Rwandan pygmies facing squalor and exclusion Rwanda's rapidly dwindling Twa pygmies, considered the original inhabitants of this central African nation, now live on the fringes, facing squalor, discrimination and general exclusion.
A small community eking out a frugal living on the flank of an impossibly steep hill in Bwiza in the centre of the country embodies the problems they face in post-genocide Rwanda.
Bwiza's residents came to look for a field, having lost the land their families owned decades back.
They are plagued by alcoholism, lose up to two children for every one born and have little or no access to health care.
"A lot of children die. I used to have nine, now I have three," said Jowas Gasinzigwa, leaning on a crude walking stick.
There are 46 families and just 50 children in the hamlet, 15 of whom attend school. All this in a country where most women produce five or six children.
"I now have three and I used to have six," said Celestin Uwimana, 38.
"Many die of malaria because they don't go to hospital when they have it.
Others get meningitis."
The nearest health centre is a two-hour walk away. The pygmies live in leaf huts and respiratory diseases are a major scourge due to leaky roofs and damp.
Zephirin Kalimba, the head of an organisation that helps Twa communities through development projects, says they make up between 33,000 and 35, 000 of Rwanda's 10 million people.
Whereas the overall population of Rwanda is on the rise, the number of pygmies is declining, a development likely linked to their displacement from their original forest lands and the end of their traditional hunter -gatherer lifestyle.
Though Twa used to own land, more than 40 percent of Twa households in Rwanda are today landless. They were forced out of forests which were turned into natural parks. It was only after eviction from their ancestral land that they turned to farming in fits and starts.
In Bwiza, the men, in gumboots or plastic sandals, sit in the shade complaining. It is the women who hoe a nearby field belonging to a Twa widow who inherited it from her late non-Twa husband, babies strapped to their backs in the blazing sun.
Both groups occasionally burst into laughter, start dancing and make up a song as they go along: about how "the minister said the Twa need iron sheets for the roofs of their houses" and how "Rwanda has many doctors, but none near Twa villages".
Kalimba said the community should be afforded benefits given to handicapped people or women in Rwanda. Instead, the Twa are practically excluded from government poverty alleviation measures, he claimed.
The pygmies even had to change the name of their organisation, the Community of Indigenous Rwandans, as the government argued that identification along ethnic lines contributed to the 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 people.
The first recorded reference to pygmies appears to be in a letter written in 2276 BC by the boy pharaoh Pepi II. More recently the French- American explorer Paul du Chaillu wrote at length about his encounter with pygmies in the rainforests of Gabon in 1867.
But their short stature has long set them apart, and at times seen them stigmatised. Pygmies were on occasion displayed in zoos or circuses as curiosities and are often considered in their native Africa as either sub-human or possessed with special powers.
The present day Twa try to eke out a living from casual labour and pottery.
When the Twa, who are also found in neighbouring Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, can get work it is usually on their neighbours' land and the pay is a pittance.
They complain of persecution both at work and in school.
"If we go to look for labour where someone is building a house, they'll only take us if there are no non-Twa workers," Uwimana said.
"When we earn some money cultivating a communal field ... and we try to put it into the bank, we go to the bank counter and they say, 'Ha, you're a Twa' and refuse to open an account," he added.
In despair, some of them have turned to drink.
Asked if the same holds true in schools, 14-year-old Justin Nzabandora said the main Twa children so often drop out of school is because "they get tired of having other children point to them saying 'look it's a Twa'."
Zain Partners CYDI to Empower Physically Challenged Nigerians
April 6, 2010 by Bunmi Awolusi
Leading mobile operator, Zain Nigeria has partnered with Challenge Your Disability Initiative (CYDI), a non-profit organization based in Bauchi, to empower Nigerians with various forms of disabilities to become self- sustainable and financially independent.
The Telco operator, yesterday, joined forces with CYDI to lift physically challenged Nigerians at a graduation ceremony held in honour of physically challenged students under the CYDI Skill Acquisition Scheme, a specialized intensive training programme for physically challenged people in Nigeria.
At the occasion, Zain, in the spirit of Belonging and in line with its brand promise of a ‘Wonderful World’, supported the carpentry and welding graduating students with donations of high quality work tools that will assist the graduates optimize relevant skills in their chosen professions, also enabling them to become self-reliant and productive.
Speaking at the event, which held at the CYDI Training Centre in Bauchi, Bauchi State, the Chief Executive Officer of Zain Nigeria, Alain Sainte- Marie said Zain’s partnership with CYDI to provide Succour for less privileged Nigerians underscores the company’s commitment to the social and economic development of the communities in which it operates.
Sainte-Marie who was represented by Mouktar Lugga, Manager: Distribution(North) stated that the welfare of these communities is critical to the company’s overall success, adding that the material impact of Zain’s social investment activities have a particular emphasis on education and its vital role in poverty alleviation and social cohesion.
While commending CYDI for empowering physically challenged Nigerians with skills and work tools, he urged the graduates to demonstrate the capacity for self-improvement and for meeting the challenges ahead.
Work tools donated to the graduating students include Sprinying Machine, Jack Saw Machine, Jack plane brand, Long Cramp, carpentry vice, spoke shave, Hammer big muller, Pinches cutter, Tasks Hammer, Square and Welding machine.
Others were Filling Machine, Vice Machine, Cable for Welding, Saw Machine, Measure Tape and Welding Burn.
Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Alhaji Babayo Garza Gamawa commended Zain Nigeria for supporting CYDI in empowering the rural poor and less privileged people in the society.
In her submission, Wife of the Governor of Bauchi State and Founder, Challenge Your Disability Initiative (CYDI), Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Isa Yuguda poured encomiums on Zain for providing empowerment tools for the carpentry and welding graduates.
The event, which held at the Challenge Your Disability Initiative Centre in Bauchi featured dance and music performances from different dance troupes and music bands. It was attended by top government officials including the State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Babayo Garba Gamawa and Wife of the Governor, Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Isa Yuguda; Zain Nigeria’s Regional Sales Manager (North), Mohammed Bashir; Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Zain Nigeria, Chinda Manjor; Legal and Regulatory Coordinator (North), Zain Nigeria, Mohammed Mustapha; Alli Wali, District Manager (Bauchi), Zain Nigeria and Erhumu Bayagbon, PR Specialist, Zain Nigeria among many others.
Challenge Your Disability Initiative (CYDI) is a rehabilitative and empowerment programme aimed at supporting Children, youths and adults with various forms of disabilities in Nigeria.
At the instance of Hajia Abiodun Hauwa Isa Yuguda, wife of the Governor of Bauchi State, the organization was established with a mission to provide quality services to persons faced with arduous challenge of overcoming one form of disability or another and to complement the efforts of Government through human-centred vocational training, education and social integration programmes geared towards rehabilitating and empowering people living with disability.
Nigeria: FCT Celebrates Democracy Day for the Physically Challenged
31 May 2010
As the country celebrated its eleventh democracy day Saturday, Secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat, Mrs. Blessing Onuh, has called on government and other concerned stakeholders to always remember the physically challenged people in the society, in all they do.
Mrs. Onuh made the call at a party organised by the secretariat to celebrate children's day and democracy day with physically challenged groups in the FCT.
The party was the first of its kind in the history of the FCT and had in attendance physically challenged persons from School For the Blind, Jabi, FCT Unity Orphanage, School For The Handicapped Kuje, and the Para- Soccer Group.
She noted that the secretariat had remembered this group of the society on this very important day to show that they mean a lot to the project Nigeria.
"May I state that my decision to celebrate this year's democracy day with the physically challenged is because they are an integral part of our democracy, as they always cast their votes during elections.
Pathetically, they are quickly forgotten, abandoned and rejected."
The secretary urged Nigerians, particularly those in authority to refrain from referring to the physically challenged persons as destitute, noting that such utterances are not only painful but traumatizing.
She urged the physically challenged persons to see great ability in their disability, while pleading with them to help reach out to those who have taken to begging due to their disability to stop such illegal act.
"As you are all aware, begging in Abuja is a violation of the law. May I assure you that the current FCT administration led by Senator Bala Mohammed is committed to reducing the plight of the physically challenged and give them a voice in the FCT" she said.
While extending appreciation to the FCT administration for finding it worthy to host the students, a care giver at Abuja School for the Handicapped, Kuje Mrs. Nene Obewe called on the government to consider an upward review of the remuneration package of special teachers to serve as a motivation to those who had decided to go in search of other jobs.
According to her, the school was understaffed as there were only a few hands to cater for the many needs of the children which include bathing, clothing, washing for and feeding them.
"I believe the work we the teachers taking care of the children are doing is a sacrifice, a call from God but at the same time, the government has to motivate us so that others can become interested in doing the work. There are many people out there that read special education but for the fact that the remuneration is poor, when you go to them to come in and help in taking care of these children, they would refuse. They prefer to look for work in other organisations because they say, what is the need coming to suffer and at the end of the day they will not get something commensurate to the trouble they go through"
"We are therefore pleading with the government to give us more recreational equipment so that those children who cannot benefit from the class can keep themselves busy with those ones. The work we are doing is more or less self help skill on how to bathe, feed, dress and wash their clothes by themselves because the children cannot gain much academically because of their challenging situation," she added.
Tax and "disabilities" - enable the "disabled"
31 May 2010
What's has changed?
As previously discussed on MoneywebTax, there have been several developments in the area of tax relating to the deduction of medical expenses. Since the article of March 10 2010, three further relevant developments have taken place. In the writer's experience, it is extremely unusual, if not unprecedented that just one section (Section18) of the Income Tax Act (of just over two pages in length) can receive so much attention in just over three years.
So what is all the fuss about? A broad chronological sequence of events puts the issues into some perceptive and updates readers as to what the current position is.
On February 2 2007, the Business Report published a front page article on just how wide the provisions, in particular to the number of taxpayers who fell within the definition of mental illness as defined in the old definition of "handicapped person". For those wanting to refer back to the article, it was written by Ethel Hazelhurst and was entitled "Mental health claims could hit Sars". Sars issued a Tax Guide on the deduction of medical expenses on February 13 2007.
Between February 2007 and 2009, at least four changes have been made to Section 18 of the Income Tax Act and a second tax guide on medical expenses was issued by Sars.
In October 2009, Sars issued a discussion paper regarding its proposed "List of qualifying physical impairment or disability expenditure" and "Confirmation of diagnosis of disability". The most notable of these changes was the deletion of the old definition of "handicapped person" and replacement thereof by a new definition of "disability" (the new definition of "disability" was discussed in a previous article.
The Business Report, on January 28 2010, published an article on the most notable of the changes in the tax law; that being the deletion of the definition of "handicapped person" and replacement thereof by the new "disability" definition On April 21 2010, Sars issued its final version of the issues raised in the discussion paper of October 2009.
The issue on April 21 2010 sets out the list of qualifying expenditure and has prescribed for a particular form to be completed by the taxpayer and his or her medical practitioner in order to claim full deductions for medical and related expenses under the "disability" provisions.
The form referred to above will need to be obtained before the 2010 tax returns are submitted, notwithstanding the fact that they do not need to be sent with the return. The form, together with the amount of expenses will need to be retained in the event that the taxpayer's return is audited.
The above is a reasonable summary of events that have taken place over the last few years.
When Sars and the Treasury jointly and recently issued their tax statistics for 2009, the figures regarding the number of taxpayers who claimed all their tax deductions under the "disabled" code (4009 - the old "handicapped person" definition) for the 2008 tax year is only 20,407 in total, 0.78 of assessed taxpayers. This figure, distressingly, bears no correlation at all to the reality of the number of people who suffered from a "handicap" during the 2008 tax year.
The net result of the above is that just two pages of tax law is a lot more complicated than many believe. For the 2010 tax year, with the wider definition of "disability", a lot more taxpayers should seek advice on how to make sure they qualify to have all their medical expenses deductible. Similarly, due to the extremely low number of taxpayers who have claimed under the old "disability" provision, tax advice should be sought on the possibility and benefits of re-opening prior-year assessments.
*Eugene Bendel is from Bendels Consulting
Uganda: 'Straight Talk' For The Blind
6 April 2010
Kampala - In an effort to take reproductive health information to visually impaired children in schools, Straight Talk Foundation has introduced a special product branded Young Talk and Straight Talk in Braille.
The publication is designed in braille material, which the blind can read through touch. The editorial manager, Martha Akello Otim, says the product tackles different aspects of reproductive health.
"We think the publication will be helpful to this special group of people. Many of the visually impaired students have been taken advantage of. Through that information, we can teach them how to protect themselves and how to detect those who intend to harm them," Akello says.
Issues addressed in the publication include HIV/AIDS prevention, body changes, virginity, sexual abuse and how to detect or recognise danger.
"Through this publication, visually impaired students and pupils will be able to access HIV/AIDS and sexuality ICT materials like other normal children.
"We want to help them make informed decisions before getting into trouble. This product targets mainly school-going children, but we also have a special programme for those at home," Akello says.
Straight Talk has also trained teachers in braille skills. "We encouraged the teachers to go through the publication with their students and pupils in order to get the message clearly," she says.
The Straight Talk special needs coordinator, Quinta Apio Latigo, says the publication will also promote children's rights and protection.
"Many of these children are molested by fellow students, teachers and pupils. Through our publications, we teach them their how to protect themselves and reaching out for help in case of a problem," Apio says.
She says they have also trained 60 peer educators and formed disability awareness centres on HIV/AIDS.So far, Apio says, 150 copies of Young Talk have been produced and distributed to 29 primary schools for the visually impaired and 30 partner organisations.
"We target children between 10 to 19 years. Many visually impaired pupils start school late and some are older than that, which makes it necessary to reach out to them," she says.
The published material was collected through interviews with visually impaired children in Salama School for the Blind and Sir Apollo Kaggwa Secondary School in Mukono. During interviews, students and pupils asked questions on HIV/AIDS, body changes like menstruation and wet dreams, relationships and sexual abuse. The publication will bridge the reproductive health information gap among visually impaired young people.
The Ministry of Health estimates that 240,000 Ugandans, including children, are totally blind, while one million are partially blind.
"This isolates them from accessing HIV and sexuality programmes designed for the general public. We hope this programme will address the unique reproductive health needs of these children and help them make informed decisions," Apio says.
She says since the programme was introduced, there has been a reduction in the number of school drop-outs and early pregnancies among the disabled and visually impaired children.
The programme, which started in November last year, operates in Kitgum, Gulu, Kisoro and Kampala districts due to limited funding. The project is funded by CORDAID and the Straight Talk Foundation.
Peace eases implementation of children's project
Luanda - The moment of peace being enjoyed by Angola for eight years contributed to the implementation of the biggest disability sports expansion project in the country, involving at least 250 children, stressed this Tuesday here the chairperson of the Angolan Paralympics Committee, Leonel da Rocha Pinto.
The "Children" project, implemented since 2008 in some provinces of the country, aims at expanding and developing disability sports throughout the country, initially in the sports of athletics, swimming, wheelchair basketball and football in crutches.
Speaking about sports benefits during the time of peace, with its memorandum signed on April 04, 2002, said that the Angolan Paralympics Committee (CPA) was capable of holding competitions in areas that were inaccessible due to the war, besides having consolidated the process of training coaches and experts in specialised medicine.
Leonel da Rocha Pinto mentioned that peace brought benefits such as the three gold medals won by Jos? Sayovo, in the visually impaired athletics races, 100, 200 and 400 metres, in the Paralympics Games held in Beijing 2008 and the gold medals also obtained by Beatriz Nolundo, in 2007, in the World Championship of Brazil.
The source was last January elected to lead the African Sports Confederation of the Disabled (ASCOD), something that serves as an advantage for Angola.
RWANDA: People with disabilities left out of condom campaign
Many people with disabilities are sexually active and at risk of HIV
KIGALI, 9 April 2010 (PlusNews) - Rwanda's recent national condom awareness campaign failed to include messages designed for people with disabilities, something experts say is a mistake, as they are often equally at risk of HIV as the rest of the population.
"The fact that the mass mobilization campaign on condom use did not focus on blind and deaf persons would not only jeopardize efforts to combat HIV/AIDS but behaviour change among the general public," Jacques Sindayigaya, coordinator of the HIV programme for the NGO, Handicap International. "Many disabled people are sexually active and this situation does not exclude them from having unprotected sex."
The three-month campaign, which mainly used radio and television spots as well as billboards and more than 200,000 posters to spread the word, ended in February, and according to government sources, was successful in raising awareness. However, Sindayigaya noted that as long as some sections of the population were left out of such campaigns, behaviour change would be limited.
Cyriaque Kanimba, a 28-year-old blind artisan based in the capital, Kigali, said he missed out on the messages.
"I've been living with my blindness since birth; I used to listen to the radio programmes, but I also need someone to describe what condoms look like, how to use them," he said.
With the National AIDS Control Council (CNLS) and Handicap International, Rwanda's Umbrella of Persons with Disabilities in the Fight against HIV/AIDS (UPHLS) has been able to initiate some HIV sensitization activities specifically designed for people with disabilities, including training peer educators who are able to communicate in sign language.
However, according to the UPHLS, many challenges remain in addressing HIV among Rwanda's disabled population, including high illiteracy, no harmonized sign language and little knowledge of Braille, fear of double stigma as a result of being both HIV-positive and disabled, health workers who are unable to communicate effectively with sight- or hearing-impaired patients and lack of national data on HIV/AIDS and disability.
Angolans appointed for CPLP disabled people federation
Luanda - Angolan representatives to the Portuguese Speaking Countries(CPLP) Federation of Associations of Disabled Persons were on Thursday in Luanda appointed, Angop learned.
They are the secretary general of the Federation of the Associations of Disabled Persons (FAPED), Louren?o Humba, and the organisation’s vice president for Motor Disability, Graciete Cortez.
The former will be one of the vice presidents, while the latter will be in charge of the fiscal council.
According to FAPED president, Silva Lopes Etiambulo, these appointments follow guidelines from the latest general assembly of the CPLP Federation of Associations of Disabled Persons, held on March 7-9 in Mozambique.
At the meeting with the 21 leaders of FAPED affiliate associations, participants were informed about the work done during the first year of mandate of the present social bodies and the date for the next general assembly set for June this year.
The participants also learned about the start of functions of the driving schools for people living with disabilities.
Established in December 2000, FAPED groups 21 associations registered with the Angolan State.
Injured Tz workers to get compensation for life
12 April 2010
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - The Government is preparing to introduce a workman's compensation scheme that will enable those who get permanently disabled while at work to get benefits for life.
The new development was announced last week by President Jakaya Kikwete in a speech intended to derail the planned nation-wide and indefinite workers' strike called by the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) from May 5, 2010.
The strike has received tacit support from all workers' sectoral unions in the private and public sectors as they continue to demand for more pay and better working conditions.
The new disability compensation scheme, if and when it is launched, will change completely on the current disability compensation scheme that has little consideration for serious injuries or life of workers. Life or permanent disability caused while at work are virtually ignored because under the prevailing legislation, an injured worker should count himself lucky if he goes away with US$ 150 in compensation. Mr Kikwete said his Government was finalizing preparation for creation of a fund and an authority to operate it before launching the disability compensation scheme. This follows the passing of law in 2008 but remained unattended to. May be after this workers' strike threat such disability compensation scheme might take off.
In his plea to the nearly a million workers, Kikwete said his Government had raised salaries to most sectors of the economy and civil servants and that it was still ready to negotiate with workers for better wages and terms of employment. TUCTA claims the workers have been ignored enough by the Government for far too long.
Rwandan HIV and AIDS campaign 'ignored the disabled'
A national condom awareness campaign in Rwanda - which hoped to confront HIV and AIDS problems in the country - left out people with disabilities.
An expert has labelled this exclusion a mistake, as these individuals are often still sexually active, PlusNews reports.
The three-month scheme, which ended in February, mainly utilised radio and television appearances, as well as billboards to spread its message.
This technique, however, ignored deaf and blind people, a charity figure has stated.
Jacques Sindayigaya, coordinator of the HIV and AIDS programme for Handicap International, said: "Many disabled people are sexually active and this situation does not exclude them from having unprotected sex."
Cyriaque Kanimba, a 28-year-old blind resident in the capital, Kigali, said he was unaware of any messages in the area.
A group of students from Simon Fraser University and Thompson Rivers University in Canada recently revealed that they are to volunteer in Rwanda to help improve education opportunities in the country.
Written by John Curtis
Cameroon: Disabled Persons Undergo Physical Exercises
12 April 2010
The event is in line with the 62 World Health Day commemorated last April 7.
Many people think that it is some sort of punishment or cruelty to make somebody with physical disabilities undergo physical exercises such as running, arms stretching or muscles movement. But health and sports experts say due to the sedentary life-style of disabled persons, they need to practice physical exercises for they too can be victims of illness such heart attack, diabetes and obesity. This is why last Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) collaborated with the "Health Promotion Watch" and "GoodWill Cameroun" NGOs, to organise a workshop aimed at getting people with physical disabilities interested in sporting activities.
During discussions that took place under the theme "Sport, Vector of Health for Disabled Persons", sport specialist, Timothe Mete, told disabled persons the importance of sports in their daily life as well as the procedures to take before being involved in any physical exercise.
According to Mete, all disabled persons need to consult a medical doctor who will examine their physical and health condition before prescribing any physical exercise. It is the medical report that will guide the sport conductor on what any disabled person can do and can not do depending on the nature of the disability. Through a doctor's report, any handicapped person is sure not to endanger him or herself like being involved in any sport activities.
Experts reiterated the fact that physical activities are essential for those with disabilities more than physically apt people for disabled persons do not have the possibilities to move around very often like others. At the end of the discussions, physically challenged boys and girls went through a sport session of stretching their arms, muscles and other body parts. Visibly, this was an exercise that they all enjoyed doing.
Ministry to train people with disability
13 April, 2010
Ministry of Health will begin a trainer of trainer program in order to improve its capacity to educate people with disability, Parliament heard last week. Assistant Minister of Health, Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri said health education officers would also receive training in sign language. Mr Matlhabaphiri said his ministry is engaged in a number of initiatives geared towards addressing the needs of people with disability and living with HIV/AIDS. He said among the initiatives implemented in 2009/10 was the incorporation of sign language into televised HIV/AIDS programs as well as the development of audio cassette messages for the visually impaired. Mr Matlhabaphiri said the government is currently pursuing a formal agreement with the Botswana Council of the Disabled to further strengthen HIV/AIDS response. He was responding to Nkange MP, Mr Edwin Batshu, who asked the minister if there were any HIV/AIDS programmes specifically designed for people with disabilities.
If not, he asked how government planned to address the needs of people with disabilities in relation to HIV/AIDS.
Over 350 deaf get training
Wednesday, 14th April, 2010
KASESE - About 350 deaf persons have received training in sign language since 2009, a senior officer with Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNAD) has said. The programme officer, Deborah Oyute, said recently that the training is part of a two-year programme for the deaf to interact with the public.
Kenya: Stigma Much Reduced Due to Awareness Campaign
Daily Nation 14 April 2010
Nairobi - When he rewinds his memory to 20 years ago on how mental illness was handled, Prof David Ndetei can afford a smile. Then, the stigma was at its peak, and the mistreatment of the mentally ill and disabled persons was the order of the day.
Fast forward to the present, the situation is much different. Psychiatrists like him say society is finally beginning to understand that mental illness is treatable or manageable, and that those affected can be productive members of the society.
Prof Ndetei remembers that in the 1980s and early '90s, the mentally ill would consult him only at night to avoid being seen."Now they walk into my clinic or other institutions catering for the mentally ill in broad daylight. There is much acceptance and willingness to help them, as people understand the disease better. This understanding is playing a major role in reducing stigma."
Dr Nelly Kitazi, the superintendent of Nairobi's Mathari Mental Hospital, thinks people are increasingly seeing mental illnesses as a brain disorder and not a personal failing, thanks to aggressive awareness by advocates, who include professionals, as well as politicians, church leaders and government officials.
Mr Pattni Prabhudas, the Kenya Association of the Mentally Handicapped (KSMH) secretary-general, notes that the mentally disabled are getting better treatment than was the case 10 years ago. During one of its awareness activities, more than 800 people responded to the association's call to families to register their mentally disabled members in the mapping exercise.
"This impressive response does not only indicate that stigma is reducing, but will also help us to have rough idea of how many mentally disabled people are out there," says Mr Prabhudas. KSMH has enlisted the support of influential people in the religious, political and economic circles to help to fight the stigma.
But Kenya is not out of the woods yet; Prof Ndetei and Dr Kitazi say lack of understanding and misconceptions about mental illness is still fuelling stigma in many parts of the country.
The main reason why people stigmatise the mentally ill is that they link the disease to madness or lunacy, a curse or demonic possession, says Dr Kitazi. People with a mental disorder are viewed as dangerous, aggressive and uncoordinated, he adds.
Media and movies portrayal of the mentally ill in their language and images is said to reinforce and sustain this stigma as well. Owing to the stigma, people with mental disorder are denied access to jobs, loans, property ownership and other essentials of life just because people equate their mental disorder to madness. Their families fail to seek treatment as they feel ashamed to move with them in public.
Those affected usually start stigmatising themselves when they see people rejecting or excluding them. Even their struggle to seek medical attention or to get well is compromised, doctors say. This stigma is the root cause of mistreatment, social exclusion and poor management of people with mental disorders.
Disabled value their dignity
15 April 2010
SKILLED: Members of the Disabled People of Kwa-Thema organisation working .
They refuse to wallow in self-pity
THE greatest challenge for disabled people is to muster enough energy and courage to overcome self-pity and despair.
of KwaThema, Springs, had to face this challenge after a car accident dramatically changed his life by leaving him paralysed.
Not one to wallow in self-pity, Nyandeni accepted his fate and decided to make major adjustments to his life. So began his journey as a disabled person.
He soon realised that this was not going to be easy . There were many other people like himself in the Ekurhuleni area who faced similar difficulties and were not keen to hold out a begging bowl to the public.
Like most able-bodied people the disabled cherish their dignity.
And that is how the Disabled People of Kwa-Thema (DPKT), a day care centre for people with multiple disabilities, was born in 1997.
Last week Mama Angel took groceries to the centre.
To affirm the area’ s disabled individuals with self-belief and self- reliance, they coined the slogan “Disabled, not unable” as the organisation’s mantra.
“People with disabilities also want to be included in the labour market.
There just aren’t enough opportunities for them. They are in a vulnerable position,” says Nyandeni, the organisation’ s chief executive .
Nyandeni is passionate about empowering people with disabilities.
“My biggest dream since my accident was to be seen as an equal,” he explains.
The nonprofit organisation is aimed at promoting the interests and protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The project is run from a six-room house and provides comfort and care for 54 members.
There are five volunteers and a few other able-bodied people who help run the office.
“Instead of being dependent on people and grants, we rely on our own skills and talents to see us through,” Nyandeni says.
Members pay R90 a month, which covers the organisation’ s basic running costs. This includes two meals a day .
“We run a range of programmes that have been specially designed to empower our members as well as our communities with skills and knowledge to address unemployment and alleviate poverty.”
The project also provides home care for people who are too ill to come to the centre .
Other activities include recycling, food gardening, art and beadwork, silk-screen printing, sewing and embroidery.
Wares produced are sold to schools, churches, burial clubs and at ward meetings and at pension pay points.
The money generated from sales is ploughed back into the project to help sustain it . Nyandeni believes DPKT’s biggest success has been its ability to provide a respectable livelihood for disabled individuals.
“On behalf of the organisation, I would like to thank Mama Angel for the generous donation,” Nyandeni says.
Dj Poly proves disability is not inability
Botswana Press Agency
15 April, 2010
THAMAGA - Hi Poly!!! that is the affection always shown by staff members of Erbn night club whenever Dj Polyester alias Poloko Boitshepo, 23 enters the club pulling his disabled waist.
Spotting a maphondo hairstyle, Dj Polyesters disability although natural has not deterred him from exploring an industry that many people living with disabilities have not explored.
This Lobatse born young man is a resident Dj at Erbn night club and is already planning to further his Dj career in nearby South Africa.
I also have rubbed shoulders with some of the industry big wigs like DJ Sly who know how best I can be on my day. When I start my session I assess my crowd first so that I serve them accordingly, was what DJ Polyester said about his experience and exposure in the djeeying world.
In spite of the environment he works in the outspoken DJ Polyester is a non drinker and he spends his killings wisely every month.
Usually he spends most of his weekdays relaxing and trying out some mixes that will blow the crowd. Ever since setting my foot on this stage this club has transformed to be a force to reckon with. My artistry on the turntables has earned me respect from the night crawlers, I mean adults and youth alike, claimed Poly who further extended his gratitude to the Botswana Police for arriving at the club in time.
He claimed that his dexterity is so overwhelming that there is need for very tight security.
But being popular at Thamaga, Dj Poly would not let that get to his head.
I can control myself very well though I like meeting my customers because I am where I am because of them, revealed DJ Poly.
His love for music and possession of cassettes and CDs at Pitikwe Junior Secondary School in Lobatse left fellow school mates with no option but to choose him as the school DJ.
It was from this platform that Polyester never looked back. In his form three he met one Kabo who played at weddings and there he tried his shot.
By then we used DVD players instead of the turntables, he revealed.
It was also from his contact with one white man Leo that he started experimenting with the real thing- the turntables and it did not take long before he got recognised.
He started his trade at The Tower in Lobatse where he played for close to two years before relocating to Nosey Road as a resident DJ.
His manager, Mr Mothusi Mosweu has facilitated his agreements with Erbn club where he is now enjoying every weekend spinning his stuff.
Though he seems destined for success with many people recognising and respecting him, DJ Polyester reverberated what activists of People Living with Disabilities always say, I would love to play at events organised by people living with disabilities so that they could see that having disability is different from being disabled. BOPA
Couple seals pledge with silent ‘I do’
Mr Wilson Mumo and Ms Cecilia Wanjiru, who are both deaf and dumb, exchanged vows in a colourful ceremony held at the PCEA Church in Nakuru West. Photo/GEORGE SAYAGIE
By EDDY NGETA
Posted Sunday, April 18 2010 at 21:00
Outstretched arms waved ululations after union of deaf and dumb couple
When Mr Wilson Mumo and his bride Cecilia Wanjiru said “I do” in front of a packed church, very little human sound was heard from the assembly.
It was not that the congregation was not happy for the couple, but rather much of the crowd, including the bride and groom, were deaf and dumb.
Indeed, the ululations were a muted gesture of outstretched arms with splayed fingers waving in the air.
But the silent jubilation did not take away the obvious ecstasy displayed in the joyful faces of the friends and relatives of the couple who celebrated their union at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Nakuru West Church.
Rev Joseph Gichinga who presided over the ceremony, described it as “historic”.
“Never before has this church witnessed the marriage of two deaf people, and it is a special day for us,” said Rev Gichinga.
“I hope that there will be more similar weddings,” church elder Reuben Gitonga said of the union.
That the day was a special one for Cecilia could not have been more evident. She was radiant, both from the smile on her face and her obvious inner joy.
She blew kisses and waved to friends, family and even total strangers at intervals during the occasion, and was inarguably the star of the moment.
A touch of happy tears touched her shining eyes when, kneeling before the pulpit, Rev Gichinga finally declared the couple husband and wife.
Wilson, the bridegroom who is a painter in Nairobi, was beside himself with joy as he kissed his bride, sending the crowd into a frenzy of hand-clapping and ululation.
“I give you this ring as an ornament and pledge of the promise I have made to you.
“I am taking you to live with me in a bond of fellowship from today onwards in times of peace, in times of hardship, in times of prosperity, in times of poverty…so help me God,” they repeated after the preacher, aided by translators, as they slipped the rings on each other’s fingers.
Three sign language experts helped to translate the proceedings to the deaf multitude who nodded or clapped at intervals to show that they understood.
Boat wins deaf Khayelitsha residents accolade
April 19 2010 at 02:18PM Get IOL on your mobile at m.iol.co.za
By Nikita Sylvester
One of the city's newest attractions, a floating vessel shaped like a ball which was built by deaf Khayelitsha residents, has won the most innovative product award at the 2010 SA Boating Awards.
The Whisper Ball is a boat shaped like a ball which floats on the water powered by an eco-friendly electrical engine.
It was recognised as the most innovative boat invention of the year at the weekend.
Peter Jacops, chairperson of the Whisper Boat Building Academy for the Deaf in Khayelitsha, said he was extremely happy and excited at the news.
"We have secured a bit of recognition for our product, which is fantastic, and I hope this will boast our sales.
“Around the World in solidarity” for the benefit of disabled
TUNISIAONLINENEWS- On the occasion of its 60th birthday, the French club “Olympique Lyon” is organizing a session dubbed “Around the World in solidarity”, which is an event that offers a 7 month journey to 26 different countries focusing on football, as well as the support of associations of general interest and particularly “International Disability”.
In relation to the event, a "cocktail of solidarity" was held on Thursday at the residence of the Ambassador of France in Tunis, in favor of the Tunisian federation of sports for the disabled (FTHS) with the presence of globetrotter supporters and Bernard Effantin, International Disability Project Manager.
On the occasion, Mr. Ali Harzallah, president of the FTSH stressed Tunisia’s policy in support to disabled people.
He hailed the “Olympic Lyon” club’s initiative, saying that FTSH is working to boost cooperation with foreign partners, particularly in France.
On his part, Mr. Pierre Menat, the French Ambassador in Tunis, praised Tunisia's experience in integrating the disabled, focusing on Tunisia’s social approach in this field.
Abandoned cripple dies
April 26, 2010
Kwamikkrom (V/R), April 26, GNA - An 11-year-old cripple, deaf and dumb boy was buried in a local cemetery here at the weekend, 10 months after his parents had abandoned him.
The cripple, Dziwornu Ahiabu was catered for by Madam Nura Alhassan, a local trader.
According to Madam Alhassan, Dziwornu's father, Mawuli Ahiabu, a chain- saw operator of Dzodze and the mother, Esi Mawuena of Yeviefe in Togo, abandoned their son at Kwamikron in July 2009.
She said she took care of the cripple whose parents were her co-tenants for over 10 years and that she received only GH¢ 3.00 from a local church for the care of the cripple.
NOC Provides Job Opportunities for 157 Deaf and Dumb Libyans
Believing in the equality of all citizens and their right to land good jobs in the oil sector, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) has announced plans to recruit 157 deaf and dumb people in the country's oil sector.
In a statement issued last Sunday, the NOC said the people, who have received technic al and vocational training, would be assigned to domestic and foreign oil firms.
NOC therefore invited vocational training institutes for the deaf and dumb across the country to submit, from 19 April, information on the capabilities and skills of their students to serve in the oil sector.
First Lady gets distinction for promoting disabled people s sports
Johannesburg - Angola's First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, on Sunday, in South Africa, received a distinction from the organising committee of the International Convention of Sports in Africa, due to her engagement and devotion to the promotion of sports for disabled people, ANGOP has learnt.
The distinction was handed over to the Angolan ambassador to South Africa, Miguel Gaspar Fernandes Neto, in the presence of high ranking officials of African sports, heads of diplomatic missions in that country, as well as representatives of institutions such as UNICEF and UNDP.
The distinctions also included Egypt for the development of sports in Africa, Morocco for the facilities of its sports policies, Nigeria for its contribution and promotion of sports activities and UNICEF for its humanitarian actions in sports for disabled people.
Senegal and Tanzania were also honoured.
Luanda hosts ASCOD executive committee meeting
Luanda - Issues relating to the proposed amendment of the statutes of the African Sports Confederation for the Disabled (ASCOD) and changing the institution's name into the African Paralympics Committee will be discussed during its executive meeting to be held in the Angolan capital, Luanda, from April 30 to May 01, ANGOP learnt.
The head of the organisation, the Angolan Leonel da Rocha Pinto will also propose the changing of the logo to that that fits the current reality better.
Some projects of the organisation will also be discussed, with highlight to actions of upgrading trainers, international competition, integration of athletes in high-performance centres, improving communication among members, besides general information on contacts that the chairperson has been making in order to sign partnerships with countries and world organisations.
Besides the Angolan representative in the capacity of chairperson, the executive committee is also made up of vice chairperson Rigbi Khaled from Libya, the secretary general, Jos? Rodrigo (Cape Verde), the Moroccan Elouni Hamid and the South African Sarel Marais.
The swearing in ceremony of ASCOD board members, elected last January, will happen at 07pm on Saturday. Leonel Pinto and his team will receive the portfolio from the outgoing secretary general, the Egyptian Hossam Mostafa, in the absence of the chairperson, Nabil Salem.
Leonel da Rocha Pinto received 19 votes compared to four of the former chairperson. The third competitor Rigbi Khaled from Libya received seven votes.
Menjo shines as giants eye world marks
Action from the 1,500m race of the Rift Valley Paralympics Championships held at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret onTuesday. Daniel Chelimo from Eldoret won the race clocking 4:00:02. Kiptanui Chebochok was second timed at 4:00:03. PHOTO/ JARED NYATAYA
By JONATHAN KOMEN
Posted Tuesday, April 27 2010 at 21:00
Deaflympian beats stellar field, Kirwa and Tarbei vow to write new records at June Africa event
Deaf Olympics 1,500m champion Baxtone Menjo beat a stellar line-up that had double Deaflympics 5,000m and 10,000m title holder David Kipkogei to the 800m crown during the Rift Valley Paralympics Championships at the Kipchoge Stadium in Eldoret on Tuesday.
Multiple World Paralympics record holders Henry Kirwa and Abraham Tarbei took vantage positions at the competitions as they prepare to secure places in the Africa Championships in Morocco, in June.
Kirwa (T12) added the 800m Paralympics best time to his 1,500m and 5, 000m world records while Tarbei (T46) holds the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m world records. They have vowed to lower world records at the Africa contest.
Dominated the race
Menjo, who also bagged a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Taipei, Taiwan, stopped the timer in one minute and 58.3 seconds, ahead of Kipkogei (2:04.1) and little-known Alex Kipkorir (2:04.9).
Upstart Kiptanui Chebochok won the T46 in 2:00.2, ahead of Willy Biwott(2:00.7) and Hillary Serem (2:04.6) as Rogers Kiprop, Isaiah Ng’etich and Cosmas Kipchumba ruled the category’s men’s 200m.
John Kipchumba (13:99.1), Simon Rop (15:02.7) and Collins Koech 16:02.4) swept podium places in T36 and T37 100m as Isaiah Ngetich (13:06.5) and John Tanui (13:65.4) dominated the T11 race.
Beat sole challenger
Ibrahim Muhanji (12:82.1), Samuel Cheboskwony (14:66.9) and Shadrack Kibet (15:01.1) topped in the hearing impaired class as Evans Kurgat(12:56.7) and Amos Kalya (13:11.3) claimed T46 honours.
Nelly Chelimo beat sole challenger Florence Chepkoech to the 200m T11 title as Ganiphiv Jepkorir and Grace Jeptanui topped the T37 200m.
National head coach to the World Cross Country championships in Poland, David Leting, and Kenya National Paralympics Committee chairman Douglas Sidialo graced the event which brought together the 43 districts.
Disabled UNZA student dependant on friend’s goodwill
By Allan Mulenga Tue 27 Apr. 2010, 02:10 CAT
Jonathan, a second-year student in the School of Education, at the University of Zambia (UNZA) has not had access to the library since his admittance to the institution, TO a casual eye, 24-year-old Jonathan Talimeki might not be a special case among other physically challenged people pursuing tertiary education in various higher learning institutions dotted around the country.
Jonathan, a second-year School of Education student at the University of Zambia (UNZA), has not had access to the library since his admittance to the highest learning institution, but also face a lot of difficulties whenever he intends to attend classes.
“You will be surprised to know that because of the location of the library, I have never used it from the time I came to UNZA. But I have been clearing passing examinations every time I sit for exams. I have entirely relied on the ‘good will’ of my friends to assist me with their books. Otherwise, it is not very easy because I need books to refer to when doing assignments,” he asserts.
Jonathan notes that due to his physical status, he has found it hard to attend classes.
“Again, most of the classrooms at UNZA are not user-friendly to the physically challenged students. Whenever there is class, I have to rely on the mercy of a ‘good Samaritan’ to lift me up the stairs,” he narrates.
Jonathan, an orphan, reveals that he has been left with no option but to forgo some of the lectures.
“As you know there is a lot of pressure at the campus. With the kind of disability that I have I move in a wheel chair, so for me to climb the stairs, I need to be helped so sometimes I end up remaining down stairs, whilst my friends are busy rushing for lessons,” he notes.
Jonathan was confined to a wheelchair at 15, following a fatal accident which left him with a broken spinal code.
He explains that there are times when he feels like giving up on school due to a number of frustrations that come his way.
“For instance, next semester I will be doing one of the courses in Siwela lecture theatre and as you may know that place can never be accessed by disabled persons because it is located upstairs,” Jonathan notes.
He bemoans the small number of physically challenged persons admitted to the institution.
“Although I know that the blind student was the first one to enter UNZA in the school of education, there are only a few physically challenged students in the school of education. If it comes to NS school of natural sciences there has never been a disabled student enrolled in the history of UNZA except that one who got injured whilst pursuing his studies here, ” Jonathan recollects.
He urges differently-abled persons to rise to the occasion and compete favourably with other students for places at the institution.
“People physically challenged persons, especially those coming from special schools, may feel discouraged to apply for admission to UNZA thinking that when they come here they have to be helped in everything.
But they should know that they have to compete with other students regardless of their physical status,” Jonathan notes.
He urges management to come up with a special library specifically to cater for the school needs of physically challenged persons at the institution.
“I understand that there are departmental libraries where sometimes students can borrow books for their assignments, but we physically challenged persons need a well-equipped special library to meet our school needs,” Jonathan urges.
He however states that he is impressed with the arrangements that management has put in place when it comes to accommodating the physically challenged persons at the institution.
“When it comes to accommodation, we are given the first priority among other students. At least that has boasted our morale during our studies.
Management gives us rooms that are on the ground floor for easy access, ” Jonathan recounts.
Born to the late Haggai and Petronella Talimeki, Jonathan is the first born in the family of four.
“My dad Talimeki past on in 2001 when I was doing grade eight at Ndola ’s Kansenshi High School, while mum died in 2006 just when I completed my Grade 12 at the same school. I have spent much of my life as an orphan,” he recollects.
Jonathan reveals that after being bedridden for a year whilst pursuing his grade nine, a Ndola-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) known as CINDI awarded him a scholarship to enable him continue with his education.
Despite, having been confined to bed for the whole year, Jonathan managed to successfully sit for his grade nine and got 427 points from the cut-off point of 395.
He urges Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) to generate a positive attitude towards education no matter how many challenges they encounter in life.
“No matter what happens in life, orphans should continue having a positive attitude towards education. It is sad to note that a lot of them become hopeless by losing focus on education,” notes Jonathan.
Manouba University hosts event for professional integration of the disabled
TUNISIAONLINENEWS- The “Amal 2010” program started on Monday at the University campus of La Manouba, under the patronage of First Lady, Mrs.Leila Ben Ali chairwoman of the “Basma Association” for the Promotion of Employment among the Disabled.
As its Arabic name suggests ( ‘Amal’ meaning hope) the program aims at promoting integration of the disabled in their professional environment by sensitizing students and professors to the importance of eradicating obstacles to the employment of the disabled.
Teams composed of 10 students from 13 university institutions from the University of Manouba are taking part in the works through animation programs and study meetings led by experts and specialists.
Opening the event, Mr. Bechir Tekkari, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research stressed the role played by several components of civil society, mainly the “Basma Association” in partnership with State structures in guiding and protecting special needs classes, as well as their participation in the implementation of social programs and economic promotion of needy categories.
Mrs. Najah Belkhiria Karoui, the Secretary of State in charge of Social Promotion, stressed the humanitarian dimension of the event, stressing the care that President Ben Ali bestows on people with disabilities.
She also emphasized “Basma Association's role in supporting the disabled and opening up prospects for their integration in the economic circuit.
The University of Manouba, the Basma Association for the Promotion of Employment among the Disabled, the Institute for the Promotion of the disabled , the National Union of the Blind, the Telecom College of Management of France and the Unit of early diagnosis of deafness among newborn, are taking part in this session.
Couple’s silent vows stun packed congregation
Published on 02/05/2010
By ALEX KIPROTICH
The fluttering colourful ribbons attached to the chairs seem to move with the pace of soft music playing for the expectant crowd assembled at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church Valley Road, Nairobi.
The crowd sways slowly, nodding and tapping feet in rhythm with the songs.
The sound of revving engines outside attracts more attention as people turn heads towards the entrance.
Tom Okiki and Celine Olela exchanged the marriage vows Saturday.
Then the bridal chorus starts to play. Indeed, a classy wedding.
And as the bride Celine Olela walked down the aisle, led by flower girls followed by bride’s maids, the freshly cut flowers scents the church.
Olela, who wore a cotton-white wedding gown held a cream rose bouquet, which perfectly complemented the mixture of pink, brown and gold decorations inside the church.
Holding the left arm of the 28-year-old bride who walked in calculated shy steps was her mother Miriam and to the right uncle Jacob who walked her to the front of the church where the presiding Pastor Kennedy Kimiywe and groom Tom Okiki were waiting.
Okiki, who all the time was not visible to the crowd, smiles without uttering a word as he faces Olela. One would easily think his silence was out of the happiness.
His ash-grey suit, sparkling white shirt and maroon tie were stunning as the wide smile radiates on his face.
And as the music fades, the clergyman steps forward to the microphone, a Bible in his hand. But before reading a verse to start off the ceremony, he beckons another woman forward. She is a sign language specialist.
And ululations, shock and disbelief greets the pastor’s communication - Okiki, the stunning groom, is deaf.
And even 35 minutes later as the pastor pronounces them husband and wife, many were still puzzled on the union of the duo.
Okiki using an interpreter took his marriage vows to the ululations of the church while Olela read the vows loudly to the nodding of the husband.
Olela said the decision to marry Okiki took her almost three years to make since the time he declared his love for her in 2007.
"It was a very difficult decision given our different conditions, but I prayed to God that if he was the right person for me, I did not have to question but accept him the way he is," she said.
She met Okiki while working in a tailor shop - Hagoi Embroidery - whose proprietor, a Mr Patrick, is deaf. She said her employment there was by chance.
She is a trained tailor, but she worked as a sales executive at a pharmaceutical company until her friend told her of the tailoring shop run by "an old man" who needed an assistant.
"My friend took me to the shop at Philadelphia House and I got the job," she recalled.
Olela learnt sign language from her boss because most of their clients were deaf. Okiki used to frequent the shop.
She said: "Apart from normal greetings, Okiki did not tell me anything else until my boss told me he had asked him if I was married or if I had a boyfriend."
She first dismissed it as a joke, she said, but a week later Okiki told her to her face he was in love with her.
"It came as a shock. I was in dilemma because I did not want to hurt him by flatly refusing his advances," she explained.
"By then I had realised he was charming and a good storyteller though I could not decipher all the signs he used."
Since 2007 Olela has been fighting the feelings to fall in love although she had been swept off her feet.
She could not imagine how her parents, relatives and friends would receive the news, she says.
At some point she started avoiding Okiki because she was short of excuses.
"Finally I made up my mind to marry him though I still was afraid of breaking the news to my family," she says.
She first told her aunt who encouraged her.
For Okiki, 34, all this time he kept hoping Olela would accept him because family members had started exerting pressure on him to marry because his younger brother had done so, which was against their culture.
"The first time I saw Olela, I felt there was something unique that bonded our hearts," he said in sign language as she interpreted.
He added: "I was afraid to approach her. I was patient until she agreed to marry me and here we are today. This is a testimony true love exists."
Olela was confident God chose for her Okiki even though she never anticipated it.
She says it even shocked her when she broke the news to her mother and uncles and they agreed, though with reservations, until they met him.
"Okiki is all I wanted in a man. He is charming and a good companion," she says.
Rwanda: Teaching the Deaf Requires Extra Dedication
The New Times (All Africa)
3 May 2010
Kigali - To teach the deaf requires more love and patience says Eugenie Baziki, a teacher at Saint Gabriel Centre of the deaf and dumb located in Ngoma Sector, Huye district.
In a room filled with ten deaf and dumb children, Madam Baziki does what she has been doing for the last four years-teaching pupils with hearing and speech disabilities how to read and write.
There is an unusual communication between teacher and student's as they use sign language, a practice which Baziki admits is difficult to use in communication especially for young learners.
"These children arrive here when they cannot utter a single word, we tease them into trying to speak so that we can classify them into different levels of understanding," she said.
In her class, pupils are taught sign language in order to enable them communicate amongst themselves and their teachers.
According to Baziki, despite missing their articulation and hearing senses, pupils at the centre develop a good observation sense. Some have learnt to sharpen their observation senses and in turn impacted their lives and those around them with developed communication skills.
To demonstrate this phenomenon, Jean Damascene Uzabakiriho, a pupil in second level demonstrates to his teacher how he wants to became a soldier after his studies whereas her classmate Rosine Muteteli, demonstrates how she wants to go to University and become a medical doctor. They communicate through sign language while their teacher Baziki interprets.
With four years of experience at Saint Gabriel Centre of the deaf and dumb, Baziki says that teaching at the centre is like teaching toddlers.
"You can't work here without patience and kindness," said Baziki.
Jean Marie Vianney Nzahabanayo, a Gabrielite Brother, is the head of the Audiometry Department, a section of the centre that tests the ability of the human ear to detect sounds over a range of frequencies and intensities. He says that teachers are recruited on the basis of their commitment to deal with children with disabilities.
"It is after long observation on how deep a teachers' love is that we recruit them," said Brother Nzahabanayo.
He concurs with Baziki that teaching at the centre requires more commitment than an ordinary teaching job.
"Some of our children here can be annoying, it takes patience and love for a professional to teach at the centre," said Brother Nzahabanayo.
According Baziki, its only patience and kindness that keeps them tied to their work.
"I earn a paltry Rwf26,000 per month a pitiful amount compared to the work that I do, I wish I could earn more," Baziki said.
According to Brother Nzahabanayo, teachers at the centre deserve additional pay for the sacrificial work and dedication depicted in their work. However, he said that it is unfortunate that the centre's resources are stretched.
"Our means are limited but we are having consultations with our partners to see how we can motivate them," he said.
Students trained at the centre are in different categories, some are involved in technical and vocational training while others go through the formal school system and end up at university.
"Students who go through the formal school have gone on to succeed like any other students, some have succeeded even more than those without disabilities," he said.
The centre was founded by the Brothers of Saint Gabriel and first opened its doors in 1965. It currently has 160 pupils under its care.
Funds for support of disabled ceded from District Assemblies
May 03, 2010 Apam (C/R), May 3, GNA - The two per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) meant for supporting the activities of the disabled would no longer be channelled through the Assemblies.
A committee comprising Staff of the Department of Social Welfare and the Association of the Disabled would be in-charge of the management of the Fund.
Mr Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, Gomoa West District Chief Executive (DCE) who made this known at a meeting at Apam at the weekend, said the decision to cede the Fund from the Assemblies was to ensure that it got to those it was meant for.
Mr Aidoo-Mensah, who is also the National President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), commended the government for taking "this wise decision".
He noted that due to pressure on the Assemblies they had not been releasing the funds to the disabled as demanded by law.
"This decision has affirmed that President John Evans Atta Mills is not only the father for the able-bodied but also for the physically challenged," he said, and urged Ghanaians to rally behind the President for a better future.
The DCE announced that in spite of the ceded fund, the Gomoa West Assembly had voted GH?3,000 to support the physically challenged and had also decided to pay for the premiums for disabled persons who had not been able to register with the Gomoaman Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, to enable them to access quality health care.
Mr Peter Antwi Boasiako, District Coordinating Director, advised the disabled to refrain form the habit of going into the streets to beg for alms.
He urged them to take advantage of the Assembly's generosity to establish themselves in profitable ventures to earn a decent living.
Mr Mark Nii Lamptey, Manager of the Gomoaman Mutual Health Insurance Scheme, indicated that there was no change in the premium of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He said those who were going round saying the premium had been raised to GH?600 were enemies of the Scheme who must not be tolerated.
Mr Abekah Neizer, executive member of the Association of the Physically Challenged, repeated their appeal to the Government and District Assemblies to make public facilities, particularly toilets, friendly to people with disabilities.
He appealed to the DCE to help them to trace the whereabouts of an amount of GH?1,200 realised in a fund-raising organised for the disabled in 2005, which had not got to them despite several demands made on the organisers.
Nigeria: Orphanages, Others Deserve Subvention
Adegbite Oladele Ogunsola
4 May 2010
Ibadan - Secretary-General for Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Lateef Adegbite, at the weekend called on the government to give subvention to privately-established orphanages and centres for the disabled to assist them in meeting their obligations to the homes.
Adegbite made the call while giving goodwill message at the formal opening ceremony of Sekinat Olapeju Adekola Centre for Disabled (SOACCED), Challenge, Ibadan.
The Islamic leader noted that the call for subvention became necessary in view of the enormous responsibilities the homes are expected to carry, stressing that those going into such activities are not doing so to make money but to help the cause of humanity, which is the more reason government should not fold arms and watch them from afar.
He said that, ideally, government is put in place to cater for the need for all citizens, both able and disabled and if some people should take it upon themselves to cater for the needs of the disabled in the society, the government should see them as assisting it in sharing part of its responsibilities and must readily give such people a helping hand through the giving of regular subventions.
In his address, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Waheed Olajide, specially commended the founder of the centre, Sekinat Adekola, whom he described as an individual trail blazer for establishing a centre "for those whom we are almost all guilty of abandoning to their fate".
He was particular that the new centre would meet the religious needs of the inmates as against the existing ones alleged to have become conversion centres, saying, "disabilities that lead individuals to the disabled centres have often curtailed their independence to practice their faith. Virtually all these centres are managed by non-Muslims and they have become conversion centres".
The founder of the centre, Sekinat Adekola, who is also the Iya Adinni of Yorubaland was full of appreciation to the people that graced the occasion recalled how she was challenged into going into the area of assisting the disabled in the society when at a meeting of MUSWEN in Lagos two years ago, Muslims were accused of lacking interest and focus on children with disabilities.
She disclosed that there were 30 inmates with 20 bed spaces for more, assuring that vocational training would be established for them in shoe making, barbing, hair-dressing, computer training, tailoring/fashion designing and insecticide production.
The centre located within the premises of Ad-din International School, also owned by Adekola, according to her "is conducive", charging that their support would make the centre more comfortable to the inmates.
Zimbabwe: Disability is Not Inability
4 May 2010
Harare - MUGOVE Marumisa (46) waits anxiously as his son Kudakwashe struggles to mend a punctured wheelchair tyre and beat the 10 o'clock deadline by which he (Marumisa) should be in class delivering a lesson.
The tyre had picked up several punctures the previous day after some delinquent students allegedly buried thorns in the sand that covers the path Marumisa uses daily on his way to class just out of spite.
Marumisa is a wheelchair-bound Integrated Science and Biology teacher at Marigumura Secondary School in the Mhondoro communal lands. He is credited with scoring the best Ordinary Level science results in the history of the school since he joined it in 1995. He achieved a 65 percent pass rate in 1997 to eclipse what he found as the school's standing record of 45 percent.
On this fateful morning, Marumisa had woken up to the horror of finding one of the wheelchair tyres deflated.
This incident, Marumisa remembers, came hot on the heels of a rather nasty one in which a student allegedly feigned losing balance while pushing him in his wheelchair resulting in the wheelchair overturning.
"Some passing students quickly noticed the situation and came to my rescue. They helped me onto the wheelchair before seeing me to the classroom," he related.
For Marumisa, this is just but the tip of the iceberg on the difficulties that he has to deal with on a daily basis as a disabled teacher when changing classes at the end of every lesson.
"I have to be pushed in the wheelchair from classroom to classroom at the end of every lesson.
"My biggest challenge, however, comes when I want to relieve myself since the school only has conventional toilets, which I cannot readily use. I have to use bowls every time that makes it vital for the toilets to be private and designed properly and with the right water reticulation," said Marumisa.
He added that every time he needed to attend to the call of nature, he was confronted by the stark reality of first requesting a fellow staff member for assistance, which some of them are no longer readily willing to give.
Some of his fellow teachers had even demonstrated their ruthlessness by advising the salaries' bureau to terminate his salary during his time in hospital, he alleges. By that time he was the acting headmaster of the school.
Marumisa painstakingly related how he had on one occasion gone through a harrowing experience after a school that had responded positively to his application for a teaching post had overturned the decision on discovering that he was disabled -- outright discrimination.
Said Marumisa: "Can you imagine that I last visited Harare last year in March? It is true. I decided I would only send my wife if there was anything I needed after some kombi crew ordered me to pay for three people -- one ticket for me, the other for my wheelchair and the last one for my wife.
"It pains me to see the way disabled people are discriminated against in different quarters of the community when the society should at least be stopping to check how we contribute to their day-to-day existence."
Marumisa's case becomes peculiar in the sense that he was not born disabled. He only got into his situation in 2004 after a long illness that landed him in hospital from where he returned on the wheelchair after suffering a stroke.
The soft-spoken Marumisa was born in Wedza into a family of six in which he was the last child. His father died when he was in Grade One and this was the turning point in his life. He was moved to Rushinga in Mt Darwin where he received his primary school education before proceeding to Mazowe Boys' High then Morgan High for his O and A-Levels respectively.
In 1987, he won the Presidential scholarship to go and train as a science teacher in Cuba from where he returned armed with a Bachelor of Science Licentiate in Biology degree to start teaching at Chirundazi Secondary School, still in Mhondoro.
"When I came here in 1995, there had been an exodus of pupils to neighbouring schools because they were not happy with the pass rate for sciences so my results for 1996 acted as the turning point at which pupils started returning.
"I had also introduced a karate club for which I was patron. I am actually a karateka myself. The club just died a natural death after I fell sick," he added.
Marumisa did not just end there. He also introduced a junior councillors club at the school in which students interacted with those from other schools and shared notes on their educational whims and dreams.
"This young man has brought a lot of changes in the lives of many youths in the area. Many of our children now know what it means to be educated and to take care of others especially the less privileged.
"He has been giving free extra lessons to orphaned children since his arrival here possibly because he saw his situation mirrored in those needy children," the chief of the area, Elder Gora, said.
He said he had approached council to request them to allocate Marumisa land on which to establish a school for disabled and orphaned children where there would be provisions made with special cognisance to their physical condition. Marumisa is the chairperson of the association of the disabled persons of the area.
The council, Elder Gora explained, had agreed and what now remains is to seek funds for the project.
"I am only disturbed by the recent developments in which Marumisa is seeking to leave this place purportedly for better conditions elsewhere.
This will kill the project before even takes off.
"Maybe you can help us persuade him to stay and help our children. I also have several orphans in my custody that have been benefiting from his free tuition so his departure will adversely affect them too," he told this reporter.
Close at hand was a living testimony of Marumisa's teaching prowess -- Olga Zvavanjanja (18) from the local community testified that she had been a student at Highfield High 1 and failed all subjects in her first sitting in 2008.
"My sister-in-law who stays here advised me to come and register with Mr Marumisa for extra lessons so I came and did as she had suggested.
"In 2009, I sat for four subjects and passed all including Science (Marumisa's subject) for which I had a B grade. He is a very good teacher and I must thank him for his simplified teaching techniques," she commented.
There are many other students in the community who have benefited from this science genius' artistry and have since changed their lives for the better yet his latest efforts to leave the place will actually be a bombshell once they learn of them.
"I think I have suffered silently long enough and despite this, have remained committed to teaching my students and other needy cases.
"I simply have come to the end of the tether and I need to find a place with better provisions and respect for the disabled from where I can always come back to check on my students here during the holidays," Marumisa said.
Married to Spiwe Chagwedera, the couple have five children.
Rwanda: Visually Impaired Call for More Gov't Support
The New Times (All Africa)
5 May 2010
Kigali - Visually impaired people under their umbrella organization, the Rwanda Union for the Blind (RUB), have called on the government to provide them with more education facilities in order to improve their lives.
Speaking during conference organised by the Indian based group, Rwanda Renaissance, and Kigali City Council, the Executive Secretary of RUB, Donatilla Kanimba, said that the visually impaired lack education because there aren't enough schools to cater for their needs.
"There are few schools that can accept visually impaired people, and this leads them to live in isolation and deep poverty because they lack education," said Kanimba.
"There's need to train visually impaired people or provide them with necessary support so that they live a productive life," she added.
Kanimba said that there is only one training centre situated in Masaka Sector, Kicukiro District and that trains visually impaired people in farming, adding that there is need to expand its capacity by adding other courses.
The meeting that attracted various institutions and NGOs discussed the prospectus of setting up a "white cane" workshop in Rwanda.
Addressing the conference, the chairman of Rwanda Renaissance, Clarence Fernandes, said that in collaboration with the National Association for the Blind of India, they are planning to set up the workshop in Rwanda which will employ visually impaired people and pass on skills.
A white cane is a mobility and safety tool needed by the vulnerable group of people as it reflects light in the dark thus making it safer for the user.
"If we start this project, the visually impaired people will be able to learn more skills and Rwanda will be able to export white canes to other countries in the region," said Fernandes.
According to RUB, one white cane costs Rwf 20,000.
According to a 2002 population census, there are over 13,000 visually impaired people across the country.
Disabled persons express thanks to Government
Prime Minister and Head of Government, Philemon Yang has received in audience a delegation of two associations of disabled students.
They came to thank the Head of State for the law on disabled persons adopted by Parliament and promulgated by the Head of State on 13th April 2010.
The two associations included the coordination of associations of disabled students and the association of University graduates.
The PM on behalf of the Head of State promised that the law will be applied to the letter.
Before meeting the Head of Government, the disabled people staged a match at the May 20th Boulevard.
The match was organised to express appreciation and thanks for the decree instituting government grants to the disabled in higher institutions of learning.
The march was organised by the Union of Associations of University students with disabilities.
Cameroon: Disabled Persons - Say ((Thank You)) President Paul Biya
6 May 2010
Following the promulgation of a law to protect and promote handicapped people in the country, they made a recognition march-past yesterday in Yaounde.
((Thank you for the Law))! Disabled persons in Cameroon told the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, yesterday, during a march-past from the Central Post Office to the Prime Minister's Office in recognition of Law No 2010/002 of 13 April 2010 relating to the protection and welfare of persons with disabilities. At the end of the march, the heads of the delegation were received in audience by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, who reassured people with disabilities that the Head of State is conscious of their problems and that the Decree of implementation of the Law will be put in place soon.
While marching along the 20th May Boulevard, albinos, those on wheel chairs, crutches and other sort of disabilities in songs of joy, brandished banners with messages of gratitude to President Paul Biya.
According to some of the messages, disabled persons said they are fully confident that with President Paul Biya, their integration is guaranteed through the law which seeks to provide special education, psychosocial support, socio-economic integration, medical prevention and access to employment, infrastructure, housing and transport for persons with disabilities.
Organised by the Association of Students with Disabilities in Cameroon's Universities and the Association of People with Disabilities, who are Graduates from Higher Institutions of Learning in Cameroon, Andr? Kamga, the spokesperson for the handicapped, said through the march, they want to tell the President "we are seeing all what he is doing for us and we are happy about everything". Andr? Kamga said with such a law, many things will change in the lives of all disabled people in Cameroon.
Disabled persons also expressed joy with the portion of the law which provides punishment for school officials guilty of discrimination in the admission, recruitment or pay of person with disabilities. The law also indicates that whoever refuses to provide a service to a person with disability in accordance with the law and its enabling instrument shall also be punished with penalties set forth in section 242 of the Penal Code.
Campaign spotlights disabled Tunisians' right to work
[Jamel Arfaoui] Students learn about the rights of the disabled during Tunisia's "2010 Hope" campaign.
Disabled citizens should be more closely integrated into the workforce, said participants in a recent Tunisian awareness-raising campaign.
By Jamel Arfaoui for Magharebia in Tunis - 06/05/10
Many disabled Tunisians face towering obstacles in their daily lives, especially in finding jobs. But for some, having a handicap is just another challenge to overcome.
"We need to stop begging and appearing pathetic," visually impaired student Beshir Nasri told Magharebia during the Saturday (May 1st) wrap- up of the "2010 Hope" campaign.
"We have to prove ourselves and declare to everyone that not only are we capable of work, but of creativity too," Nasri said at the closing of the campaign, which enlists Tunsian students in spotlighting the rights of the disabled and the hurdles they face in finding work.
Tunisia's 2005 employment law stipulates that 1% of all public and private positions must be allotted to disabled workers, and offers privileges and financial bonuses to private institutions that recruit handicapped employees.
"The law can't solve all problems," Munzir Berboush, who is visually impaired, told Magharebia. "However, civil society needs to be aware that the right to work is one of man's basic rights."
"We ought to face our problems, prove our worth, meet others, and speak about our problems as well as our abilities and what we can offer society," he added.
Dozens of students from Manouba University took part in this year's campaign, meeting with handicapped individuals and speaking with them about the challenges they have in finding work and interacting with society. The event was sponsored by First Lady Leila Ben Ali, whose Basma Charitable Association for the Promotion of Employment for the Handicapped participated in the campaign. The campaign is now in its second year.
"This one-week round realised its goals," said English professor Kawthar Tayari, who took part in this year's activities. "We're fully aware that those students will be decision-makers in private and public institutions. At that point, they'll be more understanding of the needs of the disabled."
Ashraf Kenari, a student who also participated in last year's event, said the experience challenged his perception of the disabled.
"I'm glad I'm doing this. I never cared much about the suffering of the disabled. Now I look at things very differently," he told Magharebia.
"They're a part of this society and it's unfair to marginalise them. On the contrary, we're required to integrate them into society. Many of them are capable of making a contribution, even of being creative in their own fields, if given the chance," he added.
Five teams of students took part in the campaign this year, compared to last year's turnout of three.
Students attended lectures and discussion sessions to better understand the needs of the disabled, as well as the rights accorded to them by local and global bodies. Student volunteers also toured a number of associations for the integration of the disabled, where they participated in cultural and training activities with disabled association members.
Together, the participants even buried a casket symbolising pre- conceived ideas about the disabled.
"We also urged students to undertake awareness-raising projects pertaining to integrating the disabled into the labour market," said Nadia Amri, who organised this year's campaign. "Projects will be distributed among students in various Tunisian universities to spread awareness among everyone."
During a lecture on the working rights of the disabled, law professor Mona Tarabolsi announced that she is the mother of a disabled child.
"I totally understand the needs and suffering of the disabled," she told listeners. "The best thing to maintain the pride of the disabled is to grant them their right to work."
止まらぬアルビノ殺害、今月だけで被害者3人 アフリカ* 2010年05月07日 13:27 発信地:ナイロビ/ケニア
「Africa Renewal」最新号記事：Africa’s disabled will not be forgotten斉藤@AJF事務局です。
Africa’s disabled will not be forgotten
People with disabilities fight for services, rights, dignity
By Stanley Kwenda
Masimba Kuchera was born blind. He struggled through primary and secondary school and university to become an information specialist, and now works for the Students’ Solidarity Trust, a non-governmental organization striving to protect students’ rights.
Although he feels a sense of achievement in his own personal life, he remains saddened by the fact that many others in his situation will not be able to realize their dreams, or even go to school. “There are very few government schools that cater for children with disabilities. I wonder how many disabled people are in school right now,” Mr. Kuchera asks.
Most schools that admit people with disabilities are funded by churches, Mr. Kuchera told Africa Renewal, while many disabled children in Zimbabwe simply do not go to school. “There is not much investment in this area. This constituency has not been taken seriously,” he says.
Most of the obstacles facing people with disabilities involve public amenities, education and information. “Access to public transport, buildings and public gatherings is very difficult,” says Mr. Kuchera.
“The infrastructure is not user-friendly. I cannot operate an elevator on my own and there are no Braille guides. It’s even worse for those using wheelchairs, because ramps do not exist in this part of the world.”
Mr. Kuchera is a member of the National Disabled Council, an organization working for the rights of the disabled. He also belongs to the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network, a coalition of civil society groups fighting for social and economic rights in Southern Africa. He decided to join these groups because they give him an opportunity to fight for the rights of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe and the region.
There are an estimated 1.4 million people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe, according to Progressio, an international charity working to eradicate poverty. The United Nations estimates that the total number of people with disabilities in Africa is approximately 80 million.
In the streets of Harare hundreds of disabled people beg for alms. Most do so in dirty clothes, in makeshift wheelchairs or on crutches, while the less fortunate drag themselves on their hands and knees.
Most were previously cared for in special homes, including the Jairos Jiri Centre, Copota School, Danhiko and the Chinyaradzo Children’s Home.
Such institutions used to get financial support from the government and the corporate world, but the economic decline that began in Zimbabwe in 2000 made life in the homes difficult and forced most residents to opt for life on the streets.
“The government has forgotten the disabled people,” laments Mr. Kuchera.
“Nothing was mentioned in the country’s 2010 budget. There are no projects or programmes whatsoever for disabled people.”
Those with disabilities also seem to confront an uncaring society. When they approach members of the public for help in starting market gardening, dressmaking or music projects, they are regarded as a nuisance. The general feeling is that the only places for a disabled person are in the street or in front of a church, begging. The situation is worse in rural areas, where children with disabilities are usually confined to the house because of long-held traditional beliefs that they are curses from God.
“Society views disabled people as useless liabilities that have no role to play in society,” says Gladys Charowa, a single mother who was left wheelchair-bound by a 2001 car accident. She is a founding member and executive director of the Disabled Women Support Organization, a group that focuses on helping women and girls with disabilities.
Discrimination and abuse
Because of the prevalent social attitudes towards people with disabilities, Ms. Charowa says, they often face discrimination. In Zimbabwe, women with disabilities experience especially severe discrimination.
A 2004 report by Save the Children Norway found that sexual abuse of children with disabilities is increasing in Zimbabwe, and that 87.4 per cent of girls with disabilities had been sexually abused. Approximately 48 per cent of these girls were mentally challenged, 15.7 per cent had hearing impairments and 25.3 per cent had visible physical disabilities.
Of those who had been sexually abused, 52.4 per cent tested positive for HIV.
To make matters worse, access to counseling, testing and treatment is severely limited. Health personnel often display biased attitudes towards people with disabilities, while there is no information on HIV/AIDS in Braille and staff are unable to use sign language.
Fighting for enforcement
Although the Zimbabwean government is among many in Africa that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (see box), it has enacted some legislation to protect their rights. The Disabilities Act is intended to benefit those living with disabilities, while the constitution prohibits discrimination. But such laws exist largely on paper, and generally are not enforced.
A number of groups lobby the government to recognize the rights of the disabled and fight for the existing laws to be enforced. One such organization is Disabled People’s International.
Joshua Malinga, who is wheelchair-bound, is a founding member. He has been a disability activist since 1980, travelling widely in that capacity and holding leadership positions in Zimbabwe, regionally and internationally. He has participated in and promoted research on the status of disabled people, and holds a master’s degree in disability studies from the University of Cape Town, in neighbouring South Africa.
He also belongs to the Political Bureau of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union--Patriotic Front, led by President Robert Mugabe.
While Mr. Malinga himself wields some political influence, most people with disabilities do not. “The quality of life of disabled people in Africa is pathetic because disability has not been mainstreamed,” Mr.
Malinga told Africa Renewal. “Disabled people are not represented in parliaments, in organs of decision-making, even on issues that concern them. Governments do not plan with the disabled in mind.”
Asked why he has failed to convince his party ― which has been at the forefront of Zimbabwean politics for the past 30 years ― to lift up the lives of the disabled, he said that he is trying, “both in parliament and in my party. That’s why I have mixed my international advocacy work with politics. The tragedy is that as disabled people, we are very few in numbers and often find ourselves on the peripheries of political agendas.”
In several Southern African countries there has been some progress, Mr.Malinga pointed out. In Namibia, all government ministries have been instructed to integrate disability issues into their work, while in South Africa the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities takes up their concerns.
In Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is responsible for the needs of the disabled. “We have a big responsibility as a government,” says Paurina Mpariwa, the minister. She adds, however, that “at the moment we have serious financial problems that limit us from adequately addressing the needs of the disabled people. But we are aware of their situation.”
Mr. Malinga insists, “We want disabled issues to be discussed as part of the budgeting process. We want the issues to be made a national agenda.”
He welcomed the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and other external initiatives, including UN-funded projects that have provided furniture and learning equipment to schools and centres attended by disabled people.
“But being disabled is a permanent state which needs permanent solutions,” Mr. Malinga argues. And those solutions “can only come from our governments.”
Regional and continental initiatives
In a number of countries in Southern Africa there are non-governmental organizations that agitate for the welfare of disabled people, some focusing on those with specific needs, such as the blind, deaf, paralyzed or mentally ill. Most groups challenge governments to implement policies for the rights of the disabled.
One such group in Zimbabwe is the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH). “We want disability to be mainstreamed in every government department, function and parliament,”argues Farai Mukuta, NASCOH’s director.
The African Union (AU) agrees. The continental body has developed a Plan of Action for Disabled People. Among other things, the plan recognizes the need to integrate people with disabilities into society, and to empower and involve them in the formulation and implementation of social and economic development policies. It urges governments to allocate sufficient funds to ministries and departments dealing with people with disabilities and to establish national committees to coordinate all disability issues and include people with disabilities in their national programmes.
The plan proclaimed 1999--2009 the African Decade of Disabled Persons.
But activists want this period to be extended, to match the timeline of the international community’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the world’s blueprint for reducing poverty and making other improvements in people’s well being by 2015.
Some bright spots
Across Africa many governments cite financial constraints as an impediment to promoting the rights of the disabled. But there have been some successes and improvements, including in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo.
Ghana is a shining example. It is estimated that about 1.8 million Ghanaians ― about 5 per cent of the total population ― are in some fashion disabled, with problems of sight, hearing and speaking in the lead.
In 2006 Ghana’s parliament passed the National Disability Act, intended to ensure that people living with disabilities enjoy the same rights as the able-bodied. The act offers a legal framework to protect the rights of physically and mentally disabled persons in all areas of life, from education, training and employment to physical access and health care.
It also is intended to promote the creation of an environment that will advance the economic well-being of disabled people and enable them to function better.
After taking office in January 2009, President John Atta Mills initiated a series of face-to-face meetings with persons with disabilities. The discussions led to the establishment of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
The authorities also are seeking to disseminate the Disability Act of 2006 more widely, including in electronic form. In June 2009, for example, Minister of Education Alex Tettey-Enyo launched the act’s electronic version in Akropong in the Eastern Region. With funding from the Danish International Development Agency, the act was produced in English and local languages such as Ga, Ewe and Twi.
Most recently, the government has decided to incorporate disability issues into the country’s national budget. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Kwabena Duffour announced in parliament on 19 November 2009 that his government will give all children with disabilities free education. The government had previously established special schools for the disabled in all regions of the country.
“The political will has always existed in Ghana,” commented Aida Sarr, a communications and programmes officer at the Secretariat of the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities, headquartered in neighbouring Togo.
But political will is sorely needed in most other African countries, despite the existence of an international convention, the proclamation of an annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities (on 3 December) and other programmes. People with disabilities still face discrimination and receive little support across much of Africa.
UN defends rights of people with disabilities
Over 650 million people are estimated to be living with disabilities globally, of whom more than 500 million are in developing countries. To help protect their rights, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2006.
The convention and an additional optional protocol are intended to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities.
Article 3 of the convention establishes general principles for its implementation. Among them are respect for everyone’s inherent dignity and the freedom to make their own choices, full participation in society, acceptance of people with disabilities as part of human diversity, access to transportation and information, and equal opportunity. It also cites the rights of people with disabilities, including:
* equality before the law
* life, liberty and security of the person
* freedom from torture, exploitation, violence and abuse
* freedom of movement and nationality
* respect for privacy
* access to education and health care
* work and an adequate standard of living, and
* participation in cultural, political and public life.
The convention does not explicitly define “disability.” However, the preamble states that “disability is an evolving concept” that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers” that hinder their full, effective and equal participation in society.
Compliance with the convention is monitored internationally by a Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The committee reviews reports submitted by signatory governments and also has the authority to examine individual complaints and conduct inquiries in countries that have ratified the optional protocol.
Another legal instrument under the convention is the Conference of State Parties, which meets periodically to discuss the convention’s implementation. The convention and its optional protocol are supported by a joint secretariat, consisting of staff from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
ルワンダ応援祭り 大量虐殺（ジェノサイド）を越えて５月２９日（土） ルワンダ応援祭り 大量虐殺（ジェノサイド）を越えて
ケニアのろう者の窮状を伝えるテレビ・リポートLeonard Chesire InternationalのWashington Opiyoさんも出ておりますが、
Nigeria: FCTA Hosts Physically Challenged Persons
1 June 2010
The FCT Social Development Secretariat Saturday hosted physically challenged persons to a party to mark the Democracy Day in Abuja.
Secretary of the secretariat, Mrs. Blessing Onuh called on government and other concerned stakeholders to always remember the physically challenged people in the society in all they do.
Mrs. Onuh described the party as first of its kind in the FCT, noting that the secretariat remembers physically challenged persons.
"May I state that our decision to celebrate this year's democracy day with the physically challenged is because they are an integral part of our democracy, as they always cast their votes during elections but are pathetically forgotten, abandoned and rejected," she disclosed.
She assured them that the current FCT Administration led by Senator Bala Mohammed is committed to reducing the plight of the physically challenged and will give them a voice in the FCT.
While extending appreciation to the FCT administration for finding it worthy to host the students, a care giver at the Abuja School for the Handicapped, Kuje, Mrs. Nene Obewe, called on government to consider an upward review of the remuneration packages of special teachers in order to serve as a motivation to those who had decided to go in search of other jobs.
In attendance at the event were physically challenged persons from School For the Blind, Jabi, FCT Unity Orphanage, School For The Handicapped, Kuje and the Para- Soccer Team.
Disabled cry of marginalisation and exclusion
June 03, 2010
Accra, June 3, GNA - The Ghana Federation of the Disabled has expressed concern about the deliberate marginalisation and systematic exclusion of persons with disability in especially important national and international sporting events.
The members comprising the blind, the death and dumb and physical disabled persons said over the year's they have been neglected by the sports authorities and are always the first to be dropped in favour of even non-performing able-bodied athletes.
Mr Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, a spokesman of the Federation at a press conference on Thursday at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre alleged that Ghana's Paralympics team has been dropped by the National Sports Council from participating in the Commonwealth Games scheduled for India this August.
He said "such an arbitrary action is not only discriminatory and violates national and international laws but totally undermines our national efforts to build an all inclusive society where the contribution of every citizen to the national development is valued".
Mr Abdul-Aziz said frantic efforts to ensure that persons with disability join to participate in the proposed 2,500 supporters' contingent to the South Africa World Cup has yielded no results.
He said even though they had confirmation from the Ministry of Youth and Sports that some slots have been given to the National Council on Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), further enquiries said that only three slots was received by the Chairman, Mr Andrew Okaikoi but a follow up for the tickets were refused on the flimsy excuse of lateness.
Mr Abdul-Aziz recounted that in 2008, Ghana's Paralympic team was denied the opportunity to participate in the Paralympic Games in China by the Ministry but they were fortunate that some individuals contributed to buy tickets for two athletes to represent the country.
He said Ghanaian athletes with disability continue to excel in both national and international events with just two of them winning four medals at the Abuja All Africa Games in 2003, six athletes winning nine medals including a gold at the All Africa Games in Algeria in 2007 but regrettably with all these achievements they are not given the due recognition.
The members have therefore called on the government to institute an independent body to investigate the issue and find the whereabouts of the three slots and to ensure that persons with disability are accorded their 10 per cent slot to make the trip to South Africa.
They also recommended that in line with international rules, the structures of the national Paralympics Committee and the Association of Sports for the Disabled be reviewed and re-structured to enable them elect their own leaders instead of being hand-picked by the National Sports Council.
The members called on corporate bodies to team up with the government to invest in disability sports and urged the Ghana Football Association and Ghana Athletics Association to incorporate disability sports events into their agenda and main activities.
Miss Hajara Mohammed and Raphael Botsyo Nkegbe medallists at the All Africa Games and Bawa Alem of the Disabled Cycling team and Madam Gladys Waadi of the Society of the Blind in Bolgatanga expressed their disappointment about the continued discrimination, neglect and lack of recognition by the disabled by the government and its agencies.
Deaf to enjoy 2010 World Cup
Written by Chris Ncube
Friday, 04 June 2010 06:47
Johannesburg - In a first for sport, FIFA said video reports from all 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa- will be broadcast in International Sign on its website, www.fifa.com In a statement to The Zimbabwean from Switzerland, the organisation said this would enable deaf and people with hearing impairments across the globe to follow all the matches of world football’s showpiece event even more comprehensively."Football is a universal sport and it must be accessible to everyone. We are therefore delighted to be offering this service for people with hearing impairments and the deaf," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter. "By producing these video reports with International Sign, FIFA is serving the needs of over 70 million people."
International Sign, also known as IS, is an international auxiliary language used at international meetings such as the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Congress and events such as the Deaflympics.The WFD represents approximately 70 million deaf people worldwide, which assists in making sign language available to deaf people, especially regarding matters of education and information.
All International Sign match report videos will be available at FIFA's official website, FIFA.com soon after each game, the world football governing body said.
Britania to hire the blind
Sunday, 6th June, 2010
By Patrick Jaramogi
BRITANIA Allied Industries is set to recruit the deaf for their packaging industry. Vinay Dawda, the managing director, announced this during a visit to the Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda on Saturday.
Dawda, who had taken donations to the children as celebrations to mark the World Environment Day, was concerned that many deaf people were jobless mainly due to discrimination.
We shall employ the deaf to work in the packaging sections. We are appealing to the deaf who are of working age to come for jobs, he said.
He said Britania will make it a policy to ensure that the disabled are employed like the rest.
His remarks followed requests from the school head teacher Juliet Tumuhairwe to have the deaf catered for.
Rebecca Amoding, the Britania human resource manager, disclosed that the company employs 15 to 20 people a day.
We shall employ them in the four packaging sections of confectionary, juice, biscuits and water manufacturing plant, she said. Amoding said during the peak season, up to 1,000 people can be employed per month.
Body for Disabled Thanks Banda
7 June 2010
THE Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) has thanked President Rupiah Banda for gracing the seventh anniversary of the Deaf Baptist Church and the Community School in Lusaka recently.
ZAPD director general, Charles Mwape said in a statement yesterday that President Banda's acceptance of the invitation was confirmation of his personal commitment to transforming the lives of persons with disabilities.
He said the ZAPD had received appreciation letters from Disabled People's organisations (DPO) and Disabled Services Organisation (DSO) praising the president for spending seven hours at the church for the deaf despite his busy schedule.
He said the agency would ensure that all letters from DPOs and DSOs were given to the Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Michael Kaingu so that they could be delivered to the president.
Dr Mwape said President Banda's concerns that parents with children with disabilities should invest more in their education were more timely.
He urged people to take their disabled children to school and support them so that they could be independent and meet their targets in life.
Meanwhile, Mr Banda today leaves for Mfuwe for a three-day working visit.
Special assistant to the president for Press and public relations Dickson Jere said in a statement that while in Mfuwe, Mr Banda is expected to meet some investors.
President Banda returns to Lusaka after finishing his business in Mfuwe.
Involve the disabled in crisis management
The inclusion of the disabled in crisis management is vital and needs government, media and community roles to guarantee priority for the evacuation of the vulnerable groups, provide safe and secure homes for them, maintain peace and orderliness and minimize circumstances that increase disabilities in the nation
Persons living with disabilities in Plateau State have demanded an inclusion in all phases of crisis management. This, they said, will ensure the accommodation of their perspectives on such matters as they affect their members.
In a one-day conference on the issue held in Jos, Plateau State capital, the group said there is an urgent need for people living with disabilities to be effectively involved in the different stages of crisis management as these would enable them contribute their quota to crisis management.
The country director, Christian Blind Mission (CBM), the coordinating organisation for the different categories of the disabled people, Mr. Paul Casswell, said "the conference is an important landmark in the effort to improve the quality of lives of people with disabilities in Plateau State, as it has brought together stakeholders in disability care, to take a critical review of the socio-economic situation of persons with disabilities affected by the series of violent clashes in the state".
Casswell added that, "there is urgent need to include people with disabilities in crisis management situation because they understand their peculiar situation and know how to address them, having in mind that violent situations have the potential to create new disabilities and exacerbate existing ones. Therefore, it is needful to act on a platform of emergency response policy".
He maintained that the inclusion of people with disabilities in crisis management will promote "access to comprehensive health care, rehabilitative services, housing and livelihood programmes, education and vocational training as well as relief and recovery programmes so that they can advocate for themselves".
In his paper, the chief press secretary of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Segun Imohiosen reiterated that the inclusion of the disabled in crisis management is vital and needs government, media and community roles to guarantee priority for the evacuation of the vulnerable groups, provide safe and secured homes for them, maintain peace and orderliness and minimize circumstances that increase disabilities in the nation.
Similarly, the zonal coordinator, North Central zone of National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Garba stated that crisis is inevitable in human society but the human rights of the disabled must be guaranteed as enshrined in the constitution where no one should be discriminated against due to the disability or any other basis.
She advocated for "proper attention to be given to the disabled to mitigate consequences of conflict and priority attention be given to them through institutional and legal framework to reduce the psychological and physical trauma that they are going through".
However, chairman of the event who is also the Emir of Wase, Dr. Haruna Abdullahi called on every stakeholder to have the interest of the disabled at heart, as everyone is disabled one way or the other.
According to him, "disability is in different forms, and everyone is disabled in one way or the other and even poverty is a form of disability. The rate of death of these disabled persons during crisis will be reduced if everyone takes the precaution and avoid all man-made disasters which have bedevilled this nation for some time".
Meanwhile, the senior special adviser to Governor Jonah Jang on Disability Matters, Mr. James Lalu affirmed that the inclusion of the disabled in crisis management will develop a set of activities aimed at reducing their vulnerability and create a platform for the disabled to handle their affairs at their own pace.
Disabled people can commit crimes too
Written by WATSON KHUPE
Monday, 07 June 2010 06:46
... but their rights are trampled on
Among the majority of sober minded Zimbabweans, and indeed among many people of southern Africa, it is often received as shocking news to hear that a disabled man or boy has been taken to a court of law to answer charges of raping a girl or woman.
Equally, some people are also often shocked when they hear that a disabled woman or girl has appeared in court of law to answer charges of strangling her newly born baby to death. Such types of crimes are viewed as sophisticated hence people think the disabled are not capable of committing such offences. Crimes that are normally associated with the disabled people are witchcraft, or public indecency such as urinating in the streets. Yet the disabled people are capable of committing any crime just like any other human being.
The slogan disability does not mean inability is at times misunderstood by many people including the disabled people themselves. It is often used when a disabled person has excelled in a particular thing. Thus the slogan is associated with positive connotations only. However, this is misleading. What it means is that a disabled person is able to do both good and bad things. It also means that all things being equal, and conditions allowing, a disabled person is just as capable to commit a serious crime like any other human being. However what is grossly unfair and unjust is that for a similar crime committed, a disabled person endures far much more pain than an able bodied person.
The discrimination and the burden of pain start as soon as both, a disabled person and a non disabled person are arrested and thrown at the back of a truck. In Zimbabwe, the toilets and all other social amenities at the police stations and prison buildings were constructed, and they continue to be built with non disabled persons (prisoners) in mind.
Therefore it cannot be reasonably denied that the pain of prison life that is likely to be felt by a disabled prisoner is more than that will be experienced by his able bodied counterpart.
In addition to that, most prisons and police stations in Zimbabwe have no sign language interpreters. This is a great disadvantage to our deaf brothers and sisters who find themselves unable to raise some important issues with the law enforcement personnel before, during and after the arrest because unfortunately, almost all police officers and prison officers in Zimbabwe do not understand sign language. Most disabled people languish in prison because they fail to communicate their needs to police or prison officers.
In Zimbabwe, there have been some growing calls by Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) for the state to consider having at least one police officer, who is able to use sign language, for every police district. Some have argued that since the country has teachers trained in special education to cater for the special needs of some types of disabilities, the same can be done for the police. Police officers can be trained to deal with the special and unique needs of a section of the country’s population. These are legitimate concerns that deserve consideration by government.
However this is not to say disabled people are not supposed to face the wrath of the law when they commit crimes. They are simply calling for equal treatment. Disabled people must have equal access to the country’s justice systems. These must be enshrined in the new constitution. But so far, surprisingly there is no single deaf person among the outreach team members of the new constitution team.
It is not only in Zimbabwe, where such discriminations occur. It is no longer indisputable, that in all over the world, disabled people are discriminated from family to national level. Article number eleven of the United Nations Standard Rules of Equalisation of Opportunities for Disabled Persons reads: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.”
There have been many violations of that article and the following was documented as evidence:In Kumasi Central Region, in Ghana, a disabled prisoner was carried into court on someone’s back and tried lying down on the floor.
Editor’s note: Watson Khupe is a disability rights activist who works and stays in Bulawayo. He is contactable on e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NPA goes to the aid of the needy0 comments
Posted on Jun 8, 2010 in Business News
By: Daniel Nonor
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), in partial fulfillment of its social responsibility objectives, has presented a laptop computer worth over GH¢3,000 to a visually impaired student of the School for the Blind at Akropong Akuapem.
This will aid Master Augustine Tetteh to further pursue a university education in Cape Coast, in the next academic year.
Making the presentation on behalf of the NPA, Mr. Isaac Tagoe, Technical Director, was optimistic that it would be of immense benefit to the recipient, saying, “I hope the equipment will help you in your professional future.”
Master Augustine Tetteh did not hide his excitement when he burst out with joy -”I am just over-excited, thanks to God.”
He said he was grateful to the National Petroleum Authority for the kind gesture, and wished God’s blessings on the Chief Executive and the entire staff.
The authority gave, in addition to the laptop, special software designed for the visually impaired called Jaws, and a tape recorder.
Soroti fails to use sh30m for disabled
Tuesday, 8th June, 2010
By Simon Naulele
SOROTI district is stuck with sh30m meant to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities (PWDs). James Godfrey Ijoot, the senior community development officer in charge of PWDs, said this follows the failure to mobilise the PWDs to generate proposals for beneficial projects.
The money, which must be utilised this financial year, is a special grant for PWDs chanelled through the labour ministry. Ijoot told The New Vision on Friday that few PWDs know about the availability of the money, something he blamed on the local leaders.
“The few who know that there is money, have failed to send the applications, which is a big challenge,” he said. This financial year, 48 districts were given grants totalling sh1.4b.
Each district was to award an average of six groups with grants ranging from sh2m to sh5m, depending on the membership and the availability of the proposed activities. “If we could have the people mobilised and they apply for this money before June 15, we shall disburse it immediately,” said Ijoot, adding that monitoring and evaluation will be done later.
Birigita Amuge, a member of Gweri PWDs group, said holding the money was a ploy to swindle their money. “We have a structure where the information should have reached us,” she said. Amuge advised the district leaders to use their councillors to convey the information to the beneficiaries. “Sometimes they have ‘harsh’ conditions to follow if one is to access the money, which are in most cases not easy for PWDs, ” she said.
Ailing former Sihlangu star now partially deaf
08 June, 2010 10:25:00
By Sabelo Ndzinisa
SOCCER - FORMER Mbabane Swallows and Sihlangu defender Dumsani ‘Bhusha ’ Mdluli is in deep pain and needs urgent help.
The health of the ailing former star player has detetiorated rapidly in recent days and as a result, he’s now partially deaf.
Cosmo ‘Wall of Death’ Mthethwa, ‘Bhusha’s’ former team-mate at Swallows, confirmed yesterday that the situation was getting worse for the former national team defender.
“He is suffering badly and I’m appealing to all those willing to help him to do so urgently and save his life.
“His condition is so bad that he is now partially deaf and although he is a strong person as he has been battling hard but his condition is not pleasing at all.
“He needs any sort of help, be it financially or otherwise because he is practically living in a state of poverty.
“People have deserted him, even his close friends and it’s really very sad for ‘Bhusha’,” Mthethwa said.
Mthethwa, who has also played for Sihlangu, revealed that they had launched a Bhusha Mdluli Foundation campaign aimed at raising funds for him.
A task team, comprising of active and former premier league players has been appointed to devise ways of raising funds for ‘Bhusha’.
In the pipeline is a one-day tournament to feature some local teams against their counterparts from South Africa, between August and September.
Nigeria: Why We Want Mrs Shekarau in Senate - Disabled Group
8 June 2010
Kano - A group of physically challenged persons, including the lame, the blind and the deaf, has insisted on their agitation to draft the wife of Kano State governor, Hajiya Halima Shekarau (Garkuwar Nakasassu), to run for senatorial seat in the state, citing her humane nature as their reason.
For months, there has been a widespread rumour in the state about the ambition of the governor's wife to vie for the senatorial seat from the Kano Central senatorial constituency. This led to many calls from certain quarters urging her to go ahead.
Last week, posters, keyholders and jotters with pictures of Hajiya Halima and logo of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) were circulated in Kano among politicians and other residents.
Speaking on behalf of the disabled populace in the state, Malam Ado Maikoriya told newsmen that they decided to join the calls on the governor's wife to run for the seat considering her sterling qualities.
The disabled people in Kano, according to Maikoriya, who is also the leader of disabled rights group, thought the best way to encourage the Garkuwar Nakasassu continue what she has been doing to better the lives of the common man was for her to get a position of authority.
CDC: Nigeria lead poisoning crisis 'unprecedented'
By JON GAMBRELL (AP) - 6 days ago
GUSAU, Nigeria - Doctors are struggling to save children stricken by lead poisoning - many of them blind, deaf and unable to walk - after poor herdsmen began illegally mining gold in an area of northern Nigeria with high concentrations of lead.
More than 160 villagers have died and hundreds more have been sickened in the remote villages of Nigeria's Zamfara state, officials said Tuesday. The region is near the border with Niger, on the cusp of the Sahara Desert.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency's initial tests found extremely high levels of lead in the blood of adults and children, who are the most susceptible to the illness.
"The scope of the poisoning is unprecedented in CDC's work with lead poisoning worldwide," said agency spokeswoman Vivi Abrams. "This is because of the severity of the poisoning, the number of fatalities, the large number of children and adults with symptomatic poisoning and the extent of the environmental contamination."
Nigerian officials asked for help last month from the CDC and other international agencies to help treat illnesses local authorities initially blamed on malaria.
Doctors Without Borders has set up a medical center for children in the area and hopes to open another in coming weeks, said Lauren Cooney, emergency coordinator for the agency, which is also known by its French name, Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Those most severely affected are children 5 and younger, she said.
"We had one little girl who is blind and deaf probably following a convulsion," Cooney said. "We have some of the children who have lost all of their motor skills."
Cooney said children came to the clinic with their mothers, who also receive treatment as lead can pass through their breast milk.
Local officials estimate about 300 people are sick with lead poisoning and fear the number of victims could increase as lead in the soil contaminates villages where the mining took place. Officials also are concerned that seasonal rains that have begun sweeping across the arid state could wash lead into water supplies and other villages.
High levels of lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, result in behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity, or cause slow growth. Lead also can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, nervous disorders and memory problems in adults. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures, coma and death.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with 150 million residents, is one of the leading crude oil suppliers to the United States. The West African nation also once supplied copper and other minerals to the world before oil took over as its top selling commodity. President Goodluck Jonathan recently inaugurated a new mineral processing facility partially funded by the Chinese government.
(This version CORRECTS Corrects name of CDC spokeswoman to Abrams.
Moving on general news and financial services.)
Nigeria: A Day With the Challenged
9 June 2010
Recently, Nigeria marked the children's day and democracy day amidst all manner of celebrations. While many celebrated with their families, friends and political associates, Secretary of FCT Social Development Secretariat, Blessing Onuh, chose to be different. She celebrated with orphans and physically challenged persons in the FCT.
Today, many people with disabilities are on the street simply because they have been failed by the society. The society should learn to be just to, and give the physically challenged a chance. I have realised that the country has lost focus and is not even interested in the things that affect the common man. They have failed to understand that the cause we are fighting for is for every single Nigerian because if you better the life of a person living with disability, you are bettering the life of the whole society.
"If I am to analyse the whole situation in this country, I would say that the people to be addressed as 'the disabled' are the so called able bodied because they have been unable to give this country a great future.
This country is blessed yet there is no light, our schools and hospitals are not functioning. I think it is high time we had another Franklin Roosevelt in this country maybe he would do better and fashion the country, to move to great heights".
Those were the words of Comrade Bala Tsoho Musa of the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Kuchiko, Bwari who was speaking recently at a party organised in honour of physically challenged persons in the FCT by the Social Development Sectariat to mark the 2010 children and democracy day celebration.
Musa is just one out of the many physically challenged persons who converged at the FCT Social Development Secretariat premises to celebrate the 2010 children's and democracy day with the Secretary, Mrs. Blessing Onuh.
The party is the first of its kind in the history of the FCT and had in attendance physically challenged persons from School For the Blind, Jabi, FCT Unity Orphanage, School For The Handicapped Kuje and the Para- Soccer Group.
He said that the secretary deserved to be commended because even though she had just been appointed, she had been able to realise that there are people who even on the children's day were not recognised, and decided to organise the party to give them a sense of belonging. "I pray she will continue to do more and I hope that with her, the physically challenged people in the FCT will have better dignified means of livelihood" he said.
Eno is a 14, year old student of Edu-Vision nursery and primary school, and one of the children from the Abuja Unity Children's Home who graced the party. She was all smiles and could hardly break away from the partying to give LEADERSHIP an audience.
"I feel very happy for what has happened here today and I say thank you to our mother, the secretary, for what she has done for us today and pray that God should bless her. But I also want her to improve our nutrition so that we can be eating balanced diet. They should be giving us variety of foods. Even though the government has been doing very well, I believe they can do better especially by improving our nutrition" she said and rushed off to the dance floor.
Secretary of the Social Development Secretariat, Mrs Blessing, who spoke in an emotion laden voice, noted that the secretariat had remembered this group of the society on this very important day to show that they mean a lot to the project Nigeria.
"May I state that my decision to celebrate this year's democracy day with the physically challenged is because they are an integral part of our democracy, as they always cast their votes during elections.
Pathetically, they are quickly forgotten, abandoned and rejected. Most painful to me is the abusive manner in which many address our physically challenged brothers, sisters and children" she said.
She lamented that many Nigerians, particularly those in authority were in the habit of referring to the physically challenged persons as destitute and urged them to refrain from it, noting that such utterances were not only painful but traumatizing.
She urged the physically challenged persons to see great ability in their disability, while pleading with them to help reach out to those who have taken to begging due to their disability to stop such illegal acts.
"As you are all aware, begging in Abuja is a violation of the law. May I assure you that the current FCT administration led by Senator Bala Mohammed is committed to reducing the plight of the physically challenged and give them a voice in the FCT" she said.
Another child from the Children's Home, Amina Abdulaziz, who is a student of Junior Secondary School Life Camp was also full of appreciation to the FCT Administration and the Social Development Secretary for hosting them as she described the party as a rare expression of love.
"I am very happy today and I will like the secretary to do more because she has made us very happy. Even when I am in the hostel, I am always thinking about her and praying that God should bless her abundantly, she will not lack. I want her to improve our nutrition so that we can have a balanced diet. Our food is good and we love it but it can be better" she said.
Feeding is, however, not the only problem the FCT Unity Orphanage home needs to improve upon. The students have also made an appeal to the government for the provision of recreational facilities to help them improve in their skills.
This demand was made by John Clement who says he would like to be a footballer when he completes his education.
According to him, "I want to say thank you to the Social Development Secretariat especially for paying our school fees. I also want our mummy here to help us with recreational facilities such as a football field because I want to be a footballer but I do not have a place to practice.
We have a coach but we do not have a field to train on if she can do that for us, we'll be very grateful".
While extending appreciation to the FCT administration for finding it worthy to host the students, a care giver at Abuja School for the handicapped, Kuje, Mrs. Nene Obewe called on the government to consider an upward review of the remuneration package of special teachers to serve as a motivation to those who had decided to go in search of other jobs.
She also urged the secretary to liaise with the relevant government agencies towards putting in place special budgetary allocation for the physically challenged as well as establishment of a special scheme for them.
According to her, the school was under staffed as there were only a few hands to cater for the many needs of the children which include bathing, clothing, washing for and feeding them.
"I believe the work we the teachers taking care of the children are doing is a sacrifice, a call from God but at the same time, the government has to motivate us so that others can become interested in doing the work. There are many people out there who read special education but for the fact that the remuneration is poor, when you go to them that they should come in and help in taking care of the children, they will refuse. They prefer to look for work in other organisations because they say what is the need coming to suffer and at the end of the day they will not get something commensurate to the trouble they go through.
"We are therefore, pleading with the government to give us more recreational facilities so that those children who cannot benefit from the class can keep themselves busy with those ones. The work we are doing is more or less self help skill on how to bathe, feed, dress and wash their clothes by themselves because the children cannot gain much academically because of the problem they have" she added.
Obewe also identified the problem of water and electricity as one of the major challenges the school has had to contend with, stressing that the children sometimes have to trek to wells in the neighbourhood to get water in the company of their potters which is not very good, considering their physical and mental conditions.
Another instructor, Audu Ibrahim of School For The Blind, Jabi also expressed appreciation for what the secretary had done but noted that as a special school, the school had some challenges and special needs which it will like the government to address.
"We need Braille machine and reading materials to be able to cope with academic activities. We know that government alone cannot do everything, so we need other partners to come in and assist us. The feeding of the children is also a problem for us because even though the government gives us money, most of the time before the money comes we have problems and the school authority has to source for money to take care of them.
We have 64 children at the moment" he explained.
Highpoints of the event were, a special number by one of the students from School for The Blind, Para Soccer display by the Para- Soccer group and presentation of food items to the various schools and handicapped groups.
While the party may have been an avenue to unwind, there are some issues which the groups have complained about such as feeding, power, water, poor funding and renumeration of staff as well as dearth of instructional materials.
Here is hoping that the secretariat will look at the issues raised critically, with a view to finding solutions to them.
Eritrea: Ministry Striving to Strengthen Community-Based Rehabilitation Programs in Adi-Keih Sub-Zone
9 June 2010
Asmara - The Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare branch in Adi- Keih sub-zone is striving to strengthen community-based rehabilitation programs, according to Mr. Rezene Gebreamlak, head of the branch office.
Reports indicated that over 3 million Nakfa interest-free loan has been extended to war-disabled veterans and demobilized women with a view to improving their standard of living.
Mr. Rezene further pointed out that the beneficiaries are mainly engaged in agriculture, trade and service-rendering establishments, and added that the necessary support is being extended to 10 children being rehabilitated in the orphanage.
Meanwhile, a panel discussion was conducted in Adi-Keih sub-zone on ways of enabling disabled persons become productive in the society. The Administrator of the sub-zone, Mr. Mohammed Hamid, stressed the need for all ministry branch offices to give top attention to the task of supporting disabled nationals.
Africa : Child-Witchcraft or Autism Symptoms?
Friday 9 June 2010 /By Konye Obaji Ori
Across Sub-Sahara Africa, children from underprivileged backgrounds who sometimes exhibit symptoms of autism, are often labeled as witches or wizards, and victimized - poisoned, drowned, hcked to death by machetes or buried alive in attempt to deliver their soul from the snare of the 'devil'.
Autism, according to the U.S. science and advocacy organization Autism Speaks, is a "complex of development disability that typically appears during first the three years of life and affects the person's ability to communicate and interact with others". But in countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda, many churches organise fellowships and revival meetings to cast out demons of witchcraft in children who exhibit such characteristics.
Many killed' after lead poisoning in Nigeria
A number of Nigerian villagers have died as a result of contracting lead poisoning.
The outbreak, in the north of the country, has resulted in around 170 deaths and left 300 more people seriously ill, the Metro reports.
According to the newspaper, it was caused by local herdsmen who were taking part in illegal gold mining of lead-rich rock.
After high concentrations were released, individuals have been left with very grave injuries, it added.
Lauren Cooney, of Doctors Without Borders, commented: "We had one little girl who is blind and deaf probably following a convulsion. Some children have lost all their motor skills."
Government officials are now fearful heavy rainfall in the state of Zamfara might wash lead into water supplies and more villagers.
Last month, it was revealed Uganda's health budget has been downsized this year, meaning a number of medications will not be purchased to treat people suffering from various diseases.
Written by John Curtis
Zuma wants better services for the disabled
JP du Plessis
President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday said more needs to be done to uplift disabled communities.
He visited pupils at the Frances Vorwerg School for the disabled in southern Johannesburg.
Zuma told the children to listen to their parents and not to misbehave during the extended World Cup school holidays but he said his visit to the school has prompted him to take a hard look at the country’s services for the disabled.
“I think this is something we need to say as a country, it is part of our responsibility and we must do something about it,” said Zuma.
Britania to plant trees
News in brief
Sunday, 13th June, 2010
KAMPALA - Britania Allied Industries has launched a tree-planting campaign geared towards turning the city green and conserving the environment. The company boss, Vinay Dawda, disclosed this on Saturday during the celebrations to mark the World Environment Day. Dawda also led a team of Britania staff in a tree-planting exercise at the Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda.
Somalis in office row
KAMPALA - Mengo magistrate court has ordered Dahir Hassan Din to hand over the office of the Somali Community Association in Uganda to Hussein Abukar Hassan. The Grade One magistrate, Daniel Lubowa, decreed recently that Din should hand over the office to Abukar Hassan because he was the legally elected chairman of the association.
Eferakeya: Integrating Delta Central’s Aspirations (2)
By Sam Akadoro Special Correspondent, Sapele
One of the groups that benefited from Eferakeya’s largesse - the Disabled Persons in Sapele - speaking through their leader, Gbedu, said that on behalf of the physically-challenged in Sapele they support the senator’s bid for a second term having benefited from the magnanimity of the senator who bought a bus and equipped an office for the group. He noted that if those who have opportunity like Eferakeya, did as he is doing their fortune would have changed.
Continuing, Gbedu said that he is prepared to mobilise his people no matter the number, and appeal to Urhobo people to give Eferakeya second chance to actually fulfill his mandate. He noted that they have watched with keen interest how the senator had invited political stakeholders to his quarterly briefing and how responsive the forum has been, stressing that such a man ought to be given another opportunity to concretise his work.
According to him: “We want politicians like Eferakeya who are not feel too big and arrogant after being delivered by the electorate; we don’t want snobbish people who claim their victory belongs to their godfathers and others, having no interest in the affairs of the common man. We want a representation that would come to the grassroots and occasionally rub minds with us. We want people who know the pains of the communities and how to solve them.’’
Another group that stuck out its neck for the senator was the traditional council of the Urhobo kingdoms in Delta State. Speaking in condition of anonymity because they ought to be neutral in the political affairs of their subjects, one of the monarchs said that as royal fathers they could still offer advice that would bring out the best in the polity. He however noted that albeit Eferakeya has demonstrated that he is thoroughly educated as a retired professor. He said the man was accomplished before going to the senate, yet had always called on traditional rulers for briefing at intervals, adding that it is the first time such recognition is coming to their domain. For him, the general belief that monarchs were to be used and dumped nor heard except performing the role of praying for politicians to succeed in elections is odious.
The traditional ruler said that it would be useful for politicians to accord traditional rulers appropriate recognition in political schemes, adding that apart from being custodian of culture, they are also embodiment of knowledge that can be of immense use to the polity, being the closest to the community and therefore having the greatest impact on the grassroots.
Again, the monarchs want Senator Eferakeya to be re-elected to the Senate having proven that he has the reach to his constituencies in Urhoboland, numbering eight council areas of the Delta Senatorial District. The monarch noted that the senator has proven beyond doubt that he is not an absentee representative but one that knows those who empowered him with their votes and therefore must come home to rub minds with them.
Another group rooting for Eferakeya is that benefiting from his projects execution. There are about 100 youths who benefited from his provision of motorcycles. Some of those interviewed said though motorcycle riding is not a fail-safe way to guard ones future, it would temporarily put food on their tables.
He added that since the advent of this democracy, if all those politically empowered had contributed in another form in youth empowerment the issue of youth restiveness would be minimal: “Instead our brothers concentrate on procuring state-of-the-art edifices and automobiles costing hundreds of millions.
The communities that benefited from the senator’s effort towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were full of gratitude to him, noting with glee the provision of classroom blocks and toilet facilities, furniture and hand pump boreholes in their communities of Ihweghu Primary School, Amukpe Sapele; Oghareki Primary School, Orhomuru Primary School, Ughelli. Other projects commended were his motorised boreholes in Aghalokpe, Okiribe, Oria waterside, Ughelli etc. Even so, kudos came his way from those who benefited from the skill acquisition under the auspices of the NDDC to train indigenes for fishery, piggery at the Songhai Delta Amukpe.
The University of Petroleum town of Ogbomro, Uvwie Local Government Area also expressed joy at the senator’s use of his constituency fund for the construction of Faculty of Engineering and Health Center in the university with about N300 million.
Disabled assisted to get registration papers
Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Monday, 14 June 2010 15:14
HARARE - The National Association for the Care of the Handicapped(NASCOH) is currently carrying out a national wide campaign to assist the disabled to obtain national identity documents.
NASCOH said this will enable the disabled to fully participate in national events such as elections and referendums as well as making sure that their children will be enrolled in schools. NASCOH Director Farai Magweva, said that the campaign began early this year and would only end when the organisation is satisfied that all people with disabilities have obtained the necessary documents.
According to NASCOH, children born by disabled parents often find difficult for them to attend school because they had no birth certificates.
"We would like to make sure that people who have disabilities get proper documents. We are currently in seven districts of the country where our member organisations are working closely with chiefs, headmen and councillors to identify our members who do not have national registration documents so that we will facilitate that they get them," said Magweva.NASCOH estimated that 1.3 million people in the country were physically challenged and that the majority, especially women and children, did not have national identity papers.
NASCOH said because most disabled people ended up not going to school because of lack of identity papers. Women and girls were taken advantage of and were left with unwanted pregnancies because of lack of education and the absence of information on contraceptives. "Adverts on the radio do not include the deaf and those on television. Unless they are interpreted to them, they will not know," said Magweva.
Magweva added that without national identity documents the disabled would remain largely excluded from national events. "We want our members to fully participate in national events such as the drafting of the new constitution. We are also fighting hard to make sure that the deaf and dumb are included in the new constitution." NASCOH, through its member organisations, Zimbabwe Association of the Visually Impaired, Zimbabwe Parents of the Handicapped, Zimbabwe National Association of Mental Health and the National League of the of Blind, was presently in Bikita, Mutoko, Mutare Urban, Gwanda, Chivi, Masvingo Urban districts.
Fake doctor makes child lose buttock
Tuesday, 15th June, 2010
Nanyonjo rests on her mother’s lap at their home in Kiribairya
By Tom Gwebayanga
A four-year-old girl is nursing rotten buttocks after receiving injections from quack doctors to treat a fever.
For two months, Immaculate Nanyonjo has been sleeping on her belly and cannot sit up after most of her left buttock was cut off, leaving a gaping wound.
“The wound is turning septic. It’s threatening the bone as it gets bigger and deeper. I hope it does not become cancerous,” the Buyende district councillor, Aisha Kanaku, said during her visit to the family on Sunday.
Nanyonjo is a daughter to Stephen Muzaale and Elizabeth Nabutono of Kiribairya village. Her woes started after she was taken to three private clinics where she got a number of injections. She then developed boils on the buttocks, which developed pus.
Nanyonjo and her eight other siblings were under the care of their 80- year-old grandmother after their mother separated from her husband in 2008. The father stays with a second wife in a separate home.
The grandmother, Kotirida Ikesa, told the councillor that the child got some injections at a nearby clinic, but her condition worsened, forcing her to take her to two other “doctors” who operate drug shops. The child got more injections, which caused more boils.
The girl was then taken to Kamuli Hospital, where a medical doctor performed surgery to cut away the rotten part. Thereafter, Nanyonjo was referred to Mulago Hospital in Kampala for further treatment.
“We paid sh200,000 for the treatment at Kamuli. We have run out of money and cannot go to Mulago. Instead, I apply local herbs of burnt fish bones mixed with Mvule tree sap,” said Nabutono, the mother, who was nursing the child.
Nabutono said her estranged husband has vowed not to spend a penny on “ wounds that never heal”.
“I have no income and my child will eventually die,” lamented Nabutono, who has since returned to her marital home to look after the child.
Buyende district medical officer Dr. Aggrey Batesaaki said the quack doctors must have used expired drugs or lacked experience. He said the wound could heal if the child gets more professional attention.
According to a recent report by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, unskilled private health providers highly contribute to the increasing number of disabled children In Uganda. In most cases, children are disabled after being injected with wrong drugs.
“Health providers, who in most cases do not have the necessary skills, use injectable quinine, which is required for severe malaria, resulting into many disabled children,” the report said. Over 80 children, it added, were reported disabled in 2008 and over 100 in 2009.
The report also quoted the Uganda National Household Survey 2005/06, which revealed that the major causes of disability were diseases and infections.
According to Josephine Kankunda, a researcher, there are 2.8 million people with disabilities in Uganda, which is about 10% of country’s population.
Recently, Saturday Vision published another case of a four-year-old boy in Seeta who was maimed and turned blind after taking anti-malarial medicines.
Jesse Serumaga developed extensive soars and inflammation of the skin and eyes. Doctors said he might lose his sight in one of the eyes.
African child day, time to tackle child disability
Tuesday, 15th June, 2010 E-mail article Print article
By Irene Nabalamba
AS we commemorate the Day of the African Child, we should think about the children who are about to be born with a disability, those who are about to acquire one and those living with a disability.
Over 3 million people in Uganda are living with a disability and one quarter of these are children. In Uganda, children are in danger of acquiring a disability either before, during or after birth and the numbers are alarming.
There are thousands of children in the villages suffering from preventable or treatable physical impairments. The main cause is poverty which makes it impossible for mothers to feed well before and during pregnancy, or seek appropriate health care before and after birth.
The main causes of childhood disability include: limb deformities, Osteomyelitis (a chronic bacterial bone and joint infection), clubfoot, paralysis from injections and burns.
Bacterial bone and joint infection destroys bones and may also affect joints. When a bone is infected, pus is produced within, resulting in a foul-smelling discharge. This condition often causes severe physical impairment if left untreated.
In villages which lack clean water, children are exposed to this harmful bacteria. This exposure, in addition to a weakened immune system due to poor malnutrition, chronic malaria, scars, chronic wounds and walking barefoot, allow bacteria to enter the body.
Unfortunately, many parents believe that such infections are caused by witchcraft and hence delay to seek treatment and care thus leading to childhood disability.
About three out of 1,000 children are born with a club foot. This is a deformity present at birth where one or both feet have the shape of a club with the sole of the foot facing inwards or backwards.
If left untreated, the deformity can worsen and the child will have difficulties in walking and running. Many parents tend to take clubfoot in their children as normal for as long as the child can walk. But in the long run these children grow into disabled adults.
Other conditions that cause physical disability in children include; polio, nerve injuries, burns, contractures, accidents, limb deformities, tumours, celebral palsy and poor feeding.
The good news is many of these conditions can be avoided through prevention and immunisation. The effect of some disabilities can be reduced by use of assistive devices, plastic or orthopaedic surgery, physiotherapy services and proper medication.
It is imperative that as we celebrate the Day of the African Child, parents are sensitised to seek medical attention in case their child gets a disability.
Comprehensive Services in Uganda (CoRSU) for people with disability, provides free surgery to children with physical disabilities.
The CoRSU team of dedicated specialists works tirelessly to ensure that hope is restored to the lives of children with physical disabilities and their families.
On this Day of the African Child, we appeal to the Government and its partners to have an upperhand in the prevention, reduction and cure of childhood disabilities.
In addition, parents should be vigilant in ensuring their children's health. The writer is a public relations, programme development officer at Kisubi Rehabilitation Hospital
Young Zimbabwean featured in 'Music by Prudence' champions disability rights
Prudence Mabhena, 23, and her band, Liyiana, are featured in the Oscar- winning film 'Music by Prudence'.
NEW YORK, NY, USA, 15 June 2010 - The second Millennium Development Goal calls for universal primary education for all boys and girls, and Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child says that all children with disabilities have the right to special care and support so they can live full and independent lives. But for many disabled children born in developing countries - especially in rural areas - few opportunities for education are accessible.
UNICEF Radio recently spoke with Prudence Mabhena, 23, about growing up disabled in rural Zimbabwe and her work to promote disability rights for children worldwide.
AUDIO: Listen now
Ms. Mabhena was born with a debilitating condition called arthrogryposis, which is characterized by contracted joints. Her personal story is featured in the Oscar-winning documentary film, ‘Music by Prudence’, which highlights the stigmatization and exclusion of children with disabilities, as well as the need to empower them.
‘I used to cry’
“In Africa, when a child is born, people celebrate,” said Ms. Mabhena.
“When a baby with a disability is born, people cry. There is a lot of shouting, insults, and some believe that maybe the baby was bewitched."
Prudence Mabhena and her band, Liyana, which started as a class project at King George IV School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the country's only secondary education facility for disabled children.
In such cases, there is sometimes pressure from family members to stop caring for the child - even to let the child die. When Ms. Mabhena was born, her paternal grandmother asked her mother to do just that. But her mother refused and, as a result, was kicked out of the house. She brought the baby to live in the rural home of her own family of origin.
After a few years, Ms. Mabhena’s mother left her in the care of her maternal grandmother, who raised young Prudence for most of the rest of her childhood and adolescence.
“I didn’t know there were [other] people with disabilities,” recalled Ms. Mabhena. “I used to cry and ask my grandmother what was wrong with me.”
Eventually, Ms. Mabhena got a scholarship to attend the King George VI, a specialized school for disabled students in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The school provides rehabilitation and boarding facilities to children with physical disabilities and hearing impairments.
Some 280 students come from across the country to attend primary and secondary school at King George VI, which has the only secondary education facility for disabled children in Zimbabwe. About 80 per cent of the students’ families cannot afford the school fees; instead, they must depend on scholarships and financial aid.
And these children are among the most fortunate. According to the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped - the umbrella body for voluntary groups organized by and for people with disabilities in Zimbabwe - only a third of the country’s children with disabilities have any access to education.
A story of inspiration
“When I went to King George VI, I found that there are other people with disabilities who are just like me, and I felt like I’m at home,”
said Ms. Mabhena. “I have a family at King George.”
When she was growing up, Ms. Mabhena’s grandmother sang to her often, instilling in her a love of music. At King George VI, her talents as a singer were quickly discovered. She soon became the head of her school choir and the lead singer in a band, Liyana, that she and her friends formed.
“I’m independent, I’m wiser…. I’m inspired,” she said of the experience. “I feel like I’m a hero at King George VI.” That story of inspiration is at the heart of ‘Music by Prudence’.
IRIN ; Integrated Regional Information Networkが制作した"Standing Tall"というタイトルのショートフィルムシリーズです。IRINは国連人道問題調整事務所（Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affaris）の一部であるがその編集は独立しており、掲載（報道）は必ずしも国連や国連加盟国の見解に沿ったものとは限らない、とあります。障害に関する記事が多いとは言えませんが、開発、援助、人道問題、環境などについては、なかなか興味深い記事が見つかると思います。
Zimbabwe: New Constitution Must Embrace Disabled People's Needs - Shamu
16 June 2010
Harare - PEOPLE should ensure the proposed new constitution incorporates the needs of people with disabilities, a Cabinet minister has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by the deputy director-general in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, Mr Simbarashe Tavengerwei, at the National Council for the Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe in Sanyati last Wednesday; Minister Webster Shamu bemoaned the marginalisation of communities.
"In Zimbabwe, persons with disabilities continue to face exclusion from education with only 33 percent of their children having access to education, compared to 90 percent for the able-bodied population.
"The issue of integration and inclusion should, according to my view, take centre stage in the whole debate in the constitution-making process with respect to persons with disability," he said.
The minister said it was regrettable that most people with disabilities were sidelined in national programmes.
"It is no secret that in most African countries, Zimbabwe included, children born with disabilities were regarded as a bad omen to be quietly disposed of from the face of the earth," Minister Shamu said.
Despite of the enactment of the Disabled Persons Act in 1992, Minister Shamu said Zimbabwe had only paid lip service to legislative matters addressing the needs of disabled persons.
Minister Shamu said the focus of the constitution-making process should show marked improvement towards the rights of persons with disabilities.
He said policies that enable persons with disabilities to play a more constructive role in socio-economic and cultural activities should be formulated.
MP disagrees with parents of deaf, blind kids
Wednesday, 16th June, 2010
An official from Sense International talking to a deaf and blind child at the school
By Ali Mambule
THE MP for persons with disability in the central region, Alex Ndeezi, has disagreed with parents of deaf and blind children over the level of education at which the children should stop.
Some parents said they would be happy if their disabled children acquired handcraft skills but Ndeezi said such children can also attain degrees.
This was during the commissioning of a multipurpose building for deaf and blind children at St. Mark’s VII School for the Deaf in Bwanda, Masaka district.
The sh220m building was donated by Sense International, a non- governmental organisation.
The parents’ leader, Olive Bwana, said she could not believe that her deaf and blind child could get a university degree.
“We don’t expect our children to get degrees but want them to at least do something for themselves,” Bwana said.
She added that some blind and deaf children had multiple physical disabilities, which made their lives more complicated and, therefore, cannot get formal education.
Bwana said the Government needed to establish schools for the deaf and blind in every district to enable parents visit them regularly.
However, Ndeezi urged the parents to stop undermining their children, saying this would demoralise them.
“A deaf and blind child can go to university and be a graduate. I look forward to seeing a deaf and blind person going to Parliament one day.”
Ndeezi said negative attitude towards disabled children closes opportunities for them.
The head teacher of the school, Sister Rose Immaculate, commended Sense International for the donation.
She said the school lacked teachers, adding that each student needed a personal teacher.
“We have six full time pupils and 14 part timers with mild impairment, ” Immaculate said.
She added that the school also lacked money because the students come from poor families and cannot pay school fees.
An official from Sense International talking to a deaf and blind child at the school
By Ali Mambule
THE MP for persons with disability in the central region, Alex Ndeezi, has disagreed with parents of deaf and blind children over the level of education at which the children should stop.
Some parents said they would be happy if their disabled children acquired handcraft skills but Ndeezi said such children can also attain degrees.
This was during the commissioning of a multipurpose building for deaf and blind children at St. Mark’s VII School for the Deaf in Bwanda, Masaka district. The sh220m building was donated by Sense International, a non-governmental organisation.
The parents’ leader, Olive Bwana, said she could not believe that her deaf and blind child could get a university degree. “We don’t expect our children to get degrees but want them to at least do something for themselves,” Bwana said.
She added that some blind and deaf children had multiple physical disabilities, which made their lives more complicated and, therefore, cannot get formal education.
Bwana said the Government needed to establish schools for the deaf and blind in every district to enable parents visit them regularly.
However, Ndeezi urged the parents to stop undermining their children, saying this would demoralise them.
“A deaf and blind child can go to university and be a graduate. I look forward to seeing a deaf and blind person going to Parliament one day.” Ndeezi said negative attitude towards disabled children closes opportunities for them.
The head teacher of the school, Sister Rose Immaculate, commended Sense International for the donation. She said the school lacked teachers, adding that each student needed a personal teacher.
“We have six full time pupils and 14 part timers with mild impairment,” Immaculate said.
She added that the school also lacked money because the students come from poor families and cannot pay school fees.
Group praises Awo’s education legacy
Written by Dada Joseph
Thursday, 17 June 2010
THE General Director, Christian Mission for the Deaf, Nigeria (CMDN), Pastor Emmanuel Ilabor, on Wednesday, commended the invaluable contributions of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to the development of education for the deaf and other physically challenged persons in the country.
He also called on the government and other well-meaning Nigerians to assist the mission financially, so that it could provide standard education for deaf students in its care.
The mission, which is a charitable organisation, poised to deliver high quality and wholistic deaf education in Nigeria, was established in 1960 through the efforts of Andrew Forster, an Afro-American educator, having met with Chief Awolowo, who encouraged and supported his (Forster’s) vision in 1957.
In a press conference addressed by Pastor Ilabor as part of the awareness creating activities for the mission’s forthcoming 50th anniversary and N506 million development fund raising next week, the director said Chief Awolowo provided the needed assistance for Mr Forster to start a school for the deaf in Nigeria.
He disclosed that the school witnessed an interregnum in 1972 when the Federal Government took over mission schools, noting that the school needed to move to its new location on Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which is yet to be developed.
Pastor Ilabor said the school’s present location was choked up, adding that it was no longer convenient for the training of the deaf, hence the need for well-meaning individuals to rise to its help.
West Africa: GDSA to Participate in Wad Tourney
17 June 2010
The Gambia Deaf Sports Association (GDSA) will participate in the Ecowas -sponsored tournament of the first West African Deaf (WAD) tournament which will be held from the 1st to 9th August 2010 at Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Nigeria.The Tournament is meant to promote sports amongst the deaf in the West African sub-region and to strengthen international understanding, unity and peaceful co-existence within the sub-region through sports.
Speaking to Observer Sports, Lamin Ceesay, the president of The Gambia Deaf Association (GDA) highlighted the importance of the competition, saying it is a way of raising The Gambian flag to the highest level at this very important event. "We believe in our respective sporting discipline policies, which are in line with the Ministry of Youth and Sports' policies for the deaf and hard of hearing in The Gambia," he added.
He disclosed that any amount realised from the tournament will be used in strengthening the policy of the association. "This is not the first time that we are participating in such competition. We first attended a tournament in Dakar in 2006, where we emerged winners and we are going to Nigeria with this winning mentality," Ceesay remarked.
He informed that they are expected to leave for Nigeria on 29th July with 18 players and 5 officials including him; Bizenty Gomez, the executive secretary of the National Sports Council; Nanama Keita, the sports editor of the Daily Observer; Musa Colley, the head coach and Mansata Dampha, a sign language interpreter.
He also appealed to the government, the private sector and the Non- Governmental Organisations for support, to enable the deaf Scorpions to honour their invitation as arrangements have been concluded to accommodate them and free medical attention is also assured.
Preparations according to the Association's president have started a quite a long time as they organised a friendly match against Sierra Leone in February.Abdoulie Njie, the team captain, promised that they will perform to expectation.
SOMALIA: Disabled children in Somaliland "must come first"
Children at the Disability Action Network (DAN) hall during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child on 16 June 2010 in Hargesia, capital of Somaliland
HARGESIA, 17 June 2010 (IRIN) - Children with disabilities in the self- declared republic of Somaliland should be given priority in education, livelihood and health policies, child rights activists said on 16 June, during a ceremony marking the Day of the African Child.
“The physical environment [access to schools and hospitals], attitudes of people and lack of public awareness and sensitization are the real barriers to the development of these children and not their impairments, ” said Ali Jama Hassan of the Disability Action Network (DAN), the largest NGO supporting children with physical and/or psychological disabilities.
The theme for the ceremony was Planning and Budgeting for the Wellbeing of the Child: A Collective Responsibility.
“Policies on children with disabilities are not a priority in the country,” Hassan told IRIN. “Some of the change we are looking for is the mainstreaming of the needs of children with disabilities in education, healthcare and livelihoods.”
Ettie Higgins, chief of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) field office in Hargeisa, described the situation of children in Somaliland as “ critical”.
“There are several thousand children living in Somaliland with physical and psychological disabilities - but only very limited facilities are available to cater for their needs,” she said. “For example, deaf children come from as far as Mogadishu [Somalia’s capital] to attend the Hargeisa School for the Deaf, since these facilities are unavailable [there]."
Somalia’s infant and maternal mortality rates are among the world’s highest, with the main causes of death being diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and respiratory infections.
Ali Jama Hassan, the director of the Disability Action Network (DAN), Hargesia, Somaliland “Access to basic services such as primary education, proper healthcare, and safe drinking water is still a challenge in many areas,” Higgins said. “In such an environment, children living with disabilities are often further marginalized by communities in the effort to just sustain lives, and their special needs are not addressed, and they are not given the opportunity to contribute to society.”
This sense of responsibility, Higgins said, should be ingrained in various planning and budgeting initiatives for the welfare of Somali children, “and this especially should also include those children most marginalized - including orphans and vulnerable children, as well as those living with disabilities".
According to Hassan, Somaliland’s constitution denies people with physical or psychological disabilities the right to run for public office, “a clause we have been fighting to have removed from the books ”.
Accurate data on the number of children with disabilities in Somaliland is not available, but DAN estimates that at least 10 percent of children in the country have some form of disability.
Hodan Mohammed, 30, mother of two ? one of whom is disabled ? said she was attending the Day of the African Child ceremony in the hope that her child would in future be treated as any other “normal” child.
500 disabled return home without grants
By JOSEPH ZULU on June 18,2010
SITEKI - About 500 disabled people from Maphungwane in the Lubombo region had to go back home empty handed after failing to receive their grants.
This was during the disbursement of grants for the elderly held at the government offices.
It was announced in Parliament that the disabled would now get their grants together with the elderly.
However, it was a different story when the disabled were told that they were not aware of the new arrangements.
This resulted in many of them failing to receive their grants of E240.
The area’s Member of Parliament Nkululeko Mbhamali decried the situation and said some of these people had spent money travelling with the hope of getting their grants.
Most of the affected people were heard voicing out their displeasure in the sudden turn of events, most complaining about the money they had wasted to come to town.
The MP said he was puzzled about the situation, especially because it was not a new exercise and that the delays were unnecessary.
Speaking on the issue of the elderly, Mbhamali said the exercise took too long such that some of the old people returned home at night.
He said this was dangerous as most of them could not see clearly at night, putting themselves at risk of being attacked.
He said transporting the elderly proved to be such a challenge that he had to ask a police officer for assistance to get most of them back to their homes at Maphungwane which is far from Siteki.
When reached for comment, the Acting Principal Secretary in the DPM’s office Dickson Mkhonta said there could have been a communication breakdown and that maybe some of them were not registered.
"Money that is paid out has to be accounted for as per audit requirement. They can’t just pay people who are not registered as they have to account for that money," said Mkhonta.
He said what the officials should have done at the pay points was to take the details of the disabled people who were turned back so that they could then be assisted at the next disbursement.
Mkhonta insisted that people who were already registered in the system would not be turned back.
In Liberia, UN police officer deploys her language skills to help those in need
Doreen Malambo, UN Gender Adviser for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
18 June 2010 - A police officer serving with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Liberia is giving a voice not only to women who have suffered from sexual violence, but also to the West African country ’s deaf people, thanks to her sign language skills.
Doreen Malambo, the police gender adviser for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), happened to be “at the right place at the right time” at a police station when a deaf woman who had been assaulted came forward to report the crime.
It was a situation “where no police officer could understand the language to take a statement from this person,” she told the UN News Centre.
Ms. Malambo, who was trained in sign language in her native Zambia, was able to help interpret the statement of the woman, who had been accompanied to the police station by several deaf friends.
“They were so happy and they went and they broke the news to their counterparts,” she said.
The experience, the police officer added, “felt so good” because she was able to assist a marginalized group within Liberia, which was torn apart by civil war from 1989 until 2003.
It also gave her the chance to repeat the success she had in Zambia to bridge the gap between the police and the deaf community.
In some cases, Ms. Malambo said, people would commit crimes in front of deaf people because “they know that they won’t go anywhere, they won’t say anything,” stressing the importance of having police officers who can communicate in sign language to document criminal evidence.
Since arriving in Liberia in 2008, Ms. Malambo ? who is now helping to set up a proposal to incorporate sign language skills into the training of the Liberian National Police (LNP) ? has utilized her skills to sensitize students in schools for the deaf.
“They have a lot of problems just like any other person,” she said, but “sometimes they just used to keep quiet, dying with their own problems” because they could not communicate with police.
Ms. Malambo, 34, also noted that the presence of female police officers in Liberia has helped to increase the reporting of cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
Previously, many believed “it was a family issue to be settled outside the police,” but due to UNMIL’s efforts, the increased presence of female LNP officers and mentoring by the UN has helped more women come forward, she said.
“It is not very easy for a woman to [discuss] sexual violence issues with a male officer,” she pointed out, but they “feel free to bring out their cases” with female police officers.
She said that the percentage of women in the LNP has increased in recent years, currently standing at nearly 17 per cent.
When Liberian women see female UN police officers carrying out tasks, such as guarding Government sites, “which they feel are supposed to be performed by males, it has given a change of an image for the organization,” she noted.
“They now know that policing is not for males alone, but for everybody, ” added Ms. Malambo, a mother of three, serving to encourage more women to join the LNP’s ranks.
In schools where she conducts awareness-raising sessions, “when they see a female peacekeeper standing in the front talking about these policing issues, they feel very good and they want to emulate you.”
Not only have female UN police officers “set the image of police as role models,” but they have also helped to increase the reporting of cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
Ms. Malambo stressed that the LNP has come a long way since its 14-year civil war, when the police force was not an organized structure.
“We’re trying to ensure that these people have the trust of their own local police,” she said, adding that a “positive impact” has been made.
UNMIL, set up by the Security Council in 2003, now numbers over 11,500 uniformed personnel, including more than 1,300 police officers, and has played a major role in restoring stability and democratic government after the civil war.
Deaf and dumb tired of begging
Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Sunday, 20 June 2010 18:23
A group of deaf and dumb people who were tired of living from begging have come together to start income generating projects in Harare.
Director of the National Association of the Care of the Handicapped(NASCOH) Farai Magweva said that he is encouraged by the efforts of this group.
"They said that you cannot beg everyday and so they decided to be entrepreneurs. As NASCO we are very encouraged by the involvement of these people in social and economic activities.”
He said his organisation had provided the group with an office so that they could meet and interact. They have come up with projects such as selling cell-phone airtime cards.
Many people are slowly learning the sign language through interacting with the vendors and Magweva said that in itself was encouraging.
"Through vending they are marketing their language, and we hope that people will learn the sign language and it will be given the recognition that it deserves," said Magweva.
According to NASCOH at least 500 000 people in the country are deaf and dumb or both, and have difficulties in interacting with the greater society.
Tunisia holds musical event for hearing impaired children
TUNISIAONLINENEWS- El Abdellia Palace in La Marsa will host from June 26 to July 4, 2010, the 2nd edition of the cultural event “Esmaani”, an event organized for the benefit of deaf children by the Tunisian Association of Support to hearing impaired people (ATAS).
On this occasion, a market of used books collected from individuals, schools and universities and some libraries, printers and charities is on the menu, These books will be on sale throughout event.
Over 50 artists will take part in an art exhibition (painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography), art workshops for children led by the exhibiting artists, a workshop sign language and live music every night at 21h at El Abdellia palace.
The event will be inaugurated on Saturday, June 26 by a show given by a street circus group with the Spanish Fadunito and the Tunisian singer Sonia Mbarek. Other evenings will feature Tunisian artists such as Amira Rezgui (South American music) Mounir Troudi, the Garby’s and Alia Sellami in addition to evenings of contemporary dance, slam, blues and jazz. DJs Fatwan and Dirty Vega will close the show.
A press briefing was held on Saturday at the ATAS headquarters, during which organizers said that the event aims at financing a reception and training center for the benefit of adolescent, young children and adults with hearing disabilities adults.
Revenues of the exhibition, the workshops, concerts and shows, in addition to those of a book market, will go to hearing impaired children through ATAS.
They will also will benefit from additional training in computer, and the Internet and will be assisted to take advantage of new job opportunities.
Eritrea: Dekemhare Sub-Zone - Efforts to Assist Disabled Nationals And Orphans Bearing Encouraging Outcome
22 June 2010
Dekemhare - The head of the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare branch in Dekemhare sub-zone, Mr. Sibhatleab Woldegergis, said that encouraging outcome has been registered as regards extending interest- free loan to disabled nationals and assisting orphaned children.
He pointed out that interest-free loan amounting to 3.4 million Nakfa has been extended to a total of 154 disabled persons, which is playing major role in enabling them to become self-supporting. Out of the loan extended, about 3 million Nakfa has already been paid back, Mr. Sibhatleab added.
Moreover, he indicated that about 23 orphans are being rehabilitated in the form of home-group, out of whom 7 are studying in colleges at the government's expense. He further explained that 550 orphans have been rehabilitated through reuniting them with a total of 172 relatives.
About 35 street children have also received vocational training courses with a view to enabling them become productive, Mr. Sibhatleab explained.
Nigeria: At Last, a Ray of Hope for the Disabled
23 June 2010
Bauchi - In Nigeria, people with physical disabilities are no strangers to challenges bordering on discrimination, loneliness, dependence on people for assistance and victimization. Because they have to depend on the good will of members of the society; they are more often than not viewed as individuals who cannot contribute to national development.
But with the benefit of Western civilisation and modern education, many individuals in this category are today respected members of the society who are happily married and have families of their own. This welcome development has in most cases been due to the interventionist efforts of some humanitarian organisations.
One of such organisations in Bauchi State, the Challenge Your Disability Initiative, has since its inception been working to assist the less- privileged, including youths, children, adults, drug addicts and particularly those with physical disabilities. The aim is to empower them to overcome their limitation and all barriers that dehumanise them emotionally, socially, financially and mentally, thereby giving them a sense of belonging.
The founder of this laudable initiative is the First Lady of the State, Hajiya Hauwa Abiodun Yuguda. She said in 2007 when she established this project, little did she know that it would go a long way in restoring hope to the less-privileged in the society. Presently the initiative, which is said to have been conceived to complement the efforts of the government through its empowerment programmes, have remakarbly impacted thousands of lives.
The CYDI offers educational and skill acquisition programmes which are components of self-employment and economic development. In line with its objectives, it seeks to design and produce technical and learning aids for disabled persons, in addition to resource services made available to drug addicts in order to rehabilitate them.
For instance, the CYDI is currently running a basic primary education programme that is aimed at educating children with disabilities between the ages of seven and 10 years, alongside its secondary school which provides the students the opportunity for higher level education.
In order to meet the demand of youths and adults with single or multiple disabilities, skill acquisition programmes were established and equipped with tools. This is in addition to its training of youths and women at vocational training centers established in Bauchi Local Government Area of the state. Vanguard Metro was also informed that it is making plans to establish vocational training centres in other states of the federation.
Officials of the Initiative also said it is collaborating with the office of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to tackle the menace of drug abuse among youths in the society. To this end, the CYDI has taken a giant stride by rehabilitating and reintegrating them back to the society. In furtherance of this development, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the NDLEA on June 26, 2008.
A major thrust of this initiative is that of giving hope to the hopeless.
Recently the CYDI constructed shelters in collaboration with a Greek medical team for the mentally challenged people of Zongoro which is a village about 20 kilometres from Bauchi, in Ganjuwa Local Government Area. The project was conceived as a response to the many challenges faced by the people in the communities, which include lack of potable water, shelter and medical treatment for patients.
Considering their predicaments, the doctors expressed their support by putting up a project worth N7.5 million which was commissioned by the Governor of Bauchi State.
The Initiative has further partnered with some international organisations to organise some free medical outreach programmes in non- local government areas of the state, in which nine thousand people benefited from the programme. The international organisations were Health Care International and Greece Heart Doctors from Greece. Drugs worth N2.5 million were distributed during the free medical programme.
Six children and adults were indentified with serious medical problems that demanded surgery. These international organisations, in collaboration with CYDI, footed the bills.
Just recently, CYDI graduated its first set of graduates under the skill acquisition programme. Testifying to their experience, most of the graduates could not hide their delight as they profusely praised the programme, saying they were able to achieve much from it, the benefit of which will last them a life time.
Disabled man dies - 200 evacuated in toxic scare
24 June 2010
Paramedics and emergency services had their hands full this morning after an ammonia leak caused havoc in Vereeniging.
Shortly after 10:35 paramedics and hazardous material units arrived on the scene to find people evacuating the building. An emergency triage area was quickly erected upwind from the site where all the people were assessed and sorted.
Paramedics explained that they have assessed over 200 people as they exited the building area. One patient was transported to a nearby hospital for further medical treatment after inhaling the toxic substance.
The hazardous materials unit entered the building to search for more people as some of them explained that people might still be inside. Members of the unit apparently found a man underneath a table inside the building. The man had no signs of life and was rushed to the evacuation area.
Paramedics declared the man dead as there was nothing that they could do more for him.
Some of the employees on the scene explained that the man who was killed is deaf and he was very confused when people started evacuating the building. Other employees explained that he might have disappeared within the crowd and was overcome with the toxic fumes.
Fire and emergency services stood by on the scene whilst the hazardous materials unit tried to contain the leak.
An investigation into this matter will be launched by the local authorities.
Department worried over maltreatment of disabled children
Sunyani (B/A), June 24, GNA - Mr Hammond Kwarteng, Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Children on Thursday expressed concern about the maltreatment of children with disabilities by some parents.
He noted with regret that reports gathered by the Department indicated that the situation had become common in the region and added some parents even considered such children as a curse and denied them formal education.
Mr Kwarteng was speaking with the Ghana News Agency after he and his Deputy, Mr George Yaw Ankomah, presented a variety of items worth GH¢1,000 to the Nyamaah basic school Unit of Specially Needs Children in Sunyani.
The items comprised 24 multi-purpose learning tools, a number of toilet rolls, football, box of key bar soap, biscuits, different types of non- alcoholic beverages and quantities of fan ice cream.
The donors also presented similar items including two bags of rice, cooking oil and soaps to the center for Women and Children Association, a Non-Governmental Organisation that has adopted people living with HIV/ AIDS located at Sunyani Zongo.
Mr Kwarteng said it was an offence punishable by law for parents to lock up their disabled children and deny them formal education and appealed to the general public to help to identify and to trace such cases for the law to take its course.
He explained that people with disability were also blessed with talents and urged the public to assist to unearth and to harness such talents to make them grow to become assets of the state.
Mr Ankomah explained that the presentation demonstrated the commitment and preparedness of the Department to address some basic needs of the vulnerable in society.
Mr Anthony Damoah, headmaster of the unit, thanked the donors for the gesture and assured them that the items would be used for their intended purposes.
He said the unit had 28 school children, who were mainly physically and mentally challenged with four teachers and mentioned lack of a classroom block, adequate teaching and learning materials and vehicle as some of its problems.
Mr Damoah added that some of the school children lived outside Sunyani and because of the lack of transport they did not attend school.
He, therefore, appealed to government and other NGOs and philanthropists to come to their aid.
“Basma” Association and Microsoft Tunisia, honor disabled university graduates
TUNISIAONLINENEWS- Two prizes were handed by Microsoft Tunisia Company to 2 disabled university graduates, laureates of two training sessions jointly organized by Microsoft Tunisia and the “Basma” Association for the Promotion of Employment for the Disabled in the ICT sector, during a ceremony held at the headquarters of the “Basma” Association.
Some 20 disabled youths persons representing different regions of the country took part in the two training sessions organized by “Basma” Association for its members among university graduates in scientific sector.
The first 5 week session focused to the “Microsoft Systems Administrator” whereas the second session (8 weeks) was devoted to the “Microsoft Systems Engineer” specialty.
The two laureates from both sessions received a personal computer and an a certified diploma as administrator and engineer in Microsoft systems.
During the meeting, the two laureates expressed their gratitude to the “Basma” Association and its Chairwoman, Mr. Leila Ben Ali, for the sustained efforts aimed at ensuring the guidance of its members, and the initiatives taken to favor the employment of the disabled, improving their skills and reinforcing their employability, through training in communication technologies sector.
Victory for the disabled
By MBONGENI NDLELA on June 25,2010
MBABANE - It was a day for sign language.
The communication gap or break-down for deaf people who are obliviously rejected and sometimes left unattended by government officials in ministries and public sectors will soon be a thing of the past.
This is because 50 health workers, 41 police officers and six social workers have been trained to communicate in sign language.
This has been met with excitement and the sense of being included in society for people with hearing difficulties.
Yesterday, these officials graduated during an event that was graced by parliamentarians and a sample of people with hearing disabilities. The function was held at Royal Villas and communications and activities were done with the use of sign languages, with interpreters.
The event was characterised with performances by pupils from the Siteki School for the Deaf, drama plays by the members of the police. The deaf, through drama and poetry, expressed the difficulties that they were subjected to in government institutions and other public sectors. They sent a clear message on how they were given wrong medication, sent away by the police and found themselves living in a marginalised society because of communication breakdown.
Lack of trained people who had an understanding of the sign language in government institutions was explained as a major setback for people with hearing disabilities.
The deaf sensitised and encouraged the learning and appreciation of sign language by members of the public.
Makhosini Makhubu, the instructor in the National Disability Unit, said they were disturbed and disappointed by the story that appeared in a local media of a disabled man who was arrested by police officers for jaywalking.
"We heard that the man was rushing to hospital and was sick. However, police took him and locked him up for hours because they could not understand what he was saying. If there was a trained officer, that matter would have been settled amicably," said the emotional Makhubu. He said learning sign language would help people, especially civil servants, to identify people with hearing disabilities and provide them with the necessary assistance.
"The complete course for sign language has three levels. On the first level, a person is taught on how to use the body signs to construct words that make sentences.
"On the second level, a person is taught the culture which includes how to behave or live with other people. The last stage is the very difficult onee," Makhubu said.
Makhubu trained the 97 civil servants who graduated yesterday.
MoviesCommunityImplementation of Disability Act; GFD wants action
The Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has appealed to the government to expedite action on the implementation of Disability Act 715.
“Four years after the passage of the Law, its implementation is yet to take full effect. As a result, the numerous problems and challenges which the Act was meant to address still abound,” the GFD said in a press release in commemoration of the National Day of Disability (NDD) last week.
The GFD mentioned some of the challenges facing its members as accessibility to health and education, employment, stigmatization and discrimination against persons with disability.
Other issues raised were inaccessibility to most public places as well as inadequate attention to the development of disability sports and other avenues of recreation and the lack of research and national statistics on disability issues.
“Ghanaians must ensure that education, employment, social services, and health care, among others are accessible to all persons with disability everywhere in Ghana, it said.
The GFD said accessible physical infrastructure alone cannot guarantee accessibility to services, arguing that attitudinal, institutional, environmental and technological barriers should render services to PWDs in a disability-friendly manner.
It however said the ten year moratorium for the full implementation of Act 715 now has been whittled down to six which calls for expeditious action of the Act.
“It is also the desire of PWDs in Ghana that government will adopt 23rd of June as the National Day of Disability (NDD) in Ghana and observe it as one of the Days worthy of annual commemoration,” the GFD said.
The Federation also urged the government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities without delay.
The GFD envisages that the ratification of the Convention will not only make it possible for the disability movements in Ghana to make representation to the UN through government, but will also entitle Ghana as a nation to access developmental, technical and financial benefits available to countries which have ratified the Convention.
Four years ago, the Parliament of Ghana enacted the Persons with Disability Act 715 to protect and promote the fundamental human rights of PWDs. This was in fulfillment of Article 29 of the 1992 Constitution.
Civil Society Organizations and Disabled People’s Organization including the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) in applauding the passage of the Act strategically earmarked 23rd June ? National Day of Disability to create awareness on the rights of PWDs and to intensify their advocacy in promoting the rights of PWDs
PWDs want court to block 2011 polls
Monday, 28th June, 2010
By Andante Okanya
PERSONS with disabilities (PWDs) want the High Court to block the 2011 polls, saying the Electoral Commission (EC) has ignored them.
The PWDs petitioned the court, claiming the electoral body had omitted them from actively participating in national elections.
“We want an order restraining the EC from carrying out elections without providing brailed ballot papers for the blind, access to polling stations by the lame and sign language interpreters for the deaf,” reads the petition.
The petition was filed last week by two civil society organisations, the Advocates Pro Bono Group and Advocates for the Disabled Persons Trust in Uganda.
They argued that in the previous national polls, the electoral body’s actions forced them to depend on non-blind persons in making their electoral choices, saying this violates the right to independently and secretly vote as provided for in the Constitution.
The petitioners want the court to issue an order directing the EC to compel aspiring candidates to use sign language interpreters during campaigns.
Congo's Staff Benda Bilili on Big Tour
キンシャサの心温まるストリートミュージシャングループ「スタッフ・ベンダ・ビリリ」が、ヨーロッパ、カナダ、日本における５６の公演とフェスティバルへの参加という息をのむような夏のツアーを始める。２００９年、スタッフ・ベンダ・ビリリはコンゴのルンバ音楽スタイルのアルバム「Tres Tres Fort」をリリースし、コンゴの無名のストリートバンドから、その革新的で熱狂的なリズムを欧米のテレビ局が次々ととり上げて話題にするグループへと躍り出た。
そして「同情ではなく賞賛を(celebration not pity)」求めて活動するこのコンゴのバンドは、それらのフェスティバルで聴衆を熱狂させると約束している。すでにめくるめくコンゴリーズルンバのノリと、躍動するボーカル、そして素晴らしい缶ギターのソロは、ステージでもレコードでも、世界中の聴衆とメディアを酔わせている。
Ricky Likabuに率いられ、４人の肢体麻痺のボーカル兼ギタリストを中心に、松葉杖の「hype man」が聴衆を熱狂へと駆り立てる。すべてアコースティックなリズムセクションが、そのタイトなノリを支えている。
彼ら自身のツアーの他に、国際ロータリークラブがサッカーワールドカップに関連して行っているポリオ撲滅キャンペーン "Kick Polio Out of Africa"にも参加している。
バンドのサクセスストーリーの一番新しい展開は、彼らの人生を描いた映画で、すでにカンヌ映画祭のオープニングでスタンディングオベーションを得ている。タイトル"Benda Bilili" 、監督Barret/de la Tullayeによるこの映画は、バンドの、キンシャサの路地から、ヨーロッパの大きなコンサートホールへの道のりを映している。
I Gave Out Scholarships To My People Since ‘80s - Ndoma-Egba
>From 2003 to date, no fewer than 210 students from the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State have benefited from the scholarship scheme established by Deputy Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma- Egba (SAN), soon after he became a member of the upper chamber of Nigeria’s federal legislature. In this interview with journalists including Correspondent Bassey Inyang shortly after this year’s awards were presented to the deserving students, Ndoma-Egba spoke on the scholarship scheme and its benefits to the people of the Senatorial District, the state, and even beyond. Excerpts:
Could you tell us about the scholarship scheme, when it commenced and its sustainability?
Awarding scholarship did not start with my going to the Senate. I started the scholarship as far back as 1980. It is just that, it became more elaborate when I went to the Senate in 2003. Yes, to the sustainability of the programme beyond the senate, I would say that we already are working on the framework. Soon, we will establish a foundation that will handle things of this nature; therefore, it is clear that the scheme will survive my office and presence.
What motivated you to establish the scholarship scheme?
At a point in my life, I almost dropped out of school because of school fees. I know the pains, I know the anxiety. It took the benevolence of somebody to provide the three pounds that I so badly needed to pay my fees. So, you can imagine where I would have been today if at that point in time that person had not produced the money. I know the pain that comes with losing your education because of money.
I personally believe that education is the critical resort that changes lives. It is a life-changer. If you don’t have human capacity, you can ’t have any other thing. There are countries that are totally lacking in resources but invested appropriately in education, and one can see the difference that such action has created to them. Education, to me, is a critical life changer. For me, the most important resource in the world today is not oil; it is the human being, and that is why this little intervention is my own little way of acknowledging that these students are the resource of my senatorial district.
I look forward to a period when this scholarship board would have a database of every recipient so that we would be able to track how each beneficiaries is doing in life, so that if you need support out there we should also be able to give you a follow-up support as you meet the challenges of life.
I pray that this little offer changes lives.
A group of disabled persons have complained that their appeal for special provision for the disabled to also benefit from the scholarship scheme has not been answered. Why have they not received any favourable response?
I am not sure I’ve received any request from the physically challenged.
First of all, I have been a patron of the Nigeria Society for the Blind for close to 20 years. That is also my constituency. I have not received any formal request, yes, on my part. It may have been an oversight, but now that it’s been mentioned, I’ll give it some consideration. I remember I was invited to a ceremony by the disabled, but I was not even in the country when the invitation came. I have not received any formal request from them.
How did you arrive at the composition of membership for the Victor Ndoma -Egba Scholarship Board?
Let me appreciate the Scholarship Board ably led by Dr. Margaret Ndoma- Egba. For several years, we have had this award, and for this period, there has been no whispers of favouritism in the award. It is very telling, it means they are men and women of integrity and I do not regret their choice. This programme has become my flagship programme.
Let me use this opportunity to say a word on how they were appointed. In every society you’ll find cynics and those cynics actually see things from another perspective. I have heard that I appointed my ‘wife’ the chairman of the scholarship scheme. She is my wife; in Africa, your brother’s wife is also your wife. But the appointments of this scholarship board were made by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003, owing to my discussion of the issue with the then state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Sonny Abang, that I wanted to detach from the scheme.
I did not want to have any business with it; how recipients emerge. I wanted a professional job done with me completely isolated in the award process. My only business in the scholarship scheme is to provide the fund. I have no hands whatever on how recipients emerge. It is a competitive programme, and that is done by the scholarship board, having established their criteria.
Tullow touches disabled children
Tuesday, 29th June, 2010
Glover and Jimmy Kiberu, the Tullow’s corporate affairs manager, listen to Tinka
By Vision Reporter
TULLOW Oil has joined Katalemwa Cheshire Homes to raise awareness and funds for childhood disability in the country. Tullow’s contribution is part of the activities to mark the home’s 40th anniversary.
The centre rehabilitates children with disabilities. Katalemwa, Afro- Jazz musicians Richard Kaweesa and Michael Ouma, have already launched the “donate a concert” initiative in which companies, individuals and organisations can support the campaign through various donations including paying sh8m for the concert.
Tullow last week sponsored the first concert at Alliance Francaise in Kampala, raising sh30m with Wonderful International and Nile Breweries joining the cause with sh8m each.
Brian Glover, the Tullow general manager, noted that they appreciated Katalemwa’s efforts in helping children with disability. “They are doing a great work to improve the lives of children with disability and we chose to partner with them in order to create the momentum to raise more funds and to encourage other individuals and companies to join the cause,” Glover said.
Connie Tinka, the executive director of Katalemwa Chesire Homes, said the money would be used to reach many other children with disabilities across the country.
‘Take disabled children to school’
Wednesday, 30th June, 2010
By Esther Mukyala
and Charles Kakamwa
PARENTS and guardians of children with disabilities should take them to school instead of locking them up, an education official has said.
“Having a disabled child is not a curse. Endeavour to send them to school to acquire skills that will enable them have meaningful lives in future,” Sylvia Ntegyereze, the commissioner for disability and elderly affairs, said.
She was officiating at the graduation ceremony of Mpumudde Vocational Rehabilitation Centre in Jinja on Tuesday. A total of 48 graduands were awarded certificates in tailoring, knitting, weaving, handcraft, cookery, primary healthcare, and pre-school teaching.
She said the education ministry had put a lot of effort in promoting the education of the disabled people. “The ministry has come up with laws and councils to protect people with disabilities. The aim is to ensure that disabled children enjoy services like the able-bodied ones. You should, therefore, get to understand those laws so that you love and treat them well,” Ntegyereze advised.