15日 AFP】マリの首都バマコ（Bamako）で10日、アフリカで初めてとなる、アルビノ（先天性白皮症）の人々を救うためのチャリティ番組の収録が行われ、マリ人アーティストのサリフ・ケイタ（Salif Keita）がアルビノの若者たちと詩を朗読した。アルビノとは、紫外線から身体を守るメラニン色素が生まれつき欠乏している症状を指す。合併症を発症しやすいことに加え、アフリカでは社会的差別の対象にもされている。(c)AFP
Disability not a Stumbling Block for Liyana
Saturday, 17 January 2009 13:17
LIYANA, an afro-fusion musical band was part of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus where they were involved in a songwriting project together with five-gifted San Francisco School of the Arts students last week.
Lennon Bus, a non-profit mobile education programme was co-founded by the Beatle’s widow, Yoko Ono, to tour the country and bring music-making skills to youths everywhere.
The tour has produced a song that was billed to be aired on Macworld, a channel dedicated to the Macworld Expo where Liyana, a band made up of disabled people who started from humble beginnings at King George V1 School of the disabled (KGV1) in Bulawayo, gave a performance.
It was also posted on the John Lennon website (www.lennonbus.org). The song speaks about oneness and different cultures coming together.
“We’re so excited to meet this band,” 17-year-old Natalie Cressman, A San Francisco School of the Arts student who pitched in vocals and a double-tracked trombone line, is quoted as saying.
“They are truly amazing, and now that we’ve met I want this song to be really good. It’s such a good message. It has to be good.”
The KGV1 band follows in the footsteps of Bongo Love a contemporary mbira band that captured America and was even featured on the Cable News Network (CNN).
Matthias Bangure, the director of Music crossroads said: “It is positive that we are producing the best out of our people.
“I am glad that the groups are finding their feet. That is what we are all about. Liyana has done us proud.” According to the band’s website a visitor to KGVI heard the band play. She then asked if she could do something special for them.
Believing it was possible, they told her they wanted to come to America to perform.
In the months that followed, they constantly dreamed about going to the USA.
Knowing their music needed to be great should their dream come true, they practiced more than ever. Liyana never gave up.
One day, to their amazement, the well-wisher returned to Zimbabwe and told them the good news: “You’re going to America.”
Liyana’s eight members are aged between 17 and 24 and they are all disabled.
A plus is that their story has been so inspiring that Liyana is the subject of a new documentary, iThemba (My Hope).
Directed by Roger Ross Williams, the documentary will be released later this year.
The group has also performed at such prestigious venues such as the Lafayette, Oakland, Stanford University, Los Angeles and in New York City.
BY JOHN MOKWETSI
The Visually impaired urge govt to produce budget in braille
February 2, 2009
The Zambia Disability HIV/AIDS and Human Rights Programme (ZDHAHRP) has called upon the government to consider translating the national budget yellow book into braille for the blind people to understanding the national budget.
ZDHAHRP Programmes Director, Elijah Ngwale, said that the blind persons in the country were left out on the number of issues because they do not understand the content of the budget.
Mr. Ngwale explained to ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that blind people in Zambia could only contribute to the economic growth of the country if all government planning documents were also produced in braille.
He explained that for along time now, the blind community has failed to contribute to important government projects because they do not see what is contained in the documents.
He further challenged the government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (MCDSS) and the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAFPD) to hold workshops for persons with disabilities to discuss and analyse the 2009 national budget.
The ZDHAHRP director stated that the workshop will help people who were visually impaired to have a better understanding on the budget, adding that they will be educated on the importance of document.
He disclosed that the workshop will also give them a chance to come up with informed decisions that will consequently enable them inform government on issues affecting the disabled in the country.
Mr. Ngwale has however, commended Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane for the national budget which he said touched all important sectors of the national economy.
He further pointed out that there was need for government to effectively implement policies that were in the 2009 budget if the country was to improve economically.
Disabled get wheelchairs
Monday, 2nd February, 2009
By Gladys Baligonzaki
Masindi district Disabled Persons Union has received 10 wheelchairs from the National Union of Disabled Persons.
The items were donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in California.
The district secretary for health, child welfare and sanitation, Ben Moru, handed over the donation at the district headquarters recently.
Moru asked parents, whose children had received wheelchairs, not to use them for their own benefit, for instance removing the tyres and putting them on their bicycles.
He encouraged the parents to take their children to school.
500 Disabled Persons Receive Allowance
Mansur Sani Malam, Kano
February 2nd, 2009
Kiru local government council in Kano State had on monthly basis paid allowances to 500 disabled person in the area.
The council chairman, Alhaji Ali Datti Yako, made this known recently while fielding questions from newsmen, explaining that the council had decided to introduce such gesture with a view to reduce the hardship encountered by the disabled persons, and the amount being paid to them will help them to carry out some petty trading for their betterment.
Yako added that he had also distributed 4 goats to each benefiting women in the area in order to assist them empower themselves in sheep trading and also to become self reliant, adding that already many women who benefitted from the goat distribution scheme have already started other businesses to boost their economy.
He revealed that in its effort to improve educational standard in the area, the council has created evening lessons for secondary school leavers in order to recover the subjects they failed in their final examinations, saying many of the said students had already secured admissions in various higher institutions after they successfully passed their examinations.
The chairman added that the local government has embarked on building of blocks in primary and secondary schools of the area, while teachers were also encouraged to upgrade their educational levels through provision of in-service opportunities to them.
Donation To School For The Deaf - Kibi
Mr Mark Kofi Asamoah, a philanthropist based in Berlin Germany with the help of 8th grade students of Humbold Gymnasium in Potsdam near Berlin has donated some educational materials to the School for the Deaf at Kibi. The items include a computer and a printer, 15 jerseys, 15 footballs, 2 football pumps, two sets of badminton, 1 extension cord 1 rim of A4 sheets, a packet of pens and 2 packets of coloured pencils.
Making the presentation on his behalf, the District Director of Education, Mrs Agyemang Badu noted that the deaf equally need educational attention just as the normal school children. She believes that the presentation by Mr Asamoah and friends in Germany came at the right time when the children need these materials. She is very thankful to Mr Asamoah and Mrs Elke Zuhlke the class teacher of Humbold Gymnasium Potsdam.
According to Mr Asamoah, Mrs Elke Zuhlke of Humbold Gymnasium Potsdam is organizing another fundraising ceremony 15th May 2009 in honor of Kibi School for the death which representative of the Ghana Embassy has been invited.
In November 2007, similar donations were made through Mr Asamoah to Kibi School for the death. Hearing Aids Companies Optic Ortel and Horgerate Knoll GmbH all in Eberswalde presented Hearing Aids and its spare parts to Mr Asamoah at Westend High School Eberswalde in Brandenburg State Germany.
The Headmaster of the school, Mr J. E. Agbona was grateful to Mr Asamoah for thinking about the school and supporting it. He said the donation was a welcome package and hopes that many more things will flow through Mr Asamoah to the school. Mr Agbona expressed his appreciation to Mr Asamoah and his friends in Germany for the donation
Lobby: Enforce new policy on disability
By NATION CorrespondentPosted Wednesday, February 4 2009 at 20:21
The National Council for Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday called for the speedy and full implementation of a national policy on disability.
A programme officer with the council, Ms Lilian Akoko, said the disabled were yet to start enjoying the benefits of the new law because of its slow implementation. Ms Akoko who spoke at the district information and documentation centre urged parents to take their disabled children to school.
Meanwhile, the police department in Busia has ruled out giving uniforms and identification cards to community policing members. Mr Philip Opiyo, an official from police headquarters in charge of community policing, on Wednesday said those who had been given uniforms in the past had abused the privileges.
“Some started extorting money from the public,” he said. He was speaking in Busia Town during a workshop on community policing for Samia, Bunyala and Busia.
Disabled have equal rights
Wednesday, 4th February, 2009
Disabled have equal rights
ALL children, disabled or not, have the right to informal and formal education including early childhood education. Opening a two-day training workshop for nursery school teachers, a schools Inspector, Kulthum Masika Moshi, said the education ministry recognised the need for early childhood development offered at nursery school. The workshop was organised by Rwenzori Royal Institute.
Disabled get wheelchairs
THE Rotary Club of Entebbe has given wheelchairs worth sh17m to persons with disabilities. The club president, Alex Kakuru, on Monday handed over the 34 wheelchairs to the beneficiaries at Entebbe Junior School.
He said the wheelchairs were procured in conjunction with the Wheelchair Foundation. Kakuru said the move was to help the disabled, whose relatives could not afford them.
SA NGO official says disabled immigrants to get help
by Tendai Hungwe Thursday 05 February 2009
JOHANNESBURG - A top South African NGO official said on Wednesday that President Motlanthe’s government has agreed to extend a disability grant to disabled foreign nationals living in the country.
Kaajal Ramjatah-Keogh, chairwoman of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) said under the plan Pretoria would help disabled refugees and asylum seekers from the continent to acquire food and decent accommodation.
"As I am speaking to you right now, the disabled refugees are now allowed to access the disability South Africa government grant,” said Ramjatah-Keogh addressing the CORMSA annual general meeting in Johannesburg. “This is one of the achievements made by the lawyers for human rights during the year 2008."
However, this could not be immediately verified with South Africa’s Department of Social Development.
South Africa, the most prosperous country on the continent, is home to millions of immigrants from all parts of Africa with some estimates saying up to two million Zimbabweans could be living in their southern neighbour after fleeing home because of political violence, hunger and worsening economic hardships.
Many of the immigrants live in South Africa illegally and therefore cannot step forward to access benefits provided by the government for fear they could be deported.
It was not clear whether disabled immigrants living in South Africa illegally would be allowed to benefit from the disability grant.
Meanwhile Ramjatah-Keogh urged authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of last May's xenophobic violence that claimed more than 60 lives and left 30 000 other immigrants homeless.
She also called on the Department of Home Affairs to free hundreds of illegal immigrants detained at holding Lindela holding centre outside Johannesburg.
The department should grant the immigrants asylum instead of sending them back to their home countries they fled because of a variety of reasons ranging from war to hunger, she said.
"As the Refugee Day approaches, we would like to see that all refugees or the so-called illegal foreigners detained in Lindela are freed and issued with the right asylum papers,” the CORMSA chairperson said. -- ZimOnline
Federation Of The Disabled Appeals To The Government
By ISD (Zakari Musah)
Social Affairs | Fri, 06 Feb 2009
The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) yesterday appealed to President Atta Mills and the appointment's committee, to seriously consider competent and qualified persons with disability for appointment into decision making positions.
It said, this among others, can go a long way to increase awareness within the wider Ghanaian society of the capabilities of the people with disability (PWD), emphasising that 'it will provide positive role models for PWDs and demonstrate to the PWD in general that they are fully accepted as equal members of the society.'
Mr Samuel Kwasi Asare, President of GFD, made the appeal when an 18 member delegation of the federation led by Madam Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of the GFD called the President at the Castle Osu, in Accra.
Mr Kwasi Asare also appealed to the President to come to the aid of the organisations of persons with disabilities in order to ameliorate the challenges of limited resources. He explained that the organisations play a very key role in promoting the welfare of PWD such as mobilisation, sensitisation and advocacy among others.
He observed that even though all children in Ghana have the right to quality education irrespective of their status, children with disability are unable to access and exercise that right. He noted that 'the country can only achieve the Millennium Development Goals target on education for all if all children are given equal treatment and opportunity, whether in special or regular schools.'
He therefore called on the President to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Ghana is a signatory.
In his response, President Mills, noted that 'nobody is immune from disability and there is no need for some sector to be discriminated against. Stressing that, 'what we need is not discrimination but willingness to help and appreciate their challenges.'
The President assured the federation that as soon as the government machinery is fully put in place, their plight will be addressed.
Vodacom lends supports to visually impaired in SA
February 9, 2009 in Top Stories
THE visually-impaired in South Africa received yet another boost from the country’s leading mobile network services provider, Vodacom over the weekend.
South Africa’s biggest company in the sector pledged to donate a further R30 000 to restore the sight of these disadvantaged members of society. This followed Vodacom-sponsored-Bloemfontein Celtic, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates- teams scoring a total of three goals in the weekend’s Absa premiership matches. Through the initiative, the company donates R10 000 per every goal that the teams score in every league match.
The teams experienced mixed fortunes with Celtic beating Ajax Cape Town by 2-0 while Vhiefs were not as successful, losing 2-1 to Moroka Swallows in a Soweto derby. Pirates failed to find the net after Santos held them to a draw in Cape Town. Vodacom introduced the charity initiative during the annual Vodacom Challenge that features Chiefs, Pirates and a selected visiting side.
The Vodacom Foundation, which implements the project, said “With these cause-related campaigns, we have raised awareness of the work the projects are doing to assist communities and people on the one hand, and of Vodacom’s commitment to become a caring corporate citizen on the other.”
“This project forms part of the health portfolio of the Vodacom Foundation, one of two major funding areas. The Foundation invests in health projects as Vodacom believes that every South African has a right to basic health care facilities, and the company is committed to helping government address the health challenges that face South Africa.”
Blind girl sees discrimination in Govt
09 February, 2009 10:00:00
By Faith Vilakati
A visually impaired woman of Ludzeludze has lamented that government does not cover the disabled in a number of projects.
Cebile Maseko said disabled people felt left out even in the development funds, in education and that government did not cater for them when building certain structures.
She was speaking during a Vusela made by the area’s MP Nonhlanhla Dlamini to the area on Saturday.
She lamented that the country only had two schools that catered for the disabled, the school for the deaf and Mzimpofu.
“A number of the disabled people are failing to enroll in either of the schools because they are too expensive.
I wonder if government can have a policy that will see to it that all the disabled people do have a chance to go to school. It is also time that government sensentionalised the public about the disabled because even today some parents are afraid of their disabled children,” she said.
Dlamini promised to work on the matter adding that. She said there was light at the end of the tunnel because there already was a disabled MP.
She also stated that when the development was distributed she would make sure that the disabled of the area were part of the beneficiaries.
“I will take it upon myself to mobilise other MPs to help me on that aspect and will definitely make sure that the disabled are looked after,” she said.
Dead Child’s Treatment Shocks Community
by Helvy Tueumuna
11 Febuary 2009
OSHAKATI - The burial of a child who was a stranger to the community at Omege village in Oshakati East constituency, unearthed the inhumane treatment given to this seven-year-old handicapped child by his family.
The child, who was buried last week at Omege village in Oshana Region, left villagers asking questions about why his family had to ill treat an innocent being by keeping him away from society.
Although a community activist brought up the issue at a recent meeting for disabled people at Omege, he refused to shed more light on the matter because it was too “sensitive”.
The unknown handicapped child was kept as a secret from the community, even from neighbours. His existence only came to light when he died of an undisclosed cause.
The community activists could only share that the child was buried together with his caretaker who died after she complained of a toothache. The two were allegedly buried in the same grave.
The extent of the child’s disability was also not known, as his existence only came to light after his death.
“We have been holding meetings for disabled people in the constituency, like the one we are holding today, but no one from that family came out to report that child,” said the activist.
Disappointed by the incident, Councillor of Oshakati East, Lot Kuushomwa Kuushomwa, said it was shocking to know the extent to which some members of the public go, to abuse people living with disability. He said apart from his office, he has now involved other stakeholders from different non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others from government institutions to educate members of his community about disability.
“You will be shocked; our people still believe that disability is taboo. Some of them don’t want to be associated with disabled people,” said Kuushomwa.
Ill-treatment of people living with disability is not confined to Omege village or Namibia in general, but to Africa at large.
In most African countries, disability is viewed as a curse or a taboo. Also, some societies in Africa associate disability with witchcraft.
Generally in Africa, mothers of disabled children are seen as outcasts. They are beaten up and chased out of their matrimonial houses by their husbands.
In countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, people with skin disability - albinos - are not treated as human beings but as a means to get rich fast, for muti practitioners.
Because of the increase in the killings, most of the albinos in Kenya are in hiding because they fear muti practitioners. The practitioners are allegedly into a booming market that demands body parts of albinos.
The Tanzanian online publication Scribal Terror reported how that country’s President Jakaya Kikwete criticised the killings of albinos in the three countries.
In 2007 alone, 19 albinos from Tanzania were murdered, the publication reports.
According the publication, Kikwete condemned practices of witchdoctors who were harvesting albinos’ body parts with hopes that it will bring prosperity.
Disabled may not access CEEF
February 12, 2009
Requirements attached to Citizen Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF) have posed great challenges for the disabled to access the fund.
Chairperson for People Living with Disabilities in Western Province, John Siyubo, complained that the collateral requirement was hindering the disabled people in the province from accessing the fund.
Mr Siyubo told ZANIS in Mongu that disabled persons were among the poorest of the poor and that asking them to produce collateral was disqualifying them from accessing the money.
He said that the disabled, especially those unemployed who form the largest majority, felt sidelined as they cannot meet the collateral requirement.
Mr Siyubo suggested that collateral be eased, if not scrapped, for the disabled so that they also benefit from the initiative.
He said that much as it was a loan, government should find a way of enabling the disabled to access the money.
Mr Siyubo has since called on government to include disabled persons in top policy making bodies so as to tailor government initiatives like CEEF to also suit people living with disabilities.
Legislature holds public hearing on physical disability bill
Some of the people with disabilities at the public hearing.
By Chinedu Ozordi
February 12, 2009 11:10PMT
Lagos State residents with physical disabilities were in the State House of Assembly on Wednesday to express their views on the proposed law to stop discrimination against people with disabilities.
The bill, which was sponsored by the House Committee on Youth, Sports and Social Development, will make discrimination against persons with disabilities illegal, create equal opportunities for individuals who are physically challenged, and lead to the creation of an office for disabilities affairs and connected matters in Lagos State.
In his keynote address, Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, emphasized the need to pass laws that protect physically-challenged people and also solicited for quality contributions from all stakeholders.
"Even as I climb the stairs to my office on the second floor of this complex, I often wonder how a person on wheelchair will be able to climb it. It means that these disabled people do not have easy access to their speaker. We have to correct these abnormalities," he said.
There was mild drama when a lawmaker was asked to sit in a wheelchair and try to negotiate the entrance to the lobby of the House, the venue of the public hearing.
People with disabilities came from every corner of the metropolis, from Badagry to Epe, and contributed energetically to the debate. Most of the participants said they were happy about the initiative but criticized various sections of the bill and called for adjustments and additions to the bill.
"My first grouse was with the title of the bill, ‘Indigent Persons with Disabilities Bill,'" said Ajayi Johnson. "The word ‘indigent' there is derogatory. The bill ought to be titled ‘Persons with Disabilities Bill', which I believe is a more comprehensive title."
Mr. Johnson's suggested title was quickly adopted, amidst apologies from the legislators.
"After due considerations, the committee changed the title of the bill to now read ‘Persons with Disabilities Bill'", said Adeyeye Ajibayo, Deputy Majority Leader of the House.
Iyke Isekhide, representing Lagos Cheshire Home for the Physically Challenged, also expressed his reservation about some sections of the bill.
"All aspects of disabilities were not articulated in this bill. I submit that the committee include an all-encompassing definition of disabilities. There are also people that are intellectually challenged," he said.
The modalities for the creation of a "Disability Office", as written in section 14 of the bill also drew the ire of most of the people at the forum.
"Why should the Office be under the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Social Development? Why not create an independent agency or commission that will answer directly to the Governor? We have had cases of people being directed by the Ministry of Youth to the Ministry of Health. They appear confused as to who is in charge of our affairs. Persons with disabilities ought to be treated better than that, let there be an independent agency for us", said Cosmas Okoli, another participant.
Responding, the Speaker, Mr. Ikuforiji, stressed the need to have an effective office that would be responsive to the affairs of the persons with disabilities.
"The most important thing is to have an effective office, or agency, or commission. Whether the Head reports to the Governor or to the Commissioner is immaterial, the most important thing is to have a working office", he said.
Other issues which were raised by stakeholders include; encouraging sports for persons with disabilities, increased tax reliefs for disabled workers, the establishment of a complaints office victims of discrimination and increased publicity.
Some of the persons with disabilities who spoke with NEXT expressed their happiness at the creation of the bill and said they hoped the law would be passed quickly.
"I am so happy being here today, I came here from the noisy Ojuelegba bus stop, which is a nightmare for a blind man like me, in order to be a part of this meeting. The House has really done something good this time, and I am hoping the law will be passed in no distant time. This development is a welcome one indeed for all disabled people", said Yinka Badamosi.
For some, it was not a big deal.
"Are these issues privileges or rights? Section 42 of the Constitution says no person should be discriminated against. They should stress that these things are not privileges but rights of the people", says Kayode Adeniji, a lawyer.
Uganda People News: Affirmative action needed for disabled in relief operations
The minister of state for relief and disaster preparedness Musa Ecweru has appealed to legislators to review the current policies on relief and disaster management in favor of the disabled people to enable disabled people receive relief services in disaster situations.
The disabled includes the lame, the blind, the deaf and people with mental retardation among others.
He says when giving out food aid to people in Karamoja, the disabled are left out because they can’t afford to come to the focal centers where the food aid is distributed to the people due to their physical abnormality.
Karamoja region is facing a sever famine crisis which has led to death of over 100 people in the last two months and severe malnourishment of children. The famine has been blamed on prolonged draught which experts say is caused by global warming.
Most people are now depending on food aid from World Food Programme (WFP) and the government of Uganda.
While speaking at the giving out of over 500 wheel chairs to the disabled at National Union of Disabled persons (NUDIPU) offices in Kampala yesterday, Ecweru said that government will start giving the disabled people their special consignment of food aid.
Meanwhile, the government has started plans to construct a disaster centre that will report disasters before they occur and plan for appropriate disaster management responses.
Government has faced a variety of disasters like famine, flooding, internal displacement of the people as a result of the war and Ebola outbreak in the last two years.
Disabled Perm Sec Donates Jamb Forms To Deaf Students
Ibrahim Sidi Muh'd, Gusau
February 13th, 2009
The Permanent Secretary at Zamfara State Agency for Poverty Alleviation (ZAPA), Alhaji Usman Ahmad Nahuche, has donated JAMB forms worth N100,000 to members of Nigerian National Association for the Deaf (NNAD) who are aspiring to further their education.
Presenting the items at a ceremony in Gusau, Nahuche said the effort is part of his little contribution to the development of education of the disabled in the country.
According to him, education brought him where he is today, and as such, it is imperative for him to assist others to achieve their aims.
While urging the beneficiaries to double their efforts and read hard for the forthcoming examinations, Nahuche said he hoped to make the gesture an annual event.
He said the beneficiaries were drawn from seven states of the federation which include Zamfara, Kwara, Katsina, Oyo and Kaduna States among others. Collecting the items on behalf of his colleagues, Secretary-General of NNAD, Zamfara chapter, Malam Yusuf Muhammad Gusau, said Nahuche's gesture should be emulated by all persons who are wishing the disabled well. He said the permanent secretary is contributing to the welfare, education and social-well-being of the disabled, adding that Nahuche has set a good precedent as such he should be supported.
Mental health issues in Monrovia-Gardnersville CBR programme in Liberia, Lemuel Boah2月にバンコクであったCBRと精神障害のワークショップのプレゼンテーション
Disabled people association chairman happy with 17 years of work
Luanda, - The chairman of the National Association of Angolan Disabled Persons (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, Friday in Luanda, considered as positive the 17 years of existence of the organisation.
Speaking to Angop on the occasion of the celebrations of ANDA’s 17th anniversary, on February 1, Silva Lopes Etiambulo said thousands of people living with disabilities have been reintegrated in the society during the 17 years.
The source also mentioned the positive support his institution got from several local and international organisations.
He mentioned the local non-governmental organisation “Causa Solidaria” that helped reintegrate into the labour market 2,500 families, through the “moto-taxi” project implemented in 17 of the country’s 18 provinces since last year.
The “Fundo de Solidariedade Social” (Lwini) was also mentioned as a local organisation that has funded several people reintegration projects, with stress to those linked to farming in Huambo estimated at Usd 15,000 and carpentry in Moxico, with costs put at Usd 10,000.
Silva Etiambulo said “Fundo Lwini” has over the period in respect assisted with the rehabilitation of landmine victims, through the funding of ANDA’s most relevant projects, with stress to "Vem Comigo" one.
As to assistance from international organisations, the source highlighted the Development Workshop that, according to him, provided funds for several civic education seminars for war crippled persons, conflict resolution and building of peace.
The official also mentioned the assistance extended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), through the funding of programmes of awareness on the dangers of malaria and Hiv/Aids, with talks in 17 provinces of the country.
On the other hand, he mentioned World Vision as having spent Usd 12,000 in the creation of micro-firms.
According to Silva Etiambulo, over the 17 years of existence, ANDA, with support from international non-governmental organisations, trained five conflict resolution promoters in Mozambique, South Africa and Portugal, in which the assistance from the Dutch Institute for Southern Africa was crucial.
The Dutch Institute, the source added, funded the Southern Africa Ex-Combatants Conference, held in September 2007, in Angola’s northern Bengo province.
The official mentioned the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security (Mapess) as being the organ of the State that has most supported his organisation.
He said Mapess has released more than one million US Dollars for the ongoing "Vem Comigo" project being implemented throughout the country for the last three years.
He highlighted as well the “Reabilitar” project in the provinces of Bengo and Kwanza Sul, where about Usd 210,000 have been spent since 2006.
ANDA was founded on February 1 1992 and is established in the country’s 18 provinces, with more than 37,000 members.
Tunisia win 5 medals in Al Ain International Sports for Disabled Meeting
Sunday, 15 February 2009 12:26 PMG
Tunisian wheelchair racers won two silver and three bronze medals at the International Sports for Disabled Meeting, organised on the 11th-14th instant by the Emirian Al Ain club, which is chaired by Mr. Mohamed Fadhel Mohamed Al Hamili, secretary-general of the Zayed Foundation for the protection of persons with specific needs.
Tunisian Ahmed Aouadi won the bronze medal at the 1500 m race; He also won the silver medal at men's 10.000 m race.
Samira Berri won the silver medal in the same contest for women, as well as two bronze medals, at the 100 m and 400 m races.
NGO donates to physically challenged children
Education | Sun, 15 Feb 2009
New Blue Vision, a non-governmental organization (NGO), on Saturday donated detergents, toys, biscuits and medical equipment worth over 30,000 Ghana Cedis to some institutions in Sekondi and Takoradi in the Western Region.
The beneficiaries were the Sekondi School for the Deaf, Twin-City Special School for the Mentally Retarded and the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
The donation was made at an event to mark this year's Valentine Day, organized by the NGO for inmates of the School for the Deaf and the Twin-City Special School at Inchaban near Sekondi.
Mr. Alfred Biney, Director of the NGO, made the presentation to Mr. Kontoh Osei-Bonsu, Assistant Headmaster of the School for the Deaf, Madam Mary Hayford, Deputy Director of Nursing Services at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital and Miss Elizabeth Amewowor, Headmistress of Twin-City Special School.
In a related development Akroma Plaza and You '84 Supermarket and Hotel, presented 100 bags of rice, 100 cartons of Kallipo fruit drink and 600 cartons of assorted biscuits to the School for the Deaf, Special School and Father's Home Orphange.
Madam Gladys Ansah, Chief Executive Officer of the Akroma Plaza and You '84 Supermarket and Hotel made the presentation.
Mr. Biney expressed worry that some parents did not accept their physically challenged children back home after completing the school for the deaf or abandoned them on the street to become beggars.
He urged parents to send their physically challenged children to special schools and to contact the NGO through the Department of Social Welfare for school uniforms and shoes if they cannot afford to buy them.
Mr. Biney said New Blue Vision was securing land to construct a vocational school to train the physically challenged and neglected children to enable them to earn a decent living.
He appealed to government to ensure that all physically challenged persons benefited from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Madam Hayford, advised pregnant women to attend antenatal clinic so that they could have healthy babies and explained that the health of the unborn baby was affected by poor diet, diseases and smoking among others.
She advised mothers to ensure that their babies were immunized against childhood diseases such as measles and poliomyelitis.
Photo Credit: Crammed Discs
辛い思いをしてるって？ コンゴ民主共和国のバンド『Staff Benda Bilili』のメンバーを見習って、つべこべ言うのはやめよう。
Staff Benda Bililiに最も新しく加わったメンバーは、17歳のギタリストだ。ブリキの缶で作った、リュートのような一弦の楽器を担当している。
Staff Benda Bililiのデビュー盤『Tres Tres Fort』は3月24日、ベルギーのレーベルCrammed Discsから発売される。[日本のAmazon.comでも購入予約可能]
彼らに惹かれたフランスの映画監督、Renaud Barret氏とFlorent de la Tullaye氏は、このバンドを題材にドキュメンタリー映画を制作中だ。このバンドが近く予定しているヨーロッパ・ツアーについてもドキュメンタリーに収めるつもりだという。
○アフリカNOW第83号 特集 アフリカにおける民主化の課題
* アフリカにおける平和の定着と民主化の課題 武内進一
* ケニア：2007年選挙後暴力を裁く特別法廷の設置 永岡宏昌
* 「POP AFRICA アフリカの今にのる？！」参加して考えたこと 茂住衛
* 【映画紹介】エンタングル・イン・トーキョー パート1:罪の報酬 川田薫
山田肖子編著 岩波書店 ジュニア新書 245ｐ 2008年3月
819円 → 780円
亀井伸孝著 明石書店 A5判 254p 2006年12月
2940円 → 2700円
支払方法： 郵便振替 銀行振込
【2月23日 AFP】「ブレードランナー」のニックネームを持つ義足の陸上選手、オスカー・ピストリウス（Oscar Pistorius、南アフリカ）がボート事故で顔面にけがを負ったことが22日、明らかになった。南アフリカ通信（SAPA）が伝えた。
ピストリウスの代理人を務めるPeet Van Zyl氏は、ピストリウスが友人とボートに乗り込み、通常の速度で航行中に事故に遭ったと記者に話している。(c)AFP
2009年02月25日 11:43 発信地:ブジュンブラ/ブルンジ
2009年03月04日 21:22 発信地:ワガドゥグ/ブルキナファソ
ブルキナファソ・ワガドゥグ（Ouagadougou）での第21回「汎アフリカ映画テレビ祭（Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou、通称：FESPACO）」のオープニングセレモニーで、カメラマンのまねをするアーティスト（2009年2月28日撮影）。(c)
【3月4日 AFP】今年で第21回目を迎えたアフリカ最大の映画祭「汎アフリカ映画テレビ祭（Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou、通称：FESPACO）」。マリのアダマ・ドラボ（Adama Drabo）とラジ・ディアキテ（Ladji Diakite）の2人の監督が、今現在アフリカのアルビノ（先天性白皮症）たちが直面している問題に焦点を当てた新作をひっさげて、開催地ブルキナファソの首都ワガドゥグ（Ouagadougou）に約10年ぶりに戻ってきた。
1日に開幕した映画祭のオープニング作品『Mah Saah-Sah（バムーンの恋）』もアフリカ社会の伝統と迷信に焦点を当てたものだ。監督はカメルーンのダニエル・カムワ（Daniel Kamwa）。ある孤児が、移り住んだ先の村で少女に恋をしたが、少女が割礼を受けていないといううわさが流れ、2人にさまざまな難題が降りかかるというストーリーだ。(c)AFP/Stephanie van den Berg
世界で最初の盲ろうのカソリック司祭Date: 2009-03-17 22:31 GMT+09:00
Anda attends African seminar on disabled people's rights
3/11/09 7:00 PM
Luanda- The chairman of the National Association of Angolan Disabled Persons (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, took part this month in South Africa in a seminar on rights of disabled people and social protection.
The event took place on 4-7 March.
According to ANDA’s chairman, who spoke on Wednesday to ANGOP, in Luanda, the event organised by the Secretariat of the African Disabled People's Decade association, discussed issues like social policy of the African Union and the government's role and civil society’s organisations, among other matters.
The history, social protection, basic concepts on social protection concerning job vacancies, strategies for the reduction of poverty, as well as security and social assistance, were topics also discussed at the meeting.
According to Silva Etiambulo, at the seminar, which was attended by representatives of several African countries, were equally analysed issues concerning to law, strategies, action-plans and the participation of civil society organisations.
Mentally ill in Africa get little help
By KATHARINE HOURELD - Mar 15, 2009
KISII, Kenya (AP) - Every day before she leaves home to fetch food and water, Esther Nyaboke forces her two daughters into a baking, windowless shed and slams the door.
For Nyaboke, whose children display the symptoms of serious autism, the only way to keep the girls safe while she is away is to lock them up.
"If no one will help me, then what can I do except lock them up?" Nyaboke told The Associated Press from her traditional thorn-fenced compound near the town of Kisii. "I have to leave sometimes even if it's just to fetch water."
In Kenya and many other African countries, poverty, lack of access and the stigma of mental disease prevent many patients from getting the help they desperately need. Despite some recent progress, just 0.01 percent of Kenya's health budget is spent on mental health, compared to around 6 percent in the U.S., for example.
Yet about a quarter of Kenyans seeking medical help have problems with mental health, says Dr. David Kiima, director of mental health. He estimates that about 10 percent of Kenya's people have mental health issues, and about 1 percent have disorders serious enough to warrant inpatient treatment.
The problem is worse in some other African countries such as Liberia, which suffered 15 years of brutal civil war and had numerous child soldiers. The World Health Organization says up to 85 percent of mentally ill or disabled people in the developing world never get treatment.
"The community does not see these people as human beings. They do not see their suffering," says Edah Maina, who heads the Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped.
Over the last seven years, the organization has forcefully taken more than 3,000 children and adults with mental illnesses or disabilities from homes where they were abused. The organization tries to educate families to accept their mentally ill relatives back and treat them well. But some refuse, and the mentally ill or disabled person may then end up in a government hospital for the rest of their lives.
The bland beige binders lining the walls in Maina's busy Nairobi office hide a litany of nightmares. In one photo, a 16-year-old autistic girl is led from a dark shed into the sun but can no longer see the light that warms her. After being locked up by her mother for 12 years, she has gone blind.
A grainy video shows a man with mental disabilities chained in a dog's kennel by his parents for a decade. In another incident, rescue workers open a corrugated iron door to reveal a chained, emaciated man with schizophrenia. His legs dangle uselessly after 15 years of malnutrition and confinement.
Countless other files show insects feeding on tied-up, swollen limbs and open sores festering under plastic bags used as diapers.
"Sometimes we can't sleep for days after an intervention," Maina admits.
Some of the worst abuse is sexual. People with mental illnesses or disabilities are often unable to protect themselves. In some African countries, like Kenya, Zambia and Egypt, their evidence is not admissible in court.
Some steps are being taken. Kenya's 2003 Disability Act made it an offense to "conceal" or imprison the mentally ill or disabled. Some self-help groups have been set up to offer them and their caregivers support, and primary care workers are being trained in mental health.
But Kiima acknowledges there is little public knowledge about mental illness and not enough funding for a campaign. There is not even enough money to track how many people with mental health issues are treated each year. Kenya has only one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people, compared to one for every 8,000 at most in the United States. With so few doctors, many mentally ill or disabled Kenyans have no chance of a proper diagnosis and the conditions, which require very different care, are often confused.
Subsidized drugs are offered by the government but are often out of stock and can only be accessed by the few that can afford bus fares to local hospitals. Often the mentally ill or disabled are unable to get HIV/AIDS drugs through normal channels, since patient consent is required for testing. These patients - described in Kenya's own penal code and constitution as "idiots," "imbeciles" and "persons of unsound mind" - are legally deemed unable to give their consent and so can normally get neither tested nor treated.
Only a handful of trained specialists offer diagnosis or counseling outside the capital of Nairobi. Without access to doctors, many still believe the conditions are caused by witchcraft.
Families take affected relatives to traditional healers. Sometimes their personal knowledge of the patient's culture allows successful treatment - Kiima hopes to alleviate staff shortages by offering some healers formal training as community outreach workers.
But practitioners can also be destructive.
A few minute's drive from Nyaboke's house, a 28-year-old woman diagnosed with schizophrenia displayed slashes on her stomach from a witch doctor's razor blade. Her relatives took her for treatment, hoping to exorcise the voices in her head. Instead her attacks worsened as she spent three months tied up naked, sliced and beaten, and forced to drink mysterious potions. The woman, who asked not to be named to protect her from attacks by fellow villagers, eventually received a correct diagnosis and subsidized medication from a government hospital.
Others do not survive. In the cool darkness of Hema Hospital morgue lies the corpse of a man in his 60s. Hezron Manduku, the hospital director, says the patient exhibited signs of mental illness when he was brought in by relatives. They said he had been treated with "traditional remedies." Before the man could be diagnosed, his body swelled with fluid and the skin peeled off. Days later, he died.
"These traditional healers often administer medication which is the wrong dose, or expired, or otherwise inappropriate," Manduku said. "We have no way of knowing what they have been giving patients because they prefer to keep treatments secret."
With so few options available, some Kenyan families remain torn between their loved ones' freedom and their safety.
"I feel so bad to lock them up because they're human like me and my kids, so I love them, but what can I do?" Nyaboke asks as her daughter barrels into her lap for a hug. She strokes Veronica's hair gently as the girl chuckles and coos.
"Sometimes I feel like a prisoner myself," she adds softly. "But how could I give up on my kids?"
ニュースレター 'Human Rights Africa': number 1, 2009アフリカ十年事務局のサイトに下記のニュースレターがアップされています。
CPLP games include athletics for visually impaired people
3/25/09 10:45 AM
Luanda - Athletics for visually impaired people in the categories of t12 and t13, as well as normal athletes were selected for the games of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), to be disputed on 18-23 July 2010 in Maputo, Mozambique.
This was said to ANGOP last Tuesday by the national director for sports, Raimundo Ricardo.
After having participated on 19-22 March in a meeting of experts in Portugal, the official explained that the proposal of including athletics was presented by Angola and it was approved in the meeting of CPLP sports ministers held on the 23rd of this month.
The director added that handball was reintegrated in the competition, which had been excluded by Mozambique, since the host country has the right to choose the sports disciplines at its criterion.
Raimundo Ricardo said that the specialists are studying the possibility so that CPLP games can be disputed only by students, in order to persuade the states to invest in the subject of physical education and educational sport, as well as fix the limit age of participants to 17 years old, compared to the current 16 years old.
CPLP comprises Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe.
Toyota boosts the deaf
Thursday, 26th March, 2009
Joweriah Butele, the Toyota Uganda national customer relations manager (extreme left), at the hand over of a sh5m dummy cheque to the Uganda School of the Deaf in Ntinda, Kampala. The money will be used for the construction of a vocational centre. The school is also organising a photo exhibition and dinner next month to raise sh800m required for the construction of the centre
Institutions urged to provide disabled friendly facilities
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Kwesi Yankah has urged government and Institutions to provide facilities that are disabled friendly for people with special needs. Prof. Yankah said disability issues must be given the needed impetus to improve the social well being of the disabled.
Professor Kwesi Yankah made the call at the Commissioning of an office for students with Special needs at the University of Ghana Campus Legon. He said the facility will enable the students access information easily. This he said will reduce the stress special students, go through on campus.
Prof. Yankah emphasized the Universities commitment to provide an enabling environment for students with special needs to achieve more academic laurels to augment the country’s man power base. He mentioned that the University Stadium which is currently under construction will provide facilities for disabled students to compete an all sporting disciplines.
The Coordinator for Students with special needs, Dr. Kwabena Adu Poku, said the resource centre is the result of efforts of past faculty students and concerned citizens who saw the need to promote disabled education at the University.
Dr. Adu Poku commended all those whose efforts have brought joy to disabled students and urged the students to make good use of the facility.
Posted on: Thursday, 26, March, 2009
Sierra Leone: Disabled Get Mobility Service
Sahr Morris Jr.
26 March 2009
Freetown - Over 65 disabled persons in the Western Area yesterday received brand new wheelchairs from the Greatest Goal Ministry Sierra Leone (GGM), through its international body based in the United States of America.
GGM and its international body received the mobility service from Wheelchairs International, who donated 110 items through the supports of the PRO club - the largest fitness center in the US.
According to GGM country director, Pastor Mambud K Samai, they are conceited to help improve the lives of the disabled in the country, adding that the organisation was proud that their work in social development through disable welfare is recognized as a best practice.
He said, "This recognition makes us even more aware of the fact that not only are we contributing to a better future for our children and youths in our local environment, but we are part of something bigger."
Samai said the support and recognition of the charity has represented a difference for sustainable social and human development programs in anti-discrimination and social integration.
While addressing the disabled, president of GGM International, Lynn Pelton said her ministry was pleased to make such a donation, adding that they are ready to do more in order to improve the lives of the disabled in the country.
One of the disabled beneficiaries, Haja Sesay thanked the ministry and all those who have ensured that they receive the gift. She promised to use the donation judiciously.
Amadu Sheriff was also thankful for the donation, adding that it has come at the right time, especially as the rainy season is just around the corner.
Disabled people from Kono, Makeni, Bo, Kenema and Kailahun are all going to benefit from such donation.
Ethiopia to host the first ever disabled parliamentarians’ conference
APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) Ethiopia will host the first disabled parliamentarians’ conference in Addis Ababa from 31 March to 1 April 2009, the organizers said here Thursday.
The organizers, the Ethiopian Federation of National Associations of People with Disabilities said in Addis Ababa that representatives from various African countries are expected to attend the conference, which will be organized to discuss political participation of disabled parliamentarians and issues related to current affairs.
The president of the Federation, Kasahun Yebeltal, told journalists that the meeting will be the first ever in Africa.
The conference is expected to attract a number of local and international observers.
The two-day meeting will deliberate on issues such as political participation of disabled parliamentarians in their respective countries and on the United Nations conventions on the rights of people with disabilities, among others.
The Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/dissre00.htm
Uganda: Health Facilities Handicapped
5 April 2009
Kampala - MIRANDA, a tourist, was travelling from Sipi Falls, to Kampala when her car rammed into a stationary lorry at Kawolo, Lugazi. Miranda would have survived had there been timely intervention, but she succumbed to Uganda's ailing health system that can hardly handle emergencies.
In Miranda's case, the natives scrambled for her belongings as she cried in pain. Michael, who was travelling to Kampala, took her to the nearest clinic, but could not get help because it was being manned by a midwife who was not qualified to handle such a case.
He rushed Miranda to Kawolo Hospital, but the doctor in charge had gone to join his family in Kampala for the weekend. "Take her to Mulago Hospital since you have a car. There is a power black-out and our generator has no fuel," the midwife said.
Michael requested for an ambulance, which served almost the whole eastern region, but it had broken down. Besides, it did not have the basics. Nonetheless, he drove her to Mulago, but she died on arrival.
With accidents contributing to the bulk of patients in health facilities, the health ministry has little to offer in terms of experience and response to the increasing road accidents.
Dr. Jancinto Amandua, the commissioner of clinical services in the health ministry, says: "Not many of our hospitals are prepared to handle emergencies. Our facilities cannot handle patients in critical conditions."
He urges the Government to improve physical facilities, redesign and facilitate them to manage emergencies.
"This is our focus as we celebrate the World Health Day," he says.
The global event celebrated every April 7, will this year fall under the theme, "Save lives. Make hospitals safe in emergencies."
"We are going by the global theme because it is also relevant to us. We are looking at the competence of health workers, their availability and access, safety of hospital environments and availability of medicine and medical equipment. These impact on the safety of patients, which is critical for any health system," Amandua explains.
Coordinators and organisers of the World Health Day 2009 say the theme focuses on the resilience and safety of health facilities and the health workers who treat emergency cases.
Events worldwide will highlight successes, advocate safe facilities and build momentum for widespread emergency preparedness. "Health centres and staff are critical lifelines for vulnerable people in disasters - treating injuries, preventing illnesses and caring for people's health needs.
"They are cornerstones for primary healthcare in communities - meeting everyday needs, such as safe childbirth services and immunisation that must continue in emergencies. Often, the health systems are unable to function in times of disaster," a press release says.
"This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international partners are underscoring the importance of investing in health infrastructure that can withstand hazards and serve people in immediate need. They are also urging health facilities to implement systems to respond to internal emergencies and ensure the continuity of care."
Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, says: "People count on hospitals and health facilities to respond swiftly and efficiently as the lifeline for survival and the backbone of support.
"When a hospital collapses or its functions are disrupted, lives that depend on emergency care can be lost. Interruptions in routine services can also be deadly," she remarks.
The WHO says although only 11% of the people exposed to natural hazards live in developing countries, they account for more than 53% of global deaths due to natural disasters.
Outbreaks of communicable diseases can spark emergencies that cause widespread deaths and suffering. In 12 months up to May 31, 2008, the WHO verified 162 outbreaks of infectious disease in 75 countries with more than a third in Africa.
Describing emergency medical care as medical attention given to a patient who needs timely attention, Amandua says Uganda is, particularly, plagued with epidemics like meningitis.
"In terms of management of epidemics, we are okay. We have gained a lot of experience over time, given their recurrent nature. But we need to construct special emergency units in hospitals and stock them with relevant equipment to manage emergencies like fires, injuries and accidents," Amandua says.
He says the health ministry prioritised reproductive health to address emergency deliveries and post-abortion care and is in the process of ensuring that health centre IVs and IIIs are functional.
However, a WHO official says the health ministry is always 'rhetoric' about hospital improvements.
"During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007, we rushed to give a facelift to our facilities, but that was because the money was being provided by the organisers. Even then, a year later, everything was back to its sorry state. That should have been our kickboard, but when you visit our health facilities, even basic supplies like gloves, gauze, washing reagents or ordinary soap are not there," he says.
He says rapid response units (teams charged with responding to emergencies) are only at the national level.
"At district level, they are either scanty, poorly-facilitated or non-existent. Even the concept of village health teams that the WHO recommends to fill this gap is failing.
"It is basic and significant for many health systems but without external funding, the Government cannot implement it," he argues.
"Every facility should have an isolation unit in case of highly-infectious outbreaks but we only rush to create space, putting tents in fields to curb cholera. Health workers do not even have protective wear or stretchers for patients."
Nonetheless, Amandua says the health ministry was given a special budget to rehabilitate regional hospitals.
"We are in the process of procuring and supplying spare parts for donated equipment, which normally becomes redundant because of failure to maintain," he says.
"We have a challenge of drug stock-outs and insufficient personnel. But the public has a role to play. They need to report early to minimise emergencies, observe traffic laws and help accident victims. Next time it might be you in the same situation," he warns.
Ghana: Disability Law Leaves Out Autistic Children
Ama Achiaa Amankwah
6 April 2009
Accra - Autism is a new biological disorder that impacts on development on the brain and renders the victim disabled in three areas.
First, the victim unable to understand verbal / non-verbal communication. Secondly, they are unable to socialize and lastly they cannot wait to have their turn.
Experts term it "new disorder" because it is developmental and there is no known cause. Most autistic children are non-verbal.
Although autism is said to be always on the increase in Ghana, the disability law passed in June 2006 overlooked autism.
Indeed, stakeholders involved in Autism Awareness, Care & Training (AACT) made inputs to the draft disability bill but it was not captured.
Speaking to Public Agenda, Mr. Mawusi Adiku, Educational Director at the AACT in Accra regretted that Ghana considers the blind, deaf, mentally retarded and physical disability but ignores others such as autism.
"We want autism to be recognized as a disability which is becoming prevalent than any other childhood disorder," he stressed.
He disclosed that women mostly bear the brunt of the victim's condition. He said that some marriages even break up as men often accuse the women for the condition.
He explained that the first symptom is for a mother to observe if a baby focuses on her whenever she is sighted.
He said that most of them cry persistently for no apparent reason, weep and burst out laughter, and affects more boys than girls.
"Others too are sound sensitive, tend to be deaf and have no sense of danger. Some will not like to be hugged or touched, are repetitive in choice of food, clothes etc., flap their hands and walk on their toes."
He regretted that parents often after notice of autism in their wards send them to pediatrician who sometimes claims that the child might not be an early developer so they should go back and it will be well.
He noted Ghanaians also attribute such disorders to superstitious beliefs and sometimes send such children to ?prayer camps to exorcise the autism spirit in them.
Mr. Adiku cautioned that late diagnosis hinders early intervention. He said the condition in the victim ranges from mild to severe because it is developmental.
"In relation to mild victim will be able to talk and symptoms can only be realized in social behavior. The median group has all the three features and consequently has behaviourial problems and throws tantrums."
He said it is not advisable to punish children if he/she exhibits these symptoms.
Although not curable, Mr. Adiku said it is treatable and coupled with good and early intervention some of the disorders can be changed.
In Ghana, and other developing countries, autism diagnosis is rare. Parents of children with autism are left to seek other explanations for their children's behaviour.
Mrs. Serwah Quaynor, a mother of a child with autism, made it a personal commitment to help children with autism. In search of services to help her child, and with no luck, decided to fulfill her commitment to her son and to autism by founding an organization in 1998.
Known as Autism Awareness Care & Training (AACT) it was formed to help children with autism and their families in Ghana to better understand the disorder and to feel that there is a safe place to go for support and help.
Today the organization not only supports the parents and families but it also has become a centre for these children to receive quality education. Here they are trained in life-skills, sensory integration therapy, train caregivers, parents, family members, attendants and professionals and provide respite care for families among others.
On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity.
This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions.
The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention.
It further expresses concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.
Additionally, WAAD?celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is?a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe. Last Thursday, 2nd April 2009 was World Autism Awareness.
The United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon in a special message to mark WAAD said, "On World Autism Awareness Day, let us capture and share this spirit, and let us intensify global efforts to ensure that children and persons with autism everywhere can benefit from the supportive environment they need to reach their full potential and contribute to society."
He noted by designating 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, the United Nations General Assembly has helped to galvanize international efforts to promote greater understanding about autism.
He had an advice to kids who have some form of disability, "Don't let it stop you. Use it as your strength; don't use it as your weakness. One red light can lead to a whole bunch of green lights, with a few orange lights thrown in. And the red lights are just a bit of a test. There are definitely more green and orange".
50,000 people with disabilities dispalced in Gulu
Tuesday, 7th April, 2009
Atleast 50,000 people with physical and mental disabilities have been displaced following the closure of Internally Displaced People’s camps in Gulu, northern Uganda.
The Chairman of the national union of People with disability, Francis Kinubi is asking government to meet the needs of disabled people who have been living in camps.
Addressing journalists in Kampala, Kinubi says most disabled people can’t cultivate crops and they should be accorded special attention as they return home.
He wants government to cater for disability needs in the next financial year’s budget for the Peace, Recovery and Development Program for northern Uganda.
displaced people's campsと呼んでいます。私も去年いくつか
Vice President inaugurates Disability Council
April 07, 2009
Accra, GNA - The government on Tuesday fulfilled a campaign promise by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it inaugurated the Governing Board of the National Council of Persons with Disability (PWD) at the Castle, Osu.
The physically challenged had for years lobbied for the establishment of the Council and the NDC pledged that it would do so within 100 days after assuming the reigns of power.
On Tuesday, Vice President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the 13-member Board which is under the chairmanship of Mr Andrew Okaikoi, a business executive.
The inauguration is seen as crucial in promoting the welfare of PWDs who are believed to constitute more than five per cent of the population, but have over the years been denied many rights offered their able bodied counterparts.
A remit of the Council would be to work towards removing cultural and structural barriers that tend to stifle the integration of physically challenged persons into all aspects of society.
The Vice President urged the Council to help dismiss norms and taboos that had been employed over the ages to stigmatize PWDs and work towards proscribing them.
He said government would be assiduous in working for the inclusion of the disabled in all aspects of the society to ensure that they were not left behind or discriminated against on the basis of their infirmities.
"They deserve as citizens to fully participate in the progress of the country without being discriminated against," Vice President Mahama stressed.
Vice President Mahama charged the Council to ensure that all children with disabilities had access to formal education.
The issue of PWDs having difficulty in using public buildings also engaged the attention of the Vice President.
He directed the Council to ensure that institutions which were yet to provide easy passage for PWDs at their premises were made to comply with the relevant legislations.
Similarly, he charged the Council to work with Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies on the modalities to be adopted in disbursing two per cent of their share of the common fund to PWDs as demanded by the relevant laws.
Mr Okaikoi, commended the NDC for having the courage in inaugurating the board, and promised to work towards ensuring that the potentials of PWDs which had been left largely untapped were realized for the benefit for the country.
He also paid tribute to all those who helped in the passage of the Disability Act for their persistence in promoting the welfare of PWDs.
Other members of the Council included Dr Cynthia Bannerman, Dr Bashirideen Iddrisu Kori, Ms Emma Bruce-Lyle, Mr Ivor Greenstreet and Mr Henry Woode.
The rest were Mr Stephen Adongo, Mr Herbert Antor, Mr Victor Ayete Larbi, Mr Mawutor Ablo, Mrs Serwah Quaynor and Miss Augustina Ampomah.
Ghana News Agency
Gov't To Consider 25% Common Fund For Disabled
The Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, yesterday inaugurated the National Governing Council for Persons with Disability, and announced that as part of government’s support, the President has directed the renovation of a state building for the council for its operations.
He also gave the assurance that the necessary measures will be taken to ensure that the disabled’s share of two per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund is duly disbursed to them and charged it to ensure the full implementation of the Disability Act which seeks to promote the welfare of disabled people in the country.
He said the disabled can no longer be left out of the nation’s development process; hence, the need for the implementation of the Disability Act715, which was passed three years ago but has remained dormant because of the absence of a Council.
The inauguration of the 13-member Council at the Castle in Accra is in fulfillment of one of the promises by the NDC administration to have the council in place within the first 100 days of its rule.
It gives effect to the Disability Act which seeks to create a level field for people with disability to explore their potential and to contribute effectively to national development.
“Persons with disability are not asking us for pity. They are asking to take their place in society as citizens to fully participate in the progress of the country,” Vice President Mahama said.
He noted that with the progress into the 21st century, discrimination against the disabled, from the family to the societal level should be a thing of the past.
He noted that because disabled people constitute about five percent of the population, there is the need to create an effective platform for them to contribute to national development.
Stephen Amoanor Kwao, Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, in his remarks, expressed the confidence that with the inauguration of Council, which is one of the priorities of the government, the welfare of the disabled will be effectively addressed.
Mr Andrew Okaikoi, chairman of the Council, who is the husband of the Information Minister, Mrs Zita Okaikoi commended the government for the inauguration of the Council saying it marks a ‘momentous occasion” in the history of the disabled movement in the country.
Posted on: Wednesday, 8, April, 2009
Source: Ghanaian Times
Vice President Inaugurates Disability Council
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 10:01
The government on Tuesday fulfilled a campaign promise by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) when it inaugurated the Governing Board of the National Council of Persons with Disability (PWD) at the Castle, Osu. The physically challenged had for years lobbied for the establishment of the Council and the NDC pledged that it would do so within 100 days after assuming the reigns of power.
On Tuesday, Vice President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated the 13-member Board which is under the chairmanship of Mr Andrew Okaikoi, a business executive. The inauguration is seen as crucial in promoting the welfare of PWDs who are believed to constitute more than five per cent of the population, but have over the years been denied many rights offered their able bodied counterparts.
A remit of the Council would be to work towards removing cultural and structural barriers that tend to stifle the integration of physically challenged persons into all aspects of society. The Vice President urged the Council to help dismiss norms and taboos that had been employed over the ages to stigmatize PWDs and work towards proscribing them. He said government would be assiduous in working for the inclusion of the disabled in all aspects of the society to ensure that they were not left behind or discriminated against on the basis of their infirmities.
"They deserve as citizens to fully participate in the progress of the country without being discriminated against," Vice President Mahama stressed. Vice President Mahama charged the Council to ensure that all children with disabilities had access to formal education. The issue of PWDs having difficulty in using public buildings also engaged the attention of the Vice President. He directed the Council to ensure that institutions which were yet to provide easy passage for PWDs at their premises were made to comply with the relevant legislations.
Similarly, he charged the Council to work with Metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies on the modalities to be adopted in disbursing two per cent of their share of the common fund to PWDs as demanded by the relevant laws.Mr Okaikoi, commended the NDC for having the courage in inaugurating the board, and promised to work towards ensuring that the potentials of PWDs which had been left largely untapped were realized for the benefit for the country.
He also paid tribute to all those who helped in the passage of the Disability Act for their persistence in promoting the welfare of PWDs. Other members of the Council included Dr Cynthia Bannerman, Dr Bashirideen Iddrisu Kori, Ms Emma Bruce-Lyle, Mr Ivor Greenstreet and Mr Henry Woode. The rest were Mr Stephen Adongo, Mr Herbert Antor, Mr Victor Ayete Larbi, Mr Mawutor Ablo, Mrs Serwah Quaynor and Miss Augustina Ampomah.
Board for the disabled
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 April 2009, 12:27 GMT
The Board of the National Council for Persons with Disability (NCPD) was inaugurated yesterday by Vice-President John Mahama in fulfillment of the NDC’s electoral promise to inaugurate the council in its 100 days in office.
Mr Mahama said the government was committed to developing the potential of all Ghanaians and urged members of the board to ensure that the Disability Law which was passed about three years ago was enforced.
"He again asked the board to ensure the passage of a Legislative Instrument (LI) to enable it to have the two per cent of the Dis¬trict Assemblies Common Fund for the disabled.
“We passed the Disability Bill three years ago and ever since there has been advocacy for the establishment of the council to give effect to Act 715. I urge you to ensure that these laws are enforced,” he said.
Justifying the importance of the inauguration, he said the average disability rate of five per cent or a million Ghanaian citizens, based on the national population figure also needed to be accorded equal rights.
Mr Mahama expressed concern over some traditional practices that inhibited the growth and development of persons with disability, particularly children stressing that this practice “must completely be obliterated”.
He announced that an office building was being renovated for the board to enable it to begin work immediately.
The Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Mr Stephen Amoanor Kwao, said the inauguration of the board would serve as a catalyst to bring more persons with disability to the mainstream of life and pledged the government’s commitment to champion the cause of disabled persons.
The Chairman of the board, Mr Andrew Okaikoi, described the inauguration as the “culmination of many years of persistent effort and persuasion of goodwill and concern” and lauded the efforts of the leadership of the Ghana Association of the Blind, the Ghana National Association of the Deaf, the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled and the Federation of the Disabled and its other member organizations.
He said although the task ahead of the board was great - to mobilise a significant, under-served segment of the society towards economic, productive and useful activity - the members would live up to it.
Source: Daily Graphic
Disabled Kano ANPP member appeals for assistance
By NASIRU MUHD.
A CONCERNED ANPP disabled member in Kano, Malam Sammani Shariff, has appealed to the state governor, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau to come to their aid at Kofar Na`isa quaters in Kano metropolis.
Malam Shariff who spoke to Daily Triumph in an exclusive interview, said the disabled in the area need the governor’s support and assistance in many areas.
``You see I am an ardent supporter of His Excellency, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau. During the last election I and some other disabled persons in my area had accompanied the governor on campaign tour to many areas.
``In the process, a female colleague lost her life,’ he said.
According to Malam Sheriff, what they need most is a capital to conduct a recharge card business and other businesses since they do not like to engage themselves in begging.
He explained that they also need jobs such as messengers in some government parastatals while some of them too want to further their education, but do not have the means.
He thanked Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau and his wife, Hajiya Halima, for their effort to better the lives of the disabled persons in the state.
The templates were produced in Cape Town and South Africa is the second country, after Japan, to produce the model.
According to the IEC, the Braille ballot from left to right will have a number, the abbreviation of the party's name, and raised dots leading to a small window where the voter makes his or her mark.
One in every four booths will be broader with a lower voting table and each queue at the polling stations will feed into an area where such a booth is available.
Speaking to BuaNews on Wednesday, South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) President William Rowland said the introduction of the Braille ballot was a milestone for the country's visually impaired people.
"For the first time blind people who can read Braille will have a truly secrete vote," Mr Rowland said.
Being visually impaired himself, Mr Rowland said last week he was given the opportunity to cast two mock ballots at the IEC offices which he found to be easy and effective.
In previous elections visually impaired people were able to cast their votes with the assistance of a person of their own choice over the age of 18.
However, this method will still be used during the elections as the vast majority of visually impaired people do not read Braille.
ウガンダの障害者団体「Action for Youth with Disabilities Uganda」について一昨年11月、ウガンダで開かれた英連邦首脳会議（CHOGM）に向けた動きの中で誕生した団体で、金銭的支援を求めているというメールが届きました。
Warm Greetings from Action for Youth with Disabilities Uganda (AYDU) Action for Youth with Disabiliites Uganda is an umbrella National organisation founded by youth with Disabilites in 2008. Its a consortium of youth with physical disabilities, Visually impaired/Blind, Deaf Epilepsy, Mental Health, DeafBlind Albinos and all the other disabilities.
It was born out of the desperate situations facing youth with disabilities. The idea started after the pre-CHOGM Disability Conference held in Uganda in November 2007, as one of the Pre CHOGM Commemoration events and the experience acquired by the disabled youth interns and volunteers at Action on Disability and Development (ADD), working closely with other youths from different groups noted with concern the situation of YWDs in Uganda, largely out of personal and peer experiences mostly in the rural and urban areas of Uganda. Such youth have experienced untold violations of rights, have been subjected to marginalization, stereo typing, and negative attitudes by communities and the very families from which they were born and raised. This has led to lack of education or poor quality education to YWDs, the resultant unemployment and permanent life frustrations leading to poverty situations, risky behavior leading to HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and street begging among others.
The situation worsens when it comes to YWDs in war torn areas especially the Northern and some Western parts of the country. Many of them are new with disability as they were disabled by the war and its effect. They are looked at as outcasts in society and have no means of habilitation and rehabilitation under the guidance of professionals. Many of them have lost the chance to get education due to long distance, inaccessibility of schools and the general lack of interest by parents and guardians.
Despite existence of many other DPOs, handling issues of PWDs, the youth have not been effectively streamlined, and thus the need to have a specialized organization in the form of AYDU, to handle their specialized and unique challenges among the marginalized PWDs. Such neglect forgets the fact that YWDs too are significant assets and thus contribute to the sustainable development, peace, democratic administration and good governance in the country. Some YWDs who have benefited from affirmative action have clearly manifested that given an opportunity YWDs can become very productive and greatly contribute to the development of the country.
The organisation is currently looking for funds from friends like and well wishers like you to support its operations in advancing the rights of youth with disabilities in Uganda. We therefore request for any support from AJF.
We hope our request shall meet your kind consideration.
Ag. Executive Director
Methodist bishop defends construction of ramps in churches
4/16/09 3:40 PM
Luanda, - The bishop of the United Methodist Church, Gaspar Joao Domingos, defended in Luanda the need for religious institutions to build ramps to ease the access of disabled people to churches.
In an interview to ANGOP meant to analyse the conditions of the access of disabled persons to churches, the Methodist entity stated that various religious institutions built in the colonial era have no ramps, but recognised that now this is an aspect to be taken into consideration for the inclusion of the handicapped.
On the other hand, Gaspar Joao Domingos added that religious leaders should pay attention to the access of the disabled in the entrance of temples, which they might build and rehabilitate.
According to him, the society needs have the culture of including ramps in future construction projects, not only in religious facilities, but also in public and private institutions for the circulation of handicapped persons, since the country has a large number of people in these conditions.
He affirmed that future religious institutions of the Methodist Church will always have ramps, having stressed that this is already visible in the Icolo e Bengo church, which was inaugurated this year.
Bishop Gaspar Domingos added that access for disabled people was also taken into account whilst building the Methodist University of Angola.
The Methodist leader is of the opinion that churches should adopt a new philosophy and culture, by using technologies for a greater adherence of people with visual and listening deficiencies in religious ceremonies.
Children with disabilities need affirmative action
Thursday, 16th April, 2009
By Hamad Lubwama
In March, I visited a number of schools in Hoima, Kapchorwa and Nebbi districts. The purpose was to assess how far children with physical disabilities can access schools and facilities in these schools.
My findings were unsatisfactory, but I am not going on the details in this article. What unconsciously impressed me though was that all the head teachers I talked to were aware and admitted putting into practice the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) policy of giving priority to Children with Disabilities (CWDs) by admitting them first. Quite impressive on paper, isn’t it?
Justine Mwesigye, the head teacher of St. Bernadette’s Model School, Hoima, said she admitted a child with a disability past the middle of the term. Her school is a model and all inclusive school with facilities to teach blind, deaf and children with physical disabilities.
The school has 24 children with hearing difficulties, six with visual impairments and only two with mild physical disabilities.
The school also admits ‘normal’ children. This statistics raised my concern about why there are very few children with physical disabilities in this school.
According to UN statistics, children with physical disabilities comprise 60% of the total number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in any given population. So I expected the number of children with movement limitations to even more than double the number of their blind and deaf peers.
Many other head teachers said they admit which ever child is brought to them regardless of the kind of their disabilities, but they were all ignorant about the actual cause of poor enrolment of the biggest category of CWDs.
It is in Kapchorwa district where I found a convincing answer. “Lack of assistive devices to aid them (children with movement problems) to move leaves many at home while others go to school,” Freddy Chelimo, head teacher of Kapchorwa Demonstration School, a school for children with disabilities, told me. His school being a school for CWDs makes his answer very authentic since he normally interacts with these children and their parents.
Children and adults with physical disabilities need assistive devices like wheel chairs, tri-cycles, calipers, clutches, and artificial legs to move. These devices are very expensive to a parent who many times cannot even afford lunch of sh500 for his child at school or even a book for sh200.
The cost of a wheel chair made to suit Uganda’s physical environment at Katalemwa Cheshire Home (NGO that cares for CWDs) is sh500,000. The cheapest is at Mulago Orthopedic Workshop where the cost of wheelchairs range from sh150,000 to sh450,000).
The cheaper wheelchairs like those at Mulago are just imported and not ideal for our environment, not durable and not foldable. An artificial leg costs more than sh500,000 and more than a million shillings for an artificial hand.
The cost of a pair of calipers is about sh300,000. Disability is expensive, considering the fact that some of CWDs stay on medication for a life time to control their disabilities. Because parents of CWDs cannot afford the costs of walking aids, their children stay and get confined in homes. Those who can, crawl up to school - but because of difficulties associated with crawling, coupled with discrimination and stigmatisation, the children end up dropping out of schools. This could be one of the fertile causes of high drop out rates in UPE schools that is puzzling the Government.
CWDs need more affirmative action on addition to a policy of just giving them priority in admitting them to schools.
The Government and local authorities should give them assistive devices to aid them in movement, hearing and seeing. The deaf, for example, need hearing aids, the blind need white canes. These aids are so expensive that parents alone cannot afford, and without them, their children can hardly go to school.
CWDs face many hardships in studying, for example, getting late to class because of movement limitations, hearing and visual difficulties. These limitations of course affect their class performance.
Nontheless, many head teachers reported that often times some CWDs perform better that their able-bodied peers. But still, when it comes to enrolment in S.1, S.4 and tertiary institutions, CWDs could be given additional points to enable them make it to good or ‘first world’ schools.
Schools should also be equipped with special teaching facilities more especially braille for the blind and sign language interpreters for deaf students. Special needs teachers should also be available in every school.
So for children with disabilities to study and grow into productive citizens, they should be helped financially to acquire assistive devices, make schools accessible, equip schools with special teaching facilities for CWDs and post special needs teacher(s) to every school. Education goes beyond just admitting children to schools.
The writer is the information officer, Uganda National Action on Physical Disability
Infrastructures should consider physically disabled persons
4/18/09 2:07 PM
Luanda - The Angolan architect, Emanuel Eluyeki, said Friday in Luanda that the new public and private infrastructures should always take into the locomotion needs of physically disabled persons.
Emanuel Eluyeki said so to Angop while speaking on the access of disabled persons to public and private institutions, emphasising the importance of ramps in schools, hospitals, banks, hotels and religious institutions.
According to him, the construction companies should break those architectonic barriers, by including in their projects ramps for disabled people.
For the already existing buildings, the architect noted that it is possible to build new passages, without necessarily changing their features.
Sign Language Dictionary
Our main project, in partnership with VSO, focuses on developing the first ever dictionary of Amarenga y'Ikinyarwanda (AKR). We are currently conducting research across the country, recording regional variations on signs using video and photographic data. Once we have collected these signs, a committee of Deaf people from across the country will discuss which signs to include in the dictionary. We hope that this dictionary will help to encourage hearing learners, train interpreters and increase access to education and health services for signers. It will also help to promote AKR as a language in its own right. For more information on this project, please contact the Project Co-ordinator SEMAJAMBI Leon or our VSO sign language researcher, Marion Woolley.
UCC blind students win fun games
Sports News | Mon, 20 Apr 2009
President of the Ghana Association of the Blind Youth's wing of University of Cape Coast, (UCC) Ms Regina Zilevu, on Saturday appealed to university authorities to include impaired students in the main University (GUNSA) games by next year.
Ms Zilevu who made the appeal in Cape Coast also asked the government and other corporate institutions to assist the Association to acquire appropriate sporting equipment to promote sports for the visually impaired for the start of its national league.
In a welcoming address at the maiden edition of the Inter-University Games for the visually impaired at the UCC sports grounds, Ms Zilevu said that the purpose of the Games was to raise awareness of the capabilities of persons with disabilities.
It was also to help discover new potentials in disabled persons and have their challenges particularly in sports and recreational activities addressed by the general public, while providing the opportunity for members of the Association to compete among themselves.
Students from the University of Ghana (UG) and UCC participated in the Games.
Ms Zilevu said it was the Association's belief that sports could improve their physical and mental health and help build their confidence, adding that it was in that regard that the games was instituted to give members the opportunity to participate in various sporting events at various levels.
The President said arrangement was far advanced for members of the Association to compete with their fellow sighted people in some sporting discipline including soccer and athletics.
In an opening match, University of Ghana beat UCC 1-0 on penalties in soccer while UCC also came first in the 80 metre race when they gathered four points followed by University of Ghana with three points.
UCC also came first in the girls division with two points while University of Ghana followed with no point.
Dr Kojo Asamoah, Chairman of Sports Recreation Committee of UCC who presided said the objective of the Games was to draw the attention of the public of the capability of the impaired to engage in sporting activities as well as contribute their quota to nation building.
Disability Council was NPP brainchild - Nana Akomea
Politics | Tue, 21 Apr 2009
Former Manpower and Employment Minister, Nana Akomea, has accused the Mills administration of unjustifiably claiming credit for the inauguration of the Governing Board for the Persons with Disability Council.
Mr. Akomea said there was a Board put together by the Kufuor administration but was never inaugurated.
That Board had Prof Emmanuel Gyimah Boadi as Chairman.
The new Board inaugurated by the Mills administration has a different person as Chairman.
Nana Akomea was speaking at a symposium on President John Mills's first 100 days in office.
It was organized by the Danquah Institute, a think tank with sympathies for the Danquah-Busia tradition, forebears of the main opposition NPP.
“All that the president did was to reconstitute and inaugurate the governing board of the persons with disability act. The removal of Prof Gyimah Boadi and his colleagues is quiet unfortunate. Prof. Boadi was selected as Chairman of the governing board of the persons with disability, not only because of his own condition as a person with disability but for also the dedicated work that he had done in advancing the cause of people with disability,” he said.
According to him, Prof. Gyimah's 'high credibility would have been a definite asset to the council in promoting the issues of disability both locally and internationally.'
The former Manpower and Employment Minister, went on to state that the decision to remove Mr. Gyimah from that position could only be translated as another example of victimization of people who were selected to serve their nation under the former regime regard less of their competence or credibility.
Mr. Akomea also criticized the Mills administration as not-so-lean as it would want Ghanaians to believe.
He said the review of the petroleum and airport tax does not meet the promise to review various taxes regimes within the first 100 days.
He said the security situation in the country has not improved vastly as promised by the NDC manifesto and catalogued circumstances during the transition process to make his point.
“We talking about harassment, former ministers whose homes were invaded by operatives of national security looking for cars. We talking about businessmen being harassed, the NPP businessman, I don't know who he or she is but he's probably the most vilified person in this country. I understand he is the reason why the cedi is in its current state and he or she is getting the inflation to go up as it is doing,” he said.
“When we talk about political persecution, when due process has been followed and the person is going through due process, when does it become political persecution? Because the person has held political office, if that is the case, let's wait and see what will happen in the next few months,” he said.
He stated that in the immediate aftermath of the inauguration, the budget of the Ministry of the interior was reduced by nine per cent.
According to him, the sentiments of P.V Obeng and J.J Rawlings quiet sums of the first 100 days of the NDC.
“And indeed when you get to the streets of Accra one of the most popular cash phrases is that 'ofee dull', and then if you move to the streets and you went into the markets and the women have their head in their palms, they tell you that they are on the telephone to Mills,” he said.
Uganda: Watch the Deaf Children Sparkle
23 April 2009
Kampala - PIETY is a virtue best brought out at the sight of a hapless human being. Picture deaf children in photo exhibitions, art, music, dance and drama. A slice of these is free to the public starting Tuesday, April 28-29.
The Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda has organised a photo exhibition at the Uganda Manufacturers' Association Main Hall in Lugogo.
It will be unique, given that the photographic talents of Steven Wandera Ojumbo will be wheeling the cog mills. The exhibition is part of an awareness campaign on the plight of the deaf children.
Under the theme, "Silent Voices with Colourful Hearts", Wandera says the exhibition will depict deaf children's everyday life - how they communicate, play, eat, study and share among others.
It will combine fashion and music and famous designer Santa Anzo of Arapapa models will also showcase her designs.
Angela Katatumba and Maurice Kiirya will perform in support of the deaf child at the closing dinner of the exhibition at Kampala Serena Hotel on April 30.
Photos will also be auctioned. Bank of Uganda Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, is expected to be the chief guest.
The organisers say they want to mould "self-reliant deaf/deaf-blind" learners.
The dinner costs sh80,000.
The proceeds will go towards the construction of a vocational centre for the deaf.
It will offer skills in ICT, tailoring, interior design, fashion design and hairdressing.
Nigeria: Plateau Launches Education Fund for Handicapped Children
24 April 2009
The Plateau State government has launched a special education fund for handicapped children. Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, Chairperson, Plateau State Universal Basic Education Board, told newsmen yesterday in Jos that the fund would carter for the provision of instructional materials and learning aids for children with disabilities.
She said already, special classrooms to meet the learning needs of the students had been constructed in Jos North, Jos South and Shendam Local Government Areas. Ochekpe said other local government areas in the state would benefit from the fund under the second phase of the programme. She cautioned parents in some local government areas who were depriving their daughters of their education rights to desist from such act, stressing that girls should be given equal educational opportunities like boys.
"Currently, we have a 50-50 enrollment ratio between boys and girls, but in a few local government areas, cases abound of parents depriving their daughters the opportunity to go to school," she added. She said although some girls dropped out of school due to social problems.
Deaf pupils blame markers for poor results
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 April 2009, 15:40 GMT
image: The deaf pupils write the same examinations with their hearing colleagues
Deaf pupils in the Central Region have blamed their abysmal performance at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) on markers of their examination scripts.
They say markers of their examination papers are teachers of hearing students and so it is likely that they do not fully understand them as deaf students, who use the sign language.
They have therefore called on the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to get teachers from deaf schools to mark their BECE papers.
They noted that often teachers who taught hearing pupils were made to mark their final examination papers and said this was one reason for the high numbers of failures in deaf schools.
They contended that it was very likely that teachers of hearing pupils would find problems understanding them.
"We use the sign language and sometimes strictly marking the papers does not help us," said one of them.
Deaf pupils use 11 years for their basic education but use the same syllabus and write the examinations with their hearing colleagues, except that they are given extra one hour for an examination paper.
The two deaf schools in the Central Region, a region noted as the citadel of education, are the Cape Coast School for the Deaf (Cape Deaf) and the Swedru School for the Deaf, have not performed so well in the BECE.
In the last BECE, for instance, both schools recorded zero per cent in the BECE, meaning that no student had aggregate 30, the pass grade.
Jessica Nortey, a JHS three pupil of Cape Deaf, signed through a teacher and urged the government to work to provide them with adequate learning materials, enough teachers and space and will see the wonders they would perform.
The Assistant Headmistress of the school, Mrs Grace Holdbrook, said the school needed extra classrooms to ensure effective teaching and learning.
She noted that the 378 pupils needed extra attention and ideally, every five pupils should have a teacher assigned to them.
However, she said the smallest class size is about 20 pupils, with some as large as 30 or more, adding that this was not the best.
Mr Kweku Nkrumah, a teacher of the Swedru School for the Deaf, said conditions in the school were poor.
He said because the school had no boarding facilities children travelled long distances to the school, which makes them too tired to learn.
He said a three-unit classroom served the whole basic school; from class one to JHS three, stressing that the situation did not promote any effective academic work.
Source: The Mirror
Zambia: Hindu Samaj Wins Praise
27 April 2009
NDOLA Cheshire Home has commended the Hindu Samaj and other religious groups for their commitment to uplifting the plight of the disabled and less privileged people who have been affected by the global economic recession.
Cheshire Home management committee chairperson Rosemary Quaye appealed to business houses and religious groups to continue caring for the disabled and less privileged in society.
She made the appeal on Saturday night when the Ndola Hindu community donated foodstuffs, mosquito nets and bedding worth K4 million to the Ndola Cheshire Home for Disabled Girls.
And Ndola Hindu Samaj chairman Raju Desai said his organisation had teamed up with the Bhakta family, the ex-owners of Merco Limited, in ensuring that Cheshire Home and the Mitanda Home for the Aged receive material support annually over the past three years.
Both Cheshire Home and Mitanda Home for the Aged received foodstuffs, mosquito nests and bedding worth K8 million from the Ndola Hindu Samaj.
Ndola Cheshire Home has 22 inmates.
Persons with neurobiological disorders need special facilities - Medic
April 27, 2009
Accra, GNA - Dr Ebenezer Vincent Badoe, Director of Neurology Development Clinic, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has advised government to set up special pre-schools, classrooms and job facilities to suit persons with any neurobiological disorder like autism.
He said a plan needed to be initiated to encourage early treatment of autistic children which would facilitate a faster speech and language development of the child to make life easier for both parents and diagnosed children.
Dr Badoe said this at a seminar on Autism in Accra on Saturday under the theme: "Bridging the Gap - Stand up for Autism". It was organized by Awaawaa2, a centre for children with communication disorders, as part of World Autism Month celebration.
He tasked parents to assess their children's communication and language response for early intervention if they were diagnosed with autism.
Autism is a condition or neurodevelopment disorder which impacts on the whole communication system of a person by experiencing among others, a language delay or disorder and difficulties with understanding languages and rules of communication.
Dr Badoe said even though there was no official prevalence rate in Ghana, there were 67 recorded cases of autism over a period of four years at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and it was overwhelmingly common in males than in females in the ratio of 5:1.
He said there were many diseases similar to autism, hence the need for in-depth evaluation to attain the real diagnoses for a reported case.
Dr Badoe added that there were no specific causes of autism but evidence suggested biological causes including genetic factors, viral infections and birth and pregnancy complications.
Mr Andrew Okaikoi, National Executive Chairman of the Disability Council of Ghana, who chaired the function, said there was a promising future for persons with disability and autism since the newly inaugurated Disability Council was working hard to create an opportunity for the impaired to be empowered.
He said about two million Ghanaians were physically impaired and the Council had organized a programme to address the negative perceptions people had of them and urged the public to serve as ambassadors of persons with any impairment by helping them with their needs.
Botswana: Mmipi is Miss VIP Deaf
28 April 2009
It could just have been like any other beauty pageant. The beautiful contestants were parading in stunning evening wear and waltzing to some breathtaking background music.
The only difference about the Miss VIP Deaf pageant was that the contestants were hearing impaired. But to the amazement of the guests, the fact that the contestants were hearing impaired could not deter them from showing off their deft dancing skills. As if they could hear the music, the contestants were in tune with the rhythm. Not a single one of them took a wrong step.
This led to some people wondering whether the contestants were really hearing impaired. Indeed, the contestants were hearing impaired but the organisers had taken them through rehearsals and showed them how to dance.
Neo Mmipi was declared the queen while Kefhile Tshireletso was named the first princess and Albertina Kanguaatenge the second princess. Speaking through a sign language interpreter, Mmipi said she was delighted to win the pageant. She was overwhelmed by the occasion because she is a veteran of beauty pageants. Mmipi had also tried her hand in modelling. She was once entered a modelling competition. She would like to compete in the Miss Botswana pageant one day. That is her ultimate dream as far as beauty pageants are concerned. Mmipi who is staying in Mmopane, is currently unemployed.
As Miss VIP Deaf, Mmipi intends to become an ambassador of people who are hearing impaired and to represent their interests. It did not come as a surprise that Mmipi walked away with the crown because she was the people's choice. There could have been a riot if the judges had selected somebody else. When it was announced that she was the queen, the hall erupted in applause.
Although Mmipi was declared the queen, all the contestants were winners in their own right.One the organisers, Monicah Malejane of Davilla Investments, confirmed that all went well despite starting late.
But she said they had to do things slowly so that the contestants could be able to cope. She said they intend to stage the pageant next year. The mild mannered Malejane said there would be a prize giving ceremony at which the prizes would be announced.
The Miss VIP Deaf pageant, which was held at the Ditshupo Hall on Friday, was quite successful. This was an event that needs the support of the corporate sector not the hastily organised beauty pageants whose main target is to make a quick buck.One of the touching moments was when the contestants paraded in wedding gowns and staged a mock wedding with their partners, who were also hearing impaired. But the contestants still had more in store for everyone. They later had the guests eating from the palm of their hands. The contestants proved that they are talented like everyone else when they are given a chance. They also showed that they are lovely people and could have fun just like other people. The night belonged to the hearing impaired people as they stole the show.The event was spiced with performances by various local artists, including last year's Pop Star winner, Tebogo Tlhagadikgora.
Local songbird, Veronica Brooks who is known by her stage name, Vebrok, took the contestants through their paces as she led them to the stage. Vebrok staged a memorable performance and the contestants danced to her music. She really becomes emotional when she performs How can I kill Someone That I love?Another local group that performed was Wizards of the Desert, which rocked the crowd during their brief appearance. Officiating at the pageant, the public relations officer for Vision 2016 secretariat, Charity Kgotlafela paid tribute to the organisers for realising that beauty pageants were not extended to the disadvantaged members of the society.
They identified the missing link and saw the need to bring them on board through beauty pageants. Kgotlafela said the beauty queen would be an ambassador for people who are hearing impaired in the country. She said the Miss VIP Deaf would be a constant reminder to the nation of their existence, their capabilities as well as their significance in the society at large."I would like to urge all of you to identify and create opportunities to empower this young woman who will in turn empower others like her to create more awareness about the needs and challenges of deaf members of our society. It is very appropriate that we hold events such as this one because they provide us with the opportunity to, among, others, reflect upon their significance and indeed, the vision itself," Kgotlafela said.
"To fulfill the pillar of a compassionate, just and caring nation, we need to continue to support the needy and physically challenged members of our society. Your contribution goes a long way in assisting these members of our society to retain their dignity."
Kgotlafela urged Batswana to make deliberate efforts to eradicate negative social attitudes towards people with disabilities and free them from all forms of discrimination and abuse. She said this would enable Batswana to achieve the envisaged moral and tolerant nation by 2016.Some of the major sponsors of the pageant were renowned fashion designers Angel, Bothakga Burrow, Thorium, Mapulaneh Group, Savuti Security Services, Loads of Living. Other sponsors included Incredible Connection, The Barber Shop, Mystica Hair Salon, Be Still Hospitality, Moretwana Fitness, Vefab Beauty Palour, Iteko Supermarket, Micca, Polished Oak, Yarona Fm, Mmegi and Sunday Standard.
Gambia: Police Arrest Beggars in Banjul
28 April 2009
The Police on Friday, 17 April, 2009, between the hours of 08:00 to 09:00, have been going round the streets of Banjul and arresting disable beggars.
According to one arrestee, Ndella Mboob, they are tired of the constant harassment and discrimination from the Police. She said that she was at the street with some of her colleagues when they were approached by some Police officers who told them that the country is now developed and therefore has no room for begging and that they (Beggars) must stop the practice. She said that the Police even told them that they (Beggars) are non-Gambians.
Madam Mboob, who is also married to a fellow visually impaired husband and with four children, said she has no other means of eking out a living other than begging in the streets. She said that if an alternative means of earning an income is available, she would without doubt abandon the practice of begging.
Also talking to this reporter was another arrested victim, Bassam Lowe, who said they were picked up by the Police and taken to the Police headquarters in Banjul. She also indicated that she has five children to take care-off and have no other means of eking out a living other than begging. Katim Lowe and Jakarry Jallow, also victims of arrest, both said the similar stories.
Talking to this reporter at the Police headquarters, the president of the Gambia Federation of the Disables (GFD), Mr Muhammadou Korah, said the beggars are human beings with families and social responsibilities. He said the visually impaired persons must eat and support their children's development; that it is not the wish of his organization or individuals who are visually impaired to be always on the streets begging, but that they have no way out.
He said both the Gambia Organization of the Visually Impaired (GOVI) and Gambia Association of the Physically Disabled (GAPD) are involved in small scale businesses for their members and that, gradually, the practice of begging by visually impaired persons would be a thing of the past. Mr Korah finally appealed to the authorities to review their current policy on the visually impaired beggars and work with the disabled organizations, who will in turn sensitise their members.
However, this reporter was reliably informed that all the arrestees where granted bail on the same day Friday, 17 April.
15 Deaf Vocational Students Pass Out
By Times Reporter, Ho
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Fifteen students of the vocational department of the Volta School for the Deaf, who excelled in the maiden National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) Proficiency Grade Two examination in 2008, have been presented with their certificates.
Mr. Cudjoe D.S. Dzotepeh, headmaster of the school called on stakeholders to modernise the format and content of vocational programmes and make training more demand-driven for the special schools.
He lauded the Special Education Division’s new reforms of placing equal emphasis on academic education on one hand and technical and vocational programmes on the other, for the disabled in the schools, to make them more productive and employable.
Mr. Dzotepeh noted that Junior and Senior High school graduates in special schools, before the reform, were left to their fate especially, in their vocational future education, as many, could not continue with the academic programmes, resulting in streetism and begging for alms and other negative activities.
He said the new programme is designed to enrol hearing impaired students who are unable to proceed to senior high school.
"It is expected that the one year general vocational programme which preceded a two-year specialised programme, this would enable the teachers and pupils to identify their interests and needs for proper placement," he said.
Mr. Dzotepeh said programmes offered include dressmaking, tailoring, carpentry, kente weaving, batik tie and dye, leading to the award of NVTI certificate Grades Two and One respectively.
The teaching process for the vocational programme include English Language, basic mathematics, social studies, personal hygiene, information communication technology , theoretical subjects, practical teaching and apprenticeship.
The headmaster said about 70 per cent of the training would be allocated to practical activities at the workshop to facilitate skills acquisition and products becoming self-reliant to contribute to national development.
Mr. Dzotepeh, however advised parents to liaise with the school to look for service providers in the communities where students are expected to undertake industrial attachment during vacation.
He said successful candidates would be registered for the NVTI grade one examination after performance monitoring and evaluation.
Make buildings user-friendly for everyone
Written by Laila Macharia
April 30, 2009: Did you know that the previous census estimated that about 10 per cent of Kenyans have one or another physical disability?
At our current population this would total almost 4 million people.
As life expectancy rises and modern medicine has increased the survival rate of those with significant injuries, illnesses and birth defects, the numbers of people qualifying as permanently disabled will continue to increase.
Also, many able-bodied people will end up being temporarily disabled as some point in their lives.
This is a large group of people and Kenya will benefit from investing in policies that ensure that they are self-sufficient.
Disability access makes good business sense because it increases the pool of talent available for employment, reduces the ratio of dependent people in the economy and increases the market for goods and services.
On the real estate side, the universal design movement incorporates features that make buildings as user-friendly as possible for everyone ? young, old, frail, active.
>From the layout of the rooms to the colours employed, much thought and strategy go into the creation of accessible spaces.
In the area of mobility, building designers take into consideration that not everyone can move easily and quickly and that some people fatigue easily.
They also consider people on wheels (wheelchairs).
This means that buildings incorporate wide interior doors and hallways, ramps and lifts supplementing every staircase and low sinks, medicine cabinets and service counters.
Along ramps and in washrooms, handrails for support are the rule. Outside the building itself, safety for wheelchair users also requires smooth ground surfaces so uneven pavements and other floor surfaces that could pose slipping and tripping hazards are rectified.
While curb cuts were originally designed to enable those in wheelchairs to negotiate intersections, they also ease travel for people pushing strollers or riding skateboards, pedestrians with canes, and even the average walker.
But wheelchair access is not the only element of access. Design of fixtures can also make a big difference.
Examples are lever handles for opening doors rather than twisting knobs, light switches with large flat panels rather than small toggle switches and touch-screen buttons.
There are also enhancements for the blind and deaf, such as voice-activated access, sign language bulletins and signage in braille.
In more advanced economies, old buildings and infrastructural facilities like subway stations are old, built before progressive thinking on disability issues.
These buildings are often expensive to retrofit for disability access.
But in Kenya, most of our development is yet to be come. We should take this opportunity to incorporate universal design principles from the outset.
Dr. Macharia is principal at Scion Real
Disabled people need fair treatment
Thursday, 30th April, 2009
Since the cabinet reshuffle by the President, there have been continuous discussions in Parliament and the press on the appointment of Margaret Mbeiza as the state minister for economic monitoring.
The parliamentary appointments committee rejected her appointment claiming that she is mentally ill.
Similarly, MP Okello Okello on the floor of Parliament raised concern over the physical condition of the President and his capacity to execute his duties because of the bandage on his finger and greeting people using his left hand.
In this article, I concentrate on Mbeiza’s case and that of the President. The Constitution, in Article 80 (2a), states that a person is not qualified for election as an MP if that person is of “unsound mind.” Article 84 (2a) states that an MPs may be recalled from that office on grounds of physical or mental incapacity rendering that member incapable of performing the functions of that office.
The same principle applies to the office of the President, ministers and other positions. A number of questions need to be asked; how and who determines that the person in question is of unsound mind?
If a person was mentally ill and recovered, does it mean he continues to be of unsound mind? Could it be that these articles are misinterpreted to disfavour some people?
On the appointment of ministers, I thought the President analyses the history, credibility and performance of an individual before he appoints them. If it is the case, how then did the President appoint her? Could it be the reason people with disabilities are not appointed ministers, resident district commissioners and ambassadors?
With no clear definition of physical or mental incapacity in the Constitution, people with disabilities will continue to be denied opportunities. Many of them are denied jobs on the premise that they are incapable because of their disabilities. This demonstrates lack of sensitivity and respect for disables people.
We need an interpretation of these articles in the Constitution and how they are applied. The Government and MPs should champion this cause.
The writer is an activist for people living with disabilities
Malawi’s Deaf Push for More People to Learn Sign Language
By Lameck Masina
01 May 2009
Deaf people in Malawi are working to increase the number of sign language interpreters. There are only eleven of them in Malawi ? not nearly enough to meet the needs of the country’s 50,000 hearing-impaired people. Juliana Mwase is the chairperson for the Malawi National Association of the Deaf (MANAD). Speaking through interpreter Bettie Wisiki, Mwase says interpreters are essential at churches and at locations of public services, like hospitals, markets, schools, police offices, courts, and banks.
“There is a lot of information which is being given to the general public on HIV and AIDS or any other health-related issues.,” she says.
“[But] many deaf people [cannot] access information. For instance, a deaf person may be interested in going for Voluntary Counseling Testing (VCT). That person cannot communicate with the medical personnel. And how can the medical personnel counsel that person if he or she is not conversant with sign language,” she asks.
Mwase says the education sector is also lacking interpreters, "As of now many countries in the world are advocating for education for all (EFA) goals by 2015 and even Malawi [is] saying by 2015 education should be for everyone, including the deaf. But if deaf people are failing to access what people are saying in class, how can they achieve EFA goals in Malawi?” she says.
To solve the problem, Mwase says the Malawi National Association of the Deaf is running a two-year training program in sign language based on English and the local language, Chichewa. The Scottish NGO, Deaf Action, is funding the effort.
She says the 20 participants include doctors, teachers, church pastors, businessmen and other individuals from different places where the deaf go for basic services. Upon completion, the number of interpreters will increase to 31, which Mwase says is still far too small. More may be trained, depending on the availability of donor support.
Zambia: Helping Turn Disability Into Ability
5 May 2009
IN olden days, disability was perceived by society as either God's punishment to individuals who did not obey His commandments or a consequence of someone's evil deeds that have manifested themselves.
Persons with disabilities were considered unholy and were excluded from able-bodied persons so as to avoid contact because it was believed that such a persons could infect others.
In some extreme instances, a person with disabilities was ordered to always give a signal that there was unclean person to an on-coming able-bodied by shouting, "unclean, unclean".
Today, although the myths and misconceptions surrounding disability have continued to exist in some sectors of the Zambian society, the modern world has generally seen a drastic change of attitude towards people with disabilities.
Various awareness fora, conventions and policies at local and international level have been held and formulated to demystify the negative perception of the disabled but most importantly to protect their interests as well as to propagate that disabled have as much equal opportunities as able-bodied persons.
To demonstrate this equality, the Government has included a chapter on disability in the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP).
The Government's concern for people with disabilities has further been authenticated by the inclusion of disability components in a number of policy documents such as the national employment and labour market and the national youth policies.
Suffice to mention though, that the Government is yet to formulate a policy that is specifically aimed at addressing issues concerning the disabled persons.
Notwithstanding the interventions by different institutions to address disability issues, people with disabilities have continued to be marginalised in many aspects.
Presenting the report at the recently held stakeholders consultative workshop, ZAPD management consultant Stephen Mwamba said more than 80 per cent of people with disabilities are self-employed while the least of the population are employers.
Mr Mwamba said among all categories of disabilities, the largest proportion of household heads is self-employed while only 0.5 are employers.
"The most common occupation among the people with disabilities is agriculture at over 80 per cent while other occupations are sales at 5.1 per cent, production and transport at 6.2 and profession and technical at four per cent," he said.
With the country's relatively weaker social welfare, these existing gaps and inadequacies have subjected people with disabilities to escalating levels of poverty, street begging and high illiteracy levels.
Since last year, various stakeholders have asked the Government to ratify the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in order to easily articulate the rights of disabled people.
The convention, which came into force in May 2008, recognises persons with disabilities as subjects of human rights, active in decision-making that affect their normal lives and adequately empower them to claim their rights.
Zambia signed the UN-CRPD convention last year but the country is yet to ratify the treaty. Once that is done the country would be obliged to promote the full realisation of all civil, cultural, economical, political and social rights of people with disabilities.
The disabled persons believe that the delay by the Government to ratify the convention was hampering their dreams of having a clear policy on disability in Zambia.
Without specific policy on disability, the Government seems to have found it hard to effectively enhance the quality provisions of service delivery to people with disabilities.
The ZAPD, a legally constituted body to help people with disabilities on behalf of the Government seems to be disabled too both in finance and human resource, as it has failed to sufficiently fulfill its mandate.
Despite receiving a monthly grant of K400 million, the institution has failed to operate to the expectations of not only the Government but also its affiliates and individual disabled people.
Community Development and Social Services Deputy Minister Friday Malwa highlighted the concerns by ZAPD the failure by the institution to stand on its own despite having several sources of income.
At the recent ZAPD stakeholders consultative workshop Mr Malwa attributed the failure to perform by the institution to mismanagement of resources, which had forced the Government to sanction auditing of the institution. The process is currently on but Mr Malwa was unhappy with the revealing so far.
"A lot of issues have been revealed where people employ their unqualified relatives at the expense of right people.
"Not only that, it has been revealed that there are situations where people have been putting in their pocket the money which is supposed to go towards issues affecting people with disabilities," he said.
The workshop attracted more than 150 participants drawn from all parts of the country from Mbala in Northern province to Lundazi in the Eastern.
The deputy minister said the Government through ZAPD had seen the need for improvement of planning, budgeting and monitoring capacity to enhance service delivery to disabled people.
He said the Government alone could not achieve the intended objectives of the convention in the provision of service without consented efforts from all stakeholders.
ZAPD director general Charles Mwape said that there has still been discrimination against people with disabilities in labour and social environment.
Dr Mwape said the protection from discrimination against disabled persons in employment must be done away with for persons with disabilities to be involved in national development.
The director general said ZAPD had the mandate to ensure that terms of employment, recruiting process and conditions of service was not discriminatory against disabled persons.
Faith, belief and hope was evident among the participants, as most of them could not hide their delight at the Government's assurance on issues affecting people with disabilities.
"Personally, am sure the Government is doing its best and we hope this will continue to ensure that more disabled people are assisted and take part in national development," one of the participants Francisca Muyenga said.
Ms Muyenga who is also executive director for the Zambia National Association of Disabled Women said there was need to develop a culture of paying back when disabled persons access loans.
Mr Mutale who is the president of the Zambia Rehabilitation Service of the Blind also noted that ZAPD had for the first time come up with a comprehensive report that could change the lives of the disabled people if well implemented.
Margaret Kasonde from Mbala sai that time has come for people with disabilities to be included in decision making on policy matters of the Government.
If the Government's assurance on matters affecting the disabled persons induced some hope, then the onus is on ZAPD to make a mark with the K400 million monthly grant from the Government.
As the country implements the FNDP which has included the disability chapter, it will be helpful for ZAPD to guide its affiliates how they can rightly claim their right positions during the process.
The olden days are gone. And so are their myths and misconceptions about disability. Disability is no longer a taboo, neither is it a punishment from God because everyone has potential to become disabled.
As the Government weighs up on whether or not to ratify the CPRD accord, relevant stakeholders need to continue with programmes aimed at assisting people with disabilities.
Blind group praises Zuma
11/05/2009 18:05 - (SA)
Johannesburg - The SA National Council for the Blind lauded President Jacob Zuma on Monday for appointing the country's first visually impaired female Cabinet member - Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu as deputy public works minister.
"In the announcement of the President's new Cabinet, this notion of all South Africans working together was given substance by the inclusion of a visually impaired female Cabinet member - who brings hope to the general disability sector by finally giving it a voice," said spokesperson Stacey Love.
Bogopane-Zulu is partially sighted and described by the council as a motivational speaker, businesswoman and activist within the visually impaired sector.
The council said Zuma's choice showed that he did not think disability signalled inability.
Disabled people can also be productive, says deputy minister
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 12 May 2009
By Neo Semono
Pretoria - Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu says her appointment as Deputy Minister of Public Works is an indication that disabled people can also be productive.
Ms Bogopane-Zulu, who is partially sighted, was sworn-in as a member of President Jacob Zuma's Cabinet during a ceremony at the Presidential Guesthouse on Monday.
She was assisted in taking her oath of office by Justice Kate O'Regan.
"Being appointed as the first disabled Cabinet member gives the sector confirmation that they also matter and that they also have opportunities without barriers," Ms Bogopane-Zulu told BuaNews.
The former businesswoman and motivational speaker said there was much to be done within her department, including creating jobs and building hospitals.
"It's about creating a better South Africa, including for those who live with disabilities. It requires being able to respond at the required speed," said Ms Bogapane-Zulu.
The South African National Council for the Blind has commended Mr Zuma for appointing South Africa's first visually impaired female Cabinet member, saying that it will bring hope to disabled people.
"The South African National Council for the Blind applauds the Presidency's decision in this regard as it shows their belief that disability does not signal inability."
Last month, visually impaired South Africans were able to use a Braille template to cast their ballots in the country's fourth democratic elections. This allowed them to vote without assistance for the first time. - BuaNews
Kenya: State Should Count the Disabled And Plan for Them
12 May 2009
The Minister for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Wycliffe Oparanya has been in news mobilising support for the National Census scheduled for August.
A census is a critical exercise for any country for its results help in targeted planning and appropriate allocation of national resources.
At a recent international disability conference held in the country, three ministries gave different statistics of Kenyans with disabilities. One minister said the country has six million persons with disabilities; the other said 1.5 million while the third said four million. Obviously, this left participants baffled.
"Who is telling the truth about this matter and how come Government has no explicit and coherent position on this important issue?" asked a delegate from South Africa.
This confusion was telling as to the place and state of persons with disabilities in Government circles. If it is ambivalent on the number of its citizen with disability, can it plan for and factor them in national planning and resource allocation?
In the last national census, an attempt was made to count persons with disabilities at the household level.
Due to stigma over disability, some families hide and deny the existence of a person with disability among them, hence household census may still miss out on them. But interestingly the results of the 1999 census did not categorically show the number of persons with disabilities.
When asked to account for this sad state of affairs, officials at the National Bureau of Statistics replied: "The questionnaire on the disabled was not analysed due to lack of resources."
What nonsense! How can a government set out to count its citizens but have no money to analyse the results of a section of its them! Do not forget this happens in the same country where Government handsomely employs researchers to help count snakes, warthogs, monkeys and elephants and knows which ones face extinction.
So, one hopes that as Oparanya complains about the insufficient funds for the census, due to an increase in politically motivated districts, he is adequately preparing enumerators and mobilising enough resources to count those with disabilities, and to meticulously scrutinise issues arising from the exercise.
Kenyans with disabilities will this time round not take kindly any excuses from Government for failure to know how many they are by type of disability, age, sex, services, literacy, poverty levels, training and employment constraints, accessibility, housing and related challenges.
In 2007, a national survey was conducted by Government and sampled 15,000 households. It put the number of Kenyans with disability at 4.6 per cent, about 1.5 million. Considering the small number of households sampled, disabled persons have contested the 1.5m figure. They opine economists and allied planners will see the 1.5m figure as statistically inconsequential and hence likely to be ignored in planning and resources allocation.
The subject of disability statistics and data collection is now emotive and political.
In Afghanistan, a country that has been at war for decades and where yours truly had an opportunity to serve, best illustrates the gravity of the issue.
In 2005, an international NGO, Handicap International, did a national survey and reported that less than 3 per cent of Afghans had various forms of impairment.
That revelation led to countrywide demonstrations by the Afghan disabled led by ex-war combatants. "How can they say that when almost every household in the country has a person with disabilities as a result of the many years of war, land mines, malnutrition, poverty and general poor health?" posed Sami- Ul-haq, their leader.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities clearly articulates this issue in article 31. It requires states parties to the convention, such as Kenya, undertake to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them formulate and implement policies to give effect to this convention.
"The information collected in accordance with this article shall be disaggregated, as appropriate, and used to help assess the implementation of state parties' obligations under the Convention and to identify and address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights".
Once bitten twice shy. Persons with disabilities and their organisations must reflect on the 1999 national census fiasco and remain alert as the country gears up for the next census.
They should not give Government another chance to play games. They must warily watch and interact with every step in this exercise.
They should work in conjunction with media and disability NGOs and groups around the country to broadcast this exercise to its members and ensure they realise its value and hence the need to turn up to be counted.
Donors involved can also help by demanding that Government counts and analyses the questionnaire on this group as conditionality for funding this year's census.
[The writer is a sociologist with a physical disability and is a member of the Kenya National Council for People with Disabilities.]
Masindi men reject kids from disabled mothers
Wednesday, 13th May, 2009
By Justin Moro
OVER 240 children born by disabled mothers in Kiryadongo sub-county, Masindi district have been rejected by their fathers, the LC3 disability councillor, Annet Katusime, has said.
She said the children were not being given any assistance by their fathers who were ashamed of being associated with the children’s mothers.
Katusime was speaking during a function to hand over a furnished low cost house to a blind woman, Edinancy Gabura, recently. The house was built by Kibanda MP Owor Amooti Otada.
“Our MP has shown a good example by not discriminating against the disabled by building this house. Other people would love to do good things to only able-bodied persons,” she said.
“I appeal to parents of disabled children to take them to school,”she added. Katusime also decried discrimination against disabled pregnant mothers at maternity units. She said the mothers were not being attended to during labour and could not climb onto the high delivery beds.
The councillor called upon the Government to improvise convenient delivery beds for disabled pregnant mothers.
The disabled persons’ representative in the district, Godfrey Bagada, called upon political leaders to emulate Otada’s example.
American Government donates sports equipment to develop disabled sports
Accra, May 17, GNA - The Sports Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled at the weekend took delivery of a consignment of sporting equipment to enhance organization of disabled sporting events in the country.
The equipment made up of modern hand bikes, racer bikes and custom made wheelchairs for basketball games and their components worth about 60,000 US dollars were donated by the United States of America Sports Diplomacy Programme to the Society.
Mr Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, President of the Sports Wing of the Society who received the equipment at the Tema Harbour on Saturday said the donation of the equipment followed the support programme of the Sports Diplomacy Unit's effort to help organise the physically disabled to prepare and compete in sporting events. He said the donation of the equipment will be used by the Society to organise regional sporting competitions to select the best talents to form national Men's and Women's teams to compete in international events.
Mr Mohammed said under the bilateral agreement, the Society was able to purchase modern hand bikes and racer bikes for the amputee cycling programme as well custom made basketball wheelchairs equipment manufactured by Eagle Sports Chairs of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The Society is also to organise training workshops and programmes both in Ghana and the USA for its members for the maintenance of the equipment.
Mr Mohammed thanked the Government and people of the United States for their kind gesture and generosity, saying the equipment will go a long way in boosting disability sports development in the country. He added that the donation will go a long way in ensuring that the disabled prepare adequately towards international sporting competitions, since the hand bikes can also be used for road racing and amputee bicycle racing as well as ensure equipping regional training centres for the disabled. Mr Mohammed appealed to co rporate bodies to support Government in investing in disability sports so that their enthusiasm and talents in sporting events can be beneficial for them and stop them from begging on the streets and idling about. He advised the disabled to get actively involved in the Society's activities since there are several advantages to be gained in sports as it has therapeutic benefits that will help reduce their stress and other disabilities.
Mr Mohammed added that engaging in sports will help the disabled to build on their confidence level and make them psychologically and physically independent for them to contribute towards the socio-economic development of the country. He commended the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for facilitating the clearance of the equipment and grateful to Eagle Sports Chairs as well as the MIS, AIT and ACS Shipping Lines for giving the Society a discount for bringing in the sporting equipment. 18 May 09
WHAT IF YOU BECAME DEAF...?
By Euclid Addo
Feature Article | Mon, 18 May 2009
Feature Article : "The Author's/Authors' views do not necessarily reflect those of ModernGhana.
They have mouths, but they speak not... They have ears, but they hear not. (Psalms 115:5-6, King James Bible)
This quotation is in no way referring to whoever cannot hear physically, but come to think of it, do we have people around us, whom this scripture perfectly describes outside the spiritual?
Ray Charles (1930-2004), a famous American pianist and singer, who lost his sight at the age of seven, once said: “I don't know what would have happened to me if I hadn't been able to hear.”
Do the inhabitants of this great country believe in the existence of the physically challenged in our societies? We mock them, exploit them, ignore them in decision-making and the most excruciating of them all, shun them from our company.
I have always loved the disabled, but I had never taught of their plight so deeply until I had an unfortunate encounter with an army officer that almost made me deaf in one ear.
After the encounter, my hearing ability became very shallow; it was as if I had air blowing through my ear consistently. I called on my doctor who after thorough examination informed me that my tympanic membrane had been perforated.
Even with perforation (which is subject to cure overtime), I could not handle, how much more our brethren who through no fault of theirs, find themselves in a perpetual 'no hearing' situation.
What if you wake up one day to find you have developed a disease or obstruction in your outer or inner ear that impedes your hearing? What if you are involved in an accident of any kind and you lose your hearing ability?
The time has come for the physically challenged, particularly the hearing impaired, to be shown a little more care and concern. Let me ask some few questions:
How many of our religious bodies, the churches especially have interpreters for the deaf who may accidentally walk into the church? How many of our tertiary institutions have an avenue created for the deaf? How many of our all-time great companies employ them? How many government officials (appointed or elected), come from within the deaf? How many deaf teachers have been honoured by our country as we speak? What motivation do they enjoy in our developing country? How many programmes on our television networks provide the platform for their participation? (For radio, the earlier we forget about it, the better).
People, what kind of society are we creating? Joy FM may not be of use to the deaf, but myjoyonline.com may be a good source to them. Our popular radio personalities may not be popular to the deaf, but they recognise Frema Ashkar, Gifty Anti, Jackie Appiah, Kwami Sefa-Kayi, and a host of television personalities. Though they do not hear what they say, they know what they represent.
A recent visit to the Demonstration School for the Deaf (DEMODEAF) at Mampong-Akuapem turned out to be one of the saddest days for me to be alive. The school is in a totally deplorable state. One of the best sayings of my Pastor is that, “there is no way your yesterday will be better than your tomorrow,” but Demodeaf of 2000 was better than today.
Most of their facilities are unusable, the environment...
I believe that the most trusted way of updating the deaf on issues presently, is via the internet, but ask if it is available for our dear ones. We keep sending the same resources and facilities to those who hear, see, and talk.
While others need it, we disburse them to those who want it. Is it because they do not have an old students' union, or because none of their products has made it to the top?
What if this same environment under discussion will have to accommodate us in the next week, month, or year? How will we cope? Can we cope with society the way they are doing?
The deaf may not be of concern to you, or to speak in general terms, the physically challenged, but it may happen to you without notice. Let us support the physically challenged (deaf, dumb, blind, lame, etc) and give them a reason to live. The golden rule entreats us to treat others, as we want to be treated. If we do not want the treatment meted out to our brothers to be meted out to us, should we find ourselves in that unfortunate situation, then we have to do the 'right thing.'
I rest my case by borrowing a pragmatic and rather convincing quote from my Spiritual father, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, “... I have come to the conclusion that there are no special people on Earth.”
By: Euclid Addo
Source: Euclid Addo
BGCF to train physically disabled persons in vocational skills
Kumasi, May 19, GNA - Bright Generation Community Foundation (BGCF), a Kumasi based non-governmental organization (NGO), has planned to train about 50 physically challenged in vocational skills, including tie and dye, bread making, hairdressing and dressmaking. This would help them to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country. Ms. Bernice Dapaah, Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, announced these when she donated 10 wheel chairs valued at 1500 Dollars, on behalf of the organization, to 10 members of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled in Kumasi on Tuesday.
The NGO received the donation from the Free Wheel Chair Mission of the United States of America (USA). She said the NGO was committed to assisting the needy in society so that they would feel that they belonged to the society. Mr. Francis Amedor, Ashanti Regional Secretary of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, who received the chairs, thanked the donors for the gesture. He hoped that the donation would enhance the living conditions of the beneficiaries and appealed to philanthropists, Churches and other organizations to come to the aid of the physically disabled persons.
Zimbabwe: ZNDSF Invited for World Deaf Games
19 May 2009
Harare - THE Zimbabwe National Deaf Sports Federation has been invited to the World Deaf Games in Taipei, Taiwan, in September.
The hosts will provide free accommodation for 20 participants while the Zimbabwe delegation has to cater for its travelling expenses.
Last year Zimbabwe was invited to a football qualifying tournament in South Africa but the local team did not make the trip after they failed to get their visas in time.
The ZNDSF is now appealing for help to cover the costs of their trip to Taiwan. The ZNDSF is an organisation that was formed by deaf people in Zimbabwe in 1996 after its representatives attended the general assembly hosted by the Zambia Sports Association of the Deaf.
The organisation is registered with the International Committee for Sports for the Deaf.
Miss VIP Deaf pageant queens receive prizes
The organisers of the Miss VIP Deaf beauty pageant held a prize-giving ceremony on Thursday evening at Maharaja conference centre.
The beauty pageant was held last month. It was the vivacious Neo Mmipi who walked away with the title and on Thursday the contestants were given their prizes.
The Miss VIP Deaf pageant was unique in that it was exclusively for girls with hearing impairment. The organisers felt that the ordinary beauty pageants ignored girls with hearing impairment.
During the Thursday ceremony, there was a prize for everyone who participated in the contest.
Queen Mmipi was given a computer and a printer, a home theatre system, a set of towels and a P200 voucher from Loads of Living. Mmipi will also be entitled to free lunch for five days with her partner at the Be Still hospitality facility at the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).
She will also be entitled to a three-month physical training stint at the Moratwana Fitness Studio. Mmipi will also get manicure and pedicure treatment at the Rose Mystic Hair Salon. There is also a set of jewelry for the queen.
First princess Kefhilwe Tshireletso got a printer, a microwave, a set of towels and a P150 voucher from Loads of Living as well as jewellery and a hand bag.
Tshireletso will also be treated to free lunches at Be Still Hospitality with her partner for three days. She will get her manicure done at Rose Mystic Hair Salon.
Second princess Albertina Kanguatenge received a microwave oven, a side table, a set of towels plus a P100 voucher from Loads of Living.
In addition, she got jewellery and a hand bag from Angelo Fashion Accessories. Like others, she will also be treated for free lunch with her partner for two days at Be Still Hospitality.
The other contestants were each given a mug, a P50 voucher from Loads of Living and jewellery from Angelo Fashion Accessories. Each one of the contestants would be treated to one day free luncheon at Be Still Hospitality as one of the consolation prizes.
The prize-giving ceremony was sponsored by Bothakga Burrow, which also sponsored part of the prizes.
Other sponsors for the prizes were Incredible Connections. The sponsors of the pageant were also awarded with certificates of appreciation.
The six impaired boys, who walked the girls to aisle during the pageant, were each given a month's membership at the Moratwane fitness studio.
Speaking in an interview, one of the organisers of the event, Lizzy Maila of Davila Investments, said they would like to thank everyone who made the pageant a success including the judges and the artists.
Maila said they are going to make the pageant an annual event. She said next year they would be holding auditions nationwide. She added that they collaborated with the Botswana Association for the Deaf on this year's event.
Maila said Miss VIP Deaf is going to work as an ambassador for the hearing impaired. She said they are going to organise projects for her that would help improve the lives of the deaf and hearing impaired people in the country.
ARI working on integration of sign languages
Posted: Fri, 22 May 2009 05:47:25 +0200
The African Rehabilitation Institute is working on an integrated sign language framework for its adoption within the continent for the development of the language.
The African Rehabilitation Institute is working on an integrated sign language framework for its adoption within the continent for the development of the language.
Following different sign languages used by different languages in the continent, the African Rehabilitation Institute is advocating for the establishment of a sign language framework.
Speaking to ZBC, the African Rehabilitation Institute Executive Director in Zimbabwe, Dr Papa Malick Fall, says the language framework will assist member countries in coming up with a common vision in implementing measures that the institute has adopted.
Dr Fall said the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) is a specialized agency of the African Union dealing with disability issues and issues related to persons with disabilities in Africa.
The integrated language framework will help the institute to encourage the implementation of the Continental Plan of Action for the African Decade of People with Disabilities as well as the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities among the Member States of the African Union.
The institute assists Member States to enhance disability prevention and rehabilitation services as well as ensuring Human Rights for persons with disabilities and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life.
The ARI is composed of three main organs, namely the Labour and Social Affairs Commission (LSAC), the Governing Board (GB) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).
【付記2】the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI)
【付記3】世界ろう連盟の「地域統一手話」の方針(WFD Statement on the Unification of Sign Languages)
Zimbabwe: Uniform Sign Language Overdue
Tanzania: Handicapped Teachers Outcry Stigma
24 May 2009
Arusha - More than 30 school teachers with physical disabilities converged in Arusha last week and among their various concerns raised during the meeting was that of being stigmatized.
The teachers with physical handicaps, hailing from the northern zone regions of Tanga, Singida and Arusha with others coming from Dar-es-salaam, were undergoing 'special training sessions' at the Golden Rose Conference Centre.
"Our colleagues treat us as inadequate teachers not believing our capability to deliver, and in most cases we get left out during important functions at school or in the surrounding communities," lamented Ms Ulumbi Shani who is an executive committee member of the Teachers Association in Singida region. Her concern was supported by many delegates.
They did not rule out the fact that some pupils even look-down upon teachers with physical disabilities despite the fact that the latter would more often than not come out as more dedicated and better performers than other teachers.
The teachers also had a bone to pick with the whole establishment, including infrastructure.
School buildings, they said, have been constructed without special corridor ramps for disabled people which means physically handicapped teachers, pupils and students have to rely on other people to lift them up and down between surfaces of different levels.
The teachers also complained about toilet facilities at local schools; "Let's just say it is more than impossible to use them and thus we are compelled to regularly trek back home for customized latrines should the need arise.
Disabled athletes in Niger for 9th African Games
Niger - The ninth All-Africa games for the disabled began Tuesday at General Seyni Kountche stadium in Niamey, capital of Niger, a source close to the organising committee told PANA here.
According to the source, participants have come from Mali, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Cameroon, Ghana, Benin and Chad as well as from the host country, Niger.
Welcoming the athletes on Monday evening, Nigerien Minister of Youth and Sports, Salou Gobi, said the fact that disabled athletes were made compete against themselves had wiped out the the image of "passiveness and inactivity" which is too of ten associated with disabled persons.
"As they are designed, the Games of the future for disabled people in Africa con stitute a sports competition which offers disabled athletes the possibility to compete "in friendship" and with a sound competitive spirit with their counterparts, enabling them to show to the public their human and sporting qualities,” he stressed.
The Niamey Games will last one week.
Niamey - 26/05/2009
Zimbabwe: Uniform Sign Language Overdue
Vimbai Komani And Walter Chari
26 May 2009
Harare - AS we celebrated Africa Day yesterday, how many of us remembered the disabled among us?
While many of us may not see such an immediate connection between respecting the rights of the disabled and Africa Day, it is good to see that the African Union itself views things much more seriously.
What does Africa Day mean to people who are disabled; to those who have hearing and speech impairments?
A Harare-based African Union agency, the African Rehabilitation Institute, has said that it is working on developing a uniform sign language for sub-Saharan Africa.
This is indeed a positive step in efforts to unify the continent, and the great pan-Africanists, like the late Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere, will be smiling in their graves at such an initiative from the sons and daughters of Africa.
However, it is a great shame that some African countries still do not have adequate policies to ensure the disabled can become a part of efforts to unite and develop the continent.
The African Rehabilitation Institute in Zimbabwe is working with the national associations of people with disabilities to try and develop a uniform sign language for the whole continent.
This will facilitate easy communication among people with hearing and speech impairments on the one hand, while also improving the manner in which they communicate with their counterparts without these impairments.
All African countries should promote sign language because disability is a human rights issue.
Zimbabwe is among a few African countries that have established schools for those with speaking and hearing impairments and this is something that all African Union members should emulate.
How many times have we seen those with hearing and speech impairments given a platform at national events?
How often do we have these people being given the space and room to express their views when it comes to issues such as constitution-making, national budgets, local authority by-laws and many other things?
How many countries actually incorporate learning sign language as part of their schools' curricula?
The African Rehabilitation Institute has pointed out that there is greater cross-border mobility within Africa due to an increased relaxation of visa requirements among members of various regional and economic groupings. This has also seen an increased the number of people with hearing and speech impairments moving across borders and embarking on cross-border economic enterprises.
It is, therefore, vital that a uniform sign language be developed to make it easy for these people to conduct their business in foreign countries.
Executive director of ARI Mr Papa Malick Fall says that their research has shown that different countries have their own sign language and people from other countries often experience difficulties without an interpreter.
What everyone must appreciate is that sign language is a conventional language and should, as such, be officially recognised by governments and all members of our different societies.
The logical thing to do would then be to ensure that all people learn sign language at primary school so that they can communicate effectively with people who have speech and hearing impairments.
Schools for those with hearing and speech impairments should be built and well staffed in every African Union member state.
Our education systems should recognise the needs of people with these impairments.
But more importantly, our societies should appreciate the human and economic contributions to national and continental development that these people can make.
The African Decade of People with Disabilities, running from 1999 to 2009, is almost coming to a close and nothing much has been done to include people with disabilities in influential positions.
The ADDP came into effect after African Union heads of state and government adopted the Plan of Action for member countries.
The Plan of Action called on member states to embark on the following:
A・ Formulate or reformulate policies and national programmes that encourage the full participation of persons with disabilities in social and economic development;
l Create or reinforce national disability co-ordination committees, and ensure effective representation of disabled persons and their organisations;
l Support community-based service delivery, in collaboration with international development agencies and organisations;
l Promote more efforts that encourage positive attitudes towards children, youth, women and adults with disabilities, and the implementation of measures to ensure their access to rehabilitation, education, training and employment, as well as to cultural and sports activities and access to the physical environment;
l Develop programmes that alleviate poverty amongst disabled people and their families;
l Put in place programmes that create greater awareness conscientiousness of communities and governments relating to disability;
l Prevent disability by promoting peace and paying attention to other causes of disability;
l Mainstream disability on the social, economic and political agendas of African governments;
l Spearhead the implementation of the UN Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for People with Disabilities, and ensure the use of the Standard Rules as a basis for policy and legislation to protect the interest of disabled people in Africa;
l Apply all AU and UN human rights instruments to promote and monitor the rights of persons with disabilities.
Before the ADDP comes to an end, our governments, national disability organisations, umbrella disability bodies and individuals took an honest critical look at their progress -- and lack of it -- in implementing the agreed action plans.
Like in all human advancement endeavours, people with disabilities have not been considered a part of the information society.
Many people with disabilities have no access to information technology and this speaks volumes about how we as societies view them especially when we are always harping on and on about how "information is power".
It is time for all African countries to take stock of progress, challenges and constraints in the implementation of development programmes for persons living with disabilities.
After all, disability is a cross-cutting development issue that must be taken seriously by all governments and societies in general.
Let us celebrate Africa's unity with the disabled in mind.
ARI working on integration of sign languages
NGO to help disabled children
By Elizabeth Agiro
THE Comprehensive Rehabilitation Service in Uganda for people with disabilities (CoRSU) is willing to help more children crippled by quinine injections.
Last week, Sunday Vision reported that more than 45 children from Ayivu County, Arua aged between eight and 13 years all of whom received treatment from the same dispensary, had been crippled by poorly administered quinine injections.
Sixteen of the children arrived in Kampala two weeks ago and underwent orthopaedic surgery, to correct the deformities.
The officer in charge of clinical services at the health ministry, Jacinto Amandwa, the ministry is looking into the matter, though it involves a lot of information gathering.
Published on: Saturday, 30th May, 2009
A rights-based approach to disability issues
30 May, 2009 10:00:00
with Buyile Masuku
Disabled persons get working tools
5/31/09 2:00 PM
Namibe- A cooperative of handicapped people in Bibala district, 280 kilometres to the north of south-western Namibe province, received this Sunday car-wheel treading equipment, funded by the NGO dubbed "Handicap International".
The kit comprises air compressors, two kilogrammes of glue, wheel wrench, pickaxe, hammer, valves, gloves and boots, among others.
The beneficiaries were pleased with the material, having urged others to attend professional courses in order to benefit from working tools to carry out their activities.
Pupil overcomes disability with courage
02 June, 2009 10:00:00
By Calsile Masilela
Sierra Leone: MP Concerned Over Disability Discrimination
Ben Samuel Turay
2 June 2009
Concord - All People's Congress (APC) Member of Parliament representing constituency 109 in the western area urban has said he was not pleased with the way and manner in which people discriminate disabled persons in the country.
Hon. Julius Nye Cuffie told Concord Times that disabled persons are human beings. "They should not be discriminated against. Most times, discrimination occurs in the area of employment. People prefer to employ those that are not disabled than those that are disabled."
He urged the authorities to allocate a ministerial position to people living with disabilities so that their concerns would be well articulated.
Hon. Cuffie said for the past six years they have been agitating for the enactment of the Disabled Act, which according to him will help address issues of health, education and equal opportunities for the disabled.
A disabled person, Mohamed Conteh, said the current condition of his colleagues is unacceptable, noting, "It is not our fault to be disables. Our rights are not respected in Sierra Leone.
"We have been working with government ministries, departments and agencies to have a disability desk in their offices but to no avail".
Nigeria: Disability Cover Now Part of Group Life Insurance
3 June 2009
Lagos - The mandatory group life insurance provided in the Pensions Act 2004 will now be expanded to cover disability during the life of the insured. This was part of the amendment being sought by operators into the existing law.
Section 9, sub-section (3) of the Act provides; "In addition to the rates specified in sub-section(1) of this section, employers shall maintain life insurance policy in favour of the employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee."But both legal and insurance experts have picked holes in this provision pointing out that there is no where disability cover is not part of life insurance and therefore suggested amendment to the Act to provide for disability.
This position was adopted by participants at the end of the 2-day National Conference on the Review of the Implementation of the Pension Reforms.
Dr Timi Austen-Peters who read the position paper on behalf of a group of participants that reviewed the paper, Pension Act 2004: An Assessment of the Adequacy of the Legal Framework delivered by Dr Kanu Agabi, former Attorney-General of the Federation said it was important that the disability cover is key to the insurance package.
Austen-Peters who also played a key role in drafting the Pensions Act also stated that his group also discovered that actuaries mentioned Section 39 sub-section(2) of the Act are not covered by any regulation. The actuaries are required to carry out valuation of the pension fund assets every financial year for employers operating the defined benefits scheme.
The discussion group thus, recommended that actuaries should be brought under one regulatory authority so that their activities can be supervised. Most actuaries in Nigeria have insurance backgrounds and have played actively in the sub-sector. "Actuaries are not regulated for now", the group noted, advising that "Pencom should draw up a list of actuaries qualified to sign off valuations" alleging that all manner of persons may just claim to be actuaries if no criteria exists.
In the case of dispute between a contributor and pension fund administrator or pension fund custodian, the group proposed an amendment that will remove arbitration as an option provided in Section 93 of the Act and replace it with a tribunal specially established for pensions adjudication.
They also insisted that there should be a harmonised role between the Pension Commission and Federal High Court in the resolution of disputes arising from the operations of players in the Contributory Pension Scheme.
They also want a guaranteed access to a proportion pensions funds of individual contributors who have saved up to 10 years. The group enjoined the federal government to provide such guarantee.
Eritrea: Ministry Undertakes Effective Activities in Support of War-Disabled Veterans, Orphans And Families of Martyrs
Massawa - The branch office of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare in the Northern Red Sea region carried out effective activities worth 72 million Nakfa towards improving the living standards of war-disabled veterans, orphans and families of fallen heroes over the past few years.
The activities include community-rehabilitation programs to support disabled nationals in 8 sub-zones of the region and that awareness promotion campaigns and trainings were given to over 500 employees of the scheme.
Reports indicated that Eritreans living abroad have contributed more than 3 million Nakfa in support of 587 families of martyrs, and 12 orphans have received assistance in Ghinda through family care programs.
Besides, a total of 425 street children also received training in different vocational skills.
Bukenya urges parents to educate disabled kids
Thursday, 4th June, 2009
image: Satyamitranand pushes a disabled person in a wheelchair as Bukenya watches last week
By Juliet Lukwago
PARENTS of children with disabilities have been criticised for denying them a chance to go to school.
The Vice-President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, said disabled children were like any other child and could be successful in life.
He was recently speaking while receiving 51 wheelchairs from the Indian community at his home in Kakiri, Wakiso district. Bukenya commended the community for starting industries, which, he said, had provided employment to the youth.
The leader of the Hindu spiritual community, Swami Satyamitranand, appealed to other organisations to help the needy. Some of the chairs were given to Wakiso Secondary School for the Deaf and others to the elderly persons in Kakiri village.
The Wakiso Secondary School head teacher, Theresa Akorimo, said parents of children with disabilities needed to be supported.
“Parental guidance helps children with disabilities realise their potential,” Akorimo said.
She said there was need for more resources to take care of children with emotional, mental and behavioural difficulties.
“Extensive support for teachers in terms of motivation is needed. Special salaries should be paid to them since their work is demanding and requires additional training,” Akorimo added.
Support Deaf Athletes - Chiruva
Thursday, 04 June 2009 19:37
THE Zimbabwe National Deaf Sports Federation has urged the nation to support the deaf in their various sporting disciplines and not to discriminate them because of their disability.
The federation’s secretary Chiedza Chiruva, said that although deaf athletes have been involved in various sporting activities the major setback has been moral and financial support.
“We have since our formation participated in various sporting competitions. We attended the Zambia Football Championship and last year we took part in the Deaflympics that were held in South Africa.”
“On all these occasions, the federation was responsible for the funding of the airfares, food and accommodation,” Chiruva said.
“Things have however changed.We were invited to deaf games in Swaziland but failed to go because of insufficient funds.”
The secretary urged various well-wishers to support their cause as they prepare for their 2009 sporting calendar.
“We are scheduled to take part in a number of tournaments this year alone,” Chiruva said.
“This year we were invited to the Deaflympics in Taipei, China in September. We have been offered free accommodation for up to 20 participants but we have to meet our own travel expenses.”
“We get the impression that the world has deaf Zimbabweans at heart whilst the nation does not.”
Apart from the Deaflympics they have also been invited to various football competitions in June.
Chiruva said that these engagements needed cash and urged well-wishers to help them fulfil their dreams.
“We are appealing to members of the public, companies and business people including the government to look into assisting us so that we can make history in the deaf community and fly the national flag high in our sports.”
BY KUDZAYI TIGERE
There is 7 to 10% disability worldwideTalking on the concept of disability at the start of a 2 day session convened by the Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment ‘INCLUDE’ at the National Stadium presidential lounge yesterday Dr. A.D.O. Wright estimated that there are 7 to 10% incidence of disability worldwide .
国際開発学会第10 回春季大会のプログラムが発表になりました。2009 年6 月6 日（土）
Eritrea: More Contributions in Support of Martyrs' Families, War-Disabled Veterans And Needy Citizens
7 June 2009
Asmara - Eritreans living abroad contributed over 16,000 Euro and 35,000 Nakfa in support of martyrs' families, war-disabled veterans and needy citizens.
The Ministry of Labour and Human Welfare disclosed that Eritrean youths and mothers residing in Laden, Holland, contributed 8,000 Euro which they raised through undertaking various activities. Likewise, Eritrean youths living in Germany also contributed 8,400 Euro to families of fallen heroes.
Moreover, Mr. Asmelash Sebhatu, an Eritrean living in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed 35,000 Nakfa in support of street children.
Nigeria: Day Wesley School Students' Forgot Their Disability
9 June 2009
Lagos - For students of Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos, Friday June 5, is a day they would continue to cherish for a long time. In fact, if many have their way, they would wish that such a day is repeated in the school's activities perhaps monthly. That day, the school premises was electrified as the students were treated to a sumptuous meal and entertainment. The event was school feeding exercise.
It was one of the series of activities leading to the second Lagos State Education Summit coming up on Wednesday June 17 and Thursday 18. Guaranga Foundation organised it in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Education. So excited were the student that at a point some of them took to the state to dance along with members of Stella Monye's Azania Band.
A member of the band named Toyin particularly gave the students a large dose of entertainment while Monye was by the table helping to serve food. The school for the blind in the in the premises was also not left out as it was presented with two music and PC keyboards. The Principal of the school, Reverend Sister Benedicta Ogike, was full of joy for the donation and assured that it would go a long way in helping the students in their academic activities. She hailed Guaranga and the Lagos State Government for singling out the school for the gesture. A student who spoke on behalf of his colleagues prayed for the God's guidance and mercy for the donors and promising that the students would put the instrument to the best use.
Bolaji Rosji, the founder of Guaranga foundation, explained that the partnership was the foundation way of helping the state realise its goal of giving quality education for the students in the state. He said apart from the feeding exercise, the foundation would take part in all other activities for the summit such as summit Nite of glamour where musicians and Nollywood stars would gather to speak up for the rights of the Nigerian child.
The whole idea is for Lagosians to be aware that there is a new dawn particularly in the education sector", he said. Rosji noted that given the efforts that the state is putting into education, it makes sense to give it the needed support even as he disclosed that the foundation has been involved in several areas meant to better the society.
The Desk Officer 'Support Our Schools Initiative' in the State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Sunkanmi Oyegbola, explained the choice of Wesley School, was to establish the fact that everybody is important in the society. She added that the state government was prepared to give students in the state the best of education but however maintained that all hands must be on desk to achieve that.
According to her, more than before the state government is committed to qualitative education and as such it has already put in place all the necessary things such as training of the teachers, payment of external examination fees among others. She promised that the summit would turn around the education sector for the better.
Stella Monye, who is going to be the official singer for the summit, expressed joy for being part of the event where the so-called less privileged are made to feel happy. She said that is one way of thanking God for one's existence.
Like Oyegbola, she advised that the issue of education should not be left for government alone to shoulder but rather should be a collective effort of all.
She also advised other state governments to take a cue from what the Lagos state government is doing to boost its education sector noting that education is not something to toy with.
"I think other Governors should learn from what Fashola is doing", she advised.This year summit has as its theme 'Funding Qualitative Education In Lagos State' and it is no doubt driven by the vision of the state government to deliver qualitative education in the state in line with the Millennium Development Goal. There will be three plenary session in all; two on the first day and one on the second day.
According to a release from the Ministry of Education, the sub themes would enable the panel of discussants to x-ray various fundamental issues such as the curriculum; teachers' development; infrastructure and governance; role of pupils and parents and private sector participation among others. The target of the organizers is to at the end of the summit establish minimum standards, determine the cost of achieving minimum standards and ascertain how to achieve the minimum standards.
The Deputy Governor of the state Princess Sarah Sosan, is Chairman of the Central Implementation Committee. She was said to have designed the summit to be inclusive of all stakeholders.
The mission also speaks volume on the focus of the summit. 'To provide citizens with qualitative education in partnership with private sectors, parents, stakeholder, non-governmental organisations and competent teachers in a conducive learning environment.
Government to ensure rights of the disabled - Minister
Social Affairs | Thu, 11 Jun 2009
Akropong (E/R), June 10, GNA - Mr. Alex Tettey-Enyo, Minister for Education, on Wednesday said the government would pursue vigorously the demands of the Disability Act, especially those that bordered on education, to ensure that the disabled assumed their right place in society.
He said government would work towards developing a disability-friendly environment to accommodate all children, provide devices such as hearing aids, brail equipment, computers as well as sign language interpreters to aid the development of the disabled.
Mr Tettey-Enyo said this at Akropong in the Eastern Region when he launched the electronic versions of the Disability Act (715) and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Act (456) produced by CHRAJ to enable the disabled to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Disability Law.
The launch was also to expose the disabled especially the visually-impaired to specific human rights knowledge, values and skills for enhancing their personal and national human rights development.
The electronic versions of the Disability Act and the CHRAJ Law were produced in English, Ga, Ewe and Twi with sponsorship from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).
Mr. Tettey-Enyo said the Ministry would collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare and the district assemblies to establish assessment centres in each district of the country to screen children for early identification of signs of disability and design necessary intervention measures to address them.
He said the challenge facing the school system was how to provide an effective education system for vulnerable and marginalized people and prepare them for inclusive participation in the workplace and social environment, among others.
The Minister called on the public to play their roles well to ensure the realization of the broad goals of the two acts.
Mr. Richard Quayson, Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, said the launch demonstrated the Commission's commitment to ensuring respect for the rights of all persons with disability and also to create a free and just society where human dignity was protected.
He said plans were underway to produce other electronic versions to explain human rights in general and the law as a whole to increase familiarity with the provisions of the Disability Act.
Mr. Quayson said this was to ensure that the disabled took better control of their lives and improve their capacity to contribute to the fight to eliminate oppressive social structures that encouraged exploitation and oppression.
Disability Support Services
The University of Botswana, Disability Support Services (DSS) coordinates support services and academic adjustments (accommodations) for students with disabilities enrolled at the University of Botswana. The Disability Office provides students with disabilities the educational support and services needed to access and participate at University of Botswana. DSS is determined to meet the varied learning needs of students with physical, sensory, learning, psychological, and chronic health impairments.
To ensure equal academic access and complete university life, DSS provides reasonable accommodations and support services that are both individualized and flexible. Students have to register with Disability Services for them to access services.
Services provided include but not limited to: initial assessments, counseling and instructional accommodations such as alternative text formats, scribes, brailled study materials and alternate examinations, notes-taking, taped lectures, readers, learner support or students assistants, provision of assistive technology devices, liaison with academic staff and other departments
Caesar’s new challenge is to define ‘disabled person’
By JOHN KIGATHIPosted Friday, June 12 2009 at 17:27
During his 2009/10 financial budget the Finance minister, Uhuru Kenyatta proposed to exempt from tax the first Sh150,000 per month paid to a disabled employee.
A further Sh50,000 will be allowed for expenses incurred in the management of the condition.
He further proposed to create a Sh200 million revolving fund to be used to give interest free loans to disabled people in business.
The proposals are humble moves by the Government to take care of the often forgotten group of marginalised citizens of this land. I’m optimistic that our legislators will make sure that the bills see the light of day.
However, implementation of the proposed bills may pose a big challenge as to who is a disabled person.
The Persons with disability Act of 2003 defines disability as: “disability” means a physical, sensory, mental or other impairment, including any visual, hearing, learning or physical incapability, which impacts adversely on social, economic or environmental participation.”
It is clear that people who suffer from blindness, deafness, mental, physical disability qualify for the benefits. People with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, brain injuries, autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and dyslexia are also beneficiaries of the proposals.
However, the question that begs is how much disability is disability? Is a person with one eye, one leg, limping leg or partial blindness covered under the Act?
Other categories of people who will seek clarification are the people who have conditions that limit their interaction with the environment which impacts on their environmental participation.
A good example will be an asthmatic person who cannot work in a flower firm, sawmill, cold or refrigerated rooms, hence reducing considerably their employment prospects.
Employers are required under the Income Tax Act to deduct and remit pay as you earn taxes.
Ghana: More Work to Be Done for Federation of Disabled
Naa Bettey Nelson
12 June 2009
Aside the constructed buildings of the Ghana Federation of Disabled, there is more work to be done.
It is all known that centre is not only meant for the blind, but all persons with all forms of disability.
It is sad to see that most disabled persons stumble and fall at the entrance to the centre due to the bad nature of the road. Some parts of the road leading into the center have developed serious cracks and potholes, which are a danger to persons with disabilities.
This could easily acquire injuries should they happen to stumble, slip or fall.
An eyewitness told the Accra File that most disabled persons fall down when using this road, especially those using wheelchairs.
The witness said because the road is not smooth, these persons find it difficult controlling their wheelchairs. In the process of using this road, they end up either getting stuck or fall, together with the wheelchair.
On a visit to the centre the Accra File noticed that most of the roads in the premises of the place had developed large and deep holes. Most of the paved ones were also cracked making it difficult and uncomfortable for the disabled persons.
In an interview with staff of the center, they said that no blind person could walk alone on the road leading to the centre, even with a stick. This is just because the road within the place is so terrible.
Some also said that during the rainy season the potholes are filled with water, worsening the already bad situation.
Some of the workers said this problem had been at there for a very long time. Even before most of them were transferred to the centre.
Some also mentioned that most of their other departments of the centre were in a deplorable state over the years, pointing that the library was one of the places.
These persons should be able to have access to magazines and books written in Braille. They further urged the authorities to intervene, because they think the entire place needs to be renovated and provided with every facility needed.
The Accra File got to know further that some workers and authorities at the center were trying to fight the cause of their problems at the Department of Social Welfare, so the center could be renovated.
The Accra File is further alerting the government to come to the aid of the Federation of Disabled for the entire center to be renovated.
Eritrea: Enad Holds Annual Meeting
12 June 2009
Mendefera - The Eritrean National Association of the Deaf (ENAD) held its annual meeting in Mendefera town from 6 to 7 June.
The meeting in which Assembly members and others took part conducted discussion on the report presented and the accomplishments registered in 2008, among others. The participants concluded their discussion adopting a number of recommendations regarding the task of expanding the Association in all administrative regions and exerting more efforts to enhance the use of sign language.
The Eritrean National Association of the Deaf was formed in 1998 and has about 3,000 members.
Deaf pupil's court battle
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 09:11
A deaf matric pupil at Westville Boys High in Durban has applied to court to have sign language declared an official matric subject, the Mercury newspaper reported on Friday.
Kyle Springate has been studying sign language with the education department's blessing throughout high school.
Now with only months until his final examinations, the education department has told him it is not a recognised matric subject.
With the backing from his mother, lawyers from the Durban Legal Resource Centre, the Deaf Federation of SA, and the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, he has approached the Pietermaritzburg High Court to intervene.
Springate is seeking an urgent order compelling the provincial and national ministers of basic education to allow him to sit his exam this year.
He also wants a broader "public interest" Constitution-linked order declaring sign language to be an official school language.
The application will come before court on 16 July.
The education ministers have until 6 July to file opposition affidavits.
Locked away: Kenya's health anguish
June 15, 2009 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
By David McKenzie
Daniel Mungai is kept locked away in a small wooden shack and has been for 15 years.
Mom Jane Gachoki is mildly disabled but her son John is severely mentally disabled.
Joseph Mwaura loves being tickled but he's also on powerful anti-psychotic drugs.
KANDARA, Kenya (CNN) -- Daniel Mungai's family keeps him locked in a room in a wooden shack that is just big enough to fit a bed, a cupboard, Daniel and his wheel-chair. His clothes and bed are soaked with his own waste -- and he's been living like this for 15 years.
Daniel, 35, started having seizures at a young age. He is sometimes given medicine for epilepsy and spent time at a mental hospital but his parents say they simply cannot afford to maintain proper care -- they are struggling to cope.
Both his parents are also now too old to help him properly. They live in the same compound in Kandara, Kenya, but in a different building.
His father, Ndung'u Joroge, said: "We don't lock him out of bad will. We lock him up because people have become very bad. He may come out here and then he is caught by young men, that is why we lock him in the house."
The desperate measures Daniel's family has resorted to are not rare.
African health services are often underfunded and overwhelmed -- no more so in the field of mental health.
CNN visited rural Kenya -- a country where less than one percent of the health budget is allotted to mental health -- to investigate the extent of the problems.
Edah Maina, who runs the Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped, says the mentally disabled in Kenya have few options for long-term care and support.
"The entire family is affected and especially when the mother sort of loses hope and resorts to locking up the child because they have to go out and earn a living or they have to chain them up because they might hurt themselves," said Maina.
Social workers in Kenya searching for those in desperate need found a mother and child on the floor of a squalid kitchen hut.
John is 17 and severely handicapped. He cannot speak and cannot properly hold his head up. He has been living like this his whole life. When CNN met with him, he and his mother were lying on a thin, filthy blanket.
His mother, Jane, is mildly mentally disabled. She does what she can for her son, but John spends so much time on his side that he suffers from severe bedsores.
They depend on help from their impoverished family and they haven't eaten for days.
Maina said: "I think that some of these social needs are beyond the family capacity to handle the normal day to day life needs, and as you can see the burden of disability increased for this particular family when the son to this girl with mental disabilities was also born with mental disability and then the severity of mental disability of the son became more severe because the mother ... is herself with mental disability."
She added: "First and foremost, nobody would want to live like this, it's inhumane, it is not what we want to see people live, it is not the lifestyle that anybody would want. What I am saying is that this home is suffering."
Maina said that even with years of experience working with the vulnerable, the cases still shock her.
Her poorly funded charity does what it can, sometimes acting on the tips of neighbors.
The Director of Mental Health in Kenya told CNN that they were trying their best to help the mentally disabled and mentally ill, but that the needs were 'enormous' -- and the funding was far too little.
Dr. David Kiima told CNN there are only 50 active psychiatrists in the country to serve a population of more than 30 million.
It is hard to believe that 15-year-old Joseph could hurt himself or anyone else.
But he is on powerful anti-psychotic drugs and his mother and grandmother struggle to handle him.
Grandmother Prisca Njeri said: "When the drugs finish he beats himself and he bites himself when the drugs finish."
She does not know what they will do when Joseph gets bigger and they have no access to proper care.
When his family leaves to work on their small patch of land, they lock Joseph up in a dark room. Here, too, the place reeks.
They are a loving family and are conflicted about what they have to do.
"He is afraid of entering that room. We put him in when we want to leave to go to the farm because he will get lost if we leave him outside," Njeri said.
Like so many families with limited means in Kenya, they feel compelled to make this awful decision: locking their loved ones away from society just to keep them safe from themselves and those who would do them harm.
WHO study says African motorcyclists killing, dying more than elsewhere
Written by ASNS
Monday, 15 June 2009
The first global assessment of road safety finds that Africa motorcyclists lead in the number of the estimated 1.27 million people who die in road traffic crashes each year are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. The lowest rates are among high-income countries, such as the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
While progress has been made towards protecting people in cars, the needs of these vulnerable groups of road users are not being met.
The report found that underreporting of deaths occurs in many countries, and that few countries have completely reliable data on road traffic injuries.
The Global status report on road safety, provides the first worldwide analysis of how well countries are implementing a number of effective road safety measures.
These include limiting speed, reducing drink-driving, and increasing the use of seatbelts, child restraints and motorcycle helmets.
“More than 90% of the world’s road deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, while these countries only have 48% of the world’s vehicles,” said Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability.
“Our roads are particularly unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who, without the protective shell of a car around them, are more vulnerable. These road users need to be given increased attention. Measures such as building sidewalks, raised crossings and separate lanes for two wheelers; reducing drink-driving and excessive speed; increasing the use of helmets and improving trauma care are some of the interventions that could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year."
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the report presents information from 178 countries, accounting for over 98% of the world’s population. It uses a standardized method that allows comparisons between countries to be made.
"We found that in many countries, the laws necessary to protect people are either not in place or are not comprehensive. And even when there is adequate legislation, most countries report that their enforcement is low," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "We are not giving sufficient attention to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists many of whom end up in clinics and hospitals. We must do better if we are to halt or reverse the rise in road traffic injuries, disability and deaths."
“Traffic crashes are a leading cause of death, particularly among young people 5 to 44 years of age,” said Mr Bloomberg. “For the first time, we have solid data to hold us accountable and to target our efforts. Road safety must be part of all transport planning efforts, particularly at this moment of focus on infrastructure improvements and road building by many countries around the globe.”
While road traffic death rates in many high-income countries have stabilized or declined in recent decades, research suggests road deaths are increasing in most regions of the world and that if trends continue unabated, they will rise to an estimated 2.4 million a year by 2030. In addition, road crashes cause between 20 million and 50 million non-fatal injuries every year and are an important cause of disability. In many countries support services for road traffic victims are inadequate. These avoidable injuries also overload already stretched health-care systems in many countries.
The report documents numbers of registered motorized vehicles in each country and action being taken to invest in public transport and encourage non-motorized travel such as walking and cycling. Vehicle manufacturing standards and requirements for road safety audits were also reported, as well as the existence of formal pre-hospital care systems, including emergency telephone numbers.
Accurate statistics are crucial for understanding the state of road safety and measuring the impact of efforts to improve it.
According to the report, less than a third of countries meet basic criteria for reducing speed in urban areas and that less than half of countries use the recommended blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.05 grams per decilitre as a measure to reduce drink-driving.
While helmet laws exist in more than 90% of countries, only 40% have a law that covers both riders and passengers while also requiring that helmets meet a specified standard.
Only 57% of countries have laws that require all car occupants to wear seat-belts. This figure is only 38% in low-income countries. The report says half of all countries do not have laws requiring the use of child restraints (e.g., child seats and booster seats). This figure masks considerable variation, with relevant laws in 90% of high-income countries but only 20% of low-income countries.
It shows that only 15% of countries have comprehensive laws which address all five of these risk factors.
Where laws on these risk factors are in place they are often inadequately enforced, particularly in low-income countries. For example, only 9% of countries rate their enforcement of speed limits as over 7 on a scale of 0 to 10, while the corresponding figure for enforcement of seat-belt laws is 19%.
The report also shows that road traffic injuries remain very relevant in high-income countries. “Even the top performers globally are often stagnating and still have considerable room for improvement in achieving a truly safe road transport system,” Dr. Krug said.
Oluyole Cheshire Home, a success story -Management
>From AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan
Tuesday, June 16 2009
Management of the first disability home in Africa, Oluyole Cheshire Home, has described the operations of the home since 1959 as a success story. Briefing newsmen on the 50th anniversary of the home on Monday, Chairman, Organizing Committee of the Home, Prof. Dele Layiwola, stated that the home has churned out graduates in different discipline in its 50th years of existence.
Layiwola particularly mention an inmate of the home, who despite her disability, was a Ph.D. holder and presently works at the University College Hospital (UCH). He charged well-meaning Nigerians to rally supports for the home, saying it is capable of addressing the menace of street begging in the country.
“It is extremely important to think of those who are voiceless in our community so that we can have peace and be happy. If we have a joint vision, I think this can become a great foundation. When you go to the streets of advanced countries, not that they don't have people with disabilities but they take them away from the streets.
“I think it is possible for us to give this set of people a decent living, so that they don't relapse into begging; so that they don't lose their self-esteem; so that they don't deplore themselves. We can give them a decent life by enjoining that they should be accommodated in the home of this kind that we have.
“We will like to say this loud and clear today and in our 50th years that disability is not a disease. In your individual family, don't look down on the person with disability. We owe it a duty to be our brothers and sisters keepers to ensure that the creature of God do not relapse and do not suffer. It is our pride that the home after 50th years is a success story,” Layiwola enthused.
He disclosed that the home was rolling out the drums to celebrate its Golden anniversary and would also use the occasion to honour some of its numerous donors at a gala night coming up on Saturday. The Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, is expected to grace the occasion.
Disability is not a curse- DCE
Bechem (B/A), June 17, GNA - Mr. Bukari Anaba Zakari, Tano South District Chief Executive on Tuesday urged parents and guardians with physically challenged children to discard the notion that disability is the result of a curse. He stressed that it was wrong for society to consider the plight of such persons as a curse and abandon them "because disability is not inability"
"Parents, guardians and the society in general should show love and offer the necessary support to the physically handicapped through training, so that they would become useful citizens," the DCE said. Mr. Anaba was speaking at Bechem at the launch of the 40th anniversary celebration of Bechem School for the Deaf, under the theme: "40 Years of Deaf Education in Brong -Ahafo Region, Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward."
He pledged the assembly's support of GHC 3000 to the school towards the implementation of on-going projects.
Reverend Samuel Affainie Amankwa, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of Education, in an address read for him, assured the school of the directorate's support to move to greater heights. Nana Osei Tutu Okumason, Board Chairman, said the institution, which was started with only 14 pupils in May 1969, now has 360 pupils right from the kindergarten to the Junior High School level, including technical and vocational departments.
He said the school lacked transport and accommodation for teachers, explaining that the sources of assistance from donors, philanthropists and NGOs such as World Vision International were not forth coming. The Board Chairman commended the 46 teachers including six American Peace Corps Volunteers for their sacrifices and commitment, and appealed to the government and donors to institute motivational packages for them to deliver better services.
The acting Headmaster of the School, Mr. Puakyiene Linus Baba, announced that the climax of the anniversary celebration would be on Friday, November 6 this year, and the activities included public education through the media about causes, prevention and management of disabilities. Nana Fosu Gyeabour Akoto II, Omanhene of Bechem Traditional Area, called for the erection of a statue in memory of the late Mr. George Tetteh, who established the institution, on the campus.
Deaf ask for desk in Police
MBALE - The Government has been asked to allocate liaison officers in the Police force and hospitals to address complaints from the deaf. The coordinator of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf, Deborah Iyute, said deaf people were discriminated against while seeking help in public areas. She was speaking at the handover of certificates to the deaf who had completed a three-month training in sign language at the Municipal Council Chambers recently. Iyute criticised the Government for sidelining the deaf when recruiting for the armed forces.
Disabled Liberians Demand Individual Reparations
By Mambu James Kpargoi, Monrovia
A cross section of disabled Liberians while demanding individual reparations Thursday insisted that Liberians who contributed to their disabilities bear some responsibilities for their conditions.
The war disabled Liberians said the dejected scenario in which they now find themselves was masterminded by “unscrupulous politicians whose quest for state power and wealth could not be controlled by any reasonable means.”
“They have used us to have their greedy aims accomplish. Hence, we are calling on the recipients of our disabilities to join us in our drive for individual reparations. We want those that inherit the throne of our intervention to also bear some responsibilities of our disabilities,” they said.
The disabled Liberians made their demands Thursday at the ongoing National Reconciliation Commission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia.
The disabled persons under the “War Victims Disability Association of Liberia (WVDA) said as “war made disabled persons” their future is uncertain, saying if nothing is done, the dark cloud which hangs over them will certainly remain leaving them in a state of hopelessness, which, they said they vehemently reject and oppose.
“We are here to sound out an SOS call on behalf of group of Liberians who demonstrate the true posture of war victims. The scars inflicted served as a living testimony of this intervention. We are to inform you that during our armed conflict/civil war some things terribly occurred which left one segment of our society in the state of a very serious predicament.”
The disabled persons contended that in order for them to secure a better future, the issue of individual reparation for them must be adequately addressed. They called on the TRC to be more meticulous in its recommendation for reparation.
Although the group said it did not rule out institutional reparations, it will be more expedient and notable to prioritize those that wear the biggest scars of the war. “We bear the scars of the war. We are the living major war affected victims. We came to disability without prior notice. This makes us to be more vulnerable unlike others. This is a dark cloud that hangs over our future if nothing tangible is done to secure and guarantee our deplorable livelihood.”
The disabled persons recommended that monthly compensation be made available to those who war related disabilities are severe and that medication be provided victims.
They also recommended the establishment of academic and vocational schools to build the capacity of war made disabled persons.
Editor @ June 19, 2009
Lwini Social Fund supports disabled people
6/20/09 11:26 AM
Luanda - Angola's First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, on Friday here said that the work developed by Lwini Solidariety Fund, created 11 years ago, aims at supporting disabled people and rural women, Angop has learnt.
The patron of this institution said so while speaking at the opening of the fund's third international gala that took place in Futungo II touristic complex.
When the institution was set up it was tasked to support the mentioned classes, but nowadays it has been supporting needy children, building social undertakings and helping various projects, in some provinces.
Collaborative effort to help parents of hearing impaired children in Ethiopia
Posted by Mehret Tesfaye | June 20th, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
Rarely have people with the resources to help fellow citizens come from abroad and organised themselves to help the needy.
But an exception is the audacious collaboration between Alem B. Schulz, Konjit Beyene (Nativity Girls School group in DC) and Kelemwork Ejerssa, which is bearing fruits as they continue to extend goodwill to the parents of hearing impaired children in Addis Ababa.
As part of their ongoing effort to change parents’ attitude towards their hearing impaired children, they organised a five month training session for 25 parents that concluded on June 5, 2009 with a graduation ceremony.
“There is this attitude from the parents to look at their hearing impaired children as a burden for them. This has created a wide array of misunderstanding between them that ultimately blight the children’s future,” Alem told Capital. “So, to avoid this attitude, we invited 40 parents to participate in the training, but only 25 of them could make it in the end for various reasons.”
According to Alem, the parents were not interested in the training at first. However, they were encouraged to see its benefits and also offered food aid to persuade them to attend.
According to the most recent data published by the World Health Organization (WHO), 250 million people in the world have disabling hearing impairment (moderate or worse hearing impairment in the better ear), and two-thirds of them live in developing countries.
The training, which was offered twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays, was conducted at Lea Mcd Educational Services for the Deaf of Ethiopia, a school for children with hearing disability located around La Gare, in collaboration with the school’s director, Rebecca Payne, who helped the program immensely.
The five month long course cost more than 35,000 Birr, all of which was covered by Alem, her sister Konjit and their mother Kelemwork. Throughout the training, they have been supplying food aid, stationery and transportation money for the parents who are among the poorest of the poor in the population.
“I gained the motivation to do this project from my sister who has a hearing-impaired child in the US. So, I imagined to what extent this problem is hurting people in Ethiopia and decided to address it any way I can,” Alem, who returned to Ethiopia after more than 17 years in Germany, explained.
Not only did the trio help the successful completion of the training, but also they have financed the construction of the playing field inside Alpha Special School, which enrols students with hearing disability.
According to the ILO’s latest report, hearing and speech impaired are learning in three special boarding schools, five special day schools, and 31 special classes, a paltry number of facilities, even by Sub-Saharan standards.
“Vocational rehabilitation enables persons with disabilities to become self reliant and make a proper contribution to their nation by being equipped with useful skills, which could be a base for their future life,” Alem concluded, adding that the very existence of her family’s non- profit work is a means to understand that deaf and hard of hearing is neither a disease nor a curse.
The family run program has a vision to create awareness for the society of the neglect of deaf children by their families, make change in the lives of deaf children and ensure that deaf people can become professionals in their lifetime through provision of sufficient help.
Though efforts are being made to deliver vocational training services for persons with disabilities by various governmental and non-governmental organisations, the number of beneficiaries is very limited compared to the numbers in need of the service.
- By Elias Meseret | Capital Ethiopia
【付記2】Nativity Girls School
Nigeria: HOS Makes Case for Physically Challenged
21 June 2009
Abuja - The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr Steve Oronsaye weekend urged the private sector to employ disabled persons with relevant qualifications in various fields.
The HOS made this disclosure during an interactive session with disabled federal civil servants in commemoration of the Public Service Day.
According to him, "all humans are equal before God and the management of the Federal Service is not unmindful of the fact that many Civil Servants with physical challenges are as hardworking as their other physically unchallenged colleagues.
"As you may be aware, a Disability desk for the Nigerian Public Service was created in the office of the HOCSF in line with the Continental Plan of Action for African Decade of Persons with disabilities, it provided for the establishment of Disability Desk in the office of the President or Prime Minister and at all levels of government to improve the working conditions of the target group Service-wide."
◆2009/06/25 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: HCSF Makes Case For Disabled Staff
DA backs move on sign language
Published:Jun 22, 2009
THE legal bid by pupil Kyle Springate to have sign language declared an official matric subject will be supported by Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille.
Zille said yesterday the party supported Springate, a deaf matric pupil at Westville Boys High, in his legal bid to have the Department of Education recognise sign language as an examinable subject.
Springate has been studying sign language throughout high school, with the department’s blessing.
“It makes no sense whatsoever for the DoE to allow pupils to study sign language, only to deny them the opportunity to be examined on a subject which they have taken the time and the effort to learn,” said Zille.
Hearing-impaired and deaf South Africans had a right to use, learn and develop their primary language, said Zille.
“We will request the board to investigate a possible linguistic human-rights violation by the DoE and to identify this issue as a strategic project for the development of sign language as a marginalised language in education,” she said.
“We believe that deaf pupils should be given the tools they need to exercise their freedom, take advantage of their opportunities and develop their full potential. Recognising sign language as a matric subject is a key part of that,” said Zille.
Harmonise activities targeting disabled people, government urged
image: Uhuru Kenyatta outside Treasury before the budget speech. Picture: Liz Muthoni
Posted Monday, June 22 2009 at 00:00
Treasury’s decision to set aside funds to help those with disabilities run business ventures has triggered fresh calls to harmonise activities aimed at helping vulnerable groups.
Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta announced in his recent budget speech that Sh200 million would be allocated to help people with disabilities run business ventures.
But the fund comes at a time when issues to do with the disabled are being handled by at least four ministries and the funds run by various organisations.
According to officials of organisations for disabled persons, this has meant duplication of efforts as well as haphazard implementation of policies, which has hurt the effectiveness of the initiatives.
This has left thousands of disabled people suffering despite billions of shillings in investments aimed at helping such peoples in the society.
They now fear the creation of the Sh200 million National Disability Development Fund ? provided for in the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 ? could introduce more confusion into the rafts of efforts.
“There must be collective efforts at solving the issues of the disabled and the creation of the fund calls for caution in the way the players do their things,” said Timothy Wetang’ula, the executive director of the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation.
“All the existing funds should be merged for effectiveness, otherwise benefits might never reach the most needy people with disabilities.”
Presently, matters touching on the disabled are handled by the ministries of Gender, Children and Social Development, Education, Health, and Home Affairs. Most of the assistance to the disabled comes from the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya, which is headed by a board of trustees.
The fund owns two commercial buildings in Nairobi, which form the bulk of the source its capital among other fundraising activities that enables it raise an annual income of Sh40 million out of which 50 per cent benefits the disabled people directly, said its officials.
“We would support proposals at bringing together all players under one institution to boost effectiveness as are currently disjointed,” said Mr Njiru Muchiri, the chief executive officer at the National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya.
The fund offers varied forms of assistance to individuals, groups of disabled people or institutions that take care of them.
Ghana: Two Thousand Copies of Disability Act for Free
22 June 2009
Accra - Tuesday June 23 2009 marks the third anniversary of the passage of the Seven Hundred and Fifteenth Act (Act 715) of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana entitled "Persons with Disability Act, 2006." On the same day, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and its subsidiary organisations of persons with disability (OPWDs), as well as, partner organisations will observe the Third National Day of the Disabled.
This year's National Day of the Disabled (NDD) would be observed in Accra and in the regions and districts under the theme A Call to Action: Implementation of the Disability Act.
One of the high points of the celebration would be the distribution of two thousand (2000) copies of Act 715 at vantage points across the country to target groups as a way of improving awareness about the law. Identifiable institutions like the Ghana Law School, the Balme Library of the University of Ghana, key libraries and media outlets will receive copies, Miss Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, GFD Executive Director, informed the Public Agenda in an interview.
Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees the rights of the disabled and explicitly mandates Parliament to enact legislation to protect these rights. Article 29 (8) states: "Parliament shall enact laws as are necessary to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of this article." In addition, the Constitution charges the Executive under the Directive Principle of State Policy in Article 37[2 (b)] to enact appropriate laws to assure "the protection and promotion of all other basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled?"
Yet, "12 years after the promulgation of the Constitution, little had been done until 2005 when this government (reference to the former NPP government) took the bull by the horns to lay the bill on disability to Parliament" (sic). Such was the position of Hon Paul Okoh, then Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises.
When the law was eventually passed on June 23, 2006 and President Kufour subsequently assented to it on August 9 of the same year, the GFD and its partners saw it as a massive victory and rightly declared June 23 of every year the NDD). The purpose of setting aside the day was to create awareness on disability and promote the rights of PWDs. This was against the backdrop of the amount of time and resources that civil society invested to engineer the passage of Act 715.
At a sensitization programme for the media earlier this year, Mr. Edward Tuinese Amuzu of the Legal Resources Centre described Act 715 as "one of the most important human rights laws we have." He added, "If we are up and doing with this law, the rights of PWDs can be protected."
Act 715 has sixty sections and is organized into eight broad parts; Rights of persons with disability, Employment of persons with disability, Education of persons with disability, Transportation, Health-care and facilities, Miscellaneous Provisions, Establishment and functions of National Council on Persons with Disability, and Administrative and financial provisions.
But last year, when the Second NDD was marked under the theme The State of the Disability Law - Challenges and Prospects, there was overwhelming emphasis part seven of the Act which concerns the establishment of the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) which Act 715 provides for under Section 41. Section 42 (1) states: "The object of the Council is to propose and evolve policies and strategies to enable persons with disability enter and participate in the mainstream of the national development process.
Prof John Evans Atta Mills, after succeeding Mr. John Agyekum Kufour as president, immediately fulfilled a campaign promise by forming the NCPD which is chaired by Mr Andrew Okai Koi. The establishment of the NCPD would therefore not be an issue this year but certainly the mention of it would result in the commendation of the President. Perhaps, the mention of the NCPD would remind the Ministries of Employment and Social Welfare, and Education of their responsibility towards the enactment of various Legislative Instruments that would catalyse the full implementation of Act 715.
For example, Section 42 (5) directs the NCPD to advise the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare on disability issues and submit to the "Minister" proposals for appropriate legislation on disability. There is also an implied role for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning under Section 10 (1), which provides that Government shall grant employers of PWDs an annual tax rebate of the taxable income in respect of each PWD employed "as shall be prescribed in Regulations made under this Act." Again, in Section 17, "The Minister of Education shall by Legislative Instrument designate schools or institutions in each region which shall provide the necessary facilities and equipment that will enable persons with disability to fully benefit from the school or institution."
Without doubt, varying forms of legislative instruments are imperative for the full implementation of the Act. Merely putting the NCPD in place may not be enough. Indeed, Act 715 does not disagree at all with this view. Section 58 states that the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare may, on the advice of the Board (of the NCPD), by legislative instrument, make Regulations providing (1) "for minimum standard of facilities to be provided and maintained by public bodies or institutions so as to make those bodies or institutions and services provided by those bodies or institutions available to persons with disability," and (2) "generally for the effective implementation of the objects of this Act."
So much for the provisions contained in the Act which need the attention of policy makers. There are others that are targeted at the ordinary man. One of the fundamental provisions is found in Section 1 which frowns on attempts by any person to deprive a PWD of the right to live with the PWD's family. This goes for those families who cast away family members because of disability. Section 4 (1) prohibits any person from discriminating against, exploiting or subjecting a PWD to abusive or degrading treatment.
There are provisions for drivers and many others including employers. Section 60 goes for property owners and caretakers; "The owner or occupier of an existing building to which the public has access shall within ten years of the commencement of this Act make that building accessible to and available for use by a person with disability." There are seven years left on this moratorium and what are people doing about it?
A year ago, Hon Okoh said the outcome of a disability audit tour, which the parliamentary select committee undertook to three regions to assess the people's awareness of the act and how it was being implemented, was unsatisfactory. He said, "I am afraid to report that the awareness is low and the implementation slow or nil."
This is why the decision to distribute the 2000 copies of the Act 715 and the choice of the theme A Call to Action: Implementation of the Disability Act are appropriate for this year's celebrations.
Ghana: A Call to Action On Disability
Accra - The third anniversary of the passage of the Seven Hundred and Fifteenth Act (Act 715) of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana entitled Persons with Disability Act, 2006 will be held tomorrow, Tuesday June 23, 2009.
On the same day, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and its subsidiary Organisations of Persons with Disability (OPWDs), as well as, partner organisations will observe the Third National Day of the Disabled.
This year's National Day of the Disabled (NDD) would be observed in Accra and in the regions and districts under the theme, A Call to Action: Implementation of the Disability Act.
One of the high points of the celebration would be the distribution of 2000 copies of Act 715 at vantage points across the country to target groups as a way of improving awareness about the law.
Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana guarantees the rights of the disabled and explicitly mandates Parliament to enact legislations to protect these rights. Article 29 (8) states: "Parliament shall enact laws as are necessary to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of this article." In addition, the Constitution charges the Executive under the Directive Principles of State Policy in Article 37(2 )(b)] to enact appropriate laws to assure "the protection and promotion of all other basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled?"
Yet, 12 years after the promulgation of the Constitution, little was done until 2005 when NPP government took the bull by the horns to lay the bill on disability before Parliament.
The law was eventually passed on June 23, 2006, but getting it off the ground had proved difficult due to the government's failure to inaugurate the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD).
With the NCPD now constituted under the chairmanship of Mr Andrew Okai Koi, it is expected as the second National Day on Disability is being held the sector ministries charged with promoting the welfare of persons with disability would wake up from their slumber.
Specific mention has to be made of the Ministries of Employment and Social Welfare, and Education which are charged with the responsibility of enacting various Legislative Instruments to catalyse the full implementation of Act 715.
Without doubt, varying forms of legislative instruments are imperative for the full implementation of the Act. Merely putting the NCPD in place may not be enough.
There are so many provisions contained in the Act which need the attention of policy makers and all Ghanaians- property owners, drivers, teacher the security agencies etc. We all owe the persons with disability a duty to live happy and productive lives.
This newspaper hopes the Act will not just be another piece of legislation passed for its sake, but all stakeholders will ensure the enforcement of its provisions.
Algeria To Build Centres For Palestinian Disabled Children
ALGIERS, June 23 (Bernama) -- Algeria will finance the building of centres for Palestinian disabled children in Gaza Strip, Minister for National Solidarity, Family and National Community abroad Djamel Ould Abbes announced here recently.
The President of the Republic decided to devote a budget, which amount has not been given, to the construction of two centres based in Khan Yunes (Gaza) and destined to welcome children with motor disability, the deaf-mute, visually- and mentally handicapped children because of the Israeli aggression, Algerian news agency (APS) quoted Ould Abbes as telling the press on the sidelines of his meeting with Palestinian children on vacation in Algeria last weekend.
Algeria awaits the data sheet of the Palestinian authorities to immediately begin funding the centres which will be similar to the Algerian centres, the minister said, adding that Algeria will also dispatch psychologists in Gaza to train specialists and welcome Palestinians to train them in Algeria.
Other centres will be constructed in the future, said Ould Abbes, noting that Algeria will support the training of psychologists in cooperation with the Palestinian authorities, the Palestinian Red Crescent, the Algerian Red Crescent, the Algerian civil society and Palestinian associations.
Ghana marks Disability Day
The Ghana Federation of the Disabled has advocated the implementation of the Disability Act 715 to ensure participation, promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled. The President of the Federation, Samuel Asare made this known at a news conference in Accra on Tuesday to mark Disability Day.
Mr. Asare noted that apart from ignorance and superstition, cultural barriers account for the major factors that contribute to prejudice, discrimination, as well as isolation which delay the progress of persons with disabilities.
The President is convinced that government through the National Disability Council will ensure the implementation of the Act since any further delay will amount to a denial of justice. In a message, the Advocacy Chairman of the Federation, Ofori Debrah, said there are several provisions of the Act that require legislative instruments to give effect to the implementation.
Mr. Debrah called on Ministers of Employment and Social Welfare and education to expedite action in developing the legislative instruments.
Posted on: Tuesday, 23, June, 2009 Source: GBC
Work on social exclusion presented
6/23/09 3:31 PM
Luanda - A scientific book entitled “Social exclusion in Angola - the case of disabled people of Luanda”, by the sociologist Paulo de Carvalho was presented last week, in Luanda, a press note delivered to ANGOP says.
The work, according to its author, touches on the situation of a marginalised social group, the disabled people, providing information on strategies of survival.
Although they are in a situation of social marginalisation, disabled people can not be considered a homogeneous group as they have different life stories, as well as different social capital that shows a difference in strategies of survival.
"It is noticed that disabled people are in a worst situation than a common marginalised person, exactly due to their condition of disability" it can be read on the book.
Thus, the intention of the writer is to notice to what extent disabled people adopt survival strategies identical to the common citizens' or if at this level they are also marginalised.
Paulo de Carvalho says in his 438-page book that he also tells describes the stigmatisation of disabled people, both in the interaction with other citizens and in their relations with institutions, such as the labour market, schools and health centres.
Rwanda: Disability is Not Inability, And Thomas Ndagijimana is Living Proof
24 June 2009
A humble but cheerful Ndagijimana with a radiant smile squats in the corner of the room. On seeing us he readily offers his hand in greeting. Though he can't stand, he claps his hands and shakes his shoulders, as the music plays; his love for music is obvious.
Ndagijimana was not born disabled. "At the age of three, I suffered from polio," explains the youngest in a family of seven children.
Yet his disability has not stopped him from doing what he enjoys most, and that is singing and dancing.
"I started as a drama actor, way back in 1992, in Mbarara in Uganda, before I joined the popular Ben Rutabana's band as a dancer," he says.
However, Ben left the country and being the courageous and ambitious man he is, Ndagijimana started writing his own music in 2000. His first hit was Urihe Muhayempundu.
"I sang this song after my wife had left me and I went looking for her but couldn't find her. This was a very hard a time for me," Ndagijimana explains the origin of the song. Fortunately, the couple is back together now.
He has so far three songs to his name and is currently working on the fourth one which he says will be even better than the first three.
Ndigijimana believes that disability is not inability, and stresses that as long as you are not mentally disabled, you can do anything.
"Many people think that being disabled means that you are useless, but I want to show that is wrong. That's why I went out to talk to people instead of isolating myself and feeling sorry, which wouldn't help me in any way. I knew that there was something I could do in this world, rather than sitting by the road side and beg."
When asked where he finds the courage to keep going, Ndagijimana smiles, remembering his old friend Ben Rutabana, who he says is the source of his inspiration.
"I loved Ben and his music; he was like a brother to me. He had a talent most musicians lack. Ben was someone I could approach easily because he was down to earth."
Ndagijimana admits that it is not always easy being disabled with a family and working as an artist, but explains that he manages to survive with the help from well-wishers, and sometimes he sings at parties.
He doesn't do many real concerts though, but he plans to organize one when his new song is finished. He is convinced it will be a hit not only in Rwanda but in East Africa as a whole.
In case you are a fan of Reggae, Afro beat and RnB music, Ndagijimana will offer you all of that. He comes up with his songs the hard way.
"Sometimes when I have a problem, I get up in the middle of the night troubled, and the song just comes up. So I write it and after getting the lyrics, I also find my own beat."
According to him, the music industry in Rwanda is developing more than in other countries.
"Since the number of radio stations has increased, music can get more airtime. But the problem still is that we only have one TV channel, which doesn't play a lot of our local music. If more channels could be brought in to put most of the local music on the national scene, it would be an improvement."
And to fellow disabled people, Ndagijimana has a hearty message that they should think positively instead of thinking that they are useless, because people will not give you money today and tomorrow and the next day, they eventually get tired of you.
"As long as you are not mentally disabled, you can do something. My motto always is 'Hope for the better'."
Cameroon: Handicap Students - The Integration Process is On
25 June 2009
The Ministry of Higher Education is working towards the integration of handicap students in the higher education system of Cameroon.
In Cameroon, the constitution guarantees the right to education and affirms that basic education, including nursery and primary education is free for all. However, several factors have made the integration of handicapped youths and adolescents in the education system almost impossible. Some of these factors include high costs of specialised training for the handicapped at primary level, shortage of specialised trainers, inadequate educative infrastructure, among others. As a result, many handicapped children tend to abandon school and in most cases such children are marginalised in society. This notwithstanding, the government, through the Ministry of Social Affairs and partner ministries is working hard to facilitate the integration of handicapped youths into the educational system.
The Ministry of Higher Education, for instance, has made a great contribution towards the integration of handicapped students in the higher education system of Cameroon. As far as access to edifices is concerned, two students' residential quarters are under completion in the campus of the University of Yaounde, Ngoa-Ekele. In these structures there are rooms specially adapted for handicapped students. In the University of Yaounde II, Soa, the Minister of Higher Education recently inaugurated a pedagogic building dubbed "Building for Dialogue and Culture". The building takes into consideration the needs of the handicapped students. Concerning holiday jobs, the Ministry of Higher Education gives priority to handicapped youths. The handicapped students are also given priority in the award of scholarships, work and other university performances. The Ministry of Secondary Education is carrying out a study to identify handicapped students and the schools which they attend.
Apart from the ministries, private associations and organisations are contributing towards the integration of youths in the country. According to Martin Zouda, a teacher at the school for the deaf and dumb (ESEDA) in Yaounde, there are innovations that have to be made at the level of the specialised education of the handicapped children. This includes the reviewing of the participation of handicapped students in examinations. "The manner in which examinations are being conducted does not take into consideration the physical and psychological handicap of the person," he said. According to him, the problems are many and have to be solved while taking into consideration the standards of other schools abroad. He said the equipment for training is expensive. In order to help the students, the school works in partnership with associations in Europe which send them equipment which they then give out to the students.
Cameroon: Making School Premises Fit for the Handicapped
25 June 2009
Catherine Bakang Mbock is working out strategies to ease education for the disabled.
Have you ever been in an examination hall with blind candidates who do not have specialised examination equipment adaptable to their condition? The circumstance is usually pitiful especially as those around them can see and write but cannot help. Such candidates can go on for about 30 minutes before having somebody or the equipment necessary to enable them read and answer the examination questions. More heartbreaking is when one sees disabled persons struggling through a staircase to make their way into the classroom. Some disabled, particularly the deaf and dumb say their education is so expensive that some of their parents cannot afford such a cost. Thus, they end up at home without any basic form of re-education. As part of efforts to right these wrongs, the Minister of Social Affairs, Catherine Bakang Mbock, is seeking ways to better integrate handicapped persons into the educational sector. She held a meeting yesterday with members of the public and the private sector to discuss specific educational needs for the disabled young people in the country to enable them better study like other normal students.
During the meeting, Catherine Bakang Mbock said nursery and primary school education in Cameroon is free but young handicapped persons do not still find it easy going through education because of their condition which requires specialised equipment and teachers. The Minister said disabled people are not only victims of discrimination and marginalisation but hardly benefit from adequate education or professional training that permits them to fully fit in the job market. That is why during the meeting, the blind, deaf and dumb as well as those who deal with mentally challenged children took time to list the specific equipments that could permit this group of people to study and meet up with the challenges of the job market. It was also noted at the meeting that some of the equipment used by disabled people, particularly the blind, are out dated. The Social Affairs boss said it is time to come out with the exact educational needs of handicapped persons so that the government or partners will know exactly what to give to them. While highlighting that institutional laws and government policies are geared towards a call for national solidarity with all the handicapped, Catherine Bakang Mbock said individuals should show solidarity towards such people, especially when building public or private edifices.
Nigeria: HCSF Makes Case For Disabled Staff
25 June 2009
Abuja - HEAD of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), Mr. Stephen Oronsaye has urged all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) to give special concessions to members of staff who are disabled, when it becomes necessary.
Speaking at a special interactive forum with persons with physical disabilities in the federal civil service, Oronsaye also directed MDAs yet to establish "disability desks" in line with the Continental Plan of Action for the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities 1999-2009 to do so immediately, stressing that the plan provides for the establishment of such desks in the office of the President or Prime Minister, and all levels of government to improve their working conditions.
He pointed out that giant strides have been recorded since the establishment of the desk for the Nigerian public service in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in April, 2003.
He commended staff with physical disabilities for their numerous contributions to the development of the civil service and the nation, saying "in an era when some persons with far less physical challenges choose to depend on handouts, you have dared to be different by earning your wages, and our admiration.
"The management of the federal civil service is unmindful of the fact that many civil servants with physical challenges are hard working as their other physically unchallenged colleagues.
"Management is therefore ever-ready to assist physically challenged civil servants maximize their potentials," Oronsaye said, while calling on the private sector to emulate the non-discriminatory employment policy of government as it concerns persons with disabilities."
Earlier, the President of the National Civil Service Association of Persons with Disabilities, Barrister Daniel Modozie had called for intervention by the HCSF in addressing some of their key problems, adding that they have chosen the better option of facing the challenges to contribute their skills and knowledge to the growth and development of country.
Modozie said that the association need an office accommodation to serve as its secretariat, just as he requested for subvention and grants-in-aid for the running of the association and special capacity building and training for members.
The President urged that special disability allowances be made for members, so as to ameliorate their sufferings, especially in the cost of transportation, adding that accommodation should also be provided for members under low-cost housing schemes.
◆2009/06/21 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: HOS Makes Case for Physically Challenged
Zimbabwe: Poor Funding Dogs Miss Deaf
26 June 2009
Harare - NEWLY-CROWNED Miss Deaf Zimbabwe queen Biebeat Marume's trip to the Miss Deaf World finals scheduled for July 2 in the Czech Republic now hangs in the balance owing to lack of funds to pay for her air ticket and that of her interpreter.
Marume (19) was crowned the inaugural Miss Deaf Zimbabwe queen at a colourful ceremony at the Harare International Conference Centre last weekend, outshining 14 other contenders.
Lavender Matimbira and Ezeria Chazamba were the first and second princesses respectively.
However, Marume's chances of lifting the country's flag high in Prague, Czech Republic might remain a pipe dream after the founder of the pageant, Madeline Yohane, revealed that there was lack of sponsorship.
"The winning queen was supposed to have left the country for the Czech Republic on June 30, but this seems like it won't be possible owing to lack of sponsorship for air tickets that will include hers and those of her interpreter.
"We are still waiting for response from the sponsors we approached and we would appreciate assistance from those who are willing enable the model to travel to Prague for the Miss Deaf World finals," she said.
Meanwhile, Marume and her two princesses walked away with beauty gift vouchers for a year courtesy of Kiri Davies' Beauty Centre and hair voucher for a month from Tyrons Hair Salon, among others.
The pageant -- that targets deaf models between the ages of 16 to 25 -- aims to raise an awareness among people on the deaf community and foster an appreciation of such people.
"We also aim to boost their (deaf models) self esteem and help them realise what they want to be in life regardless of their disability status," said Madeline.
She said the pageant sought to quash the myth that beauty was only found in able-bodied people.
"When one thinks of beauty, they may choose to associate it with able-bodied individuals who have what it takes to stand out in a crowd.
"Some however choose to think differently and believe that everyone has a unique form of beauty, irregardless of their physical capabilities," she said.
She added: "The Miss Deaf Zimbabwe pageant is there to support and encourage (deaf) girls to step out and show the world that disability is not inability."
Audrey Chakara -- who is now based in Czech, was the first deaf model to represent Zimbabwe at the Miss Deaf World finals in 2007 and emerged on eighth position out of 19 contestants from different countries.
Last year, Linda Francis represented the country at the same contest.
Economic meltdown hits NGOs hard
27 June, 2009 10:00:00 By Fanyana Mabuza
The global economic meltdown is hitting hard on various sectors of the world’s economy, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are also feeling the crunch.
International donors and African governments are likely to cut health budgets due to the global financial crisis. Health experts fear that increasing unemployment and poverty will lead to less food security and quality of nutrition, which will in turn put more stress on an already weak health systems.
The implications, warns a newly-released World Bank report, could be grave.
“We need to ensure that African’s do not become a silent casualty of the global financial downturn,” demanded Paula Akugizibwe, regional treatment literacy and advocacy coordinator of Windhoek-based AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) in Namibia.
“Our lives are not cheap or expendable. We expect health to be prioritised over weapons, sports and lavish politics,” she added.
Tanzania was the first sub-Saharan country to announce a 25 percent cut of its annual HIV and AIDS budget.
“This will have a significant impact on human resources in the sector and on health service delivery,” explained Akugizibwe.
“Long-term health planning will become completely unpredictable.”
The situation is not much better in neighbouring countries. The South African government has indicated that large private firms, especially mining companies, are likely to cut their HIV prevention programmes affecting thousands of employees and their families.
Even worse, Botswana’s presidential spokesperson Jeff Ramsay recently announced government will not be able to include new patients in its free antiretroviral (ARV) treatment programme from 2016 onwards, because it doesn’t have sufficient funds to expand the programme.
All this stands in direct contradiction to a commitment to set aside 15 percent of their national expenditure towards health made by African heads of state during a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2001.
Even international donor organisations have started to feel the financial crunch. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria recently announced it is at least $4 billion short of the money it will need to continue funding essential HIV, TB and malaria services in 2010. The coalition believes there is a $10.7 billion funding gap for regional implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB alone.
The right to health and treatment are non-negotiable, activists say.
They now want to hold the heads of state and international aid organisations to their commitments made to increase and improve HIV treatment and care.
“Broken promises and skewed priorities of governments and donors have reduced the right to health and access to treatment to unattainable rhetoric,” lamented TAC women’s health programme coordinator Nonkosi Khumalo.
The meltdown is not only affecting the health sector but even other sectors like education, poverty reduction and malnutrition prevention are feeling the heat, thus diminishing hopes of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Naturally, Swaziland is not exempted in such a dilemma and local NGOs have conceded that if the trend continues, they may be driven into collapse.
According to the Programmes Manager and Policy Analyst at the CANGO, Jabulane Dlamini, such a trend had the possibility of reversing gains made over the years in any NGO sector.
“We are already feeling the global economic recession pinch. As you may know, NGOs operate strictly on funding availed by donors. They are also getting strained by the day and in that manner cannot afford to release money much needed by the NGO sector and this is a great challenge for our NGO community whatever the ro9le they are playing.” Dlamini said.
He mentioned that they were still nursing hopes that the meltdown does not hold any much longer as that would spell disaster.
“We can only pray that it does not continue because the longer it takes could mean disaster. In fact, CANGO is weighing the options of commissioning a study of how the global credit crunch is affecting the local NGO while also looking at strategies to mitigate the consequences, ” Dlamini said.
He could not come out clear on how the crunch would affect the local fight against HIV and Aids, saying he could not discriminate one sector from another as they were facing the same problems. “All I can say is that things look bleak as it is and we can only hope the recession comes to pass before worse damage is done.”
Swaziland could be most hit, especially on the HIV sector as the country is rated among the leading countries with HIV prevalence worldwide.
Additional reporting sourced from the internet.
Uganda People News: Sign language interpreters needed in health centers
First published: 20090628 7:20:55 AM EST
The government of Uganda has been called upon to employ sign language interpreters in health centers across the country in order to help deaf people access health services.
Florence Mukasa, the Gender and Theatre Coordinator of the National Association of the Deaf in Uganda says many deaf people find it difficult to explain their ailments when they go to health centers since health facilities do not have skills to interpret sign language.
She says this has made many deaf people to shun going to health centers. Mukasa tells journalists that while some deaf try to go with their relatives or friends to help them explain their ailments to health workers, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the deaf and other disabled people get all health services they require.
She says the government must therefore employ sign language interpreters in health centers across the country if health provision for the deaf in Uganda is to be real.
No help for disabled - shortage of funds worry musicians
29 June 2009
Penwell Dlamini - firstname.lastname@example.org
image: DIRE STRAITS: John Mothopeng of the Southern African Disabled Musicians Association in the room that he uses as a music studio in his Yeoville home. PHOTO: ELVIS NTOMBELA
While the National Lotteries Board (NLB) has blamed the delay of payments to charities on the volume of applications and processing, needy organisations are battling to cope.
Last week in parliament it was revealed that the NLB had R3,3billion available to help organisations this year alone but somehow only distributed R848million.
This means that 72percent of the cash available for distribution is lying idle .
While funds remain in the coffers of the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund charity organisations have been left wanting as funding has been delayed by almost three years.
John Mothopeng, chairperson of the Southern African Disabled Musicians Association, said it has been a mammoth task trying to run the organisation without funding.
“The NLB approved the payment of more than R3,6million three years ago ? but only gave us R1million in October last year,” Mothopeng said.
“The money was used to buy a house for the organisation in Highlands North, Johannesburg.”
Sadma provides music training and recording and distribution facilities for disabled musician across the country.
Sadma at present operates from Mothopeng’s house in Yeoville while the Highlands North house is being renovated.
“We are already paying for water, electricity and rates totalling more than R2000 a month,” Mothopeng said.
Sam Noge, Sadma head of administration and marketing , said the NLB had previously released funds while waiting for audited statements to be completed.
“Our auditors sent a letter to the NLB informing them that audited statements would be submitted as soon as they were ready,” Noge said.
Sadma had previously received funding on the basis of progress reports, while audited statements were being prepared.
The money received amounted to R1,55milllion four years ago and was used to buy a minibus and run talent search programmes across the country.
But last year NLB changed its modus operandi and delayed the R2,6million pending the receipt of audited statements .
“We appreciate how they helped us to acquire the house but it is useless if we can’t buy equipment and furniture for the facility,” Noge said.
Ghana: MMDCEs Are Critical to Mainstreaming of Disability Issues
29 June 2009
Accra - On countless occasions, the disability movement in Ghana, led by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), has called on policy actors to mainstream disability into policy. One giant step which was taken in response to this call was the passage of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).
But because policy actors seemingly went to sleep after passing the law, it became necessary for the GFD to reiterate the urgent need for mainstreaming. This the Federation did a fortnight ago at the orientation of about 170 new Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) at the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS).
MMDCEs, district coordinating directors, district planning officers, district budget officers and district social welfare officers are key target groups of a 12-month advocacy and capacity building project which the GFD is undertaking with sponsorship from the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme (G-RAP). The orientation therefore presented an unavoidable opportunity.
In its paper titled Mainstreaming Disability into National Development; the Role of the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies, the Federation stated that an inclusive, barrier-free and rights based society will enable persons with disability (PWDs) enjoy greater freedom through economic and social participation. "These ideas and dreams cannot be realized if duty bearers, especially District Chief Executives and the assemblies do not aim and commit themselves" to change attitudes towards disability, promote the rights of PWDs, and support PWDs to become "independent and self-supporting."
Worldwide, the disability movement and activists are placing more emphasis on the social model definition of disability and are making it the crux of mainstreaming. According to the social model, the loss or limitation of opportunities for persons with physical, sensory or intellectual impairment to partake in the ordinary life of the community on an equal level with others is due to physical, structural and social barriers."
The model gives no room to the traditional or medical definition of disability which dwells on the loss of opportunities for PWDs simply because of their disability.
In its presentation, the GFD said PWDs and activists in Ghana associate themselves with the social model of disability which demands a policy of inclusion. It went on to point out that mainstreaming, in the form that is being advocated, is based on the tenets of the social model.
Thus, "This new crop of Chief Executives should do well to exhibit a profound sense of understanding, humanity and sensitivity towards disability issues by allowing themselves to be guided by the social model of disability." It added that MMDCEs and their assemblies "must appreciate a critical need for a social safety net for PWDs to serve their special needs."
Indeed, the 1992 Constitution of Ghana foresaw the need for mainstreaming and charged the Executive under the Directive Principle of State Policy in Article 37[2 (b)] to enact appropriate laws to assure "the protection and promotion of all other basic human rights and freedoms, including the rights of the disabled?"
Act 715 also provides a platform for mainstreaming. All of its sixty sections seem patterned along the lines of the social model of disability. The Act, organized into eight broad parts, has provisions on Rights of persons with disability, Employment of persons with disability, Education of persons with disability, Transportation, Health-care and facilities, Miscellaneous Provisions, Establishment and functions of National Council on Persons with Disability, and Administrative and financial provisions.
What then is left? Action, of course! That is why the theme A Call to Action: Implementation of the Disability Act which was chosen for this year's National Day of the Disabled (NDD) which fell on Tuesday June 23 was most appropriate.
The ball is in the court of the National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD), which Act 715 established under Section 41, to garner support from MMDCEs and other government agencies for the mainstreaming of disability issues. Section 42 (1) of Act 715 states: "The object of the Council is to propose and evolve policies and strategies to enable persons with disability enter and participate in the mainstream of the national development process."
Miss Deaf SD off to Czech Republic
30 June, 2009 10:00:00
By Mphikeleli Msibi
MISS Deaf Swaziland Simphiwe Magagula flew out of the country yesterday afternoon to attend the Miss Deaf World contest in Prague, Czech Republic on July 11.
The beauty queen was accompanied by her interpreter Lungile Lushaba and Sizwe Ndlela.
Magagula had to leave early because she was also invited by the organisers of the ninth annual international Miss Deaf World contest and the newly established Miss Deaf Europe contest to showcase prime fashion designers in the Miss Deaf Europe to be held on the 5th July in Brno, Czech Republic.
This newly established contest will take place together with the Miss Deaf World contest in one term. Magagula said she would behave and represent the country well. She also promised to reflect to the nation what the country is known for, rich cultural practices and respect.
"I will represent the country and am confident that I will not come back home empty handed ," she said.
Magagula also thanked all the companies who sponsored her.
"Am so grateful to all the companies who have helped me with a number of items. All these things that I have been sponsored with will come in handy as I will be representing the country and am now confident enough to battle for the crown," she said.
Sizwe Ndlela who is behind the success of the Miss Deaf Swaziland pageant thanked all the companies for the kind gesture.
Ndlela said anyone who made a contribution towards this trip has lended a hard in the creation of a more compassionate and caring environment, where the weak, the backward, the handicapped and the uncompetitive were given equal opportunities to take full advantage of their God-given talents where the right opportunities exists.
Ndlela said all girls with hearing disabilities from around the world and their accompanying person would come to Prague on the 1st of July 2009.
Objectives of the Miss Deaf Swaziland beauty pageant is to bring out the inherent talents of deaf pupils, to develop artistic and creative ability of deaf pupils, elevate the image and self-confidence of the children, encourage and foster future leaders.
'Why Disabled Children Stay out of School'
Majority of disable children stay at home or on the streets because schools do not cater for them says a recent research by the Federal Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).
Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu , who was represented by the Director of Basic Education, Hajia Hindatu Abdulahi, at the public presentation of the report on opportunities for inclusive education in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, said there was need to investigate opportunities to enhance inclusive education in primary and junior secondary schools.
The report he said identified three obstacles to the implementation of inclusive education in secondary schools as inadequate technology, lack of fund and overcrowded classrooms.
It recommended an effective public sensitisation and mobilisation; national policy to ensure consideration on merit of special teachers/support staff and natural staff; as well as appropriate model of implementation, which would be used to prepare a blue print for the country.
Also present at the presentation were the Chairman, Governing Board of the NERDC, Otunba Muyiwa Collins, representatives of the ministry and Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Godswill Obioma