Disabled man commits suicide after fight with wife
By SIZWE MAZIYA on July 01,2010
NHLANGANO-Mystery surrounds the death of a well known disabled hawker who is alleged to have committed suicide by swallowing an undisclosed number of weevil tablets after a fight with his wife.
Sabelo Sibandze (42) of Madulini under Shiselweni 11 constituency was allegedly found lying dead on his bed by his 25 year old wife, Nondumiso (nee Lushaba), of Mahlalini on Tuesday at around 7am.
His wife is said to have reported the sad news to her mother in law while in a confused state and was profusely bleeding from her head, alleging that she had been battered by her husband using a hammer.
Sabelo was hawker at the new Nhlangano Bus Rank.
Nondumiso is alleged to have claimed that after the assault, she collapsed and when she regained consciousness, her husband was dead after allegedly taking weevil tablets. Howard Sibandze, the deceased’s brother said there was blood and vomit on the floor in the main bedroom.
It is alleged that the couple started fighting after the deceased discovered his wife was allegedly cheating on him.
Howard confirmed the couple had problems in their relationships. He said they were still in the dark as to what exactly caused the fight that night.
He said they could not dispute allegations that the couple got in a serious fight as a knobkerrie and a hammer were found next to the bed.
Sabelo had his right arm amputated in 1987 after being diagnosed with cancer. Family members alleged that Nondumiso disappeared without a trace and came back two weeks ago claiming she had been admitted to a hospital in South Africa, Johannesburg.
It is said when she was pressed further on her whereabouts, she changed tune claiming she was hired by the same hospital. As a result of her mysterious disappearance, according to Howard a family meeting was held this past Sunday at the family compound to try and solve the problems.
"We tried to talk to them and warned our sister in law against disappearing without trace because that showed she did not respect our brother and tarnished the image of the family. A prayer was also held for their problems on Saturday," said Sibandze.
Nondumiso is alleged to have sustained a fractured skull and is currently admitted to hospital.
Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Assistant Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed the report and said it was being investigated by the Nhlangano police.
Government wants to involve disabled
01 July, 2010 10:00:00 By Faith Vilakati
DEPUTY Prime Minister Themba Masuku says government wants to involve all relevant groups including the young and people with disabilities, in the implementation of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
He explained that the purpose of the UN Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by all persons with disabilities and promote respect for their inherent dignity.
Masuku said this during the official launch of The Young Voices Project in a function held at Tum’s George Hotel on Tuesday.
The DPM was representated by Abner Dlamini.
Also present in the function was Senators Thandi Shongwe and Tom Mndzebele, FODSWA President Makhosini Makhubu while US Ambassador was represented by Craig Pike, Political and Economic Officer.
He explained that the effects of the implementation of the convention had seen achievement in the representation of Persons with Disabilities in strategic areas, promotion of Signs Language Communication Skills for civil servants in order to encourage a barrier free access to service.
Masuku added that implementation of the convention had also seen the achievement of the free education initiative which, he said, had seen children with disabilities realising the right to education without discrimination.
“The Deputy Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a programme in collaboration with the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) for qualifying students with disabilities to be enrolled at the university so that they access life-long learning without discrimination on an equal basis with others.
“The office is also encouraging and promoting employment opportunities for People with Disabilities and this is in conformity with provision of Article 27 of the UN Convention.”
He applauded members of the Young Voices for having volunteered for this noble exercise.
Masuku said he believed such an initiative would go a long way in educating young people in the country who have disabilities about the Convention.
Africans seek to halt abuse of disabled persons
Friday 2 July 2010 / by Stanley Kwenda Dossier : Africa Renewal
Despite treaties, charity and political advocacy, people with disabilities in Africa still struggle to meet their basic needs and their basic rights. Social injustice and official neglect are often the greatest disabilities they face.
Masimba Kuchera was born blind in Zimbabwe. 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 personal life, he remains saddened by the fact that many others in his situation will not be able to live full and productive lives, 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.
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.
Many 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.”
Part of the problem stems from social attitudes, experts say. The general feeling is that the only places for a disabled person are in the street or in front of either a church or mosque, begging. The situation is worse in rural areas, where children with disabilities are usually confined to the house because of long-held 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 in Zimbabwe.
It is vital work, because women with disabilities face especially severe discrimination. A 2004 report by Save the Children Norway found that nearly 9 of every 10 girls with disabilities had been sexually abused.
Approximately half of these girls were mentally challenged. Of those who had been abused, 52.4 per cent tested positive for HIV.
In a number of countries in Southern Africa there are non-governmental organizations that agitate for the welfare of disabled people, with some focusing on those with specific needs, such as the blind, deaf, paralyzed or mentally ill. Most groups also challenge governments to implement policies for the rights of the disabled.
One such organization is Disabled People’s International. Joshua Malinga, who is wheelchair-bound, is a founding member. 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.”
The African Union is trying to change that. 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 those concerns in their national programmes.
Improvements in some countries
Nationally there have also been some improvements as well. 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.
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.
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.
But political will is still sorely needed in most other African countries. “Being disabled is a permanent state which needs permanent solutions,” Mr. Malinga argues. Those solutions, he concluded, “can only come from our governments.”
Unsung sports hero in race to end poverty
Daily Nation, Kenya
5 July 2010
He is one of the world-famed sportsmen, basking in the glory of United Nations honorary awards, yet he is the most unsung hero in Kenya’s athletics records.
He was named the 2009 UN Person of the Year, United Nations Development Programme Judicial Ambassador and a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Advocate for Africa in recognition of his advocacy against poverty eradication among disabled people.
And Henry Kiprono Kirwa, a visually impaired athlete, lived up to his billing.
Two weeks ago, he led the Kenyan team on an international duty to Africa Paralympics Athletics Championships in Casablanca, Morocco, where he won gold and silver medals in 5,000 metres and 1,500 metres in the T12 cadre.
Kirwa and world 100m and 200m record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica were the only athletes who won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The athlete stunned the world when he bagged gold medals in 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m races.
The triple Paralympics champion, who was brought up by a single parent after his father died while he was a toddler, added another accolade to his roll of honours - he took part in the annual Beirut Marathon, Lebanon - 10km fun race - finishing in second place.
The sporting event, which started in 2003, rolls out every December.
Kirwa was invited by the Beirut Marathon Association on behalf of the Lebanese Government, to take part in this marathon owing to his continuous work with UNDP Kenya in creating awareness and advocating for the inclusion of people living with disabilities in the development agenda for equal opportunities and overall attainment of MDGs by 2015.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri were at hand to award Kirwa a trophy and honorary medal at the end of the race for his exceptional performance. He was later granted the honour of addressing the President and Prime Minister.
“The road into the global glory was not simply a walk in the park. Initially, I used to look after someone’s herd of cattle in Uasin Gishu and when I found it hard to raise my family with the little earnings, I decided on running.
“However, friends and neighbours brushed off my dreams and instead suggested that I could have bought a jembe and got down to tilling land. But God answered my prayers,” said the father of four.
Kirwa’s achievement surprised his Kalenjin community who are notorious for hiding disabled children for fear of shame.
Having bought cows for disabled sportsmen in the Rift Valley to help them raise their living standards, Kirwa always asks families to stop locking up disabled children in granaries and help them nurture their talents.
Kirwa, who has been running for the past nine years, is rarely recognised among dignitaries and at times even goes unmentioned at public forums.
The United Nations in Kenya annually selects an individual or institution whose initiative has not attracted a great deal of publicity, but is involved in a sector where the UN is also a player; one who has succeeded in bringing to public notice significant issues related to the MDGs and whose achievements are sustainable and serve as an inspiration to all Kenyans.
The selection of the “UN in Kenya Person of the Year” is made after an extensive round of consultations and voting by all members of the UN Communications Group, whose decision is endorsed by the heads of UN Agencies.
Mr Kirwa won the coveted title last year. He has been making efforts to fight poverty using sports despite his disability. He was born visually impaired at Samoo village, near Kapsabet, but has demonstrated that disability is not inability and that through sports the youth can break away from poverty.
Kenyan VP reaches out to people with disabilities
kBC (Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation)
6 July 2010
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has stressed the need to give people with disabilities in the country equal opportunities to realize their full potential.
Mr. Musyoka said the disabled are part and parcel of the society and that they should be made to feel like the able-bodied members of the society.
The Vice President also challenged the disabled to have faith in themselves and believe in their capacity to do even better than the able bodied.
This was contained in a speech read on his behalf by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ludeki Chweya, during the flagging off ceremony of special wheel chairs for the Paralympics dubbed ‘Wheels for Kenya', at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Tuesday.
The 500 wheelchairs have been donated by a Belgium foundation ‘To walk again' through Nike and will be distributed to people with disabilities in Kenya.
Mr. Musyoka said the Government has through the Disability Act of 2003 taken a raft of measures to fully integrate people with disabilities in the society.
"For those on wheel chairs, it is now mandatory for all public buildings to make provision for specially designed rumps that can allow for ease of access," he said.
He said that Kenya's sporting teams drawn from among people with disabilities have done the country proud in various international competitions and thus helped to confirm the potential inherent in them.
"Although only 1.5 percent of the 3 million populations of persons with disabilities in Kenya are actively engaged in sporting activities, it nonetheless shows that the disabled can also achieve even greater heights of achievement,'' said Mr. Musyoka.
The Vice President said over the years, Kenya has demonstrated supremacy in Paralympics sports in the Great Lakes region, Africa and world levels.
He singled out that in September 2006, the Kenya Paralympics team participated in the IPC World athletic championship in Assen Netherlands and brought home 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.
Mr. Musyoka said it was time to support and encourage the disabled to achieve even greater exploits not only in sports but in other aspects of the society.
Kenya: Schools for the Disabled Given Sh102 Million Boost
7 July 2010
Nairobi - People with disabilities have received Sh102.8 million to fund their education and to boost their businesses.
Gender, Children and Social Development minister Esther Murugi issued cheques for the programme to schools, colleges and self-help groups for the disabled.
The money was released from the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities. "This money will continue to increase as the fund secretariat increases its capacities and structures," the minister said.
The funds will enable the institutions to offer better services to disabled learners. The self-help groups from different parts of the country will invest the money in income-generating activities and small businesses to earn a living.
The funds were released after groups and schools submitted proposals, which were vetted before the funding was approved.
Wednesday's disbursement was part of the first round of the funding, in which a total of Sh140.3 million will have been released to the disabled.
Some physically disabled persons also received wheelchairs and other equipment worth Sh1.5 million at a ceremony in Nairobi.
Speaking during the function, Ms Murugi announced that in the last Budget, the Treasury allocated an additional Sh200 million to the fund.
The Fund was created after Parliament passed the Disability Act of 2003 to create a permanent kitty for advancing the welfare and living standards of disabled persons.
Lwini fund delivers donation to disabled children home
Benguela - The Lwini Foundation on Tuesday granted a donation of several goods to the disabled children at “Anjo da Guarda” home, in central Benguela province, during a ceremony witnessed by the First Lady, Ana Paulo dos Santos.
The donation comprised wheelchairs, didactic materials, tricycles, sound systems, television sets and others.Sister Margarida Bayeta, in charge of the home, expressed satisfaction at the grant, saying the goods will help to improve the social conditions of the 70 children that live in the home run by the Catholic church.
The gesture was also extended to the members of the association of disabled women based in Benguela province, who also got a donation.
During the ceremony of delivery, the deputy chairwoman of Lwini Foundation, Joana Lina Baptista, said the institution will continue with similar initiatives in favour of disable people.
Disability is not a Barrier to a Willing Soul
Nigerian Muse -
July 31st, 2010 posted by Seyi Oduyela
“Physical Disability is not a Barrier to a Willing Soul.”
David Akanji an educator with recent doctorate degree in Special
Education from Gallaudet University is a man who does not believe that
his sight impairment is an excuse for him not to reach the heights. In
fact he is a better cook than some sighted men. In this interview with
Seyi Oduyela, he shared his life experience. His journey that started
from Bode in Iwo, Nigeria, through Little Rock in Arkansas and now
Hyattsville in Maryland. He also spoke about his new book and his pet
Q: Who is Dr. David Akanji?
A: I am a native of Iwo in Osun State of Nigeria. It is very important
for me, at this particular time, to begin the story of my life in
earnest. An article writer says, “Life is a place full of struggles, it
is also like a pendulum which swings from side to side, no one knows
when and how it will fall.” As a blind person, I started my struggle in
life at a very early age. My philosophy of life is “physical disability
is not a barrier to a willing soul.”
Q: What year were you born and where is your place of birth?
A: I was born in 1955. Historically I was born at Bode, a village near
Iwo; a town in Osun State of Nigeria.
Q: Were you born blind?
A: I became blind when I was an infant.
Q: Tell us about your elementary education?
A: I did not start my primary education until I was 10 years old. I
started my education at Ogbomosho Blind Training Center in 1961.
Q: Where is Ogbomosho?
A: Ogbomosho is in Oyo State of Nigeria. I was there from 1961 to 1963.
During the same year, 1963, I was sent to my parents at Bode in order to
continue my primary school education. I was at Bode District Council
School from 1963 to 1966; when I successfully completed my primary
school education. I did not even stop there. In 1967, I had the
opportunity to attend Oshodi Vocational Training Center, where I learned
Advanced Braille and Telephone operation.
Q: Where is Oshodi?
A: Oshodi is in Lagos, former capital city of Nigeria. I was at the
Center from 1967 to 1968. In 1969 I attended Iwo Catholic Secondary
Modern School, where I learned typing. I was there till the end of 1970.
Q: What is Modern School?
A: Modern School is like Middle School. In 1971, I started my High
Education at Ibadan Christ Apostolic Grammar School, Aperin- Oniyere,
Ibadan, where I successfully completed my School Certificate papers with
flying colours. I was there from 1971 to 1975. In 1981, the then Oyo
State Government, sent me to the United States of America for further
studies. I was admitted by the then Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind.
I was there so that I could be taught to use some different types of
machines to enable me compete successfully with my sighted colleagues
Q: How long were you there?
A: I was there for two semesters. In 1982, I was admitted by Philander
Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas for my Degree program in Special
Education. I was at Philander from 1982 to 1985. I successfully
completed my degree in three years instead of four. I graduated with
Magna Cum Laudi. My thanks will always go to God and Dr. Joseph Amprey,
the Vice President for the Academic Advancement at Kutz Town University
in Pennsylvania; he was the one who got me a scholarship with which I
did my graduate program at Howard University in Washington DC.
Q: When did you start your graduate program at Howard and for what
A: I started my graduate program in 1986. I was at Howard from 1986 to
1987. I completed the program in 3 semesters instead of two years. My
course of study was M.Ed in Special education with specializing in
Q: Did you participate in any extracurricular activities on campus?
A: When I was at Philander, I was a member of “Who is Who” among
American Universities and Colleges. I was also a member of Alpha Kappa
Q: What did you do after you left Howard University?
A: After the completion of my MA at Howard, I had the opportunity to
teach Blind people like myself at Logan School for the Blind in North
East, DC, I taught sighted students too. I taught braille to blind
people and English Literature to the sighted people for many years. I
taught with the District of Columbia Public School. Most of my students
attended and still attending the University of the District of Columbia.
Q: You have a PhD, when and where did you do it?
A: Realistically, I started my PhD in 1998 at Gallaudet University,
Washington, DC. Frankly speaking, the journey at Gallaudet as far as
PhD is concerned was not a smooth one; but as the Lord would have it, I
survived the Doctoral ordeal. By the grace of God I took my qualifying
exams and passed.
Q: What did you write your PhD Thesis on, how did you choose the topic
A: The topic of my dissertation had been in my mind since the time I was
at Philander after I had seriously looked into the problems of blind
people like me in Nigeria. As I was thinking about this problem, I
started to have the feeling that one day I will go into the Nitti gritty
of these problems. As I was examining the problems facing blind people
in Nigeria, I was able to put realize that the contributing factor to
the problems of blind and visually impaired in Nigeria must be poor
management on the part of administrators.
Q: What are the challenges you are facing?
A: The journey has not been easy. One thing about disability that I do
not like so much is that you have to prove yourself to people every time.
As far as people are concerned, once a person is disabled, there is
nothing, absolutely nothing can come out of you. I t is left to the
physically challenged person to prove that physical disability is not a
barrier to a willing soul, and also there is no mountain a man or woman
cannot climb provided he or she set mind on it.
Q: How did you become blind, since you stated earlier that you were not
A: When I was a small child, my parents said it was small pox. You know
in our country, a very little thing could be blown out of proportion;
that is, through the, those evil doers.
Q: when you look back at the beginning and now how do you feel?
A: As far as my accomplishments, I strongly believe that I have changed
most people’s attitude towards people who are physically challenged. If
I can do this, then there is no excuse for anybody not to want to strive.
Q: Tell us more about your family. What is your position and how many
A: I am the third child. My mother gave birth to five children. My
father is a polygamist. He married two wives.
Q: From what I know and understand about Iwo people, they are
predominantly Muslims. Were you a Muslim before you became a Christian?
A: I was born Muslim, my Muslim name is Sabitu.
Q: Why and how did you become a Christian?
A: When I was at Ogbomosho Blind Training Center, the Baptist
Missionaries preached to me and I found Jesus through them. Most
importantly, through me, all the people in my family are Christians now.
Q: What led to the book you wrote on Blind Education in Nigeria?
A: As I have already said, being a blind person and when I got here, ,
especially when I was in Nigeria, I started to go to school, I
encountered a lot of problems. There is nothing more stressful,
especially when you are physically challenged and you are struggling to
survive and people are putting barriers upon barriers on your way. If
you don’t have God’s backing and you are not fully determined, there
is every possibility for that particular person to give up. As a result
that I did not give up and I was able to compete my Secondary education
in Nigeria, I made up my mind that well, whatever is going to happen, I
am not going to sit down and fold my arms and see other blind people
encounter the same problems I encountered when I was young like them. As
I have told you, my PhD Dissertation topic came when I was doing my
second statistics at Philander. When I went to Nigeria for data
collection, , and blind people started to narrate to me, what, those of
them who are attending school, what they are going through; I was
weeping inside me. I don’t why they should be neglected like that. As a
matter of fact, the government is not even ready to care for them. Some
of them were sent to vocational schools but after graduation, they have
nothing to do. No jobs and the government is not doing anything to set
them up, so they eventually went back to begging for survival. So I felt
someone has to stand up to do something to help this people and that is
exactly why I decided to write the book.
Q: What do you think your book will do?
A: To serve as an eye opener. It is a wakeup call to Nigeria government
at all levels.
Q: What message do you have for physically challenged people?
A: They should be fully determined. They should not allow anybody to
intimidate them or tell them that cannot do anything about their
condition, because disability is not inability.
Q: What do you think the Nigerian government should do about education?
A: I think the system of education in Nigeria should be reviewed
because we have been giving ourselves what I can call mental torture.
For instance now, you tell me that someone who passed literature and
science but failed English language, then cannot go to the University,
did he write his science, literature, economics and other subjects he
passed in another language? For the physically challenged, government
should provide adequate educational materials that will help the
disabled get the right education they deserve. And those sent to
Vocational Training centers should be taken care of. They need to be
Q: what is the difference between living in Nigeria and America as a
physically challenged person?
A: oh my goodness! The gap is too wide. First, America takes proper care
of physically challenged people. Let me give you an example, on metro
buses and train, disabled people enjoy priority seating. The sidewalks
here too enable blind man like to go anywhere with my cane. Nothing like
that exists in Nigeria, not because we cannot afford it back home it is
because of lack of priority of the government in Nigeria. Those who are
not even physically challenged find it hard to live comfortably.
Q: What do you for fun?
A: I don’t go to parties. Any party you see me, that person must be
very important to me. I do go to parties on very rare occasion.
Q; You live by yourself. How do you all the things you do by yourself?
A: That is training. That is why America is great. I learned a lot of
self-reliant skills at the Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind. They
taught me how to cook. I did not know that I could do what I am doing
now; I realized my potentials at Arkansas Enterprises for the Blind. I
can do almost everything by myself. I can cook, bake cake and more;
before I will request for any help from sighted person, I should have
tried so hard.
Q: Do you consider going back home?
A: Yes. I am working on a project now. I have a foundation. The project
is setting up School system from elementary to University and Vocational
Training Center to help physically challenged people. I am hoping to
start next year. We are looking for funding now.
Oni Gives Scholarship, Donates Buses To Physically-challenged
By Yaqoub Popoola Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti
No fever than 60 physically challenged students of Ekiti State origin are presently enjoying scholarship.
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Segun Oni, disclosed this while presenting three 18-seater buses to three Special Schools in the state.
The vehicles were procured from donations of some Friends of the Governor and were presented to the Head Teachers of the schools.
The beneficiaries were School of the Blind Ikere, School of the Deaf, Ikoro, and the School of the Mentally Retarded and Physically Handicapped, Ido-Ekiti.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the governor’s office Ado-Ekiti, Oni reiterated his administration’s commitment to its policy of providing automatic scholarship to students with disability.
Oni added that over 60 disabled students of Ekiti origin were presently enjoying the scholarship scheme.
The governor assured that his administration would continue to give students that are physically challenged the required support and encouragement that would enable them study to the highest level.
He also urged pupils of the schools to utilize their immense abilities and potentials to attain greatness.
“God has created you with immense ability and potentials. Don’t be discouraged about your physical challenges; your abilities are greater than your challenges.
“I want you to hold on to your abilities and train yourself to be one of the best in the world. Think about what you can do. God has given you an advantage over others because you are not going to run around and indulge in those distractions other pupils engage in. I want you to put your thinking to good use. I want you to use your ability to conquer your challenge,” Oni counselled the pupils.
He disclosed that a platform under which well-to-do citizens from across the world can donate to pupils of the school would soon be opened, adding that donations would be properly acknowledged and recorded in the schools.
The governor said as part of efforts to make life more comfortable for students of the three special schools, his administration had procured and distributed specially produced mattresses for students of the schools.
He urged teachers of the schools to properly prepare the pupils for future challenges and to always remind them that their future was assured with hard work and dedication to duty.
Responding, Commissioner for Education and Technology, Mr. Bade Adara, expressed appreciation to Oni for the initiative.
Responding on behalf the students of the three schools, Master Taofeek Ogundana of School of the Deaf, Ikoro, who spoke in sign language expressed appreciation to the governor for the gesture.
Namibia: Football Leaves Legacy of Hope
11 July 2010
Windhoek - Throughout the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, organisers have insisted that the legacy of the event goes far beyond the sporting spectacle. In the dusty streets of a Windhoek township, Deon Namiseb believes this is true.
Katutura is one of 20 sites where a Football for Hope Centre is being constructed. The Federation International de Football Association (FIFA), in conjunction with Special Olympics Namibia and the streetfootballworld network are establishing a facility where people with disabilities can play football alongside their non-disabled counterparts, helping to overcome widespread discrimination.
"My main aim is that the community be involved," says Namiseb, standing proud and serious in his worn-out golf shirt, red shorts and tennis shoes. "They should come and enjoy themselves and be part of what we are doing here and we share knowledge in whatever aspect of life."
Namiseb was born with an intellectual disability and an under-developed right hand. For all of his 32 years of life, he has been shunned by most in his community.
Despite this, he briefly coached a female football team in Okahandja, a small town some 70 kilometres outside Windhoek. He says the Centre will offer him the first opportunity to play football alongside able-bodied people, across lines of prejudice that have shaped his life.
"It's difficult to grow up your whole life being made aware left, right and centre that you are different from the majority of people," he says.
"Some people don't even want to come near you as if you have leprosy or some other infectious disease.
"I might be disabled but I am not any different from anyone and I am hoping that through this initiative the able-bodied youth soccer players we will play alongside will be our ambassadors to society and tell them that disability does not make anyone lesser human," Namiseb told IPS at the Centre's bricklaying ceremony.
"We are the same and we are capable of doing what any other person can do."
The Football for Hope Centre in Katutura will provide facilities to more than 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities as well as other members of the community. In addition to sport, the Centre will help athletes acquire basic computer literacy skills and provide education on reproductive and sexual health.
"Because we are disabled one way or the other does not mean our bodies behave differently from other human beings," Namiseb says.
"We have the same needs. The fact that we will be taught more about our bodies is wonderful. I know for a fact that most disabled women are sexually abused and if they are made aware of what sexual abuse is, it will help them to protect themselves against it.
"I will try to use my one strong hand for the computer lessons," he says, a big smile on his face, "it does not matter that I might not get a job to use these skills but the knowledge is valuable."
Able-bodied Joe Shipala also hopes to be part of the initiative. He says he only came to realise the unfair discrimination againstpeople with disabilities when his mother was involved in a car accident and had to have her legs amputated.
"It was an eye-opener and seeing my mother being discriminated hurts so much. Our father even divorced her after the accident because he did not want a wheelchair-bound wife. But I can't disown my mother because of disability; she did not choose to be that way and I don't see her any different."
He says he wants to be part of this initiative to show society that disability does not mean inability.
Shipala also says if admitted to the programme, he will stand to benefit from the computer training which he will use when he finishes his diploma in commerce.
The national director of Special Olympics Namibia, Stay-C Namases, feels sport is very important for those with intellectual disabilities, because it can bring them together on an equal footing with people who usually shun them.
"Sport is very vital to those who are disabled because it helps to integrate them into mainstream society. People don't want to interact with them, they discriminate [against] them. [Sport] is a tangible initiative that can bring the disabled and the non-disabled to one place were they come play, have fun and interact together," Namases told IPS.
Namiseb, who lives with his mother says he is grateful to FIFA and the Special Olympics for making the resources for the Centre available.
"After all the discrimination we have gone through it's touching to know that someone remembers, someone cares about us. Although we can't pay back with money I hope that our smiles are enough to show them how grateful we are."
The Football for Hope initiative foresees the establishment of 20 centres across Africa. In addition to the Katutura Centre, facilities in South Africa, Ghana, Mali Rwanda and Kenya have already opened or are near completion.
Kenya: Document is Alive to the Needs of Disabled
11 July 2010
Nairobi - What rights does the proposed constitution accord to disabled persons?
The current Constitution does not make specific mention of disabled people. However, a wide reading of Section 82 can be taken to include the disabled by implication.
The section outlaws discrimination on account of language, religion, race, tribe, place of origin, creed or gender. The law that provides specifically for the disabled is the Persons with Disabilities Act (2003).
The Act asserts the rights of disabled persons and prohibits discrimination from education, employment and other opportunities.
Article 54 of the proposed constitution provides for the rights and legal entitlements of the disabled as follows:
The right to be treated with dignity and respect; The right to education; The right to reasonable access to all places, public transport and information. The right to use sign language or Braille or other means of communication; This however, exists under the Persons with Disabilities Act which requires all TV broadcasters to provide a sign language inlet or sub-titles in all newscasts.
The disabled shall also have the right to access materials and devices which help them overcome their constraints.
In addition, the proposed constitution seeks to ensure that disabled people compose at least 5 per cent of elective or appointive bodies. Article 98(2) of the proposed constitution says at least two senate seats shall be reserved for the disabled. These will be from a list submitted by each party that contests seats in the senate.
Article 97 says there must be at least some persons who are or represent the disabled from the list of 12 nominated to the National Assembly.The proposed constitution is, therefore, alive to the needs to integrate disabled persons in society at all levels.
Nigeria’s Preparation Suffers Setback
Author: pmnews Date: Jul 12th, 2010.
Nigeria’s deaf football national team may not have a good outing at the coming 1st West Africa Deaf Football Championship.
The tourney will be played from 1-9 August, 2010 at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, Nigeria. The competition which is supported by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will see 12 countries in the sub-region fight for honour in the one-week competition.
P.M.Sports gathered that Nigerian team have not started preparation less than a month to the inaugural West Africa Deaf Football Championship.
This situation has been a source of concern for the players and coaches.
The players attributed the poor preparation to lack of funds from the Nigeria Deaf Sports Federation.
Chief coach of the Nigerian team, Kamilu Banjo, confirmed that the team are still waiting for the federation to give them the go ahead to begin preparations. Kamilu is worried that if the team do not prepare well, the hosts may have a disastrous outing at the tournament.
“With less than a month to the tourney we are yet to call the players to camp. We supposed to be in camp in Kaduna by now, but we have not got necessary support from the federation.
“The players are not happy about this situation and it will not be good if we host the tourney and crash out in the early stage. My belief is that other countries have been preparing for the competition for a long time,” he said
Kamilu said if his boys could get the necessary support as early as possible, he is optimistic that Nigeria can still go far in the tournament. He called on the federation to give the team the attention they deserve for the championship.
Turning a disability into a great vision
Submitted by dominah on Monday, July 12th, 2010
Monday, July 12th, 2010 13:15:00
HAND IN HAND: Henry and Joseph at the Running Clinic & Motivation Session with Standard Chartered Goodwill Ambassadors at the National Sports Complex, Bukit Jalil
Pics by Salhani Ibrahim
It was just like any other morning in the Kikuyu, the Kenyan slums village. Henry Wanyoike woke up, enthusiastic about another day of training.
However, there was something amiss that day - it seemed darker and gloom-ier. Henry couldn't understand what was happening, but as the day passed on, Henry began to realise that it was his eyes that had gone dark and blurry. He was losing his vision.
At the age of 21, Henry lost his vision almost overnight due to a minor stroke he had experienced while he slept. He had been training to be an elite athlete since he was a child, but the unexpected blindness not only stole his dream but it had also darkened his soul.
For three whole years, Henry strug-gled with suicidal depression. He had given up on his dream. After years of treatment, Henry was sent to the Macha-kos Technical Institute for the Blind for a rehabilitation programme. It was here that Henry found a new light to his life.
"Growing up in Kenya, many children look up to and idolise athletes as they realise that not only will this gain them fame but it will also help them earn more and have a better life. So naturally, Itoo grew up wanting to be a star ath-lete as well.
"But when I became blind, I didn't think I could achieve my dream until I found other blind people at the institution learning to knit and do office work. Then, it hit me that I could still be an athlete and so I kept on training, and here I am now," said Henry.
Henry and Joseph Kibunja (Henry's running partner) have been running together for nine years. Henry ran the Sydney Paralympics 5,000m marathon in 2000 with another buddy who unfor-tunately could not keep up with Henry's fast pace to the finish line. Henry won the gold medal but missed the world record.
"When Henry returned from Sydney, he asked me if I wanted to be his run-ning buddy. At first, I was hesitant and scared, as I had never trained to be a runner. I didn't even think I could do it. But, Henry being the optimist that he is, said that he would help me learn.
"And so we trained and trained for two years un-til we adapted to one another's rhythm and pace," said Joseph who happens to also be Henry's neighbourhood friend.
"Having to run with a partner is very difficult as we both have our own pace but after so many years of practice and marathons, I couldn't imagine running with anyone else," said Henry.
Perhaps this partnership between Henry and Joseph can be described as a "marriage" of sorts. Both parties having to tolerate each other, learn to compro-mise, adapt, be supportive and have the patience to make it work.
"I trust Joseph as he is my eyes. He sees everything for me," said Henry. Joseph smiled brightly as he shares the importance of being supportive in a partnership.
"There are days when I am ill or am tired, but Henry will be there, constantly pushing me to strive harder. And this truly works both ways. When I'm run-ning with Henry, I would also give him words of encouragement to keep go-ing."
ONE MISSION : Joseph (left) and Henry will continue doing good for the needy Henry, who was recently in Malaysia with his running partner Joseph, was participating in the KLMarathon or-ganised by Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia.
Not only did this world record marathon runner participate in the mar-athon, but as ambassador for Standard Chartered's corporate social responsibil-ity (CSR) programme Seeing Is Believing, Henry and Joseph worked with young blind runners from the Malaysian Blind Association - giving them tips on run-ning marathons through a mini clinic held recently.
"I love working with children with dis-abilities. I knew how it felt to be lost in despair and I realise that they, too, need to be inspired. They need to realise that they can achieve their dreams despite their disabilities, " he said encourag-ingly.
It is hard enough for a "normal" per-son to run a 5,000m marathon, let alone to win the challenge! But for Henry, run-ning is his passion and through this pas-sion, not only has he touched many lives in Kenya but also, has made his stamp through various paths by using the win-nings he gains to help others in need.
Speaking to Henry and his running partner Joseph, one can only sit and lis-ten to their inspiring words of wisdom and encouragement. You would be in-stantly drawn to his determination to create awareness towards the full life a person with disability could have.
"Although I lost my sight, I never lost my vision," Henry says encouragingly. This statement also happens to be the motto, which Henry stands by in his life. This optimism and strength drove Hen-ry to set-up his self-named foundation, Henry Wanyoike Foundation.
The Foundation opened in March 2005 with the aim to help those with disabilities find a new life despite their loss.
"Today, we are no longer for our-selves. We are running for others, run-ning to give those who have disabilities a chance for a better life. The more we run, the more we can help give sight to blind people through the Standard Chartered's Seeing is Believing cam-paign," said Henry.
The Standard Chartered's global com-munity programme aims at eradicating avoidable blindness by raising US$20 million (RM64 million) to help 20 mil-lion people around 20 global cities. An example of the programme's goal is to donate special cameras to hospitals which can help diagnose blindness due to diabetes.
Through the years, Henry and Joseph have not only helped thousands of Ke-nyans but have been around the world creating awareness, encouraging other blind runners to achieve their dreams, published a book and started many charitable projects.
Yet, these two best friends still manage to find time to train, win marathons and hold on to their world records with pride. Henry and Joseph are both an inspiration to many, not only to budding blind runners, but also to everyone in the world.
Tackling the Plights of PWDs: A Path to Development
Columnist: Dominic Osei Boakye
“One always overcompensates for disabilities. I am thinking of having my entire body surgically removed.” - Douglas Adams
“I congratulate President Obama for taking some time today to remember the 19th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. There is no place in our society for prejudice of any kind, yet it was that long ago when Americans with disabilities were often not given equal rights and opportunities. Whether the cause was ignorance or indifference, it was not acceptable. We can all take pride in how much the ADA has accomplished, which is evident every time you attend a sporting event, ride the subway, or go to work. Yet, there is always more to be done, which is why it's good not only to celebrate our successes, but to look forward at what still must be done. As long as we never forget that every life is a miracle and each person has something to contribute, we will finish the job.”- Former President George H. W. Bush.
The disabled, a group of people which have received less attention from a majority in the country (Ghana), have been with us time immemorial.
These groups of people, despite their long existence among us have received unintended harsh treatment from both the government and the citizens of this country, most especially their families; in the sense that bad perception we have about them has been maintained. The bad perception is that disabled are incapable of doing anything due to their physical state, and this has made us belittled their capabilities. Also to worsen their condition, they have been neglected to the extent that a majority of them have to sit by the road side, with cup in hand, begging for their daily bread; a daily routine which is done under the mercy of the climate changing weather.
Also, they experience other unintended harsh treatment such as denial of education, a means through which they can assimilate into the society.
The disabled in society are viewed from an angle where only their incapability rather than abilities are seen; thereby shifting the attention of family and loved ones to how the responsibility of caring for their needs will be executed. Most human rights activists and organizations which are concerned about them seems to pay more attention to their feeding and clothing than their education; which can help them depend on themselves when donations made to them cease.
Again, most buildings in the country are built in such a way that it either restricts disables to a portion of it or does not allow them to have access to their use. It is very pathetic that a country such as ours which claims to have laws, which protects the interest of disables, has most of its buildings unfriendly to them.
Lastly, people with disabilities are sometimes regarded as second class citizens of society. They are discriminated on grounds of their disabilities to a point that, they are made to feel like an alien among people. Few people accept them the way they are. Most people seem uncomfortable with them, to the extent of ignoring them in community activities; refused to marry them; insult them; refuse to offer them a means of transport (especially the public vans or 'trotro') and sexually abused. The worst of it all, some employers do not offer employment to qualified disables in their companies due to their physical state.
These harsh treatments shown to our disabled brothers and sisters send an unintended message to them, which is, “they are more or less not needed among us”. Also, one thing we should note is the fact that one is disabled doesn't mean his or her survival only depends on charitable aids by organizations or people in society. But we can help them become the career person they want to be; hence giving them the opportunity to also contribute their quota to society as well as live their desired lifestyle.
All what our brothers and sisters with disabilities want is the support of all to help them live in a world designed primarily for the able- bodied. People with disabilities want to live life no differently than anyone else. They want to be able to go to work or have something lucrative doing, go out to have fun with loved ones, giving the opportunity to show what they have and enjoy life. Hence, fully realizing that must be done within the boundaries of their limitations.
To ensure this, we should know that, the general perception of the community about the educational needs of PWDs is very poor: Many think that people of various disabilities should not go to school as they will not be able to learn or will affect the learning of other “normal” students. Partly these attitudes accounts for why most PWDs never go to school. One dangerous thing which aid in the deprivation of their education is their disabilities not noticed earlier and even for those who have been noticed early, they are forcedly enrolled into schools for the able-bodied thinking they will cope as time goes on (an act driven by lack of funds for parents to enroll their wards into few schools for PWDs which might be far for them to afford even regular transportation than to pay their regular boarding fees). This explains why most of students with disability, which are unnoticed earlier, have difficulties at school because of their disability, including difficulties in travel, learning, communication with teachers and classmates.
In view of this, regular medical tests should be conducted before and after enrollment (in the elementary school) at least once before every term to know the health status of students than to wait until a stage where the student is entering the tertiary institution (where all might be lost).
Again, now that the constitution of Ghana is undergoing a review, it would be of greater necessity if provisions that stress on the installation of structures (such as wheelchair ramps, elevators and others) that will enable PWDs move freely to any part of a building most especially buildings of higher heights (than restricting them to some part of the building) are inserted into the constitution.
Lastly, trends should be changed from been charitable to PWD to showing support to them through the provision of health and social insurance by employing them when they qualify for jobs and provision of vocational training hence showing them how to fish than giving them fish daily (what will happen if the hand that gives the fish is no more there or have no fish to give). And this is not a charge only to be kept by government (to whom PWD would be grateful to if policies are made to ensure the above stated point) but all and sundry.
In conclusion, the Creator of the universe has its way of compensating the physically challenged that is by giving him or her extraordinary ability which in most cases exceeds that of an average able bodied person. And for that matter they should be treated as a blessing but not a burden to society. With the right method of training, the potentials locked deep down within disables in the country can be discovered hence breaking the myth of the disables as being a societal curse or burden.
The author, Dominic Osei Boakye is at the Department of Economics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Universities To Promote Sign Language
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 08:35
The Kyambogo University of Uganda and the University of Lancashire in the United Kingdom in collaboration with the University of Ghana (UG) have held an opening ceremony on a three-day seminar on sign language and empowerment of the deaf.
The seminar seeks to consolidate efforts of Universities to deepen the study of sign language through networking with similar institutions in the United Kingdom and Uganda which have gone far in empowering the disabled by providing appropriate academic and technical infrastructure and also institutionalising sign language in their curriculum.
Speaking at the seminar in Accra yesterday, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Yankah stated that he was gratified when the Linguistics Department tabled a proposal through the various statutory committees to add sign language to the department’s course a year ago.
Mr.Yankah said, he is looking forward to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kyambogo University of Uganda, University of Lancashire in the United Kingdom and the University of Education to allow teaching and technical staff to exchange visits and embark on collaborative research.
He noted that empowering the deaf is one of the major roles of the University and is of immense significance in drawing the attention of other Universities to their pivotal role in educating the disabled, discovering hidden academic propensities, instilling confidence in them to further their education and make a meaningful contribution to national development.
According to him, the University’s role is partly that of leadership and developing policies, making physical infrastructure accessible to people with disabilities and creating teaching and learning disability friendly academic programmes.
“Any discussion on disability in Ghana or anywhere that seeks answers or explanations to attitudes, or seeks policy interventions without reference to culture, is an exercise in futility” he emphasised.
Mr. Kwabena Poku, the co-ordinator of students with special needs, University of Ghana, observed that since the deaf use sign language to communicate, it is the responsibility of the teachers to help them read and write with the language they understand and also help them progress in their education.
Mr. Poku indicated that the seminar analyses two secondary data to assess the educational levels of deaf students, the academic achievements and performance of these students compared to the blind and physically challenged students, relative to accessing tertiary institutions in Ghana.
He said, the results indicate a widespread low academic achievement among deaf students compared to the blind and physically challenged colleagues, inhibiting their access to higher education in Ghana.
Source: ISD (Antoinette Mintah & Adjoa Agyei)
Kenya: Bishop Urges Faithful to Reject New Law
13 July 2010
Nairobi - Catholic Bishop Cornelius Korir has called on the Church faithful to reject the proposed constitution at the referendum.
The Eldoret Catholic diocese bishop said there was no need to pass a document that would contravene the Church's doctrine, especially the right to life.
"The debate on where life begins and the clause that would allow abortion stands out against the Catholic doctrines. It needs to be reviewed first and all contentious issues in the draft are harmonised," Bishop Korir, who is a former chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference said.
He said the Church was guiding its flock to shoot down the proposed constitution, at the referendum on August 4, since the few contentious issues were not addressed.
He was speaking at Kobil School of the Disabled in Keiyo North district Tuesday during happy day - an annual event marked to allow well wishers offer help and pay homage to special people in the society.
At the same time, Bishop Korir dismissed the proposed pay raise for MPs saying they were inconsiderate.
"Our MPs move to push for salary increment shows how much greed thrives in their souls," Bishop Korir said.
He called on legislators to address the issue of unaffordable healthcare in the country, where millions of Kenyans live below the poverty line.
A total of Sh300,000 was raised at the annual event that also saw donations of food and clothes.
Disabled get sh30m from government
Wednesday, 14th July, 2010
KAMPALA - The Government has given sh30m to persons with disabilities to enable them set up income-generating projects. A total of 27 groups of disabled people received cheques at the City Hall gardens recently.
A commissioner from the gender ministry, Herbert Baryayebwa, said the money would be deposited on each group’s bank account.
Earlier, the district director for community services, Lovisa Mukasa, had announced that each group had to produce a copy of the deposit slip for accountability purposes.
Constitution: Have your say
Written by Anonymous
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 13:37
People should be aware of the level of intimidation in Bikita West, Ward five. This is being spearheaded by Ward Four and Ward five councillors Kenny Makuvaza and one Gwashira. People are threatened not to talk during the constitution outreach meetings. A member of the army, British Makota moves around with a gun, and he is accompanied by other armed soldiers. They abduct and threaten people. But all these perpetrators should ask William Nhongonhema about what befell other Zanu(PF) thugs here. People here are beginning to use silent means- like witchcraft- to deal with these thugs. Zanu (PF) is putting the lives of its cadres in danger because people can simply evoke an avenging spirit against someone who killed their relative. - Anonymous
Thank you to all of you at The Zimbabwean for making noise about the constitution. You are indeed a voice for the voiceless. - Sam Matanhike, Cape Town
Zimbabweans should never forget the most topical issue in Zimbabwe’s constitution - the issue of the term of office for the president. If we do not address it, then the whole exercise of reform might as well be a waste of resources and time. The 2000 constitution draft was good except that it did not address that issue and that is why I voted ‘no’ to it.
If people are to accept any draft, then must NOT be silent on presidential terms of office. The maximum age for one to stand as president should be up to 70 years of age. I urge people to help themselves by spreading this message. Smses should fly all over the country. This is our only chance to redeem ourselves or we remain in fear. It is true that the process is not perfect but let us try to work for perfection within that framework because we are the ones who are supposed to engage in a struggle to straighten what is not right. - Anonymous
I think ZA’s idea of five regions is okay, and on top of that, each province must rule itself and have its own parliament just like in the USA, after all we are using their currency. - SM PTA
The constitution outreach team is not equipped to reach out to the deaf and mute persons in the communities. Deaf Advocate
A Zanu (PF) youth, Paul Gwaze, also known as Guard, of Chidzvokorera Village Ward 4, Guruve is promising to behead all the perceived supporters of MDC who will contribute to the outreach teams. - Anonymous
The new constitution should be written with a section that allows refugees and all those in exile to vote from their foreign residencies.
I personally wish to contest as a Member of Parliament in my Hurungwe West home. I hope this new constitution will make us realise our dreams as Zimbabweans . -Mhofu Yemukono S.A
Disabled woman ‘raped, assaulted’
by Helvy Tueumuna
14 July 2010
OSHAKATI - The Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court has denied bail to a man accused of repeatedly raping and fatally assaulting a wheelchair-bound woman before he rushed her to hospital.
Simon Nambali (38), a resident of Oshitambi village, was arrested at Engela State Hospital on Friday after he took the 40-year-old disabled woman for medical treatment.
It is alleged that Nambali had raped the woman who is his neighbour since July 5, 2010, and threatened to kill her should she report his sexual assaults.
Nambali went to the woman’s house on Saturday, July 10, 2010, to carry out another rape as he had done the previous four days. However, the woman pushed him away. He then assaulted the woman, severely injuring her.
The next morning the woman’s family, consisting mainly of children, decided to take the woman to Engela State Hospital as she was in a bad state.
When he spotted the children and the woman on their way to the hospital, Nambali insisted on joining them and further insisted that the children not take her to Engela hospital but rather to Onekwaya Health Centre.
Nurses at Onekwaya, however, referred the patient to Engela hospital.
Nambali told the children to go back home so that he could take his victim alone to Engela hospital.
“On their way to Engela, he warned the victim not to tell nurses that he was the one who assaulted her. He told her to lie that she was assaulted by some robbers who stripped her of her money. Fortunately the children called and informed an elder relative about the incident,” said a source.
The relative informed Ohangwena Police. Nambali and his victim were already leaving the hospital when the police arrived and stopped them.
When the police questioned them, the woman allegedly at first, in the presence of Nambali, did not tell the truth about the assault, until she was taken to a different room, where she revealed what really happened.
The woman told the police that Nambali had been raping her on a daily basis since July 5 until July 10, when he assaulted her for trying to stop him from raping her.
Nambali was then arrested. He appeared in the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court on Monday where he was denied bail.
He was charged with several counts of rape, assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm and attempting to obstruct the course of justice. The case was postponed to August 30, 2010.
Ohangwena police confirmed the case.
Disabled Take To Streets
Peace FM Online
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MindFreedom Ghana, a nongovernmental organization (NGO), has appealed to Parliament to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and also pass the Mental Health Bill.
Members of the organization yesterday marched through some principal streets of Accra, holding placards with inscriptions “disability is not inability so respect my right and dignity”, “sing, shout and make noise about stigmatization towards persons with disability” and “ accept relatives back home after treatment at the psychiatric hospital.”
According to them, the main objective of the march is to push for Ghana to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities and pass the Mental Health Bill.
The United Nations convention draws attention to the rights of those with disabilities, combats stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices, while promoting awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
Members of MindFreedom said, “Therefore we are dissatisfied with how parliament is delaying with the UNCRPD and the Mental Health Bill so we are appealing to the house to speed up with the ratification of the bill.”
Speaking, the Executive Secretary of the organization, Dan Taylor, said the UNCRPD and the Mental Health Bill also makes provisions for community mental care, which will make the district assemblies responsible for taking care of the physically challenged and mentally derailed persons.
According to him, this will solve the problem of disabled people loitering on the streets.
Dan Taylor also expressed worry over how the mentally deranged and the physically challenged are marginalized and maltreated in our society. “ Disability is not inability and everyone is vulnerable because you don’t know what will happen to you,” he added. Mr. Taylor thus charged parliament to pass the bill and advised the public to stop marginalizing and maltreating the physically challenged and mentally derailed persons.
Disability gala set for Friday
Monday, 19th July, 2010
OVER 50 people with disabilities are expected to take part in the third edition of the one day sports gala for people with disabilities that is due this Friday at Kakindu stadium in Jinja.
According to the coordinator, Paul Balenzi, the event was started by Beam of Hope for the Disadvantaged organisation in order to up lift the standards of disabled persons in sports with the slogan “If they can, we can’’.
The number of participants is expected to shoot to more than 200 in various sports disciplines like tri-cycling, goal ball for the blind, wheel chair race, football for the lame, football for the blind, among others will entertain Jinja town.
Cash prizes, physical goods like mattresses, blankets and others goodies will be won by excelling participants.
Disabled persons advised on employment
Monday, 19th July, 2010
By Joyce Namutebi
THE Federation of Uganda Employers has warned persons with disabilities(PWDs) against using their predicament and fronting the issue of rights as the basis for demanding employment opportunities.
The director of Marketing and Membership Development, Stephen Jjingo, said disabled persons should instead prove to employers that they are capable of performing.
“Employers are not there for charity, but to be helped by people who can deliver,” Jjingo said on Friday. He warned PWDs against presenting disability as an excuse for non performance.
Jjingo was speaking at a workshop called to popularise Article 27 of the UN convention on the rights of PWDs and other domestic laws that relate to disabled persons.
The article recognises the right of disabled persons to work and earn a living. It requires states that are party to the convention to report on legislative measures taken to ensure protection against discrimination in any form of employment and to recognise the right of PWDs to work on a basis of equality with others. Uganda ratified it in 2008.
Jjingo dismissed the notion of seeking employment and quoting the Disability Act and the rights issue as the basis. “When you enter somebody’s office, tell them what you can do.”
Under the Income Tax Waivers Act, incentives are provided to private employers who employ 10 or more disabled persons.
Where is my daughter? Asks father of destitute dumped in Abeokuta
Written by Taiwo Olanrewaju
Monday, 19 July 2010
Abibatu playing in school.
A distraught Mr. Akeem Ogunsanya walked dejectedly into the newsroom of the Nigerian Tribune, recently and narrated how his deaf and dumb daughter escaped from home in December 2008 and was discovered on the pages of a newspaper on Monday, 21st June, 2010. But his joy was shortlived, as the girl seemed to have disappeared again. Taiwo Olanrewaju reports:
" I am very sure my daughter, Abibatu Ogunsanya, was among the 70 destitutes taken to Abeokuta, Ogun State from Lagos State on May 11, 2010, going by the reports I read in the Punch newspaper of Monday, 21st June, 2010 and the tape recording I watched at the Channels Television office when I went there in a bid to seek assistance on how I can locate my daughter.
“I thought this two-year search was over with the discovery of my daughter’s whereabouts on the pages of the newspaper. I didn’t know I am starting another search.
“But I pray this new search will yield fruits. I want to see my daughter again. I want to hold her in my arms.”
These were the words of Mr. Akeem Ogunsanya, an indigene of Ijebu-Ososa in Ogun State.
According to him, Abibatu was born deaf and dumb about 15 years ago in Ibadan.
At birth, Abibatu’s eyes were greenish in colour and it took the intervention of a doctor and specialists at the University College Hospital, Ibadan before it was discovered that the little baby was actually deaf and dumb.
Hence, at school age, Abibatu was enrolled in a Special School for the Physically Challenged, Ibadan Municipal Government (IMG) Primary School at NTC road.
Aside from the fact that Abibatu is the only female child in a family of six (parents and four children) and the third born, her father claimed that he and Abibatu mother, took a lot of care of the girl.
The mother, he said, bought her different types of nice clothings, to the extent that some of her teachers had to caution her parents not to over-pamper her.
The only snag about her was that she was very stubborn. She liked having her way, doing things her own way.
In 2008, she followed her mother to their hometown, Ijebu-Ososa to spend part of her holiday with her paternal grandmother but when it was time to return to base, she refused to return to their Oke-Bola home in Ibadan. But her mother forced her home.
So, on Saturday, 14th December, 2008, when her father, a spray painter turned okada (motorcycle) operator had gone out on business, Abibatu pretended as if she wanted to wash clothes and collected money for soap from her mother.
Alas! That was the last her immediate family had seen of her till date except for some neighbours who claimed to have seen her with a travel bag heading to an unknown destination.
The father had travelled all over Nigeria in search of the 15-year-old to no avail.
Mother luck, or so it seemed, smiled on the Ogunsanyas when a neighbour, who went to read at the Oyo State Library, Dugbe, saw the photograph of Abibatu on page 7 of the Punch newspaper of Monday, 21st June, 2010.
Early the following day, Mr. Ogunsanya headed for Abeokuta, where, to his consternation, instead of a reunion with his daughter, another search began.
Having oscillated between the Juvenile Remand Home, Asero, the Remand Home at Majidun in Lagos State, Channels Television, Lagos and Ministry of Women Affairs, Ogun State, all to no avail; Ogunsanya decided to heed the police advice in the police report given to his wife when she reported the case at the control room of Iyaganku Police Station, Ibadan on 17th December, 2008, that they should contact a media house for mass publication.
All efforts to contact the chairman, Abeokuta North Local Government, Alhaji Abeeb Ajayi, proved abortive as he was not in the office when the Nigerian Tribune called for further investigation.
At the Ogun State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Abeokuta, although the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Tomi Soboyejo, was not around when our correspondent called, the Information Officer, Kemi Sodeinde, confirmed that all the destitutes that were brought to the Juvenile Remand Home Asero were there, except those that had been reunited with their family members.
She, however, said that if the girl in question was brought to the Remand Home, she would still be there as nobody could tamper with her at the Remand Home.
She suggested that she might have walked away before the destitutes were moved to the Remand Home, moreso that she was deaf and dumb.
A Channels Television correspondent who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune on phone confirmed that Abibatu Ogunsanya was actually brought to Ita- Oshin, Abeokuta from Lagos, alongside 69 other destitutes. “Clippings from our recordings attest to that fact,” he said.
Abibatu’s father, has however, appealed to whoever sees his daughter to report at the nearest police station or at the Nigerian Tribune office.
Additional reports by Olukoya Yinka.
District assemblies to pay 2% DACF for disabled at source
July 20, 2010
Accra, July 20, GNA- Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), said two per cent of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) meant for persons with disability was now to be deducted at source.
He was answering questions in Parliament on Tuesday.
The Minister said MLGRD in collaboration with the National Council on Persons with Disability and the Ghana Federation of the Disability under the authority of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare had developed and launched the guidelines on the disbursement and the management of the amount.
He stated that the Ministry had directed all assemblies to open bank accounts for the Persons with Disability and forward the accounts numbers to the administrator of the DACF.
He said this would enable him to be able to transfer the amount due into these accounts.
The assemblies, he said, had also been directed to disburse and manage the funds in line with the approved guidelines.
Answering questions on measures adopted by government to make Afrancho market in the Offinso North District operational, Mr. Chireh said the project started in 1997 as a community self project.
He said in September 2006, contracts for the construction of 27 lockable stores, 30 stalls and a meat shop was awarded at a cost of GH¢30, 653.50 and was completed in 2007 with funding from Community Based Rural Development Project.
He said traders were not relocated to the market because the initial design had no provision for auxiliary facilities such as public toilet, electricity, water supplies and warehouse.
He said funding had currently been secured under the Social Investment Fund for the construction of a 10-Seater Water Closet toilet.
He noted that the construction which was at the lintel level was due for completion in August 2010 at a cost of GH¢50,403.50
Mr. Chireh said as soon as the construction of the WC was completed the market would be operational.
Meanwhile, the University Ghana Bill was read the second time while the Economic and Organised Crime Bill reached its consideration stage.
Disabled man wants to be a judge
Times of Swaziland
By SIBONGILE SUKATI on July 21,2010
MANZINI - Nkanyezi Ginindza who has a disability had the rare opportunity to share a table with High Court Judge Justice Jacobus Annandale.
Nkayezi said he could not believe his luck as an aspiring lawyer because also at that table was Supreme Court Registrar Lorraine Hlophe and Swazi MTN’s who also has legal background.
Ginindza said the smart partnership was not only a reunion but a place where each individual could voice out both their personal aspirations and those of the country. Ginindza said he was aspiring to be a lawyer and that perhaps he too, would be a judge one day. He said he loved attending the smart partnership and said he had travelled by public transport to attend the event.
A majority of the smart partnership participants were familiar faces.
Although invitations were open to all persons in the country in every region most of the persons present were those who hold high positions either in government departments or the private sector, such as chief
The familiar faces included Members of Parliament from both houses, king’s appointed members to the various commissions, Cabinet ministers and government officers.
One of the most familiar faces who had however not been in the spotlight for quite sometime was former minister Mfomfo Nkambule.
Chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission Michael Mtega was also among the participants although his tablemates had still not joined him by 11am. President of the Traditional Healers Association Nhlavana Maseko shared a table with Finance Minister Majozi Sithole while the majority of the MPs sat at the same table.
There were 120 tables that sat a total of eight people each and the pavilion was decorated in brown and gold.
Others who attended included Justice PS Sicelo Dlamini, Liqoqo Member Mathendele Dlamini, Bongani Mamba Vice Chairperson at the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture, Justice Jacobus Annandale, Swaziland Standards Authority Chief Executive Officer Nomkhosi Mkhonta among others.
Gambia: St John's School Struggling to Meet Mounting Expenses Publisher
21 July 2010
The Principal of St John's School for the Deaf Mr Daniel Mendy talks about the financial constraints facing his school. The constraints, according to him, pose a threat to the education of children with hearing impairment.
Foroyaa: Does your school receive subvention from the Social Welfare Department?
Mendy: Previously, we were given subvention by the Social Welfare.
However, we are no longer receiving it.
Foroyaa: When did you last receive subvention from Social Welfare?
Mendy: The last time we received subvention was around 2003.
Foroyaa: What purpose does the sound treated room serve?
Mendy: The sound treated room serves as an ideal place where tests are conducted to determine one's hearing ability. The room is such that noise from outside does not enter it. Basically, the room is purposely meant for hearing assessment. The room is not just restricted to the students of this school, but patients from Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital are tested in this facility. Patients from RVTH come to test their hearing ability at the said room on a weekly basis.
Foroyaa: Since most of your students find it quite daunting to cope with life at mainstream schools, are you aware of any plan to extend the school with a view to providing senior secondary education to students with hearing impairment?
Mendy: If we have graduate teachers the provision of senior secondary education will be one of our priorities. As I said earlier, we face an uphill task to attract even teachers holding HTC. It is worth pointing out that students of the school excel in vocational subjects. Most of the credits come from areas such as art and other technical subjects.
Foroyaa: Why do students with hearing impairment struggle in academic subjects like English and Science?
Mendy: They struggle in academic subjects because their teachers do not always complete the syllabus. Remember, these students learn at a slower pace.
Foroyaa: Does your school have a national character, meaning do you have students from all over the country?
Mendy: Some of our students come from as far as Basse and Farafenni. All what the parents of those students did was to find a shelter somewhere here to accommodate their children.
Foroyaa: Don't you think there is a need to spread the provision of education for persons with hearing impairment all over the country?
Mendy: Spreading the provision of education for persons with hearing impairment all over the country is such a splendid idea. I cannot agree more with that. Government is considering establishing rehabilitation centres across the country.
Foroyaa: Are some of your teachers former students of this school?
Mendy: Five of the teachers were former students of this school. The heads of Art and Sewing Departments were both former students of the school. The head of the Art Department is in particular doing well. His department produces some of the best results. In addition, there are three other assistant instructors who were former students of the school.
There are eight teachers with hearing impairment in the school.
Foroyaa: Do you have students with multiple disabilities?
Mendy: We have some cases of students with multiple disabilities. There are some students here with hearing impairment as well as mental retardation. However, these cases are mild.
Foroyaa: You talked about mild cases of multiple disabilities. Do you have what it takes to cope with wild cases of multiple disabilities?
Mendy: There is no doubt in my mind that the school will be able to handle wild cases of multiple disabilities.
Foroyaa: How many students do you have in the school?
Mendy: There are 207 students here.118 boys and 89 girls .The youngest is 6 years and the oldest is 22 years.
Foroyaa: What advise do you have for parents of children with hearing impairment ?
Mendy: I'm calling on parents of children with hearing impairment to send their children to the school here. Sadly, some parents are not willing to send their children with hearing impairment to school. There is no doubt in my mind that if these children are educated they can be as productive as any body else.
Gambia: St John's School Struggling to Meet Mounting Expenses Publisher
President Mills donates to mark birthday
July 21, 2010 Accra, July 21, GNA- First Lady Ernestina Naadu Mills on Wednesday presented assorted items to three special educational institutions in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions to mark the 66th birthday of President Mills.
The beneficiary institutions were Dzorwolu Special School in Accra, Demonstration School of the Deaf in Akuapim- Mampong and Akropong School for the Blind both in the Eastern Region.
Mrs. Mills who presented bags of sugar, maize, rice, cartons of soap, cooking oil, milk, soft drinks, mats and bales of used clothing and plastic containers, said President Mills had made it a habit to share whatever gift presented to him on his birthday to deprived people like the physically challenged.
She said President Mills had lined up activities and packages to support all deprived schools in the country and promised to constantly keep in touch with them to find solutions to some of their challenges.
Mrs. Mills who was accompanied by Mr. Kofi Armah Buah, Deputy Minister for Energy, Baba Jamal, Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Presidential Aid, and party functionaries called on parents to give support to their physically challenged children to become useful citizens in future.
She said President Mills was the Father of every Ghanaian and would therefore do everything to enhance the performance and capabilities students to take up the mantle of leadership in future.
Mrs. Agnes Akakpo, Headmistress of Akuapem-Mampong School for the Deaf, appealed to government to support them with a school bus, computers, fence wall and an Assembly hall to facilitate their school activities.
Nigeria: 'Govt Has Failed in Responsibility to Disabled Children'
22 July 2010
Abuja - The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Education, Hon. Farouk Lawan, has stated that government at all levels in the country has not lived up to its responsibility of caring for the welfare of disabled children in the society; both in terms of encouragement and provision of accessible infrastructure.
Lawan said recently in Abuja that the stigmatisation and discrimination meted out to this group of people by the society has greatly contributed in destroying the humanness of the disabled in the society without government intervention in providing infrastructure that will aid in making life a lot better for them.
Speaking at the 3rd National Workshop on the Inclusion of Special Child in Homes by the Building Hope for Special Learners (BHSL), a non governmental organisation, Lawan lamented the increasing rate of disabled people in the country without proper care facilities.
"There is only one college of education in Nigeria created for the disabled and the only way to help them realise their potentials is by education. Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education must be provided for these people because it is their rights as well", he said.
According to him, schools should be well equipped with tools needed by these special children while the public should be educated on the need to accept them. He equally expressed hope of a possible prevention of the growth of disability through immunisation of kids.
Lawan charged Nigerians to encourage the disabled people to contribute to the growth of the country, adding that these challenges do not make them inferior as everybody has a quota to contribute to national development.
The president of BHSL, Patricia Albert, stated that it is critical for the society to consider a more inclusive practice in special education as a strategy to adopt and mainstream the physically challenged into the affairs of the society.
Charity begins at home
New Statesman (blog)
Posted by Mark Watson - 22 July 2010 12:48
How are you meant to choose how you give to charity?
Oxfam workers demonstrate how to erect mosquito nets in the Gutu district of Zimbabwe, about 290km southeast of Harare. Photograph: Getty Images.
Last night a small incident occurred which made me uncomfortable and I've been thinking about it, as is my wont with uncomfortable incidents, on and off throughout the day. I thought I'd share it with you in today's blog and open up one of those discussions we all enjoy so much.
Basically, it was a Charity Man. You'll all have been stopped in the street by Charity Men or Women: normally good-looking students, who throw you out of your stride by saying something nice like "Hello sir, you look like a generous man" or "Madam, you seem like you might want to give £25 a month to somebody in Africa". Then they give you a very well- rehearsed spiel about how a few pounds a month isn't much to you, but it would buy a mosquito net or a donkey for someone in the developing world.
You say that you're interested but you're in a bit of a hurry, can you go on their website? They say, actually, it's much better if you give them your bank details now, because if you go via the site, not all your money goes to the charity. You give in, fill out a clipboard and create a new standing order.
These people are called "chuggers" (charity muggers) and they do an important job, forcing members of the public to engage with issues that they would ordinarily think about guiltily, but not quite get involved in.
But this guy last night rang my doorbell. I was in the middle of helping to put Kit to bed. The guy was very charming and friendly, and -- unfortunately, in the context -- recognised me from the TV. He started trying to get me to donate to help deaf children. I asked if I could go away, read some stuff about it at a more convenient time, and do it online if I decided to. He said no, he'd much rather I signed up then and there. I really didn't want to do that, even though I was feeling more and more that if I had any decency, I ought to.
Finally, I got him to go away, but we agreed he'd come back in a couple of hours. I don't think he came back in the end; if he did, I was asleep or something. So I didn't sign up for the charity. So I expended quite a bit of energy avoiding giving money to disadvantaged kids.
Now, as you know, I went out to Senegal with ActionAid and since then I've been sponsoring a little boy over there. Well before that, I was already sponsoring a girl called Francine in Cameroon. Also, the wife and I sponsor a family in Moldova through the scheme set up by my sisters. So I already have three ongoing charity commitments, which is enough for most people.
Nonetheless, the fact is, I could afford to do more. I probably could have committed another 20 quid a month to the deaf children. It wasn't really the financial aspect that made me reluctant, it was the fact that the guy had come knocking on my door and I felt on the back foot. But, even more than that, it was the gut feeling which many of us experience in relation to charity, but are not really allowed to voice: "Where is this going to end?"
There are just so many worthy causes. A couple of weeks ago I was telling you about Patrick, the guy with motor neurone disease who's doing as many portraits as he can in the remainder of his life. In August I'm doing something for cystic fibrosis sufferers. There are various environmental charities I've made one-off donations to. There are always disasters that crop up, like Haiti.
There are endangered species dying out, people with diseases you've not even heard of, the families of people with Parkinson's, things like Comic Relief and Sport Relief, which continue to help the world's poorest communities, Alzheimer's care, schools for kids with autism, the Samaritans, and on it goes. There are something like 80,000 charities in the UK. And even then, there are more things like my brother's football project which I'm emotionally connected to although they aren't exactly charities.
How are you meant to choose how you give to charity? I feel uncomfortable that I'd be more likely to give to a cause that harassed me on my doorstep, but at the same time, I quite understand that if I were them, I'd probably harass me, too, because it works. Charities are engaged in an ongoing, massive scramble not just to win money from the public's many other temptations, but to win money from each other.
Charity, like everything, is a competition, however cruel that sounds.
How are you meant to know which side to back? Is it better just to pick one cause, and support that exclusively for ever? Or is it only fair to spread it around and try to help five, or ten?
And also, where do you draw the line? On the one hand, quite clearly I'm entitled not to give to anyone at all if I don't want to -- I earn my money, pay my taxes, support a family, etc. But I can't really hide behind that argument because, when it comes down to it, I do earn more than the national average, I do have some disposable income, and I have a pretty clear moral duty to help those in need. I don't have a moral duty to help every last bloody person or animal who is in any kind of need. But it's really, really difficult to decide where to call a halt.
OK, so those two kids in Africa are important, but finding a cure for breast cancer isn't? Blind people deserve my support, deaf people don't, just because blind people asked first?
I think these questions are quite pressing because there are more and more and more charities out there on the streets vying for your money, and more of them are surely going to start ringing on doorbells to get the upper hand. If it was any other form of business you'd feel it was a simple matter of picking the ones that impressed you most. Charity is so fraught with middle-class guilt, though -- and well-deserved guilt at that -- that it feels truly distasteful to approach it like that. But what else am I meant to do, people?
I'd be grateful for your opinions. For each comment you leave, 10p goes to . . . not really.
SMART Partnership drama: Principal fetches deaf pupils at night
Times of Swaziland
SITEKI - Drama unfolded after the Smart Partnership Dialogue when the principal from the school for the deaf demanded to take Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula back to Siteki in the middle of the night.
The incident happened on Wednesday after Magagula and three other pupils had already been booked at Esibayeni lodge.
Matsetsa School for the deaf principal, Zodwa Tfwala arrived at the lodge at about 10pm when the pupils were having supper. She had earlier called Sizwe Ndlela who was accompanying the pupils to the SMART Partnership Dialogue that she would send a driver to return the children to the school.
Ndlela is based at the deaf school in Siteki whereas Tfwala is at Matsetsa.
"I don’t see the rush for the children to go back to the school as it is late now. Most of the pupils are here at the lodge as we will all be going back tomorrow," said Ndlela.
According to Tfwala, she had not been consulted when the pupils were taken from the school and alleged Ndlela took them without her consent.
"I don’t have a problem with them attending the SMART Partnership. I was not told they would be spending a night here. I am only here to take two of my pupils and he can keep the other two," said Tfwala.
She also added that the children had to attend an important event in the morning and they had to be at the school very early. Ndlela told Tfwala he would not let the children go to back to the school and that if she had a problem, she should call the Secretariat.
Tfwala and Ndlela had a heated argument as they disagreed to whether the pupils would be released or not.
"I think this is another way she is trying to undermine me. I had travelled with Miss Deaf to Prague during the beauty pageant and I don’t remember getting any permission from her," continued Ndlela.
When Tfwala arrived at Esibayeni lodge, she went straight to a table where the pupils were sitting with Ndlela and told the children to come with her.
Ndlela and Tfwala did not exchange any words although they had been arguing over the phone earlier.
Although the pupils indicated that they would not travel, it became difficult for them to decide whether to remain or to go back to the school as both the teacher and the principal were present.
After realising that Ndlela would not let the children leave, the Regional Administrator Paul Dlamini had to intervene. Dlamini and Tfwala went outside from where the pupils were seated and spoke for about 30 minutes while Ndlela stood not far from them.
Eventually, the pupils were released and were allowed to go with Tfwala who was accompanied by a teacher, and a driver.
Deaf and dumb want constitution restart
The Zimbabwean -
Written by Staff Reporter
Sunday, 25 July 2010 20:00
HARARE - Following the exclusion of people with speech and hearing impairment out of the constitution writing process, the National Association for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) has called upon Copac to revisit areas which the outreach teams have completed and target people living with disability who up to now have been left out from the process. (Pictured: Minister of Constitutional Affairs Eric Matinenga professed ignorance that the deaf and dumb had been excluded.) According to NASCOH there are 500 000 people in the country who are either deaf or dumb or both, but have not been considered after Copac failed to enlist the aid of interpreters.
For three weeks now COPAC has been gathering people's views through the outreach teams, which have already completed obtaining views from several districts of the country, but virtually ignoring the deaf and dumb as they did not have interpreters. This was despite the fact that COPAC had a clause that should cater for people with special needs during the outreach phase.
NASCOH Director Farai Mukuta said they had been a total blackout on the constitutional making process for people who were deaf or dumb and therefore there was need to revisit certain areas.
"We want Copac to honour its promise of providing funds for the deaf and dumb, so that we would go to provinces and get the views of the people who were left out during the constitution outreach meetings. We want to revisit all these areas in order to get the views of the people who are physically impaired.
Farai Makuta added that this exclusion from the all important constitution writing process was a major concern.
"We have been given promises by Copac that there are going to include the deaf and dumb, we however have not been included. If Copac has challenges in finding interpreters we are ready to give them 50 interpreters.
The Minister of Constitutional Affairs Eric Matinenga professed ignorance that the deaf and dumb had been excluded.
"I am not aware of that. If it is true then it is unfortunate if there is no provision for the inclusion of the deaf and dumb, Copac will however accept help (of the interpreters) if it is in the interest of the nation.”
Disability is not inability: The story of Fadumo Bihi
Fadumo and her daughter live in a traditional Somali hut made of old worn-out clothes and plastic sheets, in the Mandeeq village. At present, Fadumo’s daughter and her are in a desperate condition. Ever since Fadumo lost both of her parents, she has lived with her aunt, who like her is a single mother of eight children. With tears in her eyes, she expressed, that her aunt was the breadwinner for their family. Due to this extreme situation, the children and the whole family are struggling, sometimes lacking basic necessities such as food and clothes.
It’s hard to forget a person whose conquered adversity in their life, especially those who have managed to do so while also making a difference in their society, where they have changed and improved the lives of others besides themselves. Fudumo Bihi exemplifies this, despite her young age. As a double leg amputee, she has achieved more than most others have or will in a life time.
At the age of six, Fadumo Bihi lost both of her legs to a landmine explosion in her Mandeeq village in the outskirts of Hargeisa. Concerned and worried about the health condition of their daughter’s disability, Fadumo’s parents took her to the Somaliland Rehabilitation Center-the only place where disability services were offered in the town. Sadly, her condition couldn’t be treated in the country, which left doctors advising her parents to send her abroad to a more advanced medical facility. Fadumo’s parents were thankful to Almighty Allah for His will, and for giving them an acceptance of their daughter’s disability.
While abroad, Fadumo was built artificial limbs enabling her to walk as a normal person. Fadumo, soon after, was invited to participate in an international conference on mine elimination, which was held in Switzerland in 1996. In that meeting, Fadumo was a living example of a mine victim. She was asked by the United Nations, what she likes to do, and she bravely answered, “ I want to build a school at the same place where the mine exploded on me. “ The school she wanted to build was finally built by the United Nations, and now serves the needs of the local community. Today, more than 1200 students from poor families are beneficiaries of the Fadumo Bihi School, which functions as a primary and intermediate school in Somaliland. With 13 teachers in both morning and afternoon shifts, with limited office equipment and educational and recreational facilities, with one latrine that is shared by all the students, one can see how most of Fadumo Bihi’s students live. While three classes of students graduated from upper primary schools at grade eight, few of them have been able to join a higher school or enroll as university students. Fadumo is one of the very few people from this poor area that was able to attend a university and earn a scholarship in her first year from Lucy University College. At the primary and intermediate school, Fadumo always attends social activities and never fails to participate in community functions. She is an active member of the Community Education Committees at her school.
Despite all of the challenges she faced with her physical disability, Fadumo manages to lead a normal life, and still contributes to her society. She attends Lucy University College and studies under the faculty of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and manages to also enjoy the university life. She has many friends, and loves relating with them on every level. To succeed in her field she believes it’s crucial to remain socially engaged, despite her condition.
Even after Fadumo got married and became the mother of one child she continued to pursue higher education. In the morning and afternoon she looks after her child, and then starts her 4 kilometers journey to the University in order to pursue her university education. Place yourself in the shoes of Fadumo-mother, student, and living amongst the poorest of the poor. What goes through your mind when you read this story? As Somalilanders who are lucky enough to be physically fit with parents who support us financially, we possibly might not understand what it feels like to be double amputee, mother and student. Brothers and sisters of Somaliland, it is time for us to make a decision and help Fadumo Bihi turn her dreams into a reality, so that she can lead a better life. In consideration of her physical limitations, she needs a special car to lead in her double life, as a student at the university and as a mother at home with her family.
Fadumo Bihi is an amazingly optimistic, who has shined in many areas of her life, despite her physical limitations. She is a role model to ordinary people like us, proving that disability is not inability. Truly, she is an asset to our Somaliland community and an important part of many people’s lives. May Allah keep Fadumo with a strong passion to help the neediest people through her voluntary work.
Photo: Students get education in Fadumo Bihi School
By Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday)
Plight of the disabled needs attention in Zimbabwe
18 year old Grace
Grace Nezandoi from Mucheke village in Bikita is no ordinary eighteen year-old girl. She was born third in a family of five. Her two elder brothers aged 20 and 22 alternately change her underwear and sanitary wear even when she is menstruating. They do everything from bathing her to washing soiled underwear and blankets.
Grace has advanced mental retardation, cannot talk, moves with the aid of a wheelchair and has never seen the door of a school. What is devastating about her situation is, her two younger siblings aged 15 and 5 are also in a similar mental and physical predicament. Her parents both live but are hardly ever there. Her father is a soldier while her mother joined the rest of the bandwagon of Zimbabweans trying to make ends meet in South Africa.
Although the Nezandoi family is regularly visited and assisted by a voluntary care-giver, the three disabled siblings need more attention than what they are currently getting. However, Grace is the most affected. According to the care-giver escorting us on this assignment, it is in the best interest of Grace for her uterus to be removed so that she stops menstruating. Grace’s mother has strongly objected to the idea.
According to the Zimbabwean law, 18 is the legal age of majority and Grace should be in a position to make certain bodily decisions for herself. However, because of her multiple disabilities - her guardians are mandated by law to make any such decisions on her behalf.
The fact that her able-bodied brothers have to physically handle her sanitary issues must not only be devastating and traumatizing for them; it also means Grace is potentially exposed to abuse and has to endure the indignity of having her soiled underwear handled by men. It also emerged that Grace shares her bed with her 15-year-old disabled brother.
I had the privilege of meeting Grace’s unique family on a recent UNICEF sponsored initiative for journalists and other media professionals. I tagged along with the group of journalists assigned to finding new humanitarian angles to living with disability. As the scribes struggled to ask questions and clicked away on their cameras, Grace silently sat in a corner with a blank stare; grinning often and completely oblivious to what was taking place.
I interviewed 20 year-old Duet, the forlorn second eldest brother. The eldest seemed pretty annoyed at our presence and clearly did not want to talk. I could only imagine what this was doing to them, the stigma surrounding having three disabled siblings, relatives that distance themselves and girlfriends that bolt the moment they know about this family, fearing tainted genes.
Duet is a student at the Midlands State of University and has had to miss some of his lectures in order to take care of his three disabled siblings. He appears to have accepted his situation, but only God knows what goes on deep inside him. He voiced that his biggest wish is for his three siblings to be able to attend Chiratidzo - a nearby school for the disabled. He felt that it was important for them to mingle with other children in a similar state so that they feel they are not alone.
However, the biggest challenge is transport, apart from the fact that the family will not be in a position to afford school fees.
In a country once referred to as “one of the most disability-accessible countries in Africa”, with supposedly greater availability of friendly disability legislation, free public transport and eligibility for government disability allowance - one tends to wonder what hope exists for a family such as Grace’s as systems continue to deteriorate in Zimbabwe. The country’s social welfare department is probably at its most impoverished and demoralised at this stage as it can hardly afford to offer any assistance to disabled and disadvantaged children. In the not so long ago past, the ministry has paid out monthly pittance per disabled child. Now, even that has not been forthcoming, and in the face of this - local minibus services are unwilling to take the time and trouble to load up children in wheelchairs.
While the constitutional outreach programme is underway, these are some of the issues that need serious attention. Children in these circumstances are scattered all over the country; a number of them hidden from society while many will never have a shot at normal life because of prohibitive socio - economic and policy factors.
For the Nezondoi family, some local NGOs have given aid in the form of food, wheel chairs and other non-food items. However, the care giver expressed disappointment in the fact that the aid has been piecemeal while the situation calls for more sustained assistance.
Back at the workshop venue, I listened to journalists debating the ethical considerations encountered in covering this unusual story. One colleague from a popular local tabloid thought there was a much bigger story and sought to explore the bizarreness of three children all born with multiple disabilities in a family where their older siblings are ‘ normal’. Another colleague thought it would be interesting to investigate how this might be affecting the social lives of the brothers.
Personally, I was numbed by my inability to do anything that would make a difference in this family’s life. Most of all, I found myself battling over and over in my head, what I would do if I ever found myself in such a situation? Would stopping Grace from menstruating be tantamount to denying her her rights? Was it correct to assume that she would someday live a normal life? That one day someone will love her and want to marry her? Would she ever have her own children and be able to fend for them?
In the end we were all just journalists. Intrigued by the unusual and wanting to be the first to tell it. However, I always value such encounters, because they serve as another opportunity to remind me to be thankful each day for who I am and what I have as well as appreciate the little things we take for granted.
Deaf teen housed at police station
The Swazi Observer -
28 July, 2010 10:00:00 By Khanyiswa Hlanze
A 16-year-old boy who was last week found stranded at the Pigg’s Peak bus rank, is said to be still staying with the Pigg’s Peak police at the station.
The boy is deaf which gives the police a hard time on what to do with him. It is stated that he was taken by the CID police who were patrolling that night and kept him at the station. When interviewed using sign language, he said his parents live at Maputo and he came into the country through a vehicle. He also wrote the name Tonelana which they don’t know whether its his name or a place nor his parents as they are all confused because when he is given a pen and paper he will only write that name, and when asked his surname he would just shake his head.
Pigg’s Peak police said they did give him food and blankets to sleep as it is cold in that place but pleaded that if there was anyone who knew him they should contact the police as soon as possible. They also stated that at some point he went out to town where he begged for money but they took him back to the station.
Cameroon: Deaf Empowerment Rekindles Hope Elizabeth Mosima
28 July 2010
Activities to mark the 15th anniversary of the Cameroon Deaf Empowerment Organisation took place in Yaounde last week.
A one-week Deaf Arts Exhibition and Sales took place at the National Public Library in Yaounde last week. Organised by the Cameroon Deaf Empowerment Organisation (CDEO), the event saw the participation of the members of government, the diplomatic corps and guests. The exhibition was part of activities to mark the 15th anniversary celebrations of the CDEO. The exhibition was organised under the distinguished patronage of the Minister of Culture, Ama Tutu Muna. The objectives of the CDEO are to promote the human and civil rights of deaf people and their families and facilitate their empowerment and to develop and promote Cameroon Sign Languages (CSL).
Speaking during the occasion, the Executive President of the CDEO, Ogork Ebot Ntui, said after 15 years of existence, the CDEO has achieved some of its goals through its programmes for advocacy, deaf awareness, primary and secondary education and vocational training, fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic, promotion of deaf arts and culture and promotion of sports for the deaf. Ogork Ebot Ntui also used the occasion to advocate that special needs for the education of the deaf be given particular attention by all ministries in charge of education. For her part, the Minister of Culture, Ama Tutu Muna, encouraged the members of the CDEO for their efforts in promoting education for the deaf and their development in the country. The Minister then promised the organisation of a national deaf arts exhibition in the coming years.
Angola committed to disability sports
Luanda - Angola may be amongst the first three qualified in disability sports’ general standings of medals at Portuguese-speaking Countries Community (CPLP) Games, whose 7th edition starts Thursday in Mozambique.
The 5th edition of the event held in Luanda, Angola ranked third with five golden medals, three silver and five bronze medals.
While at the sixth games, that occurred in 2008 in Brazil, Angola was in the second position in general standings of medals, winning three golden medals.
During the 7th edition of CPLP games to be held in Mozambique from 29 July to 07 August, Angola will be represented by a delegation made up of 114 people in football, basketball, handball, athletics, tennis, volleyball and disabled sports.
PWDs cry over loan discrimination
Thursday, 29th July, 2010
By Paul Watala
PERSONS with disabilities (PWDs) in Mbale district have accused banks of discrimination when considering people for soft loans.
“We are discriminated by banks when considering people for loans. Bank authorities tend to think that being physically disabled also affects the brain and we can not pay back the loans,” Hussein Kawiso, the chairperson of the industrial division PWDs in Mbale said recently.
Kawiso also accused law enforcement officers at Mbale municipal council of harassing them on the streets where they conduct small businesses.
“The officers even take our merchandises due to our lack of trading licences. Imagine a disabled person selling bogoyas but by the end of the day everything is taken away,” Kawiso said.
He appealed to the minister in charge of the elderly and the disabled to help them access soft loans from the banks.
He said some of the disabled youth in the district had resorted to sex work to earn a living.
Tanzania: New Law on the Disabled Was Long Overdue
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
29 July 2010
The government's recent admission that it has no records on people with disabilities signals a lack of well-designed social and economic programmes aimed at improving living standards of the disabled.
In fact, I used to wonder whether the government had any practical policies that aim at safeguarding the interests of people with disabilities and making their lives easier.
In some countries, specific jobs like switchboard operation and secretarial work are the preserve of the disabled.
So when I had it from Dr Aisha Kigoda, during the just concluded National Assembly sitting, that the Persons with Disabilities Act number 9 of 2010 was geared at helping those with disabilities to cope on their own I felt relieved.
The Health and Social Welfare deputy minister went on to reveal that Sh210 million was to be spent on rehabilitating vocational centres for people with disabilities.
The centres include those in Masiwani in Tanga Region, Mtapika in Mtwara Region, Yombo in Dar es Salaam Region and Mirongo in Mwanza Region. Several others are said to be in Singida and Mbeya regions.
The plan, if well implemented, should go a long way in reducing the number of disabled beggars on our streets.
They are now a common sight in almost all urban areas.
Begging is now an industry in its own right having attracted tens of thousands of stakeholders employing all sorts of begging styles and personifications. Some of them are genuine disabled men and women with their children, while others are able-bodied people capable of working to earn a living.
It is like the whole begging concept is assuming new dimensions as people find it easier to beg than toil for a decent living.
This does nothing to develop, modernise and keep our cities clean.
Despite efforts by municipal councils to get rid of beggars, it only takes weeks, if not days, for them to resurface.
A number of years back, Dar es Salaam authorities carried out a major operation that say beggars returned to their home regons. Most of them were believed to have come from Dodoma Region.
Arusha municipality too carried out a similar exercise. Needless to say, all these operations had little or no success after most of the "repatriated" beggars trooped back to their former bases.
The presence of these beggars is a manifestation of our society becoming complacent.
Many will attribute it to our economic hardships, which is to miss the point. Traditionally, begging hasn't been part of the African culture.
In fact, even religious teachings disapprove of begging of any sort. Islamic teachings, for instance, regard the upper hand of a giver as better than that of a receiver.
Africans had for many generations had well-defined social structures in which responsibilities were equally well defined and apportioned.
In case of divorce or death, the responsibility of taking care of children automatically rested on the shoulders of uncles and sometimes grandparents and other relatives. In short, the society could never let an innocent soul starve.
Virtually everyone had a sense of belonging, security and protection. There were checks and balances meant to avert and avoid the shame and disgrace of having women begging around and homeless children roaming aimlessly.
The widely held view was that if a kinsman walks naked it was the entire clan that was supposed to be ashamed.
What we are seeing today can largely be blamed on the influence of Western culture.
Our lifestyle has taken a complete U-turn that we hardly care what happens to those who are closest to us.
Some still maintain that it is economic hardships are to blame for our sudden change of heart, but the reality is, it is because of entrenched selfishness.
If everyone plays his or her role effectively, we wouldn't have beggars anywhere.
Beggars in our midst are a manifestation of an unjust society in which selflessness is increasingly becoming a rare attribute.
Aboubakar Famau is a sub-editor with The Citizen.
Copyright - 2010 The Citizen. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
AllAfrica - All the Time
Senator Mndzebele does it for the disabled
Times of Swaziland
By SIBONGILE SUKATI on July 30,2010
LOBAMBA - Visually impaired Senator Tom Mndzebele has achieved a major deal for persons with disabilities in the country.
As of tomorrow the Ngwenya-Oshoek Border will have a counter that will cater especially for persons with disabilities, the sick and diplomats.
This was announced by Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Minister of Home Affairs, in Senate yesterday.
Gamedze was responding to a motion from Mndzebele who said the minister should make a provision at the country’s border gates that would ensure that people living with disabilities were not subjected to long queues when crossing the border.
In his response Gamedze said his ministry welcomed the noble idea and was indeed very grateful to Mndzebele and Senate in general for raising what he termed a pertinent and painful situation which the vulnerable cross-border travellers were subjected to at the various posts of entry.
Gamedze said senators should bear with his ministry as there was a grey area and thus a dilemma when it came to the subject of handling people living with disabilities.
Gamedze said the bone of contention was that, in some spheres, people living with disabilities felt discriminated against when treated differently and could even go to the extent of telling a person off and saying they should be spared the sympathy and should be treated like normal people.
Gamedze said as a result his ministry had always been very cautious when dealing with people living with disabilities with a view not to discriminate against them.
Gamedze said there would be pilot programmes at the country’s main point of entry, Ngwenya, which would cover all posts by 2013.
Four men rape disabled girl (15)
By NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA on August 01,2010
MBABANE - A 15-year-old pupil of Ekwetsembeni Primary School was last Saturday allegedly raped inside a pit latrine.
The incident occurred at Gobholo, an area situated about five kilometres from town. Already four men are being questioned by police regarding the rape that happened in broad daylight. Out of the four being questioned, one of them has already been charged.
The pit latrine where Bethusile Masilela (*) who happens to be mentally challenged was raped is situated about 200 metres from her family’s one room rented flat.
The girl, her younger sister and their mother had only been in the area for about three days.
Philile*, Bethusile’s mother, said she only got to know that her daughter had been allegedly raped from the younger Fisiwe (5) when she returned home from work.
Bethusile is a vendor and makes a living through selling fruit and vegetables in the city’s market.
"When I returned home on Saturday afternoon, my young daughter told me that there were four boys who forcefully took her sister to the toilet and later came out bleeding. It is when I then suspected that she had been raped. Bethusile confirmed to me that she had been raped," she said.
She said after being informed that her daughter had been raped, she went to the toilet to check if there were any blood stains that would confirm what had been said by her children.
"There were stains on the toilet seat. I then went back to the house and told my daughter to undress for me. It is when I confirmed that she had indeed been raped. I then reported the matter to the police," he said.
Bethusile said she was then informed a day later that four men were being questioned about the matter.
"I was surprised because I was not expecting them to be arrested so soon.
I hope the law will take its course and they get heavy punishment at the end of the day," she said.
Superintendent Wendy Hleta, Police Deputy PRO, confirmed the matter.
She said police took in four suspects for questioning.
"One of them has already been charged while the three are still being questioned. Investigations on the matter are continuing," she said.
The char-ged suspect has alleg-edly confe-ssed to the crime.
* Not their real names
MM, Sisonkhe present blankets, food to elderly, disabled
The Swazi Observer
02 August, 2010 10:00:00 By Simon Shabangu
MM Trading and Supermarket in conjuction with Sisonkhe Social Club yesterday brought smiles to the elderly and disabled residents of Mantabeni as they were presented with blankets and food hampers. 20 residents benefitted from the kind gesture by the two partners.
Sisonkhe Chairman Lucky Mamba and Moses Maseko of MM Trading and Supermarket presenting a blanket to Micah Ngwenya and Milliet Mbingo.
‘Say severe mental impairment, not unsound mind’
08月03日 Zambian Watchdog -
‘Say severe mental impairment, not unsound mind’
Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) have submitted to the National Constitution Conference (NCC) that Article 53 clause one of the draft constitution be amended to address concerns of people with disability.
Programme Director for Disability HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, Elijah Ngwale said the DPOs have agreed that among the submissions the clause ‘unsound mind’ should be done away with and replaced with severe mental impairment.
He added that vision impaired should also be used for people who are sight impaired.
Mr. Ngwale told ZANIS in an interview today that the decision was arrived at a three day workshop at which the DPOs were studying the draft constitution to enable them make submissions to the NCC.
He said the DPOs were happy that the NCC facilitated the transcription of the draft constitution in braille at a cost of K75 million.
He said this allowed the vision impaired people to study the document and make necessary recommendations.
Mr. Ngwale said the disabled are happy that many of the issues concerning them are in the draft constitution.
He noted that nearly every section has a component of disability issues a development he said will help in the domesticating of many international instruments.
Tanzania: Enrolling Disabled Children in Primary Schools
3 August 2010
Tanzania will soon carry out a population census for persons with disabilities.
The government has indicated that the current records of the number of persons living with disabilities are insufficient, affecting the provision of social services to these citizens.
The census is a step towards answering demands that disabled children should also become part of the achievements recorded in primary school enrolment in the country.
The discussion came up in a recent workshop organized by UNDP, a think- tank called Research on Poverty Alleviation and the University of Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania has made commendable progress on primary school enrolment,, but the situation of children with disabilities remains a challenge.
Jocelyine Mkulima, from the Public Service Management section of the President's Office, said "The system is unfriendly to [children with disabilities] in terms of special facilities and needs. This should be addressed, and in a sex-disagregated way, because a disabled woman suffers differently from a disabled man."
Judica Tarimo, a freelance journalist who attended the workshop, said that many factors prevent children with disabilities from attending school in Tanzania.
"For instance, most schools here in Dar es Salaam are built in sand areas. Even for the lucky ones who have wheelchairs, it is just impossible to push them through sand. To make matters worse, schools are often built on platforms to prevent the rain entering the classrooms during the rainy season, but there are no ramps so physically disabled children cannot enter the classrooms," Tarimo said.
Anastazia Rugaba, Programme Officer in an NGO called HakiElimu, said enrolment is not sufficient to assess progress. Instead, investing in quality education and keeping pupils enrolled, particularly in rural areas, require particular attention.
Tanzania: Enrolling Disabled Children in Primary Schools
Disabled want discrepancies in allowances addressed
Ghana News Agency
August 04, 2010
Kumasi, Aug. 4, GNA - The Ghana Union of Physically Disabled Workers (GUPDW), has appealed to government to address discrepancies in the payment of allowance to its members.
It complained that majority of the physically challenged workers, especially those at Ghana Education Service (GES), have been denied of their Disability Allowance.
Addressing a press conference in Kumasi on Wednesday, Mr Khalid Bashiru, the National Chairman of GUPDW, said it was unfair to restrict the money only to the blind.
He said it should not be lost on anyone that just like "our blind brothers and sisters" those who sit in wheelchairs need the "guide" to aid their mobility.
Again, he said, there were yet others, who could not move about without artificial gadgets and it was unjust to deny any of these people the allowance.
According to Mr Bashiru, the facility must cover the wheelchair bound, those using crutches, calipers, artificial limb and orthopedic shoes as well as those, who could not use either their limbs or locomotive system properly.
He also raised concern about the insistence by the Education Directors that the "guide allowance" should alternate with the "special commuted traveling allowance" of 20 percent of the disabled worker's salary, describing this as completely unacceptable.
He said that of the guide allowance is to support them to move around, while the "commuted" is meant to "cushion our huge transportation to and from our work places."
The two, he said, should not be confused.
He said it was important to take account of the fact that their peculiar situation made it impossible for them to travel by the "trotro" and most of the times they were forced to board chartered taxis, which was expensive.
Mr Bashiru demanded an upward adjustment of the allowances.
The Union also joined the "choruses" of protestors against the recent increases in electricity and water tariffs and asked for a downward review.
Zambia: Disability Movement Contributes to NCC
4 August 2010
Zambia Disability and HIV/AIDS Human Rights programme director Elijah Ngwale has said the disability movement in Zambia has submitted to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) on the need to have various rights relating to the disabled be included in the Republican Constitution.
Mr Ngwale said 18 disabled people's organisations (DPOs) with representation from most provinces met from Thursday to Saturday last week at Capital Hotel in Lusaka where it was resolved that Article 53 clause one of the Draft Constitution be amended to address concerns of persons with disability.
Mr Ngwale said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday the disability movement discussed and adopted principally, Article 53 of the Draft Constitution.
Article 53 clause one reads that persons with disabilities are entitled to enjoy all the rights and freedoms set out in this Bill of Rights on an equal basis with others.
Clause two states that any law, practice, custom or tradition that undermines the dignity, welfare, interest or status of persons with disabilities is prohibited.
Mr Ngwale said in addition the movement submitted that there was need to adopt the term 'Visually impaired' so that it became an inclusive term to include all persons with eye impairment, the blind, persons with low vision, persons with residual sight and partially sighted.
He said there was also need to recognise braille and sign language as a form of communication.
He said the other issue which was addressed by the meeting was the use of the word un sound mind.
Mr Ngwale said unsound mind should be replaced with the word severe mental impairment.
"We said it is better to use the word severe mental impairment instead of a person with an unsound mind," he said.
Mr Ngwale said the meeting, which was attended by 30 people from the disability movement, was happy to note that the NCC facilitated the transcription of the Draft Constitution in braille at a cost of K75 million.
He said the move had allowed most of the people who were visually impaired to ready the contents of the Draft Constitution and make their submissions.
He the DPOs also commended Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Action on Disability Development, Opportunity Zambia and Zambia federation of the Disabled for sponsoring the workshop where the recommendations were made.
New era for local beauty pageants
Times of Swaziland
By NSINDISO TSABEDZE on August 05,2010
MBABANE - The Swaziland Beauty Pageant Framework draft is out and has been lauded by different stakeholders despite a few concerns cited by others.
These include Miss Swaziland pageant Director Vinah-Mamba-Gray, Rheodora Isaacs (Miss Swaziland Spokesperson), Rheodora Isaacs (Mr Swaziland pageant), Sifiso Xaba (Miss Cultural Heritage pageant) and Sizwe Ndlela (Miss Deaf pageant) as well as former Miss Swaziland Pile Dlamini and former Miss Swaziland First Princess Nomonde Fihla who had all attended the presentation of the framework.
The framework is the document containing rules and regulations that will act as guidelines for all committees that will manage national pageants.
The presentation was hosted by the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) at the Tums George Hotel yesterday.
The above mentioned individuals together with many other relative stakeholders were taken through the framework by Manzini based lawyer Gigi Reed who was also part of the committee appointed to compile the framework.
Explaining about the framework Reed said: "Note that this is just a draft document that has to be scrutinised by all those concerned so that they say what was left out and or what they feel should not go into the final draft.
"All submissions you make today will be mulled over before the final draft is written. You can also take the framework home to carefully go through every detail and then bring your submissions to SNCAC later."
Interviewed individually the pageants’ directors said they were happy with most of what is provided by the document and mainly about being included in its final stages so that they can add what they felt had been omitted and or state what they felt was not necessary. Mamba-Gray said: "I am happy that our input and views have been sourced and we have been promised that what we have to say will be taken into consideration before the final draft is drawn."
Isaacs felt most of the guidelines outlined in the framework were good because they would go a long way in helping to eliminate the problems that arise since they lead both the committee and the contestants.
Former Miss Swaziland and former Miss Swaziland princess, Pile Dlamini and Nomonde Fihla respectively, said they supported the framework because its rules and regulations would eliminate the problems they encountered during their reign as well as that of other most recent winners.
"This is perfect," said Fihla and Dlamini said: "It is a good move and the rules will help other girls get better treatment than we."
Meanwhile Mr Swaziland Director Winwar Du Pont said it was good that SNCAC had finally decided to take into regard their opinions even though he doubted their submissions would be taken seriously.
"This is a good thing which I feel should have been done before pageants were suspended.
"However, it awaits to be seen whether SNCAC will make good on their promise to consider our views with regards to the framework but I am largely uncertain about that looking at the way they have done things so far regarding this matter," he said.
‘The deaf were left out’
MBABANE - Miss Deaf pageant Director Sizwe Ndlela feels the deaf community was not consider- ed.
Even though Ndlela commended SNCAC for engaging them on the matter before drafting the final Swaziland Be- auty Pageant Framework, he still felt they should have been considered when the initial framework was draf-ted.
"The deaf have a moto-‘Nothing for us without us’ and I feel experts in the field should also be consulted because some of the things in the framework are of no use to us.
"Experts in the field should have been consulted so that they make an input on behalf of the deaf community," he said.
Ndlela said deaf people had their own culture of doing things unlike normal able-bodied people and such things were not taken into consideration and made the framework look to be only for those who could use all their senses.
Meanwhile Gigi Reed jumped in and explained to Ndlela that this was why SNCAC invited them to the presentation of the framework so that such submissions were made so as to help come up with a final draft that would suit everybody.
SNCAC says framework is of international standards
MBABANE - Local and international experts in the field of beauty pageants were consulted during the drafting of the Swaziland Beauty Pageant Framework.
This was stated by Vice Chairperson of the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) Executive Board, Bongani Mamba when making his welcome remarks and explaining why the gathering was a necessity.
"We wanted to come up with something of international standards hence we decided to source expert opinion from people with experience in the field of hosting beauty pageants," he said.
Mamba said they got help from organisers of Miss South Africa and even went to as far as Botswana to obtain professional opinions so that everything written in the framework would conform to the highest standards set for national beauty pageants.
He said the main reason was because they wanted to come up with stringent rules and regulations that would help eliminate all the ills in national beauty pageants, something which was currently lacking in many of them.
"The slack rules have led to contestants and winners engaging in wayward behaviour and getting away with it because there were no rules to govern them and ensure they are always on their best behaviour. This framework will then help eliminate such confusion and also ensure representation of high standards in international pageants. This is just like in football where you cannot be successful at international competitions until you have high quality competitions at home," he added.
Stakeholders urged to empower and support the development of disability sports
August 13, 2010
Accra, Aug. 13, GNA - "Determined to Win" Incorporated of United States of America has begun a week-long training camp for disabled sportsmen and women with a call to Government and other stakeholders to help empower and strengthen the sports opportunities of people with disabilities.
"People with disability need educational opportunities to develop their talents and it is for this reason that society must help in changing the wrong perceptions associated with people with disability".
Ms Jean Driscoll, Founder and Director of "Determined to Win" Incorporated, USA made the call when she led a delegation to the introductory training camp for 20 disabled sports men and women drawn from the regions, which is currently underway at the El-Wak Sports Stadium in Accra.
The training camp is also to supply a number of sports equipment made up of racing wheel chairs, training rollers, hand cycles, gloves, helmets, training shirts and tyres to members of Ghana Society of Physically Disabled.
Ms Driscoll explained that the purpose of the training camp was to encourage and assist people with disability to use sports to develop their talents while helping to change wrong perceptions about them as well as empowering them to support the legacy of sports equipment and avenues' been created.
The 12 time world record Para-Olympics medalist said Ghana has people with disability who have the strength and talents who can win medals for the country at international sporting events and it is her wish that many of them would be supported to participate in, not only the Paralympics but other sporting and tract events.
Ms Driscoll said there is the need for networking by National Sports Council (NSC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to support and sustain programmes by investing in its activities since the ultimate goal is to develop athletes throughout the country to participate in the Para-Olympics Games.
She regretted that disability is so much misunderstood with disabled people having few opportunities because people see them with negative views and discard them from societal activities while denying them educational and other opportunities.
Mr Duut Bonchel Abdulai, acting Executive Secretary, National Council on Persons with Disability said sports is a unifying factor to national development and so there is the need for collaboration between the various organizations to give the disabled the required assistance to develop their talents.
He gave the assurance that the Council with support from Government would collaborate with other organizations to boost the moral and encourage other disabled persons to develop their talents instead of begging on the streets.
Meanwhile Always Praising the Father Ministries (APF) has set up an All Africa Disability Centre at Tema to give assistance and opportunities to people with disabilities to continue their sports training.
Rev. Allan Fulton alias Yaw Mensah , Director of APF said the Centre wants to see many disabled sports men and women participate in the Para-Olympics and for Ghana to win her first Gold medal in any of the events by people with visual, hearing, amputees and other disabled persons.
Disability not panacea for begging and idleness
August 15, 2010
Kumasi, Aug. 15, GNA - Mr Karimu Iddrisu, Executive Director of Centre for Advancement of the Marginalized Persons (CAMP), a Non-Governmental Organization has advised people with disability not to use their situation as a panacea for street begging and idleness.
He said they should rather be more resourceful and think of how best they would work to raise their standard of living.
Mr Iddrisu, who is a disabled, said their disability could be a blessing to unleash their God-given potentials to improve on their conditions and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
He was addressing the opening session of a three-day workshop on entrepreneurial skills and financial management for 30 selected disabled women in Kumasi.
It was organized by the Ashanti Regional wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) and sponsored by the African Women Development Fund, an international NGO.
The workshop was to equip the participants to be more business-oriented and to be credit worthy.
Mr Iddrisu stressed the need for financial institutions, corporate bodies and policy makers to offer the needed assistance and support to people with disabilities.
"It is the only way they can unleash their God-given potentials to make them self-reliant and independent," he said.
Madam Margaret Mensah, Ashanti Regional Chairperson of the Women's Wing of GSPD, said the participants, mostly self-employed, were drawn from the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the region.
She was full of praises to the sponsors for coming to their aid and appealed to other NGO's to emulate.
The chairperson called on members to be serious with their work and endeavour to put any money that came into their hands into profitable business enterprises.
She urged them to be resourceful and active and always have at the back of their minds that "they can do it if they really mean to."
Keeping it up with Disability
Sunday, 15 August 2010 03:35 Nigerian Compass
Living with a disability is something most able-bodied people can’t even begin to understand. The daily physical obstacles, prejudice, shares and unwelcome sympathy they face are not only pathetic but deeply isolating. Yet disabled people are as gifted, beautiful, aspirational, successful and ‘normal’ like anyone else as YEMISI ADENIRAN and FUNMI SALOME JOHNSON found out.
Her birth, some 25 years ago came like that of any other child - normal and most thrilling. She was the first of her mother and came right on time. Her parents were unreserved where care and gifts were concerned and so she was the envy of few other children in her home, a polygamous one. Things had continued this way until about her 10th month on earth when devil decided to strike. She became ill of measles and all efforts to get her healed were futile. It was a prolonged illness that drained almost her parents’ savings. After what seemed like eternity, she begun showing traces of response to all the healing therapy bequeathed on her. Sadly, her healing wasn’t as whole as expected, she lost her hearing and speech organs.
Her parents’ world came crashing like some pillar of concrete blocks . Depression set in with inexplicable measure of agony. Although as a child, she carried on with a little care, her parents’ countenance was that of gloom as they felt an unbearable pain.
“How could my lot be this? How could my luck attract this kind of pain at my first attempt?” were some of the questions the mother kept asking herself and whoever that was close to her.
“From that moment on, I could not think straight, eat well, sleep or find any joy in living,” recalled Mrs. Charity Jadesola, the mother.
But the child grew and had her own story to tell. Although for her predicament, Mama Gift as she is fondly called, could not express herself well; she scribbled a few words on her experience thus:
“I grew up to know myself as a deaf and dumb and I was treated like one. It was hard for me to make permanent friends and faces laughing and making jest of me were a common feature. At first, I was always crying but when I saw that I was not the only one in this kind of situation, I decided to live by it, more so that I discovered that I was very dear to my mother. She was always caring and bearing my burden. I could have attempted killing myself but for her, I always change my mind. We are free with each other and with her, and my younger ones, I have lived till today. My parents could not afford the cost of a special school, so I had to drop out of school after writing the Junior I Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE). I went and learnt the art of hair dressing and I have been living on this. I met a man two years ago and was amazed when he proposed marriage to me. I have been married since and had a child to show for it. I called the child’s name Gift because he was an evidence that God does not forget any of His own. I have people coming around me for this business, so I am not bored and have a lot of reason to live and to thank God. I am relevant to God and to people so why should I bother. The only pain that is a bit burdensome is the fact that my baby is yet to know my peculiarity. When he cries, except I see tears flow down her face, I would not know and communication generally has been a problem between us. This is why he stays more with my mother to allow him pick his language the normal way. She brings him to me when necessary and I’m sure he will understand the situation more as he grows up. As for my clients, they know my peculiarity before coming, so we communicate through writing. I don’t have a shop of my own yet, so I do my work at home. I blame no one for my plight but will advise anyone in my situation to accept his or her fate and think of how to make the best of the situation. We are not to live on alms, we have dignity and should be respected.”
Many people assume those who are physically challenged are less-privileged and need to be treated thus. But this, many of them resent vehemently. Except for a few whose situation are severe, they feel much better when they are left to live like their normal counterparts. Mama Gift was diagnosed for cerebral palsy and this was responsible for the challenge. But while many people assume those suffering from cerebral palsy are severely brain-damaged and physically spastic, it obviously was not her case.
Stressing her utmost desire, Mama Gift said her circumstances are inevitably, frequently made difficult by the ignorance and assumption of others. She’s accepted her fate and would want others to see her that way and not as some mentally retarded. Crowning it all, she is not looking forward to any miracle as she writes: “I have accepted everything about myself, especially the responsibility of being a woman. I am not seeking any miracle for my disability, I am comfortable with myself just the way I am and don’t need any deception.”
Two hours in the septic tank
Nothing could have prepared handsome Solomon Meshack, a graduating student of the School of Communication, Lagos State University (LASU) and entrepreneur for the traumatic changes in his life 15 years ago when he developed an eye problem that rendered him blind for life. He was not born blind, rather he is a victim of poverty which became the lot of his family after his father died in 1994. The death of his father made life unbearable for his mother Erera, who alone had to shoulder the burden of providing for him and his two siblings. His father’s relations had seized most of the family’s possessions and left Meshack’s mother with nothing to cater for the children.
In 1995, while this hardship was getting worse, Meshack developed eye problem. Initially he thought it was a small problem and he told nobody about it, not even his mother. He had a reason for keeping his health problems to himself. He felt his mother was carrying too much responsibility which was weighing on her, and to add his eye problem to her burden would be too much a load for the woman to bear.
“At that time, we were living from hand to mouth, and I did not want to add to the burden of my caring mother,” he said.
But his primary school class teacher could not hide the brilliant student’s eye problems from his mother. He called the woman one day after school to inform her that Meshack’s sight was deteriorating. The mother then took Meshack to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). There, they were told that they had to pay N20,000 for surgery on Meshack’s two eyes. Her mother could not afford the cost of the surgery, so she decided to approach all the people she thought could help in order to save the eyes of his little son. But help ceased coming.
His mother, however, did not give up. She decided to struggle to save some amount from whatever money she was able to raise towards the surgery. It took several months before she was able to save N20,000 for her son’s surgery. With the money now in place, she returned to the hospital. It was there they discovered that the worst had happened. The doctors told them the boy’s eyes could no longer be saved. From then, Meshack’s eyes gradually deteriorated until he became completely blind.
He did not allow his predicament to overwhelm him even though at that time, the sight had not completely gone, he could still manage to see large prints. He was counselled to go to a rehabilitation centre for the blind but he refused to accept the fact that he is blind and did not go. Then in an effort to do something to augment the efforts of his mother who was toiling alone to cater for him and his siblings. After his secondary education, he got a job as a bus attendant for a primary school at Ikotun-Egbe - Elyon Nursery and Primary School. He was employed to represent the interest of the children’s parents who were complaining about how their wards were maltreated on the school bus.
It was in his new job that he had a harrowing experience that became a life turning point for him. He fell into a soak-away pit one fateful morning while going to see one of the parents’ of the pupils. He was in the pit for two hours, and when he heard some footsteps, he raised his voice and cried for help. The pupil’s mother whom he came to see before he fell into the pit rescued him. Meshack went back home that day to ruminate on his nasty experience.
He decided to quit the job of bus attendant. His pit experience was the turning point that made him resign his appointment with the school and proceeded to the School for the Blind at Oshodi, which he had stubbornly refused to attend initially.
While at Oshodi, he learnt the vocation that would make him more relevant in life. It was while he was at the School for the Blind that he also embarked on a course in basic journalism at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Training School on Adekunle Fajuyi Way, GRA, Ikeja.
With the little support he was getting from his mother, and the money he saved from his previous job as a bus attendant, he was able to pay his school fees and transport himself for lessons at the School for the Blind and for his journalism course at the FRCN. He was able to cope with life as a blind man by concentrating fully on what he was doing.
An innocuous development helped to shape his life at the School for the Blind. He was reading in brail and a blind lady who was sitting and weaving behind him was disturbing Meshack with the sound of her ropes, which she was using for the weaving. Meshack became interested in weaving and from that moment, his interest in it blossomed, as the lady started teaching him how to make bags.
Within a month of learning the ropes in the new business, Meshack was able to successfully weave his first bag, and the business in the field commenced. He started his business with just N300, by buying three roles of ropes for which he was able to make five bags which he sold for N600 each. The business started expanding as he bought more materials from the gain he was making. With continual practice, he increased his speed. >From weaving just one bag in a month to one in two weeks, he presently weaves one in two days.
He went on to teach his siblings how to make the bags, and today they are his partners in the business. They even enjoy patronage from contractors and boutique owners in Lagos. Buoyed by the success of the business, he incorporated his weaving enterprise with the name Emo-Ezi Creations. The business is located at Ikotun-Egbe.
Meshack has continued to make money from his bag business, but he has not forgotten his ambition to give up his desire to further his education. He was offered admission to read Mass Communication at the Lagos State University (LASU), in 2006. His initial dream was to be an agriculturist. He said his passion now is journalism, and that was why he is studying Mass Communication.
“Journalism is something I like and wanted to be right from when I was eleven years old. I love writing, and it is something I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
He said although he would not abandon weaving, he would like to employ journalism to enlighten other physically challenged persons on the need for them not to allow their conditions weigh them down. With his experience and even travails as a blind man, Meshack has a message for the able-bodied as well as those that are physically challenged: “Never look down on those with special needs because you can never tell how far they can go in life.”
One would ordinarily think that his state of being visually impaired would prevent him from getting someone who would love him enough to be his better half but that was not his case as he has a beautiful lady whom he will be getting married to before the end of this year.
Meshack’s fianc？e, Kemi Fajuyi, is a graduate of Iree Polytechnic, Osun State and is happily looking forward to the day the nuptial knot will be tied with her heartthrob, Solomon.
The multi-talented blind man is today a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors, and an accomplished weaver. He is a devout Christian and a member of the Daystar Christian Centre.
Angolan war caused over 50,000 disabled people
AngolaPress - 2010年8月17日
8/17/10 11:45 AM
Luanda - The Angolan war caused over 50, 000 disabled people, said Monday in Luanda the deputy minister of Former Combatants and Veterans of the Homeland.
Clemente Canjuca spoke to the media at 4 de Fevereiro International Airport, while waiting to receive Mozambican minister of Combatants, Mateus ?scar Kida, which started a four- day visit to the country.
The deputy minister reminded that Angola witnessed a long period of war, with 14 years of National Liberation War and 27 years of internal armed conflict, which makes a total of 41 years of war that caused a high number of disabled people.
The government official stressed that Angola wants to transmit to Mozambique the experience that they had with former UNITA army after signing different processes, since Bicesse and Lusaka Agreements, Lwena and Namibe Memorandum of Understanding, precisely to demobilize effectives that were not part of the single national army.
The Ministry currently assists about 180, 000 people, among former combatants, war disabled and families of fallen or perished combatants.
100,000 barrels of oil daily to benefit disabled people
Luanda - The reserve of 100,000 barrels of oil per day approved recently by the Angolan Executive will allow the revision of the programmes related to improving living conditions of disabled people, said in Luanda on Tuesday the chairperson of National Association of Military War Amputees (AMMIGA).
Domingos Martins Ngola, who was speaking to Angop, said that concerning the approval of 100,000 barrels daily to social issues will resolve some difficulties faced by of former combatants.
The official, who is also an MP, said that many disabled people are facing difficulties of housing, lack of pension and others and this initiative will help us to solve some of these concerns.
HM the King lays foundation stone of Princess Lalla Asmaa centre for deaf children, youths
Rabat - HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied by Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, Princess Lalla Khadija and Princess Lalla Asmaa, laid, on Wednesday in Rabat, the foundation stone for building the Princess Lalla Asmaa centre for deaf children and youths, worth 11.14 million dirhams ($ 1.3 million).
This centre, which is carried out by the Lalla Asmaa Foundation for deaf children and built over 1,952 square meters, will benefit about 200 deaf kids and youths aged between 2 and 18. It will provide them with special education and contribute to their social and vocational integration.
The centre will include twenty-one classes for the preschool, elementary, and secondary education and five vocational training classes (plastic art, computer science, cooking, sewing, embroidery and hairdressing).
It will also comprise a speech therapy room, a laboratory for hearing aids, a meeting room, a kitchen, an infirmary and a sports field.
Namibia: Teenager With No Arms Tells His Story
19 August 2010
HENDRIK Isaaks came into the world with no arms when he was born at the farm Wortel in the Karasburg district 20 years ago.
Isaaks says he doesn't consider his disability as a setback and embraces life like anyone else - he just uses his feet to do things other people do with their hands.
"I can write, eat, ride a bicycle, play soccer, participate in athletics and do washing," says Isaaks.
However, he struggles to carry out some tasks such as dressing himself.
"My mother or sister helps me to dress," he says.
Isaaks says he looks forward to competing in the 100 and 200 metres and long jump items during an athletics meet for people with disabilities next month.
"The only thing that worries me is that I do not have any formal education," he adds.
"Because of my disability and limited financial resources my parents could not afford to send me to school. But if an opportunity comes my way that would assist me to educate myself, I'll grab it with both hands," Isaaks says.
"It does not help to go through life without education. I want to educate myself to secure a job."
Isaaks, who lives with his sister, says at least he is able to put food on the table with his monthly disability grant.
"Disability does not mean the end of the world," is his message to other people living with disabilities.
PWDs ask govt to sponsor their children at university
The New Vision
Thursday, 19th August, 2010
By Madinah Tebajjukira
People with disabilities (PWDs) have asked President Yoweri Museveni to aponsor their children for university education.
The Kampala PWDs chairperson, Afua Nalubega, said their children are unable to get government sponsorship because they score low points, which she attributed to their parents・physical and financial status.
She made the appeal over the weekend during a workshop organised to brief members on the domestication of the United Convention on the Rights of PWDs at Nakivubo Blue Primary School in Kampala.
Nalubega added that children of the disabled are left out even for private courses because they cannot afford the costs.
Another member, Becca Nakibuka, appealed to the Government to train specialists in sign language to attend to the deaf.
Due to the absence of sign language specialists, especially among nurses and midwives, deaf pregnant women have shunned hospitals, she said.
The workshop was attended by MPs representing the disabled, who included Sofia Nalule (National), William Nokrach (Northern) and Hood Katuramu (Western).
Kenya: You Have Failed Us, Albinos Protest
Daily Nation on the web
19 August 2010
Nairobi - A lobby for disabled groups has called for the enhancement of the 16-year sentence slapped on the man who attempted to sell an albino friend in Tanzania.
Nathan Mutei was convicted on Wednesday by Mwanza resident magistrate Angelus Rumisha for trafficking and abduction with intention to murder.
Mutei, 28, tricked Mr Robinson Simiyu Mkwama to accompany him to Mwanza, claiming he would get him a job.
All the while, he intended to sell him to witchdoctors who were to kill him and use his body parts for juju. In mitigation, Mutei told the court that he did not want to kill Mr Mkwama and that he only wanted money.
On Thursday, the Disability Caucus said the sentence was too light. "We are writing to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights demanding that he travels to Tanzania," the group said in a statement.
The chairman of the caucus, Mr Churchill Omondi, said: This man should have been sentenced to death as this albino was going to be killed."
Mr Omondi said abuse of albinos was widespread and called on the UN to look into the welfare of the disabled in the region.
"The people with disability in this region are a forgotten lot and even the appointment of people with disability in the Ugandan Parliament does not make much difference," he said.
Mr Omondi spoke as the parliamentary committee on equal opportunities questioned the State's commitment to the protection of albinos.
The committee urged the government to commission a national head count of people with albinism to determine their exact population.
Committee chairman Mohammed Affey said this would make it easy to know their location and plan for their needs.
Last year, Parliament discussed a petition presented on behalf of albinos by Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa on measures the government was to adopt to protect them.
The petition from the Albinism Society of Kenya also asked the government to amend the Disability Act to have them recognised.
Assembly Select Committee On Health, Others Tour Health Facilities
The National Assembly Select Committee on Health in collaboration with the Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD), the Department of Social Welfare and Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), recently concluded a three-day tour of major and minor health centres across the country.
The tour accorded the team the opportunity to assess how accessible and user-friendly those facilities are to persons with disabilities. The taskforce committee visited Essau Health Centre, Kuntair Health Centre, Kerewan Health Centre, AFPRC General Hospital in Farafenni, among others. Speaking at a press conference held last Thursday at the Gambia Federation of the Disabled (GFD) head office in Kanifing, Honorable Adama Cham, the National Assembly member for Kombo North, underscored the importance of health in sustainable economic development.
He disclosed that they visited 12 health facilities, both major and minor ones across the country. "We have to work hand in glove so that we can meet our goals," Hon Cham noted. Honourable Borry Kolley, the National Assembly member for Foni Jarrol, called on institutions, government and the private sector to join hands and support the disabled. He indicated that the media has a big role to play in the interpretation of sign languages for disabled people so that they can get information from their colleagues.Muhammed Korah, the chairman of the Gambia Federation of the Disabled, disclosed that the GFD has been involved in many activities from 2007 to date. He thanked all those who supported the disabled people in one way or the other. Hon. Muhammadou M5 Jallow, member for Upper Fulladu West Constituency, who is also a member of the taskforce of the disabled, said that the leadership of this country has the interest of the welfare of the general public including the disabled.
He finally stated in assurance that the government has recognised the disabled organisations in its development agenda and that it will continue to fight for their welfare.
Make sign language learning a constitutional provision - CRC told
Wa, Aug. 20, GNA - Mr Andrews Zoyaari, a hearing-impaired person, has appealed to the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) to make learning of sign language a constitutional provision for every citizen.
He said learning of sign language was important and necessary because it would enable every citizen to understand and communicate well with the deaf.
Mr Zoyaari made the appeal during the Regional hearings and mini consultations series of the CRC held on Thursday at Wa in the Upper West Region.
Mr Zoyaari, who made the appeal through Mr Andrews Owusu, the Commission's Sign Language Interpreter, explained that the lack of knowledge of the sign language on the part of many Ghanaians had made communication very difficult for the deaf.
The Upper West Region is the fourth in the series of the Commission's Regional hearings and mini consultations after Upper East, Brong Ahafo and the Northern Regions.
Mr Zoyaari said problems and concerns of the deaf were not fully expressed and understood at places where there was no sign language expert to interpret the message.
The hearing-impaired man urged legal practitioners, health workers, security personnel and other professionals to do well and learn the sign language to reduce the stress the deaf normally went through in putting across their problems and concerns to them.
He noted that there were many of his colleagues in the country, who had little or no knowledge at all regarding the sign language and called on parents and government to make conscious effort to get such people enrolled at the Schools for the Deaf.
Mr Zoyaari said he could teach many people the sign language and appealed for support to enable him to do so.
Madam Victoria Balubie, a visually impaired person and a teacher at the Wa Methodist School for the Blind, also appealed to CRC to make a constitutional provision to allow disabled salary workers to retire with their salaries.
She said this would enable them to continue to take good care of themselves while on retirement as many of them had neither care takers nor any other source of income to live on when they retire.
She also called on government to adequately resource the special schools across the country to cater for the special needs of the disabled.
Another physically challenged woman participant called on government to directly release funds into the Persons with Disability Fund (PWDF) instead of it passing through the District Assemblies, which made it difficult for them to access.
Professor Albert Fiadjoe, Chairman of the CRC commended the participants especially the disabled for coming to submit their concerns on the review of the constitution.
He said the level of participation clearly indicated that Ghanaians are law abiding citizens.
St. Michael’s club donates wheelchair to disabled woman
The Swazi Observer
23 August, 2010 11:11:00 By Calsile Masilela
ST Michael’s High School Red Cross club on Saturday donated a wheelchair to a disabled woman of Manzini.
The wheelchair was donated to the club by Pay Less Stores in Manzini after they were approached by the club.
Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross President Bongani Dlamini said they were happy that the pupils were touched and decided to help the destitute woman. Sophie Shongwe does not have legs as they were amputated just below the knees and she was using crutches before she got the wheelchair.
The presentation took place on Saturday during Red Cross annual general meeting (AGM) held at Tum’s George Hotel.
Dlamini said the St Michael’s club had undergone a few projects including donating food hampers to destitute people.
He said Shongwe was discovered during that project but the pupils realised they could not do it on their own, so they scouted for sponsors.
“It is encouraging to see young people participate in such programmes because they learn to give for the development of the society,” he said.
Dlamini said the St Michael’s club was part of the organisation’s plans to expand to schools around the country as before.
Shongwe was elated after getting the wheelchair as she said she would now be able to move around easily with the wheelchair. Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini, who was the guest speaker, is also a member of the organisation.
He commended the pupils for their effort in ensuring that someone’s life was changed for the better.
He encouraged the pupils to continue their good work to help others who were less fortunate.
Disability Must Be Respected - Motingwa
For a long time, Thomas Motingwa has been championing the struggle for people with disabilities.
Motingwa is the head of the coordinating office of people with disabilities that falls under the Office of the President. He was appointed in January to set up the new division.
Motingwa did not have to be hired in order to deal with issues relating to people with disabilities. He has always been an activist for the rights of people with disabilities. At one time he was even appointed a nominated councillor to the Gaborone City Council.
Motingwa's office is charged with implementing national policies and programmes aimed at improving the lives of people living with disabilities.
The division will also advocate that people with disabilities should have access to employment and be given equal opportunity to participate in income generating projects.
The division is also charged with creating awareness about disabilities as well as advocating for destigmatisation.
Motingwa says there is negative attitude towards people with disabilities. "We are trying to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected," he says.
He notes that the needs of people with disabilities are diverse and they require special attention.
He gave the example of visually impaired people who are not able to access the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) loan application forms.
Motingwa says that people with disabilities should also be covered by government education schemes.
He says the education system does not cover all of them, depending on their disabilities.
Motingwa's division have already made some interventions in terms of job creation. "We are developing a strategy to ensure that people with disabilities are employed.
We have submitted 42 names to the Choppies retail group and they have already employed more than 30 people," he says. However, since their division is new, they doing a situational analysis.
"We are setting up structures that will assist in coordinating of policies. But you need to understand what others have been doing before you set up structures.
We are also working towards reviewing the policy of people with disabilities," he says.
Motingwa says the world is no longer looking at disability as a health issue only; it is also a socio-economic issue.
"Even our policies must meet international expectations. We should look at removing all the barriers. The barriers also include lack of access to infrastructure".
He says in other countries, a person who is visually impaired can go anywhere unaccompanied. This is because the infrastructure is designed in a manner that it is friendly to people with disabilities.
In those countries, they also have dogs to guide people who are visually impaired.
Motingwa expressed concern that the design of local structures is not suitable for people with disabilities. "When you go to a public toilet, you will find that they are not designed in a way that somebody with a wheel chair can gain access".
"Most facilities are not user friendly to people with disabilities.
Even when it comes to voting, many people with disabilities do not go to the polls because there are no special arrangements for them". He says in other countries, people with disabilities vote in advance with officials who will be conducting the elections.
Motingwa says people with disabilities do not have enough access to information about HIV/AIDS which is usually communicated in written form.
To him this puts people with disabilities at risk.
"How do people who are visually impaired gain access to such information? If you talk about a condom, somebody who is visually impaired cannot tell whether it has expired. Someone who is visually impaired cannot read the instructions on a medication even if it has expired," he says.
In Motingwa's view, education is important.
He traces the negativity from primary school education. "Our education is not inclusive to learners with disabilities. These are some of the issues that we are working on," he says. "We need to come up with some means to protect them".
He says the justice system does not cover them fully. This is due to the fact that both judicial and police officers cannot communicate in sign language. "We are still lacking in those aspects," he says.
Motingwa says public transport vehicles like buses do not have special seats reserved for people with disabilities. In other countries, he says, buses have ramps that are reserved for people with disabilities.
Even just to acquire a driving licence is a big deal for a person with a disability, observes Motingwa.
There is also discrimination when it comes to employment. Security organisations like the Botswana Police Service and Botswana Defence Force (BDF) stipulate that potential recruits should be 'physically fit'.
There have also been cases in those organisations when officers have been discharged after sustaining injuries on duty.
Motingwa does not see the reason why a person with disability cannot work for the police or the army.
"You don't need to be physically fit to be a police officer. You can become a detective and you can do a good job. Even at BDF, some officers have been discharged because they were considered not to be physically fit. But they could still be deployed into other army divisions," he says.
The coordinator raised concerns about the lack of a centre for children with autism, a mental condition. There is also no centre for children with cerebral palsy.
"These are some of the challenges that we are faced with. We want to come up with a strategy to map the way forward," he says.
Lagos House Passes Disability Law
People Living With Disability bill has been passed into law by the Lagos State House of Assembly, P.M.NEWS has learnt.
Addressing newsmen, the Coordinator of People Living with Disability, Mr. David Anyaele, who disclosed this, said the bill will give people with disability equal right like others in the society.
He explained that with the passage of the bill into law, people living with disability will be safeguarded against any form of discrimination and also have access to information and the socio-economic environment.
“People living with disability provision shall start from age 6 till death. Their responsibility(ies) shall be taken care of by the Lagos State government and in case of any accident, the government shall compensate such disabled,” Anyaele added.
Commenting on the new law, the legal consultant to the organisation, Barrister Dan Onwe stated: “Now, people living with disability shall have special education, special and free transport system, special office for the complaints of disabled if molested or discriminated against.
”Section 23(1) of the law states: ‘All levels of government shall take appropriate steps to ensure that persons living with disability have good standards of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and continuous improvement of living conditions.’
”Section 24(3) states that ‘a landlord or landlady shall allow a person living with disability lawfully occupying the property as a tenant to make such access related modifications to the building as would enable him/her access his/her apartment provided he/she is acting in good faith and has given adequate notice to the private landlord or landlady’.
Anyaele called on Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to, without delay, sign the bill into law.
Dignitaries present at the occasion were representatives from the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI), representatives of psycho-educational therapists cum special education consultants, Mr. Charles Okoli and others.
National disabled athletics championship fixed for August 24
Accra, Aug. 23, GNA - The National Sports Council will organize a national disabled athletics championship from August 24-25 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.
The objective of the two-day event is to select a team to represent the country at the impending Commonwealth Games slated for India later in the year.
A statement from the Public Relations Secretariat of the NSC copied to discuss, long jump, high jump and power-lifting.
Six regions made up of the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Northern and Western Regions will present teams for the competition.
All participants are expected to report on Monday, August 23 at 17h00 GMT at the Baba Yara Stadium.
Government must serve people with disabilities Having access to buildings and public areas is vitally important for people with disabilities. Not being able to use the toilet or enter a building can be frustrating for an able-bodied person. What more for one with disability?
Access that includes such things as handicap ramps, automatic doors, special restrooms, ramps in buses, crosswalks and parking spaces should be provided in industries and service areas for use by people with disability. Yes, considerable expense must go into retrofitting service areas that were created without consideration for this relatively small portion of the population, and since the planners are not disabled themselves, spending money to rehabilitate buildings, roads and other public areas to make life less difficult may be the last thing on their minds.
But serving humanity is not about making profit or savings. It is about ensuring that we all have good quality of life as humans. That life is partly gained through access to all these other areas where we all need to go:
colleges and universities, workplaces and transport. Deny the disabled equal access and opportunity then you deny them the right to that life.
It is not about compassion. It is what must happen. Proper access for people with disabilities does not only help these people but also 'the disabled'.
These are people who have temporary mobility issues like the man on crutches after he was injured at a football game. What about the young woman with a knee injury? There is also the old woman or man with painful arthritic knees. Government should take the lead in ensuring that people with disabilities are fully catered for. How does a person on a wheelchair cross from the Gaborone taxi rank to the bus rank?
There is a steep flyover with stairs only and no provision for people with disabilities. What this means is that these people have to pay extra to be transported around to the bus rank or if they are from the bus rank, to the taxi station. That the flyover in point was built many years back, and that to date no one has seen the need for provision for these people to be made, is proof of the little regard that the system has for people with disabilities. Let provision be made everywhere for people with disabilities; ramps at pedestrian crossings; grab bars in toilets and showers; automatic doors in shops and restaurants; ramps leading to working lifts in buildings. We can't have them wheeled to the car ramps in basement parking! Society must realise that people with disabilities need the same products and services that the rest of us do.
They need to buy food, tools, houseware, clothing, and furniture, office supplies, animal feed, pet food and apply for loans.
Enough injustice has been perpetrated against people with disabilities.
It is against this background that we call on government to speedily come up with legislation that makes it necessary for all business - from contractors to employers and industry owners - to cater for people with disabilities. The recently established office that coordinates issues of people with disabilities is a good starting point, and we hope its recommendations will be treated seriously.
"Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you're needed by someone."
- Martina Navratilova (Czech born American Tennis Player, b.1956)
Disabled soldier languishes in poverty
Mmegi Online -
A former Botswana Defence Force soldier, Moreri Baraedi, is languishing in poverty after he was dismissed because he was unable to work.
Baraedi said that the defence council did not bother to listen to his case and the only response he got was that he was fairly dismissed from the force.
A letter dated July 21, 2010 from the Office of the President confirms Baraedi's dismissal.
"I wish to inform you that the defence council during its meeting of July 8, 2010 considered your appeal regarding your dismissal from the BDF. The council, after considering all the documents pertaining to your appeal came to the conclusion that you were properly discharged from the BDF. Your appeal was therefore dismissed for lack of merits," says a letter signed by permanent secretary in Ministry of Defence Justice and Security, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe.
But Baraedi insists that he was unfairly dismissed from the force and unduly denied his benefits and a month's salary.
He said that his troubles started when he fell sick after accidentally stepping on a wooden splinter with his right foot during routine training in 1999. The ex-soldier, employed in 1987, said that his health deteriorated in the following two years to the extent that at some point his lower body, from the waist down, was paralysed.
He said that there was a time when he was hospitalised and none of his supervisors or colleagues bothered to check on how he was doing.
He said that in many occasions there were logistical problems for him to be transported between his home in Molepolole and Princess Marina Hospital.
The transport problem got worse, forcing him to engage a friend to transport him to Gaborone for regular check-ups and medication and most of the time he was bedridden.
Apparently the wooden splinter remained in his leg for about two years causing bacteria that nearly caused decomposition.
He said that he followed all procedures to be granted home-based care by his relatives in Molepolole and once in a while he would report to his station at SSKB.
Baraedi said that the problems continued until November 2003 when one of his supervisors sent him to military jail for failing to report for duty despite available medical reports and sick leave.
"He wouldn't even listen to me and sent me to jail for 14 days. He could see that I was walking with the support of crutches but he showed no compassion. He just did not care," lamented Baraedi.
He said that when he was about to complete the sentence, the same officer extended his jail term by an additional seven days. The irony of the matter, Baraedi said, is that you have to appeal to the same senior officer who is sending you to jail and the officer did not bother to listen to him.
He said that by July 2004 he had served over 30 days in the military jail despite his deteriorating health.
He said that one day when he reported for duty the officer told him that he was no longer an employee of the BDF and he should leave the army premises immediately.
He said that he was denied a wage for that month and he also lost the welfare money, which he accumulated in monthly contributions. "All I was told was that I had lost the money because I had been jailed. Even my other benefits I have not got a thebe from the BDF and nobody is willing to help me," he said.
He said that for the past six years he has been sent from one office to another in pursuit of his dues and he is left a poor man.
Baraedi said that he had exhausted all the procedures even trying to meet then Vice President Ian Khama. He said he finally went to report to the defence council who also did not invite him to testify.
"I had hoped that I would be called before the body to lead my testimony but I only received this letter confirming my dismissal," he said. Among the senior government officials who sit on the defence council are the Attorney General, Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the permanent secretary to President and the Commander of BDF.
Pre-paid meters would not work in some institutions
Tamale, Aug. 24, GNA - The Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Special Schools (COHESS) Mrs. Immaculate Atoriya, has said the government's policy that all state institutions use the pre-paid meter would not be feasible in some institutions.
She said, for instance, the pre-paid meter system would not work in institutions such as the special schools for the deaf.
There is also the fear that monies would not be made available at the right time to such institutions to enable them purchase power since their students do not pay school fees.
Mrs. Atoriya said due to the ban on employment, the special schools were unable to employ house mothers and labourers to wash and clean the children, adding that things were becoming difficult for them to cope with.
Mrs. Atoriya said this at the 30th Annual Conference of Heads of Special Schools in Tamale on Tuesday.
She said the Conference would explore ways by which children with special needs would have maximum benefit of ICT to promote teaching and learning.
Mrs Atoriya said in this era of technological advancement and the inclusion of ICT as a core subject in the Junior High School (JHS), special needs children ought to be the first group of students government would think of in the provision of computers.
She said regrettably the first batch of lap tops were distributed and not even one special school benefited.
"If you visit any special school and you see computers they are from NGOs", she said.
Mrs Atoriya commended Child Reach, an NGO working in the Savelugu/Nanton District, for sponsoring 10 deaf Senior High School (SHS) graduates for the untrained teachers programme.
Ms. Rosemond Blay, the Director of Special Education Division of the Ghana Education Service, said most of both the teaching and non-teaching staff of the special schools were not performing satisfactorily and impressed upon the heads to ensure discipline in the schools.
She said the Division had started a national exercise to restructure staffing needs in all the schools, adding that it would be an on-going programme and asked the heads to build dossiers on their staff.
Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, the Northern Regional Minister, urged parents with children with disabilities not to treat them differently or hide them in their homes but should develop special interest in their education.
He also urged the district assemblies which had been selected for the establishment of assessment centers for people with disabilities to expedite action on their construction.
Leonard Cheshire Awards Micro-Credit to Parents of Disabled
Freetown - The Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD), a leading institution that caters for the welfare of disabled and physically challenged children in the country has in collaboration with other stakeholders granted micro-credit loan to parents and guardians or representatives of 10 disabled persons in their care.
Addressing representatives of the parents of the 10 recipients at the LCD head-office, Old Railway Line in Freetown last Thursday, the Communications, Campaign and Fund Raising Manager, Teddy Morlai underscored the need for honesty so that the loans will be repaid on time to enable another batch to access the funds.
According to Mr. Morlai, the criteria for selecting their children for the loan was their active participation in the "Young Voices Programme", adding that it was an indication that their children have learnt something during their stay at the LCD which differentiates them from other disabled children in the country that roam about the streets as beggars.
The LCD Fund Raising manager outlined the objectives of the LCD which include catering for the training of their children in various skills so that they become happy and respectable members living normal life in the society. Morlai maintained that the LCD is also engaged in sensitizing people and communities to change their negative perceptions about disabled persons, as they too are able to live normal life in society.
He added that over the years the LCD has been making some strides such as opening branch offices in Bo, Kabala and Koidu in the Kono district to cater for the welfare of the disabled in those areas. "Our role is to provide the enabling environment so that even though a person is disabled on crutches or in the wheel-chair he can be able to learn skills such as typing, gara tie-dying, mending shoes, tailoring etc, a vision that had motivated parents and guardians to send their children to the LCD.
Morlai outlined some of the achievements of the disabled and physically challenged in the country which include the advocacy that has led to the drafting of a disabled rights bill that is presently before Parliament for promulgation into law, a move that will facilitate the integration of the disabled in society, a recognition of their rights and their inclusion in development policies.
He noted: "Right now we are about to grant micro-credit loans to 10 of their parents in Freetown, 10 in Bo while 15 parents will benefit from the other branch offices in Kabala and Koidu in the Kono district. We have succeeded in getting them speak on radio and TV and every year we have designed a plan whereby one of them will go on a short trip abroad for interaction with people.
"One of them is about to go for a United Nations conference. This loan is to help parents do business to support their disabled LCD children; this is one of our achievements," Morlai indicated.Speaking at the 1 day micro-credit loan management workshop, the president of the Sierra Leone Union for Disability Issues (SLUDI), Franklin Kabba - himself a physically challenged - thanked the LCD, the European Union Campaign Project for Micro-Enterprise Development and Management and other stakeholders for bringing to fruition the granting of the loan.
The SLUDI president said he was expressing appreciation because many times people have been asking their union about what they are doing for the disabled in the country, adding that the SLUDI is actively engaged in advocating and lobbying for the rights of the disabled in the country.
He mentioned as an example efforts that led to the drafting of the disabled rights bill while expressing thanks to President Ernest Bai Koroma for responding to their request in making the presence of the a disabled in Parliament a reality in the person of Hon. Julius Kofi, and another landmark achievement is the inclusion of one disabled as Board member of the proposed National Youth Commission (NYC).The SLUDI president used the occasion to appeal to government to provide the enabling environment for disabled persons to be integrated in the mainstream of the development of the country such as access to job facilities to enable them live decent lives. He mentioned the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a disabled whose handling of America's economic policies were so impressive that he was made to rule for 3 terms, noting that this was why SLUDI is advocating for pro-disabled development policies in national development.
In a statement, Momodu Conteh who represented Hope Micro-Credit, sensitized the audience on the objectives of the training workshop. He advised recipients that before taking the loan they should first of all be engaged in business, such as selling fish, cooked rice etc and that they must be honest and work with seriousness to ensure repayment which qualifies them for another loan.
Conteh warned them to avoid over-spending, to minimize costs.
For his part, the General Manager of LAPO micro-credit loan which only caters for granting loan to women, Aighobahi D. Ferguson who served as chief launcher of the loan scheme cautioned the parents not to deprive their disabled children of education and access to avenues to improve themselves and become productive in society.
Ferguson told them that if they are honest and serious what they are receiving is just the beginning as even Handicap International plans to assist the.
Earlier the chairman of the occasion, Yankuba Forbie who gave the welcome address noted that the loans will be repaid with small interest and that their role is to provide the enabling environment to make disabled persons happy by providing them training opportunities to gain skills that will help them cope with normal life.
State TV to start sign-language newscasts for deaf
Rwanda News Agency
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 20:48 by RNA Reporter
Kigali: Government broadcaster ORINFOR said Wednesday that it will start next week telecasting the daily evening news to concurrently target the deaf as well - the first of the kind in the country, the broadcaster announced.
The sign-language news will begin next week on Rwanda Television for only the Kinyarwanda and English newscasts, according to ORINFOR director Willy Rukundo.
He said on the state TV Wednesday evening that the station is commencing with the two languages because those who can communicate with the deaf use them.
The 30-minutes Kinyarwanda news on state TV comes on at 19:30 (17:30 GMT), which same items are translated into French an hour later, and again to English at 21:30 (19:30 GMT).
There are an estimated 100,000 deaf people in the country, but they have repeatedly complained state media does not care about their special needs. University education already has programs targeted at them.
It is not clear how the newscast will be conducted here, but as done in the west, there is a smaller screen for somebody using sign-language on the side of the news presenter.
Disabled women 'ignored in Uganda'
Al Jazeera and agencies
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2010
Disabled women in northern Uganda are prevented from accessing basic services such as food, healthcare and justice, a human rights group has said.
In a report published on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said thousands of women with physical disabilities suffer from frequent abuse by strangers and relatives and are largely ignored by the authorities.
Northern Uganda has recently emerged from over two decades of conflict involving the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.
Thousands of people are believed to be disabled as a consequence of the fighting but human rights campaigners say women are particularly affected.
'Beg for help'
"One of the untold stories of the long war in Northern Uganda and its aftermath is the isolation, neglect, and abuse of women and girls with disabilities," Shantha Rau Barriga, author of the HRW report, told Al Jazeera.
"As Ugandans in the north struggle to reclaim their lives, the government and humanitarian agencies need to make sure that women with disabilities are not left out."
Barriga said that in spite of their large numbers, women with disabilities have been completely ignored in the post-conflict reconstruction process.
"Women with disabilities have had limited access to healthcare, they've had limited access to other basic Government services, and they make up a significant part of the population," Barriga said.
During the conflict, most women were sent to camps for displaced people, but once the fighting was over they were relocated in resettlement camps, where disabled women find life difficult as they can't use the land for farming.
One such women is Margaret Abito, an amputee and mother of two children.
Margaret lived in a camp for displaced people during the violence, but once the fighting was over she was moved to a different camp near her village of origin.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera, Margaret said: "I used to look after myself, now I have to beg for help from other people, but often they refuse. It makes me feel like a useless human being."
HRW's study, entitled, As if we weren't humans, says the problem is widespread.
Lack of information
According to a 2007 national survey, approximately 20 per cent of people in Uganda have disabilities.
The figure in the northern areas of the country, however, are believed to be much higher as more people suffered from war-related injuries and limited access to treatment or vaccinations for illnesses.
HRW also found that one third of the women they had spoken to were said to have suffered some form of sexual abuse and many are now HIV positive.
The group says women with disabilities are more vulnerable to HIV because of a lack of information and the difficulty they face in negotiating safe sex.
Even those who survived sexual abuse often find it almost impossible to seek medical help or make a report.
Many are unable to reach health centres or police stations, while a lack of sign language interpreters, Braille signage and ramps for physical access also hamper their efforts.
"Women with disabilities are often not given any information about sexual or reproductive health and HIV," Barriga told Al Jazeera.
"But they have real sexual health needs, and they also need to be protected from sexual violence and be able to get justice if abused."
HRW said that when formulating post-conflict development plans, the Ugandan authorities should address the particular needs of women with disabilities.
Namibia: Lions Club Donates to Deaf
Namibia: Lions Club Donates to Deaf
27 August 2010
Gert Roeschlau, Gisi Bruni club's president and Susanne Lachmann with Mrs Kleinert, the principal of the school and some of her schoolchildren. (Photograph by Rico Lachmann) The Lions Club Windhoek Alte Feste this week announced that it has erected a fence at the School for Hearing Impaired Children after collecting N$80 000 through the distribution of 2000 Christmas calenders at N$50 each, last year. The club also bought a computer which the school needed for registering and saving examination results in a digital form. According to Susanne Lachman, the public relations officer of the club, this project once more proves that the Lions motto WE SERVE is not just idle words. The Lions Club will launch the new Christmas calendar in October this year and the beneficiaries of this fundraising will be children with sight impairments. The Optometric Association will do eye tests free of charge while the Lions will finance the purchase of spectacles prescribed to the children.
Group Slams UN Member States On Disability Convention The Human Rights Watch has strongly criticised UN member states for poor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) The UN correspondent of newsmen reports that a three-day meeting of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities began on Wednesday in New York.
The human rights group noted that the concerned governments had not done much to focus on effective strategies and good practices that benefited persons with disabilities two years after the convention came into force.
“If governments are serious about their commitment to people with disabilities, they need to turn the laws and policies on paper into meaningful programmes and services on the ground,” said Shantha Rau Barriga, researcher and advocate on disability rights at Human Rights Watch.
“Efforts will fall short unless governments include people with disabilities in planning for these programmes and monitoring them,” he added.
The issues on the agenda of the meeting, which takes place from September 1 to September 3, include the right to education and the right to live in the community.
Both require comprehensive national plans and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that these rights are realised, the global NGO said.
In his address at the opening, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang urged member states to become parties to the convention, which aims to protect the rights of the estimated 650 million people with disabilities.
He said the convention had recorded 146 signatories and 90 ratifications.
Disabled persons want better services
The New Vision
Publication date: Sunday, 5th September, 2010
By Charles Kakama
PERSONS with disabilities (PWDs) have asked the Government and service organisations to give priority to their colleagues living in rural areas, saying they are marginalized.
Andrew Biyinzika, the councillor for PWDs in Jinja central division, noted that organisations that aid disabled persons concentrate on urban centres, leaving out those in villages.
“People with disabilities who live in towns make a small percentage of our group. There are many disabled persons in rural areas who cannot even afford a wheelchair,” he said Biyinzika cited a 14-year-old HIV-positive orphaned girl who lives in Walukuba division slums and cannot access health facilities due to her physical disabilities.
He was speaking during the launch of the universal access to HIV services for persons with disabilities programme at the Jinja town hall on Thursday.
The function was organised by the Jinja Union of persons with disabilities in partnership with the national union of disabled persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), DANIDA and the Government.
Esther Namulinda, a member of the union, said due to neglect by society, some disabled persons engage in unprotected sex, which exposes them to HIV.
Namulinda added that PWDs have poor communication skills due to low levels of education and lack of sign language experts.
Sulaiman Kafeero, the NUDIPU programme assistant for disability and HIV, said they adopted the use of sign language and brails to enable PWDs benefit from development programmes.
Namibia: Ehafo Properties Can Only Be Sold - Ehafo Lawyers
7 September 2010
SELLING the property of Ehafo Trust to generate cash to build a small new facility, is the only option the Ehafo Board of Trustees can opt for. Calls to give the trust to Government, will never be considered.
This was said by the Ehafo Board of Trustees, and their lawyers, in Windhoek yesterday.
"Ehafo is a trust and not a Pty, more related to a foundation, and its activities are governed by the Board of Trustees," Ehafo lawyer Andreas Vaatz, from Andreas Vaatz and Partners, told journalists.
He said it would be improper for an organisation, founded with donor money, to be given to the state. Founded in 1951, Vaatz said the original idea for forming Ehafo was to train, and give jobs, to handicapped people.
Said Vaatz, if they so wish - the Ehafo Board of Trustees may sell the Ehafo properties, relocate and a build a small facility in an effort to revive the project and continue helping handicapped people.
"There must be a meaningful transaction. If Government wants to buy Ehafo property, it must make a market-related offer," he said, adding that, the problem here is really cash flow.
But he was quick to add, that a number of things have to be considered before a final decision will be possible.
Ehafo ran into financial problems, in 2007, when Government stopped buying school furniture from its furniture factory, claiming they were too expensive, and decided to buy furniture from South Africa, where it is cheaper.
Vaatz said it was wrong for Ehafo workers, who are now being paid by Government, to say they want Ehafo to be given to Government, as Ehafo's constitution does not allow it.
He said these people were also not Ehafo employees anymore, but Government employees.
The chairman of the Ehafo Board of Trustees, Andrew Matjila, said when financial problems became a problem for Ehafo, they started looking for financial help, to keep the project going but, no one came to their rescue..
At that time, said Matjila, Ehafo owed their creditors. Ehafo had a Vocational Training Centre (which was subsidised by Government), a sewing department and a furniture factory.
Matjila said, for the factory to continue, it needed to generate N$6 million annually. "But we were only getting N$800 000 to N$1 million a year," said Matjila.
Although some Chinese are now renting some land for gardening at Ehafo, these initiatives are not generating enough money. He said at some point, the board asked Government to give them a loan to establish a fish farm, but Government said it was not necessary as they (Government), were already running the Vocational Training Centre.
Asked how much the Ehafo property will cost at the moment, Matjila could not say, but he said the assessment done in 2006 put the value of Ehafo property at N$16 million.
Matjila is being accused, by former Ehafo workers, for refusing to sign the Deed of Transfer so that Ehafo properties can be transferred to Government, as he has already signed a resolution that Ehafo should be placed under Government in 2007.
Yesterday, Matjila agreed that he did sign the resolution but said he was forced to do so.
But, he said, Ehafo's constitution does not allow Trust properties to be given to Government, and thus, the resolution "means nothing".
After production came to a stand-still at Ehafo, Government has been paying the workers, including management, although they were not doing any work.
The workers claimed that Government wants to give them jobs but, according them, Matjila does not want it, by refusing to sign. Ehafo has about 83 workers. Meanwhile, representatives of the Namibia Public Workers Union (NAPWU), the Ministry of Education and representatives of the Ehafo Workers Committee, met last Friday to discuss the Ehafo issue.
Immanuel Willy of NAPWU's Windhoek Branch said the meeting took a resolution to engage the Office of the Prime Minister, to help in the fight for Ehafo to become Government property.
Uganda: It is Wicked to Profit From Suffering Children
2010 The Monitor
8 September 2010
My World Vision colleagues and a child protection committee in Busia have rescued an 11-year-old, deaf boy from starving to death. At the time of rescue, Jimmy (not real name) was dirty, stinking and skinny.
Jimmy had become "a burden" to his stepmother and father and was taken to live with a paternal uncle. Unfortunately the uncle decided Jimmy should be starved to death. The boy is steadily recovering through nutrition therapy. He has been provided play items and is having fun and exercise.
By their indifference, this community literally sentenced Jimmy to death. A sense of collective and community responsibility should have compelled that community to respond earlier. This scenario seems only a tip of the iceberg of how inhuman society can become and how Children With Disability (CWD) suffer in this country.
It is wickedness for anyone to desire profiting from the plight of CWD. In South Eastern Uganda, shrewd people registered 200 children for sponsorship. To appeal to compassionate hearts 200 children were made to close their eyes while posing for photographs. A Dutch NGO decided to visit the community to verify the tragedy but they did not find even "ghosts" of the 200 "blind" children. The problem of mistreating and profiteering from children's vulnerability is not just a Ugandan one. A colleague of mine from Burundi notes that disabled children in Burundi are commonly used to attract funds from charitable people by either sending them to the street or collecting and keeping them in an institution.
We have relevant laws that should guarantee CWD: social care and access to services, protection, fullness of life, and aspiration toward self reliance. These include; the UN Convention on the rights of children, Uganda Constitution, Children's Act and the Penal code. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10 per cent of any given population lives with some form of disability. The WHO report on disability, 2009 estimates that 200 million of the 650 million disabled people world over are children. This could mean that at least one out of every ten children is disabled.
The number of CWD is high. Recognise CWD rights and give them equal opportunity. Let us affirm, build their self esteem, identify and encourage them to grow their talents. Consider the story of Nick Vujicic, born in Australia without legs or arms. Nick graduated with an accounting and Finance Degree. He is an international inspirational speaker and president of an International Charity; Life without Limbs.
If his parents and teachers had isolated and neglected him he could not have made it. He is making a great contribution. In a poor family, CWDs are likely to experience worse consequences of poverty. Therefore intentional planning not only to meet their needs but assuring their right to inclusion and participation enables addressing their interests, aspirations and experiences in a community development agenda. Let us prevent disability from occurring by immunisation, nutrition and avail Vitamin A for mothers and children. Partnership among government and civil society is crucial for assuring CWD access to education, health and protection from exploitation, abuse and violence.
Affirmative action, strengthening equal access to opportunities for CWD, working with disabled people's organisations to implement context specific community-based rehabilitation can empower CWD to lead fulfilling lives. Above all, like the blind man in the Bible shouted for Jesus' attention, CWD seem to be screaming to parents, policy makers, and civil society organisations: "see, hear, touch and speak to me. Allow me space to be among the community, hold my hand and let us go."
The writer is Associate Director, Children in Ministry, World Vision Uganda
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