Nigerian folk tale to transport theater-goers to the end of the world
07月01日 The Japan Times
By TOMOKO OTAKE
Deaf Puppet Theater Hitomi is a company aimed at appealing to all audiences, regardless of nationality, age, language and disability.
Deaf Puppet Theater Hitomi
The company, commemorating its 30th anniversary, is performing the Nigerian tale "Mori to Yoru to Sekai no Hate eno Tabi (The Journey to the Forest, the Night and the End of the World)" on July 20.
The 90-minute show, written by noted playwright Hiroshi Koike and performed by a mix of actors including those who are hearing-impaired, is based on the late Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola's "The Palm-Wine Drinkard." Widely acclaimed in the West, it is a folklore-inspired tale of a palm-wine addict who travels to the realm of the dead to bring two people back to the land of the living: his wealthy dad and a superb palm wine-making master. There, the man encounters magic, ghosts and demons.
"The Journey to the Forest, the Night and the End of the World" will be held at Rikkokai Hall on July 20. Advance tickets are \2,500 for adults and \1,500 for high school students and younger. Tickets at the door are \2,800 and \1,800, respectively. For more information, call (044) 777-2228 or visit
Ghana: Contractor Abandons Dining Hall Project At Gbeogo School for the Deaf
Work on a dining hall complex at the Gbeogo School for the Deaf at Tongo in the Talensi-Nabdam District has come to a standstill, following the contractor abandoning the project site.
Though the structure has been roofed and plastered, other works such as painting, toilet, wiring, ceiling, burglar-proof and windows are not complete, thus making the facility unusable.
The Senior House Master of the School, Mr. Ateo Sylvester, told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that the deadline for the completion of the project was March 2009, but the contractor had abandoned the project and bolted away.
All attempts to get him back to complete the project have been unsuccessful. According to Mr. Ateo, whenever it rains, the cooks stand in the rain to prepare food for the students, whose population stands at 126.
He is also worried about the safety of the food prepared for the students under such conditions, and appealed to The Chronicle to assist in locating the contractor.
Although the Senior House Master said the contractor claimed he was not paid for the work done, he suspects foul play.
His reason was that when the Headmaster of the school, Mr. Francis Andiiba, died in September last year, the contractor (the name of his firm was not available) except his name, John Atuah, went straight to the Talensi-Nabdam District Assembly and 'used other means' to go for his money in Accra, instead of first going to the school for a covering letter.
When he got to Accra, he was asked to produce a covering letter from the Headmaster of the school showing the state of work before he could get his money.
Because he passed through the back door of the assembly, he could not produce the covering letter from the school.
According to Mr. Ateo, the contractor phoned the school requesting for a covering letter, which was to indicate that he had finished with the ceiling, burglar-proofing, manhole and many things he had not even done.
Mr. Ateo said when the management of the school told the contractor they would only write what they saw, he asked them not to if they would not grant his request.
He said later, some people came and told the school authorities that they helped the contractor to get loans from the bank to do the project, and since the interest rates were going up, they needed money to settle them.
The people then requested that the school categorise the level of work done in percentages so the contractor could get money from those who awarded the contract to him to settle the bank.
This was done, but the contractor still did not continue with the work, and anytime he was contacted, claimed he had still not been paid.
Citing the fence wall project, which he said, was also awarded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETfund), Mr. Ateo wondered how the contractor of the fence wall could have been paid and Mr. Atuah not. "So if somebody like this has gotten money from the same source to complete his project, and you are saying they are not paying you, it means there is a problem," Mr. Ateo stated.
He said the contractor of the fence wall project was given six months to complete his work, but before the six month, the work was almost complete. What is left to be completed is painting, which is also one quarter complete.
Meanwhile, the uncompleted manhole in the school has now become a deathtrap, as rains set in. The school authorities are concerned that when the pit is filled with water, children, and even adults, could fall into it and drown.
The boys' dormitory, which was built by Atuah was shoddily done, as the paint and walls are peeling off, thereby exposing the building to rain and the harsh weather.
The school authorities are not also satisfied with the quality of work on the dining hall project. The streetlights project, which was also given on contract in 2007, has not been executed.
This is due to the death of the first contractor. The situation now compels the students and their teachers to use torch lights at night, since that is the only way they can communicate effectively when using sign language.
Mr. Ateo explained that whenever a student wants to communicate at night, they have to ask their colleagues to shine a torchlight on them so they can be seen while communicating with the other person.
Mr. Ateo said the matter was reported to the District Chief Executive (DCE), Mrs. Vivian Anafo, who promised to consult the assembly's engineers. Three days later, a tipper truck came to the school and dumped stones and sand.
This was followed by a phone call from a man who claimed to be the contractor, who enquired whether stones and sand had been brought to the school. When he was answered in the affirmative, he said he was coming to do the work, and more than three months now has not surfaced at the site.
On parents' responsibilities to keeping their wards in the school, the Senior Housemaster lamented that some parents bring their wards and dump them in the school with the mind that the government was going to provide all their needs.
He explained that the government provides a feeding grant and the students are fed three times daily. There are also dormitories for both boys and girls, but no accommodation for the teachers.
Mr. Ateo said in spite of the government's assistance, parents still have to cater for the basic needs of their children. These include soap, school uniforms, gari and other forms of provisions.
On the water system, Mr. Ateo said there was no problem, because there was a mechanised borehole that supplies water to the boys' and girls' dormitories and the school kitchen.
He, however, said the school had only one toilet that serves the students and their teachers. According to him, the toilet had a problem. He explained that whenever they dislodge it, it does not take long and it gets full again with water.
Since Tuesday, the contractor has not been reached through his cell phone. Meanwhile, efforts are still being made to reach him for his response.
The Gbeogo School for the Deaf was established in 1996. It encompasses a kindergarten, primary and Junior High School, with a teaching staff of twenty three, including six volunteers.
MP to support disabled siblings
Swazi Observer, 02 July, 2011 12:06:00 By Hlengiwe Ndlovu
Mayiwane MP Eric Matsebula has committed himself to helping three poverty stricken disabled siblings who cannot further their studies because cash strapped government cannot continue to pay for their fees at the School for the Deaf.
Matsebula said he had just recently met the three siblings having been in elected into office as an MP in the past two months.
“I recently met the three siblings and I was so touched by their plight.
During a recent visit, I learnt that their family is too poor to pay for their school fees hence they had to drop out of school years back. But, it is touching to hear that one of them is a skilled dressmaker and the other qualified in doing carpentry and handicraft work”.
Despite being qualified in certain fields, Matsebula said he was planning to secure funding for them to be able to start small businesses. The three siblings are: Sibonakaliso, Thandazile and Sithembile Shongwe. In a recent interview, their mother Lomagugu Shongwe appealed for assistance from members of the public to assist the three children start small businesses.
She did not hide her frustration and pain at seeing her three children do nothing to develop themselves, despite that they have big dreams and are skilled in sewing and carpentry.
Suppressing tears, she narrated how she had difficulty raising disabled children, who were sometimes not properly accepted in the rural community of Mayiwane because they could not communicate with others.
She confided that at some stage, when life got tough, the thought of abandoning her children and husband crossed her mind.
“I would not lie, at some stage, I thought of abandoning my children and marriage, but I quickly erased such thoughts because all my children, even the disabled ones, are a gift from the Lord. I also could not walk out of my husband just like that”.
Sibonakaliso and S’thembile are eager to start small businesses as they received dress-making, carpentry and handicraft training and are qualified in these. Meanwhile, MP Matsebula disclosed that there were many cases of poverty stricken families in his constituency.
He said he was looking into ways of how his people could receive help.
She hates talking about being disabled
Sokwanele July 4th, 2011
I have a disabled cousin, Beauty, who just hates talking about being disabled. “Living with a physical disability is tough enough. Why should I waste my time talking about it?” she told me.
But maybe that is the problem - people with disabilities don’t talk much about the situations that hurt them, so why would people without disabilities spend five minutes a year thinking about how they are treated?
One day the two of us went visiting and got so caught up in what we were doing that we didn’t head home until it was already late. Beauty was nervous about finding a bus at the terminus, but was relieved when a bus pulled up and the door opened. Then the driver started shouting. “Disabled people should not be allowed on the streets at this time of the night. It’s fine if you can roam around the streets during the day because if you get hit by a car, no one will blame the driver. But at night? It shouldn’t be permitted.”
By now any sense of relief was gone. In fact we were both upset.
Another day, we went to the supermarket. As we were going down the aisles shopping, a stranger muttered about me, “So is that the little thing she uses to find money? Blood money!!” Does she really believe that disabilities, if not the work of angry ancestors, are caused by greedy individuals who use supernatural powers to steal the life force of children to enrich themselves? Does she really believe that I am a witch and that I was Beauty a “tikoloshi”, my goblin? Or was this a simple case of a woman in a bad mood figuratively smashing a plate or kicking a cat, using me, rather than a dish or a feline? That’s not so unusual, after all. Our critic clearly never considered the possibility that the “little thing,” and I might actually be friends.
Some years back, Beauty needed to go to a public bathroom in Victoria Falls.
A woman was arguing with her little daughter and finally threatened her by pointing to my Beauty and shouting, “If you do not behave, that girl over there will bite you.”
In the old-African Zimbabwean tradition, disabilities are often a sign of displeasure of the ancestors or the result of witchcraft. Are the disabled all to be disrespected, neglected and considered victims of evil works, all because some Zimbabweans still cling to that hurtful mentality?
I have watched the world rally to support the rights of women. Are the rights of the disabled - even the right to basic dignity and respect - less important? It’s a question for you and me to answer.
NGO to rescue children with autism through sports
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Makey Children Development Centre, in collaboration with a United Kingdom based agency has concluded arrangements to fight autism in the country by engaging victims through sports.
The NGO country representative, Mr. Adekunle Ogunlade, who disclosed in Minna said the non-profit organization for children with disability is out to give hope and support to such less privileged children, starting with Niger State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja under its pilot scheme.
Consequently, the organization in collaboration with, Ramford Dynamos FC of the United Kingdom is organizing a 5-day football camp with a view to bridging the gap between children with autism and their peers in the society through a support that seeks to ultimately integrate them.
He regretted that children with autism in Nigeria are relegated, denigrated and stigmatized on the basis of some retrogressive myths and tradition, noting that they are abused physically and sexually with impunity and in extreme cases even their rights to life itself is being denied.
Ogunlade explained that his organisation secured the collaboration of the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna to fly in some professional footballers and coaches from the United Kingdom to open the autism football camp in Minna.
A total of 60 children suffering from autism and their guardians, according to the programme coordinator have been screened from selected public and private schools within the pilot areas to attend the camping exercise with a view to encouraging them to grow like others.
He said he sees no reasons why some children should be discriminated simply due to health problem that is no fault of their own, pointing out that, “Children with autism can and do actualize their potentials and live fulfilled life.”
Also speaking on why the university decided to partner with the NGO, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the FUT, Minna, Prof. Akim Osunde said the university’s resolve to partner with the NGO is part of her social responsibilities towards its host community.
Prof. Osunde who is also the Deputy Chancellor (Academics) of the university said the university is committed to contributing its quota towards rescuing children suffering from autism because, ‘they are human like every other person that needs a form of assistance like every other human being’.
5th African Forum On Blindness Opens
The Ghana Blind Union, in collaboration with the World Blind union and the African Union of the Blind, has begun a 4 _day African forum on blindness in Accra on the theme: “Access Africa-Exploiting The Full Benefits Of Social Inclusiveness For All Persons”. In a speech delivered to open the forum, the Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Hon. Enoch Teye Mensah, disclosed that modern services for the blind and partially sighted were started by philanthropists and missionaries which eventually led to the establishment of the Akropong School for the blind and a sheltered workshop for the blind at Adabraka.
The Minister said the declaration of the International year of Persons with Disability in 1981 and activities in the decade which followed including the social and political changes in Ghana re-awakened interest of government leading to discussions to have a Disability Act to protect the rights of affected persons.
Hon. Mensah said in 2006, Parliament promulgated the Persons with Disability Law (Act 17), while in 2009, a National Council of Persons with Disabilities was established to oversee the implementation of the provisions of the law. He pointed out that the passage of persons with Disability Act in August 2006 preceded the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December which contained all its core principles including access to education, employment, health services, and family and community life to promote inclusiveness in all development agenda.
He said as part of efforts to promote inclusiveness in all our development agenda, District Assemblies, which are the equivalent of the Council under the US political system, is enjoined by law to set aside 2% of the Common Fund to support persons with disabilities in their education and for tolls to establish their own means of livelihood. “While these achievements must be acknowledged and celebrated, we need to recognize at the same time that there is much more work ahead of us still”, he added.
Hon. Mensah expressed regret about the challenges faced on the need for skills in managing disability issues at all levels -national, regional and community, noting that there was the need to have people who understood the issues manning the post at every level of the chain of service delivery.
He gave the assurance that government would continue to pursue a national development agenda that prioritized the realization of citizens’ rights and entitlements which enhanced the nation’s democratic development and constitutional rule. “We will persist in this because we believe that a safer, stronger, Ghana will be achieved through developing a more equal Ghana - a Ghana where everyone has opportunities to fulfill their potential, where no talent is wasted”, he added.
Present at the four-day forum are both national and international groups of the blind.
Building for the disabled
The Standard Online, Kenya
6 July 2011
1.3 million Kenyans have no access to public buildings, yet the law has given developers and property owners upto 2014 to retrofit all buildings to accommodate this special group, writes NJOKI CHEGE.
Keziah Mwelu will never forget the day she had to miss an important conference held at a city building just because she could not access it. Being confined to a wheel chair was hard enough for her, but the fact that she could not access most buildings in town made it unbearable and it had everything to do with the missing access ramp in that building.
"I felt very disappointed because I was not able to go the meeting. The access ramp was not there and this is the case with most buildings I visit.She says.
Keziah’s tribulations represent those of 1.3 million Kenyans with disabilities in Kenya, whose housing rights are yet to be realised. They may go unnoticed by many, but their tribulations are many and their grievances legitimate. Most of these persons with disabilities, particularly those on wheel chairs, find it hard to access buildings that have no ramps, or that have steep access ramps.
But the problem does not end there. As Mwelu explains, the switches, cooking slabs, kitchen sinks, kitchen cabinets and taps are too high for her and she has to ask for assistance when using them. The washrooms too, are not disability compliant - there are no support rails and neither is there enough space to maneuver about.
It gets worse when renting a house and the entire ground floor is taken, nobody is willing to give up their house for this disabled person who cannot get themselves to say, the fourth floor. The usual tasks that come naturally to most of us become a nightmare to persons with disabilities.
According to Section 23 of the Persons with Disabilities Act of 2002, which was passed in December 2009, accessibility to buildings by persons with disabilities should be made possible by all stakeholders of the construction industry.
In part, it states, “Every public building should be made accessible to persons with disabilities”. The same section also states that owners of buildings have a grace period of up to five years to retrofit their buildings to ensure they are compliant.
Phoebe Nyagudi, the chairperson of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities says that they are watching keenly to see if building owners and developers will comply by 2014.
"We hope that the buildings coming up are going to be disability compliant. So far, only a handful of buildings have complied to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities," she offers.
Comparison to other countries
Elsewhere, in the US Department of Justice, the Americans with Disabilities Act (Ada) has outlined several disability rights laws to ensure that the housing rights of the disabled are realised.
In part, the Act states that “Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment.”
The requirements cover several areas namely; architectural standards for new and altered buildings, effective communication for people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements.
The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, requires landlords in the US to allow tenants with disabilities to make reasonable access-related modifications to their private living space, as well as to common use spaces.
The Act further requires that new multifamily housing with four or more units be designed and built to allow access for persons with disabilities.
This includes accessible common use areas, doors that are wide enough for wheelchairs, kitchens and bathrooms that allow a person using a wheelchair to maneuver, and other adaptable features within the units.
So why is it that most buildings in Kenya are not disability compliant?
Stephen Oundo, the chairman of the Architectural Association of Kenya says space and cost are the key hindrance.
As Oundo explains, ramps require a lot of space, which is normally not a luxury of many owners and developers.
"Ramps translate to a lot of circulation space; For every 1m in height, you need a ramp of at least 10m. Since most buildings have a 3m floor-to-floor height, you will require approximately 30m of ramp from floor to floor," he says.
Since good gentle ramps require a lot of space, they are only possible in large-scale projects with enough space, like malls and hospitals. Because of this, many owners of buildings would rather skip the ramp, while others argue the population of the disabled is negligible.
The other alternative, which is elevators, is costly.
"The disabled would be best accommodated in a lift so that they could also access the top floors, but most owners feel that the lifts are too expensive," says Oundo.
For owners who may not be able to cater for the disabled in the top floors, they are advised to ensure that the disabled are taken care of in the ground floor, so they don’t have to go to the other floors in search of common services.
However, several property developers have found an economical yet practical way of taking care of the disabled when it comes to housing.
Harun Nyamboki, the Director of Moke Gardens notes that while designing their buildings, they always ensure that a duplicate self-contained master bedroom is provided on the ground floor to ensure that the disabled persons can access the facilities without the hustle of going upstairs.
As Nyamboki advises, the most economical way to cater for the disabled in any building is to ensure that all the facilities they require are provided for on the ground floor.
"While it may be difficult to find apartments with low level kitchen cabinets and electricity switches, developers are advised to consider adjusting such facilities for the disabled to make them user friendly," he says.
Nyagudi notes that owners and Kenyans in general need to be sensitised on this matter.
Most developers and building professionals don’t understand the needs of the disabled and as a result, fail to cater for them in their projects.
"To this end, we have dedicated time and resources to carry out an audit in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu to establish how many public buildings have adhered to the new law, and how many are planning to do so," adds Nyagudi.
This audit will also be accompanied by vigorous awareness campaign to sensitise owners, developers and planners to consider the needs of persons with disabilities in their plans.
Nyamboki on the other hand advises developers to consider the disabled by ensuring their buildings are made in such a way that they can be modified to accommodate this special group.
"The issue of housing rights for the disabled is complex due to the fact that their needs are varied. Wile some are on wheelchairs and need access ramps, others are on clutches orare blind. However, it is important to have flexible buildings to accommodate the disabled, in spite of their disabilities," says Nyamboki.
People also need to be educated on what the law says concerning accessibly rights of the disabled, particularly owners and developers who are the key decision makers.
According to Oundo, this should include a building approval process that ensures that buildings under construction are disability-friendly.
"Any building that does not have plans to cater for these people should not be approved by the city council," he says.
Furthermore, all buildings that have more than four floors must have lifts in accordance to the by-laws.
Architects should advise their clients to consider the needs of this special category by either incorporating the lifts or ramps in the architectural designs.
"The Government ought to reduce the cost on tax for buildings and building materials that are specific for the needs of the physically challenged," concludes Oundo.
Uganda Health News: Iganga gets funds to improve health services
Ultimate Media Consult
6 July 2011
Iganga District has secured a donation to improve accessibility to health centers in the district. The donation was in form of equipment.
The donation was offered by Disability Rights Fund (DRF), an organization from the United States of America.
DRF supports districts to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The organization also advocates for the implementation of specific provisions of the UN Convention on persons with disabilities.
The DRF helps districts to effectively implement project and activities that promote the rights of minority groups through lobbying and advocacy.
Uganda: Bomb Blasts Made Me Deaf
The New Vision, Uganda
6 July 2011
ON July 11, 2010, al-Shaabab, a terrorist group based in Somalia, launched two heinous bomb attacks on Ugandans at Kyadondo Rugby club and the Ethiopian village Restaurant in Kabalagala that left 79 people dead and several injured.
New Vision is remembering the Ugandans who perished in the tragedy. Stephen Ssenkaaba talked to Irene Sagamba, a survivor.
She was the girl for a good moment, a party animal who never missed a music show, the football fan who never missed a good game. She loved parties and hanging out with friends until July 11, 2010.
The bomb blasts that ripped through Kyadondo rugby Grounds killing 79 people also turned Irene Sagamba's life around.
Today, the 26-year-old thinks twice before walking through crowded places.
"There is simply no security in this country," she told me. "I feel so insecure." That fateful Sunday, Sagamba sat right in the middle of the action, flanked by friends as crowds enjoyed the world cup soccer final on a giant screen.
When the first blast went off, she thought it was distraction by some naughty people. "I looked up wondering why fireworks had started so early."
A second bang followed. She then realised that it was different fire altogether.
"I stayed put on my chair, looked around and realised I had metallic fragments all over me," recalls Sagamba.
But when she shook off a chunk of human flesh that had stuck on her cheek, Sagamba knew all was not well.
"I remained glued to my chair, too weak to stand up." Her arm had been hit. Sagamba had also sustained a deep cut above her left breast.
The young woman spent the next two months undergoing treatment. "I stopped working and became entirely dependent on other people," she says.
By the time she improved, Sagamba and her family had spent over sh1.5m on treatment. "The sh3m compensation from the Government did not come in time, I had to fend for myself."
Sagamba has tried to want to put the past behind her. She has a tendency to shrug off what happened when narrating her ordeal.
Her squeaky voice makes her sound relaxed, even childlike in her attitude towards the tragedy. But it is the steady, thoughtful eye that she keeps casting in the open space, punctuated by bouts of silence that betray her.
Sometimes, she seemed to think so hard; many times she appeared so engrossed in thoughts that I had to draw her attention to the interview. "It has been a difficult year," she admits, "but life goes on."
Unfortunately for her, life will go on with irreversible damages to her life. "I have difficulties hearing," she says. "Doctors have told me that my condition will gradually deteriorate and that I will have to use hearing aids in future."
Just then, I notice how much of a hustle it has so far been getting Sagamba to hear my questions. I make sense of the constant "I beg your pardons" she has been throwing at me.
"If there is one thing that saddens me about this tragedy, it is my loss of hearing. I was a normal girl before, but now, I struggle to hear. I feel bad when I have to ask people to repeat what they say," laments Sagamba.
For a person whose administrative job with an association for elderly people involves talking and listening, life has become difficult.
The deep cut she sustained above her breast has healed, but the scar continues to itch her terribly. "I keep scratching myself and when it doesn't help, I pour warm water on the scar to calm the irritation," she says.
The once outgoing girl has become a home-girl. "I used to enjoy the outdoors; not any more. I fear going to public places, I fear crowds. I no longer enjoy my life as I used to," she said.
Sagamba remains critical about security (the lack of it) in this country. "I am told that the Police knew about the bomb scare before it happened, but they did not act. The Government should put security checks in every spot to protect us," she says.
Her troubles notwithstanding, the young lady continues with her life.
Sagamba, a Ugandan of Rwandan origin. She was born to Ponsiano Byaruhanga and Phoebe Matembe of Mutundwe. She is the fifth born of 12 children.
She attended Buyege and Bunamwaya primary schools and later Aggrey memorial secondary school. She later joined Nsamizi training institute of management and Makerere University graduating with a bachelor's in development studies.
Today, she works as an administrative manager with various organisations, including an association for elderly people.
"It is my dream to continue helping the needy and to become a leading supplier of pork products in the country," she says.
Her experience was a lesson, not a deterrent. She has, thus, learnt that the best way is to go on and not to give up.
Kenya: Supkem Urges Aid for Disabled
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
6 July 2011
Coast politicians should financially support centres for the physically challenged and help them become self-reliant, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Provincial Chairman Shariff Mundhar has said. Mundhar said physically challenged individuals have been ignored by the community but need special attention.
He said that instead of sympathising and extending meagre support to individuals, the leadership and the community should instead invest in their education which is a long-term help to transform their lives. Mundhar urged the private sector to cooperate with the government in order to help this special group.
He warned people who discriminate and mistreat the physically challenged that it was inhuman and if caught they should face hefty fines. "Whoever mistreates and stigmatises the disabled is acting against the law of God and the law of the land. If someone is found discriminating this group will be dealt with properly," he warned.
Nigeria: Explosions - More Citizens to Go Deaf
Chika Otuchikere17 July 2011
A medical consultant at the National Hospital, Abuja, has hinted that more Nigerians may become deaf as a fallout of the incessant bomb explosions in some parts of the country.
Consultant Otolaryngologist in the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department of the hospital, Dr. Abiodun Olusesi, who gave this hint in an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, noted that deafness as a medical condition triggered off other forms of disorder.
According to the consultant, who spoke in the company of the head of the ENT department of the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freidurg, Prof Roland Laszig, one of the lasting impact of the various bomb explosions would be an increase in the number of ear impairment cases in the country.
Olusesi, a head and neck surgeon, called for urgent action to end the spate of bomb explosions in the country and noted that ear impairment usually triggered off speech impairments as well as some level of mental ill-health.
"apart from the bomb explosions which pose a threat to the ears, noise pollution which is becoming increasingly alarming contributed to the increasing number of persons with hearing disorder"' he said.
According to Olusesi, when ear impairment affects the inner ear, called the cochlear, it was not treated in the country due to lack of the necessary facilities. He however affirmed that with the commencement of the cochlear implantation in the hospital more Nigerians would be saved the distress of going abroad for the surgery.
He made a case for the inclusion of ear-related diseases in the list of ailments captured in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for subscribers to the scheme who suffered ear impairment but could not afford treatment abroad had no option for treatment.
According to him, the surgery, which usually lasted several months, cost millions of dollars.
"Nigerians in the past travelled to countries like South Africa, Egypt and other countries of Europe and America in order to do the cochlear implantation. They spend several months and huge sums of money to restore their hearing.
"I can confirm to you that the National Hospital has commenced cochlear implantation. Nigerians will no longer have to travel abroad for this treatment," he affirmed.
Olusesi, coordinator of the cochlear implantation project in the hospital who lamented that subscribers to the NHIS who come down with any form of ear impairment do not get any form of assistance from the programme. This, he said, was unfair to the subscribers who have to handle any ear impairment with their own funds.
The medical consultant also disclosed that more Nigerians were faced with ear impairments resulting from increasing noise pollution including the spate of bomb explosions which he said, exposed many Nigerians to high degree of noise.
Prof Laszig in his reaction compared the situation in Germany with that of Nigeria said the cochlear implantation which was just coming into the country had been in existence in Germany for several decades. According to him with Nigeria having twice the population of Nigerian, cases of ear impairment requiring cochlear implantation could be twice as much as are in Germany.
Meanwhile Dr. Olusesi disclosed to LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the hospital has commenced cochlear implantation in the country. This he said would end the right of Nigerians who travel.
Australian makes history as President of World Federation of the Deaf
Parramatta Advertiser - Richard Aarden
PEOPLE 20 JUL 11 @ 09:53AM BY DEAF SOCIETY OF NSW (RICHARD AARDEN)
Deaf Sydney man, Colin Allen, was elected as the President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) at the WFD General Assembly in Durban, South Africa, on Sunday 17 July, becoming the first Australian to be elected to this position.
When accepting the Presidency Mr Allen said “I am passionate in my belief that we must all work together in our journey to rid the world of discrimination and the oppression of deaf people. We must work together now, and into the future to achieve equality for the 70 million deaf people around the world.’
Mr Allen is a significant contributor to the International Deaf Community. He has previously worked with the World Federation of the Deaf, the Finnish Association of the Deaf, the Swedish National Association of the Deaf, the Denmark Deaf Association and the Norwegian Association of the Deaf to contribute to achieving Human Rights for Deaf people in at least 30 different countries.
In late 2009, the Parramatta-based Deaf Society of NSW appointed Mr Allen as its Director of Services, responsible for overseeing departments that provide specialist services for Deaf people in areas such as education, employment, sign language interpreting, independent living skills, and community development across NSW and advocacy.
Mr Allen will continue to work in this role as he serves his four-year term as WFD President. He will play a significant role in the Deaf Society of NSW’s preparations to host the 2nd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf, to be held on 16-18 October 2013 in Sydney, Australia.
“The Deaf Community worldwide is enormously proud of Colin, his achievements and the vast wealth of experience he brings to his work”, said Deaf Society of NSW CEO, Sharon Everson. “It’s exciting that an Australian will now be at the forefront of promoting Deaf rights.”
美術として優れているから評価する 新潟でアール・ブリュット巡回展開催 ほか斉藤@AJF事務局です。
Choppies donates to sos, disabled Children
FRANCISTOWN: Choppies Superstores has donated food hampers and wheelchairs worth P22,800 to Francistown SOS and Aerodrome primary school.
The donations were handed over on Friday at the official opening of the newly built Choppies branch at Somerset Extension.
Francistown SOS received food baskets that contained flour, sugar, maize meal, samp, soap bars and sweets worth P12,000. Aerodrome primary school in turn received four wheelchairs worth P10,800. The school caters for the mentally and physically handicapped. Choppies marketing executive Otsile Marole, said that as an organisation, aimed not only at making profit, they have commited themselves to giving back to the community.
"With such a Corporate Social Responsibility, we saw it fit to assist the needy SOS located just in the neighborhood," she said.
Fatima Sedimo, a teacher at Aerodrome primary expressed appreciation at the gesture and said the donation will go a long way in addressing their challenges as nine children at the school need wheelchairs.
"Financial constraints are a major challenge especially here with the disabled. They require special needs and treatment which is a challenge," said Sedimo
Coaches and sports coordinators upgrade skills 2nd August 2011
Ghana News Agency
Kumasi, Aug. 2, GNA - A four-day workshop to sharpen the skills and knowledge of some selected coaches and sports coordinators of Special Schools for the Disabled is underway in Kumasi.
The event, a collaborative effort between the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and the Danish Sports Organization of the Disabled, is also to help identify potential coaches to support the Federation in its activities.
The workshop is expected to equip the participants who are drawn from all the 10 Regions with modern trends in coaching of children with disability to fully tap their talents for the benefit of the beneficiaries and the nation.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive who performed the opening ceremony, said sports was a powerful tool that transcended social and physical barriers and presented the opportunity to the people to earn a living and reduce poverty in the various communities.
He said it was for this reason that the corporate bodies and other stakeholders tem up with government to invest in sports to open up opportunities for the people.
Mr Sarpong re-affirmed the government’s determination to ensure the implementation of the Disability Act to improve the situation of the physically-challenged in the country.
Ms Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of the Federation, advised parents to encourage their disabled children to engage in sporting activities to enhance their health and development.
Uganda: Corsu - Light for Disabled
Uganda: Corsu - Light for Disabled
3 August 2011
The joy of giving birth is immeasurable, but for Gaita Ephrance, a mother of four from Mubende district, it was an entirely different story.
Two weeks to her expected delivery date, a nurse at Mityana hospital told her that she would give birth to triplets. But when she gave birth, two of the babies had cleft lips and thus started the long journey of worries. Rejected by some of her close relatives and society, she was lucky that her husband, Kiiza Ronald was willing to fight for their babies.
They visited nearly every hospital until a friend referred them to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Service in Uganda (CORSU) partners in Namutamba. CORSU is based in Entebbe although they have partners in Namutamba, Mbale and Katalemwa. In a week, the doctors at the center had successfully operated on one baby and were due to do the same on the second baby.
Gaita's story is simply one of many at CORSU's 64-bed capacity hospital at Entebbe. Here, patients with various defects waiting for surgery or recovery are catered for by the centre at no cost. CORSU, an orthopaedic hospital/ help center was opened in 2009 by Dr Norgrove Penny, a Canadian orthopaedic surgeon. Orthopaedics deal with the musculoskeletal system that includes bones, joints, ligaments tendons, muscles and nerves.
According to Irene Nabalamba, the in-charge of project development, the most common cases handled include bone infections, club foot, cleft lip and palate, burns, limb deformities, post-injection paralysis and tumors.
Many cases are seen and worked on in-house, while others are referred to relevant external health facilities.
According to the centre's 2010 statistics, 3,818 people were treated.
Nabalamba however laments the parents' poor attitudes towards ailments, saying that many rush into the centre when it is too late.
"Most attribute disfigurements to witchcraft and hardly seek medical attention."
The centre also offers plastic surgery and over 3,000 surgical procedures and 1,500 operations have been carried out since its inception.
"The centre receives a heavy influx of patients from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Tanzania, although maintaining them is not that easy," Nabalamba says.
Of the 31 million people in Uganda, 10% live with a disability, although there is no accurate data to establish the exact number of children born with disabilities.
To defuse perceptions about disability, the center has a programme, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) that helps People With Disabilities(PWD) at village levels.
And while medical services are free, patients are obliged to pay small amounts for accommodation and gadgets like clutches, wheel chairs, and plastic legs. The centre also networks with partners like Kumi hospital, Missionaries of the Poor, Nkonkonjeru Cheshire Home to ensure that more services are delivered to the disabled.
MCE presents GH¢23,000 to Association of Disabled
08月04日 Ghanaian Chronicle
By Ernest Best Anane
Mr. Daniel Apau Ohyeamang, MCE for Mampong The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Mampong Municipality in the Ashanti Region, Mr. Daniel Apau Ohyeamang, has presented a cheque for GH¢23,000 to the Association of the Disabled in the municipality.
It is their 2% share of the Assembly’s Common Fund for the third quarter of the year.
Mr. Samuel Atta, a 76-year-old blind Treasurer of the Association, received the cheque on behalf of his colleagues.
A surprised Mr. Atta said the donation had come as a big relief to improve the lot of members of the association, and commended the MCE and government for the gesture, which he said, was the first time in his lifetime that the Association had received a donation of that sort.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony in Mampong, MCE Ohyeamang said the amount was to be shared among them to cater for their basic needs, and to support their businesses.
The DCE appealed to them to use the money judiciously, in order to serve the purpose for which it was donated.
He also appealed to all disabled persons in the municipality who are not yet registered with the Association to do so, which would make it possible for them to also benefit from the fund, because the package was meant for their benefit.
The art of inclusion
Thursday, 4 Aug 2011
"Polio as a baby had left me with a crippled leg but I learnt to stand up for my rights”
It’s as much her native Cape wit as her feisty intellect that has been Marlene le Roux’s weapon in her fight to empower herself.
“My grandmother brought up 11 of us in that district of Wellington we used to call the poloniedorp, next to the bacon and ham factory. It was the era of klipgooi and army Casspirs. Polio as a baby had left me with a crippled leg but I learnt to stand up for my rights,” says Le Roux, a theatre administrator and disability rights activist.
She had a good singing voice, got a BA Music and went on to become a music teacher in Manenberg , until the department scrapped music as a subject.
Now 43, with a daughter of 14 and a son of nine who has cerebral palsy, she’s Artscape’s director for audience development & education. In 10 years she has spearheaded over 500 productions and initiated Artscape’s Women’s Arts Festival and the Theatre to the People programme, which covers ballet, opera, jazz, hip hop, indigenous praise singing, dance and drumming.
“The arts bring together people from different backgrounds, expanding their horizons and choices, but over the years I’ve had to vigorously campaign for arts funding. I’ve raised over R10m, as well as sponsorship for transport and food packs.
“As a theatre administrator with a disability I use my position to encourage Artscape to make theatre more accessible. A dance production I did showcasing deaf, blind and wheelchair dancers was sold out. I work closely with disability NGOs and we lobby government regarding the complexities of different kind of disabilities. Huge discrepancies exist, especially in poor communities where schooling for the disabled tends to end at grade 8.”
Four years ago she produced Look at Me, a book in which the photographs and stories of 23 courageous disabled women deflate the stereotype. An exhibition accompanying the book was shown in the Western Cape, Namibia and Liverpool.
Le Roux’s numerous awards include the French knighthood Chevalier des Ordres et des Lettres, which she received for her work empowering young people on a skills development programme in the townships.
Hilary Prendini Toffoli
Group petitions UN over exclusion of disabled in governance
Nigerian Tribune -
Written by Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare
Friday, 05 August 2011
A non-governmental organisation, the Disabled Rights Advocacy and Accountability Group (DRAAG), has expressed concerns over the continuous exclusion of People With Disability (PWDs) in the decision-making processes in Nigeria and is requesting the United Nations (UN) to prevail on the Nigerian government to comply with its obligations under the UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which the country has ratified.
The organisation made this known in Lagos, on Thursday, through a press statement signed by its media officer, Segun Elijah.
According to the release, the group said “we believe that persons with disabilities should have the opportunities to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policy and programmes, including those directly concerning them.
“Finally, we believe that strong political will and the preparedness to take firm action in this regard are so critical that in its absence, sustainable development will remain a mirage in Nigeria.
“The organisation is seriously concerned about the continuous discrimination against physically challenged Nigerians and their non- inclusion in policy formulation and development processes by government at all levels.”
Nigeria: Disabled Persons Decry Neglect By Government
Christiana T. Alabi 9 August 2011
Kaduna - The Network of Persons with Special Needs against HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis has decried the poor attendance of government officials to the sensitization programme organised by disabled persons, opining that issues of disabled persons are not taken seriously.
Speaking in an interview shortly after the sensitization awareness on HIV/AIDS held in Kaduna, the secretary of the network, Adamu Mohammed Bako reiterated that persons with special needs have often suffered neglect and discrimination.
"It is always surprising that government officials, politicians and other stakeholders don't attend our programmes, that is the stigmatization and discrimination we are crying against, and we alone cannot fight this scourge, why are the people neglecting our plight?
They should always remember that they are our parents, they are our brothers and sisters. Disabled people don't give birth to disable, it is the able bodied people that give birth to disabled, so why are they running away from us?" he lamented.
He called on government, politicians and stakeholders to always give persons with special needs moral support, especially by availing themselves to attend their events when invited.
According to him, the objective of organising the programme was achieved saying that the Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency (KADSACA) assisted the network to draw people living with disabilities together to enlighten them on the scourge of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
He advised the participants of the programme to disseminate the knowledge they have acquired on the danger of HIV/AIDS and other killer diseases to other members of the society urging them to always confirm their HIV status before taking marital vow.
Earlier in her address, the coordinator of the network, Risikat Mohammed noted that the objective of the organisation is to widen the scope of disabled community on cases that has to do with HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
According to her, the lives of people with disabilities are at most risk.
"90% of people with disabilities live below poverty line and their means of survival is on charity," she added.
Contestants dump heels, sweat it out @ reed dance
30 August, 2011
CONTESTANTS of Miss Swaziland, Miss Teen, Miss Deaf and Miss Cultural Heritage attended the Reed dance in their numbers.
The beauties were led by Miss Cultural Heritage Bonisile Dlamini, while Miss Teen Fatima Louirero was their indvuna.
The over 50 beauties took part in the event from the first day, where they registered at Ludzidzini Royal Residence.
On the second day, the beauties marched along with the thousands of maidens to cut the reed at Mphisi Farm. Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) CEO Stanley Dlamini said he was pleased by the attendance of the contestants and hoped it would continue even in future.
“In the SNCAC framework we emphasise clearly on the importance of cultural induction among the maidens.
This also provides the same reason we align our calendar with national events like Umhlanga. We want to promote culture and healthy living for the contestants along with respect for the Swazi traditions,” said Dlamini.
The CEO said he was a staunch believer of the Swazi law and customs, which he said provided the main reason he also attended the Reed Dance almost every year.
‘The beauty contestants’ group leader (Inkhosatana)’ Miss Cultural and Heritage Bonisile Dlamini said they enjoyed every moment.
“The reed dance will be an experience of a lifetime. The dancing, singing and the company of thousands of jovial maidens has been very memorable. I am definite that it will help all the beauty leaders to be role models and support culture,” said Dlamini.
The cultural beauty queen said her best Reed Dance song was ‘Lomajikelela’.
Tswana analyst celebrates his birthday at Umhlanga
BOTSWANA Chief Systems Analyst in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Samuel Serero attended the Reed Dance to celebrate his birthday.
Serero, a friend to SNCAC CEO Stanley Dlamini, said he chose to celebrate his big day during the annual colourful Umhlanga because he loved culture. “This is my first visit to Swaziland and I have enjoyed every moment of my stay in the country. To me, the melodious tunes of the rhythmic songs sang by Imbali are happy birthday songs since today is my birthday,” said Serero.
He said there was a need for Swazis to maintain the culture Umhlanga because it had the full potential to make the country prosper in the tourism industry.
“I think there is a need to support Swaziland to preserve the culture of Umhlanga because even in Botswana, we have tried to revive our culture but we have not been successful like Swaziland,” he added.
The ‘birthday boy’ evidently enjoyed his visit to the ceremony.
He was seen taking pictures with the thousands of Imbali on his background with his CEO friend.
Miss Deaf now at Royal Swazi Sun
31 August, 2011
The Miss Deaf contest will now be held at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre on September 24.
Initially, the finals were meant to be held at Greans Restaurant.
This was announced during the launch of the Miss Deaf contest on Friday.
The Royal Swazi Sun was secured through a sponsorship by former Sun International Marketing Manager Bennedict Bennett.
“We are trying to close the gap between the other beauty pageants in the country, so the organiser of the contest needs our support. It might not be money but your support to make the event successful would help her and the other girls,” Bennett said.
Bennett is now employed at Dups and he said they had a partnership with FODSWA and had employed an interpreter in the company.
“When the organiser approached us in seeking sponsorship for the event we saw it fit to assist not only her but the deaf association,” he said.
Bennet said this was the right time for people to come forward and sponsor the event. Royal Swazi has sponsored seven rooms for five days for the finalists.
Ministry of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs Director of Youth, Bheki Thwala thanked the organiser of the event Nok’thula Mbatha for taking the responsibility to host it.
“It is not an easy job to host such a beauty pageant but I am glad she took the challenge,” he said.
Thwala said this was an important event and Mbatha needed the support of all Swazis.
NGO donates to School of Deaf
Ghana News Agency
9th August 2011
Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - The Management of CARE, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has donated 10 computers to the Demonstration School for the Deaf and Blind at Mampong-Akuapim in the Eastern Region.
Mr Jib Hagan, Global Department Director and Founder of CARE, said the donation was part of the organisation’s drive to improve Information and Communication Technology in the country.
Mr Hagan noted that the donation was to help under-resourced schools that did not get funding from the government to address their technological needs.
He said the organisation would partner with the school to participate in environmental and recycling awareness to be linked with other special needs schools in the United Kingdom for exchange programmes.
Mr Hagan said computers could make a vital difference to the lives of children in the developing world and as such through access to computers children could develop ICT skills that would dramatically improve their job prospects.
He noted that most children in Ghana graduated from school without any ICT skill adding, the donation would help the students, especially the virtually impaired,to gain ICT skills that would build a better future for them.
Mr Hagan said the NGO was established with a vision to assist in the education and development of the less privileged secondary/tertiary school student of the developing country, and to help address the environmental issues of dumping of computer waste.
He said the vision was founded on the desire to help bridge the gap between students as well as leading the way in encouraging others to responsibly manage waste in the world.
Mr Jagan said the NGO took discarded computers donated by businesses, schools and other institutions in the UK, prepared them for use by deleting the existing data and reloaded the appropriate software prior to shipment to Ghana.
Mrs Regina Danquah, Headmistress of the School, thanked the organization for the support and appealed to other corporate bodies to come to the aid of the school by supporting it financially.
A clergyman’s passion for disabled
Written by Okodili Ndidi, Lagos
Tuesday, 09 August 2011
Dan W. Hill, chancellor, Tansian University, Oba; posing with the physically challenged at Villa Miscericordia Dia Oka-Uga.
IN Nigeria and other third world countries people living with one disability or the other are often treated with contempt, disregarded, stigmatized and in most cases totally abandoned as harbingers of evil.
They are often seen as a mistake of nature which should not be given the same care and love as with normal children. In some states in Nigeria , they are seen as a taboo, witches and outcasts and are often abandoned and left to fate.
Across all strata of the society, the story is the same for the physically challenged ones. Even in religious circle where they could have found succor, they are still seen as objects of pity, whose sole purpose of coming to places of worship is to beg for alms.
In the social and economic circles, they are treated as misfits who can only play the second fiddle and should accept whatever comes their way without complaining. They should not demand for their rights or any preference as a result of their limitations.
But for the passion of an unassuming Catholic Priest, Msgr. Prof. John Bosco Akam, who has dedicated a great deal of his time, life and resources to the physical, medical and economic wellbeing of the handicapped, these special people now have a ray of hope and a glimmer of light in the endless dark tunnel of life.
With a sprawling edifice in Uka Uga in Aguata local government area of Anambra State, which has a school and residential quarters, the compassionate cleric has given meaning to the lives of about 27 physically challenged people and over 26 motherless babies and orphans.
According to Akam, what started as a little hand of help he offered to a crippled toddler he met crawling to school under numbing early morning shower has become a transformational home that now boasts of primary and secondary schools, residential quarters for both the inmates and the staff.
The soft spoken priest who is also the Pro-Chancellor of Tansian University, a Private University in Anambra State, said that it is not enough to give alms or show pity to the disabled but to invest in their social and educational development just like every other child.
“The physically challenged are not in any way less equal to the other children, in fact they seem to be more intelligent than the other children, maybe because they devote more time to their academic and vocational works than their counterparts who engage in other time consuming activities.”
He disclosed that one of the inmates had graduated a year ago and now works as a bursar at Tansian University , adding that three others who made their O’level results would be admitted into the university at the next academic session.
Akam who blamed ignorance for the cruel fate and harsh discrimination suffered by the disabled in the Nigerian society, said that if the physically challenged people are given equal opportunities and training, they can do just as well as any other person.
He said that the disabled inmates are given opportunities of formal education, skill acquisition and other vocations, priding that they have three inmates who are amazing musicians with a fast selling album to their credit.
“You can imagine the joy it gives me to see the smile on the faces of these people who were once rejected and written off by the society, even their closest ones when they demonstrate that they can do just as well as any other person. And this holds true of the parlance that there is ability in disability.
“At the end of their education or training at the centre, their parents often throng here in their numbers to celebrate with them, that’s the only time we know that they have parents or relatives, but all the same, we hand them back to their people on their own volition to be reintegrated into the family as responsible people.”
Although a priest of the Catholic faith, Akam, said that the inmates are not compelled on their choice of religion, “here without asking them to go to my church; I let them go to their different churches. It is not a centre for conversion unless any of them sees the way I live and gets attracted and wants to go to my church. Of course the first graduate of Accounting is an Anglican form, he is not even from my town or has anything to do with me. The other four who will be entering University this year are not from my church or town either.”
He said that living with the physical challenged children and orphans had become his happiest moments, adding that he derives joy whenever he realises that he can give back to the society what God has given to him.
According to him, the establishment of the centre now known as the Kinigin Des Freidens College was as a result of the touch he had seeing psychically challenged persons on major streets and roads across the country like sheep without shepherd.
He said the establishment of the home known as the Villa Misercordae Dei, which means, a home where God’s mercy is practiced has “many a times, hold seminars and conferences on how to care for the needy among us but we achieve little or nothing. So that is why the practical dimension of showing God’s mercy struck me at a point in 1985 and gradually, I developed special interest for the physically challenged and orphans. I was visiting motherless babies’ homes in the South Eastern part of the country. The point I am making is that at a point gradually, I said I will establish something with particular reference to orphans who have lost their parents and they are being pursued around by the relations of their parents to make sure they also liquidate them so that they can take the property of the parents. So that is what I have been doing.
“I did this for many years and finally, today, we have a home established.
“The actual beginning of the works of charity we engaged in was in 1985, but it took root when I was coming back from Enugu and met a physically challenged child throwing himself up and down on the Nnewi Okigwe road and it was drizzling but this child with his school uniform was throwing himself up and down in a way of movement and that caught my sight.
“I asked the driver to stop; we asked him what was his name and where he was going to. Giving his name as Sunday Eze, we offered him a lift to which he objected that he will dirty the car. At last he reluctantly joined us in the car.
“That struck me and when we were driving, I asked him if it would not be better for him to live inside the school instead of coming from his village, he replied again in Igbo language that he would like it but he will tell his parents first. I said ok, tell them and give me reply tomorrow. That was how I put him at the house near the gate from there others started coming and started parking themselves at that house.
According to him, “ what feeds my soul and fuels my passion is the realisation that in my own little way I have given back to the society and mankind, a legacy that I will love to be remembered for even when I ’m no more”.
Akam who narrated his encounter with a foreign donor who he could not contact thereafter, said that the glory for the success of the foundation which he said has also awarded scholarships to over 50 people and built houses for the destitute is God, who he said is the sole provider of the needs of the centre.
Galp pumps E100 000 into NGOs accounts
01 September, 2011
GALP Swaziland’s generous wallet was at play once again yesterday when the company donated E100 000 to five different humanitarian organisations.
The presentation was held at Serendipity in Mbabane yesterday.
Swaziland Hospice at Home received E40 000, NERCHA E35 000, Hope House E12 000, School for the Deaf E10 000 and Special Olympics E3 000.
Galp Swaziland Managing Director Jose Cabrita said they reviewed their social responsibility policy to impact positively on the lives of the underprivilleged and improve the country for the better in light of the financial challenges.
“Even though the country is faced with tough economic challenges, we are grateful to have been able to make these donations which we hope to go a long way in helping the beneficiaries execute life changing initiatives,” he said.
He added that as a company would, they had not been spared from the economic meltdown and they were not having a good time coping with the tough fiscal challenge.
“I must indicate that our business has not been spared from the economic downturn, for the same reason we may be compelled to completely review our social responsibility policy, which may also impact on the nature of our contributions in future,” added Cabrita.
He appreciated the work done by the organisations, adding that this was one way of expressing appreciation and support for the community work.
Swaziland Hospice at Home’s Senator Thuli Msane thanked Galp Swaziland for the donation. She said the money would be used to buy drugs since they were very essential.
“This kind of donation will surely go a long way in helping people with ailments. We will use the money to buy drugs and nothing else,” said Msane.
The future is ‘orange’
NERCHA Deputy Director Khanya Mabuza thanked Galp for the kind gesture.
“We greatly appreciate the efforts of Galp Energia. During such dark financial hours, it is when you get the chance seeing true friends. True friends will come to your rescue at such times, but pretenders will shy away. This donation also forces one to say the future is not bleak but orange.” said Mabuza.
He added that the organisation had about 1 500 NCPs that feed over 51 000 children, hence the donation would help them immensely in ensuring that the orphaned and vulnerable children get meals on a daily basis.
“We will buy tables and chairs with the funds received today (yesterday) and also continue to offer the important service of offering access to education and get psycho-social support,” added Mabuza.
Zodwa Thwala from School for the Deaf used sign language to thank Galp much to the applause of the audience.
Most of them were overheard saying they had been impressed that Galp had identified the most suitable beneficiaries as the disabled people lacked most resources since they cannot work for themselves.
Faith Dlamini from Hope House said they were grateful to have received this kind of donation from Galp. She said a number of their errands depended on donations.
“With this donation we will surely be able to expand our services,” she said.
Dlamini said the money would be used on fuel.
Special Olympics’ Makhosazana Mabuza said since they were dealing with intellectually challenged persons, this donation would be of great help to them.
“With this donation Galp is saying to us ‘everyone can’ and they should not feel left out,” she said.
Mabuza said they made this request before sending four athletes to Greece, where they came back with two medals.
“We bought them running shoes and that paid off because we got two medals,”
The breakdown of the donations
Hospice at Home E40 000
NERCHA E35 000
Hope House E12 000
School for the Deaf E10 000
Special Olympics E3 000
Total E 100 000
HIV/AIDS programmes sideline PWD
Mmegi Online 09 August 2011
People Living With Disabilities (PWD) in the South East District have accused the government of indifference regarding implementation of policies on HIV/AIDS.
This is according to the Baseline Report on HIV/AIDS and Disability in the South East District on the needs of People Living With Disabilities with regard to HIV/AIDS services.
The report says People Living With Disabilities do not know why organisations giving HIV/AIDS support to the general public do not cover them. Characterising their support from the Ministry of Health as "extremely slow", they say NACA has done much for people without disability.
"People with disabilities are sometimes not educated, have no way to communicate, receive no legal support and mostly can go to prison for some offence that they may have not perpetrated," the report quotes them as saying.
They also complain that there is insufficient legal protection for them and that information collected from them by government and other agencies is often distorted or ignored. This has been the case over the last 10 years, they say.
"(The) Ministry of Health has gathered information from the deaf, but they have not done anything with this information," they are quoted as saying.
Camphill Community Trust Botswana and the District Multi Sectoral AIDS Committee in the South East District were designated to coordinate the research project. Village Disability Support Groups (VDSG's) of Mogobane, Otse, Ramotswa and Taung were responsible for mobilising
People Living With Disabilities were actively involved in planning and implementing the project at the village level. Over 100 People Living With Disabilities and their caregivers in the areas provided evidence leading to the findings of this report.
The report comes at a time when there is little data on the impact of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic on People With Disabilities in Botswana and whether mainstream services are able to meet the special needs that they often have.
Ghana News Agency
10th August 2011
Kumasi, Aug 10, GNA - The World Health Organization (WHO), has expressed concern about the soaring numbers of people with various forms of disability, currently estimated at about one billion, representing 15 per cent of the global population.
Dr Daniel Kertez, Country Representative of the WHO, said this was due to the high rate of heart-related diseases, environmental factors, road accidents and other preventable disasters.
He was addressing the opening session of the second national disability conference of the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.
“Breaking the barriers for the inclusion of persons with disability in national development”, was the theme for the event.
Dr Kertez noted that those living with disabilities had been going through significant difficulties in their daily lives as a result of unhealthy policies and other unfavourable conditions that tended to marginalize them.
He said they were nearly three times more likely to report that they were being denied health care and four times more likely to report that they were receiving bad treatment.
This and other discriminatory practices, Dr Kertez said, had resulted in a situation where people with disability have poorer health, lower educational achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than those without disabilities.
He said there was the need to give priority to issues bothering on disability through the adoption of more disability-friendly policies and programmes to better their lives.
Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, in a speech read for him, re-affirmed government’s resolve to work harder to improve the living conditions of the physically challenged.
Genesis duo to pay fees for hearing disabled
8/10/11 5:34 PM
Luanda - The musical duo Genesis intend to pay in 2012 the fees for the disabled of the school Martires do Uganda with the funds collected from a monthly show called “Doming?o do Amor”.
The intention was expressed by one of the group member Fernando Kijingo “Puny” in a ceremony to deliver a cheque valued at 700.000 kwanza to the direction of the school to support that institution.
According to the musician, through the Project education and arts the duo want to support several social institutions specially those that have disabled students.
The college Martires de Uganda was created eight years ago and has 87 hearing impaired at primary and secondary level from initiation to the 12th level with lesson on verbal and sign language system.
Wheel Chair Tennis Tournament On Cards
11 August 2011
MORE than 30 wheelchair tennis players are expected to converge at Bulawayo Club for the Disabled for the first Bulawayo Open wheelchair tennis tournament scheduled for next week.
The competition will run from August 15 to 19 and will be recognised as part of this year's NEC Tour.
However, the classification is for one year and the event will be re-evaluated next year.
The development comes after the Wheelchair Tennis Association of Zimbabwe were given the greenlight to host the event by the International Tennis Federation after successfully hosting two editions of the Harare Open last year in April and this year in May.
The national association have been commended by ITF for their developmental programmes that saw the body introducing the sport to Manicaland and Masvingo, beyond Harare and Bulawayo, who have been dominating the sport.
The tournament is expected to feature players from South Africa.
WTAZ vice president, Alexander Mkandla, said the event provided an opportunity for local players, who are not able to go for international competitions in other countries due to financial constraints, to showcase their talent.
"We have been preparing for the event and we are ready to go. The tournament will feature mainly local players and South Africans.
"So far we have 33 players who have confirmed their participation.
"We had closed the entries a week ago but we have players from Masvingo who have shown interest and I think we going to accommodate them.
"Most of the players are coming from Harare and this is an advantage for those who cannot afford to go outside the country because they can now get international exposure and experience when they take part in the competition.
"It is an opportunity for them to earn points for international rankings. It is also good for the development of the sport locally," said Mkandla.
The WTAZ vice president said they were hoping to spread the competition to other provinces.
"We now have four active provinces that are registered, that is Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Manicaland while in Gweru we have some players but they are yet to be registered.
’We are looking at spreading the competitions to other provinces. Our players are excited, we have good players practising and preparing for the game and we are expecting a competitive event," said Mkandla.
Some of the players expected to compete include Zimbabwe's top player, Nyasha Mharakurwa, Samson Muroyiwa, Brian Mafuvise and Daniel Buleya.
Mharakurwa will be hoping to redeem his pride after losing the Harare Open to Robinson Mandez of Chile in May.
Oshana hosts disability sport meet
PARATHLETES from various regions in the country will gather at the Independence Stadium at Oshakati this coming Saturday to participate in an athletics’ competition.
Disability sports promoter, Michael Hamukwaya told Nampa yesterday that the competition will be hosted under the banner of the Oshana Heroes’ Sports Club.
The Oshana Heroes’ Sports Club is a local sports body run by people living with disabilities in this region, and was established in 1998.
The club was initially known as the Oshakati Heroes’ Sports Club, before it changed its name to the Oshana Heroes’ Sports Club in 2003.
According to Hamukwaya, the club currently has 370 members, including children from the Eluwa Special School at Ongwediva.
This year, they will host the athletics’ championships for the ninth consecutive year.
The regions that have already confirmed their participation for Saturday ’s event are Erongo, Khomas, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto.
“Elite athletes, who are part of the Paralympic team that is going to represent Namibia at the All Africa Games in Mozambique next month, will also be in action at Oshakati on Saturday,” Hamukwaya enthused.
He said these ‘elite athletes’ will face tough challenges from the upcoming young athletes, who will also be in action during Saturday’s competition.
Consulting Services Africa is the official sponsor of the competition, but the sponsorship amount for this year’s event is yet to be confirmed.
Group seeks people with disability’s input on water policy
08月12日 Nigeria Daily Independent
By Patience Ogbodo Special Correspondent, Bauchi
Government has been urged to involve people with disability in the conceptualization of policies on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Participants at a workshop on “Equity and Inclusion” made the appeal recently. The participants who were from Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Enugu, Ekiti and Jigawa states pointed out that over the years, policymakers often took decisions on behalf of people with special needs particularly the disabled, the aged, women and children without their consent. They noted that “these categories of Nigerians have suffered various forms of discrimination when programmes on WASH are being designed and implemented,’’ suggesting that the principles of equity and inclusion must henceforth be applied to compensate for past injustices. Water-Aid programme support coordinator, Mr. Ephraim Danladi, advised civil society organisations implementing WASH programmes to educate duty bearers at the local and state levels on the importance of mainstreaming the needs of people with disability into policies on WASH.
In her remark, the Communication and Campaign Manager of Water-Aid, Miss Olusheyi Abdulmalik, called for closer collaboration between the CSOs and the WASH media network so that the plight of people with special need could be highlighted and addressed to check all forms of marginalization.
The four-day workshop was organized by Water-Aid Nigeria for journalists and representatives of non-governmental organisations from the five states where the agency is operating in Nigeria.
Congo's Beach port is haven for disabled traders
Congo's Beach port is haven for disabled traders By Patrick Fort (AFP) ? 21 hours ago BRAZZAVILLE ? Just like on London's famous Underground, or the New York subway, handicapped people in Congo's capital Brazzaville get discounts on public transport.
While the discounted ride won't get them to Buckingham Palace or the Brooklyn Bridge, it has helped them make money, as they carry goods across the broad Congo river for traders who want to avoid paying full fare.
"With this, we don't have to beg. If we didn't have this, what would we do?" said Maman Hortense, who has been paralysed since childhood.
The river connects Brazzaville with Kinshasa, the capital of the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The twin-city metropolis of more than 10 million is teeming with small traders, dependent on traveling between the two banks and all desperate to avoid the bureaucratic crossing fees that cut into their income.
The cost of a return trip across this three-kilometre (two-mile) stretch varies widely, as fees are randomly applied and corruption is rampant on both sides, a World Bank study said.
Many residents told AFP they usually manage to pay no more than 30 euros($21) for a return trip, though they can find an even cheaper -- but more hazardous -- crossing in dugout canoes or pay a pricier fee on luxury speed boats to avoid queuing.
Taking in the variations, the World Bank set the average round-trip fare at $40, noting this is nearly half the monthly income of most area residents. To drive home the impact, it compared the Brazzaville- Kinshasa crossing to one of similar distance across the bay that separates San Francisco from Oakland, California.
"If, relative to local average income, the same costs applied, San Francisco residents would pay between 1,200 and 2,400 dollars for a return trip to Oakland," the study said.
But the situation opened a niche -- if not always an easy one -- for the local handicapped. In sub-Saharan Africa, where social services are abysmal and the disabled are often treated as semi-outcasts and the poorest of the poor, their services are in high demand at the 'Brazza'- 'Kin' crossing.
When a boat coming from Kinshasa docks, dozens of people disembark and climb up to the port, known locally as the Beach, hoping to cram through customs so they can start selling their goods.
Sometimes porters race with crippled people on their backs, while a flock of other porters clad in numbered jackets unload packages to carry on their backs or their heads.
"Before, it used to be more spectacular," a European resident of Brazzaville said. "There was a barge, Le Matadi, with a gate. When it opened, the rush was like the Normandy landings!"
"Le Matadi is broken down today," a port official told AFP.
"There are several ways of doing business. If you simply want to cross, you can recruit a blind man or another disabled person and be his guide, " a policeman explained.
"Your ticket will be half as expensive as the full price and you give a part of what you saved to the disabled person," the policeman said.
Rather than being "hired" by able-bodied merchants, some handicapped work as traders themselves, benefiting from the lower "fees" and "taxes" afforded to disabled people on each package of goods transported across the river.
Barthelemy Bassumba, 32, who has been paralysed in the legs and confined to wheelchair since childhood, was one who used to run his own business.
While he apparently suffered from polio, he prefers to tell people that he was the victim of witchcraft linked to "a family problem".
His trade collapsed, however, and he started working for others who pay him for each crossing.
"I don't do any more business myself. Once I sold my product, beer, to a man who never paid me. I lost 100,000 FCFA (150 euros)", he recalled, noting that he earns 120 euros a month to support his wife and two children.
Baggio Ngama Bamba of Kinshasa, who has a deformed leg, also uses his disability to make a living, but he said the stresses of trading across this hectic river are becoming unbearable for him.
"We buy produce in Kin, we sell it here in Brazza. When we make a profit, we give money to those who help us," he said.
"But now there is too much hassle, taxes and outgoings. It's too much.
We can't make it any more."
KNUST to offer scholarships to students with disability
Ghana News Agency
12th August 2011
Kumasi, Aug. 12, GNA ? The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) would from the 2012/13 academic year, institute a scholarship scheme for students with disability, who gain admission into the institution.
Professor William Otoo Ellis, Vice Chancellor, said the modalities would soon be determined by the Academic Board.
He was addressing the national disability conference of the KNUST Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies in Kumasi.
The initiative was a demonstration of the University’s commitment to build the competence of the disabled towards national development.
The three-day meeting is on the theme, “Breaking barriers for the inclusion of persons with disability in national development.”
Issues being discussed range from employment and empowerment, education, recreation and healthcare to mobility for persons with disabilities, among other things.
The progress report on the KNUST disability project would also be discussed.
Prof Ellis said the Centre, which was inaugurated last year, ran programmes for the blind and partially sighted, adding that plans were far advanced to equip it with assistive technology to support the training of persons with other forms of disability.
He said with the passage of the Disability Act (Act 715), the task of responding appropriately to the needs of the disabled required a stronger collaboration among stakeholders.
This would help to promote efforts at “breaking the barriers that prevent the total inclusion of those with disability in the national development process”.
Foundation launched for poor, disabled children
08月15日 The Nation Newspaper
By Oseheye Okwuofu 3 hours 48 minutes ago
Giving to the needy is a noble thing, but giving to promote education among the less-privileged is even more noble.
Those were the words of Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye, chairman of Board of Trustees (BOT) of a foundation launched in memory of Mrs Beatrice Olajide Ajayi. But the beneficiaries are the physically challenged, the poor and the downtrodden. The funds raised by the foundation will be used to educate this category of Nigerians.
The late Beatrice Ajayi was the wife of foremost Professor of medicine, Olajide Ajayi, who was once Chief Medical Director of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, and also of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, Ogun State.
The occasion attracted eminent personalities in the medical field, business world, academia, as well as professionals in diverse fields.
The maiden beneficiaries of the foundation were carefully selected to reflect the educational and ethnic background of the couple. Professor Olajide Ajayi said the foundation is a way of showing gratitude to God who made him survive the vicissitudes of life after being orphaned at a tender age.
Emeritus professor of medicine, Akin Mabogunje, chairman of the occasion, said he had known the Ajayis for decades. He told members of the foundation’s BOT to ensure that the foundation sustains the project “ so that wherever the late Mrs. Ajayi is, she must be happy with what her family is doing after her.”
Mabogunje listed the objectives of the Beatrice Olujide Ajayi Foundationto include the provision of financial assistance to the less privileged, the physically challenged, the poor, and brilliant but indigent students so that they can have good education.
Chairman of the (BOT), Dr. Olugbemi Akinkoye added that the foundation will, among other things, provide relief for children who are victims of natural disasters and epidemics such as poliomyelitis and cerebro-spinal meningitis. He said the foundation hopes to raise funds through investments, donations, gifts, bequests and grants from individuals, corporate bodies, and other credible sources.
“Without doubt, financial and other forms of assistance to students are a key fundamental investment not only in the future of the students but also to the society at large,” he said.
Quoting former American President Bill Clinton, Sir Koye, as he is fondly called by admirers, stated that providing education unlocks the potential of children, adding that one of such children could turn out to be tomorrow’s Albert Einstein.
He informed that the beneficiaries are students selected from schools in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states who were screened by members of the BOT in partnership with teachers and officers of the schools. He added that in the past three months, he has been a regular visitor to the Cheshire Junior Secondary Schools 1 and 11 where he observed the difficulties many physically challenged students face in the schools. One of the challenges is that the school did not provide for walkways and ramps to facilitate the movement of those students between classroom blocks.
Six of the students of the physically challenged environment were provided with wheelchairs which the BOT chair confessed will only solve 75 per cent of their mobility problems.
Akinkoye urged donors to come to the aid of the students in the construction of ramps and walkways whose cost he estimated at N350, 000.
Other schools where beneficiaries of the foundation were selected included Queens’s School I and II. Two students were selected from each of them. From Baptist Model School, Eruwa and Apode Senior School, also in Eruwa, a student was picked each. Holy Child College and CMS, both in Lagos, provided three and two students respectively, while four were taken Ijebu-Ode Grammar School.
In all the foundation coughed out N1, 47, 100 for all the beneficiaries.
Akinkoye called on the authorities of universities and polytechnics and other educational institutions to make their learning environment friendly for all physically challenged by providing convenient walkways and ramps to link their lecture halls, libraries and other facilities.
Sir Koye said the foundation will be run in line with modern trends, which includes investing seed funds very wisely for a specific time period and thereafter utilising the proceeds to sustain the foundation.
“However, in order to grow the funds available and hedge against inflation and fluctuations of the currency, foundations must always seek and accept donations and contributions from people who wish to contribute and make a difference,” he said.
He urged the leaders to borrow a leaf from the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the area of free primary education. The professor said the deplorable state of the nation’s health care delivery system is a reflection of the state of infrastructural development in the country.
He posited that education is the key to development, saying no country can profess to develop its health sector without first developing its infrastructure.
He described education as the pillar upon which all developments, including health, rest, hence the urgent need by the government to look inwards and re-strategise towards making education accessible to all.
He pointed out that health issues should not be left to the Ministry of Health alone since it will not be able to provide good water and food for the citizens, and develop infrastructure needed for the attainment of good health for the people.
“It is not possible to tell or explain the value of immunisation to an illiterate,” he said. “That’s why the late sage Obafemi Awolowo started where we ought to start; he started free education and besides, there was a conscious plan to generate finance to fund it through creation of boards.”
The former CMD of UCH said that they disbursed the sum of N1, 475,100 to 23 indigent students from some selected primary and secondary schools in Oyo, Lagos and Ogun states in the first batch of the award.
Atolagbe Damilola, one of the recipients of the award, was given N151, 500. Onuora Tacey of Holy Child College, Lagos got 119, 500, while Azees Mariam of Chelshire Junior School, Ibadan was given a wheelchair worth N30,000. Noah Roda of Queens School, Ibadan got N50,000. Ibitoye Motunrayo of Holy Child got N119, 500, Sambo Veronica, N119, 500 and Akinyosade Darafunmi of Ijebu-Ode Gramar School who received N43, 000.
Deputy minister slams discrimination against disabled persons
8/17/11 9:53 PM Angola press
Sumbe - The deputy minister of Education for Social Affairs, Ana Paula In?s, Wednesday in Sumbe, central Kwanza Sul province, urged the society to continue to strongly fight attitudes and practices that discriminate against students with special needs.
Addressing the opening of the first Consultative Council of the National Institute for Special Education going until Friday, the deputy minister said the combat is intended to build an inclusive society where education serves everyone.
“School for all is that which valorise all students, regardless of their individual characteristics and ensures the respect for their rights, performing their true social role,” she stated.
According to the official, the educative reform going on in the country places challenges that require the assurance of technical and material conditions capable of guaranteeing everyone’s access to school.
She said as well that lack of information in the community, the disbelief on the part of the families in the capacities of their students is one of the great obstacles to people with special education needs.
In order to fight the phenomenon, the Ministry of Education, together with the media, are running an awareness and information campaign on the special education needs going with the theme “School for all, let us learn from the differences”.
The purpose of the meeting is the promotion of debates on the course and challenges of inclusive education for students with special needs.
Gambia: Persons With Disability Ought to Decide for Themselves
17 August 2011
The Chief Executive Officer of Aid For Orphans and the Disabled (AFOD) Ebrima Danjo expressed his association's opposition to sidelining persons with disability when it comes to decision making.
Mr Danjo said persons with disability just like other persons have a right to decide for themselves.
"At home persons with disability have often been sidelined even on issues affecting them. AFOD rejects this as a non starter," said CEO Danjo.
He added that the most appropriate thing that communities can do is to support persons with disability with a view to making them live independent lives.
He believes that with support persons with disability can become productive members of their communities.
He attributes the culture of begging among persons with disabilities to what he called the perception of the community.
Danjo took a swipe at what he called the negative perception of the community towards persons with disabilities, saying the perception is archaic.
"The only difference between persons with disabilities and those with no disabilities is that they lose an organ. But remember they have other senses that are working perfectly," he stressed.
AFOD according to its CEO, was founded in 2004 as a non profit making organisation.
As the name implies, Aid for Orphans and the Disabled works to creating a better world for orphans and persons with disabilities. These groups are considered by the organisation as very vulnerable.
As a service provider, AFOD writes to philanthropists on behalf of orphans and persons with disabilities.
According to Danjo, when donors respond to their request they make sure that no body but orphans and persons with disabilities benefit.
The contribution of members proves to be a vital source of income for AFOD.
Fourteen senior secondary school students were sponsored by AFOD and some of those students are working, having completed their studies.
Similarly, AFOD also supported 20 girls to acquire skills such as tie and dye and sewing. Most of those girls are now earning income through the skills AFOD helped them to acquire.
Chief Executive Officer Danjo sums up his organisation's blue print into five cardinal principles.
In his words, these principles are, "Skills training, basic education for children, capacity building for members and setting up of micro finance businesses for self reliance."
He described the latter as significant, saying it serves no purpose to train an individual when the person will not be given the opportunity to practice what they were taught.
It is against this background that AFOD creates a revolving fund aimed at helping trainees to start their own businesses.
Lack of computers and printers is one major constraint that AFOD is grappling with. The absence of those materials have severely limited the organisation's ability to embark on a more aggressive campaign. "There are moments that we want to send emails to potential donors, but due to the absence of a computer we cannot," lamented Danjo.
Over 400 applications have been received by AFOD seeking assistance. The applicants are young Gambian men and women who want to pursue education, despite their disadvantaged status. The reality, according to Danjo, is that AFOD does not have the financial muscle to help all those applicants. "When I flick through those applications, I see and hear young people dreaming of a better world. All what they need is someone who will help them do so. AFOD would want to help them all, but the reality is that it does not have the funds to help them do so," he conceded.
The AFOD Chief Executive Officer made these remarks last weekend during the hand over of clothes, books, pencils and other educational materials to Lambai Nursery School located in Sukuta Nema.
The materials were donated by two France based organisations. The two organisations were represented by Renaad Joseph President of Association Kekchose Lille and Momodou Mbye President Association Culturelle De Africans Des mons.
The donation of clothes and educational materials came after AFOD approached Mr.Mbye seeking assistance for children of Lambai Nursery School.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Mr.Momodou Mbye said the donation was made possible as a result of the collaboration of the two mentioned organisations.
He urged parents to educate their children.
The hidden disabled talents
New Vision, Uganda
Publication date: Thursday, 18th August, 2011 Alex Ndeezi
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) estimate put the number of persons with disabilities (PWD) in Uganda at 16% of the country's 33 million people, meaning that over five million people have disabilities.
The report, launched in May, is designed to help countries tap the potentials of PWDs and promote disability rights.
However, the real figures are likely to be higher because many disabled people are hidden from society in inaccessible rural areas.
Getting an education is nearly impossible for all, but those who come from the wealthier sectors of society.
Schools are simply unable to cater for them.
And even if the school is prepared to accept the child, the logistics of a child who can't walk to school each day are generally insurmountable.
About 70% of children with disabilities are not getting an education because of their disabilities.
However, education and training for PWDs is sometimes made possible through a variety of associations, organizations and some of the skills education training authorities.
For PWDs, if getting education is difficult, getting a job is almost 10 times more difficult.
Even though the Income Tax Act makes provision for a tax incentive for employers of 5% or more PWDs, persons with disabilities make up to just 0.2% of the work force in the NGO, private sector and public sector.
This is partly due to the massive shortages of low skilled jobs for which PWDs traditionally qualified.
The latest statistics from UBOS/URA show that employment is increasing but in more of non-formal sector.
There are many reasons for the high rates of employment of PWDs, however, one of them is because of stereotyped negative attitudes and lack understanding of what disabilities entails.
Getting persons with disabilities into the workplace has many and varied benefits from decreasing the burden on social welfare to raising the morale at the workplace and increases tax revenue on employment income.
However, there are companies that would like to fix persons with disabilities into the workplace but they just do not know what to do.
They also do not know how disabled persons would fit into their work environment or how they could be accommodated in a building designed for the able bodied.
Part of the problem is that people have a stereotyped view of what being a person with disabilities means.
The assumption is that they will be employing a person in a wheelchair.
But there are a great many conditions that qualify as disabled, from deafness to autism and Down syndrome to paraplegia.
Diabetes and epilepsy also qualify as disabilities, and there is talk of obesity getting included in the category as it is becoming a serious problem especially in developing and middle income countries.
Disabled people have very different needs.
There is need for flexibility from the employer and the employee.
A person who needs to spend a day in a week on a dialysis machine, for example, might need to accept reduced pay if the company agrees to hire them on a four-days-a-week basis.
To help companies who want to tap into these potentials, persons with disabilities should be given tasks they can perform to their best capabilities and cope with modifications that can be made.
The labour department in the ministry of Gender can play an important role in ensuring that both employers and employees understand each other and are accommodative of each other's needs.
In terms of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2006, employers must reasonably accommodate the needs of disabled people to enable them advance in their employment.
This could, for example, involve modifying existing equipment or buying new equipment like specialised computer hardware, re-organising work stations or changing assessment materials.
One of the greatest challenges physically disabled persons have is not being able to move around.
Modified cars are expensive and public transport is not geared towards people with disabilities.
So even when he does secure a job, a disabled person is often unable to get there.
This calls for accessible and affordable public transport facilities for these categories of people.
The writer is MP respresenting PWDs
NGO Seeks Disabled Persons’ Recognition
08月19日 Nigerian Observer
Abuja - An NGO, ‘Xperience Grace Foundation’, has called on the three tiers of government to mainstream Persons Living with Disability in their programmes to give them a sense of belonging in the society.
Ms. Grace Jerry, the Founder of the Plateau-based NGO, made the call in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.
She urged the private sector to respect the right of persons with various forms of disability by including them in their programmes, especially Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes.
“Water is life and sanitation aids health and wealth. If we all believe that everyone deserves to be healthy, then Persons Living with Disability should be included in WASH programmes .
“When you are mainstreaming Persons with Disability in your organisations, you are not doing them any favour, you are only doing the right thing.
“That is what it is; and for me, it is wrong for organisations not to mainstream persons with disability in their programmes,’’ Jerry told newsmen.
Jerry, who is physically challenged, described the appointment of a woman as the Minister of Water Resources as a ‘breakthrough’ in mainstreaming Persons with Disability in water and sanitation activities.
According to her, the appointment of Mrs Sarah Ochekpe as the minister will bring notable changes in the sector, adding that women are sensitive to the needs of people especially, the physically challenged.
“I am particularly, grateful to the President and even the new Minister of Water Resources, who happens to be a woman herself.
People with Disability regional championships a success
by Francis Xoagub
18 August 2011, New Era
Oshakati - People with Disability held its 9TH regional championships in Oshakati, which attracted a larger number participants compared to last year.
Athletes from around nine regions attended the event, with the bulk of the athletes hailing from the Oshana region.
According to Disability Sport Promoter Michael Hamukwaya the competition improves every year, and Namibia will have some of the finest paralympian athletes on the continent and the world at large.
“We had very good quality competition this year and it was good to see the juniors coming through the ranks to challenge the elite athletes and perform world class times,” he said. Hamukwaya said a few well-established paralympian athletes were made to sweat by upcoming athletes, which shows that the country has quality upcoming athletes capable of doing the nation proud if an opportunity arises internationally.
Experienced athletes like Johanna Benson, currently African champion (long jump, 100m and 200m) and 100m commonwealth bronze medallist in Delhi, India 2010) and Anannias Shikongo 400m bronze medalist at the world championship which took place earlier this year in new Zealand, Simson Kariseb, Namibian long jump champion, Armas Ekanjo, a middle-distance runner and lias Ndimulunde long and middle-distance runner, participated at the event.
Martin Alousious, the 400m African champion, was also there and lost to an upcoming athlete Johannes Nambala from the Oshana region in the 400m, 200m and 100m class, while Johanna Benson had a very close call after she just won her race on the finishing line in the 100m, which was dubbed the highlight race of the championship.
“ Nambala and Johannes are athletes to watch out for in the near future and could be part of the national team if they hold on to the some feat,” said Hamukwaya.
PJ Balhao from Walvis Bay, a new wheelchair athlete, participated in the race for the first time but gave a stunning performance.
“ This event has a positive impact in bringing different racial and cultural groups together through the love of sport and this is a good start for our community in terms of developing code paralympic sport in Namibia,” said Hamukwaya.
Emperor Gaza Internation Launches Fusion Games
FUSION GAMES, special fun but competitive games, that seek to bring together the disabled and able-bodied together to promote unity, understanding and the can-do spirit among the under-privileged, will soon be launched by the Emperor Gaza International Foundation (EGIF).
Under the theme, “Together we are all able,” FUSION GAMES will be held at the Lizzy Complex at East Legon on January 2, 2012, bringing together many sports and fun clubs across the country to share in the bond that binds us together as one people with a common destiny, irrespective of our physical or social status. The games, with trophies and other prizes at stake, will include Wheel Chair Basketball, Amputee Football, Deaf Football, Dwarf Football, Volleyball as well as able-bodied sports, among others and will be played competitively between the able-bodied and disabled.
As the name implies, the disabled will play against the able-bodied counterpart, as well as fuse together into special teams to play each other, to drive home the message that when both disabled and able-bodied ones live and work together towards common goals, they can achieve them.
EGIF deems it necessary to put these games together, in view of the tendency to alienate the disabled in society by some able-bodied ones instead of living together with them to achieve common goals, and also to remind the world of the fact that, “anybody can become a disabled anytime.”
The games are also in line with Emperor Gaza International Foundation’s objectives of empowering the disabled, the marginalized rural forks, women, children and the aged, under-privileged, unfortunate ones in society by inculcating in them the can-do spirit, in order to integrate them into the mainstream society, for them to play an active role in the overall development of the world.
The Foundation has in recent times been involved in the promotion of Amputee Football, organizing an Exhibition Match for the Ghana National Amputee Football Team, the Black Challenge, as well as sponsoring the Media Launch of the 3rd Cup of African Nations for Amputee Football (CANAF 2011) to be held in Accra in October.
The Media Launch for the FUSION GAMES will be announced soon.
Assembly presents GH?10,068 working tools to the disabled
23rd August 2011 Ghana News Agency
Bibiani (W/R), Aug. 23, GNA - The Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District Assembly acting together with the Department of Social Welfare has presented working tools valued at GH?10,068.00 in support of 16 physically challenged persons in the area to start their own businesses.
These were made up of, sewing machines, hair dressing equipment, including hair dryers, leather sewing machines, deep-freezers, gas cylinders and fabrics.
Also among the donations were wheel chairs, bags of rice and edible oils.
The beneficiaries were selected from Chirano, Sefwi-Bekwai, Sefwi-Wenchi, Surano, Anhwiaso, Humjibre and Bibiani.
Mr Adansi Bondah, the District Chief Executive, said the goal was to assist them to become economically self-supporting and take them off the road, where some begged for alms.
He asked them to put the equipment to good use, reminding them that this was in their own interest.
He gave the assurance that the assembly would continue to release part of its share of the District Assembly’s Common Fund (DACF) to improve the situation of people with disability in the district.
Mrs Mercy Attah-Tutu, the District Social Welfare Officer, encouraged the physically challenged to learn trades and vocational skills that would make them employable.
RDRC, JICA Launch Access Campaign for the Disabled
RDRC, JICA Launch Access Campaign for the Disabled Aug 23, 2011 (The New Times/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Rwanda Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Friday launched a campaign to enable people with disabilities have a barrier-free environment.
Together with other partners in the fight against the violation of the rights of people with disabilities, the two parties met to devise lasting solutions to factors limiting disabled people from participating in social and economic activities.
"It is not only about the ex-combatants, but every disabled person deserves the right to enjoy his freedom and rights just like any other human being," said Brig. Gen. Peter Bagabo, a Commissioner in RDRC.
He added that people with any form of disability, should willingly be integrated in society as well as getting services they are entitled to.
Speaking to Sunday Times, one of the participants Zacharie Nkundiye, said they fail to access certain services in their day-to-day life due to unfriendly infrastructure.
"Some services are provided in buildings that were constructed without putting in place provisions for people with disabilities," Nkundiye said.
He explained that although the law is clear about the style of construction in regard to accessibility by people living with disabilities, the problem still exists.
Responding to Nkundiye's concern, Vedaste Hakizimana, a Community Development and Project Analyst at the Ministry of Local Government, said that according to construction guidelines, buildings, especially those meant to offer public services, must be designed with easy access for people with disabilities.
Hakizimana added that, the government is committed to making sure that people living with disabilities have their rights respected.
Copyright The New Times. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
Greans hosts Miss Deaf’s belated birthday party
23 August, 2011 11:59:00 By Eddie Abner
Greans Restaurant will today host a belated 21st birthday party for outgoing Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula.
Magagula put the country on the map when she was crowned the first princess during the Miss Deaf world contest in 2009. Greans restaurant owner, Johan Greans said they wanted to give the outgoing queen the recognition she deserved.
“The lady did not get all the recognition she deserved while still queen.
She made sure that the country shone in a positive light when she was crowned the first princess at the Miss Deaf world. But when she returned in the country no one cared about her,” he said. Greans said they got involved with the national pageant, to show society that disabled people were like everyone. “As she is about to hand over the title, we would like her to hand it over with a good heart,” he said. They have also adopted the Deaf Association and would sponsor it. He mentioned that they would market the pageant from the start to the finals. Greans said they would also invite Miss Deaf South Africa to be part of the judging panel on the finals.
He said they would give Magagula a bursary to study at a tertiary institution for her to be equipped with life skills.
Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture, CEO Stanley Dlamini said he was very grateful to Greans for what they were doing.
“Greans has given us a way forward as they have introduced a post pageant which would help the organiser of the pageant to concentrate on making the event a success,” he said. Dlamini added that they had classified five pageants, Miss Teen, Miss Swaziland, Mr Swaziland, Miss Cultural and Miss Deaf as national pageants in their framework. “We are happy that the Miss Deaf finalists were selected from the Deaf School as it was happening before but they were picked in all the four regions,” he stated. Miss Deaf organiser Nokuthula Mbatha said 10 finalists would compete in the finals.
She further appealed for more sponsorship from the business community to make the event, which will be held on September 24, a success.
Zimbabwe: Child Laws Should Be Enforced
24 August 2011
There is no doubt that children are mankind's greatest asset; not only do they keep the human race alive, they also perpetuate the transmission of the body of knowledge, and hence development, from generation to generation.
They are our most enduring legacy, guarantors of our civilisation, past and present, and need to be nurtured with meticulous care and accorded all the support necessary so that they can reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully towards the realisation of a world fit for all.
Of late, however, there has been a disturbing upsurge in reports in the press of children with disabilities being abandoned by their parents soon after birth. While in other cases of abandonment, care has been taken to find the culprits and bring them to book, in the case of children with disabilities, however, abandonment reaches its lowest point.
Here, we are confronted with a situation where, after the mother has given birth to a child with disability, the father summarily abandons the family without any feeling of compassion, openly declaring that there is no way that he can give birth to a child with disability.
Worse still accusing the wife of infidelity and dabbling in witchcraft. The father is allowed to abandon his legal, moral, financial and emotional obligations with impunity by an indifferent society that conveniently chooses to look the other way.
On February 4, 2011, H-Metro reported the case of a mother who gave birth to a child with teeth. The father rushed to distance himself from paternity of the child, saying there was no way the child could have been his, and that the mother must have strayed from the marital bed. As is the norm in such cases, the mother will be left holding the baby as it were she will be the one to care single-handedly for the child till it grows up, thus creating a number of psychological problems for the child from which he or she seldom recovers.
There was not the slightest response from the authorities, or a whimper from human rights organisations, and not even a concerned groan from child protection societies. Zimbabwean child help societies remained sublimely supine in the face of this first form of violence on the rights of the child, choosing, as usual, to play the role of the innocent bystander. The church, though preaching that children a gift from God have also choose to remain mum on the matter.
On Thursday, February 10, 2011, Newsday also ran a story of an 18-year-old Mutoko woman who, facing problems with her husband who was failing to come to terms with having sired a child with a physical disability, subsequently drowned her child in order to make peace with her husband. Even when not abandoned at birth, the child with disability is faced with violence, stigma and discrimination at every turn, perpetrated, paradoxically, by the very people who have the responsibility of bringing up the child in a loving and nurturing environment the child's parents.
The Herald of 20 January 2010 gave a report of a prominent Mabvuku businessman and church elder who had been keeping his 26-year-old mentally challenged son in a cabin that resembled a tool shed at the back of the house for three years. Again, a deafening silence as society became afflicted with a sudden deafness the deafness of indifference.
Studies by UNICEF have shown that mothers predominantly bear the burden of care for children with disabilities, the fathers having abandoned the children at birth. This brings into sharp focus the need for introduction of anti-abandonment legislation to curb abandonment of children with disabilities. Abandonment is the first form of violence against children, who are entitled to a family and to familial care and supports.
Anti-abandonment legislation needs to be bolstered by anti-abandonment activities like, putting an end to outmoded practices where children are separated from their mother at birth, registering children at birth, ensuring that there are social workers in maternity hospitals and wards, introducing appropriate welfare services to provide support for mother and child, giving mothers financial aid, and providing advice and special assistance and making sure that parents are more closely involved in cases where a child is born with a disability among others.
Research has shown that a child's early experience of being nurtured and developing a bond with a caring adult affects all aspects of behaviour and development. When parents and children have strong, warm feelings for one another, children develop trust that their parents will provide what they need to thrive, including love, acceptance, positive guidance, and protection.
It is this positive behaviour and development that the adoption of anti-abandonment legislation seeks to inculcate among parents, caregivers and the society at large. Risks associated with abandoned children as they grow up include truancy in school, low school performance, a distorted view of themselves, a high incidence of drug and alcohol abuse and aggressive behaviour.
The teen may also withdraw from all relationships, including those with friends, family, and classmates, and become extremely dependent on the remaining parent. Teens may also react by becoming sexually promiscuous at an early age, sometimes to the point of addiction. Aggression, deep anger and resentment, feelings of betrayal, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue, and problems with friends or at school are not uncommon.
According to a UN study on violence against children in care and justice institutions, the most common reasons for placement of children in care systems are disability, family disintegration, violence in the home, lack of social support systems, and poor social and economic conditions, including poverty.
While for the rest of the children so affected, placement is usually due to one or two of the above factors, children with disabilities are affected by the whole gamut of factors - their disability often results in family disintegration, with the father commonly abandoning the wife for having committed an abomination.
These accusations usually result in violence and spousal abuse. The violence is sometimes transferred to the child with disability; and the documented high incidences of poverty among people with disabilities, and the concomitant social exclusion, manifest themselves commonly in lack of social support systems and poor social and economic conditions.
An anti abandonment law should also be supported by national efforts to ensure children with disabilities get social protection and things that they need in life such as wheel chairs, hearing and walking sticks. This will help reduce stigma among the by communities and acceptability people. Stigmatisation by society and inability by parents who lack money and support services to cope with the child's disabilities puts additional pressure on the parents to dump these children in institutional care.
In most of the institutions the violence sparked off by abandonment, often continues unabated. As a result of lack of resources being invested in these institutions, there are typical overcrowding and squalid conditions in disability care institutions, thus heightening the possibility of ill treatment and outright negligence of the children.
Children with disabilities in care institutions need special treatment, including basic toiletry and living skills, and very often, staff in these institutions have not received special needs training that enable them to adequately understand and care for these children.
*The writer is Information and Communications Officer with the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped an umbrella body of organisations of and for people with disabilities in Zimbabwe.*
Meeting Ghanaians with disabilities; An obroni’s close encounter with the “deaf”
08月25日 Accra Daily Mai
By Anais Keenon
As the rain battered against the windows of the cafe, Lydia’s hands danced through the humid air.
Her hands arched and turned gracefully - pausing just long enough for me to catch up - and then they flowed again.
She used Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL), which shares enough signs with American Sign Language (ASL) for me to keep up with the conversation.
Lydia’s hands managed to say so much without needing a single word.
My name is Anais, though nearly everyone calls me Annie. I am a brown- haired, brown-eyed obruni from the northwest area of the United States.
I recently completed a six-week stay in Ghana, where I spent my time interning at a magazine based in the Osu neighborhood of Accra. I am also deaf.
When I first realized I would be visiting Ghana, I was thrilled. It wasn ’t just a chance for me to visit a country I had never been to before; as a disability rights activist, I felt it would be a valuable opportunity to meet Ghanaians with disabilities and ask what life was like for them here.
What challenges are there for people with disabilities in Ghana? What works in Ghana for people with disabilities, and what doesn’t work?
Which is how I came to spend a Sunday afternoon in a small cafe in East Legon, sitting across from Lydia, a deaf woman I met through some mutual acquaintances, and her husband Samuel.
At the time we met, Lydia was heavily pregnant with the couple’s firstborn, due to be born sometime in September.
I asked Lydia whether she was expecting a son or daughter, and she signed, “The doctor says it’s a boy.”
Jokingly, I signed back that my parents were expecting a boy for their firstborn, and then (surprise!) they had me. She laughed and answered, “Yeah, I know. I’m just happy if I get a baby of my own to hold and love.”
Lydia and Samuel are both educators: Samuel teaches students ages 8 to 14 years old in the mountains, near the Peduase Lodge, whereas Lydia teaches students ages 14 to 21 years old at a deaf secondary school up in the same mountains.
They met while at the University of Ghana, and though Samuel was reluctant to learn sign at first, over time he learned a little bit in order to communicate better with Lydia (in turn, Lydia will “lipread” Samuel - that is, pick up on his mouth movements and facial expressions in order to understand what he’s saying).
Between sign and lipreading, Samuel and Lydia can talk about anything they want.
I inquired, “Lydia, what about interpreters? Or audiologists [ear doctors]? Are they around?”
For interpreters, Lydia shook her head in a firm no. “There are some interpreters, but many are not trained professionally. They need better education.”
She told me that interpreters are not typically provided in hospitals - “Never,” she said - which means that she will rely on Samuel to tell her what’s happening when she gives birth.
Alternatively, she and Samuel attend a church with both deaf and hearing constituents, and an interpreter is provided there.
Audiologists are available in Ghana, but the primary issue is that most people can’t afford their services, especially in the case of hearing aids and cochlear implants.
Lydia herself mentioned that although she has a severe hearing loss (which, despite the audiological term “severe,” actually makes her a possible candidate for hearing aids), she and Samuel can’t afford the high price tag of hearing aids.
With so few interpreters available, getting jobs and education for deaf people hasn’t been an easy struggle.
“There are many closed minds in regards to what deaf people are capable of,” Lydia signs. Deaf people have a hard time finding jobs because the boss believes they aren’t competent enough to work; deaf children struggle to understand classes in mainstream schools.
Schools for the deaf are present in Accra, but some parents don’t know about them. Other parents do know about them, but can’t afford them.
In those cases, deaf children are usually left at home - where it’s undoubtedly likely that they will not learn the skills they need to be self-supporting adults.
It’s not the most optimistic of scenarios, and both Lydia and I sighed quietly in mutual frustration.
Two weeks later, I decided to visit Echoing Hills Village in the Madina neighborhood of Accra. It is an idyllic plot of land that houses a residential area and a school building, as well as a barnyard and crops.
There is an orphanage on the property, but technically speaking it is not part of Echoing Hills. I spent the morning sitting in on a class for people with intellectual disabilities - many of the permanent residents at Echoing Hills have either Down’s syndrome or autism.
Classes reinforce basic teachings such as numbers, days of the week and colors. I was prepared to feel a bit grim about the surroundings, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how happy and content many of the residents were.
The atmosphere was jovial, and it was rewarding to see students grasp the basic concepts.
Not all residents are people with intellectual disabilities. There was a 17-year-old girl who had cerebral palsy and with a fine, strong mind; there was also a 7-year-old amputee who goes to a mainstreamed school in the afternoon.
Additionally, Echoing Hills offers programs for non-residents: For example, deaf children can attend sign language classes in the morning, and deaf young adults can enroll in a program that will teach them manual skills such as broom-making and the running of a farm.
On my way in, I ran into a group of young men who were deaf and started talking with them. At one point in our conversation, I inquired about deaf people in Ghana. “Where are all the deaf people?” I asked.
In Ghanaian Sign Language, there is a sign for “to hide.” Like most signs, it isn’t easy to describe in print, but easy to understand when it’s seen.
The young men signed that deaf children and deaf people are “hidden,” but they changed the “to hide” sign into an abrupt movement, almost like a shove. They didn’t mean merely “to hide.” They meant, “to oppress.”
Nana Yaa Agyeman was my last scheduled interview before I left Ghana. My glimpses of the disability community in Ghana had been mostly from the deaf perspective, with a little bit from the intellectual disabilities and medical conditions such as HIV.
Mrs. Agyeman would, I hoped, be able to tell more about life for people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
For much of her early life, Mrs. Agyeman was the picture of perfect health. It wasn’t until she was 37 years old that she began to show signs of multiple sclerosis - and it wasn’t until seven years after the onset of symptoms that she was finally properly diagnosed.
It was an exhausting and expensive process, and Mrs. Agyeman responded by founding a non-profit called Sharecare4u with the initial goal of educating doctors about multiple sclerosis as a diagnosis possibility.
The NGO has grown beyond its premise, and now works with several people to educate and support others with physical disabilities.
Transportation is the chief issue. For people with physical disabilities needing to get to places to advocate for changes - or even just to enjoy a night out - there are no truly reasonable transportation options.
Trotros are out of the question: “If you have a walker or a wheelchair, and you’re waiting on the street for a trotro, they will not stop for you,” says Mrs. Agyeman, “It is too much trouble to get you in and out.”
Buses are not accessible, and so Mrs. Agyeman says most people opt for a taxi. “But taxis are expensive. If you cannot afford a taxi, you will not be able to get anywhere.”
Bypassing the transportation issues, the architectural challenges alone are staggering. For people who are dependent on wheelchairs, crutches and walkers, Accra is one nightmare after another.
There are rarely sidewalks anywhere in the city where people with physical disabilities can safely navigate.
Gutters are open and deep, a perilous trap for anyone to fall and trip without the means to get out again. Buildings are often built haphazardly and usually not to code; ramps are unheard of in most circumstances.
Even though government buildings and the University of Ghana may have ramps, they are so steep that they’re impossible to use without help.
Access to education - or the lack thereof - is another common problem.
Mainstream schools are very reluctant to take a student with a mobility disability.
"Teachers do not want to give that little bit of extra attention, and schools say that parents and children will not treat the child well,"
says Mrs. Agyeman. So schools simply opt to not register the child.
With disability in general, "there is a lot of superstition" still. Mrs. Agyeman waves her hand, sighing. "Things like witchcraft, a curse on the family..."
The belief that disability is a punishment by the gods or the result of a witch's spell means there are many cases of abandonment or sub-par care.
The most prominent one in my mind is the story of a little girl who could only get around by crawling on her knees and arms, so her family kept her in the backyard and put her food in a box for her to eat.
I've also personally seen many beggars on the streets; some seem miserable, others at least ambivalent of their circumstances.
Ghana isn’t unaware of the situation for Ghanaians with disabilities.
Or at least, the government isn’t completely unaware.
According to the United Nations Enable group, Ghana was one of the first to sign the convention and optional protocol for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in March of 2007.
A year earlier, in fact, the government passed the Persons With Disability Act of Ghana - which is supposed to be a safeguard against every single scenario described in this article.
Legally speaking, all the rights are there for people with disabilities:
the access to public spaces, the free general and specialist medical care, the mandatory education, the right to equal opportunity for employment and transportation.
“The laws are there,” said Mrs. Agyeman, “but there is nobody enforcing them.”
It’s problematic, considering that people with disabilities make up a significant portion of the population in Ghana.
No one is sure of the exact number, but the World Health Organization estimates the rate to be around 7 to 10% (around 1.5 to 2.2 million people in the country).
Translation: The laws should be changing lives for thousands of Ghanaians, and yet it hasn’t. Ghanaians with disabilities want to change things for the better, but how to do so in the face of obstacles that the law is supposed to fix, such as inaccessible transportation or lack of education?
Learning about disabilities in Ghana was always a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it frustrates me to see these issues that, frankly, shouldn’t be issues in the first place.
On the other, I take hope and comfort from the successful people with disabilities I have met: the happily married deaf teacher expecting a beautiful baby son; the young deaf men eager to create better lives for themselves; the woman with multiple sclerosis who is the founder of an NGO and is trying to bring together people with physical disabilities; and all the people along the way who have supported them, from parents to spouses to friends.
No matter where one is in the world, there remains this: The most disabling part of being a person with a disability isn’t always the actual disability. Sometimes, it’s the way that the world sees you, the way your country values you, and the way that your family and friends think about you - that can be the most disabling thing of all.
Alternatively, if the world and your country and your family support you as a person with a disability, it can be the most empowering thing of all.
Do not impose people on us - GSPD warns
Ghana News Agency
25th August 2011
Wa, Aug. 25, GNA - Members of the Upper West Regional branch of the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD), on Wednesday protested against what they described as the imposition of “some selfish people” on them to manage their affairs.
In a protest march to the District offices in Wa, they yelled insults and accused the Municipal Social Welfare Officer for taking sides.
The fracas emerged after the Wa Municipal Assembly urged the GSPD and the Associations of the Blind and Deaf to form a committee to oversee the disbursement of the disability common fund to their members.
Mr Ibrahim Saani, Secretary for the GSPD, told the GNA that each of the three Associations was expected to present three persons including the Chairman, the Secretary and the Women’s Wing Chairperson to join the committee.
He said this was done by the Associations of the Blind and the Deaf but in their case, they found out that their Chairman and the Secretary were conspicuously replaced with individuals who are not executive members of the group.
Mr Beyel, the Municipal Director of the Department when contacted accused Mr Saani of misleading the group because of his own selfish interests.
He said he had earlier met with Mr Saani and asked him to invite his colleague executive members so they could select those to represent them in the common fund committee.
He said Mr Saani then went ahead to brainwash some of his members to come and cause confusion because he wanted to be part of the committee.
Mr Beyel said Mr Sanni had several allegations of financial malfeasance levelled against him which were still been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and therefore could not be part of the committee until he cleared himself of those allegations.
Mr Saani also said those allegations levelled against him were false, saying they were all calculated attempts to get him out of the committee so they could cheat members of his Association in the disbursement of the common fund.
He said he had presented all relevant documents to the SFO and would soon be cleared.
Greans offers Miss Deaf a job
25 August, 2011
Greans restaurant has offered the outgoing Miss Deaf, Simphiwe Magagula a job.
This was revealed by Greans owner, Chris Greans during Magagula’s belated 21st birthday on Tuesday.
Greans said they would start training the lady on how she could cope with the different people she was not used to.
“We felt we should give the lady the opportunity to be amongst people she is not used to. She is deaf but that does not mean she cannot understand. So she needs our support,” he said.
It is up to Simphiwe to accept the job offer or turn it down.
Greans further added that their focus is not only on the Miss Deaf contest but the Swaziland National Deaf Association they have partnered with.
“Our focus is not only on the Miss Deaf contest but we are looking beyond that as we are willing to sponsor the association with anything,” he said.
The launch of the Miss Deaf contest would be held tomorrow at the Greans restaurant
The contest would also be held at the same place on September 24.
Miss Deaf organiser, Nok’thula Mbatha was grateful to the company for their kind gesture and hoped their relationship would be sustained for sometime.
Rwanda: Over 400 Visually Impaired Acquire Life Skills
The New Times, Rwanda
26 August 2011
Rwanda Union for the Blind (RUB) has equipped over 400 visually impairedcitizens with life skills, through its special training program that startedin 2000.
UB operates through its "Masaka Resource Centre for the Blind" where theblind are taught activities like farming, writing and reading and otherbasic skills like health science, according Donatilla Kanimba, the head ofRUB.
"We enrol people aged 15 years of age and above, in a class of 40, andeducate them in our special way.
We also equip them with occupational skillslike farming," she explained.
The training lasts six months and most of the beneficiaries hail theinstitution for its positive impact.
"I could never even buy sandals, because of poverty and isolation; but, nowI plant crops and rear animals.
I also do banking and shopping alone,despite being blind," says Donatille Mukarukundo, a former student.
She also gained basic health skills including HIV/AIDS prevention and properfeeding from the training.
Kamaradi Rukundo, who also attended the program in 2007, was helpedpsychologically.
"We once felt rejected and hopeless.
But we can now, for example, contributeto the general cleaning "Umuganda" and other developmental activities, likeothers.
"The institution, however, lacks funds to increase its capacity for morestudents, according to Kanimba.
"We are sponsored by NGOs, and risk closing down when their operationsexpire.
Over Rwf 600,000 is spent on each beneficiary for the six months of study.
The latest figures show over 67,000 Rwandans are impaired visually.
The NGOs sponsoring the project include the Swedish Federation for theVisually Impaired, and lately, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)and International Danish Association of the Blind.>
Disabled S.African runner just wants to be treated the same
The dong-a ILBO
AUGUST 26, 2011
“Thank you for your great attention and love. But please, from now on, see me as Pistorius, not as a handicapped sprinter.”
So said Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner who seemed to tell a story that he had kept for a long time as was felt in his strong voice. He has always smiled when meeting journalists since his arrival in Korea, so it was all the more impressive.
The sprinter shared his impression of Korea over the past week at a cafe near the athletes’ village of the IAAF World Championships of Athletics Daegu Thursday in his first interview since arriving in Daegu.
Pistorius is the first disabled athlete to pass the “A” standard qualifying time of 45.25 seconds at the IAAF World Championship. Born without a fibula in both legs, he runs with carbon fabric-prosthetic legs.
Since his artificial legs look like blades, his nickname is “blade runner.”
He first thanked Korean fans. He left a message to Dong-A Ilbo readers that he is grateful for all of the support, saying, “It is a privilege for me to join the prestigious IAAF World Championship Daegu, and, in addition, I am happy to be loved a lot by Korean fans.”
His bright smile and friendly demeanor are popular among Korean journalists.
He looked untainted despite his disability.
He agreed to an unscheduled interview Thursday when he practiced on the track for the first time since his arrival. The South African team declined an interview to protect its athletes, but he agreed to talk when he saw many reporters.
In contrast, certain stars declined requests for official interviews at the airport and hurriedly headed for the athletes village.
Pistorius looked comfortable as he ordered a cafe latte at a cafe near the athletes village. He looked naive as a young man in his 20s when he whispered to his team manager.
When the South African started talking, however, he said, “I`m a little uncomfortable with too much attention. If that attention is on my disability, then I`d rather not accept it. I`m human just like other athletes.”
He probably felt uncomfortable because of his prosthetic legs, which have drawn controversy even after he came to Korea. He said, “I read a posting that my record got better this season because I changed my prosthetic legs.
I was very upset about hearing this. I haven`t changed my artificial legs for seven years.”
The runner will compete in the 1,600-meter relay as well as the 400 meters.
He said on a positive note, “I don’t care about the order. It`ll be an honorable memory for me.”
Pistorius will show his bright smile on the pre-qualifying round of the men’s 400 meters at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.
Lamido deserves praise for his unusual concern for the physically challenged IN a rare show of compassion, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has assured the physically challenged persons in the state of a monthly security allowance of N7,500 each per month. This must be good news for this category of people who are often neglected in this part of the world, or at best remembered by those in positions of authority only at festive seasons. It is particularly significant in this season of Ramadan, when Muslims worldwide have just observed a 30-day fasting. It is in the spirit of the season.
But the governor has not just started to take care of the physically challenged. He has always been supportive of them and some of them had so testified. One of the physically challenged who spoke of lamido’s compassion, Alhaji Adamu Jigawartsada, a member of the state house of assembly, said he was a beggar between Lagos and Ibadan until the governor took him off the streets, and off begging, and made him to be sitting among people that matter in the state.
According to him, it was Governor Lamido who bought a nomination form for him to enable him contest in the state house of assembly election, as well as gave him the needed support that saw him through. “He told me categorically that he wanted me to represent the physically challenged in the assembly. That is why he bought the form for me, and that’s how I contested and won,” Alhaji Jigawartsada said.
Another person the governor removed from the streets is Alhaji Garba Nakore, chairman of the deaf in the state, who said he was sleeping under the bridges also between Lagos and Ibadan, but had to return home when he realised that they now have a governor who cares for the physically challenged. “I have only one wife. But since I came back home, I have added another, making them two because my living condition has improved. So, anybody who said he is opposing Lamido, we are also going to oppose that person or group,” he said.
We may disapprove of what Alhaji Nakore has done with his improved status, for example his decision to take another wife, instead of doing something better with the allowance, but the operational words here are that he took that decision “because my living condition has improved”.
This is part of the essence of life; it is no use to just be existing.
Begging dehumanises; it makes the beggar an inferior citizen and leaves him or her at the mercy of the kind-hearted in the society,even as it kills the potential in the physically challenged. The truth of the matter is that there is hardly any physically challenged person that cannot find something worthwhile to do.
As a matter of fact, some of the organisations under which they operate have as their motto, ‘there is ability in disability’. This should be the spirit behind whatever help or compassion we show to them. It is better to teach people how to fish than continue to give them fish.
Nonetheless, we commend Governor Lamido for this exemplary show of love and affection towards people that many of us hardly remember, and in fact urge other state governments to emulate him. The physically challenged should be cared for even much more than we do for the others.
When we construct roads or high rise buildings, we should have them in mind; when we establish schools, we should remember them. Whatever we do to make life comfortable for the rest of the society, they should be carried along. After all, they are stakeholders like other members of the society.
Kounsoa Kambire, l'aveugle aux 1 000 metiersKounsoa Kambire, l'aveugle aux 1 000 metiers Kounsoa Kambire, aveugle
MMDAs urged to support people with disability
Ghana News Agency
3rd September 2011
Bekwai (Ash), Sept. 3, GNA - Mr Alfred Tabi Amponsah, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), has appealed to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to comply with the government directive to support the disabled with two to five percent of their Common Fund.
This, he said, would help them to initiate development progammes to enhance their livelihood.
Mr Amponsah made the appeal at the Annual Convention of the GBU at Bekwai in the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti Region on Thursday.
The three-day event being attended by 100 delegates selected from the region was under the theme: “Having Access to Greater Opportunities through Computer Training”.
He said with globalization, it was important for the visually impaired persons to have access and knowledge in computer training and called on individuals and corporate bodies to assist to acquire such knowledge and skills.
The Chairman said disability was not inability therefore stressed on the need for philanthropists, churches and organizations to support disabled with scholarships towards the acquisition of formal education to enable them to make positive contributions to development.
Mr Noah Asante Manuh, Bekwai Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), in a speech read for him, urged the physically challenged to make use of their skills in seeking employment rather than begging for alms.
He said the Assembly was ready to support blind people financially to enable them to execute their development activities to enhance their living conditions.
Mr George S. Kyeremanteng, Secretary of the Ashanti Regional branch of the Union also expressed concern about the delay in the payment of disability allowances to blind teachers and called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to expedite action to ensure prompt payment of the allowances.
Mr J. K. Andoh, a retired educationist, who chaired the function, said disabled could prove their capabilities of working harder and called on the public not to discriminate against them in employment opportunities.
Experts mull violence prevention measures
Interactive web, 05 Sep 2011
Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Pretoria - Leading public health experts will converge in Cape Town on Tuesday for the 5th Milestones meeting, where they will share the latest scientific knowledge on preventing violence-related death and disability.
According to the report, Violence and Health in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, released earlier this year, the rates of violence in Africa are among the world's highest.
Globally, more than 1.5 million people are violently killed each year, which puts a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions in health care.
This will be the first time a 'Milestones in a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention' meeting will be held in SA.
The latest research on the extent of violence in specific countries will be released. Experts will highlight violence prevention programmes in countries such as Brazil, Canada, Colombia, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.
A wide variety of organisations and several United Nations agencies will give an update on their efforts to support national violence prevention initiatives.
Several presenters will draw attention to the increasing links between violence in childhood and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and mental health disorders later in life.
WHO representative for South Africa, Dr Stella Anyang, said across the world, poverty, income and gender inequality, alcohol abuse and a lack of violence prevention initiatives are among the key factors that contribute to high rates of violence.
"Violence pervades much of the world today and the impact on societies in Africa is profound. We need a fundamental change in perception about the preventable nature of violence and increased investment in those violence prevention programmes, which have proven successful around the world,"
Anyang said ahead of the meeting.
She noted that some of the strategies to prevent violence include pre-school enrichment programmes for children aged between three and five years; life skills training for children aged 6-18 years and school-based programmes to address gender norms and attitudes.
Director of the WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, Dr Etienne Krug, stated that recent events around the world have confirmed the need to scale up violence prevention efforts.
"We must apply the knowledge and experience of the experts gathered here into action to save lives," said Krug.
UNICEF and partners support disability rights for children and families in Burkina Faso
Asseta Djatin, seated on a hand-pedalled tricycle, prepares to try out a new motorbike donated by UNICEF through its partner, FEBAH, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 6 September 2011 - Asseta Djatin, now 32, was born here in Burkina Faso’s capital. She was a happy and healthy child until she fell ill at the age of six.
“I can remember one day lying on my back and not being able to get up in the morning,” she recalls. “I called out to my mother, who came to help me.”
Ms. Djatin’s parents did not understand the cause of her illness. They began to give their daughter traditional medicine in an attempt to cure her affliction. When there was no improvement, they took her to a clinic, where she was diagnosed with polio. The disease had led to irreparable paralysis in both of her legs.
“When I was younger, I used to see my older brothers and sisters leave the house to play,” says Ms. Djatin. “I used to pray to God to give me new legs so I could run and play with children of my neighbourhood, and attend school like them. It made me feel sad and frustrated.”
‘It makes us proud’
When Ms. Djatin was 12, a family friend informed her mother about the Wempanga vocational training centre for people with disabilities, and suggested that the girl be enrolled. With the help of a neighbour who also had a serious disability, she was taken to the centre every day on the back of his hand-pedalled tricycle.
“The training centre was the first time I was able to leave my house for learning,” says Ms. Djatin. One of the first things she learned at the centre was how to weave traditional Burkina Faso cloth.
The Wempanga centre was established for people of all ages and both sexes who live with a disability. Staff at the centre help clients learn life skills and trades that can allow them to become more autonomous.
“People look at us like a burden or annoying, since there are a lot of things we cannot do by ourselves,” says Ms. Djatin. “But when we can put some money together … it makes us proud.”
UNICEF Burkina Faso/2011/Tarpilga
Motorbikes donated by UNICEF to help people living with disabilities in Burkina Faso become more autonomous.
With what she learned at the Wempanga centre, Ms. Djatin decided to begin taking orders of clothing from people in her community. In time she made a profit, enabling her to contribute to her parents’ income and to cover her own needs.
“With the money I saved, I was able to buy my own hand-pedalled tricycle,” she says proudly.
Today, Ms. Djatin is one of the beneficiaries of a UNICEF donation of equipment for people living with disabilities. The donation was made through FEBAH, a national disability-rights federation that has been a UNICEF partner since 2008. FEBAH comprises a number of associations of adults living with disabilities, and parents caring for disabled children.
“In line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states in its principles that every child should be given the chance to live and grow in dignity, this donation is intended to help families with a child or a parent with disability,” says UNICEF Deputy Representative in Burkina Faso Sylvana Nzirorera.
Support for the most vulnerable
The donated equipment includes two buses, a 4x4 vehicle, 20 motorbikes,
125 tricycles and some 550 kitchen utensil kits. The buses will assist families with daily transportation of more than 2,300 children with disabilities to their day care centres.
As part of UNICEF’s goal of reaching and supporting the most vulnerable women and children, Ms. Djatin has received a specially adapted motorbike, cooking gas, cooking pots and kitchen utensils. The motorbike will enable her to continue her education at evening classes that make up for her missing out on school as a child.
“I am pleased to see the brightness of the faces of those people who have received the equipment,” says Ms. Nzirorera. “This donation will make a difference in the lives of many vulnerable families.”
Sylvana Nzirorera and Priscilla Ofori-Amanfo contributed to this story.
Zimbabwe: Pageant Preps at an Advanced Stage
All Africa, 7 September 2011
PREPARATIONS for the Miss Harare Disabled are now at an advanced stage with models now rehearsing for the pageant to be held on September 16.
The competition will see 19 beauties vying for the coveted title.
The pageant, which is in its first year, is set to become an annual feature on Zimbabwe entertainment calendar.
Pageant co-ordinator Juliet Muzondo said the aim of the show was to provide a platform where women with various disabilities showcase their talent.
"Our aim is to make sure that the world can embrace people with disabilities so that they can build their confidence," she said.
She added that the goal of the show was to make sure that disabled women's concerns could be heard. Ladies who are going to participate in the pageant include those in wheelchairs and mentally challenged women among others.
The Sounds of the Muddy Face, a band which was led by the late Cephas Mashakada, is expected to spice up the event.
Muzondo urged fans to come in their numbers and witness a different kind of modelling.
"Fans should come in their numbers and support the disabled ladies as they show other ladies that they can also strut on the ramp," Muzondo said.
Companies that are sponsoring the pageant include Zimgossip, Meikles and Red Rose among others.
The winner of the pageant is set to become an ambassador of the disabled people and will ensure that the disabled people are integrated in national programmes.
Liberia: Deaf and Dumb Children Get Relief Supplies
Edwin G. Genoway, Jr
8 September 2011
Several kids at the Home of the Abandoned Deaf and Dumb school in Chocolate City, Gardnersville have benefited from assorted relief items, including clothes, stationery and other school materials donated by the NGO, Butterfly.
Butterfly's initial donation of school materials and toys, amongst others followed complaint by authorities of the Home of the lack of support. Over 150 abandoned kids are said to be undergoing difficulties, including the lack of mattresses and food. Butterfly, however, donated copy books, pencils, pens and books in sign languages.
The recent donation was made following armed robbers attack on the Home, making away with over US$4,000 intended for teacher's salary, including one motor bike and items earlier donated by the NGO as well as thousands of Liberian dollars.
The Director and Founder of the Home, Terrence Doe, has praised Butterfly for its humanitarian gesture. He emphasized the need for government to emulate the good example of Butterfly by coming to the aid of the abandoned kids, especially the deaf and dumb.
Mr. Doe said the support received from the government is limited to sustain the kids on the campus. He noted that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare continues to send deaf and dumb kids to the school for admission.
He also spoke of the lack of funds to pay salaries to teachers, adding that the government, through the Health Ministry gives an annual amount of US$ 150.00 for feeding and other purposes.
Mr. Doe however, called on well meaning Liberians and humanitarians to assist the school, stressing that most of the kids are orphan, while others were abandoned by the communities in which they lived. Receiving the donation, Mr. Doe thanked the organization for the gesture, promising to use them the intended purposes.
Meanwhile, the head of Butterfly, Lisa Viau,has expressed pleasure in helping under-privileged people around the world.
She noted that her group will continue to support the work of others, who are in the business of helping the needy and under-privileged. She urged that if other humanitarians, individuals or NGOs want to help the kids - htt://liberbutterfly.blogspot.com /
The head of Butterfly in Monrovia noted that the donation was part of her vision to undertake the construction of a permanent school for mostly under-privileged inhabitants around the world.
Namibia: Kamwi 'Paralysing' Disability Council
allAfrica, 9 September 2011
MINISTER of Health Richard Kamwi has been blamed for the paralysis at the National Disability Council (NDC).
National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) secretary general Gerson Mutendere said at a media briefing in Windhoek on Tuesday that Kamwi has failed to fulfil his legal responsibility by ignoring a request to nominate new councillors for the NDC after the term of office of the old councillors expired.
Mutendere said that, in terms of the National Disability Council Act, the Health Minister is required to nominate councillors for the NDC, and that he was informed in writing in June this year that the term of office of the current councillors was due to end at the end of August.
"We requested the Minister to call for the nominations as provided by the Act, however the Minister ignored our call, and as a result the Council is now defunct," Mutendere said.
The absence of leadership at the council means that payment of creditors, salaries to staff, and rental of office space cannot be done. Furthermore, Mutendere said that strategic decisions and council resolutions cannot be implemented and as such the interests of people with disabilities are compromised.
The NFPDN secretary general has laid the blame for all this, including the fact that the council risks not having an appropriate budget based on its strategic plan for the 2012/2013 financial year, squarely at Kamwi's door.
"This clearly indicates the ignorance and lack of interest of the Minister in the issues of the disabled," Mutendere said, adding that Kamwi is constantly being ill-informed by staff who lack both the skills and knowledge to deal with people with disabilities.
Member of Parliament (MP) Alexia Ncube was also present at the media briefing and said that she had tried to advise Kamwi on disability issues, but questioned whether her advice had been disregarded because "it came from an MP with a disability."
She said that the NDC had repeatedly attempted to engage the Health Minister to discuss these issues, but stated that he had been unwilling to meet with them.
Mutendere charged that Kamwi and his staff had displayed a lack of respect for and an inability to listen to people with disabilities and "that is why we said that the disability issue is misplaced and need urgent relocation to the Office of the Prime Minister".
Turning his attention to the NDC's director, Martin Limbo, Mutendere said that the NFPDN "acknowledges the mistake made by the council in appointing a director without a disability".
Mutendere further said Limbo is in league with bureaucrats in the Ministry of Health who have shown a lack of interest in disability issues.
Mutendere called on the NDC to ensure that a person with a disability as well as the necessary expertise, skills and knowledge is appointed to head the council.
Despite his damning indictment, Mutendere said that it had not been the wish of the NDC to address the matter through the media, and stated that the council remains open for consultation with the Health Minister on these issues.
Egyptian people with disabilities must not be forgotten
By Ahmed Abdel Aziz - The Egyptian Gazette Monday, September 12, 2011 12:33:51 PM
CAIRO - In Egypt, people with disabilities face many challenges, humiliation and marginalisation.
Although people with disabilities face many challenges, they are still hoping for a positive governmental response.
They persistently seek the Government's positive response to their demands, according to activists.
People with disabilities lack equality and justice. “We don't have any civil rights, although there are seven million of us,” stated Riham el-Masry, the chairman of the Seven Million Disabled People Association, which fights for their rights. They hoped the January 25 revolution would change their lives.
The previous governments under Mubarak neglected people with disabilities and ignored existing laws.
For instance, companies are required by law to provide employment for people with disabilities; they should constitute five per cent of the overall staff. “This law has never been implemented.
We should also have access to five per cent of State-owned residential buildings,” said Mohamed Abou Zekri, a human rights activist, who fights for the rights of people with disabilities and introduce facilities and infrastructures that would add dignity to their lives.
In 2006, the United Nations (UN) adopted the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
“Modern advanced states care for people with disabilities. We aim at implementing the UN convention,” el-Masry said.
The Seven Million Disabled Association's activists also call for a comprehensive educational system that caters for the disabled. They want well-prepared electoral ballots to participate in Egypt's political life.
In a bid to gain their voting support, presidential hopefuls have recently met people with disabilities.
Mohamed ElBaradei, a potential candidate for Egypt's presidency, has promised the nation's disabled that post-revolution Egypt would implement equality and solidarity.
"I have met representatives of Egypt's seven million people with disabilities. I understand and support their rights," ElBaradei wrote on Twitter, promising them a better life.
Amr Moussa, former Arab League Secretary General and also a presidential hopeful, focused his efforts on the same demographic group.
“I support your demands. Egyptians need development and advancement in many areas, including the care for people with disabilities,” Moussa said at an iftar, a fast-breaking meal in the holy month of Ramadan, organised by the National Front of Disabled and Injured Revolutionaries.
Hamdeen Sabahi, another presidential hopeful, suggested the creation of a new ministry, the Ministry of People with Disabilities.
The people in question suggest various options. “We would like to create a 'national council' with an independent budget. The council would have branches in all governorates,” said Mohamed el-Husseini, a representative of the National Front.
People with disabilities hope to bring more than 13 organisations together into one powerful union. “This union will raise awareness for the disabled people's plight in society and promote improvements.”
The Minister of Social Solidarity and Justice, Gouda Abdel-Khaleq, also promised to support them and endorse a new constitution that would preserve their rights.
Duty bearers and Rights holders dialogue on Sexual Offences Bill
A one-day dialogue session between Duty bearers and Right bearers to facilitate and fast track the enactment of the Sexual Offences Bill and the monitoring of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Act 2011, has been held at Santanno House in Freetown.
The dialogue which was organized by the One Family People (OFP) and the International Child Development Initiative (ICDI) past Friday attracted the Inspector General of Police and other stakeholders from the Ministry of Social Welfare, and Human Rights Commission among others.
In his statement on the role of the law enforcement agencies in combating Sexual Based Violence, Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu said that the Police is the most important institution of State, because they have the responsibility to make sure that people go about their daily lives undisturbed. He added that it is the right of the Police to protect the lives of citizens; it is also the duty of the Police that when violations are reported they are investigated and the offenders are arrested and prosecuted. “We carry out investigation, seek report and charge to court and eventually provide the evidence in court as a way of prosecution”, he said.
The Inspector General of Police stated that they have established the Family Support Unit (FSU) that deals with the protection of women and children and other affected members of the society and are established in all divisions.
Francis Munu further stated that people with disability are part of the society and they should not be left uncared for.
The Inspector General reiterated that disability does not necessary mean inability, they can also contribute to national development, noting that discriminating against them is unlawful.
Human Right Commission’s Women and Children’s Rights Officer, Gloria Bayoh in her statement on redress mechanisms for SGBV, said that sometimes Police don’t properly investigate issues well and face difficulties in court in terms of prosecution.
The Rights Officer recommended that legal training be conducted for Police prosecutors so that they will be able to prosecute cases in court.
She said that the other problem that victims face is the medical report.
Mrs. Bayoh reiterated that some medical people demand money from victims who are mostly poor people. In her presentation on exploring the relationship between the Sexual Offences Bill and disabled women as victims of sexual offence and the need for protection, OFP Program Manager, Hadiatou Diallo, said that OFP is among key organizations working for the protection and promotion of the rights of all persons with disability in Sierra Leone. She added that early last year, Parliament passed a law titled: “The Persons with Disability Act”, adding that it is important that provisions of this Act be applied to all subsequent laws promulgated by the legislative arms of government to ensure that such laws are consistent with this Act.
The Programme Manager reiterated that “the first challenge we now have is how to ensure that the present Bill entitled: The Sexual Offences Bill 2010 includes the relevant provisions in the Persons with Disability Act 2011.
She stated that the non-inclusion of definition of persons with disability and discrimination in the Sexual Offences Bill (SOB) 2010 has some implications.
Ms Diallo revealed that part two of the SOB exclusively deals with offences involving mental defectiveness and children. This section, she said, will discriminate against other categories of persons with disability such as those with visual impairment and hearing impairment.
A representative from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mohamed Kabia, spoke on how the enactment of the SOB will enhance the elimination of GBV/SGBV. Recommendations made at the end of the dialogue that should be included in the SOB are:
inclusion of persons with disability in the Bill; special measures given to people with disability like sign language, Braille for the blind; financial assistance for victims and that FSU put more emphasis on investigation By Abibatu Kamara
Uganda: Youth MPs Snub Disabled's Meeting
12 September 2011
Legislators representing youth in Parliament last week demonstrated unawareness of the scope of their constituency, after failing to attend a national disabled youth conference in Kampala.
The organisers of an empowerment seminar for youth with disabilities in Kansanga, a Kampala suburb, were stunned that by the close of the seminar on Saturday evening, none of the legislators had joined them in their three-day deliberations or sent an apology.
"We sent out invitations two weeks ago but none of them has responded and we are going to follow it up because recently Parliament passed a Shs48 billion budget for youth activities. We want to know how they are going to apportion that money without consulting us," said Mr Henry Nyombi, the youth representative at the National Union of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda NUDIPU- an advocacy and lobby umbrella organisation for PWDs.
However, when contacted for a comment, the Western Uganda youth representative, Mr Gerald Karuhanga, denied receipt of the invitation. The National Youth MP, Ms Monica Amoding, equally denied receiving such invitation, promising to check her pigeon hall on Monday. Efforts to get in touch with the other youth MPs were futile as their known telephone numbers were switched off.
Zimbabwe: Give Priority to Issues On Disability, Says Prime Minister
allAfrica, 12 September 2011
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for issues pertaining to people with disabilities to be given priority through concerted efforts by different sectors.
He was addressing delegates to the 21st session of the African Rehabilitation Institute governing body meeting in Harare yesterday.
The session was held under the theme: "Restructuring the African Rehabilitation Institute towards responding to modern trends in disability" and was attended by delegates from 26 countries.
"The theme of this session challenges all of us to address structural issues in the institute, that it champions the affairs of disabled people and respond to modern trends," said Mr Tsvangirai.
"We should develop the concept of African self-reliance in various fields of medical rehabilitation, special education and equal employment opportunities for the disabled."
Mr Tsvangirai commended ARI for recording great results in manpower development and research in the field of disability prevention. He said the organisation played a leading role in implementing the Extended Africa Decade for Persons with Disabilities.
The African Union commissioner for social affairs, Advocate Bience Gawans, said the organisation had advanced the lives of disabled people.
"At the last session held in Windhoek last year, there were a number of significant outputs facilitated by the AU Commission that will translate into visible outcomes, which we are bound to be proud of," said Adv Gawans.
The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Paurina Mupariwa said ARI was of great value and Zimbabwe was honoured to host its session.
The outgoing chairperson of the Ministerial Bureau of the 20th session, Ms Petrina Haingura said the meeting was important for mapping the way forward for the co-ordination of services for the disabled.
Ms Haingura, who is also the Namibian Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, said the meeting would decide on structures with specific mandates.
"We realise that the ARI is a unique and promising opportunity to prove Africa's commitment to disability in social development and to provide due recognition to the central role played by the disabled," she said.
ARI was established in 1988 with the objective of developing a unified approach for promoting the development of prevention and rehabilitation services.
It was also mandated to create facilities to satisfy the needs of handicapped Africans who, because of their disability, found it difficult to adapt themselves to the rapidly changing world.
Kenya kidnapping: fears grow for deaf wife
By Mike Pflanz, in Kiwayu
10:00PM BST 12 Sep 2011
Kenya kidnapping: fears grow for deaf wife The British woman abducted by an armed gang who murdered her husband in a remote Kenyan resort is deaf and will have difficulty communicating with her kidnappers, friends have revealed.
David Tebbutt and his wife Judy were staying at the Kiwayu Safari Village near the Kenya Somali border There are growing fears that Judith Tebbutt, 56, has been taken across the nearby border into lawless Somalia after she was seized by six gunmen who broke into the couple’s ?560-a-night beach hut at Kiwayu Safari Village in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Her husband, David, 58, died from a single gunshot to the head as he tried to protect his wife from the kidnappers.
Friends of the couple, who are from Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, paid tribute to Mr Tebbutt but said they feared his wife would struggle to cope with the devastating ordeal.
A close friend of the couple - who have a 25-year-old son, Oliver - said Mrs Tebbutt, who is a social worker helping people with drug and alcohol problems, relied on a hearing aid.
The friend, who asked not to be named said: “Judy only has around 30 or 40 per cent hearing and wears a double hearing aid.
“If she has them in and they are working then she is fine, but if she does not have them or once the batteries run out then she will have great difficulty hearing what people are saying to her.
“It is heartbreaking to think of her in this awful situation. Helpless and having seen her husband murdered.”
Mr Tebbutt, who worked as a finance director for publisher Faber & Faber and was a member of the Book Trade Charity, was described by friends and colleagues as “caring and dedicated” professional.
Ian Stevenson, professor of publishing at University College London,said: “He was one of the nicest people in publishing. I've known him for 15 years and he has had a very distinguished career.”
The couple, who were keen travellers and had visited Kenya before, had spent a week on safari in the Masai Mara before flying to Kiwayu on Saturday to relax by the beach for the last days of their trip.
The Kenyan authorities are trying to establish who had carried out the attack on the resort, which is popular with celebrities including artist Tracey Emin and singer Mick Jagger.
A massive sea, land and air search failed to find any sign of the kidnappers who are believed to have escaped from the resort in a speed boat.
A Kenyan security source, familiar with kidnap situations in the region said: “It’s going to be difficult to admit that once she’s in Somalia, the whole thing becomes a very different ball game.”
It is feared she may have been snatched by an opportunistic Somali gang who may try to sell her to al-Shabaab, Islamists who control large parts of the territory near the Kenyan border.
It has emerged that the British Government considered using forces training on the other side of Kenya for a possible release assault, but those plans will not be implemented if it is confirmed Mrs Tebbutt is being held in Somalia.
British forces are also available in Uganda and the Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset is currently on counter-piracy patrol in the Arabian Sea.
Kiwayu Safari Village, a two-hour speedboat ride through a mangrove delta north of the popular tourist destination of Lamu island, was closed today.
Its managers had flown to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, with Mr Tebbutt’s body, which is now in the care of the authorities who are liaising with the British High Commission.
THE Government has been asked to review the Special Needs Curriculum to suit the needs of learners with disabilities.
Tuesday, 13th September, 2011
By Petride Mudoola
THE Government has been asked to review the Special Needs Curriculum to suit the needs of learners with disabilities.
The appeal was made by Juliet Kansime, the headmistress of Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped.
Kansime told New Vision that deaf students perform poorly in science subjects because sign language is limited yet it is difficult to teach such learners without illustrations.
She identified scientific objects like atoms, molecules and geographical terms such as the eclipse, longitude and latitude as some of the phenomenon missing in the Special Needs Curriculum.
During examinations, deaf students find problems in answering section A, sub-section 2 of the English paper, which requires them to answer questions without changing the meaning.
In 1999, the education ministry established a special needs department to coordinate the teaching of children with physical impairments.
Despite this, the education of children who are born deaf and blind is still a challenge.
Kenya: Hello, Hello, I Can't Hear You, I Used to Love Music
Daily Nation on the web
13 September 2011
Before you insert those earphones in your ears and turn up the music, give it a second thought. Scientists are warning that you could be cranking up into stone deafness.
Yes; your iPod, walkman or the MP3/MP4 player on your mobile phone, and their accompanying earphones, ear plugs or headphones could be slowly taking their toll on your hearing without your knowledge and in the next five to 10 years, you could be as deaf as a post.
Some of the Portable Music Players (PMPs), including mobile phones, being sold in the developing countries have volume settings above the World Health Organisation (WHO-recommended maximum of 85 decibels, Dr Kapil Khatter, a family physician in Ottawa and president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has warned.
"Some personal players have been found to reach 120 decibels -- the equivalent of a thunderclap, jackhammer or a jet taking off 30 metres away.
"Research suggests that the ear-bud generation may one day become the hearing-loss generation," Dr Khatter writes in the August issue of Open Medicine, an independent, international general medical journal.
Audiologists in the US and UK have established that volume settings above these limits damage the inner ear, leading to hearing defects and eventual deafness.
Although manufacturers are obliged to print information about these risks in the instruction manuals, the doctor says no safety standards currently apply in most developing nations.
Unlike most developed nations that have come up with strict regulations on PMP volume settings, Kenya does not have a specific policy on the same.
Instead, it subscribes to the WHO's recommendations that aim at reducing noise induced hearing loss -- with a bias to industrial noise.
In 2002, WHO recommended 85 decibels as the maximum safe volume that the human ear can withstand for five minutes a day.
Listening to music at this volume for hours every day, ear experts warn, spells doom. In Kenya, the implementation of the WHO directive is the duty of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
However, the standards body says it has delegated that role to the standards bodies in the countries exporting PMPs and mobile phones to Kenya.
"Kenya does not have its own volume settings (on PMPs) and WHO standards are recommended for cases where we do not have our own.
"We have partnered with other standards bodies in different countries to inspect them on our behalf," Kebs acting managing director Eve Oduor says.
According to the Kebs website, some of these foreign standards bodies are the China Certification and Inspection Group Company Limited (CCIC), Soci？t？ G？n？rale De Surveillance S A (SGS) of Switzerland and UK-based Intertek International Ltd. These companies, Ms Oduor says, use Kebs specifications.
However, the delegation of the duty raises credibility concerns, according to the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek).
"While delegating its authority to foreign standardisation bodies is well intended, it is as good as mortgaging Kenya's sovereignty as well as putting the interest of Kenya's consumers at global mercy.
"It is one of the reasons why so many electronic gadgets are dumped here," says Cofek secretary general Stephen Mutoro.
Kebs does not have the capacity, financial resources, skills and technology required to undertake inspections at points of entry, he adds.
Cofek's and Dr Khatter's arguments are based on a 2008 European Union research and last year's research by the American Medical Association (AMA) that established that five to 10 per cent of those who listen to music devices at high volumes for more than an hour a day are in danger of permanent hearing loss.
Published data, according to the report, indicates that excessive acute exposure to PMP music at maximal or near maximal output volume can produce temporary and reversible hearing impairment (tinnitus and slight deafness).
The EU research by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) established that excessive noise can damage several cell types in the ear.
The result is tinnitus -- a phantom perception of sound which a person perceives as spontaneous auditory sensations such as ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the absence of an external signal -- temporary or permanent hearing loss (deafness).
The source of the tinnitus sound following ear damage lies within, rather than outside, the auditory system.
These defects accrue progressively and often remain unnoticed until they reach a certain degree at which they may be irreversible.
"In addition to auditory effects, harmful, lasting and irreversible non-auditory effects of excessive listening to PMP can be expected.
They include cardiovascular effects (defects relating to the heart and blood vessels), sound recognition as well as distraction and masking effects," the report titled Health risks from exposure to noise from personal music players states.
The European committee led by Prof Konrad Rydzynski from Poland concluded that excessive noise can damage several cell types in the inner ear, but the most affected are the outer hair cells of the cochlea, whose damage is irreversible.
Cochlear sensory cells help transmit sound impulses to the brain. These hair cells often recover from temporary damage.
However, permanent damage can occur with prolonged exposure to extremely loud or moderately loud noise.
When these nerve hair cells are destroyed, audiologists have established that irreversible hearing loss results.
This means that listening to music at the maximum volume every day on your way to (or from) work, school or wherever might render you deaf in your middle age.
According to Prof Rydzynski and his team, children (six to 12 year-olds) and young adults (13 to 25 year-olds) are the most vulnerable because, according to the report, "they are the biggest users of PMPs, especially MP3/MP4 players and iPods".
The researchers established that ear-bud-insert ear phones, which are the most popular with youths in Kenya, are the most dangerous because they increase the impact and consequently damage the inner ear.
"Ear-bud-insert ear phones produce a range of maximum levels of around 80-115 decibels across different devices.
"The difference in ear-phone type may increase the level by seven to nine decibels, with the ear-bud type producing the highest levels in the ear canal," the report says.
"The actual sound level at the eardrum is then influenced by the insertion depth of the ear-bud in the ear canal. It is possible to obtain a sound level of about 120 decibels in the worst case scenario."
In addition to the intensity level, another factor involved in the potential risk assessment is the time or duration of exposure at a particular level.
Exposure to sound at a level exceeding 80 decibels is considered a potential risk if the exposure at that level continues for eight hours a day, five days a week for tens of years.
"However, listening to music at 80 decibels or less is safe, no matter how long or how often it occurs," the report says.
The American Medical Association's research conducted in 2010 corroborates these findings. In the US, it is official that the number of youths with hearing problems due to PMPs use is increasing exponentially.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that one in every five American teenagers now suffers from some type of hearing loss, a 31 per cent increase since the mid 1990s.
"In most cases, the hearing loss is minor. Often, neither the teen nor his or her parents even notice it, but, it's very concerning," says the report authored by Dr Josef Shargorodsky, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.
The survey, which involved 4,700 young Americans aged 12 to 19, established that young children are at a greater risk of ear damage than adults.
"The hearing loss can also harm a child's school performance, language development and social interactions. It can also set the stage for hearing aids in later life," Dr Shargorodsky says.
Since hearing loss is cumulative, then one in five teenagers is at a high risk of significant hearing problems as an adult, says Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at the Children's Hospital, Boston.
Instead of developing noticeable hearing problems at the age of 50 or 60 the director says, these teenagers may have trouble hearing beginning at 40 years.
In 2009, the EU estimated that more than 10 million people had been affected by noise from personal players before imposing volume limits of 80 and 85 decibels for children and adults, respectively, for PMPs manufactured by EU member-states and those imported into the region.
Ear, nose and throat (ENT) experts in Kenya estimate that the number could be higher in East Africa, considering that no single country has imposed volume controls on personal music players -- mostly mobile phones and iPods -- imported into the region.
"The situation could be worse even in the developed world because most of the research that has been done so far has been sponsored by PMP manufacturers who may influence the outcome.
"They have vested interest and there is need for independent research," says Dr Gashane Mberia, an ENT expert at the Karen Hospital, Nairobi.
The situation is made worse by the fact that most users are oblivious of the fact that their cherished ear-phones can harm their ears.
"My iPod has kept me company for more than four years now. I listen to music at full volume any time I'm free or alone, and I have never had any problem with my ears.
"I only feel some pain when I listen for too long but it stops the moment I unplug them," says John Muricho, a journalism student at the University of Nairobi.
In his view, "those with weak ears are the ones who should worry". But according to Dr Mberia, PMP users can only ascertain that they are losing their hearing if they go for tests after using the devices for some time, a practice, he says "is very rare."
This is despite the fact that the number of mobile phone and other PMP owners in Kenya and other East Africa Community member states has been increasing exponentially over the years.
Kenya, for instance, has more than 20 million mobile phone subscribers, according to the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK).
So do you still want to trade your hearing for a thrilling but harmful musical sensation? The choice is yours.
The Namibian, 13.09.2011
Namibia marks Deaf Awareness Week during the second week of September.
This year organisations involved with the deaf, such as the Namibia National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), CLaSH and the Ministry of Education are participating to teach Namibians about the types, degrees and causes of hearing loss and the educational and support services available to deaf people. Deaf children attending the CLaSh kindergarten are staging the story ‘Handa’s Surprise’ with masks and puppets for hearing children in three other kindergarten classes. Kapenaai Jaepa is a giraffe in the story and with the help of a puppet he brings his character to life.
Ghana: Disability Law in Limbo - Beggars On the Streets
14 September 2011
When walking through the city of Accra and some parts of its suburbs, one is sure of coming across a beggar almost every 300 metres. Begging for alms on the street is a worldwide phenomenon, however, it becomes questionable, when the number of people involved increase everyday at an alarming rate. In Ghana, begging is very common in almost all of the ten regions, especially, in the greater Accra Region, where people migrate to, looking for greener pastures. It is common among people who are physically challenged and do not have the financial support either from relatives or friends.
Each passing day, these people are found either in wheelchairs or being aided by someone in the middle of the streets. Who is to be blamed, is it the people with disability (PWD), or the government which has refused to make sure the disability law is implemented, or the citizens who are refusing to accept people with disability the way they are? The economic hardship, coupled with the level of superstitious belief of the citizens, leave people with disabilities no choice than to depend on alms begging on the streets.
PWDs in Ghana
For many people with disabilities, begging on the streets has been their source of livelihood for most part of their lives. The vicious cycle of poverty has becomes part and parcel of their generation, since they always have to beg to take care of their families. For those who have children, what they earn from begging, has never been enough to take their wards through the education they wish them to achieve.
In Ghana, begging of alms on the street is said to be against the law, however the case may be, this act of outlaw is rarely or never spoken off either by the media or government. The lack of government participating fully in the implementation of the disability law has made it impossible to stand up against the act of begging on the streets. Up till date, despite the law protecting people with disabilities, society has never being helpful in the process of giving these people a better place in the country. For many, they prefer begging on the street, despite the stigma and embarrassment associated with it.
PWDs and society
When interviewing some of them on the streets of Accra and Ashaiman, they disclosed that begging was a demeaning act, however, they prefer begging than engaging in any kind of business or going to hunt for a job.
According to Madam Rita Efe Boamah, who is a mother of three, she used to be married to a man who was also physically challenged, but has passed away.
She said she used to sell groundnut cakes, but stopped along the line, since business was not going well.
In a sad narration, she noted that despite the effort she made to make the business survive, all she had was humiliation. According to her, some people refused to buy from her, due to her condition. The situation compelled her to try her luck in the various primary schools, where the pupils of the schools liked her groundnut cakes, however, business started running down when some of the food vendors in the various schools began saying bad things about her to the children. The children cultivated the habit of staring at her shrunken limbs in an uncontrollable manner, and whispered among themselves.
They stopped purchasing her groundnut cakes, and that was the end of her business in the various schools. She didn't give up, but started hawking the cakes in her wheelchair on the street, but as people were not purchasing, them she lost her capital. According to Madam Efe, it is dangerous begging on the street, but they have no choice, since sometimes, a few passengers in vehicles give them some coins. She said the friend she begs with recently joined her, as she was fired from her former place of work, with no tangible reason.
She said her friend was told by her boss that they were working at a loss, so needed to lay off some workers. Her friend later heard that she was not laid off because of the excuse her boss gave her, but rather because some of the customers complained they didn't like it when she served them.
PWDs on the streets
PWDs normally have aides when they are begging, especially, the blind ones, who they move around with, while they sing to attract the attention of pedestrians and vehicle passengers. Some of the aides take them to passengers in buses on the road when the traffic light turns red. They beg the passengers for money by saying many sad statements, but people rarely have sympathy for them. Some passengers quickly roll up their glasses and refuse to look to their direction when they see them coming, so they won't hear what they are saying.
Sometimes, they become a topic of discussion among passengers in buses, and in most of their discussions, they label them as lazy people, or evil people who if you give any alms to, in turn destroy your prospects in life. For the blind, who have no aides, they stand at one place and sing their hearts out just to gain compassion from people passing by. And with those who are totally crippled or lame, their aides bring them in the mornings to stay at a position by the road.
The sad aspect is that they stay there till their aides come back for them. They normally have no choice than to stay in the scorching sun or rain till a Good Samaritan offers to help them move.
Not long ago, this reporter boarded a bus, and in it was a woman in a wheelchair. When she came to board the bus, the driver's assistant helped her onboard and took her wheelchair into the booth of the bus. The assistant later came back to charge for the wheelchair, and to the dismay of the woman and passengers, the assistant charged her three times the actual fare, which was very unusual.
The woman begged him to reduce the price, but the assistant was reluctant to do so, while the passengers as well started pleading on the woman's behalf, but all to no avail. What the assistant said was, "Huh! These people you don't have to have pity on them. Oh! You passengers don't know." The woman, with a sad face, had no choice than to pay.
Government and PWDs
The passing of the disability law by Parliament on June 23, 2006, seemed to be just a formality to please PWDs, as the responsibility behind it has almost been neglected by both the government and society. According to research, the disability population in Ghana is estimated at 10% of the total population, which equates approximately 2.2 million people. This means that should the government pay attention to the progress of PWDs in the employment sector, then 2.2 million people would be able to enrich the labour force of the country.
Almost every day, there are reports in the various media about government interventions which are meant to help PWDs. The reports of these interventions bring a kind of hope to PWDs, however, in the end, many PWDs complain of not benefiting. Some PWDs complain that they were not allowed to participate with the explanation that the materials or money involved in the project was not enough for every PWD present, and that those who couldn't participate or benefit would have their turn later.
They give them false hope by taking sheets of papers around for them to write down their names, with the excuse that they are the first registered members for the next project. They wait for ages, but the so-called next project never comes to pass.
In the mid part of this year, there was a report that the government, through the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), had given an amount of GH ？¢60,000 to the National Council on Persons with Disability, as support to the Disability Employment Project.
According to the GIFEC, the money is intended for the production of ten pilot trading booths for persons with disability in the regions "to enable them sell telecommunications accessories such as phone recharge cards, USB data modems, SIM cards, and to carry out SIM registration." The GIFEC said the deployment and installation of the booths began in July, 2011 in the regions, and that the project was a collaborative effort between the Council and the Ministry of Communications. It is the hope of PWDs this project reaches the turn of each of them
>From all indications, eradicating beggars from the street will be very impossible, as society seems not to be prepared to change its habit towards people with disability. The government is always blamed for not doing its best in implementing the disability law. And from the look of things, as the government has done its part to enact this law, it is the people who are refusing to cooperate with it to implement the law. Since the people make up the government, it is their responsibility to prove their full participation in the implementation of the law, as it is a shared responsibility.
Four girls pull out of Miss Deaf contest
15 September, 2011
REIGNING QUEEN: Miss Deaf organiser Nok’thula Mbatha with Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula
Barely 10 days before the Miss Deaf finals, four girls have pulled out of the contest. Now, six girls will be competing for the title.
The girls were selected from the four regions. In previous years, the contestants were selected from the Deaf School in Siteki.
This was revealed by the coordinator of the pageant, Nok’thula Mbatha. She said two of the girls got job offers somewhere and these were irresistible.
She also mentioned that one got sick and pulled out.
“It is sad that four of the finalists had to pull out due to different reasons but that would not disturb the spirit of the other girls,” she said.
She thanked Swaziland National Association of the Deaf (SNAD), parents of the girls and the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture and all the sponsors.
Although she could not divulge the prizes, she said the girls would be pleased with them.
...No communication barriers - Miss Deaf organiser
Miss Deaf coordinator, Nok’thula Mbatha says there would be no communication barriers between her and the six finalists.
She does not know the sign language well but is learning it.
Mbatha said should the deaf association disassociate themselves from the contest; she would then get an interpreter to assist her on the night of the finals.
“Although we have not received anything formal from the association, we are crossing fingers that we meet with them so that we find a way forward to make the event a success.
But if we do not reach common ground, we won’t have a choice but find interpreters as there are lots of people who understand sign language in the country,” she stated.
Since this is the Month of the Deaf, she urged every Swazi to at least do something for the deaf, like she did by taking her time to organise the pageant .
The finals will be held at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre next Saturday.
...This is a national event -SNCAC CEO
Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture CEO Stanley Dlamini said the Miss Deaf contest was a national beauty pageant like the other beauty pageants in the country.
Speaking during the official launch of the pageant held at the Greans Restaurant, Dlamini mentioned that in their framework, they stated that national pageants would be Miss Swaziland, Mr. Swaziland, Miss Teen, Miss Cultural Heritage and Miss Deaf.
“These are all national beauty pageants hence they have auditions throughout the country before the fairest of them all are picked,” he said.
He said there was no way an association could own a pageant as all pageants in the country were governed by the Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association.
...She should first consult us - SNAD
SNAD urged Miss Deaf organiser Nok’thula Mbatha to consult them before hosting the event.
She should do like she did when she requested a letter from the association to be the coordinator of the pageant.
Newly elected SNAD President Sizwe Ndlela said the association was responsible for running the pageant.
“The SNAD is responsible for this pageant unlike the other pageants, that is why the organiser had to get a permission from the then president of the association, Makhosini Makhubu through a letter giving her a go ahead,” he said.
Ndlela mentioned that if the organiser does not come to them for discussion, they will not allow the girls to participate in the contest because they are under the association and their interests are represented by them.
He appealed to the organiser to come to them so that they could discuss a way forward so that she is not embarrassed during the contest.
“She should just report back to Makhubu as he is the one who recommended her to be the coordinator of the event to the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture. This pageant cannot be run by the Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association as it needs a special attention unlike other pageants,” he said.
Mbatha said she was willing to meet them and find a way forward because she does not understand the confusion that has been going on between them and the association.
“I would be meeting them soon so that we can discuss a way forward. As much as I need them they also need me,” she said.
GAA to offer disabled athletes slots at its next Grand Prix
Ghana News Agency
18th September 2011
Maputo, Mozambique, Sept. 18, GNA - The Ghana Athletics Association(GAA) is considering offering disabled athletes slots to participate in the second edition of the GAA Grand Prix.
At the GAA Grand Prix, some of the Disabled Athletes will be provided the opportunity to participate in selected events to be determined by the Association ahead of the second edition of the event next year.
Professor Francis Dodoo, President of GAA, told the GNA Sports that the move was to provide disabled athletes the opportunity to compete and keep them busy in the course of the year.
He said the athletes need to be in competition to keep up their form adding, providing them with an opportunity to compete in the Grand Prix would increase their activities for the year.
According to Professor Dodoo, the decision was influenced by the sterling performance of the disable team in the just ended All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique.
Ajara Mohamed, won two of Ghana's gold medal in the 1500 and 400 meters, whilst Patrick Acheampong won Silver in the Men's 1500, with Anita Fodjour and Patrick Obeng winning bronze in the same division.
The GAA president said the disable athletes would be made to compete in some few events and was of the belief that, it would enhance Ghana's chances of winning more medals in future events.
Professor Dodoo, who has expressed his desire to contest the impending GOC election, stated that, the decision was also part of their contribution to the development of disable sports.
He lauded the contribution of disabled athletes in the All Africa Games, who accounted for five out of the 19 medals won by Ghana at the Maputo event.
Miss Deaf finalists under age
19 September, 2011, Swazi Observer
MILLION DOLLAR SMILE: Miss Deaf finalists during a fashion parade at the Greans Restaurant. The event was attended by friends and family members of all the finalists. On the front are Thandeka Mnisi and Nosipho Precious
THE Swaziland National Association of the Deaf (SNAD) has alleged that this year’s Miss Deaf finalists are underage, therefore, not eligible to take part in the contest.
The finalists’ ages range from 15 years to 23 years.
The finals are scheduled for this weekend at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre and SNAD Executive Director Makhosini Makhubu said people must not take things for granted by trying what he termed dirty tricks’ to destroy the beautiful work of special education.
Makhubu stated that special education taught hard work and determination.
He, however, said these ‘faceless’ people were looking at an opportunity to enrich themselves at their expense.
These ‘faceless people’ Makhubu was referring to is the Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association (SBPA), an affiliate of the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) and the organiser of this year’s contest Nokuthula Mbatha.
The SNAD previously stated that any event about them could not be hosted without their involvement and threatened that the finals would not be held.
“These innocent children must not be used as a weapon to insult special education teachers. They still remain pupils and they have to respect their teachers. I was groomed by these teachers and I am proud to be what I am today. The same applies to all disabled people, who grew up under the guidance of these special education teachers. It will now become difficult to allow these school going children to take part in projects like Miss Deaf Swaziland until they are mature enough to complete their education first so that the image of teachers are fully protected,” he said.
CAMERAS flashed from left, right and centre as Miss Deaf 2011 finalists showed off their style during a Fashion Parade at the Greans Restaurant in Manzini on Saturday.
The eight finalists paraded stylish clothes and danced while their friends and relatives cheered them on.
The colourful event was attended by some members of the Swaziland National Association of the Deaf (SNAD) and Greans directors.
Nokuthula Mbatha, who was awarded the tender to host this year’s Miss Deaf, said this was a way of presenting the beautiful girls to the public. The finalists have been prejudged by a panel of judges, which included Antoinette DuPont, Voe Mook, Nelly de Souza and Chris Odendaal. She further said they were now ready for Saturday, where a queen would eventually be crowned.
Making her remarks, Mbatha urged the public to come through on the night to support the girls.
“What you have seen here today is nothing compared to the great things we have lined up for you. So do make sure that you come on Saturday. The stage has already been set,” she said.
Also part of those who paraded included models under Phiwa Tshangela’s modelling agency and the outgoing Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula.
SNAD must stop interfering - SBPA
THE Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association told SNAD to stop interfering in the preparations for the Miss Deaf finals, which will be held on Saturday.
Tony Dlamini who is SBPA PRO, said SNAD should remember that they were not affiliates.
“SNAD have the beauty pageant industry’s framework, so they must respect it.
It clearly states that those who wish to join must be under 25 years. This applies for Miss Teen, Miss Swaziland and Miss Cultural Heritage,” he said.
On another note, the SNAD Executive Director Makhosini Makhubu said the Miss Deaf pageant was their brainchild. He said that was why the SNCAC CEO Stanley Dlamini asked them to write a letter to this year’s organiser, Nokuthula Mbatha, to coordinate the event.
…Two more girls join in
AFTER four girls pulled out from the Miss Deaf contest last week, two more have since joined.
According to Nokuthula Mbatha, the two are Seyi Dlamini and Nokulunga Seyama, who joined on Saturday.
The number had been trimmed down to six after the four girls pulled out, but with the new additions there are now eight girls who will compete for the title.
In previous years, the contestants were selected from the School for Deaf in Siteki.
However, this year, the finalists have been selected from the four regions.
The finalists are:
Otukile entertainment aids handicapped man
The monitor, 19 September 2011
Karabo Sello will not let disability become his inability. The 31-year-old Mochudi man sells cans to Collect-a-Can to earn a living.
Sello's determined will to survive has earned him much admiration by many people and organisation. The gospel oriented entertainment organisation Otukile Entertainment (OE) is among the many that have been encouraged by the man's sheer will to survive. The group has established a trust fund for him.
Sello is a big fan of Winnie Mashaba and never misses her concerts. In fact OE first noticed him at one of Mashaba's concerts at Ditshupo Hall in October 2009. "After a year, in November 2010 we saw him again at Botswana Defense Force (BDF) Auditorium attending Mashaba's concert again. He always attends these concerts alone. When Mashaba saw him for the second time, she bought him a VIP ticket as she saw his love and support for people," said one of the organisers Olebile Masheto.
To add to the blessings that have suddenly come his way, a house will also be built for Karabo Sello after Gilbert Mangole, Member of Parliament (MP) for Mochudi West and councillor Botlhe Kgetse of Mochudi West offered to assist him obtain his own home. Because his maternal home is uphill, the landboard offered him a place near the road so that he can avoid walking long distances.
The councillor and OE members complemented Sello for working hard, trying to earn a living and not stealing even when faced with the challenges of being handicapped and poor.
Sello thanked everyone for helping improve his life. He, however, said: " I will continue with my project even and after my house has been built." By "project" he meant collecting cans, which he complained some people steal from him.
Sello is the first of four children, born and raised by a single mother. His mother cannot take care of him with the P400 wage that she gets from the Ipelegeng programme.
After falling down at three months, he suffered a stroke, and as he grew up could neither walk nor talk until he underwent surgery at the age of nine years.
He still cannot walk or talk properly even though he underwent therapy.
Isolated and hungry, he went to Gaborone where he started begging and collecting cans. He spent most of the time at the station stairs asking for money, which he would use to buy bread and soup. Many times, he would sleep at the bus rank.
His trust fund details are: Capital Bank, Karabo Sello Beneficiary Bank, account number 0020076600101, branch code 800267, Bank code 002 and swift code CAPLBWGA.
Farmer jailed 20years for raping deaf girl
A 44-year-old farmer has been jailed 20years by the Ashaiman Circuit Court for defiling a partially deaf girl, aged 10.
Nyamekye Wadza, pleaded guilty to the charge but said he only pushed his male organ into the girl ‘Sir, my lord I could not penetrate’ and, therefore, pleaded with the court to deal with him leniently.
The judge, Mr Seyram Tsatsu Yao Azumah, n passing Sentence, said the punishment imposed on him could serve as a deterrent to men who took advantage of minors, women or people living with disability to abuse them sexually.
Prosecuting Inspector Dinah Sedame told the court that the victim lives with her grandmother at Oyibi, and Wadza normally performed odd jobs for the grandmother.
In the morning of September l, the child’s grandmother went to the market at Dodowa and left the victim and a younger sister behind.
According to the prosecution, Wadza went to the house and realising that there was no adult in the house, asked the girl to follow him to town to collect some money.
When they got to the outskirts of the town, he grabbed her in the bush and forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.
The screams of the girl attracted some people to the scene.
“Their presence did not deter the accused at all as he continued to enjoy himself,” until he was grabbed by the people.
He was taken to the chief’s palace and later handed over to the police.
African Union hosts workshop on mainstreaming disability Issues in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts
Sierra Express Media
By: SEM Contributor on September 20, 2011.
Addis Ababa, September 19, 2011 - A two-day workshop dubbed “Debut Disability Inclusive of Peace and Security” opened today, Monday 19th September 2011, at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Organized by Secretariat of the African Decade Persons with Disability in collaboration with the African Union Peace and Security Department (AUPSD-SADPD), the workshop is aimed at mainstreaming disability issues and persons with the disabilities in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.
The main objective of the workshop is to introduce the conceptual approach and implementation modalities of disability inclusive of Peace and Security project in order to reach consensuses on the way forward.
Speaking on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department (AUPSD) Mr. Olatokunbo Moshood Aremu, Expert on Post Conflict Reconstruction, reminded all the participants of the commitment of the African Union to undertake actions in favour of persons with disabilities, especially in the context of conflicts and emergency situations. He recalled that, a platform for discussion was created in 2010 with the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on 6 June 2011 between the SADPD Regional Office in Addis Ababa and the AU Commission. Mr. Olatakunbo called on the participants to brainstorm and come up with concrete proposals or measures in the course of the workshop.
Addressing the participants at the opening session, Mr. Anton Johnston Canceller, Regional Affairs officer of the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa reiterated the historical context of the decade for persons with disabilities in Africa. He congratulated the AU for instituting the new decade in order to address the issues affecting person’s with disabilities problems and their involvement in the process of peace and security within the continent.
In this regard, Mr. Anton commended the AU’s Department of Peace and Security for their important role in establishing a memorandum of understanding with stakeholders on the Decade for people with disabilitiy. He highlighted that partnership should be encouraged to enable anyone with disabilities to enjoy human rights to which she/he is entitled. “This can largely be achieved through AU’s effort in preventing conflict, building peace and ensuring that national resources are not wasted due to wars”.
On his part, H.E. Mr. Remedan Ashenafi, State Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, stated that this Decade is significant because it gives an opportunity for all stakeholders to join hands in supporting the disability movement with readiness to promote inclusive and right based development approach. He acknowledges that, like other African countries Ethiopia has a large population of persons with disabilities. “Ethiopia is now trying hard to change the situation and enhance humanitarian projects for persons with disabilities”. He concluded that even though persons with disabilities are protected under the constitution, they still face discrimination in their daily lives.
The Debut workshop on Disability Inclusive of Peace and Security ends tomorrow 20 September 2011.
Centre appeals for help to construct disabled workshop
Mmegi Online, 20 September 2011
MOLEPOLOLE: The Anne Stine Stimulation Centre for Children With Disabilities in Molepolole has appealed for donations to build a sheltered workshop.
The centre manager, Nankie Kgosiemang said construction of the workshop can be possible with donations from the public . She said the sheltered workshop will employ disabled people who can no longer be accommodated in the school system. The workshop will provide physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Kgosiemang said the centre's responsibility is to stimulate disabled people who are then transferred into regular schools under a special unit named Bonewamang. She said the schools they are transferred to are only allowed to keep them until a certain age. She said it is sad that after the children reach a certain age they are discarded and forced to stay home.
Kgosiesmang said it is because of this background that they have decided to formulate a structure that will absorb them after school. She said the sheltered workshop would provide jobs for them such as carpentry, brick-moulding, gardening and be paid for the work. "This is so that they too can earn their own living and not depend on their families," she said.
Kgosiemang said that the Kweneng Rural Development Association in Molepolole has already given them a plot for this project. She however revealed that developing the plot has not been easy as they are depending on handouts for its completion. She appealed to the general public to assist in whatever way possible to ensure its success. Developments in line with the sheltered workshop include a multipurpose hall, hostels, a big playfield, and big classrooms that would enable wheelchair movement. Anne Stine currently has 25 children who attend classes on a day-to-day basis, whilst 18 are outpatients. The school that was established in 1992 accommodates children aged between five and 13.
Miss Deaf beauty pageant rules flouted
20 September, 2011, Swazi observer
Miss Deaf organisers apparently flouted the rules when they registered underage girls in the contest. The four girls aged 15 and 16 years were not supposed to join the contest as the framework states that contestants should be between 18 and 24 years old.
Miss Deaf World rules and regulations state that anyone who joins the contest should be below 30 but not less than 18 years of age.
The Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association (SBPA) said they did not recognise those rules as they were hosting a national event, not guided by the international body.
SBPA President Tony Dlamini said they were responsible for the running of the country’s beauty pageants and were the ones who drew the rules and regulations.
“We cannot be dictated to by these people. They must know we have our way of doing things,” he added.
Asked if this would be communicated to the world body, he said it would be up to them to decide.
“Regardless of the winner’s age, she will represent the country at an international contest but we will decide which contest she will compete in.”
He invited the public to come and witness the crowning of Miss Deaf at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre on Saturday.
...SNCAC defends Miss Deaf underage participation
The Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) CEO Stanley Dlamini has defended the underage participation of the Miss Deaf finalists.
Dlamini said the Miss Deaf pageant had a minimum choice, so they did not have an age restriction for the girls who wanted to participate in the pageant.
He said the Swaziland National Deaf Association was not affiliated to SNCAC, so they would not dictate who was eligible to compete in the contest.
He said they adopted a different set of rules for the Miss Deaf pageant to ensure the deaf community doesn’t feel marginalised.
“We cannot apply the same rules as the Miss Swaziland and Miss Cultural Heritage pageants for Miss Deaf. It is a small community and, therefore, there are special rules that govern this pageant,” he explained.
He further said the girls joined the contest because they wanted to and have also sought their parents’ permission to do so.
“No one recruited underage girls,” he pointed out.
He said Swaziland was a sovereign state and would never be regulated by international organisations.
“When we formulated the framework, we took everything into cognisance and domesticated the document to ensure the deaf community is not marginalised,”
“If we deprive girls within the deaf community an opportunity to participate in their own beauty pageants, where else will they compete?” he wondered.
He alleged that SNAD was trying to kill the Miss Deaf pageant whereas the SNCAC would like the pageant to be at par with other beauty pageants such as Miss Swaziland, Miss Teen, Mr. Swaziland and Miss Cultural Heritage.
‘They are exploiting children’s rights’
The World Federation of the Deaf is against the hosting of the Miss Deaf pageant because some of the contestants are underage.
The World Federation believes this is tantamount to abuse. This is according to a statement released by the organisation.
International Secretary Sandholmer Philipha said the international body was against the exploitation of children’s rights.
“The Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture constitution does not have a clause on deaf issues. In their framework, they also do not address the special needs or the United Nation Convention on the right of a person with disability (UNCRPD), so I now wonder how they can got involved with the deaf people,” he said.
He further said he wondered how one could be appointed to be the organiser of the contest when that person does not have the qualification on deaf issues or a special education qualification. He said if the contest continued without the involvement of the stakeholders, the SNCAC will be reported to the Children’s and Protection Commission in Vienna who will then determine whether kthe children are abused or not.
No comment - Save the Children
Save the Children Director Dumsani Mnisi refused to comment on the participation of underage girls in the Miss Deaf contest.
Mnisi said he was not in a position to comment because he did not know the rules and regulations of the Miss Deaf pageant.
“We don’t know the clauses in the constitution of the beauty pageants in the country. We can’t comment until we are informed about these issues,” he said. Save the Children’s vision is a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation. Moreover, its mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.
SNAD demands answers over Miss Deaf tender
SWAZILAND National Association of the Deaf (SNAD) is demanding answers from the SNCAC as to how the organiser Nok’thula Mbatha was awarded a tender to host the Miss Deaf pageant.
Unlike the other beauty pageants such as Miss Swaziland, Miss Teen, Mr.Swaziland and Miss Cultural Heritage where there was an open tender, only Miss Deaf was not tendered for.
The association, through its Executive Director, Makhosi Makhubu alleged that SNCAC CEO requested the deaf association to write a letter appointing Mbatha as coordinator of the pageant.
“Where was the tender and how was it advertised? The brother to the CEO Samkelo is the technical person assisting the coordinator seconded by the CEO and Mbatha,” he said.
The organisation has even written a letter to Minister of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs, Hlobsile Ndlovu complaining about the conduct of the SNCAC CEO. They are accusing Dlamini of disowning the association. Makhubu said, “He even tells us that he will not recognise us as a committee. He is scared because we have appointed the founder of the contest, Sizwe Ndlela as the president of the SNAD.”
Libya: Deaf rebels fight for rights
September 20, 2011 06:17
Special unit of 86 deaf soldiers battles against Gaddafi forces and wins new respect
Photo by: Tracey Shelton 1 of 6
Rebel fighter Abubakar Mustafa Awene, 18, poses with his weapon at the Deaf and Mute Brigade headquarters in Misrata.
MISRATA, Libya - Khalid Mustafa Sati fights in silence.
He can feel the vibration of the bombs that fall around him, but this member of Libya's rebel forces cannot hear their explosions.
Sati can see the smoke and flames from his gun as he fires at Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers, but he cannot hear the sound of the bullets. Nor does he have a voice to speak of the death and violence he has witnessed during this upraising.
Sati is one of Misrata's many heroes, praised for his courage and quick thinking on the battle field. He now heads a unit of 86 men. What sets them apart is that they are deaf.
"In the early days there were not so many men fighting," Sati said. "I wanted to show everyone that we needed to get out there; show the people I can't hear, I can't speak, but I can fight. If I could do it, they had no excuse not to be out there, too."
“I want to show everyone that I can't hear, I can't speak, but I can fight. If I can do it, they have no excuse not to be out there, too.”
~Khalid Mustafa Sati, rebel soldier.
Of the 86 members of the Deaf and Mute Brigade, only 7 can hear, and they are fluent in Libyan sign language and act as interpreters for the others. The majority, like Sati, were born with their condition. Others have lost their hearing later in life through injuries or disease.
None of these men are expected to fight, but many, including Sati and 18 -year-old Abubakar Mustafa Awene volunteer to fight every day. They are distributed among the other units to fight alongside those who can hear.
"It’s not difficult to fight, but there is a lot of danger,” said Awene. “Rockets fall around us constantly, but if I die I will go to heaven because I am doing what is right."
The men who fight with Awene speak highly of his bravery and dedication.
Without the ability to hear, other senses often become more acute.
"People rely too much on sound," Sati explained. "They are not very observant."
Sati recounted one occasion when he was fighting with 10 other men in the early days of fighting on Misrata's Tripoli Street. As they entered the basement of a shop, Sati's sharp vision spotted a tiny movement through a corner window. Motioning the others back, he took aim with his AK-47 rifle, killing a Gaddafi soldier seconds before he released a grenade into the room, saving all those with him.
Now manning a 14.5mm mounted gun, Sati says the other advantage the men in his unit share is that when operating heavy weapons, they have no problems with the noise.
Other unit members run a number of checkpoints around Misrata and work security for events within the city. This week, several members were chosen to form the security team for the visiting leader of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jibril, who praised them for their courage and impressive work for the revolution in an emotional meeting with members of the group.
This newfound acceptance and support has given the men, who were often discriminated against and even feared under the Gaddafi regime, confidence and fulfillment, said Mohammed Hussien Gabag, the brigade's spokesman and main translator.
Under the old government there were few education and employment opportunities for the deaf, said Gabag, who can hear but is fluent in Libyan sign language. The community had no education about their condition, which meant that understanding and acceptance was low. The men were highly segregated from society. Even the sign language they were taught is unique to Libya, limiting their ability to communicate abroad.
Gabag had been trying to assist the men to form an association since 1992 but their requests were constantly delayed or refused. They were not granted permission to meet together under Gaddafi's system, which feared unity and alliances among its citizens.
The revolution's start was a period of fear and confusion in Misrata, a city that quickly came under attack and siege by government forces. With limited information on the dangers outside, most of the men say they were afraid to leave their homes. But as a united group, they found courage and purpose, cementing their role as determined rebel fighters.
"When we first requested to form this unit, no one wanted to back us because they were afraid for us," Gabag said. "But they saw the hard work of our people and were surprised by the number of members. Now when people meet us at the checkpoints, we get a great reaction because they see the efforts we have made to help the city."
Now the deaf group has its headquarters in the Misrata building that once housed Gaddafi’s secret police. Gabag says he was once held overnight in one of the building's underground cells. There he was threatened, beaten and attack dogs were set on him before he was released without charge the following morning.
Two of the men say they had been approached by Gaddafi's intelligence agency on several occasions and were asked to spy on the deaf community to monitor anti-government conversations that could take place silently via sign language.
The headquarters is now colorfully painted in red, black and green, the colors of the new government of the National Transitional Council, with slogans of freedom and Libyan unity. Hanging on the office walls are photos of 52-year-old Atiyah Aseid, a prominent fighter among the deaf group who was killed in a battle on Tripoli Street in Misrata.
Several of Aseid’s children are members of the unit.
“My father was a good man,” said Mohammed Atiyah Aseid, who works the night shift on one of several checkpoints run by the group. “My heart is proud because he died for Misrata and Libya.”
Several other deaf members have been injured in the fighting, including Sati, who was struck by shrapnel twice and hit in the torso by a 23mm bullet. Despite that injury, he returned to the front three days later.
With his background working in a steel factory, Sati at first volunteered to fix weapons for the soldiers.
"I saw them heading out to battle. Some returned. Some didn't. Others came back injured. They clearly needed more men," Sati said of his time spent working in the weapons factory.
More from GlobalPost: Libyan women celebrate new freedom
After several days he made his decision. As he left the house that first day dressed in combat gear with a gun in hand, the father of five says his wife tried to block the doorway. Despite her tears and pleas, Sati said he knew where he was needed most.
Awene, with bright young eyes and an innocent smile, beamed as he loaded his AK-47 and got ready for battle. He said he is determined to continue the fight to the end.
"I will hold my line or advance until it is over," said Awene. "I will never back down."
Gambia: GADHOH Marks International Deaf Week
21 September 2011
Theme: Full access to in formation and communication = Step forward towards full Human Rights for Deaf people.
The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) will commemorate the first ever International Deaf Week (IDW) in the Gambia from 23 to 25 September at the Kanifing Municipality.
The Organisation has called upon the government, other NGOs, stakeholders and the media to come to join and celebrate the week.
Yesterday, GADHOH held a press conference and intends to hold a match past that will start at the St John's School for the Deaf and end at the KMC ground. The IDW is celebrated world- wide.
According to the press release, it is estimated that there are 70 million Deaf people around the world. The theme of this year is: - Full access to in formation and communication =
Step forward towards full Human Rights for Deaf people.
GADHOH maintains that the theme reminds them "that Deaf people should receive equal rights to information as everyone in the Gambia. We all understand that television and radio are key communications tools in the country."
The purpose of the IDW is to raise awareness of the abilities and achievement made so far to the public, about Deafness, causes and importance of Sign Language in breaking the barrier to communication.
GADHOH has appealed in the release to the media community to inform the public about this important celebration.
GADHOH has also called upon the Government to eradicate communication barriers that are experienced by Deaf people at all aspects of life - informal and formal education, health, social life, politics, the economy, the environment, banking, the police, the courts, parliament, conferences and GRTS. "These barriers hinder the Deaf people's full participation in society," the released pointed out. To surmount "this barrier there is need for the institutions listed to employ Sign language Interpreters to ensure the Deaf won't face a communication barrier and receive the right information."
"The Ministry of Communication and Information is urged to find reasonable cost ways how Deaf people should have access to communication and information through Sign language by employing Sign language interpreters GRTS. We should strive to find suitable ways to make our information accessible in sign language, so that Deaf people are able to gain the skills and knowledge, required to participate in the social, politic and economic development of the nation. Newspaper is costly and most of the Deaf people are unemployed, 95% of GADHOH members have not been to school and cannot read or write. Radio is not accessible since the Deaf cannot hear. The most advanced technology means of communication is call video and sms message. The call video on mobile phones is easy and better for the Deaf they can see each other and use sign language to communicate."
GADHOH concluded the press release by expressing gratitude to partners particularly the Finnish Association of the Deaf (FAD) and Banjul Breweries LTD.
Popya with Selma
New Era, 21 September 2011
by Staff reporter
Her name will go done in the history books as the first sign language interpreter to branch out on television.
Selma Moses, now going by the name of Selma Sackaria, was the first sign language interpreter to read news in sign language on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation and thus opened doors for others who studied sign language. Thus she blessed the hearing impaired with a sense of importance as they too had someone ‘speaking’ their language and could watch the news.
“Deaf people appreciated the move from NBC to include sign language on the news.
They were at last represented and they felt recognised,” she says adding, “As for me, it was a blessing in disguise. I was the face of the hearing impaired. Even though it was a job, in some way I felt like I was giving back to society.”
She does her job so well that one would think it was her dream to become a sign language interpreter, “Not at all. I never even knew one could study sign language.
It all started when a deaf man found me sitting outside our home and asked for directions. He applauded me for the way I used my hands in directing him and later told me to attend a course. Elia Shapwa became my mentor and I owe it all to him.”
That was in 1999. “I attended the sign language course in 1999 and later worked at the Deaf Association of Namibia.” Selma Moses became a household name in 2003. “I started signing news in 2003 on NBC and I also signed the current affairs programme, Talk of the Nation. I was the only one, so Selma Moses became a household name.”
Back then she was the only sign language interpreter on television. How did she survive working every night? “Wow. We are three now and I can’t imagine working alone. This makes me ask, how on earth did I survive signing the news all alone every night?
Not only did I sign the news I also had to sign for Talk of the Nation,” she answers the question. “Well I had to work hard for my family. I am the first born and I had to help out my parents and younger siblings. Both my parents are hard workers,” she adds.
Besides sign language interpreting on television, Selma Sackaria also lands a hand at hospitals, employment interviews and has worked at Cosmos High School. “I do a lot of interpreting besides television. I also worked at Cosmos High School as a link between the teachers and the hearing impaired for Grades 11 and 12 English subject.”
However, the superwoman also has her hands in the production jar producing the popular show Tupopyeni on NBC. “Tupopyeni started in 2003. It’s a family orientated talk show that is centered around matters of the soul and heart.
We talk about rape, divorce. It aims at sharing problems thus finding solutions as a nation. Don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 19h00.”
All her admirers bite their nails when she changed her name from Selma Moses to Selma Sackaria. “I am married with two beautiful daughters,” she comments. Popya has it on good ground that her wedding was something out of the ordinary. “Laugh out loud. Who told you that? Well it was big that I can say. I loved my wedding all thanks to my family.”
Speaking of family, Popya has an exclusive. Selma is related to a journalist. “Yes, my little sister got tired of being referred to as Selma Moses’ small sister and decided to make a name for herself,” she laughs.
Selma is related to Paulina Moses who worked for the Informante, and now the newly established the Villager newspaper. Selma has done a lot of traveling in her time but says there’s no place better than Namibia. She has traveled to Australia, Finland, Tanzania and Malawi.
"I love travelling and exploring other countries but I will never think of settling elsewhere"
South Sudan: Ministry of Gender Signs Off Rajaf Project
Simon Akol Malangdit, News Agency of South Sudan (NASS)
21 September 2011
Juba - The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare yesterday signed a contract with Straightline International Limited for the second phase of the construction of the Rajaf School for the Blind and Deaf.
This phase of the project will entail the construction of an office block, dining hall, kitchen, washrooms, manager's house, workshops and a hall at the school. The school has been funded by the government to demonstrate its commitment to alleviate the challenges the blind and deaf South Sudanese face and to empower the persons with special needs.
The objective for the establishment of the school is to rehabilitate children with special needs in all the ten states of the Republic of South Sudan. The school will give them the equipment and learning materials which will aid their livelihood without having them to rely on others for their daily needs.
The learners in the school will be trained in agriculture, handicraft, use of Braille and white cane, simple arithmetic through the use of abacus, among other skills. When complete, the school will be of international standards.
Tanzania: Vodacom Supports Safety Initiative for Disabled
09月26日 All Africa
22 September 2011
VODACOM Tanzania has donated 30 road signs posters to the National Committee for persons with Disabilities on road safety worth 3.5m/-
Handing over the donation in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, Vodacom foundation Officer Grace Lyon said that Vodacom Tanzania was aware of difficulties that disabled people faced, "Persons with disabilities face several challenges, infrastructure systems being one of them."
Ms Lyon said that the foundation aims at providing more road safety signs post to disabled communities across the country under the 250m/- project covering all regions in the country.
"We are working closely with Tanzania Traffic Police to ensure that road safety is highly provided," said Ms Lyon.
Chairman of the Committee Mr Jutoram Kabetelle has urged the public and private sector to improve mode of infrastructure since most of the buildings built did not consider the needs of disabled people.
"There are universities, school, hospitals, colleges and public transport which are not friendly to people with disabilities," charged Mr Kabetelle, noting that the signs will be instituted across the road.
He said the committee would ensure the public is being provided with information to become aware of the signs and offer assistance wherever they come across with people with disabilities.
Deaf miss AIDS messages, say activists
The New Vision
Thursday, 22nd September, 2011
By Francis Kagolo
RIGHTS activists have called for a programme to address HIV/AIDS among persons with hearing difficulties.
The activists said the deaf stood a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS due to lack of knowledge.
The Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNAD) advocacy coordinator, Joseph Mbulamwana, said of the over 700,000 deaf Ugandans, only about 10 % could read and write.
This, he said, had limited their knowledge about the causes of HIV/AIDS, preventive measures and effective ways to live positively.
Mbulamwana said over 90% of the deaf shunned voluntary counselling and testing services due to lack of sign language interpreters at health facilities.
“There is a lot of information but it does not benefit the deaf. Many of them continue to be infected and miserably live with it unaware,” he said.
Mbulamwana added that the situation was getting worse as sections of the public thought the deaf were safe and run to them for unprotected sex.
Mbulamwana made the remarks in an interview with New Vision about this year’s national deaf week which started on Monday.
The celebrations, which are held every third week of September are meant to boost awareness about the problems faced by the deaf.
This year’s celebrations are going on in Ibanda district under the theme: “Are we Planning for the Deaf?”. They end on Friday.
Vision Group, in support of the deaf, offered UNAD free airtime in form of talk shows on Radio West, TV West and Bukedde TV to debate their grievances and advocate for the rights of the deaf. The talkshow on Bukedde TV, code named Akabbinkano was aired on Tuesday at 11:00pm.
The shows were meant to debate the grievances and advocate for rights of the deaf.
“It is hoped that after these shows, the population will be well aware of the problems faced by the deaf in trying to access their rights and that measures will be put in place,” said Doreen Pachuto Vision Group’s legal officer.
Stella Kentutsi, the executive director of the National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said the deaf had not received the necessary attention.
Mbulamwana said despite the existence of favourable legislation, a number of institutions were reluctant to offer equal treatment to people with hearing impairment.
He cited the sh3b Government grant given annually to districts meant to help persons with disabilities, that in some cases went unutilised.
Ghana: Disabled Defend Utilization of Their Share of Common Fund
23 September 2011
The advocacy committee of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has debunked claims in certain quarters that Persons With Disabilities(PWDs) are not making good use of the two percent share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund allocated to them.
The disabled community has had difficulty accessing the fund over the years. Sometimes, district assemblies have declined to release the funds due to the perception that the funds would not be managed properly.
But the committee says such claims are not founded on empirical evidence.
To address challenges confronting access to the funds by PWDs, the GFD has, in consultation with government, developed guidelines for the disbursement and effective utilization of the funds. Other efforts have been made to remove the barriers to accessing the funds.
As part of such efforts, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs) were supposed to open separate accounts into which they would lodge the PWD component of the Common Fund, which is transferred to all districts quarterly.
But only 30 districts have had the funds transferred into the separate accounts they have opened, the GFD advocacy committee indicated in minutes of a Disability Network Meeting held in Accra recently and released to the press last week.
The committee recalled that prior to the development of the guidelines for the disbursement of the PWD component of the DACF, majority of MMDAs refused to release the funds to PWDs. Indeed, since the inception of the intervention in 2005 only few MMDAs have disbursed the funds to PWDs.
The committee further recalled that the GFD had planned a demonstration for May 4, 2011 in view of the fact that verbal appeals for the release of funds were not yielding the desired results.
But this was averted the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who had a meeting with the GFD and issued a directive on the day of the demonstration to all chief executives of MMDAs, copied to all regional ministers to open separate accounts without further delay for the disbursement of the two percent of the DACF to the PWDs.
The Deputy Minister also directed the chief executives to also furnish the ministry with the status of compliance within two weeks.
The minutes of the Disability Network Meeting also states that currently Star Ghana Company Limited is financing a project run by GFD which aims at monitoring and removing the barriers blocking the disbursement of the 2% of the DACF to PWDs. "These barriers include the lackadaisical approach to the opening of the separate accounts for the disbursement of the funds, Assemblies Control of Funds, clearance from Controller and Accountant General and the issuance of letters by the Bank of Ghana", it added.
ROYAL AIR MAROC DUMPS WHEELCHAIR BOUND HANDICAPPED GIRL
Morocco Board News Service
Abdelkader Sifer, 71, charges that his disabled daughter was the victim discrimination on a Royal Air Morocco aircraft. It happened two weeks ago, at the airport in Casablanca, Morocco, when his family got to the plane, the aircraft captain said that the plane was full and that he could not take care of a disabled person, then he slammed the door shut and left the family behind with wheelchair-bound-handicapped girl.
Q : How is your daughter Siham since the incident of Royal Air Maroc?
Abdelkader SIFER: You know, Siham does not talk. She is totaly disabled.
I still do not understand and does not believe what happened. For 20 years we have traveled with Royal Air Maroc and never had this problem!.
It is the first captain who has made us go through this. You know if that had happened to me, I could understand, but to do that to a disabled person who does not speak, I do not understand it and I would never accept it.
Q: Explain how your daughter was banned from flying?
AS: In April, we booked our flights for our holiday in Morocco with a travel agency in France, a reservation was made in advance. I have reported my daughter's disability to the agency. At the airport in Casablanca, on September 10th, 2011, my wife, my daughter and I went to the airport. We spent through police checks, and baggage procedures. All without any problems. Then, as my daughter is in a wheelchair, we were taken by a vehicle to the foot of the aircraft. my daughter was raised in an elevator so that she can get inside the plane. We were greeted by the captain who said "Do you think that with my 160 passengers, I have time to take care of a disabled person" and he closed the door of the the plane. I wish the captain would tell me if he would have done this to his own daughter.
Q: What happened when the aircraft door closed?
AS: We were taken and locked in a shed without water or food!
Fortunately, the airport staff took care of us found another plane to catch, otherwise we would still be there today.
Q: You have filed a complaint against Royal Air Maroc for discrimination.
Have you contacted a consumer protection agency to help you in your efforts?
AS: No, I will tell you honestly, before this incident, I have never encountered such a problem in my life, I've never been inside a police station or had problems with anyone. But I intend to contact an association and the Embassy of Morocco in France. To date, the only person I met was a legal adviser who urged me to complain to Morocco because the incident took place in Morocco. So I'll travel next week to Casablanca to file a complaint.
Q: What do you expect from this complaint?
AS: I'm not asking for compensation but only for an explanation. I expect that this person who denied access my daughter to be penalized so that this would not happen to another disabled person. I wish the world would wake up and becomes aware that people who are disabled do not choose to be disabled. Should we denigrate them? Kill them?
Q: Have you contacted Royal Air Maroc directly?
AS: I wanted to see someone at the airport on our departure day, an employee or a supervisor but nobody wanted to see us. What is certain is that next week, I go to Casablanca to file my complaint and I plan to meet them and express my outrage.
Btv interpreters distort news, confusing the deaf
Mmegi Online, 23 Sep 2011
The Botswana Association of the Deaf (BOAD) has lamented the use of sign language by Botswana Television (Btv) interpreters arguing that they confuse rather than help them comprehend the English news.
All eight members of BOAD (including those in the association's committee) yesterday said they cannot understand any of the three sign language interpreters who interpret the English news on Btv.
"They use either Australian or American language, not local sign language. Those people were put there to help us, not to confuse us," said Sholo Gaolaolwe, adding that the interpreters distort the dissemination of news to the deaf community. He also questioned why there is no interpretation for sport news.
James Keabile, a BOAD member, who also works for Bamalete Lutheran Hospital in Ramotswa, said it is disheartening to the deaf community that even interpreters that the government hires have been sent to study sign language in countries such as America and Australia, which alienates users of local sign language.
BOAD president, Japhet Moyo, said the organisation - formed in 2002 - works with out-of-school youth and adults to teach them sign language. He expressed hope that eventually these out-of-school youth will be absorbed into government service to give better service to deaf people.
Speaking through an interpreter, Moyo decried what he called the unequal treatment of deaf people and people with hearing impairment.
"There are many deaf people out there who do not know how to use sign language. Hearing people don't know how to use sign language, and these are our service providers," Moyo said.
He called on all Batswana to learn sign language in order to break the communication barriers between the deaf and the hearing.
He also urged Batswana to respect sign language, as it is the only language deaf people and those with hearing impairments can use to communicate. He added that the development and empowerment of deaf people in Botswana is severely lacking in Botswana.
Wa Assembly inaugurates Committee to manage disability funds
Ghana News Agency -
24th September 2011
Wa, Sept. 24, GNA - The Wa Municipal Assembly has inaugurated a seven- member committee charged with the responsibility of managing funds released from the District Assemblies Common Fund purposely for the welfare of people with disabilities.
The implementation of this policy of allocating two per cent of the Common Fund to address the needs of this group of citizens followed agitations by members of various disability groups comprising the visually impaired, hearing impaired and the physically challenged.
The committee will among others, vet and approve all applications for loans, monitor and supervise the utilization of funds and present quarterly reports on the management of the funds.
Mr. Mohammed Rufai, the Municipal Coordinating Director, who inaugurated the committee, at Wa on Friday, urged the members to discharge their duties to the satisfaction of all stakeholders of the fund.
He said although the Fund was given legal backing long ago, the implementation delayed because there were no clear directives on how it should be managed.
The Assembly, he stated, had been assisting people with disabilities in several ways before the establishment of the fund and therefore saw this new gesture as supplementing the efforts of the Assembly, he said.
Improve services for the deaf
Monday, 26th September, 2011
This year’s celebrations of the international deaf awareness week were held last week in Ibanda district.
Sign language interpretation and translation requires specialised training, knowledge and experience. It requires a high degree of fluency in both languages.
Even bilingual individuals with native-like fluency in both languages are not necessarily qualified to provide interpreting services in a parliamentary setting. The setting demands excellence and full command of technical language, nuance, register and vocabulary.
In addition, technical mastery of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting skills is essential. These skills require extensive practice and development.
Kyambogo University passes out an average of 25 diploma graduates interpreters per annum. However, these are not recruited by the Public Service. Uganda has about 1.2 million deaf people who miss out on the services of professional sign language interpreters.
The Government should include sign language interpreters on job adverts and recruitments so that the deaf can access services in their first language.
l The Government should direct public and private television (TV) stations to provide captioning and sign language interpretation of all news broadcasts as provided for in the PWDs Act 2006. The provisions of broadcasting licences should be subject to this requirement.
The public service ministry should formalise and implement the President ’s directive and parliamentary resolution of 2008 requiring the Government to recruit sign language interpreters in major referral hospitals, courts of law, universities and regional police stations.
The Government should re-introduce sponsorship of sign language studies at Kyambogo University which was phased out five years ago.
Districts should prioritise the provision of educational opportunities for the deaf.
The education ministry should review the policy on special needs education to promote the use of sign language in the education of the deaf, motivate teachers for the deaf and increase financing for the deaf education.
Districts should ensure leaders of PWDs are informed of and involved in the district planning processes.
Everybody should raise awareness of the potentials and needs of deaf persons.
The writer is the director sign language and interpreters and translaters agency
EU Pleads for Disabled People
Middle East North Africa Financial Network
MENAFN - All Africa Global Media - Monday, September 26, 2011 EU Pleads for Disabled People Dar es Salaam, Sep 26, 2011 (The Citizen/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The European Union (EU) and its partners have launched a joint media campaign to push for the inclusion of people with disability in formal employment.
The campaign will involve television and radio broadcasts, billboards and print media and will run for the next three months.The EU together with CEFA, Radar Development and CCBRT initiated the campaign in response to a survey findings that showed that persons with disabilities were under-represented in the formal employment sector.
The survey, conducted last year, established that awareness among employers on the abilities of disabled people was low. The EU ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Tim Clarke, said the situation shows that there was still challenges, despite the government had taken steps to promote inclusive society by ratifying in 2009 UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and domesticated it through the enactment of the persons with disabilities Act 2010.
Mr Clarke speaking during the launch of the campaign on Thursday evening where the deputy minister for Labour and Employment, Mr Makongoro Mahanga, officiating the event.
"There are long-term benefits in having a work place free from discrimination and one which promotes diversity, that enhances the profitability of the company and individual employees, " said EU envoy.Mr Mahanga called on the employers to abide to with the Act which requires them to reserve at least three per cent of the jobs for people with disabilities.
Ghana: Contractor Back On Site At Geogo School for the Deaf
William N-Lanjerborr Jalulah
26 September 2011
After The Chronicle had published that work on a dining hall complex at the Gbeogo School for the Deaf at Tongo in the Talensi-Nabdam District had come to a standstill, following the contractor abandoning the project site, he is back and currently putting finishing touches.
Though the structure has been roofed and plastered, other works such as painting, toilet, wiring, ceiling, burglar-proof and windows were not complete. The floor tiles were not also fixed. As a result, the structure could not be put to use.
In our earlier story, the Senior House Master of the School, Mr. Ateo Sylvester, told The Chronicle in an exclusive interview that the deadline for the completion of the project was March 2009, but the contractor abandoned the project.
All attempts to get him back to complete the project had been unsuccessful. According to Mr. Ateo, whenever it rained, the cooks stood in the rain to prepare food for the students, whose population stood at 126.
Although the Senior House Master said the contractor claimed he had not been paid for the work done, he suspects foul play.
He said when the Headmaster of the school, Mr. Francis Andiiba, died in September last year, the contractor, Mr. John Atuah, went straight to the Talensi-Nabdam District Assembly and 'used other means' to go for his money in Accra, instead of first going to the school for a covering letter.
When he got to Accra, he was asked to produce a covering letter from the Headmaster of the school showing the state of work before he could get his money.
Because he passed through the back door of the assembly, he could not produce the covering letter from the school.
According to Mr. Ateo, the contractor phoned the school requesting a covering letter, which was to indicate that he had finished with the ceiling, burglar-proofing, manhole and many things he had not even done.
Mr. Ateo said when the management of the school told the contractor they would only write what they saw, he asked them not to if they would not grant his request.
When this reporter visited the school in June this year and carried out the story, the contractor responded by reappearing on site the following week to continue with the rest of the work.
Though in a follow up last Thursday, the contractor was not on site, it was evident that he had resumed work. However, there were signs of shoddy works.
Some portions of the ceilings of the new dining hall are already rotting as a result of the leaking roof.
It is hoped that the inspecting authorities will raise questions and demand answers before the facility is handed over to the school.
The coming Headteacher of the school, Mr. Felix Faatah, his Assistant, Mr. Titigah Godfrey, and the Senior House Master, Mr. Ateo Sylvester, who conducted this reporter round the structure, expressed fear that if it is handed over without the defects corrected, it would not last.
Meeting on Disability Rescheduled
Ghana News Agency
27th September 2011
Accra, Sept 27, GNA -The Ministry of Transport had to reschedule a meeting on Tuesday with the Centre for Employment of Persons with Disability aimed at discussing the interest of members as far as the development of the Bus Rapid Transport System is concerned.
Mr Lawrence Kumi, a Director at the Ministry, said the postponement was due to the Minister not receiving the invitation letter owing to its late arrival.
Mr Kumi however gave the assurance that the Ministry was ready to meet the group at a later date to discuss the concerns of persons with disability.
Mr Alexander Tetteh, Chief Executive Officer of the centre, said the Centre made a petition to the Ministry regarding the inaccessible transport system in the country with particular reference to the Bus Rapid Transport System to be implemented by the Ministry.
He said transport was meant to be to the advantage of all citizens and it was time for the government and policy makers to consider the concerns and interests of all.
Mr Tetteh said “we want to make sure this time we are not forgotten since most things have been done to the disadvantage of the disabled although the Disability Act had been passed”.
He appealed to the Ministry to try as much as possible to take their concerns seriously and schedule a date for the meeting.
School for the deaf appeals to GETFUND
Ghana News Agency
27th September 2011
Agona Swedru (C/R), Sept. 27, GNA - Authorities of the Salvation Army School for the Deaf at Agona Swedru have appealed to the Ghana Educational Trust Fund (GETFUND) to expedite action on the classrooms and hostel under construction.
They said the delay in the project which started in 2007 had seriously affected teaching and learning at the school.
Mrs Favour Aflakpiu, Headmistress of the School, made the appeal when the Harmony Youth Club presented assorted stationary and footballs worth GH?1,500 to the school.
She said the congestion at the existing structures had compelled the authorities of the school to provide temporal wooden structures to be used as kitchen to facilitate cooking for the pupils adding that as the kitchen is close to the classrooms, heat and smoke easily entered the rooms during classes.
Mrs Aflakpiu thanked the Harmony Youth Club for the kind gesture and asked corporate bodies, financial institutions, philanthropists, and others to come to the aid of the school.
Mr Bismark Eyison, President of the club, said the donation formed part of their social responsibilities in the Municipality.
Mr Eyison said the club has also made many donations to the Awutu Bawjiase Country Side Orphanage and the Mother Care Orphanage at Agona Swedru to help in the upkeep of the inmates.
He said the club has earmarked December 2 as a clean up exercise day to help clean the Agona Swedru Municipality.
Dumb and Deaf person holds press conference to highlight problems
Ghana News Agency
Takoradi, Sept. 27, GNA - A member of the Governing Board of Africa Contact Group for Mental Health and Deafness, has observed that mainstreaming deaf education into the regular system should be accompanied by the necessary facilities to enhance meaningful interaction.
Mr Jonathan Amuah said placing students with disabilities in a regular school without equipment to facilitate their interaction was tantamount to exclusion of the deaf from the educational system and the society in general.
“In such environments, the deaf student… is physically present but may be mentally and socially absent. Provisions must therefore be made to ensure that all levels of education are accessible to deaf students,”
Mr Amuah, a deaf and dumb person, who made the observation at a press conference in Takoradi, said creating a supportive environment through the provision of sign language interpreters or devices that could enhance communication between deaf and dumb students and teachers.
He said all though many policy makers currently support full inclusion in education, meant to fully integrate all disabled students into the regular schools, many deaf students complain that they did not benefit from such system.
Mr Amuah noted that inadequate sign language interpreters and assistive technology that could enhance effective communication are missing in the educational sector.
For instance, Navrongo St John Integrated Senior Technical and Akropong Training College both of which are recognised inclusive educational institutions lack adequate sign language interpreters to handle deaf students who currently sit and learn with hearing students.
Mr Amuah said in the case of St John, there are currently 75 deaf students out of the total population of 168.
He said despite the significant number of deaf students, there are only two sign language interpreters.
Mr Amuah has therefore called on the stakeholders in education to find solutions to the situation adding, that good intentions alone are not enough.
He said existing policies and laws must be implemented to ensure inclusive society for all.
Gambia: MOICI Plans to Include Sign Language Interpreter On GRTS Says DPs Touray
27 September 2011
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) has said that his Ministry will work hard to include a sign language interpreter on the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) for news in English and the local languages, so that the deaf can be part and parcel of the audience.
Yankuba Touray made this revelation Friday during the celebration of the International Deaf Week (IDW) at the KMC grounds.
The event, which was organised by the Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (GADHOH), the body responsible for the empowerment of deaf people in the country was marked by a march past by security personnel and deaf people from the St John School for the Deaf to the KMC grounds.
The Theme for this year's celebration is 'Full access to information and communication step forward towards full human rights for the deaf'.
Touray maintained that sign language should not only be regarded as a means to share information, but also in improving communication with the deaf people. He stressed that communication is vital in everyday life for one to successfully integrate in society, as one has to develop his/ her skills in communicating with others.
"As we celebrate this event today, we should remember that there are over 70 million deaf people worldwide and majority of them live in the developing countries which The Gambia is not an exception. Therefore, the objectives of this celebration are for the deaf to showcase their achievements, while highlighting the challenges they still face," he stated.
Touray pointed out that deaf people can be seen today with mobile phones, so they can communicate by SMS, unlike in the past when this technology was unavailable and when the deaf had to depend on a third person to communicate by voice on their behalf.
He added: "But now, they can communicate freely with friends, family members and work colleagues; Internet services are increasingly available to the deaf community, who can use the Internet to communicate through email, facebook and face-to-face chat through sign language."
On his part, Abdoukadir Drammeh, the president of GADHOH said the theme of the celebration reminds people that deaf people have the right to receive information so as to enhance their knowledge, saying information is power without which deaf people would be unable to participate in the social, political and economic development of The Gambia.
He stressed that sign language is important for deaf people as it enriches their participation in education, health, politics and society as a whole.
According him, the problem of the deaf people in our society is characterised by lack of information among others issues.
He finally commended the government of The Gambia for the tremendous support being rendered to the deaf people in the country.
Landing Badjie, the Find Project coordinator of GADHOH underscored the importance of the commemorations, adding that it will give the deaf people the platform to share their achievements and challenges they are confronted with.
He disclosed that education is one of the greatest constraints they are facing, saying St John School for the Deaf is the only deaf school in the country and cannot handle the capacity of the deaf people as the population of the country is increasing.
Badjie further disclosed that 95% of the deaf people in The Gambia have not gone to school, while 5% have gone to school, with only 1% reaching college level with no sign language interpreters. He added that this is a great challenge.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Lamin Ceesay, development officer at GADHOH; and Dodou Loum, executive director of GADHOH.
Ghanaians asked to desist from giving alms to deaf and dumb beggars
Ghana News Agency -
27th September 2011
Ghanaians asked to desist from giving alms to deaf and dumb beggars
Takoradi, Sept 27, GNA - Ghanaians have been asked to desist from giving alms and offers to deaf and dumb beggars, who operate in the streets of cities and towns in the country.
Mr. Joe Ewusi-Ntenah, president of the Western Regional branch of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), made the call at a press conference in Takoradi on Monday.
It formed part of activities marking this year’s International Week of Deaf Persons, which was on the theme: “Breaking the Communication Barrier between Deaf and Hearing through Sign Language”, to encourage people without hearing impairment to undertake sign language courses to bridge the communication gap.
Mr. Ewusi-Ntenah said deaf and dumb beggars, including some foreign nationals, harass people on the streets.
He said “some use specially inscribed envelopes for assistance but use the monies for other socially unacceptable behaviour such as drinking and womanizing.”
Mr. Ewusi-Ntenah claimed that investigation by GNAD revealed that patrons of these beggars engaged them in indecent activities.
He said that the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly had trained some deaf and dumb persons and gave them other forms of assistance to enable them to be self-reliant.
“These people have no right to beg. Anyway, begging is a crime and the society must discourage these people from engaging in the act”.
Mr. Ewusi-Ntenah has called on the Ghana Police Service to assist the deaf and dumb, especially when the miscreants among them are arrested.
DSP Huseini Musah Awinaba, Takoradi District Crime Officer, promised that the Service would rid the society of miscreants including beggars.
He advised the public not to, lynch, assault or molest suspected criminals but to send them to the police station, and said that “the deaf and dumb needs special assistance particularly in cases of arrest”.
Mr. Jonathan Amuah, Governor of the Board of Africa Contact Group for Mental Health and Deafness, called on private and public institutions to include the concerns of the deaf and dumb in national development programmes.
He mentioned education, employment and the integration of sign language in national activities particularly in health care delivery.
Mr. Amuah expressed worry that the deaf and dumb were often restricted from participating in socio-political activities as information transmitted through the electronic media was not accessible to them due to the lack of sign language interpreters.
“The deaf community therefore calls on all TV stations to make their programmes more accessible to deaf persons in the country. This can be through the infusion of captions or subtitles and integration of sign language interpretations in TV programmes”, he said
Morocco: Nation Celebrates Thursday Birthday of HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa
28 September 2011
Rabat - The Royal family and the Moroccan people will celebrate on Thursday HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa's birthday.
The Princess is active in the social, educational and cultural field and takes part, in her capacity as honorary President of the Lalla Asmaa Foundation for deaf children, at various events.
HRH presides over the graduation ceremony of the school year of the Lalla Asmaa Foundation, given its important role in supporting deaf children by providing them with basic education.
Founded in 1968 and designed to accommodate 120 to 130 students per year, the Foundation offers deaf children advanced medical equipment, including digital hearing aids, cochlear implants and voice transmission electronic systems for a better integration in schools.
Princess Lalla Asmaa is also active in the field of the protection of animals and nature.
She is the honorary President of the Humane Company, which is meant to protect working animals and pets and promote environmental education.
It also contributes to preserving Morocco's natural heritage, protecting its biodiversity and the sustainable use of its natural resources, in addition to providing necessary support for the poor and people with special needs through animals.
Gambia: MoHSW Urged to Employ Sign Language Interpreters in Hospitals
28 September 2011
The Gambia Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing GADHOH has called on the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) to employ sign language interpreters in all hospitals in the country.
This call was made by Isatou Sanyang, the women development officer of GADHOH, during the celebration of the International Deaf Week (IDW) Friday at the KMC grounds. She argued that as the population of the deaf people in the country is increasing and taking into consideration the fact 95% of the deaf people in the country are not educated, it is necessary for the Ministry to employ sign language interpreters in all hospitals in the country to ensure that whenever deaf people are sick and go to hospital, they can communicate with doctors or nurses.
Sanyang lamented that it is sometimes difficult and challenging for deaf people to communicate with doctors, and so the are at times given the wrong medicine. She added that nurses and doctors sometimes don't understand what actually happened to the deaf people and if there is no sign language interpreter, it is always a constraint.
She seized the opportunity to call on the Gambia Family Planning Association to come on board and build the capacity of deaf people on ways and means of protecting themselves, adding that this are all among the challenges they are facing. She also called on the authorities responsible to help in addressing the issue.
SNAD apologise to Nokuthula - SNCAC
Swazi Observer, 28 September, 2011
THE Swaziland National Association of the Deaf has finally bowed to pressure and apologised to the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture and the Director of the Miss Deaf pageant Nokuthula Mbatha for the confusion they caused during the preparations of the Miss Deaf Swaziland.
The association apologised through a joint statement signed by SNCAC chief executive officer Stanley Dlamini, Nokuthula Mbatha and SNAD President Makhosini Makhubu.
“SNAD wishes to acknowledge responsibility for the negative media reports that purported to tarnish the image of Miss Deaf. Unknowingly, the executive was being misled by our own committee which interfered with the organisation of the beauty pageant,” says the statement.
The statement said through a meeting with SNCAC, the pageant directors and sponsors, they realised the damage caused by their lack of understanding with the running of pageants as outlined in the Swaziland Beauty Pageant framework.
“We duly understand that our actions were out of line and have done more harm to the Miss Deaf pageant.
And such damage has been further extended to the relationships with the pageant sponsors. All parties appreciate the commitment towards affording disabled community the opportunity to shine and integration into society,”
reads the statement.
They further acknowledged the presence of Minister Hlobsile Ndlovu, Senator Tom Mndzebele and Members of Parliament who were at the event.
The parties have also agreed to work together with the furtherance of the development and mandate of the different institutions.