Ghana: People With Disability And Their Rights in Society
1 July 2009
Every individual is important, irrespective of the abilities the individual possess, be it physical or mental. Everyone is unique in his or her contribution to the progress of the world. Just like the parts of the body, which rely on each other to function properly, likewise the ability and strength of people in this world.
It is very unfortunate that some people in this world did not get the right physical appearance that nature proposed for every human being. Some people have to go on in life without some of their body parts in the right order to make them function properly. Some live without hands, legs, sight, voice or sense of hearing, making them physically impaired, or sometimes called people with disability. In whichever situation they find themselves, they make it a point to be useful to themselves and to society in so many ways. Even though some of these physically impaired capitalise on their disability, and go about the streets begging for alms, society must make it a point to help those who have decided not to be a burden, but rather strive to make themselves useful.
The Ghanaian society and people with disability (PWD)
In Ghana and many parts of the world, disability is often considered a curse in one's family, which runs from generation to generation, or could be a sin committed by the individual, which has brought calamity on him or herself. In this case, society refuses to empathise with the person, as well be of help to him, with the notion that the calamity that had befallen the unfortunate person could be transmitted to them as well. They are normally stigmatised, rejected by family members and society, and sometimes made fun of by children. The superstitious belief by some that in giving alms to those with disabilities would be giving your luck to that person makes both the literate and illiterate behave meanly towards them.
This belief has made people forget about the scientific and medical fact that disability could be as a result of a deficiency in a parent, or an infection by one of the killer diseases or vehicular accident. Society must not forget that PWD, no matter their degree of disability, are also citizens and residents of a society and country, and as such, are entitled to equal rights. They should not be given the trauma of always battling with who they really are, in terms of them facing restriction to participating in societal programmes, and facing discrimination and abuse.
PWD and societal opportunities
Owing to the rate at which PWDs are discriminated against, it is very hard to see them in honourable positions and offices, even though it might be one of their dreams in life. A PWD sometimes feels reluctant to continue or go to school, since he or she would not be acknowledged by society to occupy positions of responsibility. It has been observed that the majority of PWDs, especially the deaf, mute and blind, no matter how brilliant they are, often end their educational background at the Junior High level. This can be attributed to the fact that the government has no provision for them to continue their education as far as they can, and also official appointments to accommodate them, they however end up learning some form of vocation.
PWDs are often discriminated in several positions of the nation, even at workplaces, their abilities are taken for granted, no matter how qualified they are for the position. Even when accepted at the work place, he or she is often isolated during any activity or programme at the work place. It is very sad to note that the attitude of people towards PWDs makes their God-given talent end up being hidden. For some PWDs it takes only courage and steadfastness to bring out the talent they have in them.
PWD and the law
It's been too long a time since PWDs are being discriminated. It is a good thing that the United Nations (UN), governments and organisational bodies have come to empathise with PWDs to free them from their plights. According to the Direcgov website, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. This Act has been significantly extended by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. It now gives disabled people rights in the areas of employment, education, access to goods, facilities and services, including larger private clubs and land-based transport services, buying or renting land or property, including making it easier for disabled people to rent property, and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations, functions of public bodies, for example issuing of licenses.
The Act requires public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. It also allows the government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport more easily. Furthermore, it prevents any form of harassment in employment, education, and in terms of goods and service.
In Ghana, this act has been in existence, but its implementation has always been the issue. According to the President of the Ghana Federation of Disabled (GFD) Mr. Samuel Kwesi Asare, three years after the promulgation of this act, its implementation is yet to be effected. He made this known during the celebration of this year's National Disability Day, with its theme "Call to action: implementation of the National Disability Act," which he believes is a reflection of the state of affairs. According to him, what GFD requires most is the political willingness on the part of the state to ensure the implementation of the National Disability Act. The GFD has the conviction that further delay in the implementation of the act would serve as an obstacle to the agenda of mainstreaming disability concerns to national development.
Members of the GFD believe that the right and social image of PWDs would be enhanced if the poverty and misery among the majority of them are tackled and alleviated. They are also of the belief that the best government intervention to salvage PWDs from the inter-generational poverty cycle is the two percent of the District Assembly Common Fund reserved for PWDs.
Society must come to the realisation that people with physical impairment can in no way serve as an obstacle to their capabilities, if society doesn't take their existence and rights for granted. Society should try and give PWDs the same chances given to other people in life, in order for them to be proud of their existence in life, and also be able to reach their dreams and aspirations.
The government, which they have most of their hopes on, must try and implement the disability act, since it is meant for them. It is the responsibility of the government to take care and protect the rights of all its citizens, and not just a portion, so as to enhance its campaign on democracy in the nation.
Miss Deaf leaves for Czech Republic today
02 July, 2009 11:45:00
By Calisile Masilela
DUE to some technicalities, Miss Deaf Swaziland Simphiwe Magagula could not leave for Czech Republic on Tuesday and yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku bade her farewell.
Also present to bid Magagula farewell were Minister of Education Wilson Ntshangase and Minister of Sports, culture and youth Affairs Hlobsile Ndlovu.
Magagula leaves today for the Miss deaf Europe and World pageant. The event starting tomorrow until July 12 will be held at the Czech Republic in Prague and Brno.
Masuku said the event was in line with the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which the government of Swaziland has signed.
He said the convention ensures that persons with disabilities are able to participate fully on an equal basis with others in all aspects of social life.
He thanked sponsors who contributed towards the beauty queen’s trip. These include Edgars stores, Foot Print, Ligomba Lemaswati, Mr Price, Venus Hair Saloon and buds and petals.
Magagula's air ticket was bought by Minister of Sports, culture and youth Affairs Hlobsile Ndlovu.
Magagula 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 also at 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 well known for, rich cultural practices and respect.
"I will represent the country well and am confident that I will not come back home empty handed ," she said.
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 their image and self-confidence as well as encourage and foster them as future leaders.
Disability group in need of K15 billion to revamp farms
Thursday, July 2, 2009, 9:00
The Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability (ZAPD) is still scouting for about K15 billion to start revamping its farms in various parts of the country.
The main farms that need revamping are Kangonda and Kambowa on the Copperbelt, Mitutukuko in North Western , Mimofa in Lusaka and Linda in Southern Province .
Others are Kazembe and Mushota in Luapula, Chitonkene in North Western Province Masaiti and Sisenge on the Copperbelt.
ZAPD Acting Director General Charles Mwape told ZANIS in an interview that there was need for other stakeholders to come on board and assist the agency in raising the required money.
Dr. Mwape said ZAPD has for long time now been appealing to other stakeholders but none has come on board to assist the agency .
He said government and ZAPD alone cannot manage to raise the required money hence the need for partnership with other stakeholders.
The ZAPD Acting Director said once ZAPD is assisted with the required money the agency would ensure that the money was used for the intended purpose.
Dr. Mwape observed that once the farms are revamped more employment would be created among people that live near the farms.
He said it was for this reason that ZAPD wants the farms to be revamped so that they can empower the unemployment.
Gambia: Stakeholders Meet On Draft National Disability Policy
3 July 2009
Stakeholders drawn from various institutions, organisations and agencies in the country on Wednesday brainstormed on the draft integrated national disability policy document 2009-2018 at the Paradise Suites Hotel during a day's validation forum organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The policy document, which is said to be the first of its kind, aims at promoting equal opportunities for enhanced empowerment, participation and protection of the rights of the persons with disabilities irrespective of gender, age and type of disability. This is in recognition of the fact that persons with disabilities can perform to their full potential under the same conditions and opportunities irrespective of their social, economic or cultural background.
Prominent among the objective of the policy document, which is said to be at its final stage of validation, is to advocate for a conducive environment for the participation of persons with disabilities in sports and recreational activities, inclusive education and training rehabilitation, health care services as well as employment. It also seeks to ensure that resources for initiatives that target persons with disabilities and care givers are mobilised and effectively utilised, as well as to promote timely access to information for persons with disabilities using all forms of communication.
Officially opening the validation forum on behalf of the minister for Health and Social Welfare, Alhagie Saikou Jammeh, the acting permanent secretary at the same ministry, observed that over the years, there has been a policy vacuum in the area of disability. As a result of their partnership with the Gambia Federation of Disabled, and the Voluntary Service Overseas, this policy vacuum is now being addressed.
Acting Permanent Secretary Jammeh reminded the participants that the validation is the final one, and implored them to contribute meaningfully so as to enhance the credibility of the national policy document. Speaking earlier, Fanta Bai Secka, director of Social Welfare, said the meeting is important for the government of The Gambia, as it is the first time in the history of the country that they are putting in place a policy for persons with disabilities. She urged the participants to critically look at the document and provide the technical input with a view to finalising a policy document that will go a long way in addressing the welfare of persons with disabilities.
She noted that the document will help them as a department to put in place necessary structures and program of activities that will address the welfare of persons with disabilities, and protecting their human rights. For his part, Muhammed Korah, president of the Gambia Federation of Disabled, delved into the important role of the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) in the policy document. He told the forum that the VSO has been the non-governmental organisation that engages in disability programs. The GFD president commended the government and the VSO for their continuous assistance to persons with disabilities.
Haddy Lamin Njie, the country director of the Voluntary Service Oversea, said her organisation felt honoured in contributing to the first national draft policy on disability, maintaining that the said policy is in line with the VSO's global aim to support persons with disabilities. The need to include persons with disabilities and active participants in all spheres of national development, according to the VSO country director, is more significant now than ever. Expressing hope to see the adoption of the policy, the VSO country director hailed the government for their stance in addressing the issues affecting persons with disabilities.【付記】上記ニュースのURL
Govt gave K1m each to wrong ‘disabled persons’
Saturday, July 4, 2009, 20:52
image: Disabled people camped outside the ministry of community development
The Zambia Disability HIV and AIDS Human Rights Programme says many people who were given the K1 million by government yesterday were not the real beneficiaries.
The Organisation has predicted that the disabled will again go back to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services with force to demand their terminal benefits.
Organisation Programme Director, Elijah Ngwale said many people who benefited from the money were beggars from the streets of Lusaka who took advantage of the protest to demand cash from government.
Mr Ngwale told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that genuine people will now be forced to go back to the minister to demand their dues after their friends were given by the minister yesterday.
He has meanwhile commended government for giving people with disabilities money, but advised the state to use a good channel in settling scores with the disabled next time.
He said government should have used a better way of paying the disabled rather than giving without record, adding that this made many people to infuse themselves.
Mr Ngwale said the people who had previously demonstrated wanted the terminal benefits they worked for but government instead gave the wrong people.
He has since called on government to form a task force that would be dealing with cross-cutting issues concerning persons with disabilities in the country.
He further suggested that the same task force should also help to revamp the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability (ZAPD) and look at retirement packages for persons with disabilities.
Mr Ngwale has further appealed to parliament to ratify the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which was signed in 2007 but has remained untouched since then.
He said this will help address the many challenges persons with disabilities are facing in the country.
Government yesterday gave K1 million each to persons with disabilities who on Tuesday demonstrated at State house.
Zambia: K2.6 Billion Released for ZCH Retirees
6 July 2009
THE Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability (ZAPD) says the Government has released K2.6 billion out of K5.9 billion required to pay the defunct Zambia Council for the Handicapped (ZCH) retirees their terminal benefits.
ZAPD acting director general, Charles Mwape, assured that ZAPD would ensure that the retirees were paid what was due to them, and the exercise will begin today.
Dr Mwape told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka that ZAPD would ensure that eligible retirees were paid because the terminal benefits have long been overdue.
The ZAPD acting director general said the release of the K2.6 billion was an indication that the Government was committed to the welfare of the disabled in Zambia.
Dr Mwape urged the retirees to use their terminal benefits wisely and consider investing the money in things that would bring them income in return.
Dr Mwape was, however, quick to state that not all the retirees would be paid this time, and urged those who would not benefit to remain calm, as the Government would ensure that they got paid soon.
Recently, some defunct ZCH retirees marched to State House to press President Rupiah Banda to intervene in order for the Government to pay them their terminal benefits.
Meanwhile, Dr Mwape has described the registration process of disability organisations with ZAPD as a success.
Dr Mwape urged other disability organisations that have not yet registered with ZAPD to do so, saying it was law that needed to be adhered to.
Dispute erupts over hiring of disabled youth
By NATION CorrespondentPosted Monday, July 6 2009 at 19:47
Efforts to employ disabled youths in the Kazi kwa Vijana initiative hit a snag after two representative groups failed to agree on who among their members would be recruited.
Nakuru mayor David Gikaria Monday said his plan was to engage five disabled people as supervisors.
He said he had asked his officials to get a leader for the disabled who would compile a list of needy and willing colleagues who would earn Sh500 a day if they qualified.
After he received the first list, Mr Gikaria said a blind man came to his office complaining that his group had not been included.
“I told them to leave and agree on one list of five, but when they returned, they still had not agreed,” said Mr Gikaria
The leaders had also included themselves in the list, which did not please the mayor.
So far, youths involved in the initiative have unblocked 300 kilometres of drainage and collected 3,500 tonnes of garbage.
A total of 1,514 youths, including 14 streetboys, are doing various jobs under the programme in Nakuru town.
Gambia: Second Annual Disability Sports Competition Held
Madi S. Njie
6 July 2009
The Gambia National Paralympique Committee (GNPC) recently staged a three day national disability sports competition at various venues in the Serrekunda Surbub.
The annual event started Friday morning 26 June with a 5 kilometer wheelchair athletic race followed by a gold ball by the visually impaired persons in the afternoon. The disability sporting events continued Saturday afternoon with a wheelchairs basket ball, and ended Sunday 28th June after a volley ball and football matches were played by the people with hard of hearing.
Mr. Demba Jarju, Mr. Salifu Kujabi and Mr. Malang Tamba received medals after taking first, second and third positions in the wheelchair marathon competition which started from Buffer Zone in Tallinding to Westfield Junction.
The Sunday closing ceremony also witnessed the award of trophies to cool ball match winners, as well as the Basket, volley and football match victors.
In her address at the closing, Mrs. Ndella Faye-Colley Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Programme Manager on Disability, said her organization supported the activity last year and is in the same vein supporting this year's event as well.
Mrs. Faye-Colley expressed VSO's commitment to the promotion of the economic, social, rights, physical health and political wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
The said project supporting disability sports is currently ongoing, aimed among others to provide training programmes for regional sports coordinators and representatives with a view to decentralize and promote disability sports across the country.
Mr. Sainey Camara, GNPC Secretary General for his part affirms that the event is continuity at the VSO 3 year's disability sports project marking the second year.
He said the successful participation of various disciplines of disabled population is a manifestation of what the people with disabilities can do. He expressed gratitude for the coming together of persons with disabilities to organize themselves independently.
Other speakers include Mr. Alieu Cham-Executive Secretary of the National Sports council and Mr. Momodou Savage-GNPC Technical Director.
Mr. Sulayman Colley-GPC President, Coordinated the event, supported by Mr. Lamin Darboe and Mr. Sunta.
Gambia: National Disability Policy Validated
Musa Barrow & Mamadou Dem 6 July 2009
The integrated National Disability Policy was on Wednesday 1st July 2009 validated at a workshop held at Paradise Suites.
Speaking at the validation workshop, the Director of Social Welfare, Fanta Bai Secka, said the drafted policy is important, because it was the first time in the history of the Gambia that a policy for persons with disabilities had been formulated.
She added that the government of the Gambia valued the support that has been given by donor partners especially VSO, through the lottery fund and also the support that has been given by the team of consultants and task force members who she said had worked tirelessly to put the document in place.
She appealed to participants of the workshop to scrutinize the document which she described as comprehensive and detailed, noting that it was a history making moment.
The Social Welfare Director further said that the document would help her department and government of the Gambia to put in place the necessary structures and programme of activities that would address the welfare of persons with disability and also to protect their human rights.
On his part, the president of Gambia Federation of the Disabled, Muhammad Kora,acknowledged the pivotal role played by voluntary service overseas in the formulation of the draft integrated National Disability Policy.
He said VSO is the only international organization that involves itself wholly and solely in the field of disability. As a result of VSO's partnership with Disabled People Organisations (DPOs).He said it was deemed necessary to come up with a National Disability Policy. Mr. Kora applauded VSO whom he said had been instrumental in the funding of the preparation of the documents.
For her part, the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Country Director Haddijatou Lamin Njie said the National Disability Policy is in line with VSO's global aim to support people with disability in emphasizing their rights and to promote their true inclusion and active participation as equal members of their families and the wider society.
She further said the need to include persons with disability as active participants of national development is more significant now than ever before.
She revealed that according to World Health Organization's estimate, ten percent of any population is disabled and that eight percent of persons with disability are living in developing countries.
The Acting Permanent Secretary Department of State for Health and Social Welfare, Saikou Janneh, said policy documents only provide direction and consistency within organizations and as such they only facilitate an end in themselves.
He said for policies to be worth any while, they must be translated into realistic and achievable strategic plans.
1.2m Nigerians blind, 4.8m visually impaired - Osotimehin
>From Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin has proferred solution to the increasing number of blind or visually impaired people in the country, just as he disclosed that no fewer than 1.2 million Nigerians are blind with 4.8 million visually impaired.
The minister spoke last Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital during the 33rd Annual General Conference and General Meeting of the Nigerian Optomertric Association in the country.
Osotimehin, whose address was presented by the Ogun State Commisisoner for Health, Dr. Abiodun Oduwole said with current knowledge and technology, 80 percent of vision loss was avoidable or treatable.
According to him, 153 million people in the world are currently suffering from eye impairment. The figure he said might double in about 10 years from now if concerned agencies failed to address it.
His words: “ The number will almost double by the year 2020 unless concerted efforts are made to realize the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness Global Initiative for Elimination of Avoidable Blindness conde-named Vision 2020, the Right to Sight.
“In practical terms, working together, we can restore or prevent vision loss in about 960,000 Nigerians and another 4.08 million Nigerians can be saved from low vision. The above statistics calls for collaboration of all eye care providers, especially your association to decrease the toll of blindness and low vision throughout Nigeria.”
While restating the importance of a healthy citizenry to the nation’s productivity and socio-economic development of growth of the nation, Osotimehin expressed concern that most health indices of the health sector had been on the decline over the years.
He also hinted that the Federal Government still had the vision of a healthcare service that is qualitative, efficient and cost effective and accessible.
The President of the (NOA), Dr. Uduak Udom in his speech said that the association bears the responsibility of preventing blindness due to uncorrected refrative error and low vision in the society.
“Refractive errors can be easily diagnosed, measured and corrected with eye-glasses or contact lenses, yet millions of people in low and middle income countries do not have access to these basic services.”
He assured that the forum would brainstorm on how to contributed to policies that would enhance the visions of Nigerians under its theme, “Vision and the Ageing Eye.”
Zambia: Ndola Disabled Retirees Get Benefits
7 July 2009
The Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) has started paying off its retirees following government release of K2.6 billion to the agency.
ZAPD director general, Charles Mwape said this when he addressed a meeting of workers and retirees for the agency at Kangonga Production Centre this morning.
Dr Mwape said ZAPD was grateful to President Rupiah Banda's administration which has only been in office for about nine months and has responded with action to the plight of the agency.
He said since the money was to be released in batches, the initial release would go towards liquidating close to 400 retirees countrywide who had been waiting for too long.
Dr Mwape said the excess leave days claims by those still working could be attended to at a later stage when Government would again release the other batches.
He said the agency had prepared a budget of K5.9 billion and since the Government had released almost half of it, it was a big relief on the agency's financial burden although much still needed to be done.
Dr Mwape said the agency existed and operated under the parliamentary Act and was created to attend to the plight of persons with disabilities.
Earlier, ZAPD Copperbelt Provincial Coordinator, Fabian Mambwe said the struggle to have the retirees paid started as way back as 1996 and nothing was coming forth until this time when the Banda-led administration responded in their favour.-ZANIS
Rwanda: Disabled Genocide Fugitive Transferred
7 July 2009
Kigali - A disabled Genocide suspect who has been in detention in Mayotte for the last eight months has been transferred to a different prison as a move to facilitate his movements.
The transfer of Pascal Simbikangwa, who moves in a wheelchair, from Mayotte an overseas territory of France - to Domenjod Saint-Denis prison in La Reunion, happened last Friday as indicated by Marc Brisset-Foucault, the prosecutor at the High Court of Appeal (TSA) of Mayotte.
The prosecutor explained that Simbikangwa's transfer was agreed upon following the prisoner's long stay at Mayotte prison that did not offer him easy possibilities of movement in his wheelchair, while the new destination has three cells arranged for people with disabilities.
"This transfer was done with the agreement of the judges in charge in Paris since the openning of his file for genocide in June," Brisset-Foucault was quoted as saying.
In October last year, Simbikangwa was arrested by the French authorities of Mayotte Island on charges of doctoring documents however it was later found out he was among the most wanted suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Born in 1959 in Western Rwanda and better known as a member of the Hutu extremist group of Akazu, he lived in the Indian Ocean Island of Comoros and later on in Mayotte, before he was indicted following a complaint by the collective of civil parties for Rwanda.
Simbikangwa is also notorious for his torturing tactics when he was the head of Criminal Intelligence Agency (CRA), a unit charged with the task of compiling lists of people to be killed during the Genocide.
According to the Rwanda National Public Prosecution Authority, the man is charged with many counts that include Genocide, Complicity in Genocide and and being member of a criminal enterprise.
Recently Rwandan prosecution accused France of putting more weight on his forgery cases than the Genocide ones, calling on his urgent trial as apparently a request for his extradition has been turned down.【付記】上記ニュースのURL
People with disabilities demand jobs
July 09, 2009
Accra, GNA - National Council of Persons with Disability (NCPD) and unemployed persons with disability on Wednesday called on the Government, corporate organisations, churches and individuals to consider employing persons with disabilities in their workforce.
This is because they could also contribute significantly to corporate and national development.
Mr Andrews Okaikoi, Chairman of NPCD, made the call at a meeting organized by the council and unemployed disabled persons to tackle challenges facing person with disability in Ghana.
He said it had been difficult for persons with disability to secure jobs, adding that government needed to show goodwill to the disabled by enforcing and implementing the Disabled Act which emphasized employment, creating access to public buildings and education.
"Every disabled person ought to be employed so far as they are qualified. Institutions must also create working environments for them," he said.
He said the Council would champion the battle to streamline the policy to be laid down to guide the disabled.
He urged the media to support the Council by advocating and also partnering with them to become a pressure group to enable the business community to support the disabled to ensure employment.
Mr Alexander Kojo Tetteh, Executive Director, Centre for the Employment of People with Disabilities (CEPD), a non-governmental organization, said the situation of securing a job by the disabled had become worse than ever saying that employment for the disabled was a difficult issue to deal with.
"Ghana is making achievements in a number of areas. The whole world is looking at this country as a great nation in Africa, and that is why the first black president of America is using our country as his destination in sub-Saharan Africa. This compliment must reflect in the lives of the underprivileged and the marginalized like persons with disabilities," he said.
He said the disabled needed equal opportunities to enable them to recognize that they existed and ensuring that they lived a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Mr Tetteh said CEPD had compiled CVs of qualified person with disabilities who were willing to work.
Eritrea: Ministry Stepping Up Efforts to Enable Disabled And Needy Nationals Become Self-Supporting
10 July 2009
Asmara - The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare branch office in the Northern Red Sea region is stepping up efforts to enable disabled nationals and needy ones become self-supporting and productive.
The Head of the branch office, Mr. Eyob Kidane, indicated that the office disbursed 4 million Nakfa over the past 6 months to rehabilitate a total of 193 families in Endeli, Dandero, Buya, Adi-Murug and Eremle who were displaced from their respective villages due to the TPLF regime's war of aggression. About 15 families catering orphans in the sub-zones of Karora and She'ib were also rehabilitated through cattle, he added.
Stating that the necessary school materials and financial assistance have been extended to 439 street children in the region, Mr. Eyob pointed out that they are being provided with academic and vocational training courses, and that those who finished the course earlier have secured job opportunities in various institutions.
Moreover, he said that an interest-free loan amounting to 14.7 million Nakfa has been extended to 513 disabled and demobilized fighters, out of which 3.5 million Nakfa has already been paid back.
Mr. Eyob further explained that in line with the initiative taken by Eritrean nationals residing abroad to assist families of martyrs,497,000 Nakfa has been sent and extendedto 380families of fallen heroes in the region.
Ghana: Enough of the Job Discrimination - the Disabled Warns
10 July 2009
Members of the community of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) have said that they can no longer take the situation where they are denied jobs simply because of their disabilities and not because they cannot work.
Some members of the group who are unemployed were at the offices of the newly created National Council on Disability to have an interface with the chairman on their plight.
They took turns to narrate how after rubbing shoulders with their abled counterparts to acquire various educational qualifications, they have had to be moving from office to office in search of jobs to no avail.
Festus Agbenyezi is a blind graduate of the University of Ghana. Whilst at the university, he was instrumental in getting the authorities to make available for the Assistive Technology Laboratory some 20 set of computers for the use of disabled students. Upon his graduation in 2006, he was taken on at the same centre as an ICT Instructor for his National Service. He was however not retained after the one year period of National Service elapsed. He has since remained jobless.
Robert Amegashie is paralysed from the waist downwards. But he looks well built and capable. He graduated from the University of Cape Coast in 2007 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He has since remained jobless. "Meanwhile I have been blessed with two sets of twins, including my first born, making five," he tells yours truly whilst rushing out of his file a well kept picture of five beautiful looking children. His children's school fees have been a headache for him. They are always sacked for school fees, he says. But he does not even feel dignified to be depending on the benevolence of friends and family these days.
Alem Mumuni is a disabled cyclist. He participated in an international cycling competition in Niger recently and won gold in Ghana's name. He said he was yet to get someone to formally accept the prize and pat him on the back for a job well done. He spoke very passionately about how in spite of their disabilities, sports could have been used to wean some of them off the enfeebling hands of poverty.
After listening to several of the affecting stories, the Chairman of the National Council on Disability Mr. Andrews Okaikoi heaved a sigh and said he identified very much with the concerns raised since as a disabled person himself, he had had to rely solely on his own initiative for employment over the years.
He however assured members of the disabled community that the council, put in place on April 7, 2009 is putting plans in place to address some of the most nagging challenges confronting them today. He therefore called on the various groupings of the disabled community to come together so as to be able to present a united front is seeking redress to their challenges.
In an interview with Public Agenda, Mr. Okaikoi said funding remains the number one challenge facing the council even in these early days of its establishment. Budgetary allocations made in the 2009 budget for the running of the council includes Ghc18,000 for administration, GHc25,000 for services, GHc55000 for investment and GHc444,000 for staff salaries.
He agrees that more funds have to be made available to the council if it is to ensure an effective implementation of the ambitious provisions in the Disability Act. But not even a penny of the 2009 allocation has been released to the council yet, he says. "I have been running the office from my pocket so far," he noted.
"The Disability Act of 2006, Act 715 says that "A person with disability shall not be deprived of the right to live with that person's family or the right to participate in social, political, economic, creative or recreational activities."
Quoting from the above, the Executive Director of the Centre for Employment of Persons with Disability (CEPD) Alexander Kojo Tetteh said economic participation, for him, stood out since without it persons with disability stand the risk of losing their dignity in society. "Employment for persons with disability has become a hard nut to crack; this is making us lose our dignity and status in society. It is difficult to have food on the table, and that explains the multiplying of disabled beggars on our streets day by day."
He appealed to government, corporate Ghana, churches and individuals to consider employing persons with disability in their workforce. "We can contribute significantly to corporate and national development, given the opportunity."
"According to the WHO, there are more than 600 million disabled persons in the world, of which approximately 80 % live in low-income countries. In most developing countries, including Ghana, disabled persons constitute an impoverished marginalised group, characterised by lack of access to public health, education, and other social services that would ideally support and protect people with disabilities. Economically as well as in social terms, disabled persons in developing countries are classified among the poorest of the poor.
People with disabilities in Ghana are often regarded as unproductive and incapable of contributing in a positive way to society, and rather seen as constituting an economic burden on the family and the society at large, which leaves them in a vicious cycle of poverty. In developing countries there are rarely strong disability movements actively working to improve the living conditions for people living with disabilities. Disabled persons are often only weakly represented in civil society and Ghana is no exception."
Sh100m to promote rights of PWDs
Sunday, 12th July, 2009
By Florence Nakaayi
A sh100m project has been earmarked to create awareness on the UN convention on the rights of People with Disabilities (PWDS).
In September last year, Uganda ratified The UN Convention on the rights of PWDS, which seeks to prohibit discrimination against the disabled and provide for their consideration in economic and development strategies of UN member countries.
The project, supported by American based Disability Rights Fund, will be implemented by Mental Health Uganda as the lead agency in a coalition with Uganda National Action on Physical Disability and National Association of the Deaf blind in Uganda.
The three local NGOs advocate for the rights and wellbeing of People with disabilities.
The one-year project is to be first implemented in Arua, Budaka, Amuru, Masindi, Rakai, and Ntungamo districts.
The executive director, Julius Lutaakome Kayiira, said the project would empower people with disabilities to advocate for their rights.
He noted that many disabled are denied their rights because they don’t know what rights they are entitled to.
Rights enshrined in the UN convention include rights to health services, employment, education, accessing all community resources as other citizens and the right to associate.
Others are the right to have a family and children and the right to legal capacity.
Kayiira urged the public to respect the rights of the disabled and to consider them when planning.
“On the whole, disabled persons are considered second-class citizens. They are denied the rights to care, treatment, social services, education and participation on a social level as well as in development,” he explained.
Kayiira, however, said with the sensitisation, they expected the public to change positively towards the disabled.
He explained that the enforcement of disability friendly laws has remained poor because of lack of awareness.
“Persons with mental health problems are often subjected to inhuman treatment. The deaf and the blind are not provided for at all beyond their families and those with physical disabilities equally struggle with inaccessible environments,” he said.
Disabled people association seeks international partners
7/13/09 9:56 AM
Luanda - The National Association of Disabled People of Angola (ANDA) last weekend held contacts with Brazilian officials on financial and material assistance enabling the operation of cooperatives providing services, created in the ambit of the "Vem Comigo" (Come with me) project.
This was released by the ANDA chairman, Silva Lopes Etiambulo, after his return from Brazil where he carried out a week-long visit. According to him, the talks focussed on the functioning of cooperatives providing services with management of disabled people.
Silva Etiambulo, who learnt about the functioning of cooperatives related to the services of shoemaking, computers, blacksmith, retreading, among others, also received information on training for disabled people.
Botswana: DTC Botswana Donates to the Disabled
13 July 2009
On 20th June, 2009, DTC Botswana officially handed over its Corporate Social Investment project in Mahalapye.
The project, the Central Association of the Blind & Disabled (CABD) is a registered membership-based charity, which started operating in 1981 with its head office in Serowe. It is an organisation for people with disabilities and promotes the employment of these people. CABD also advocates for total rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
CABD applied for a donation for a Rehabilitation Unit at their Mahalapye branch.
DTC Botswana donated P 391, 200 towards the construction of the Rehabilitation Unit which includes a Physiotherapy room; Stimulation room for children; Ablution block; Consultation room & Office. Other funds went towards fencing of the centre as well as purchasing of rehabilitation equipment and office furniture.
The hand-over ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Health, Lesego Motsumi. Other dignitaries present were Kgosi Maunatlala; Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East Botlogile Tshireletso; the co-founder of the centre, Monageng; and Councillor Ditshameko. DTC Botswana was represented by the Head of Finance, Mpho Dimbungu.
In her hand-over speech, Dimbungu said that, 'One group that needs special attention is of people who have disabilities because often times their condition interferes with many aspects of their lives. Some people with disabilities are unable to go to school, get a job or participate in social activities. It is therefore important to ensure that these people are fully enabled in order that they can live life to the fullest. Through the different services that it offers, the Central Association of the Blind and Disabled will make it possible for disabled people in the Mahalapye sub-district to maximise their functional ability'. She also applauded CABD's management for a job well-done and reaffirmed DTC Botswana's commitment to bettering the lives of people with disabilities.
Meanwhile, On 29th June 2009, DTC Botswana also held a function to hand-over the Shining Light Awards winner's prize made up of jewellery design tools valued at P20, 000. The tools were received by the Overall winner of the DTC Botswana Shining Light Awards competition Katja Nilsson. Dignitaries included the Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Kavis Kario; Diamond Hub Coordinator, Dr Akolang Tombale; and many others
Interpreting her winning piece, Katja Nilsson, says she epitomised the 2008/09 theme of "Fingerprints of Your Journey" through an 18-carat, white and red gold neckpiece, set with 674 round, brilliant- cut diamonds. The interconnected white and red gold strands of the neckpiece brought to mind the outstretched upside-down roots of baobab trees which are abundant in areas of the Makgadikgadi Pans, which she says was her inspiration.
When giving a background of the competition, Toby Frears, Head of Sales and Marketing, DTC Botswana, highlighted that the competition is in line with DTC Botswana's Vision of enhancing the emotional value, desirability and integrity of diamonds, emphasizing that the competition encouraged designers to create work that is timeless, elegant, mythical and contemporary.
At the event, an educational grant of P20, 000 was handed over to the Ministry of Education and Skills Development on behalf of Oodi College of Applied Arts and Technology. The grant will assist in procuring specialised tools and equipment which shall ensure graduates are well versed in cutting-edge technology.
Kario welcomed this gesture as one that will complement the Government's long-term vision of creating a vibrant, sustainable and profitable downstream industry that will deliver additional value for the country.
CCK to donate computers to schools for the disabled
By Okuttah Mark
Posted Tuesday, July 14 2009 at 00:00
image: CCK headquarters in Nairobi.
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will spend Sh32 million equipping eight schools for the disabled with computers and Internet services.
The centres will receive free Internet connectivity for two years.
The commission will also assist people with disability to access online information by supporting a disability web portal and create awareness on the challenges affecting this group in using communication equipment.
The chairman of CCK, Mr Phillip Okundi, said there was needed to promote computer literacy for all.
“The commission is aware that not all ICT sub-sectors are moving at the same pace.
While tremendous strides have been made, there is need to lay emphasis on areas that require special attention said,” said Mr Okundi.
The CCK acknowledged that the benefiting institutions had their unique individual needs with the basic aim of bringing out the best in the students.
To ensure sustainability of the project. The CCK director -general sought to make it a core agenda for the regulator and other industry operators as part of its Universal Access Obligation for granting access to communication to all.
The beneficiaries are St Lucy Secondary School (Meru), Kibos Secondary School for the Blind (Kisumu), Thika High School for the Blind, Kuja Secondary School for the Deaf (Rongo), Rev Muhoro (Nyeri), Mombasa Secondary School for the deaf (Kisumu), Machakos Technical Training Institute.
This initiative follows other universal access programmes that the commission is undertaking.
Some of the initiatives outlined in the Universal Access Plan that are currently under implementation include the establishment of community telecentres, school-based ICT training centres, development of a GIS platform and national communication infrastructure development.
The commission is supporting the establishment of 16 school-based ICT centres, two in each of the eight provinces in the country on a pilot basis. The schools were randomly selected from areas with telecommunications network coverage.
Students win at mind games
Published:Jul 14, 2009
The Microsoft Imagine competition proved that though access isn’t universal, inspiration is, writes Steven van Hemert
MAKE a list in your mind of the biggest technology brands today. In your top 10 there will, no doubt, be organisations like Microsoft, Yahoo!, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter, all massively successful companies that have had a defining impact on the technology landscape.
All these companies started with little more than an idea and a dream to make it succeed. But what you may not know is that all these companies were founded by students.
This is the inspiration behind the Microsoft Imagine Cup, an international student technology competition, now in its seventh year, which aims to identify and reward those operating at the forefront of technological innovation, namely students. As Joe Wilson, the senior director of academic initiatives at Microsoft and the Imagine Cup’s chief evangelist, argues: “The leaders of tomorrow’s most innovative companies won’t be found in boardrooms, they will be discovered in dorm rooms.”
This year’s finals were held in Cairo in Egypt and drew more than 300000 entrants from more than 120 countries, with the top 444 students descending on the city to compete in the final round from July 3.
But the Imagine Cup is not a technology competition concerned with science-fair fantasy. All participants are required to present solutions that address the range of United Nations millennium goals for development under the theme: “Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today”. Successful solutions need to combine technical proficiency with ideas that make an impact, but also need to be practical, with scope to be implemented in real-world situations.
Aligning the Imagine Cup with developmental goals is what truly kicked the competition into overdrive and participation has grown exponentially in the past three years. The reason for the massive uptake in interest in the Cup, as Ray Ozzie, the chief technology architect for Microsoft explains, is that the current generation of students have a deep and passionate desire to affect social change. “[Students] look at the world in an idealistic way. They are untainted by the knowledge of what can’t be done.”
It is this sense of raw idealism that powers the Imagine Cup, and scanning the conference foyer teeming with participants from absolutely every walk of life, it’s hard not to get excited by the prospect of all these inspired young minds working together to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Africa was well represented at the event, with teams from Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Africa competing in the prestigious software development and embedded development challenges.
South Africa’s national finalists, Nathan Naidoo and Mehrdad Ghaziasgar, from the University of the Western Cape, competed in the demanding software design category with their iSign application. iSign is a digital phrase book that translates phrases from South African sign language to English and vice versa, using a range of skin, face and motion detection technologies to read and interpret basic sign-language gestures.
The application works on computers and basic mobile phones, thus allowing deaf South Africans to communicate in spoken language when necessary, as well as allowing them to communicate with one another via mobile phones displaying simple avatars that enact the signs.
Before the contest began, team South Africa was confident of its chances, buoyed by Wilson’s assertion in the opening press conference that the best project he had seen in the previous few years was a similar concept for allowing the deaf to communicate, though one that made use of expensive and clumsy hardware such as a data glove.
Though eliminating the data glove and incorporating an existing technology like the mobile phone presented two major advances in the sign-language translation field, team iSign were sadly scuppered in their presentation by an unresponsive wireless network adapter, snapped while the presentation was hastily moved and reassembled by over-eager competition staff.
During private conversation after the presentation, one of the judges commended team iSign on its excellent technical achievement, but such is the nature of the competition that a failed demo is a death knell.
Entries from the African contingent and the rest of the developing world represented a subtle shift in the competition’s focus.
In previous years, many ideas were based on the goal of an “always connected” world, with Internet access taken as a standard, or at least future outcome. This year, however, more projects focused on a “sometimes connected” world, in which Internet access cannot be taken as standard. For this reason, many of the best solutions made use of simple, pre-existing technologies such as basic cell phones.
Team Nigeria developed an autonomous health system that gives medical advice to pregnant women via SMS request which is interpreted by server-side technologies, either returning advice or alerting medical teams in the area to the problem. Team Uganda devised a two-tiered system for farmers called E-Farmer; the first mobile auction system that allows farmers to trade produce before making a costly and time-consuming trip to the market as well as allowing them to seek advice on weather patterns and other agricultural issues. The second makes use of high-end imaging software to analyse diseased crops and make suggestions as to how best to combat blight, especially for the widely cultivated cassava plant, currently afflicted by disease.
Democracy of ideas
Though access to technology differs vastly across the globe, what is clear from the entrants to the Cup is that ideas are truly democratic. And the Cup provides the opportunity for all students, even those who don’t progress beyond the first round of the finals, to see how their ideas match up against their peers.
What was heartening to see was how passionate the students were about the possibility for technology to alter the way in which people live. That is not to say the obvious - that access to the Internet and associated services improves access to information and therefore quality of life, but so do revolutionary co-operation, information sharing and community level engagement powered by technology.
As Ozzie noted in his opening address at the Citadel that guards over Cairo, we are truly at the dawn of what is possible with technology. Tools and hardware are maturing, access is spreading, and with ideas that focus on bending these tools towards worthy, achievable goals, anything is possible.
Simphiwe back with Miss Deaf World 1st princess prize
14 July, 2009 10:00:00
By Slindelo Nkosi
EXCITEMENT and pride are the only words that can best describe the atmosphere at the national airport’s VIP lounge when Simphiwe Magagula, 1st Princess of the Miss Deaf World competition emerged from the plane from the Czech Republic where the competition was held.
Confidently walking side by side with the Deputy Prime Minister of Swaziland, Themba Masuku and her entourage, the Princess was ushered into the lounge.
Speaking during a press briefing, the DPM who made a special parliament request to be excused solely to welcome the Princess said: “We’re proud of what she’s done. She has truly made history in the Kingdom’s records as it is clearly the first of it’s kind. The Disability Unit in my office would like to thank all the various companies that assisted her while preparing for her trip. These are the results of what they’ve given.”
Masuku went on to say that Simphiwe’s success proves that nothing can stop anyone from achieving their dreams, “as we’re all aware of Simphiwe’s condition, her success therefore goes to show that nothing can possibly stop anyone from reaching their ultimate goals,” he said proudly.
The School for the Deaf’s Head-Mistress, Ngcebase Nxumalo also shared the same sentiments mentioning that Simphiwe’s success would greatly encourage other students back at school.
“We’re so happy and proud of the hard work she’s achieved. Her success will be of great influence to the rest of the students at school as they will now look up to her and want to reach positions of the same nature. This is all God’s work as we prayed for for this the moment she left,” she said.
...IT WAS’NT EASY AT ALL -
Nineteen-year old Simphiwe Magagula could not believe it when her contestant number was called out as the 1st Princess of the international competition.
This is because it was a challenging competition
“I still cannot believe that I’ve won the title of Miss Deaf World 2009 first princess and the fact is that I need to get used to the idea that it is me. When they called out my number, I was so excited and could not believe it. It was such a great feeling to see hundreds and hundreds of people cheering!
“It wasn’t easy as there were a number of contestants that could have easily taken the position.
However, I was encouraged by them as well because they told me that I’d make it and this was during the build-up to the final competition,” she said.
Simphiwe thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for the support he’s given her.
“I’d like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister and everyone he’s worked with in making my trip possible,” she said.
Simphiwe Magagula’s prize package included a silver and blue branded crown, jewellery and a jewellery-embroided stand.
Siphiwe is Miss deaf world 1st princess 2009
By MUSA SIMELANE on July 13,2009
MBABANE - The kingdom’s Miss Deaf 2008/09 Simphiwe Magagula has made history on the international stage, she scooped the First Princess title at Miss Deaf World Finals 2009.
The finals were held in Prague, Czech Republic on Saturday. She was among over 21 finalists from different countries around the world vying for the coveted title of Miss Deaf World 2009. According to the Miss Deaf World website, this title went to a Ukrainian girl known as Diana Koftun. The Second Princess title went to Maria Baranova from Russia.
Another of the pageant’s title was Miss Deaf Europe, which was scooped by Nina Davitinidze, from Gruzia. The pageant itself is in its ninth year of existence.
Magagula left the kingdom early this month accompanied by Nelsiwe Lushaba, her interpreter. Lushaba too, also confirmed the beauty queen’s win. Both are expected to jet in the country later today.
Before Magagula’s departure, it transpired that she still owed her tuition fees at the School for the Deaf in Siteki. Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Themba Masuku raised concern about this and instructed the Education Ministry’s PS to see to it that the matter of her school fees was taken care of, as she was also an Orphaned and Vulnerable Child (OVC).
The DPM further thanked STBC for buying the ticket for the beauty’s interpreter. The Ministry of Education bought the teacher’s air ticket. He also commended the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs for buying the beauty’s air ticket.
“We would like to commend the collaboration of the ministries involved. Magagula is a school going child and she is going to represent the country in a cultural manner hence the involvement of the culture and education ministries in this undertaking,” Masuku was quoted saying.
Other sponsors for Magagula prior to her trip included Edgars Store, Foot Print, Ligomba Lemaswati and Venus Hair Salon.
Disability sports medals included in general board
7/15/09 10:28 AM
Lisbon - The three medals conquered by disabled athletes shall be included in the general medals board of the 2nd Lusophone Games, happening since last Saturday in Portugal.
This information was granted to ANGOP this Tuesday, in Lisbon, by the chairperson of the Angolan Olympic Committee (COA), Gustavo da Conceicao, who stressed that he analysed the issue with the event's organising board.
He added that participants are only waiting for its inclusion in the competition's official website, so as to update Angola's position in the general medals board.
The medal Angolan medal winners were the athletes Candido Candido (gold) and Alfredo Manuel Zinga (bronze) in the men's 400 metres for physically disabled athletes.
In the ladies class, the athlete Maria Celeste Manuel also won gold in the 400 metres.
The event's organising board previously considered disability sports as a demonstration and non-competitive.
The Gambia National Integrated Disability Policy Validated
By Publisher on 15-07-09
The Draft National policy on persons with disabilities which has the objective to promote equal opportunities, rights and the full participation of Persons With Disabilities in an enabling environment of the development processes has now been validated. Foroyaa wishes to publish the full version of the policy in verbatim. Let us follow the introductory remarks of the policy.
Warwickshire Christian bringing water to deaf children in Kenya
Compassion for vulnerable children was the inspiration behind a recent trip to Kenya for one Warwickshire Christian.
by Anne Thomas
Posted: Saturday, July 18, 2009, 14:07 (BST)
Martin Mackenzie, from Leamington Spa, has always had a concern for the world's poor and a heart to do something to help alleviate their plight.
He recently travelled long hours across harsh terrain to reach the remote and impoverished village of Ogongo, home to 65 deaf children - half of whom are Aids orphans.
For one week in June, Martin worked with the children through the charity Siloam Christian Ministries by distributing mosquito nets that will help protect them against malaria.
In Ogongo, Siloam is taking care of the deaf children by supporting the Lambwe Christian School for the Deaf.
Last year, Martin did voluntary fundraising for the school, which allowed it to have electricity for the first time.
The electricity means that the school can have lighting after nightfall - essential for the children to be able to communicate to each other through sign language.
"Deaf children can’t 'talk' in the dark but with light they can 'chat' in the evenings!" said Martin.
Now Martin has already set his sights on obtaining clean water for children and staff at Lambwe, and is in the process of raising £20,000 to drill a bore hole.
"I feel very strongly about this project because the students have so little," said Martin Mackenzie. "They still lack daily essentials like water. Often the children have to walk three kilometres, carrying full containers. That’s unacceptable in the 21st century."
The June trip was an opportunity for Martin and Jan to assess the progress on the hole so far. A 10,000 litre water tank has already been purchased and the next phase will be to purchase two more tanks and install proper sanitation facilities.
"Now these children at risk have a safe haven at Lambwe Christian School for the Deaf," says Siloam Director Richard Norton. "This residential school transforms lives and helps change attitudes to exclusion on the basis of disability."
Securing a good future for the children is at the heart of Lambwe. As a qualified secondary school teacher, the school's principal Margaret Odhiambo knows she could earn more money working in another school.
Yet she says: "These children have had such a poor start in life. It is my aim to give them the best possible chance to flourish and succeed and to make the school available to the hundreds more in the Lambwe Valley area who need special education."
Teacher Bernard Omollu, who is partially blind, also feels called to serve the children.
"I have been so blessed in my life that I have to give something back," he says.
Back in the UK, Martin will travel extensively across south Warwickshire to tell people about the school and generate support for the bore hole.
‘Employ disabled teachers’
Monday, 20th July, 2009
By Joyce Namutebi
THE National Union of Disabled Persons has urged the Government to recruit disabled teachers.
This was raised during a meeting with the parliamentary committee on social services yesterday.
The executive director, Michael Sebuliba, said many students with disabilities enroll into universities and other tertiary institutions, where they graduate with degrees and diplomas.
He noted that disabled teachers form the majority of unemployed professional disabled persons.
“This is because the Government presumes that all disabled teachers are special needs teachers yet some of them are trained to teach mainstream classes,” Sebuliba told the committee chaired by Dr. Chris Baryomunsi (NRM).
“Teachers with disabilities cannot compete on equal basis for jobs given the public’s negative perceptions.”
Quoting the Constitution on affirmative action, Sebuliba said teachers with disabilities should be included on the Government payroll.
He urged the committee to summon the Education Service Commission and the education ministry over the matter.
Walking for the mentally handicapped children
Michael Wawuyo wants to put an end to discrimation against people with mental disabilities at places of work. COURTESY PHOTO
Children at Guludene, Kiwenda off Gayaza Road.Inset, Michael Wawuyo. FILE PHOTOS
On July 27, actor Michael Wawuyo will single-handedly walk from Mbale to Kampala with an intention to raise money to start projects to help mentally handicapped people.
Michael Wawuyo, in the movie Mississippi Masala acts as a ruthless soldier who gets an Indian woman off the bus, throws her bag in the mud and starts pocking her long beautiful hair with the edge of his gun. But when you meet him and talks about his mentally retarded daughter, Melinda Nekesa, his face is filled with an incredible sincerity of a father that so much loves his daughter.
This love will see him walk from Mbale to Kampala for his daughter and many others in a similar situation.
The tall, dark skinned actor is known for his tough character in movies like Black Blood, a Germany movie, Time to Care, Fires of Hope, The Honourable, and TV series like Centre Four, Hand in Hand and Full of Energy, among others.
Whereas most times he likes to act as the tough guy in the movies, at his home, this character is melted by the emotions evoked by his daughter’s situation. And whereas the rest of the family, which is composed of seven children tries to involve the girl by playing with her, there are times that she feels left out and looks depressed.
“There are times I take her for swimming, and while standing at a distance, I see men approaching her in the pool. They try to engage this beautiful lady. But then she just goes blank,” Wawuyo almost breaks into tears.
What breaks his heart even more, is seeing other girls of Nekesa’s age who are about to get enrolled in university - yet Nekesa cannot even take care of her own sanitary issues properly.
Born to Festus Wawuyo who was murdered by Amin’s soldiers and Dinah Namaye, Wawiyo went to Police Children School in Nsambya, Masaba Secondary School, on the slopes of Mountain Elgon and Mbale Secondary School. Even then, Wawuyo had expressed talent in acting as he took roles in several school productions.
The rest of his seven children are in good health, but when his wife Anne Wawuyo was giving birth to Nekesa, it never occurred to the couple that she would turn out the way she is today. It was after her birth that they realised that she had brain damage. But Wawuyo insists that had it not been for the carelessness of the doctors, his daughter would now be just like any other child.
“If they realised that the woman was unconscious, they should have operated her,” he says, rather with regret.
His wife is a sickler and it is because of this that she went unconscious bringing about delayed labour during Nekesa’s birth.
Whereas Anne is not in a good health condition being that she is a sickler, she is very supportive of their daughter.
“There is no single visitation day that she has not gone to visit her daughter. She never forgets her birthday and she always buys her a dress on Christmas,” Wawuyo says.
For the past one year, once every single month, Wawuyo has been walking from the City Square on Kampala Road to Entebbe, preparing for the long walk which he will start on July 27 - and he intends to walk for six days.
Once he has acquired all the money he needs, he is looking forward to launching self-help projects like a bakery and confectionery, where children with mental disabilities will be taught hands on - as well, employ those that have completed their studies. There are many children out there who cannot be employed simply because of their disabilities. But Wawuyo has a dream to put this to an end.
He is looking forward also to another walk next year from which he will start a mixed farm, and the other year, he will take another walk from whose proceedings, he will start up a tailoring workshop.
But while Wawuyo is doing this for the children at Guludene School of Children with Mental Disabilities, there are many children out there in the same condition that have been rendered useless by society.
“So many people think that these children are useless, but that is not true. And that is the reason I am taking this walk,” he says. As an artiste his daughter’s condition has taught him a lot. “Now I see life in a different way. We take mentally retarded people so much for granted. But for me it has made me vocal for such persons.” Wawuyo will not dare count how much he has spent on his daughter, because for him that is not important.
The start of this project, however, was not that smooth. It was scorned by many, including his own children who thought that he was just being funny. “Nobody could believe me. But after seeing that I was determined they started supporting me,” he says before adding; “I am trying to sensitise various stakeholders, the community and government on the plight of children with mental retardedness and learning disabilities. And I have to do this with a big statement walk that is why, I had to do train,” he says.
On the very first day, when he walked all by himself to Entebbe he recalls to have woken up the following day with all his muscles paining. “I thought that since I was used to jogging, it would be easy to walk, but then it was not as easy because the following morning I felt like I had been crashed by a train,” he recalls.
Besides training himself, Wawuyo says the walks helped him to meditate upon several things. And each time, he was done and went back home, he never always remained the same. But, then it was some kind of drama for the taxi drivers who bypassed him, and whenever they returned, still found him on the road. “I think some boda boda men thought I was mad,” he says.
Although the Guludene School has somewhat helped to improve the condition of his daughter, it is in a very sorry state. Apart from a few donations from friends in the UK, there has not been so much help especially from the government.
“The school still lacks a lot, there is need for play things for the children, and some specialised material to help them with their neural system,” he says. The school is located in Guludene, Kiwenda off Gayaza Road. It was opened in 1998 and has over 30 students.
Wawuyo is currently reaching out for sponsors, though the response is not yet promising. But even then, he is not willing to involve the government as he says: “I believe that we Ugandans can start up projects to help society without looking at the government.”
The Joy Of Work: A Disabled Man's Quest For A Job
Posted by Desta Bishu | July 21st, 2009 at 2:31 am |
Michael Medina is nostalgic for the days when he had a job. Just ask him about where he used to work, and he gushes with enthusiasm.
"Stacey's Bookstore. That's No. 1, that's a wonderful … it's the biggest bookstore I ever been to," Medina says. "A wonderful store. You can work as you want - long as you want."
Medina, 52, has developmental disabilities. He was working as a janitor at the independent bookstore that was a San Francisco institution for 85 years until it went out of business in March.
It's a tough time for anyone to find a job. And for adults with developmental disabilities - like autism and Down syndrome - it's even tougher. Advocacy groups estimate that two-thirds of the developmentally disabled are unemployed.
The recession is making it even more difficult for those who want to find a job because almost every state is considering slashing funding for programs that help to place people with disabilities in jobs.
Joy From A Day's Work
The routine at Stacey's Bookstore was very important to Medina. In fact, when Stacey's cut back on all of its employees' hours three years ago, Medina continued to work his longer shift despite repeated reminders.
"In my room I keep a picture from Michael - look at his smile; he is happy," says Gerta Medina, his mother. She's holding a picture of him at his old job at Stacey's. She's in her 70s and says she worries about her son's future.
"Oh! All the time, all the time," she says. "So that's why I would say a job is important."
She says they both cried when he lost his job.
Help From A Job Coach
Gerta Medina knows it's a tough market, but she's thankful that Michael has help finding a new job. He is a client of The Arc, a national nonprofit that offers support services to people with developmental disabilities.
Today, his job coach from The Arc, Nina Asay, is taking him to the law firm Hanson Bridgett for a job assessment.
Medina is filling in for a coffee attendant. The work includes clearing conference rooms and doing dishes.
Today, he's getting high marks for handling the fluctuating stress level.
"What happens if there are dishes in the sink right there?" Asay asks Medina.
"I put it in my cart," he answers.
"Put it in your cart. Correct," she responds.
Asay says this evaluation will help her figure out the ideal work environment for Medina.
"One person may say they like an office setting, but when you bring them to an office setting, it doesn't quite work out," she says. "So it's really nice that we have this site to assess our clients to see if they can fit in this setting."
Assistance That Could Dwindle
A few days later, Asay accompanies Medina to an interview for a janitor's job at a senior housing center. She gives him a last-minute pep talk.
"And also, if you still can't get it, you can always look to me and I can help with that as well," she tells Medina.
"That way I could ask you for your advice and …" he says.
"Exactly. Like we did last time," Asay says. "That's what I'm here for, is to help you out. OK?"
But the kind of help Asay offers is at risk.
Peter Berns is executive director of The Arc of the United States, a group that supports about 122,000 people with developmental disabilities in finding general employment. That makes it the largest nonprofit network doing this work. Despite demand, Berns says there hasn't been enough funding to increase those numbers in years.
And now there's a danger of backsliding. The San Francisco chapter alone says it could lose $3 million - a third of its state funding - by September.
"So someone may find that they used to have a job coach to help them, and now the funding for that job coach isn't there anymore," Berns says.
These economic challenges are an additional hurdle. But the biggest obstacle to placing people in jobs is negative stereotypes, says John Kemp of the U.S. Business Leadership Network, a national organization that assists with hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.
"The first response of the unenlightened employer is, 'No way. We have too many complex issues here, too many business processes that they will not be able to understand and execute,'" he says.
But Kemp says there are bright spots. Large national chains including Walgreens, McDonald's and Safeway continue to create opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
And there's some good news for Medina, too. He was just offered a job as a bagger at the grocery chain Trader Joe's. He's already hard at work.
By Rachel Dornhelm | npr
USAID donates sports equipment to physically disabled
Accra, July 21, GNA - The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum has handed over a number of sports equipment to the Sports Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled with a call to all to renew and resolve to ensure their commitment towards the welfare of the disabled.
He noted that when the disabled are given the necessary support and encouragement it would enable them to discover and maximise their talents in all spheres of life devoid of stigmatisation. Mr Teitelbaum handed over 30 basketball wheel chairs, 14 hand-bicycles and helmets and five racer bikes to members of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) in the Greater Accra Region at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre on Monday for distribution to the members.
It was made possible by the US Government through the Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the Society to promote wheelchair basketball among persons with disabilities to help them compete in major special international sporting events. Mr Teitelbaum said the US Government was committed to promoting the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disability and hoped that the equipment will help reduce the isolation and stigma of disabled persons and empower them to take up responsible leadership positions and engage in healthy sporting activities.
He expressed concern that some disabled persons continue to beg along the streets instead of taking advantage of the training and employment opportunities offered by various organisations and government.
The Ambassador noted that helping the disabled should not be seen as doing them a service or favour but society should deem it as their right to benefit from all facilities and opportunities without discrimination.
The donation forms part of the 280 wheelchairs valued at 70,000 dollars which the Society has already distributed to the physically disabled in all the ten regions. Mr Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, President of the Sports Wing said the donation forms part of a grant under the USAID's sports diplomacy initiative which seeks to advance the missions policy of inclusion for people with disabilities.
He said the initiative ensured the procurement of custom-made wheelchairs basketball chairs for men and women's teams, hand bikes and helmets, race bikes for amputee cycling programme, basketballs, jerseys and a training programme in the maintenance of the equipment to ensure their sustainable use.
Mr Adu Boampong, President of GSPD said the Board decided to establish the Sports Wing noting how crucial sports and recreation can assist in the development, rehabilitation, empowerment and integration of people with disability in the country through sporting activities. He said for people with disability, sporting activities do not only promote good health and physical well being but also provides opportunities to sensitise the general public to disability issues and equality, including equal access and integration. Mr. Boampong urged the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Council and other stakeholders to collaborate with the various disability sports organisations to ensure that the structure of the National Paralympic Committee is reviewed to meet its objectives of developing and promoting sports for persons with disability. Alem Bawa Mumuni, one of the beneficiaries of the project won the first edition of the African Para-Cycling Championship in Niger recently using the donated racer bike to the Society and has qualified to participate in the UCI World Championship in Italy later this year. 21 July 09.
‘Stop rushing to State House’
By MARTIN NKOLOMBA
THE ZAMBIA Agency for Persons Living with Disabilities (ZAPD) has warned of serious punitive action against disabled people who rush to State House each time they have grievances.
ZAPD chairman Chola Kafwabulula said disabled people must stop rushing to State House with their grievances and that those who choose to go there will do it at their own peril.
“This new habit of rushing to State House to demonstrate each time we have a grievance should be stopped immediately or else the law will visit those erring disabled people,” Mr Kafwabulula said. He said this in a statement released yesterday.
Mr Kafwabulula said his stopping disabled people from going to State House does not mean he is unaware of their right to see President Banda but that like other citizens, disabled people must seek audience with the President through appropriate channels.
“I am aware that we have a right to see the Republican President when we have grievances, but we should use the same channels which other stakeholders have used, that is, by making appointments to see the President with a clear agenda. Riotous conduct is punishable because the law applies to all citizens, including persons with disabilities,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula advised disabled persons to develop and foster a positive attitude towards their disabilities by realising that disability does not mean inability, adding that Government cannot meet all their needs.
“To my fellow disabled persons, I would like to advise that we need to have a positive attitude towards our disabilities. Government can only do so much but a lot also depends on us individuals with disabilities. We have said it before that disability is not inability,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula said because Government believes that disabled people can earn their own living, it has given a number of them money to help them start small businesses.
He said the effort by Government to help disabled people should discourage them from continuing as beggars on the streets.
“Government has embarked on a progressive programme to discourage persons with disabilities from begging on the street. In an effort to assist them begin small businesses for their sustenance, Government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, sourced some funds to help these persons with disabilities,” Mr Kafwabulula said.
He said Government sourced K279 million and paid 298 disabled people in five provinces.
“A total of K279 million was sourced and disabled street beggars were paid between K500,000 and K1,000,000 to commence small businesses. The beneficiaries of these funds came from Lusaka, Central, Southern, Luapula and Copperbelt provinces and there were approximately 298 persons with disabilities,” Mr Kafwabulula said.
He said the disabled were made to sign a social contract that outlined that they will, among other things, permanently move from the streets, utilise the funds they have been given for their intended purpose and stop begging.
Mr Kafwabulula has since instructed his organisation to form a team that will monitor the usage of the money.
“Arising from the aforesaid, I am instructing ZAPD to immediately form a monitoring team to ensure that the funds given to our members are put to good use. This will involve the monitoring team to physically visit the beneficiaries to check on how the funds have been applied,” he said.
Mr Kafwabulula said his organisation and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services will soon commence a countrywide exercise to empower the disabled with skills to help them become self-reliant.
“As a sustainable and long-lasting solution, ZAPD, through its mother ministry, will soon be encouraging disabled people’s organisations and the international community to train persons with disabilities in skills development. This will be done countrywide with a view to making persons with disabilities become independent and hence contribute to national development,” he said.
Summer Story: International leaders learn grassroots advocacy
Photo: Ann Dillon
Participants in the Gallaudet Leadership Institute's Grassroots Advocacy Leadership Training for International Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals take part in a discussion.
Photo: Ann Dillon
Presenter Kevin Nolan discusses key concepts for emerging grassroots leaders.
Photo: Ann Dillon
Namiraa Baljinnyam (center), an educator from Mongolia, discusses her hopes for improving educational opportunities for deaf students in her country.
Namiraa Baljinnyam, an educator from Mongolia, has an ambitious goal: to bring linguistic freedom to the deaf children of her country. Abaye Tesfaye, who teaches in Ethiopia, has similar aspirations for his country: to unify the deaf community to advocate for its rights.
>From June 28 to July 4, Baljinnyam, Tesfaye, and 12 other deaf and hard of hearing participants from around the world took a leap toward achieving their dreams. This group of community leaders, organization officers, and advocacy benefactors from Albania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Honduras, and the United States gathered on Kendall Green for a grassroots advocacy leadership training led by the Gallaudet Leadership Institute, a unit within the College of Professional Studies and Outreach (CPSO). They came away with new tools and a network of fellow leaders?two key necessities for achieving their objectives.
“They need to take control of their destiny,” said Dr. Madan Vasishta, a faculty member in the Department of Administration and Supervision and facilitator for the program, to be successful. “To this end, they must know their rights and responsibilities. They should also feel empowered and understand that they have the ability to achieve their goals.”
With so much to cover, the program followed a busy schedule. The days and evenings included presentations by deaf leaders on advocacy, deaf rights, and empowerment. (A list of international presenters and program supporters appears at the end of this article.) Multiple sessions were devoted to information sharing by the participants?each prepared a half-hour presentation on the needs of the deaf communities in his or her home country.
“These presentations really helped us all. We learned that while some problems were specific to a country, most were common,” said Vasishta. The recurring themes included challenges around education, employment, communication, and human rights.
No training held in Washington, D.C. would be complete without sightseeing, and the participants had a chance to partake in the activity at a peak time. As the city geared up for Independence Day celebrations, the group visited the Smithsonian museums, memorials on the National Mall, the White House, and had a tour of the Gallaudet campus and Viable Communications, a successful local company owned by a Gallaudet alumnus.
The program concluded with each participant crafting an action plan for a project they would like to complete back home.
The participants saw the benefits of the program early on. “I’ve enjoyed learning about advocacy and developing coalitions,” said Tesfaye on the fourth day. He added that another great benefit of the program was learning more about the work of the World Federation of the Deaf, which partnered with Gallaudet to promote the program.
Although Tesfaye is the director of his country’s deaf association, he explained, he felt he was not learning much at home. He is considering working with a newly-established deaf program at a university in his country when he returns. He believes the knowledge gained at Gallaudet will allow him to move forward as no other experience has.
Baljinnyam, who is enrolled in Gallaudet’s English Language Institute and plans to earn a Ph.D. in education, also places a high value on the training experience. “If I want to help students, I need to educate myself,” she said. Baljinnyam is focused on equality for her country’s deaf students. “I want to work on helping children develop their native language. There is only one deaf school in Mongolia and the children do not have much chance to develop their language skills,” she explained. A firm grasp of language is important, she said, if students are to finish high school and go on to college and then to rewarding careers. Not many students see that kind of future for themselves, but Baljinnyam hopes her leadership can change that.
Each of the participants brought a similar ambition. Although not every participant had a polished vision of his or her leadership role at the beginning of the sessions, it soon became clear that they would return with greater focus on their goals and the energy to pursue them. Indeed, creating an action plan and giving each other feedback was an integral part of the training.
“When I get home, I’m not going to sit back,” Tesfaye said. “I want to teach deaf people and encourage them to come together.”
Grassroots Advocacy Training presenters and supporters:
Claudia Gordon, Esq. (presentation: “Deaf Rights and Empowerment: Let Deaf People Be Heard”), an attorney originally from Jamaica, is a senior policy advisor with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Homeland Security. She is active in numerous disability-oriented organizations, boards, and advisory groups, and frequently presents on disability policy issues.
Dr. Simon Guteng (presentation: “Disability Policy Development Process in the Plateau State of Nigeria”) is actively involved in disability advocacy. He has served in the capacity of special assistant to the executive governor of Plateau State of Nigeria on disability and policy matters, and pioneered a disability law in Plateau State. Dr. Guteng was instrumental in organizing the training and providing sponsorship from the Gallaudet Leadership Institute and Professional Studies division of CPSO, which he directs. Guteng is also an associate professor of education at Gallaudet.
Dr. Joseph Innes is dean of the College of Professional Studies and Outreach, and provided overall support for the program.
Gary Malkowski (presentation: “Advocacy in Canada”), born and raised in Canada, was the first elected deaf politician in the world, serving as minister of provincial parliament for the York East region of Ontario. He has worked provincially and nationally on issues of human rights, anti-discrimination, and deaf and disability advocacy. Malkowsi is currently special advisor to the president for public affairs at The Canadian Hearing Society.
Dr. Joseph Murray (presentation: “Leadership in the International Organizations Serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing People”) spent much of his life in the U.S., but lived for ten years in Norway and other Western European countries. Dr. Murray’s research focuses on transnationalism, exploring how extra-national ideas shape locally-lived lives. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies.
Kevin Nolan (workshops on consumer, family and community advocacy), from the United States, has worked in the field of advocacy and leadership on the state, national, and international levels. He is outreach and support services coordinator for Children’s Hospital Boston, chair of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s Statewide Advisory Committee, and vice-president of the board of D.E.A.F., Inc.
Dr. Madan Vasishta (“United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities /Advocacy”), a native of India, spent more than 30 years as an administrator at schools for deaf students and has published widely on deaf education and his experience growing up deaf in Delhi. Vasishta now divides his time between the U.S. and his home country, working as a writer, educator, and consultant.
Posted: 22 Jul 2009
7月25日の学習会：コートジボワールの障害者の生計調査 : 公務員無試験採用制度を中心に標記企画の案内です。
Government should ratify Disability Act without delay- Federation
July 25, 2009
Kumasi, July 25, GNA- The Kumasi Metropolitan Federation of the Physically Disabled on Friday organised a day's seminar to draw public attention to discrimination and other forms of indignities suffered by the physically challenged persons in the country.
The "seminar on the theme: "Correcting Negative Perception on Disability,"
which was attended by more than 500 people also aimed at creating awareness about the need to ensure that minimum standard of facilities are offered to public institutions to provide accessibility to the disabled.
Mr. Yaw Atakorah Asamoah Poku, President of the Kumasi Branch of the Federation, who addressed the seminar, said it was worrying that many Ghanaians continued to have negative views about people with disabilities.
To help to reverse the situation, he urged government to ratify the Disability Act, 2006, to give adequate protection to people with disabilities.
He said it was disheartening that the disabled were often denied access to health, education, sports and other public facilities.
Mr. Poku said it was time Ghanaians made away with the superstitious belief that disabilities were the result of a curse or divine punishment.
He called on all disabled persons to demand that their right to human dignity was respected and to refuse derogatory tags like "Apakye", "Bafan", and "Pozo."
Mr. Sakyi Boafo, Kumasi Metropolitan Director of Social Welfare, said disability was not synonymous with inability and asked persons with disability to involve themselves in activities that would help to advance the country, socially and economically.
Nana Ampofo Kyei Baffour II, a traditional ruler, who chaired the function, advised people with disabilities to be assertive and to insist on their rights.
Ghana: We Are Not Elements of Charity - Disabled
Frank Mensah & Sherry Gollo Kumasi
27 July 2009
THE KUMASI Metro Federation of the Disabled has called on the general public to debunk the negative perception that persons with disabilities are vagabonds and "sick people".
According to the chairman of the Federation, Mr. Atakora Poku, those negative perceptions must be corrected since some persons with disabilities hold prestigious positions in the country.
Speaking at a seminar in Kumasi last Friday, under the theme -"Correcting Negative Perceptions on Disability", Mr. Poku said disabled persons should be treated like all other persons since "we are all human beings."
He also cautioned people against the use of adjectives like 'less fortunate' and 'physically challenged' among others which make them feel isolated from the society. He noted that given equal opportunity, those persons with disabilities, as they want to be referred to, can effectively work as their able counterparts.
He said most public buildings and buses were not "disabled friendly" and called on all and sundry to help them when the need arise, and should not think that they are elements of charity.
Mrs. Esther Gyamfi, a legal practitioner and a person with disability said about 2.2 million Ghanaians, which representing 10% of the total population in the country are persons with disabilities.
According to her, tribal war and accidents could cause one's disability and that those with such disabilities like the blind, deaf and dumb, amputees, among others, must be given rights in all respect of life, since "anyone can become disable at anytime."
She, therefore, stated that the Persons with Disabilities Act 715 of 2006 talks about how it should be used to promote and protect the rights of the disabled and called on the government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled.
She also mentioned that it is prohibited to call disabled persons with abusive names which she buttressed it with Article 33 of the 1992 which states categorically that "persons with disabilities could go to court if they feel their rights were being tempered with"
Mr. George Kyeremanteng of the Ghana Association for the Blind, stated that most people think that blind persons were irrelevant and treat them as if they were not creatures of God.
He said one major problem which they (blind) encounter is when they want to enter into marriage; the lady's parents think they (the blind) cannot service their wives in bed.
According to him, the blind also have feelings and pleaded with parents who prevent their wards from marrying the blind to disabuse their minds of it. He said the blind, especially the women, were capable of doing household chores.
Madam Doris Ofori, a teacher and a graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who spoke on women in disability, said women are marginalized but debunked the notion that women with disabilities give birth to disable children.
Eritrea: Enwdva Branch Office in Sweden Extends 11 Wheelchairs in Assistance to the Association
29 July 2009
Asmara - The Eritrean National War-Disabled Veterans Association (ENWDVA) branch office in Sweden donated 11 wheelchairs to the Association that would make due contribution in the development of disabled sports activities.
The chairman of the branch office, Mr. Tekeste Fisehaye, stated that supporting disabled nationals is the responsibility of the entire society and asserted that the assistance would continue. Indicating that the branch office is striving to realize the Association's objectives and raise its revenue, Mr. Tekeste pointed out that there are plans to work in coordination with all the
Association's branch offices in Europe in the future.
The head of volleyball technique in the Disabled Sports Federation, Mr. Habtemichael Okbazgi, explained that the donation would play a major role in tackling the existing shortcomings and promoting sports activities.
The Eritrean National War-disabled Veterans Association branch office in Sweden that was established 15 years ago comprises more than 1,200 members.
Parliament Ratifies UN Convention on Disability
Parliament has ratified the United Nations Convention on Disability after series of deliberations and advocacy by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Disabled Organizations and Handicap International.
The Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs Dr. Soccoh Kabia who moved the Government motion said the ratification of United Nations Convention would provide for the respect of the dignity of the disabled, to end discrimination, enable them to participate fully; equality before the law and respect for the rights of children with disability.
He referred to the UN Convention as the first Human Rights treaty in the 21st century.
Reacting to the ratification, Hon Eric Jumu of SLPP referred to it as a memorable period in the history of the country and for the disabled community. He said places like schools and public transport in the country are unfriendly to the disabled.
He reminded that any able man could be disabled within a twinkle of an eye and because of lack of support for the disabled, majority of them have become public charge. “Our challenge is to address their needs. They do not have the tools at Schools and not enough brail teachers” he said.
Hon. Ibrahim Bundu of APC blamed the lack of laws and the political willingness lacking to address disability issues. He however said it was better late than never in ratifying the UN Convention. Hon. Sahr Nyuma, Claude Kamanda and Dr. Moses Sesay of SLPP, APC, and APC respectively contributed that it will be ensured that discrimination against the disabled is taken out.
Making his passionate contribution, disabled MP, Julius Nyei Cuffie said he was gratified and thanked all for the support they gave him in pushing disability issues. “Today is a day we should celebrate he said”, he said.
Hon. Cuffie said the implication of the ratification was formal as the Convention was part of the laws which impinges on government to address issues of disability and failure of which, the disabled would have to seek redress in the courts.
The disabled MP called for equal access to education, before and under the law and before the law as he stated that there is a barrier to access to justice and also revealed that there is no special need for the disabled when they visit the hospitals and schools. He called on the Ministry to be more pro-active and vibrant in fighting disability issues.
He also expressed the need to support disable groups with Capacity Building Programmes to empower them with the necessary skills and technical expertise to enable disabled to participate in sustainable developmental Programmes.
He further informed Parliamentarians that he has been actively involved in advocacy for a period of 15 years and expressed the hope that implementation of the bill will go a long way in supporting and promoting the welfare of disabled groups.
Abdul Rahman Sannoh, deputy coordinator physical disability rehabilitation at Handicap International delivered a policy statement on the issue on behalf of the director that they were delighted stating that “The ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disability will provide a legal framework with the aim of improving the lives of people with disabilities in our beloved country. Sierra Leone has been a signatory to this Convention for years but has not had the opportunity to ratify it due to many post war challenges”
He also commented that it was a decisive moment geared towards removing the numerous barriers that have continued to exclude people with disabilities from public participation.
By Saidu Bah
Sports official arrested over fake deaf and dumb team
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 August 2009, 14:23 GMT
An official of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, James Armah, who under the pretext of sending some deaf and dumb persons to a football tournament in Australia, ended up sending men who hear and speak, has been picked up by the police.
Head of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Frank Adu Poku told Asempa News that the suspect, who is in his late 50’s, connived with the able-bodied persons and took them to Australia, while members of the actual deaf and dumb football team were left behind in Ghana.
Subsequently, Deaf Football Australia, hosts and organizers of the tournament has threatened to drag the Association of Sports for the Disabled of Ghana (ASBOD) to the International Sports Confederation for the Disabled (ISCD) for sanctions.
The Australian authorities are unhappy that Ghana would send hearing players for an international game meant for the disabled and are calling for a refund of USD14,789.00 being monies spent in hosting the Ghanaian team, by August 14, 2009.
An ASBOD official also told Asempa FM that the 25 hearing persons who went to Australia were not players but people seeking travelling opportunities. It is believed that each of the 25 hearing persons parted with 4,000 dollars to get a place on the trip in July.
Meanwhile, DCOP Adu Poku has told Asempa News that the supposed ‘deaf and dumb’ persons who were taken to Australia by Mr. Armah are at large. He said Mr. Armah is therefore assisting the police CID to investigate the matter.
Story: Afia Amankwaa-Tamakloe/Asempa FM
Deaf Soccer Scandal, Aussies Also Cheated
August 06, 2009
Accra, Aug. 6, GNA - The Deaf Football Australia also cheated in the special football match against their Ghanaian counterparts. Only three of their players were hearing impaired, a Source in Australia told the Ghana News Agency on Thursday.
The Source, who preferred to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, said those Ghanaians, who played in the special match were the officials, who were to accompany the Team.
The Source said the officials went through Dubai while the Team was to travel through South Africa. The Source said because it took sometime for the tickets of the Team to be ready, when it got to South Africa its visa had expired so it was not allowed to board a plane to Australia.
It said since the officials had already arrived in Australia they quickly arranged to represent the Team in the match rather than call it off.
"We explained the circumstances to the Aussies and they agreed that playing the match was better than calling it off, so we are surprised they have turned round to complain," the Source said.
Asked to comment on the decision by the Ghanaian Police to track the officials down and bring them back to Ghana, the Source said that would not be in the overall interest of Ghana.
The Source said the officials used their own dollars to buy their tickets and not the money of the State. It would, therefore, not be wise for the State to do anything that would make them to lose their money.
"When Francis Drake, who was a pirate, captured the Spanish Armada and sent it to Britain, he was knighted and he became Sir Francis Drake. The British did not try him; did they?" The Source asked.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) with its member organizations has disassociated itself from the whole saga.
It said the blame should rather be put squarely on officials of the National Sports Council, who were actively involved in the process.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday, Ms Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of the GFD, said "over the past years, disabled sportsmen and sportswomen have faced exploitation through visa racketeering and human trafficking activities by people purporting to work for the National Sports Council".
She said GFD had in the past kicked against such acts on the quiet because it considered them as criminal but it was now opportune to draw attention to the exploitation of the rights of the disabled.
The GFD comprise Ghana Association of the Blind; Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled; Share Care Ghana; Parents' Association of Children with Intellectual Disability; Society of Albinos, Ghana and the Ghana National Association of the Deaf.
GNA Sports had reported that the Deaf Football Australia had threatened dragging the Association of Sports for the Disabled of Ghana (ASBOG) to the International Sports Confederation for the Disabled for sanctions over allegations of sending hearing players to Australia for an international friendly soccer match that was meant for the hearing impaired.
The Deaf Football Australia were demanding the payment of 14,789.00 dollars as refund covering the cost of Ghana's contingent to Australia with Brian Seymour, the Secretary General, saying that the invoice was for expenses for 39 persons, who made the trip.
Ms Kusi confirmed that the 12 hearing impaired (deaf) persons, who were to participate in the event failed to make the trip and are all currently in the country, saying their that their passports were yet to be released to them.
She expressed regret that previous Governments and corporate bodies over the years had not adequately supported sports for persons with disability, saying that hey had indeed been attempts by past Governments to exclude such athletes from participating in international events such as the Paralympic and Commonwealth Games for people with disabilities.
The Executive Director said the GFD would not shield any of its member organizations that acted contrary to the law and expressed their gratitude to the Government and the Ministry of Youth and Sports for their efforts to bring the alleged culprits to book.
The Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Frank Adu-Poku, said last month an international sports festival was organised in Australia for the hearing impaired.
He said although some hearing-impaired people were processed for the trip they were substituted with people who could hear.
DCOP said Mr James Armah, a Sports Development Officer of the Ghana Sports Council, has been arrested to assist with investigations.
He said the Police was collaborating with other international security agencies such as the International Police Organisation (Interpol) to arrest the "team members'' who have absconded.
Ghana: Disability Sport Also Faces Official Corruption
Kwesi Yirenkyi Boateng
10 August 2009
Accra - The Executive Director of the Ghana Federation of the Disable, (GFD) Miss Rita Kyeremaa Kusi has pointed out that, despite the importance of sport in rehabilitation, integration and empowerment of Persons with Disability (PWDs) they continue to receive inadequate support from government.
She bemoans attempts by successive governments to exclude PWDs athletes from participating in such international events, like the Paralympic Games, and Commonwealth Games.
Recounting the horrendous experience disabled sports men and women suffered over the years, the Executive Director said that PWDs have suffered "exploitations through visa racketeering and human trafficking activities by people purporting to work for the NSC and some official of the same Sports Council". He accordingly demanded the removal of James Armah, the alleged personnel of the National Sports Council who perpetuated the act.
While pledging their cooperation, Ms. Kusi called for a full scale investigation into the issues surrounding the scandal.
The Executive Director of GFD stated that none of the 12 hearing impaired team mates, who were prepared for the engagement embarked on the journey.
Godfred Baffoe, captain of the Deaf Football Team, recounted how one Ansah and Kwasi Asante of the NSC subjected them to the same ordeal in the past. He added that poor food, poor logistics and lack of assistance from the government through the Ministry of Sport have affected their team spirit.
According to Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, President of the Physically Disable, said they have been institutional neglect and discrimination, as well as no budgetary allocation to the Disabled sports and other activities over the years.
The Ghana Federation of the Disabled, an umbrella body of PWDs in Ghana also recommends to the Ministry of Youth and Sport and its agency, the National Sports Council to collaborate with Organizations of Persons with Disabilities to restructure the various committees tasked with developing , organizing and promoting disability sports in Ghana.
The association also recommend immediate refund of the full cost incurred by their Australian counterparts in order to avoid international sanctions.
The National Chairman of the Ghana Federation of Disability urged media practitioners to be cautious with the usage of words while describing people
Ghana: Where Will PWDs Turn for Protection?
10 August 2009
Accra - It is worrying that cheating and corruption in the public service, especially at the Ministry of Youth and Sports have been extended to Persons with Disability (PWDs).
This newspaper is talking specifically about the ongoing case in which one Mr. James Armah, perhaps, with the connivance of some sports authorities at the National Sports Council allegedly collected various sums of money from able-bodied people and substituted them with the Deaf and Dump Football team to participate in a tournament in Australia.
Whatever the reasons for the failure of the real Deaf and Dumb team to arrive in Australia on time for the match, it is simply criminal for people to pretend to be what they are not. Police investigators have confirmed that although some hearing-impaired people were processed for the trip they were substituted with people who could hear.
This has resulted in the Deaf Football of Australia demanding the payment of $ 14,789.00 as refund covering the cost of Ghana's contingent to Australia. If this is not a disgrace to Ghana, can someone tell us what it is.
Over the past years, disabled sportsmen and sportswomen have faced exploitation through visa racketeering and human trafficking activities by people purporting to work for the National Sports Council.
It was expected that with the passage of the Disability Law, attitudes towards the PWDs would change, but discrimination against them is rather getting worse. The Disability Act 715 makes provision against the exploitation PWDs. Section 4 of the Act says that 'A person shall not discriminate against, exploit or subject a person with disability to abusive or degrading treatment.
The substitution of Deaf and Dumb with able-bodied people for the football tournament speaks volumes of the extent to which many public officials can go to abuse the rights of PWDs. On countless occasions members of disability sports fraternity are often discriminated and neglected by the Ministry and the National Sports Council and denied any budgetary support to participate in international events.
It is time the Attorney General, the Judiciary and the Ghana Police Service ensured that issues concerning the maltreatment against PWDs are properly investigated and the appropriate punishments meted out to serve as deterrents to potential abusers of PWDs' rights. State institutions have the responsibility to protect the rights and interests of the less fortunate ones in our society, so if the very institutions end up abusing the rights of the less fortunate, where can they turn for protection?
Ghana-Australia deaf game not part of yearly programme
August 12, 2009
Accra, Aug. 12, GNA - Association of Sports for the Disabled (ASFOD) has revealed the Ghana-Australia Deaf football friendly match last July, was not part of the Association's programme for 2009.
Ghana were said to have presented hearing players for the game which they lost 3-8 to their Australian counterparts.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Reverend Cornelius Adja Cofie, Chairman of ASFOD said the unsanctioned friendly could not enjoy the blessing of the National Sports Council since it was not part of their yearly programme.
"The sad aspect is that the National Sports Council could not and did not authorize the trip due to their inability to fund the budgeted amount of over 283,000 dollars."
Rev. Cofie added that his outfit has therefore charged the NSC and Government to investigate and come out with appropriate sanctions to all persons involved in the 'shameful act' that has tarnished the reputation of the nation and the Association.
He also appealed to the Australian High Commission to calm their Australian counterparts and advised authorities to settle the matter amicably.
Meanwhile, the case is currently under investigations.
Ghana will not participate in 2009 Summer Deaflympics
August 12, 2009
Accra, Aug. 12, GNA - Ghana will not be represented at this year's edition of the Summer Deaflympics slated for Taipei, Taiwan, from September 5 to September 15, 2009.
Ghana's participation at the 21st edition of the Deaf version of the Olympic Games has been curtailed following the developments involving the Ghana Deaf Team's visa scandal in a football match against their Australian counterparts last month.
Francis Sowah, Vice Chairman of the Association of Sports for the Disabled (ASFOD), the mother body of Disabled Sports Unions told GNA Sports that his outfit has placed an order on all programmes of the Deaf Sports Association.
"We have put on hold all programmes of the Deaf Sports Association until the dust on the Australian saga is settled."
Sowah explained that the Deaf Sports Association has expressed in participating in other disciplines after Nigeria had pipped them to the football ticket.
"We wanted to participate in Athletics and other field events. Also, the Deaflympics is not listed among our programmes for the year".
The ASFOD Vice Chairman added that the decision was to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents facing the Association following the Australian game, which was an event outside the Association' programme of activities for 2009.
About 81 nations are expected to take part in the 10-day event, which will have 15 individual sports and five team sports disciplines.
Athletes for the games must have a hearing loss of at least 55 decibel (db) in their "better ear".
Rwanda Demobilization Program Builds Homes for Disabled Ex-Combatants
image: The specially built houses have extra wide doors which are designed to allow wheel-chair access
- Demobilization and assimilation of former soldiers is key for Rwanda to restore social norms and embark on long-term development
- Through IDA, the Bank has funded a $25 million Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Program to demobilize 45,000 ex-combatants
- Building handicap-accessible homes for severely disabled former soldiers is a major part of the reintegration process
KIGALI, August 12, 2009 -- Fifteen years after a genocide that took the lives of nearly one million people, Rwanda is working hard to rehabilitate its devastated infrastructure, restore social norms and embark on a long-term development strategy.
The successful demobilization and economic reintegration of former soldiers, or ex-combatants, is a major part of that strategy and is crucial to maintaining stability in the small land-locked country.
Reintegrating Rwanda’s Ex-Fighters
In June 2001, Rwanda’s government asked the World Bank to lead efforts to revamp and expand the Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Program (RDRP), a program launched in 1997, following the signing of the Lusaka Peace Accord and with support from UNDP, to repatriate and reintegrate members of Rwandese armed groups. Many of the groups had fled to neighboring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo after the genocide ended. Members of the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) were also targeted for demobilization in order to reduce the economic burden caused by a large army.
Under the program’s second stage, the Bank would help mobilize resources and coordinate donor support, among other activities.
In 2002, the Bank launched the International Development Association-funded Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration Program (EDRP). The US$25 million program aimed to demobilize an additional 45,000 ex-combatants, as well as provide them with assistance in assimilating into civilian life. The program also helped facilitate the reallocation of government resources away from military spending and into key areas, including the social and economic sectors.
Amongst the ex-combatants demobilized were those who had sustained serious injuries during the war, and who now had severe disabilities. Some had lost all their limbs, while others were paralyzed. Yet others lost their sight. There were also those afflicted with severe mental disabilities as a result of fighting in the war. While some of these ex-combatants went home to live with their families, many required round-the-clock care and handicap-accessible facilities, and so were sent to military hospitals.
Building a Lasting Hope
Faced with the challenge of re-integrating these severely disabled ex-fighters, and in line with the recently established legislation for the social protection of disabled ex-combatants, the Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC), the government agency in charge of implementing the program, realized a major part of the reintegration process was a need for homes that could accommodate the disabled.
“What the [ex-combatants] needed desperately were houses,” said Francis Musoni, Coordinator for the RDRC.
The Commission, with help from the World Bank, prepared a housing scheme activity to be included in the EDRP project. After careful planning and some thinking out of the box, the scheme was given the go-ahead and, in 2008,162 handicap-accessible homes were built.
Today, the housing scheme is open to all disabled, demobilized soldiers, regardless of previous military affiliation. To qualify for a house, an ex-combatant has to be evaluated as having a disability rate of at least ninety percent, in line with the new legislation.
Also included in the legislation framework is the provision of a life-time monthly stipend of 50,000 Rwandese Francs for each person under the scheme. The small allowance helps cover the cost of subsistence, and a full time caretaker if needed.
“Now they can live in a family environment, and there is a community around them, which was missing in the hospital environment,” said Musoni. “They look more healthy than when they were in the hospital, and more happy when they smile.”
In addition, project beneficiaries are entitled to free medical insurance and transportation.
“You can see a change in their behavior…they have a revived hope in life,” Musoni said.
Challenges facing the program
Although 162 ex-combatants have received housing through the EDRP, over 300 more still need access to handicap-accessible homes. In addition, the homes that have been built require additional resources to build retention walls and pit latrines, and gain access to electricity. And, despite a shortfall in resources to finish the existing scheme, the RDRC has plans to expand the program to include skills training for those who can work, and to build production workshops and recreation facilities within the handicap-housing compounds.
The Emergency Demobilization and Reintegration project closed in December last year. However, the World Bank has committed to finance a second phase of the program to support its continuation for an additional three years. World Bank support aims to Help Rwanda’s Demobilization and Reintegration Commission continue the work of national reconciliation, contribute to general peace in the eastern region of the DRC, which has been affected by Rwanda’s conflict, and help the Government of Rwanda dismantle the last remaining armed elements of the genocide.
Permanent URL for this page: http://go.worldbank.org/ZPK28SYRM0
"Come with me" project benefits over 40,000 disabled people
8/13/09 2:06 PM
Luanda - At least 49, 934 disabled people have taken part in the three phases of the social project dubbed “Venha Comigo” (Come with me), which started on April 2003, promoted by the National Association of Disabled Persons (ANDA).
Out of the mentioned number, 7,789 people have already been integrated in the productive sector.
The information was provided to ANGOP by the coordinator of the project, Silva Lopes Etiambulo, on an interview that focussed on the topic “The role of NGOs in the improvement of peoples’ living standards”, considering the act as “very important”, not only for what it represents, but also for all disabled people in the country.
According to the source, throughout the existence of the project, many difficulties faced by disabled people were sorted out.
The launching of ANDA’s project, which happened on 22 April 2003, was witnessed by the Angolan First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, the minister of Employment and Social Security, Antonio Pitra Neto and other entities.
Mr Etiambulo praised the assistance provided by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (MAPESS), which sponsors the project as well as the “Lwini” social solidarity fund, towards the accomplishment of the goals initially established.
The third phase of “come with me” project is expected to be concluded this year in September. The fourth phase is being prepared and will run until 2012.
The “Vem comigo project” , among other things, includes the integration of disabled people in professional training courses as well as in production and services co-operatives.
Sign language case in court this week
Karen Van Rooyen
Published:Aug 15, 2009
Kwazulu-Natal matriculant Kyle Springate is due to go back to court this week in his quest to have sign language recognised as an exam subject.
Springate, who is without 91% of his hearing due to a congenital condition, discovered late last year that despite having taken sign language as a subject throughout high school, it would not form part of his matric exam this year.
Springate opted for sign language as an additional language believing it formed part of the school curriculum. The discovery that it was not a recognised subject meant he faced losing points in his university applications.
Springate took up dramatic arts as an extra subject, and had to cram three years of work into his final school year at Westville Boys’ High School in Durban.
His mother, Paige McLennan-Smith, said this had placed him at a disadvantage.
“Kyle is exhausted after a normal day at school because (as a result of having to lip-read) he has to concentrate at all times during the school day. Now, with the added burden of dramatic arts, he is even more exhausted after a day at school,” she says in court papers.
“If Kyle fails dramatic arts and his application to university is assessed on the basis of only six subjects, he stands little chance of being accepted.”
Springate hopes to study fine art at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape next year.
In court papers filed at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, the Department of Basic Education’s deputy director-general in further education and training, Penny Vinjevold, said there was no consensus yet among organisations representing the deaf about the exact definition or components of sign language. This had resulted in a delay in the process to formally recognise it as a subject.
Tim Stones, a researcher at the National Institute for the Deaf ’s Deafnet Centre of Knowledge, said: “A positive result in this court case will go a long way to ensuring that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in South Africa moves closer to enjoying equal access and equal opportunities in all spheres of life.”
Parents in Mazabuka adandon their disabled children Sunday
August 23, 2009, 21:08
Education authorities in Mazabuka have expressed concern at the negative attitude by some parents towards their physically challenged pupils at Nanga boarding school for the handicapped.
Mazabuka District Education Board Secretary, Darius Kaluba complained to ZANIS in Mazabuka today, that some parents have completely abandoned their children and do not want to be associated with them because of their physical disabilities.
Mr Kaluba said the parents have found the school to be a dumping ground for disabled children.
He observed that during school holidays, only a few parents visited the school to pick up their children while the majority of them remained at school.
Mr Kaluba charged that there was need for parents to accept the status of their children because it was not the children’s fault to find themselves in that status.
He said failure by the parents to pick their children when schools close was making the school operations difficult especially when it comes to feeding.
Meanwhile, Mr Kaluba says the ongoing construction of new classroom blocks at the learning institution has completely stalled because of lack of interest by parents.
Mr Kaluba said the parents are refusing to take part in the construction projects as they feel they would be identified as parents to the abandoned disabled children.
Nanga is the only school in the district offering special education to the physically challenged. Most children are from the rural parts of the district.
Dar to get new maternity and disabled hospitals
image: CCBRT Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Over 120,000 people use the hospital’s facility each year. Picture: Leonard Magomba
By KIRA THOMAS
Posted Monday, August 24 2009 at 00:00
Dar es Salaam will soon have two specialised hospitals following a partnership between the government and the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation Trust.
The two - Baobab Maternity Hospital and CCBRT Disability Hospital - will form what will be referred to as a regional designated hospital.
According to CCBRT chief executive Erwin Telemans, the Baobab Maternity Hospital will provide a safe place for mothers to deliver besides offering high quality care, reproductive health education and HIV/AIDS services.
The construction of Baobab Maternity Hospital is scheduled to begin early 2010 and end by 2011.
CCBRT is one of eight special hospitals in Tanzania providing services for people with disabilities such as obstetric fistula, eye care, cerebral palsy and congenital deformities such as clubfoot. It also provides orthopaedic appliances and physiotherapy.
There is also a strong emphasis on rehabilitation, with home-based care and community support offered through CCBRT’s community programmes.
CCBRT is now the largest indigenous provider of disability and rehabilitation services in the country, with 120,000 people directly accessing its services each year.
The organisation runs a special payment system where the poorest are treated for free while those who can, contribute only what they are able.
Well-off patients pay the full cost of treatment, thus subsidising the cost of treatment for the poor. CCBRT is also supported by a number of development and corporate partners.
In Tanzania, about 10 per cent of the population lives with impairments while one to two per cent of children live with a disability.
According to research, 50 per cent of all disabilities are curable. Apart from life changing cataract, cleft lip and club foot surgeries, it only takes minor interventions in some cases to help a child with impairment enrol in school.
Devices such as glasses, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs or even relatively cheap medicine for children with epilepsy can improve a child’s prospects in life.
The disabled 10 per cent deny the economy more than the diminished work force.
In Tanzania, it is estimated that households with a member who has a disability have a mean consumption rate of less than 60 per cent of the average of the country.
In most cases the care givers, predominantly women and girls are required to stay at home to take care of the family member living with a disability.
The need for addressing HIV care and extreme poverty is similarly crucial. A reduced workforce leads to reduced production, which leads to reduced economic output and exports.
While data indicates falling HIV infection rates in Tanzania, approximately 10 per cent of pregnant women in Dar es Salaam are HIV positive.
Church donates to Cape Coast School for the Deaf
By GNA - Ghana News Agency
Education | Mon, 24 Aug 2009
Cape Coast , Aug. 24, GNA - The Christian Ministry International, based in Italy , has presented food items worth GH¢7,500.00 to the Cape Coast School for the Deaf.
The items comprising three bags of rice, four bags of maize, a quantity of yam and one gallon cooking oil were presented by the head pastor of the church, Pastor Francis Yeboah.
He said the donation was the church's contribution towards the welfare of pupils of the school.
Mr. William Kpodoh, the Assistant Headmaster of the School who received the items, thanked the church for the donation and appealed to other Ghanaians living abroad and the public to also support the school.
Nigeria: Celebrating Week of the Disabled
Funmi Falobi and Abosede Akanbi 24 August 2009
Lagos - One of the groups in the society that is usually not remembered is the physically-challenged people. They rarely make news on the pages of newspapers, magazine, television and radio except when they are viewed as constituting social nuisance and are picked up by government agency.
People with disabilities abound everywhere. They live in the developed as well as developing nations. Some people are made disable through natural occurrence while accidental occurrences like road accidents, fire among others render them disability. This group of people suffers neglect and faces lots of challenges, which include physically, financially, emotionally and opportunity wise. While the developed nations have tried to make policies to ease the challenges faced by the disabled persons, developing nations in which Nigeria is one still struggle to integrate this group in her policies.
In other to bring the plight of disable persons to the purview of the society a disability week was put together to examine the various ways the global economic recession has affected the group whose daily population is increasing geometrically. Currently, the National Population Census (NPC) put their population at over 19 million.
While marking this year's disability week in Lagos with the theme; 'Emerging Global Trends In The Rehabilitation Of The People With Disabilities' the physically challenged under the aegis of National Handicap Carers Association of Nigeria (NAHCAN) called on the Nigerian government at various levels to implement programmes that would enhance the living condition of People With Disability (PWD).
They also demanded that each state in the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja should construct 100,000 units of room and parlour and donate them free of charge to the disabled and the poor to solve their accommodation and shelter problem.
NAHCAN is a multi-disability, cross-cultural, multi-religious and dynamic disability organisation established to fight for improvement in living conditions of people with disabilities in Nigeria and to ensure they occupy their rightful place in the society.
The event attracts dignitaries across the country both from government circle and business world. Audience was also entertained with good music by members of the Teslim Band, who are also physically challenged.
Speaking at the event, Nigeria's First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar'Adua called on public office holders and the society at large to help persons with disabilities so that they would achieve their dreams in life.
She said government alone could not shoulder the responsibilities of people with disabilities but with the assistance of other organisations in the country, life would become conducive for the group.
"The Federal Government is aware of the enormous challenges faced by persons with disabilities in this country. Consequently, government is doing all within its resources to empower persons with disabilities to become productive and self-fulfilled citizens of our dear nation. As you all know, government alone cannot shoulder the responsibilities of persons with disabilities. It is my sincere hope that programmes such as this will be organized frequently to arouse public awareness on the plight of persons with disabilities," she said.
Yar'Adua, who was represented by Minister for Women Affairs, Hajia Salamatu Suleiman explained that her pet project, 'Women and Youth Empowerment (WAYEP)' foundation is focused on helping persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged members of the society.
Director, Rehabilitation Service, Ministry of Social Development, Culture and Tourism in Kwara State, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajani opined that government has lots of programmes for the disabled in the state. He explained that since April 2009 Kwara government has been evacuating destitutes from Lagos to Kwara State with a view of resettling them.
"The state government also evacuates those in Ilorin and provided them medical treatment as it partners with the psychiatric home. We also link them with their local government areas and follow them up with their family and relations and empower them, give them money to establish their workshops so that they don't go back to the street," he said.
NAHCAN President, Adewale Adeyanju said in order to cushion the global economic crunch, government in developed countries have re-strategised and improvised relief packages for the physically challenged people but in Nigeria "we are yet to enjoy such policies and special progrrammes. Let me use this medium to reiterate that the president's seven point agenda, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and vision 2020 are all a mirage without a sound rehabilitation system put in place to revamp the ailing strata in all our national endeavours including rehabilitation of the people with disabilities."
According to him, Nigeria is signatory to many international treaties and conventions designed by the United Nations to uplift and improved the living standard of the vulnerable, the poor and people with disabilities, but lack of political will to implement the contents of the treaties and international convention instruments have been the cog in the wheel of our progress in this country.
"It is in this respect we are canvassing for motivation, regular interaction with functionaries and the society as a veritable strategies to boost special persons development and ensure we occupy our rightful place in the society.
"We are sensitising the public that positive attitudinal change toward our plight will move us forward in this country- It is one thing to enact a bill that will make life bearable for us, it is another thing to have a society with good attitude, love and acceptance of the people with disabilities," he said.
Adeyanju canvassed for the establishment of Person with Disabilities Trust Funds where a certain amount be put to see to the well-being of disable persons, saying that most of the microfinance banks are not targeted at helping the disabled.
"Now is the time to have Disability MicroFinance Banks and Disability Bank if we are serious to move forward. Every determined disabled business men/women should be helped with Small and Medium Enterprises(SME) funds to engage in business and wealth creation to ensure they are self-reliant economically. We shall be able to contribute immensely towards economic emancipation of Nigeria instead of being consumers," he said.
NAHCAN Treasurer, Titilayo Awoniyi, a law graduate while admitting that living with disability is very challenging, she opined that many facilities that would aid them to live a good life are not available.
She called on government to always remember the disabled in their policies and implement strategies that would improve their living condition because "disability can happen to anybody."
She enjoined the disabled not to be discouraged saying, "disability is a thing of the mind. If you are disabled in your mind, you are disabled in every aspect of life. If you allow what people say to get at you, you will blame people, environment for your predicament and you will not move on in life. Be strong, don't give up and love one another."
Uganda: Disharmony in Laws Undermine PWD Movement Geoffrey Bwayo
26 August 2009
The NRM government's policies aimed at achieving a comprehensive and coherent protection of the rights of marginalised groups is at stake. The empowerment of this group includes creating structures and departments along local and regional governments meant to work for the promotion of positive attitudes and image (economic, political and social) of persons with disabilities (PWDS) as capable and contributing members of society.
Despite these good policies however, the disability movement remains on paper due to the many conditionalities that are exacerbated by opportunism that affects the level of person's with disabilities participation in matters concerning them including the election of their leadership. While Article 37 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2006 provides for the full participation of PWDs in political and public life including to vote and be voted in political office, Article 18 of the National Council of Disability Act 2003 is not in harmony with this position.
In the later, PWDs are nominated by mainly union representatives in the district thus denying the wider majority the opportunity to exercise their franchise rights. The worrying complication is that unlike the processes that empower other marginalised groups like women; this system has created a dangerous class of inferior and superior PWDs within the fraternity. This puts at risk the movement's objective goal of championing accountability and efficacy.
The recent nomination of PWDs for appointment to the Disability Council in Sironko District by the Union representatives was marred by controversies. The selection and eligibility criteria adopted by those who participated ensured exclusion of the majority and witnessed the forwarding of persons either on the union council or in other capacities in the different bodies championing the demands of the disability movement. The multifaceted representation by a few, while leaving the majority deserving PWDs, clearly indicates that the disability movement is losing focus as dictated by this design at the expense of strengthening the efforts.
It is sad to note that the emerging "superior" PWDs are increasingly subscribing to a membership in a delinquent gang that demands a need for attention and status while losing contact with reality. Subjective demands are overshadowing the objective realities meant to collectively benefit the disabled.
The leadership have failed and/or are not aware they should mobilise the government, the donor community and civil society to understand the realities of the different vulnerabilities PWDs face in order to inform interventions designed to better their plight.
Otherwise, its maintenance would suggests that 20 years since the inception of the disability movement in Uganda, the empowerment process has not taken off and that PWDs have failed to build the necessary public and social will. Harmonising the two and their meaningful enforcement will graduate the struggle out of protective aspects into promotive, involving and transformation aspects; making its activities more competitive to sustain the public buy-in that can be harnessed for the realisation of the vision "a society where PWDs fully participate in all spheres of development".
Mr Bwayo is the executive director of CIDDAC Uganda and a member of NRM PWD, Sironko District
Nigeria: Disabled Persons Want 37 Million Free Houses
26 August 2009
Lagos - The peoples living with disabilities in the country say they want the government to build 37 million housing units for them free of charge.
Making the demand in Lagos yesterday under the aegis of National Handicap Carers Association of Nigeria (NAHCAN), the disabled persons said if the government could agree to pay the Niger-Delta militants billions of Naira in the amnesty deal, they deserved something closer to that.
Speaking for the people with disabilities at a press conference to celebrate the 2009 Disability Week, the President of NAHCAN, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, said each state in the country and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) should construct 100,000 units of room and parlour and donate free of charge to the disabled.
According to Mr. Adeyanju, building the housing units would go along way in solving accommodation and shelter problem of the disabled.
His words: "We are not asking for too much, let each state in the Federation including the FCT Abuja construct 100,000 units of rooms and parlour and donate this free of charge to the disabled and the poor it will solve accommodation and shelter problem, more than that, an amount should also be set aside as person with disabilities trust funds.
The NAHCAN president said it was painful that Nigeria, which is a signatory to many international treaties and conventions, designed by the United Nations to uplift and improved the living standard of the vulnerable, the poor and people with disabilities, still neglect these people to their own fate.
ZAPD expresses concern at abandoned disabled children
Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 12:23
The Zambia Agency for Persons with disabilities (ZAPD)ZAPD Director General Charles Mwape says his organisation is saddened with parents who abandon their children with disabilities.
Dr Mwape says its criminal for parents to abandon their disabled children, instead of accepting their physical being.
He told ZANIS in an interview , today, that parents must realize that children born with disabilities are not different from normal children in society.
He said children with disabilities must be treated equally with other children and should be given their full rights which they are supposed to enjoy.
He said children with disabilities have the right to Education, Health and Shelter hence the need for parents to ensure that all those rights are given to them.
Mr Mwape said ZAPD has a mandate to protect children with disabilities from all forms of discrimination and violence.
He said parents must care for their children with or without disabilities as they are a gift from God.
Mr Mwape said his organization will not sit idle, seeing the many disabled children who are being abandoned by their parents in the country.
He has however called on authorities to make sure, that the culprits are brought to book and face the wrath of the law.
Mr Mwape was reacting to parents in Southern Province who are believed to be abandoning their disabled children.
War-disabled militaries association satisfiied
Luanda - The 17 years of existence of the Association of Angolan War- disabled Militaries (Ammiga) have been positive, as the goals behind its creation have been attained.
This was said Thursday in Luanda by Ammiga chairman, Domingos Martins Ngola.
According to the official, who was speaking to Angop, one of the purposes of his association, established on September 2, 1992, was that of contribute to the reintegration in the job market of the ex-soldiers who, somehow become disabled as a result of the armed conflict that ravaged the country for more than 30 decades .
Appraising the work done by the association over the last 17 years, Domingos Ngola said the drop in the number of ex-soldiers begging around the streets, is a result of the performance of the organisation.
He mentioned the physical and professional rehabilitation of disabled militaries, creation of small cooperatives of production in various parts of the country, with stress to that in southern Huila province and fishery in south-western Namibe, as some of the achievements of the association.Ammiga is non-lucrative association established to defend and promote the social, economic, cultural and Professional interests of its affiliates.
It is based all over the country, with exception to northern Zaire province.
Big plans to celebrate deaf awareness week
Written by The Editor
Friday, 28 August 2009 07:50
ClaSH, the Association for Children with Language Speech and Hearing Impairments, is running a series of events in early September to celebrate its 20th anniversary and the Deaf Awareness Week.
On 9 and 10 September in the DHPS School Hall, a play called Pantomime JOMI will kick off the celebrations. This will be followed by an anniversary dinner themed “A Dinner in Silence” at Safari Conference Centre.
The dinner is not one’s usual kind of dinner, as its theme might suggests.
“As a unique, yet eye-opening feature one course of the dinner will be served in silence,” said Haymich Oliver of ClaSH.
During the week starting Monday, 14 September, a series of movies will be screened at the Goethe Centre in celebration of this special week for people with hearing disabilities.
The movies will have titles like “Children of a Lesser God” “Mr Holland’s Opus” “Immortal Beloved” and “Beyond Silence”.
Ghana: Visually Impaired Call for Better Rehabilitation Centres
28 August 2009
The President of the Ghana Association of the Blind, Mr.Yaw Ofori Debra, has described the state of affairs of rehabilitation centers for persons with disability nationwide as a "monumental scandal, and horribly out of order."
He has therefore challenged the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare to be up and doing and make life bearable for persons with disability.
He said this at the annual delegates' congress of the Association's Youth and Student's Wing held in Accra on Saturday. It was under the theme: "The Existence of the Disability Act and the National Disability Council, the Expectation of the Blind and the Partially Sighted Youth."
Mr. Debra also noted that most visually impaired students find it difficult to pay for academic facility user fees at the tertiary level.
He therefore called on government to grant full scholarship to such students and also make it possible for the Ghana Education Trust Fund to cater for these students.
On the other hand, he thanked the Presbyterian and Wesley Colleges of Education for following the footsteps of the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast in admitting visually impaired students to their centers of learning and hoped that the Ghana Institute of Journalism would emulate this good example.
Turning attention, Mr. Debrah asked corporate entities to offer internship to visually impaired graduates and also give them full employment after school.
However, the GAB President used the occasion to advise the youth not to allow their disability to control their lives, but rather resolve to overcome their disability and make a meaning out of their lives.
In his annual report for the 2008/2009 year, the National Secretary of the Wing, Dwomo Ababio Joseph, reported that the Wing has made input into the national youth policy.
He also said the wing had embarked on an outreach program in nine regional branches to assess the strength of the wing.
But Mr. Ababio bemoaned the mass unemployment facing its members and asked government and corporate bodies to engage their members who are equally well educated in their various skills of endeavour.
Commenting on the role of persons with disability in implementing the Disability Act, Mr. Andrew Okaikoi, Chairman of the Disability Council, entreated members to rise up and protest the inequality they go through.
The Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Hon. Stephen Amoanor Kwao, pledged government's commitment to persons with disability in order to realize their dreams.
He also said the NDC government, which has the interest of all the vulnerable at heart will see to the implementation of the Disability Act passed in 2006 to protect their right and empower them against unfair treatment, abuse and discrimination.
The minister further said government had increased the "disability fund in the common fund from 2% to 5%."
Disabled people federation at seminar on research
Luanda - An Angolan delegation of the Federation of Associations of Disabled People (FAPED) participates from Tuesday at an international seminar on research being held in Gaberone (Botswana).
The event will be held by the Southern Africa Federation of Disabled People (SAFOD) and will discuss during three days issues about the making of inquiries within the diverse associations.
The Angolan delegation is led by the general secretary of FAPED, Louren?o Humba and integrates also research technicians and leaders of several associations that compose the federation.
Last February, 24 officials of associations linked to defence of disabled people were trained, in Luanda, during three days, with the support of SAFOD.
FAPED is composed by 18 national associations that defend the interests of disabled people and held its second general assembly to renew leadership mandate last January.
S. African schools are using innovative means to reach disabled students
ASCD Worldwide Edition SmartBrief | 09/01/2009
Some South African schools are applying new tools and methods to better educate students who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The level of technology can vary from school to school, but what they have in common is a commitment to inclusive education, experts say, which is paying off in students' developmental advancements.
Nigeria: Akpabio Empowers the Disabled
2 September 2009
Abuja - Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has presented a wheelchair to a less privileged cripple in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and ordered she be rehabilitated with a means of livelihood.
Akpabio who read the plight of the cripple named A'isha, in an article published in one of the national dailies soliciting for a wheelchair to enable her reach out and eke a living rather than beg for arms, was touched by her doggedness to be self sustaining and contribute to the society.
Special Representative to the Governor on Inter-governmental and National Assembly Relations Abuja, Mrs. Mary Ekpenyong, who made the presentation on behalf of the governor, said the wheelchair donated to A'isha, was in giving the less privileged a sense of belonging.
According to Ekpenyong, the donation was the desire of Akwa Ibom State Government to reach out to the less privileged in the society wherever they may be; pointing out that the donation was a token of love and concern of Akpabio towards the welfare of the forgotten ones in the society.
Speaking on the quality of the wheelchair, She said it was the latest model designed for specific practical user needs, combining solid rugged construction and modern high-tech electronics to enhance safety and performance.
The Special Representative said the wheelchair was a state-of-the-art programmable electronic control system which could be adjusted within a given range of its performance to suit individual needs and called on the beneficiary to make proper use of the equipment to optimally serve her.
The highly excited A'isha was full of appreciation to Governor Akpabio and prayed God to continue to bless him. On where she would like the governor to rehabilitate her, A'isha said she would prefer her home town Zaria, Kaduna State to bring her closer to her parents, and promised never to go back to the streets to beg for alms.
Association of disabled ex-soldiers pleased with law
Huambo - The secretary for administration and finance of the Angolan Association of Disabled Ex-Soldiers (AMMIGA), Domingos Kalussimi, said on Wednesday in the central Huambo province that members of this association are enjoying the rights and guarantees enshrined in the Angolan constitutional law.
Domingos Kalussumi said so during a workshop on “Disabled people’s rights”, which was promoted by AMMIGA in the framework of the celebrations of the association's 17th founding anniversary, marked on Wednesday (September 02).
AMMIGA, which comprises 1,069 members, has been promoting projects to support and reintegrate its affiliates in the central Huambo province.
Handicap Int. ends national conference on disability
Handicap International an international humanitarian organization that focuses on the protection and welfare of the disabled in the country has ended a two day national consultative conference with stakeholders on the ratified UN Convention on persons with disability at the Atlantic Hall National Stadium in Freetown.
The national conference was organized by Handicap International (Social Inclusion and Rights Project) with support from Irish Aid and other partners working towards disability issues in Sierra Leone.
The two day consultative forum attracted over forty representatives of disabled people’s organizations (DPO’S), Members of parliament, civil society groups and the media to discuss the way forward for the implementation of disability issues.
The purpose of the UN Convention on the rights of people with disability is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The convention also recognizes that all persons are equal before the law and requires state parties to prohibit all discriminations on the basis of disability and guarantees to persons with disability equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.
Article 6 indicates (women with disabilities,) Article 7 on (children with disabilities) while Article 8 obligates state parties to take a variety of measures to raise awareness throughout society regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Article 9 deals with (accessibility) which obligates state parties to take appropriate measures to ensure access to persons with disabilities on equal basis with others to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications. Article 31-40 requires state parties to collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data to enable the disabled to create and implement policies that give effect to the convention.
The two day consultative conference was anchored by Hon. Eric Jumu of the SLPP who implored on the participants to make good use of knowledge and encouraged disables to champion the implementation of issues affecting them.
He said “Sierra Leone is not disabling friendly,” and expressed the need for the establishment of a disable commission to address the welfare of disables across the country. He noted that, after the ratification of the disable convention there is need to domesticate the UN Convention by ensuring the fullest implementation and compliance of the convention by all stakeholders seeking to protect disables.
President of the Sierra Leone Union of Disables (SLUDI) Franklin Bangura expressed thanks and appreciation to Handicap International for organizing the consultative conference on the ratified UN Convention that promotes the rights of persons with disability.
Franklin Bangura said national disable organizations are determined to intensify advocacy and lobbying strategies so that the UN Convention will be implemented and ensure speedy enactment of the disability legislation.Mrs. M. Cotay and Ezekiel presented several topics ranging from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities followed by plenary discussions and group work on the way forward in addressing disability issues in the country.
By Saidu Bah
Involve Disabled in Constitution-making
Saturday, 05 September 2009 14:24
this is an open letter to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution-making process on the participation of young people with disabilities in the current constitution-making process.
Inasmuch I would like to commend all the efforts by the Committee, civil society and all the groups that are involved in the current constitution-making process, I have noted with concern the exclusion of a very important group of people in nearly all consultations undertaken so far ? young people living with disabilities.
For a long time and all too often the voices of young people are not heard in the process of designing the legislation that later affects their lives, despite the fact that in many developing countries, people under the age of 25 make up over half the population.
Young disabled people are doubly excluded from the legislative process, as disabled people have also frequently been left out while medical or charitable “experts” speak for them.
The emergency of and involvement of organisations representing the disabled in development activities has given disabled people a greater capacity to speak for themselves, but young disabled people are still rarely asked their views.
Representation in nearly all consultations has been on behalf of people with disabilities or by the old guard of the disability movement.
Young people living with disabilities face a lot of challenges not because of their impairments, but because of lack of acceptance from the society. You then get situations where people with disabilities are excluded and ignored, especially the youths, in official information campaigns, resulting in people with disabilities having limited awareness and knowledge of their rights and entitlements. People with disabilities are denied opportunities to voice their needs, which to me are essential especially in the current constitution-making process.
Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities states the purpose of the Convention as to, “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”.
The outcome of the current constitution-making consultations on disability issues should be based on the purpose of the UN Convention. The new constitution should address vital issues of the disabled youths such as education, health, women’s issues, children’s issues, accessibility, freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse, work and employment and participation in political and public life.
Without the involvement of young people with disabilities, the resultant constitution will do little to change disabled people’s daily experiences of discrimination and exclusion. Nothing for us without us!
In Lagos, disabled student wins Dabiri’s scholarship
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE Monday, September 7, 2009
Some of the graduating students
Photos: Sun News Publishing
Ikorodu, a popular community in Lagos State, was a beehive of activities on Monday, August 10, as two batches of students graduated from the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre located in the town.
Over 100 students of the centre trained in computer skills, computer engineering and Desktop Publishing graduated that day.
The centre, which was established in 2008 by a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was meant to provide the youths with the necessary ICT skills that will enhance their education.
As early as 8am, the Ikorodu Town Hall venue of the graduation was full of gaily dressed graduands, their parents and friends. Several notable personalities were also at the event. They included the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Salaudeen Oyefusi, his wife, Olori Muibat, former Secretary -General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary to Lagos State Government, Chief Olorunfunmi Bashorun, Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, Tutor-General, Lagos Education District 2, Mrs. Ajibike Ogunsanwo and the coordinator of the ITC Centre, Mrs. Sherifat Abiodun Ogunniyi.
The Marvellous Women of Ikorodu, under the leadership of Alhaja Kudirat Alashe, (a.k.a Yewo) and Mrs. Jumoke Erogbogbo added pep to the event as they entertained the guests with various political songs.
Highlights of the events were the special mentoring lecture delivered by Chief Anyaoku and the scholarship won by a disabled student, Sodiq Kunle Salami, who came to the venue of the graduation ceremony in a wheel chair.
Sodiq was full of praises for Dabiri-Erewa who he described as the Mother Theresa of Ikorodu.
Salami agreed with the guest lecturer, Anyaoku that “the lack of money is never a hindrance to success because anybody who reads hard will get scholarship to progress in his education.” He assured Dabiri-Erewa that she would not be disappointed.
Dabiri-Erewa, who is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, in her address, had regretted that the youths were not getting the right leadership on how to get the right things done.
“It is because of the above highlighted situation that inspired us to include in today’s event, a mentoring lecture that was delivered by the eminent diplomat,” she said.
She noted that one of the greatest challenges facing youths is the want of who to look up to as worthy role models. She expressed hope that the beneficiaries of the scheme would utilise the acquired skills to be of assistance to themselves and humanity generally.
Ololade Shoga, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, thanked the lawmaker for coming to their aid even as he urged others to emulate her.
Mrs. Bolanle Seriki, a parent, also lauded the lawmaker. In her words, Dabiri-Erewa has brought the dividends of democracy to the people of her constituency.
Disabled persons' access to stadium analysed
Luanda - The chairperson of the Angolan National Association for the Disabled (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, appealed this Tuesday here to the organising committee of the 2010 African Nations Cup in football (COCAN) to study ways to facilitate disabled people's access to different stadiums that will host the continental competition.
Speaking to ANGOP, the official requested the management board of COCAN to be sensible towards the disabled, through the construction of specific ramps of access to stadiums, as well as fixing special tickets prices for them to watch games being held in the country.
In his opinion, tickets prices for the disabled should range from 150 to 250 kwanzas, local currency.
According to Silva Etiambulo, people must be accommodating, since the country will receive a high number of tourists, having urged youths to beware of sexual tourism during the competition.
He also urged organisers to install giant plasma TV screens where people normally gather in great numbers to enable the population to watch the match.
On the other hand, the same source considered CAN2010 as a cultural manifestation that will contribute to unveiling the real potentialities of the country abroad.
MPs visit association for disabled persons
Luanda- Six MPs with the seventh commission of the National Assembly visited this Thursday in Luanda the Federation of Associations of Disabled PersonsDisabled People Association to see how it function.
The entourage was led by the MP Maria Madalena Narciso.
At the occasion, the head of the federation, Silva Lopes Etiambulo, appealed to MPs to ratify, this year, the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Convention on Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Disable People.
These conventions defend the labour rights of handicapped persons and treatment without discrimination.
This is the first visit paid by PMs following their election last February.
The federation was founded on December 02, 2000 and has 18 associations countrywide.
Mozambique: Disabled Demand Involvement in HIV/Aids Programmes
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
11 September 2009
Maputo - Disabled Mozambicans on Thursday demanded their inclusion in the country's programmes to fight against HIV/AIDS.
The most recent statistics from the Health Ministry indicate that 16 per cent of the population aged between 15 and 49 are HIV-positive. Of these, it is estimated that six per cent are disabled - but the HIV/AIDS programmes largely ignore this group, as if all disabled people are sexually inactive.
"We are one of the poorest social groups in the country due to our vulnerability", declared Ricardo Moresse, chairperson of the Mozambican Forum of Associations of Disabled People (FAMOD), at the opening session in Maputo of a national meeting on disability and HIV/AIDS.
"We hope that our specific conditions will be respected", he said. "Frequently we are forgotten and I'm speaking particularly of our colleagues who suffer visual and hearing disabilities. We call for special messages for this group of people".
The meeting, which brought together disabled people, donors and organisations involved in the fight against AIDS, was designed to discuss how to improve the fight against the spread of the disease among the disabled. The recommendations from the meeting will be included in the next strategic plan on preventing and fighting against HIV/AIDS.
A study carried out in Maputo, Manica and Sofala provinces by the NGO Handicap International, presented at the meeting, concluded that young disabled people (particularly those who are deaf) have very limited knowledge about how AIDS is transmitted, and how it can be prevented. Addressing the meeting, the Minister of Women's Affairs and Social Welfare, Virgilia Matabele, recognised that disabled people are among the groups most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. She noted that the disabled "sometimes suffer twice, on the one hand because they are vulnerable to various economic and social shocks that make their survival difficult, and on the other because they find it difficult to gain access to means of preventing or treating the disease".
"The effects of HIV and AIDS are more severe when they affect those who, because of their condition, are not able to guarantee their own sustenance, since in a situation of illness greater assistance, support and protection are required", she said.
Matabele added that the intervention of all those involved in fighting AIDS should ensure that the messages about how to prevent the disease are appropriate and accessible to all the groups at risk.
Marcus Durst, of Swiss Cooperation, pointed out that about two million Mozambicans (around ten per cent of the population) suffer from some form of disability, and they need access to information and to means of preventing infection.
Copyright - 2009 Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
Vision-impaired Moroccans demand public-sector jobs
Many Moroccan university graduates with impaired vision are protesting what they call the government's marginalisation of their efforts to obtain public-sector jobs. By Siham Ali for Magharebia in Rabat - 11/09/09
[Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images] Moroccan protesters share a pre-dawn meal in front of Parliament to express their dissatisfaction with the government's social policy.
Jobless university graduates who are vision-impaired have begun demonstrating and threatening suicide in order to pressure the Moroccan government to find them public-sector jobs.
"Our only demand is to be allowed into public service," a member of one group for the partially-sighted, Abdellah Rziza, told Magharebia. He added that in terms of hiring, the government has "marginalised" the blind and partially-sighted.
The demonstrators are even threatening to kill themselves if their demand remains "frozen". In 2007, 30 members of a group of unemployed blind and partially-sighted people were hospitalised after ingesting rat poison. Others tried to commit suicide by positioning themselves on the tracks at the Rabat railway station.
On Tuesday (September 8th), the demonstrators held a collective iftar meal in front of the doors of Parliament. The next day, they held a sit- in for several hours outside the Ministry of Social Development, Families and Solidarity. Their actions came in the context of other peaceful protests by Moroccans dissatisfied with the government's social policy.
"Many of us are suffering from the ill effects of poverty, and have no regular income," said one of the demonstrators.
But according to the coordinator of the social development ministry's programme for employing the partially-sighted, the issue is gradually being resolved.
The coordinator told Magharebia on Wednesday that government officials met with all of the protesting groups at the end of July, and that letters aimed at resolving the matter were subsequently sent to all government departments and the prime minister. The source said that hiring was planned for the coming months.
The government has already found work for a few, according to the coordinator, who listed the justice ministry as having taken on 30 people alone.
Other government bodies have also taken on blind and partially-sighted unemployed graduates. The ministry for health has taken 16, the ministry for culture has hired 2, and the ministries for transport and equipment and the interior have taken 10 each. The national education ministry says it will find work for 60 people. The social development ministry is preparing to recruit nine people.
However, Rziza said that a great many of the new hires "don't belong to the militant groups".
In all, 137 partially-sighted people have been hired "on the basis of their personal profiles and departmental needs," said the coordinator, adding that "others will follow" and that a solution must also be found in the private sector.
This suggestion has already been put to the protestors, with particular reference to possible employment at call centres. But the demonstrators have so far rejected the proposal, drawing public criticism that they are lazy and want to occupy public posts so that they can just sit back and do nothing.
"The private sector is not the solution because it lacks structure and is in the middle of a crisis," said Rziza. "There's a real fear of job losses. Our future would be at risk if we accepted that option."
Nevertheless, the social development ministry has said that discussions will be held to reach agreements with the private sector and provide new hires with all necessary guarantees.
In January, groups of partially-sighted graduates invaded the offices of the social development ministry. They threatened to set fire to the building using the gas canisters they carried. They also occupied the building's roof, threatening to throw themselves off.
Tactics like those used recently by the blind and partially-sighted demonstrators are not unheard of in Morocco. In previous years, groups of university graduates without physical handicaps have also protested their joblessness by attempting suicide by poison and by blocking train tracks.
9 killed in mortar attack by Somali insurgents
Militants fired mortars toward Mogadishu's port, struck residential area
Mortars hit home for disabled national army officers
At least 9 dead, 27 wounded in attack in war-torn capital
September 12, 2009 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
(CNN) -- At least nine people were killed in Somalia's war-torn capital Mogadishu when mortars slammed into a home for disabled veterans, according to journalists and witnesses.
Al Shabaab fighters display two bodies of Somali police officers during a battle August 12 in Mogadishu.
At least 27 people were wounded in the Friday night incident, when Muslim militants fired mortars toward Mogadishu's port and struck a residential area. The mortars hit a home for former national army officers who were disabled in a late-1970s war with Ethiopia, the sources said.
Insurgents from the Al-Shabaab militant group have been fighting to topple Somalia's government. Its fighters have frequently shelled the city's airport and seaport, which are controlled by the African Union and government forces.
The United States is supporting the Somali government's fight against the insurgents, including providing weapons to government forces. Al Shabaab is on the U.S. list of terror organizations because of its ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Somali forces battling al Qaeda-linked militants Somali government says it's taken town from fighters The United States is concerned that Somalia's weak government could fall to the Islamist insurgency, as it did in 2006 before Ethiopian forces ousted the militants from power later that year.
South Africa's Parkin Collects Five Golds in Swimming
By Deaflympic official website
2009-09-12 06:34 PM
Men's 200m Freestyle
South Africa's Terence Parkin not only gained his fourth gold in swimming but broke the Deaf World and Game record again in Men's 200m Freestyle.
Italy's Luca Germano already won two golds and one silver; he added one more Silver timed 01:53.77, behind Parkin, who won with 01:53.12.
Winning the Silver medal in Men's 100m Freestyle, German swimmer Nicky Lange finished with 01:55.39, taking the Bronze.
Men's 100m Breaststroke
Terence Parkin secured his second Gold today with a time of 01:03.51, totaling up to five Gold medals in swimming, and breaking the Game Record time of 01:04.87 set by himself in 2005.
Ukraine's Andriy Zurgalidze, ranked no.1 in the preliminaries, won the Silver by clocking in at 01:03.63, while Russian swimmer Ruslan Sergeevich Lebedev kept the same position obtained in the preliminaries and took the Bronze with 01:06.30.
Women's 200m Freestyle
China's He Yue Yue bagged one more medal. After winning one silver and two bronze, she won the gold in Women's 200m Freestyle with a time of 02:07.13, shattering the Deaf World and Game records.
Ukraine's Ganna Lytvynenko, the gold medalist in 100m freestyle, took the Silver.
The Bronze medal went to English swimmer Hannah Kay Get Fitton, who clocked in at 02:10.10 in the finals.
Women's 50m Butterfly
Ranked no.4 in 50m Butterfly, Sweden's Pernilla Kile secured the Gold and set new Deaf World and Game records with a time of 29.16 seconds.
Russian swimmer Ekaterina Alexandrovna Savchenko finished with 29.30 seconds, taking the Silver.
South African swimmer Peggy De Villiers and Russia's Alena Sergeevna Alexeeva both finished with 29.41 seconds and won a Bronze medal each .
Sweden's Alexandra Polivanchuk, who broke the Game record this morning in the preliminaries, accidentally fell out from top 3, and clocked in at 29.65 seconds, ranking no.5 in the event.
Chinese Taipei's Chen Chuan-Ni fell short of reaching the finals, with 32.62 seconds in the preliminaries, ranking no.13.
Men's 50m Butterfly
Men's 50m Butterfly record was broken twice by Italy's Luca Germano in the preliminaries, and then by the Gold medalist Xu Jia Hui from China this afternoon.
Xu finished with 24.82 seconds, breaking the Deaf World and Game records of 25.20 seconds set by Germano.
Russian swimmer Ilya Mikhailovich Trishkin won the Silver with 25.09 seconds, while the Bronze went to Germano, who ranked no. 1 in the preliminaries this morning.
Failing to push forward, Chinese Taipei swimmers Liao Cheng Hao and Han Shang Yu's final results were 28.73 and 28.81 seconds, respectively, ranking no. 31 and no.34 in the preliminaries.
Women's 400m Individual Medley
Breaking the Deaf World and Game records, China's He Yue-Yue garnered her second Gold with a time of 05:08.21 in Women's 400m Individual Medley.
Germany's Jarmila Gupta won the Silver by finishing at 05:11.83.
Ranking no.1 in the preliminaries, Ukraine's Anna Tovsta took the Bronze in the end.
Women's 4x100m Medley Relay
Belorussian swimmers clocked in at 04:26.89, shattering the Deaf World record of 04:38.00 set by themselves in 2007 and the Game record of 04:39.63 set by the Russian swimming team in 2005.
The Bronze medal went to the Ukrainian swimmers, with a result of 04:30.15.
Disabled die in Somali mortar raid
At least 12 former soldiers were killed in the shelling [Reuters]
Disabled veterans are among 15 people killed after mortar rockets fired by fighters in Somalia hit a war veterans' hospital.
The shells fired by opposition fighters missed their intended target in Mogadishu, the capital, and hit a residential area containing the hospital, Somali officials said on Saturday.
"I was sitting in my wheelchair about 10 metres away from my friends when a mortar exploded and smoke and dust covered us all," Mohamed Abdi, 50, a paralysed ex-soldier said.
"I saw my friends on the ground, with blood scattered everywhere like slaughtered goats."
Three civilians also died and 15 other veterans were wounded in the attack on Friday.
The mortars were believed to have been fired towards Mogadishu's port but landed in the residential area by mistake, officials said.
Former army officers paralysed or missing limbs from the country's 1977 war with Ethiopia resided in the hospital, said Shiek Abdirisaq Oeylow, a government spokesman.
Somalia has suffered civil war for the past 18 years and African Union peacekeepers are currently in the country aiming to back the government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
The government holds only a few areas of Mogadishu and al-Shabab, an opposition group, is attempting to overthrow them with the suspected help of foreign fighters.
The US has accused al-Shabab of having links with al-Qaeda, which al- Sahbab denies.
Somali shelling kills 15, mostly disabled men
(AP) - 1 day ago
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's government spokesman says mortars have killed at least 15 people, most of them at a home for the disabled in the capital.
Shiek Abdirisaq Qeylow said Saturday insurgents fired a barrage of mortars Friday night toward Mogadishu's port, but they landed in residential areas. Twelve people died when a shell landed on a home for former national army officers who lost limbs during 1977 war with Ethiopia, he said.
Three other civilians in other areas also were killed.
Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, then turned on each other.
Somalia's civil war has raged for the past 18 years.
Ghana: PWDs Not Spared in Bawku Clashes Kwesi Yirenkyi Boateng
14 September 2009
The recent skirmishes and clashes in the Bawku Township have not spared Persons with Disability (PWD) living in the town.
Narrating the ordeal suffered by the PWDs, Mr. Yaw Ofori Debrah, Chairman of the Advocacy Committee of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), reported that a physically challenged person in a wheel chair was burnt when 15 houses were razed down during one of the clashes.
Mr Ofori Debra, also the President of the Ghana Association of the Blind (GAB), stated at a media briefing in Accra on Thursday that the information was gathered by interviewing 12 leaders of the various associations under GFD in Bawku.
He registered the Federation's misgivings about the extreme difficulty which the visually impaired, the physically disabled, and the hearing impaired encounter during gun shots.
He observed that the factional fighting in Bawku has economically affected PWDs as shops belonging to them have either been vandalized or looted.
However, Ms. Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of GFD, said GFD would sensitize its members to help them maneuver during the conflict situation.
The GFD dispatched a three-member fact-finding mission to Bawku on 25th August 2009. The mission which interviewed the leadership of the various association under the GFD, reported that because of the general insecurity in the town, PWDs have relocated to nearby villages and towns outside the Bawku township in the Upper East region.
This situation, Mr. Ofori Debra noted, affected the team's efforts at eliciting comprehensive information from the affected PWDs.
The three-member fact-finding mission included Ms Kusi, Mr. Ofori Debrah, and Mr. Frederick Ofosu, who is in charge of training and development at GFD.
Expressing worry at the level of insecurity for the 400 registered PWDs in the Bawku township, the Chairman for the Advocacy Committee of GFD called on the feuding factions in the Bawku clashes to give peace a chance.
He added that during conflict situations persons with disability, women and children are the hardest hit.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ofori Debrah has appealed to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and charity organizations to support PWDs with food and other necessities. According to him, the lives of PWDs were affected after the Bagry dam spillage in Burkina Faso.
Disabled Scouting Re-launched
Ghana Scouts Association (GSA) has officially started activities to create awareness of the forthcoming 14th Africa Scout Conference and 5th Youth Forum to be hosted by the association in Ghana in November, 2009.
It is on the theme: 'Empowering Young Lives, Creating A Better World.'
As part of its planned activities, the Association undertook a clean-up exercise at the Dzorwulu Special School Premises and re-launched the Disability Scout Programme. It also unveiled the 14th Africa Scout Conference and 5th Youth Forum logo and went on a walk to create awareness about the conference.
Mr. Joseph Adu, President of the Society of the Physically Challenged, in a speech read on his behalf, commended the Ghana Scout Association for the re-introduction of the disabled scout movement in the country, and pledged the association's willingness to cooperate with government and non governmental organisations (NGO) with similar objective.
The association, he said, will partner the Ghana Scout Association to enable its members learn values and skills of the GSA to empower it's members in their lifetime.
Mr. Adu described the youth as future leaders and challenged the leadership of the disabled scouts to increase their membership, ensure accountability to their members and resist the temptation to take advantage of the members.
The Chief Commissioner of GSA and Conference hosts committee chairman, Mr. Isaac Newton Addy, said the objective of the scout movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, responsible citizens and members of their local, national and international communities.
He said the GSA, as far as it is concern, 'does not have disabled people' and urged the physically challenged not to see themselves as handicaps. Mr. Addy said the scout movement does not have any affiliation with any religious, political or ethnic groups, and does not allow its members to discuss matters pertaining to political propaganda at their gatherings.
Launching the programme, Mr. Adjetey Sowah, a physically challenged scout, urged the leadership of the scout movement to create the necessary awareness about their activities to enable more young people to join the association, since scouts are there to serve mankind.
He was however not happy that fortunes of the disability scouts dwindled after the demise of the founder of the disabled scouts, Mr. Kofi Agyeman,
Ms. Jemima Nartey, Deputy Commissioner and a Member of the Africa Scout Committee disclosed that 37 African countries and representative of scout associations worldwide will be attending the November, 2009 conference.
The conference, she noted, will have economic benefit for the nation, and participants will learn the cultures of Ghana and exchange ideas with their counterparts from other parts of the world. Ms. Nartey said the youth forum, which precedes the main conference, will come up with a resolution, which will be discussed and adopted.
Touching on the 14th Africa Scout Conference and 5th Youth Forum, Ms. Nartey said the conference is held every three years. This years' conference should have been hosted by Botswana but withdrew, making way for Ghana scout to host the event. Apart from international exposure, participants will discuss climate change, self reliance and issues relating to the world.
Throwing more light on scouting in Ghana, Ms. Nartey said scouting is a youth programme and the association has about 3,000 members nationwide.
The idea is to recruit more young people to be able to impart values and skill in them early so they can grow with it. According to the deputy commissioner, there are scout programmes from primary to tertiary level, and the idea is to ensure continuity
Source: ISD (Elorm Ametepe)
Government must ensure implementation of the disability bill
September 14, 2009
Sept. 14, GNA - Mr Attakorah Asamoah Yaw-Poku Junior, National Vice President of the Society for the Physically Challenged, has appealed to the government to hasten the implementation of the disability law enacted by Parliament some few years back.
He said the law would encourage people to respect the rights of people with disabilities.
Mr Yaw-Poku made the appeal in a fraternal message at the three-day bi- annual Ashanti Regional Convention of the Ghana Association of the Blind at Jachie in the Bosomtwe District.
He said the necessary policy support and mechanisms should be put in place to make the law effective.
"Correcting negative perception about people who are visually impaired" was the theme for the Convention.
Mr Alfred Tabi Amponsah, Regional Chairman of the society called on the government and heads of educational institutions to put in place the right conditions for the blind to have easy access to higher education.
Mr Edward Nti Berko, Bosomtwe District Chief Executive challenged the blind to overcome what he said their " inferiority complex" that often sent some of them into the street to beg for money.
He urged them to have self-confidence and strive to acquire skills that would make them self-supporting.
Mr Nti-Berko also appealed to society not to stigmatize the physically challenged, saying they should be treated with the respect they deserve.
Public building plans to be disabled friendly
September 14, 2009
Ho, Sept. 14, GNA - The Ho Municipal Assembly would no longer approve building plans of public institutions including schools which lacked facilities for disabled people.
Mr Isaac Kodobisah, Ho Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said this when the Voice, a Ho based disability non governmental organisation, presented educational materials to 64 pupils with disabilities in the Volta Region on Monday.
The beneficiaries were drawn from selected Kindergartens, Primary and Junior High Schools from five districts of the Volta Region.
The items included school uniforms, note and exercise books, pens, pencils and erasers.
Mr Kodobisah, who lauded the efforts of Voice, asked the organisation to nominate one person to represent it on the Social Services Committee of the Ho Municipal Assembly.
He also requested a three year development plan from the group to the Assembly to be included in its medium term development plan.
Mr Kodobisah said the two per cent from the Assembly's Common Fund for the disabled would be released to them but that the Assembly would ensure that it was used for its intended purpose.
Mr Francis Asong, Director of Voice, said the presentation was made possible by a grant of 1,400 Ghana cedis from YMCA Glasgow.
He said his organization would work assiduously to build the capacity of people with disabilities to improve their lives to become self-reliant.
Mr Asong appealed to the government to include children with disabilities in special schools and trainees of rehabilitation training centres in the beneficiary list of the free school uniforms promised.
Somalia: Islamist Leader Denounces Amisom for Killing Disabled Forces in Mogadishu Hassan Osman Abdi
Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)
14 September 2009
Somalia - Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal, the chairman of the Islamic council of Amal has Monday denounced AMSIOM troops for being behind the shelling targeted to the former disabled Somali forces in Martini hospital in Mogadishu.
The chairman said in an interview with Shabelle radio that the African Union troops (AMISOM) were behind the mortar shell attack murdered the disabled national forces and the Somali civilians in Martini hospital adding that they will take the responsibility of the military action.
"The weapon targeted to the compound of the disabled forces of Somalia was the weapon of AMISOM. Because the Islamist fighters have no like that weapon. They accustomed massacring the Somali people. We are sorry for what happened and the people who lost their lives there were Mujahideen (Islamist fighters)," Mr. Bilal said.
On the other hand the chairman of the Islamic council of Amal has also said the AMISOM troops had deliberately killed the livestock 'camels' of the Somali people as they were walking around their bases in the international airport of Aden Adde in Mogadishu saying that they shot and killed at least 12 camels there on Saturday night.
The statement of the Islamist leader Mohamed Ibrahim Bilal comes as the transitional government officials accused the shelling to the Islamist forces who are against them and the AMISOM troops in the capital who also said that they were not involved the sorrowful accident happened in Martini hospital which left the lives of more than 12 of the disabled forces of Somali people in Mogadishu.
SOMALIA: Blast kills group of disabled war veterans in Mogadishu
A person injured in the Mogadishu blast is taken to hospital NAIROBI, 14 September 2009 (IRIN) - At least 12 disabled people were killed in Mogadishu when a shell landed in their compound, according to eyewitnesses.
"We were preparing to break our fast when a shell landed on our compound in Demartini hospital; 12 were killed on the spot and 16 injured and taken to hospital," said Abdullahi Hassan Hussein, a disabled activist.
The killing of the disabled is the latest act of violence in an increasingly conflict-ridden city, which has seen the displacement of hundreds of thousands from their homes since the end of 2006.
Ali Sheikh Yassin, deputy chairman of the Mogadishu-based Elman Human Rights Organization (EHRO), told IRIN the killings showed that parties to the conflict had reached a new low.
"We condemn this attack in the strongest terms possible and call on both sides to allow an independent investigation to find out who was behind it," he said.
Both the government and the opposition have denied being behind the attack.
The disabled were veterans of Somalia's 1977 war with Ethiopia and were considered heroes. The hospital compound is home to 90 of them and their families, said activist Hussein. "They have been here since the civil war started… I don’t know why they were targeted… These were our heroes and we are killing them now. No one is safe."
EHRO’s Yassin said more than 60 people were killed and 106 injured in fighting in Mogadishu in the last two weeks.
The fighting, between government forces backed by AMISOM (AU peacekeeping troops) and two Islamist insurgent groups, was entering a very dangerous phase "with both sides believing that it is now or never, " he said.
People on the move
More families were leaving the city due to the uncertainty, he told IRIN, adding that the internally displaced persons' camps on the outskirts of Mogadishu were getting overwhelmed by the new influx.
Other people were moving towards the Kenyan border, said Asha Sha'ur, a civil society representative in Mogadishu. She said conditions in the camps around Mogadishu were deteriorating.
Previously, people fled north to the central regions but those regions have also become war zones. "Unfortunately no place seems safe inside our country," Sha'ur said. "How many more must die from hunger, disease or wounds, and how many more must lose their homes before this ends?"
Fighting has been going on in Mogadishu since Ethiopian troops withdrew in December 2008, leading to thousands of deaths and injuries, as well as thousands being displaced.
An estimated 3.76 million people - half the population - need assistance, according to the UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.
South Africa warns TB patients against selling infected sputum
Johannesburg - South Africa's health department on Tuesday appealed to tuberculosis suffers not to sell their infected sputum to others, warning that TB patients do not, as some people think, automatically qualify for social grants.
The department was reacting to reports that some people were selling their TB-infected phlegm on the understanding that the buyer could take it to a hospital or clinic to collect a disability grant.
'The Department of Health would like to appeal to people who are involved in this unlawful and immoral practise to desist from doing so as this practice inherently distorts the real TB situation in the country and undermines efforts in the fight against the disease,' the department said in a statement.
In the past, people who had TB qualified for a disability grant but the department had stopped issuing such grants for TB patients 'based on the abuse of the policy.'
'As the policy stands at the moment, TB is not regarded as a disability - it is a curable disease,' the department said.
Only patients with drug-resistant strains of TB were eligible for a grant, depending on their circumstances, according to the statement.
South Africa has high rates of TB, which is one of the most common causes of death in HIV/AIDS patients. South Africa is estimated to have around 5.7 million HIV-positive people out of a population of 49 million.
With regard to disability grants, there are also widespread reports of people deliberately getting infected with HIV/AIDS in order to qualify for state aid.
GSPD calls for ratification of UN Convention … On rights of persons with disabilities
By Frank Mensah, Kumasi | Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2009
THE GHANA Society of Physically Disabled (GSPD) is once again calling on the government to ratify the United Nation (UN) Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities for their protection.
According to them, persons with disabilities in Ghana face a lot of challenges in their lives, in the areas of societal attitudes, discrimination, education, employment, health and other decision making.
At a press conference organised in Kumasi last Monday, the National President of the GSPD, Mr. Joseph Adu Boampong, urged the media to sensitise the government, parliament, the general public, and other decision makers, to facilitate the process in the ratification of the convention.
“We should acknowledge that the ratification is a commitment on the part of a state to invest in its population with persons with disabilities, a fact we should be proud of,” he stated.
According to him, the ratification was the first legal treaty to clearly set out the obligations on states, to avoid discrimination against disabled people in all its forms, and to create a society in which disabled people can fully participate.
Mr. Boampong mentioned that the convention requires states to take measures to ensure personal mobility, access to work, justice, the physical environment, and information technology.
Mr. Atakorah Asamoah Yaw Opoku, National Vice President of the GSPD, expressed his profound dismay at how some persons with disabilities met their untimely death in the enduring Bawku conflict.
According to him, it came to their notice that about fifteen houses were set ablaze, and a physically disabled person in a wheelchair could not be helped by relatives to flee, and was burnt to ashes.
Mr. Yaw Opoku lamented that in the same circumstance, one Imoro Alhassan Abdulai, a laboratory technician in his mid-thirties, had his six room apartment razed to the ground, by blazing fire.
He also stated that it was not only the ethnic conflict in the northern part of the country that had affected the livelihood of persons with disabilities adversely, but also the flood resulting from the spillage from the Bagry dam in Burkina Faso, which had also destroyed properties of persons with disabilities.
He reiterated that whenever there was war in a country, it was the children, women, and most especially, disabled persons, who suffered, and therefore called on the government to protect them.
“One need not stretch his or her imagination to appreciate the extreme difficulty with which the blind, the wheelchair user, those with crutches, and the deaf, who cannot immediately hear the exploding gunfire, managed the life threatening situation,” he stressed.
He therefore called on the government to ratify the UN Convention of Disabled Persons for their rights, since “we are all equal.”
The beginning and growth of a new language - Somali Sign Language Doreen E Woodford (Deaf Africa Fund) UK Paper presented to the International Conference on Languages and Education in Africa, Oslo University, June 19-24 2006
Somalia and Somaliland
Somalia is situated in the Horn of Africa and Somaliland is a region of North-West Somalia. It has a varied and mainly harsh terrain, and faces many difficulties including wide-spread poverty, shortages of food and water, poor telephone communication and no postal system. Political problems have also played a significant part in the difficulties leading to great instability and constant conflict and lawlessness. These and other difficulties have affected the development of a language for Deaf people - a minority group with specific needs.
The region of Somalia which was formerly British Somaliland declared itself an autonomous independent state in 1991, but has so far failed to gain international recognition. Djibouti, formerly French Somaliland is a separate republic. Somalia now covers the former Italian Somaliland, within which the region of Puntland regards itself as autonomous but not independent.
The Somali Nation
The Somali people live in a far wider area than just Somalia and Somaliland. They also live in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia and share a common faith, Islam, and language, ‘af-Somali’, which only became a written language in 1973. This sense of Somali nationhood is both a matter of pride and a situation which has affected the growth of Somali Sign Language (SLS).
Educational and medical provision was non-existent for a period of 30 years from the mid-1960s onwards. Since 1996 immense efforts have been made in Somaliland to reinstate health and education services, but they are still limited.
The Education of Deaf Children
As far as is known, prior to 1996, there was no school or other provision for deaf children in any of the Somali-Nation areas mentioned, with the important exception of Kenya. A school had been established in Kenya in the 1980s ? the ‘Wajir’ school, which was to play a vital part in the development of SLS. The children who attended the school were Somali Kenyans. Kenya developed a strong national sign language ? Kenya Sign Language (KSL) and the pupils became fluent adult sign language users.
An Italian Catholic aid worker was caring for disabled children in the Wajir area. She sent deaf children to the school in Wajir and established a good working relationship with the then headmaster. Her care extended beyond paying the fees, and for many she became a mother- figure.
Eventually she moved to Boroma, the second largest town in Somaliland, where she became an internationally renowned TB expert. Meanwhile the headteacher moved from Wajir but has continued his work with deaf and deafblind children in East Africa.
This background is important if the unusual factors in the development of SLS are to be understood.
The Process of the Development of Sign language
In most countries in Africa the establishment of a school, or schools, for deaf children preceded the development of the national sign language by many years. This is certainly the case for Namibia, where the newly developed sign language has been much researched and quoted.
Somaliland and Djibouti were different as the rapid development of sign language started simultaneously with the opening of the first school at Boroma in 1997. The presence of at least a couple of educated deaf people is a great asset to any new educational activity. Yet this was a country with no visible adult deaf persons at all.
It was rumoured that there were some uneducated women, and assumed there must be some uneducated men, but none could be found. Any educated deaf Somalis had been educated outside Somalia in various countries, and had stayed outside.
Later some unschooled deaf men were discovered in Djibouti. They used a form of ‘home-language’ to communicate with each other, and in some cases with hearing wives and other family members.
The Start of Education for Deaf Children
The Somali Nation has a widespread diaspora (Somali people are scattered all over the world). This has led to one of the major remittance communities existing today. Somalis who work in other countries keep in touch with family and friends, send money home and return whenever they can.
In 1977 one of the deaf men educated at Wajir and cared for by the Italian aid worker was visiting her in Boroma, and suggested starting a school for the deaf children there. This was done in a brushwood shelter in the yard of the Italian aid worker, later moving to a room and then another site.
Here we have the main factor in the rapid development of SLS- a Deaf person, himself a sign language user, started the school- a Deaf person with the same culture, the same language, as well skills in reading and writing English.
The situation with the development of other African sign languages has been somewhat different. In most countries, the majority of the first schools, and many subsequent schools, for deaf children, were started by hearing people. One notable exception is a school in the Kisangani area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which was started by a deaf man.
There have been two main approaches to the education of deaf children:
An absence of sign language
Schools were established by hearing people who did not have any sign language skills and who came from environments that considered sign as disadvantageous to the development of language. This meant that the national sign language was slow to develop and faced many difficulties.
The introduction of foreign sign languages
Schools were established by people who had sign language skills, but who used a sign language based on a very different culture. The national sign language developed more rapidly in these countries. There were still some difficulties, though probably less than in the first situation.
Both groups often imported controversies and ideologies held strongly in their own countries but largely irrelevant in the new situations in which they had come to work. The good contribution of both groups of hearing founders should not be minimised, but there is a better way.
Somaliland avoided these difficulties because its first school was started by a well-educated Deaf man, using a culturally appropriate sign language. When Deaf sign language users start a country’s education for deaf children a more rapid development of a national sign language is ensured.
The Deaf man who founded the school in Somaliland was joined by two educated Deaf women from Wajir, one of whom was to help start a second school in the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa. Although the second school started in more difficult circumstances the pattern of development was the same.
The Teachers Involved
Three more Deaf men now teach in the two schools together with one partially-hearing man who has learned to sign and about a dozen hearing teachers. It is hoped to increase the proportion of teachers who are Deaf.
The second factor in the development of SLS has been the hearing teachers involved. Somalis use their hands freely in general conversation and most of these teachers felt little of the embarassment hearing people often experience when asked to replace a spoken communication mode with a mode that involves use of hands, face and body.
These teachers embraced sign with enthusiasm and, in most cases, quickly learned sufficient sign- language to enhance their teaching. Indeed teachers in the school for hearing children which is on the same site, and many other adults involved with the schools, (a small school for blind children is also on the site), also learned to sign.
Several teachers are able to act as interpreters for the Deaf adults in those situations where it is appropriate.
Hearing teachers are very dependent on a sign language dictionary and the Kenyan Sign Language Dictionary with its clear introduction about basics has proved very useful.
The third factor was a growing response in the local community to intensive deaf-awareness publicity. Presentations were made to many different groups including womens’ groups. Lectures were given on deaf-related subjects to the first groups of trainee teachers in the teacher-training college and students in the university, and also to the first maternity-nurse trainees. A talk was given to secondary senior pupils in the local school. (The teacher training and nurse training were the first courses held for 30 years.) Awareness raising in Hargeisa has been organised by the school. Both schools appear frequently on the local television programmes.
For four years all the then teachers, and one from Djibouti who subsequently started the first school to be opened in that country, received some basic training in both theory and practice, leading to a certificate of attendance but not qualification. In spite of the difficulties for Somalis seeking to travel, with the help and continued interest of the ex-Wajir headteacher, who remained in close contact with all these developments, staff were able to visit well-established schools in Kenya and Uganda for month long visits in pairs. New staff continue to do this, but are now trained by the original staff, one of whom was also able to visit a school in Ethiopia for six weeks. Leaving Djibouti is not so difficult and one teacher has done a course at STRIDE Jordan. (The sign language used in Djibouti remains SLS, but with a different pattern of development.) A further school is tentatively planned for Bossasso in Puntland, using SLS and STRIDE for training.
Problems that arose
Many problems were encountered in developing Somali Sign Language.
It is important to involve parents in educational and sign language programmes if they are to succeed. They need an opportunity to learn to communicate using sign. In Somaliland parents have the desire to learn, but otherwise there has been significant failure. Some of this is due to the daily difficulties the parents face and some is due to the boarding situation of a minority of pupils. However the inability of the teachers to devise ways of teaching sign to parents has played a major part. They tried a written lesson/exercise with mainly illiterate parents. In effect, they were providing an unwanted and unskilled literacy training.
When this failed no one was able to devise any alternative. It has been suggested that the first class of pupils to leave the school could be gainfully employed teaching adults, but this has not yet been implemented.
The population is very mobile. Pupils may attend any of the three schools. Therefore the composition of classes may change radically from day-to-day, with some pupils disappearing and others having long absences
The Italian aid worker who had supported and encouraged the work with deaf children was assassinated.
There is an urgent need to expand the training opportunities for the teachers and provide certification. No solution has yet been found.
The children need to read and write in the official languages. In Somaliland these are af-Somali and English (in Djibouti, af-Somali and French). There were the usual debates about how much of each, and when they should be used. An initial suggestion of the introduction of another sign language was quickly dropped and an eventual pattern emerged.
These five difficulties were comparatively minor compared to the following two, which were much greater.
English as the medium for training
The first of these was that all the deaf-awareness and all the training, discussions and planning, whether community or educational, had to be carried out with the involvement of a non af-Somali speaker. English was the main medium of communication. For many involved in the training English was a second or third language, and for some it was not known at all. A lot of mutual co-operation and help, and much willing patient goodwill was involved, in order to overcome this problem. This is to the credit of all the Somalis involved, both in the schools and in the communities. No af-Somali speaker with the relevant knowledge has been found, if indeed such a person exists.
The situation of children who have become deaf after developing fluent speech presents a significant problem. Fifty per cent of the pupils in most schools for deaf children in Africa fall into this category, and all three of the Somali schools have this proportion. But there is an additional problem caused by the lack of any previous schooling, so that spoken af-Somali is their sole means of communication. Reading, writing and sign have all to be learned simultaneously whatever their age on becoming deaf. They need sign language but they would also benefit from maintenance and extension of the spoken language. At present the skills needed to achieve this are not present, nor is its importance recognised in the schools. Yet the families continue to use spoken language.
Two Forms of Sign language
In spite of the difficulties the growth of SLS was, as has been described, steady and rapid. In the classrooms the hearing teachers teach the government syllabus in full. In Boroma the first leaving class (class 8) all reached a good pass level. (The other 2 schools have not yet had a leaving class.) They do this by using the written forms of both at-Somali and English (in Djibouti-French) supported by sign, which still shows its KSL roots.
Very few hearing teachers, wherever they teach deaf children become full sign language users in the classroom. It is the children, in the playgrounds, in the towns, visiting each other’s homes, who are creating and developing SLS. Those who have completed class 8 are the founders of the Somali Deaf community.
Children are now admitted younger than in the early days, some have deaf siblings but there are no known parents who are deaf.
The teachers in all three schools meet to discuss common issues and a start has been made in arranging meetings between the older classes across the three schools.
The Content and Structure of the Language
There has not, as yet, been anyone with the skill to observe the pupils in the playgrounds, so the development of SLS has remained unrecorded, and regrettably, the early years are lost.
In the fifth year a Deaf expert from Zambia was invited to assess the skill and progress of the teachers. His helpful report drew attention to some incomplete formation of signs, and poor placement and duration (of signs), but he was not asked to record the content.
It is imperative that a way is found to commence observation, recording, and, eventually, subject-dictionary compilation, leading to a SLS dictionary. It is hoped that funding can be found to enable the appropriate team of Deaf and hearing researchers and linguists to do this work to ensure that the next ten years are not also lost.
In March 2006 the first conference to “Develop the National Sign Language” took place in Hargeisa. All the teachers from the Boroma school, most of those from Hargeisa school, 2 from the Djibouti School, several Government ministers, senior training college and university staff, representatives of NGOs, and one UK and one Ethiopian delegate were present.
A group of senior pupils from the Boroma school attended throughout and closed the conference with a drumming, dance and acting performance.
Regrettably parents were not represented.
Papers were presented followed by discussion. The delegates discussed many of the issues and developments outlined in this paper. All of this was reported in the media and on television. In addition it was agreed that accurate collection of statistics, including numbers of deaf children, and possibly uneducated Deaf adults, was needed. Investigation into the causes of deafness, attention to the prevention of acquired deafness and future school provision were also considered.
The next 10 years could be interesting and instructive.
Uganda: Employers of Disabled to Get Tax Cuts
Catherine Bekunda and Joyce Namutebi
20 September 2009
Kampala - PARLIAMENT has reduced the amount of tax payable by private employers who hire 10 or more persons with disabilities from 15 to 2 per cent. MPs noted that disabled persons have been taken advantage of by employers for tax benefits.
The MPs made the observation while discussing a report on the amendments to the Income Tax Bill 2009 presented by the finance committee chairperson, Kabondo Tindamanyire (NRM) on Thursday.
"By employing 10 persons with disabilities, they (employers) have claimed billions of shillings," shadow finance minister Okello Oduman(FDC) said. He was reacting to the Income Tax Bill amendments presented by finance minister Syda Bbumba in June.
Companies that employ persons with disabilities have been enjoying a 15 percent tax waiver on their income.
Oduman proposed that the Government sets up cottage and roadside investments as an incentive to empower disabled persons.
Rubaga South MP Betty Kamya (FDC) appealed for better opportunities for persons with disabilities and called for the proper utilisation of funds meant for them.
Several MPs expressed concern that many firms were employing persons with disabilities as tea girls, sweepers and messengers, arguing that they (the companies) were not spending as much as they were benefiting from the exemption.
Bbumba agreed to the recommendation and said the Government will set up a disability fund this year from which each district will receive sh30m for disabled persons.
"Disabled boy holds clue to boda boda mystery"
21 September 2009
A boy with hearing and speaking difficulties could help the police solve the riddle of a cyclist who has been missing since Thursday last week.
Through an interpreter, the boy said he saw two people cut the 15-year- old cyclist into pieces at Kwa Ndomo village, Malindi before putting his body into a sack and disappearing with it.
Already, two bothers are suspected to have had a hand in the disappearance of the cyclist.
Villagers became suspicious of Mangi Kitsao and his brother Furaha Masha after the two allegedly went into hiding the same day the boy disappeared.
“They are brothers-in-law to the boy,” said a villager on Monday. “ The victim used Mr Kitsao’s bicycle to ferry passengers as a boda boda.”
And, on Monday, a villager was forced to hire a tuk-tuk and rush Mr Masha to safety after he resurfaced in the village.
The victim’s relatives had accosted him demanding to know the whereabouts of their kin when the Good Samaritan happened into the scene and rescued him from the mob.
He was handed over to the police, who said they would work to corroborate the disabled boy’s evidence before instituting any legal proceedings against the suspect, who will remain in their custody for the time being.
Disabled people to create farmers cooperative in Balombo
Balombo - Over 4,000 disabled people from Bolombo village, 182 kilometres off Benguela City, will benefit soon from services of a farming cooperative in the framework of the project “Come with me”.
The information has been given to ANGOP by the chairman of the National Association of Disabled Persons (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo.
According to Silva Lopes Etiambulo, the existence of a high number of disabled persons was one of the reasons that influenced ANDA to bring to Bolombo region the “Come with me” project.
According to ANDA’s chairman, the administrative authorities of the district have already granted a fertile area of about 1,000 hectares containing water for irrigation, where it will be created one cooperative as well, which in the first stage will count on about 50 disabled persons.
Silva Lopes Etiambulo urged disabled people from Benguela Province to invest in agriculture, since it represents an activity through which one can get profits, thus preventing the existence of financial difficulties for those families who wait and rely on assistance provided by the government.
“Comes with me” is a project which aims at the reintegration of disabled people in the job market, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (MAPESS), under the surveillance of Lwini Social Solidarity Fund and carried out by ANDA.
Zambia: Minister Flags Off Deafs' Week
22 September 2009
COMMUNITY Development and Social Services Minister Michael Kaingu yesterday flagged off the deafs' week with assurance to promote education of the deaf.
Mr Kaingu said in a speech read for him by Lusaka District Commissioner, Christah Kalulu that the Government was committed to helping the deaf.
He said Zambia had been associated with the welfare and education of the deaf since 1955 when the first school for the deaf was founded.
Mr Kaingu said the ministry recently formulated the disability policy, which would facilitate the growth of sign language.
He said the teaching of sign language to social welfare officers already in the field and at the ministry's Monze and Kitwe staff training colleges would continue.
Kanyama Member of Parliament, Gerry Chanda, who participated in the celebrations, advised the deaf not to complain about their status because each person was disabled in one way or another.
He said every deaf person should have an entrepreneurship mind.
Namwandwe disabled community farm to receive free fertiliser
Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 5:16 Rural News
The Zambia Agency for People with Disabilities (ZAPD) has identified Namwandwe disabled community farm to receive free farming inputs this farming season.
ZAPD director general Dr Charles Mwape said in Mansa today that ZAPD last year gave free farming inputs to disabled farmers in the Southern province.
Dr Mwape said this year ZAPD will distribute free fertiliser to three groups in Luapula, Northern and North-western provinces.
He said in Luapula province the 44-hectare Namwandwe disabled community farm will be given priority because it is an organised group.
However, he has advised the group to register with ZAPD so that it can be a recognised member of the agency for it to continue receiving assistance.
Dr Mwape offered to pay the K500,000 registration fee on behalf of the group since it had no capacity to do meet the cost of membership with the agency at the moment.
He said he was offering to pay the ZAPD membership registration fee on behalf of the group because he was impressed with its zeal to become self reliant by starting a community farm.
The chairman of the group Brian Ngandwe told Dr Mwape that the group was growing beans on its 44-hectare farm and has also sourced cassava cuttings from Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI).
Dr Mwape said it is the intention of government through the agency to see to it that disabled people become part and parcel of development.
He said to do this the agency will immediately after completing putting in place a new structure start empowering the disabled with various skills including farming and carpentry.
He said the whole idea of the skill development programme is to aspire to change the negative perception that being disabled is being a beggar.
The ZAPD director general promised that the agency was going to support the plan to turn the Namwandwe disabled community farm into a settlement with irrigation facilities and shelter.
Dr Mwape was in Mansa on the directive of Community Development and Social Services minister Michael Kaingu to meet the group.
He said Mr Kaingu wanted him to meet the group because they had wheeled to Mansa hotel in July demanding an audience with President Rupiah Banda who was in the province to attend Mutomboko, but the President could not do so due to his busy schedule.
Dups brings hope once more to disabled children
23 September, 2009 10:00:00 By Njabulo Dlamini
DUP’S Funeral Home yesterday donated mealie meal and rice to three organisations taking care of disabled and disadvantaged children.
The donated items were mobilised by the Manzini based company from different companies as an intervention towards assisting the organisations feed children and disabled under their care.
Beneficiaries are St Joseph’s Mission, Remar Centre in Manzini and School for the Deaf in Siteki. Each organisation received five 50kg mealie meal and four by 10kg rice bags.
Making the donation were Dup’s Funeral Home Director Nellie de Sousa and gospel artist Sipho ‘Big Fish’ Makhabane.
Makhabane had pledged to make the donation to the three from proceeds of the Joyous Celebration concert he hosted at Mavuso Trade Centre last month. Dup’s had sponsored the show to the tune of E120 000.
In his remarks, Makhabane said he would always extend a hand towards a less privileged sister or brother as long as he had the means.
“I would like to thank my sponsors who made the donation possible through securing the stuff before us. I receive so many requests from people seeking assistance I’m often overwhelmed; as I speak, somebody has asked for a donation of 100 blankets.
“Giving to the less privileged, for me, is not about showing off or trying to seek personal glorification but sorely about helping those in need. I was raised from humble beginnings and taught to share whatever I had for the benefit of my less fortunate neighbour.” He expressed disappointment though with those who were now abusing his generosity.
“There are those who either wrote to me or personally came to our office in Johannesburg looking for financial and material assistance.
They unashamedly asked me to pay tuition fees for their children who are studying in prestigious universities and learning institutions in South Africa.
“When the response was negative, I received accusations that I was selfish and this hurt. We’re only assisting the less privileged not people who have the means to send children to South Africa and yet claim not to have money to pay tuition fees; this is abusing our generosity,”
He acknowledged though that people were different and some would abuse kind people. St Joseph’s Mission representative Thandi Ginindza thanked Makhabane and Dup’s for the donation noting it was not the first time they had received such assistance.
School for the Deaf Principal Ngcebase Nxumalo was equally appreciative.
“This is amazing; only two months ago we received a E10 000 cheque from Makhabane and today this. We can only caution people to stop greediness but allow him and his sponsors to give individuals and organisations as directed by God,” Nxumalo said.
She wished Makhabane blessings from above for his kind gesture.
Visually impaired girl’s dream job moves guests
By WELCOME DLAMINI on September 24,2009
Visually impaired girl’s dream job moves guests MBABANE ? A visually impaired 17-year-old St Joseph’s High School pupil touched many people as she related her ambition to become a radio broadcaster.
She was speaking at the Mbabane National Library during the launch of a children’s photograph exhibition, themed ‘A Swazi Story of Hope’, where a number of school-going children were in attendance.
Delisile Malambe, a Form Three pupil who read her speech from a Braille, spoke of how she drew inspiration from the late radio Disc Jockey (DJ) Masu Masu Fakudze, who also had a disability.
“I like school because without it I’m nothing in future. Education is the key to success. When I complete school, I want to be a broadcaster because I like music as well as sharing my ideas and thoughts with other people,” Delisile said to an attentive audience.
She continued: “I want to be like Masu Masu Fakudze. I learnt from him that if you’re disabled it doesn’t mean you’re sick.”
Delisile said both her parents were alive but had no source of income, hence her school fees were government’s responsibility.
She said up until last year, her fees were paid for by a German sponsor who had, however, stopped doing so.
She said there was glimmer of hope for her now that government had assumed the school fees responsibility, and thanked the country’s leadership for this.
Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku could not hide having been touched by the teenager’s speech, hence he said: “That was a touching speech and it will give hope to others.”
Another pupil, 14-year-old Notsile Dlamini of St Mark’s high school, paid tribute to St. Joseph’s for taking care of disabled persons’education.
Gambia: Gadhoh Committed to Empower Its Members...executive Director Sheriff Janko
24 September 2009
Dodou Loum, the executive director of The Gambia Organisation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH), has disclosed that his organisation's priority is to extend their regional branches, so as to better empower and involve the deaf and the hard of hearing.
Established in 1992 as a registered Non Governmental Organisation, GADHOH, for the past years has been in the forefront in providing meaningful skills to its members.As a result, its membership has for the past years continued to increase greatly.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Observer, Loum outlined that the organisation's mission is to create a society in which the deaf and hard of hearing will participate fully in the society as citizens and enjoy all the benefits on a fair and equal basis.
According to Loum, his organisation attaches great importance to ensuring that the deaf and hard of hearing are empowered in the society.
He made references to their female wings, which are all geared towards empowering their members to take up gainful initiatives in society aimed at encouraging their members to take up meaningful development initiatives in the society.
"We also received visitors from abroad, who engaged in advisory services and do offer some trainings to our members on sign language from time to time. We do conduct training for teachers and interpreters on sign languages in order to better our deaf communities," he said.
Loum, however emphasised that his organisation plays instrumental role in employment are as by acting as intermediary between employers and deaf job seekers. This he went on will further consolidate his organisation's untiring efforts to voice the employment needs of the deaf.
He pointed out that GADHOH, being an NGO, depends on charities and therefore called on parents to send their deaf children to school, so as to become members of the deaf organisation.
Loum then solicited assistance from government departments, local NGO's and philanthropists to help in realisation of their ambitious plans.
"Disabled walk set for Moi Day"
24 September 2009
Families of people with mental disabilities will no longer have to struggle with the upkeep of their kin.
The Kenya Society for the Mentally Handicapped has launched a Fund that will see every person with mentally disability receive Sh4,500 every month for the rest of their lives to cater for their livelihood.
To kick off the fund, retired president Daniel Moi dedicated this year’s Moi Day celebrations to a charity walk to raise funds towards alleviating the suffering of the mentally disabled persons whose number stands at 3.5 million in Kenya alone.
Speaking at a press conference at his Kabarnet Gardens in Nairobi on Thursday, the retired head of state listed the discomforts those with mental disabilities endured on a daily basis.
Mr Moi singled out their inability to benefit from funds set aside by the Kibaki government for the disabled because of their unique condition.
He said that unlike people with other forms of disabilities who could secure jobs as lecturers or lawyers, the mentally disable could not venture in gainful employment due to their condition.
“In situations where they do vocations, they must rely on the support of other people without disabilities. Without this support, it is difficult for them to realize reasonable stock and income,” Mr Moi observed.
As a result, people with disabilities need daily support throughout their lives, he added.
“Lack of this important support has brought suffering to mothers who are forced to hide, chain and neglect their children,” he lamented.
Flanked by officials of the Society for the Mentally Handicapped, the retired president underscored the importance of carers who spend their days and nights looking after the mentally disabled.
This besides the therapeutic support the mentally disabled persons required to make their conditions manageable.
Mr Moi said the proposed Fund, to be managed by the Society’s trustees, will provide and sustain the services of the carers and the very essential therapeutic support to the mentally disabled.
Those in the Society’s trustees include retired Catholic archbishop Ndingi Mwana a’Nzeki, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) chairman Abdulghafur El Busaidy and former nominated MP Zipporah Kittony among others.
Mr Moi said the charity walk will start at 9 am on Moi Day at the society’s headquarters to Museum Hill roundabout and back to the headquarters.
Disabled old man held over defiling granddaughter
Police in Nchelenge District of Luapula Province are holding a seventy year old disabled man for allegedly defiling his thirteen year old Grand Daughter.
Luapula Province Deputy Police Commanding Officer, Muwesa Wakwinji confirmed the development to ZANIS.
Mr. Wakwinji said the elderly man identified as Zachariah Mwape of Ndayi Village in Chief Mununga’s area of Chienge District is alleged to have defiled his named grand daughter of the same village around 10:00 hours yesterday.
The Provincial Deputy Police Chief said the accused lured his grand daughter into his house after cheating her that he wanted to give her K 1,000 to buy a pencil.
He said Mwape was caught in the act by neighbors who became suspicious when the two locked themselves in the house.
Mr. Wakwinji warned elderly men against engaging themselves in criminal activities such as child defilement.
He said the Law is not selective and that the Police will enforce it to the fullest regardless of the age of those committing defilement cases.
Mr. Wakwinji expressed disappointment that elderly people who are supposed to be the custodians of Zambia’s cultural norms and values are involving themselves in illicit activities.
The accused Mwape, who walks using his hands due to having deformed legs, has been remanded at Nchelenge Police Station and will appear in Caught soon.
366,000 Disabled Cry for Medical Care
Updated: September 30, 2009 - 10:56pm
Some participants having a round table discussions
By: Lennart Dodoo
MONROVI A -- Handicap International, in collaboration with France Cooperation, has ended a two-day empowerment workshop in Monrovia.
Held on September 23 and 24 at Corina Hotel, the workshop was aimed at helping persons living with disabilities identify their rights and challenges.
The Mano River Physical Disability Rehabilitation Coordinator, Sekou Keita, said most people living with disability are not aware of their rights as physically challenged persons. He told journalists that even though legislation exists that protects people with disabilities, it is not sufficient to meet the needs of these people.
“The law is enough. The law needs implementation. Outreach programs must be made accessible to these people” he asserted.
Keita further pointed out that most public buildings are not disability friendly. This, he said, sometimes hinders disabled persons from going places.
The Project Manager at Handicap International, Robert Jarwuleh, also disclosed to journalists at the event that 16 percent of the Liberia population is disabled.
“Sixty-on percent of the total disabled population lacks rehabilitation services” he went on to say.
“The lack of policy for physical rehabilitation services could be attributed to the fact that stakeholders don’t have adequate information about people with disabilities rights or the benefits associated with the Poverty Reduction Strategy,” Jarwuleh explained.
During the workshop, participants identified some of the difficulties they face such as reluctance on their part to accept their condition, difficulties in acquiring or obtaining requisite rehabilitation devices and equipments, inaccessibility to physical rehabilitation services and many more.
They resolved that the Government of Liberia should help to establish regional rehabilitation centers throughout Liberia. They called on Service Providers to provide counseling to persons with disabilities and appealed for proper information be made accessible to help people with disabilities understand the process of rehabilitation. The participants also called on the government to periodically conduct awareness campaigns for people with disabilities regarding the use of facilities meant for them and to improve the national curriculum to include rehabilitation training.
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