Environment Minister Presents Laptop Computers, Cash To Disabled
Saturday, 01 October 2011 08:06
The Minister of Environment Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Ayittey has presented 10 rlg laptops and a cheque of GHc1,000 to the Disabled Christian Fellowship International (DCFI), an organisation for persons with diability in Accra.
The presentation was made when members of DCFI called on the Minister to express their appreciation for inviting and sponsoring them to participate in the just ended first Ghana Science Congress. Presenting the items, Ms Ayittey said, the disabled persons had showed their ability in craft during the congress through the various artefacts they exhibited.
She said it was the responsibility of Government to empower disabled persons to become skilled oriented and experts in the creative industry.
She noted that with the laptops, the disabled persons could be trained to become ICT experts, adding that the unique software and features like the internet access would open up the world for them.
The Minister added, “These laptops would help you to organize training workshops in all the regions to impart to all persons with disability the skills in sewing, bead making, doormat making and basketry among many other handiworks.
She explained that the Government’s project of using science and technology to drive the country’s economy would help disabled persons to feature in many jobs in the public sectors which would form part of their migration from the street to industry.
Ms Ayittey said Government was putting in place measures to help disabled persons to realize their dreams and ambitions.
Mr Joshua Allotey Pappoe, National Project Coordinator thanked the Minister for the opportunity as the only disabled organisation to exploit various opportunities particularly with the beads which were made from broken bottles as a good example of recycling and sustainable environment.
He said physically challenged persons in communities which faced a lot of challenges had less access to resources, opportunities, decision making, economic opportunity and lack of knowledge.
Mr Pappoe noted that through the support from the Ministry, the organisation would establish training centres to provide training to remove the disabled from the street, giving the platform to explore their talent and gifts for the development of the nation.
He urged Government to empower members to contribute to their individual development and the nation as well.
The members adorn the Minster with a bead necklace and bracelet made from broken bottles.
Assembly disburse funds to the physically challenged 1st October 2011
Ghana News Agency -
Takoradi, Oct. 1, GNA - The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, has disbursed 53,607 .29 Ghana cedis, being part of the District Assembly Common Fund for 2010, to 41 physically challenged persons and three physically challenged organizations.
Mrs Deborah Daisy Kwabia, Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Director of the Department of Social Welfare, announced this at a symposium, organized by the Metropolitan Association of the Deaf at Takoradi.
The symposium, which formed part of activities of the celebration of this year’s International Week of Deaf Persons, was on the theme: “ Breaking the communication barrier between deaf and hearing through sign language”.
Mrs Kwabia suggested that part of the money disbursed should be used to provide tuition in sign language for people championing the cause of the physically challenged to enable them communicate effectively with the deaf.
Mr. Osei Bonsu Kontoh, Headmaster of the Sekondi School for the Deaf, said it was wrong to consider persons with hearing impairment as mentally deficient.
He said this assumption was because the hearing population could not communicate with persons with hearing impairment.
Mr. Kontoh said persons with hearing impairment possessed normal intelligence and they did not function below “Cognitively normal abilities generally”.
He asked people, especially parents of deaf children, to learn sign language to enable them to communicate effectively with the deaf.
Mr. Kontoh appealed to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to assist in the teaching of sign language.
Mr. Joseph Ewusi-Ntenah, President of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Association of the Deaf, called on government to ensure that policies and programmes reached the deaf community through sign language.
He said while the National Disability Act sought to promote the employment of persons with disability, it failed short of affirmative action.
Mr. Ewusi-Ntenah called for the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum quota of about five per cent of all public sector employment opportunities for persons with disability.
He also advocated vocational training and sustainable livelihood for the deaf.
‘AT HOME’ WITH MISS DEAF
01 October, 2011, Swazi observer
It is a fairytale that millions of girls have when they are young. Apart from dreaming of their wedding, they also dream of ascending a throne and being crowned the most beautiful and admired girl in the land.
Although many girls outlive the fantasy which never becomes a reality when they grow older, for one lucky girl it does become a reality each year.
Being crowned the fairest in the land isn’t the easiest of journeys, but those who have experienced it, walk away with fond memories.
The newly crowned Miss Deaf Nosipho Zwane is one such person who woke up one day as the ‘girl-next-door’ and whose life instantly changed in one night.
Zwane earned a new status on Saturday evening and became a full-fledged queen, respected and loved throughout the country.
We paid her a visit at her homestead at Mkhulamini, Manzini.
Congratulation for being crowned Miss Deaf, how are you feeling?
Thank you! I am extremely excited. I still think I am dreaming.
Why did you pull out and rejoin the contest just days before the finals?
It was a combination of things. At the time, there were just a lot of issues arising and the confusion didn’t help at all. When everything was normalised and the air was cleared, i decided it was worth trying my luck.
Before the finals, was there a point that you thought you were going to win?
No! All the girls were beautiful but I suppose my confidence worked wonders for me.
We understand you lived in Cape Town for a number of years. Tell us about that.
I left Swaziland when I was 11 years old to study in Cape Town. Before I left, I did not know how to read, communicate with people nor do other things. My mother met someone in Mbabane, who told her about this special school in Cape Town. Soon after my mom had researched about it I finally flew to Cape Town to study. I spent about nine years studying. I had a strong support network with my teachers and family which made me pull through. It was tough because I hadn’t learnt sign language and I didn’t have friends. My teacher really helped me a lot because he taught me how to communicate with people without using signs. He used to take my hand, put it under his beard then talk. After that he would tell me to try and follow that sound which worked wonders for me. I also met a friend called Wendy, who really helped me a lot. She showed me around and taught me a number of things too.
It was hard to integrate in the new school. I found it hard to make friends.
At first, they kept a distance from me but as the time went on, I made good friends.
Who influenced you to join Miss Deaf?
No one, actually! I just loved the idea behind it and then asked my mother if I could join. She was very supportive. I have always believed in myself and believe in doing great things with my life, but I’ve done all this with my mother’s love and support.
As a creative soul, what inspires you most?
I am an artistic person. I learnt graphic design while i was in Cape Town, but I can’t train professionally because i am unemployed and there are no such facilities for the deaf in the country.
What challenges do deaf people face which the public is completely oblivious to?
The deaf are often not included in social activities because of their inability to follow conversation in large groups. Sometimes people assume that by having a hearing aid you will be able to hear in the same way as they do whereas a hearing aid is actually a tool to assist hearing.
Now that you have won, what type of contribution would you make as a title holder?
I plan to increase awareness of the deaf community by building a bridge between hearing and hearing impaired people. I also wish to encourage society to learn sign language. I also want to make sure the deaf get the best education, just as the rest of society.
What is it that we do not know about Nosipho?
I just love cooking and graphic designing.
How do you spend your day?
I wake up in the morning; go to the gym in Manzini. I normally get back to the house at 11am then do some cleaning. When I am done with cleaning, I watch TV or I just go and sleep. Around 4 pm, I start cooking then wait for my mom. That’s just an average day for me.
The greatest moment in life?
It would be the day when I came back from school in South Africa, when my mom saw that I was now able to communicate with her. Even on Saturday when I was crowned, it was also one of the best moments in my life.
Do you have a boy friend?
Yes, I do. The rest is private.
When are you planning to start your own family?
I haven’t thought about that much but it can be very hard for me I suppose.
I love children but I don’t see myself having my own because am not sure if he or she will end up like me. I am scared but if I do maybe one or two will be fine.
My greatest wish is to further my education and see deaf people being independent and starting their own families. You see it troubles me when I think about what would happen if the people close to me would go. Who will look after me? I just wish I can just get myself a job. I am now 26 years old and unemployed. It’s very frustrating.
TV programmes that you never miss?
Generations, Scandal and 7 De-Laan
Mince and Macaroni, toasted bread and ya, I also enjoy junk food.
Deaf Education Is Low in the Country, Says GADHOH Boss
Middle East North Africa Financial Network
The executive director of the Gambia Association of the Deaf and Heard of Hearing (GADHOH), Dodou Loum, has said that education of deaf people and access to information is decreasing in The Gambia.
Loum was speaking at a press conference organised recently by GODHOH at their head office shortly before the celebration of the International Deaf Week (IDW), which was celebrated last Friday, 23rd September, 2011.
According to him, the theme of the celebration; 'Full access to information and communication and step toward full human rights for deaf people' is indeed timely and important.
He urged the government of The Gambia to eradicate communication barriers that are experienced by the deaf people at all levels in informal and formal education, health, social, politic, economic environment, banks, police, court, parliament, conference and at GRTS.
He pointed out that these barriers hinder the deaf people's full participation in society, and to solve these barriers, there is need for the institutions listed to employ sign language interpreters to ensure the deaf people won't face a communication barrier and will receive the right information.
He added that the deaf people have a very important role to play in the socio-economic development of the country.
For his part, Landing Badjie, Finland project coordinator at GADHOH, underscored the important role deaf people can play in the development process of the country.
He further highlighted the constraints faced by deaf people such as; education and access to communication, among others. He said it is the responsibility of the government to build more schools for the deaf people to ensure their full participation in national development.
He finally called on the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure to ensure that deaf people have access to communication and information through sign language by employing interpreters at GRTS.
Isatou Sanyang, a senior member of GADHOH, said deaf people should be involved in decision-making processes, to enable their participation in the development of the country.
She added that it is very difficult to see a deaf girl child educated, adding that sometimes it is difficult for them to get married if they are not equipped with skills.
She stated that the GADHOH Women's Wing is working closely with the Women's Bureau that has been very supportive to them.
The development officer of GADHOH, Lamin Ceesay highlighted the major challenges they are facing, which he said, are education and information. He added that the attitudinal change of the general public towards deaf people should be eradicated as sometimes they are being isolated from the society.
The FAO project Adviser, Euphrasia Mbewe from Zambia, said the population of deaf people is increasing gradually in the country, therefore more schools should be built and more deaf teachers and sign language interpreters should be employed by the government.
She finally commended GADHOH for the tremendous support they have been rendering to the deaf people in the country and urged NGOs to work with GADHOH.
Armless pilot uplifts spirit of disabled persons
10月03日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
The adage "Disability is not inability" has been given a true meaning with the flying of a plane by an armless woman.
Jessica Cox who is a motivational speaker has done a lot to uplift the spirit of disabled persons.
She told GBC’s Radio Ghana that her motivation for flying a plane came from fear, that is, the fear of flying. Ms Cox said she does not want to see herself as incomplete.
Apart from flying a plane, Ms Cox can drive a car. She explained to Radio Ghana how she flies planes
Disabled French woman abducted in Kenya
Sydney Morning Herald
October 3, 2011
Clue hunt … a policeman near the beach house. Photo: AFP
NAIROBI: A disabled French woman in her 60s was being held prisoner in Somalia on Saturday night after a shoot-out at sea failed to stop the band of pirates who seized her from her Kenyan holiday home.
Kenya's coastguard and armed forces chased Marie Dedieu and her abductors in an open boat speeding towards the Somali border, not far from the spot where pirates seized the British tourist Judith Tebbutt last month.
Despite sustained gunfire which injured several of the gang, Kenya's government admitted on Saturday night that it had failed to rescue the woman before her kidnappers crossed into Somali waters.
A source at France's Defence Ministry said its forces in Djibouti further up the coast, and its troops with the international anti-piracy force, were ''involved'' in the search for Ms Dedieu, 66.
France has mounted special forces operations to free its nationals taken hostage by Somali pirates. On the last such mission, in 2009, at least one hostage died.
Ms Dedieu, who uses a wheelchair, is a retired French journalist who spends more than half of the year at her house on the island of Manda, off the northern stretch of Kenya's coast. She had returned from a trip to France on Friday, sources said. She is known in the area, which is popular with celebrities such as Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Gillian Anderson. Princess Caroline of Monaco also owns property there.
At least 10 gunmen landed in two small speedboats on Manda's main beach at 3am on Saturday, before forcing their way into the thatch-walled house. Six stormed into the living area, shouting, ''where is the foreigner, where is the foreigner?''
Zeinab Anthony, a maid, said: ''I refused to show them to the lady's bedroom and they hit my foot with the butt of their rifle.''
George Lepapa ole Moiyio, 39, Ms Dedieu's Kenyan partner, said the men tried to shoot him as he ran for help. ''I escaped through the window and ran to the next-door hotel,'' he said.
Ms Dedieu was dragged down the beach and thrown into a boat. A nightwatchman who saw the attack said: ''She was screaming and trying to fight, but they were too strong for her.'' The gang did not carry her wheelchair with them, witnesses said. Ms Dedieu is also believed to be suffering from a chronic illness that needs constant medication, one source, whose family owns a house close to hers, said.
''She can't walk, she is diabetic, or has some sickness that needs medicine all the time. How can she survive this?'' he said.
Speedboats from the coastguard and navy gave chase, with help at first light from an army helicopter which spotted the kidnappers more than half way to the Somali border by mid-afternoon.
Forces fired warning shots to make them stop, but the gang fired at the helicopter, Najib Balala, the Tourism Minister, said.
Despite the shoot-out, the gang reached Ras Kamboni, a town just over the border in Somalia. There were no details about the woman's condition.
Two Kenyan aircraft were in the air above the town monitoring the situation, Mr Balala said.
The kidnapping is the second in less than a month on foreigners staying in the Lamu archipelago.
The attacks are likely to hit Kenya's coastal tourism hard. ''I cannot understand how the police have let this happen so soon after the British lady was taken,'' Muhidin Athman, who owns a guesthouse on Lamu island, said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/disabled-french-woman-abducted-in-kenya-20111002-1l3r8.html#ixzz1ZgQF5SpB
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Johannesburg)
Africa: Promoting Sign Language for Socio-Economic Development and as a Human Rights Concern
3 October 2011
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) recognizes that any people's socio-economic development is not really possible if their language is marginalized or ignored. Linguists have long acknowledged that language is one single trait that distinguishes humans from other species (see, for example O'Grady et al 1996:1).
Moreover, humans owe their social, political, economic and technological advances to language. It is thus no surprise that the most advanced countries of the world at any given period of human history have been those that have made best use of their mother tongues and not those who have attempted to rely on foreign languages.
This paper outlines the challenges and achievements in efforts at developing and promoting Sign Language in Southern Africa with special reference to 10 countries in which the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has a mandate to operate. The paper consists of four sections. Following the introduction which includes a brief description of the structure and thematic programmes of OSISA, some marginalised populations whose rights OSISA is committed to advocate for are briefly outlined.
A presentation of the state of national associations of the Deaf and of Sign Language as well as challenges and possibilities these groups face in the 10 countries of OSISA's focus follow in the third and fourth sections respectively. In the fifth section the contribution of OSISA to the development and promotion of Sign Language is outlined and plans for future work are presented before outlining some conclusions.
Perhaps the best way to introduce the topic of this paper is to state what is supposed to be obvious to deaf people but not so obvious to hearing and speaking laypersons. This is the fact that Sign Language is a language just like any other natural language. Moreover, it is the only language used by the Deaf and other hearing impaired people. However, it is important to note that although it is the only language used by the Deaf, it is not required by them alone for deaf persons live amongst hearing and speaking members of their respective communities who include family and friends, colleagues at work places, fellow learners and educators in schools and tertiary institutions as well as the general public.
In recognition of these important facts, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) based in Johannesburg, is committed to advocating for the development, promotion and use of Sign Language for both formal and informal purposes. Before presenting the state of national associations of the Deaf in the 10 countries of OSISA's focus, it is helpful to briefly describe below OSISA's vision and mission and its thematic programmes for the present work is based on the work being undertaken by this regional foundation.
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a leading Johannesburg-based foundation established in 1997, working in ten Southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. OSISA works differently in each of these 10 countries, according to local conditions. There are specialised programme managers in Angola, DRC, Zimbabwe and Swaziland - these being the four countries in which significant structural governance questions still obtain.
OSISA is part of a network of autonomous foundations, established by George Soros, located in Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the US.
OSISA's mission is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practice of open society. Its vision is that of a vibrant Southern African society in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate democratically in all spheres of life.
OSISA has structured its work along strategic thematic areas as follows:
- The "building-block" programme of Education;
- The two frontline rights programmes of Human Rights and Democracy Building(HRDB) and Media & ICTs; and -
- The two public policy programmes of Economic Justice and HIV & AIDS.
In addition, Policy & Advocacy, Communications & Publications, Language Rights, and Gender & Women's Rights are cross-cutting themes in all of OSISA's work.
Through its Language Rights Programme, OSISA advocates for the development, promotion and use of the indigenous languages of Southern Africa. Whilst recognising the role of official languages such as English, French or Portuguese and that of national languages such as Setswana in Botswana, siSwati in Swaziland and Sesotho in Lesotho, OSISA believes that all the other indigenous languages of Africa are important for the socio-economic development of the majority of the African people.
Moreover, people whose language rights are violated cannot truly enjoy any of their other human and people's rights. OSISA is committed to advocating for the rights of the Deaf in the region and realizes that the right of the Deaf to communicate and to be communicated to through the use of Sign Language is an indispensible ingredient of their entire human and peoples' rights. This paper will thus discuss specifically the Deaf and Sign Language which is their only means of communication with both their fellow Deaf and their hearing and speaking counterparts.
As stated in the introduction, this paper discusses the state of the Deaf and of Sign Language interpretation in Southern Africa with special reference to 10 countries of the region. It is important from a human rights point of view to consider this issue because the Deaf form part of the marginalised populations of the continent in general and of Southern Africa in particular. It is OSISA's view that the way any society or nation treats its marginalised populations can be a useful indicator of the extent to which the given society or nation handles matters of human rights and socio-economic development for its members or citizenry. Whilst this paper looks only at the Deaf and Sign Language interpreters, it is important to note that there are other marginalised populations besides the hearing impaired. Marginalised populations besides the Deaf or hearing impaired include but are not restricted to the following:
- People with disabilities;
- Indigenous peoples e.g. the San, the Twa, the Aborigines, Amerindians, etc;
- Persons deprived of liberties, e.g. prisoners, detainees, etc;
- Sex workers;
- Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals (LGB); Men who Sleep with Men (MSM) & Women who Sleep with Women (WSW); Transgender peoples;
- Migrants - including labour migrants & mobile populations.
Each of these marginalized populations has rights like any other citizens of their respective nations. Their rights have to be respected and protected.
When people are marginalized they are not treated with dignity. From a language rights point of view, disrespect for marginalized populations takes the form of the type of language used in talking about them. This includes what names are used to refer to them.
In most cases references to marginalised populations are negative and derogatory. In this regard respecting such people's rights must include referring to them by names or labels that they prefer themselves. Where a given marginalized population has a language unique to their group, their language must be respected, protected and given official recognition.
This is the case for various indigenous peoples such as the San people of Southern Africa found mainly in Botswana, Namibia, Angola, South Africa and elsewhere. Of all marginalised populations who are discriminated against on the basis of their language are the Deaf mainly because their language is signed rather than spoken. The rest of this paper deals with this group and Sign Language which is their only means of communication with both their fellow Deaf and the hearing members of their communities.
40% disabled people illiterate
04 October, 2011, Swazi observer
MOST people with disabilities have not received any formal education.
This is according to a national representative study, which was conducted between 2009 and 2010, which has since been implemented by the Federation of Disabled People in Swaziland (FODSWA). At least 876 people with disabilities were included in the study.
The main reason cited in the report that led to the people living with disabilities not to access formal education was economic related.
Their disability was the second most important reason why they were not able to access formal education.
The report also states that the disabled out of the total sampled had fewer years of education than non-disabled individuals. The disabled during the study reported higher levels of illiteracy.
They also sampled people who were not disabled who referred to economic reasons while the disabled mentioned accessibility as a challenge.
At least 40% could not get formal education because of their disability or accessibility.
Over 30% of disabled could not attend school because of economic reasons while over six percent failed or lacked interest. Over seven percent could not attend because of illness.
The study also revealed that disabled females have less education than non disabled women, but the difference between men was not significant.
Around 20% of individuals with disability reported that they could read or write while non disabled participants in the study who could not read and write were about 12%.
Rural-urban differences were also found to be significant in that illiteracy was higher among disabled both in rural and urban areas. Around 30 to 40% of individuals with disability reported that various facilities were not accessible.
About 15-20% cannot access kitchen or bedroom where they live while 25% have accessibility problems when going to the toilet.
The report states that when combining accessibility with availability, a large proportion of the respondents did not have a living, dining room and toilet. More than one in four did not have one in their house that they can use.
Disabled males beaten for their disability
MORE than one in six males living with disabilities has experienced being beaten because of their disability.
This is contained in a national disability study by FODSWA. More than 12% of males who are disabled confirmed they were being beaten by family members and discriminated in any public service.
The female respondents reported low figures. At least 13% of females said they were being beaten or scolded because of their disability while eight percent were being abused by family members or relatives.
At least 17.5% of males suffered abuse in the hands of the public because of their disability. A large proportion of people with disabilities are unemployed.
Individuals with disabilities have had substantially less work experience than non-disabled and a much larger proportion has never been employed.
According to the study the least employed are the rural disabled while urban non-disabled have had the highest level of current employment.
Among the respondents who are living with disabilities, two thirds have never been employed and this is mainly due to health or other. Close to 50% of disabled people have never been employed when compared to non-disabled.
Most disabled females are not employed but are homemakers while only 12% have been employed in paying jobs.
Zimbabwe: Cost of Disability in Marriage
4 October 2011 all Africa
For most women, marriage is the highest watermark of their lives, the crowning glory that sets the stage for a wonderful, sustaining and lifelong commitment. It is a uniquely fulfiling experience, the culmination of sustained training and socialisation in the home, the school, and all manner of social settings to make the girl child fit for this very important role.
But, for the majority of women with disabilities in Zimbabwe, who face a triple handicap and discrimination due to their disability, gender and developing world status, marriage remains a pie in the sky.
It remains a goal that is very difficult to achieve.
Socio-cultural practices and traditional attitudes of society combine to make marriage a forbidding and unwelcome institution for women with disabilities, resulting in most of them deliberately eschewing marriage rather than succumb to the dehumanising indignities of discrimination, ridicule and stigmatisation from an insensitive society and in laws.
In a society where women are still judged according to their physical appearance, and their ability to look after a home, their husbands and children marriage continues to be a major issue.
The historical, religious, ideological, ethnic, economic and cultural factors that determine gender roles create veritable nightmares for girls with disabilities and make them unfit for motherhood and marriage right from the onset.
Although the vital importance of women's roles in economic and social spheres in developing countries is receiving increasing recognition, traditionally, women are expected to take the responsibility for all domestic chores.
These include chores such as cooking, cleaning, marketing, fetching water or fuel, washing clothes and utensils, entertaining visitors, overseeing celebrations of events or religious ceremonies in the house, and so on. They are socialised to perform these roles from a very young age.
Not so for girls with disabilities, who are either overprotected by their parents and prevented from doing all sorts of household chores and performing these roles, thus unfitting them for their future role of motherhood or grossly overworked by irate parents who fail to cope with their disability, thus scarring them for life.
Studies conducted in the United States reveal that compared to both men with disabilities and non-disabled women, women with disabilities are more likely to never marry, marry later, and be divorced if they do get married. While 60 percent of non-disabled women and men with disabilities are married, only 49 percent of women with disabilities are married.
Additionally, comparison of divorce rates of women and men with disabilities seem to suggest that women with disabilities are more likely to be left alone than men.
Statistics show that when disability occurs after marriage, men are much more likely to divorce their women, who become disabled, while the marriage rarely breaks down if the man acquires a disability.
A research on women with disabilities and marriage conducted by the Association of Women with Disabilities, Hong Kong revealed that finding the right partner was the major difficulty that women with disabilities encountered in the course of marriage.
The most challenging stage was getting acquainted with the opposite sex, a view shared by many of the focus group participants. Difficulties in marriage also arose from the economic aspect, which was reported by women with chronic illness, as well as from the objection of family members, which was reported by women with mental impairment.
The percentage of women with disabilities who remain unmarried is significantly higher in the developing world than in the United States, where most of the studies were conducted, because of the presence of advanced medical, rehabilitation and counselling systems.
This makes it easy for people with disabilities to cope with the problems and changing dynamics relative to the independence of both spouses, power differences and balance of exchange within the relationship.
Things like self-care, financial management, effect on children and assistance from immediate and extended family as well as outside resources when one spouse in the marriage acquires a disability tend to impact on negatively. It has been documented that disability can have a profound impact on an individual's ability to carry out traditionally expected gender roles, particularly for women.
Although both men and women with disabilities would face difficulties in fulfiling their expected gender roles, as long as a man with a disability earns a living, his chances of getting married and having a family are much more than those of a woman with a disability.
A woman with a disability tends to be judged and found wanting in appearance, in comparison with the conventional stereotypes of "beauty" in her culture. She is perceived as one who is unable to perform her traditional roles of wife, mother and homemaker because of her disability, even if she may be able to do so in reality.
Stereotypes and misconceptions combine to make the marriage institution a living nightmare for women with disabilities as many people in society hold the erroneous assumption that physical disabled a woman may not be competent.
There is a misconception that women with physical disability are unable to think, learn or work like their counterparts without disability.
These attitudinal barriers that society erects against women with disabilities especially in relation to marriage have wide ranging psychological impact on these women who, as a result, come to consider themselves as non-persons.
With no rights or privileges to claim, no duties or functions to perform, no aim in life to achieve, no aptitudes to consult or fulfill they become more isolated as they feel demeaned, dehumanised and unwanted.
Restricted mobility and freedom that women with disabilities have to contend with in daily life, narrows their chances of meeting potential marriage partners. In some instances, desperate families simply parcel off the woman with disability to the first man available (who may already been married) in an effort to "get rid of the burden" of caring for the woman with disability.
Women with disabilities who gave birth in clinics and hospitals have recounted stories of being scolded by nurses for deigning to give birth, with the nurses saying that they were in need of care themselves and were unable to fulfill a caring, mothering role.
They often may have to put up with abusive or exploitative relationships because of their limited social and economical means or because the only other alternative may be a life in an institution.
It has also been noted that women with disabilities may return to abusive relationships because it may be the only intimate relationship they ever had and they may judge it better to have a bad relationship than no relationship at all.
HANDEF to distribute wheelchairs to needy
Nigerian Tribune -
Written by Yinka Oladoyinbo
Wednesday, 05 October 2011
Wife of former Ondo State governor, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu, has said that the Handicapped education Foundation (HANDEF) would distribute 550 wheel chairs to needy beneficiaries in the country with a charge to government to provide succour for them.
The former first lady, who made the disclosure in Akure, said government at various levels should strive more in the area of provision of social services particularly in providing succour for the physically-challenged members of the society.
Mrs Agagu, who founded HANDEF as her pet project while in office, said the organization would continue to strive to be more meaningful to the less privileged.
She, however, called on privileged members of the society to always share a thought for those with physical disabilities.
The former first lady said, “it is by assisting this segment of our population that we can get the blessings of God as a nation and as individuals and we can feel fulfilled that we are indeed discharging our obligations to fellow men”.
She said HANDEF had been collaborating with donor agencies across the world in its bid to bring succour to the less privileged in the society.
According to her, the wheelchairs which would have cost about N37 million were to be procured from the open market, were donated freely to the organization by a foreign body, the Free Wheel Chair Mission of California, United States, and will be distributed to beneficiaries drawn from the South West states of Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, as well as Edo State.
Giving the breakdown of the distribution among the states, she said Ondo had the highest number of 172 beneficiaries, Osun followed with 102 while Oyo, Edo and Lagos had 51, 16 and 10 respectively. Ogun and Ekiti had 36 each.
Mrs Agagu, who noted that the distribution was the largest number of mobility aids to be made by any individual or organization in Nigeria to the physically challenged said “in the eight years of operations of the HANDEF, six of which was spent while my husband was in office as the Governor of Ondo State, we were able to distribute about 400 wheelchairs.”
She expressed appreciation to the state governments like Lagos and Osun, which governors have agreed to provide transportation for beneficiaries from their states to Akure next Thursday to receive the wheelchairs and a private organisation that had agreed to bring beneficiaries from Ogun State.
Garu-Tempane District Assembly exceeds revenue target 5th October 2011
Ghana News Agency
Bolgatanga, Oct. 5, GNA - The Garu-Tempane District of the Upper East Region has exceeded its revenue targets for the first six months of the year by five percent.
The Assembly had set an annual revenue target of GH? 148,097 and a quarterly collection target of GH? 37,000 which was exceeded.
The Deputy Coordinating Director of the Assembly, Mr Musah Abubakari, who said this during a mid year review meeting held in Bolgatanga to review Public Participation in Local Governance II, attributed the success story to the hard work of revenue heads at the sub-district structure levels.
He said other measures adopted by the Assembly include the instant payment of commission for earners on revenue mobilized, intensified supervision, participatory fee fixing process, organized outreach programmes on the fees, expanded tax net system and sanctioning fraudulent collectors.
He said all the nine Area Councils and Unit Committees of the area had also been inaugurated and were operational and the Area Councils had the full complement of staff as a result of the payment of salaries from National Youth Employment Programme.
Mr Abubakari said the Garu-Temapne District had also inaugurated the Disability Fund Management Committee which had disbursed GH?12,567 from the disability fund to people living with disability.
He said 425 children with disabilities were supervised and put into schools while 372 disabled people and their families were also registered under NHIS.
Mr Abubakari said 900 needy persons and PWDs were registered under the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty where they received cash donation of GH? 30.00 each from government to cater for their basic needs.
He said 279 PWDs were trained and supported with improved varieties of seeds to engage in crop production and amongst the number, 15 were groundnut farmers, 168 soya bean farmers and 96 bambara bean farmers.
Mr Abubakari said the District Assembly had also conducted a Town Hall meeting to discuss development policies at the Area Council level.
He said the District Assembly also organized health promotional talks for 465 pregnant and nursing mothers during antenatal clinics.
Africa: Peace Corps Volunteers Teach in Sign Language
5 October 2011
Washington - Peace Corps volunteers in Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya and Bulgaria are using sign language to conduct classes in science, social studies, creative arts and life skills for hearing-impaired students.
"Speaking to teachers and the principal, I helped them realize that the only thing that deaf people cannot do is hear, and they are capable of doing everything a hearing individual can," said Peace Corps/Jamaica volunteer Megan Hicks, who worked as a freelance sign language interpreter before her Peace Corps service.
In an October 3 press release, the Peace Corps highlighted the work of hearing-impaired Peace Corps volunteers, and returned hearing-impaired volunteers recently spoke about their service at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington. (Watch the video on Peace Corps' YouTube Channel.)
In Guyana, Peace Corps Response volunteer Allen Neece of Arlington, Virginia, has been working since February 2011 teaching sign language and HIV/AIDS awareness classes to hearing-impaired teachers. In addition, he is revising standard school curricula to be appropriate for deaf students.
Neece, who is hearing impaired, also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, where he taught and advocated for the deaf community. He got his assignment in Guyana through Peace Corps Response, which gives returned Peace Corps volunteers the chance to take on short-term, high- impact assignments in various programs around the world.
Also in Guyana, volunteer Jillian Johnson of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, is teaching an American Sign Language class at a special needs school and recently developed and conducted a spelling bee competition in American Sign Language. Jillian also facilitated a weeklong summer camp for disabled students in July 2011.
In Jamaica, Peace Corps volunteer Megan Hicks of South Lake Tahoe, California, is working in a school with 43 hearing-impaired students aged 3 to 13. She teaches classes at the school and holds sign language classes for the general public. She also helped create a school library.
Since arriving in Kenya in October 2010, Peace Corps volunteer Alan Kawamura of Garden Grove, California, has worked as a deaf education teacher in a school in western Kenya with students aged 3 to 21. He teaches Kenyan sign language, science, social studies, creative arts and life skills classes. Kawamura graduated in 2009 from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in deaf studies.
Peace Corps/Kenya began a deaf education program in 1992 for volunteers to give hearing-impaired students the same standard of education as their peers. Volunteers teach students and teachers Kenyan Sign Language and incorporate health and HIV/AIDS awareness into lesson plans. Peace Corps/Kenya currently has 16 deaf education volunteers and four math and science volunteers who are teaching hearing-impaired secondary school children.
In Bulgaria, Peace Corps volunteer Kathleen James of Sharpsburg, Georgia, will be teaching five hearing-impaired children in her local community using the Picture Exchange Communication System, which uses pictures to help children communicate.
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world.
Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries.
Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. They commit to serve for 27 months.
For more information, see the Peace Corps website.
Nurse to stand trial for allegedly blocking a disabled patient with her car
October 5, 2011, ZimEye
(Newcastle)A Zimbabwean nurse is next week Monday to stand before a tribunal for among a host of other allegations, blocking a disabled patient with her vehicle at a hospital in the northern town of Sunderland .
Allegations against Norma MURWIRA are detailed in a long five point list which at the beginning states that she inappropriately prevented Service User A, who was wheelchair-bound, from entering the Sunderland Royal Hospital. She is also alleged to have said to Service User A’s daughter that she was “behaving like a victim”, or words that effect.
The full list of allegations reads:
1. Whilst employed as a Staff Nurse by the South of Tyne and Wearside Mental Health NHS Trust, on or around 23rd August 2006:
(a) inappropriately prevented Service User A, who was wheelchair-bound, from entering the Sunderland Royal Hospital, in that you blocked his taxi with your car;
(b) said to Service User A’s daughter that she was “behaving like a victim”, or words that effect;
2. Whilst employed as a Staff Nurse by the South of Tyne and Wearside Mental Health NHS Trust, on or around 16th October 200, said to Service User B, when he enquired about his medication, words to the effect of “you will have it when I’m good and ready”;
3. Whilst employed as a Staff Nurse by the South of Tyne and Wearside Mental Health NHS Trust, on or around 16th October 2007, verbally threatened Service User B in that you said to him “if you don’t shut up, I’ll have you dragged to another room, restrained, pinned down and I’ll inject you” or words to that effect;
4. After being suspended from the Trust on 24th October 2007, failed to inform Medical Professional Locums / Nursing Personnel (“the Agency”) that you had been suspended;
5. Your conduct, as set out at charge 4 above was dishonest.
AND, in light of the above, your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct.”
Nursing in the United Kingdom is vigorously monitored and all practicing nurses are required by law to register before they embark on work.
Legacy of IPC Development Camp May Be More Accessibility in Zambia
6 October 2011, Official website of the Paralympic movement
At the official Opening Ceremony of the International Paralympic Committee(IPC) Regional Development Camp in Lusaka, Zambia, the Minister of Labour, Sports, Youth and Gender, Fackson Shamenda, said he would support Paralympic Sport in Zambia.
In his first official duty since coming into office in recent elections, Shamenda underlined the rights of people with a disability by reading aloud abstracts from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability, which Zambia ratified in February 2010.
“The government wants access to sports facilities to be user friendly for all,” he told an audience of athletes, coaches, National Paralympic Committee (NPC) administrators and press.
“All public infrastructure must be accessible to people with a disability.
We need to accommodate everybody.
“My message to participating countries is that the skills and knowledge from this camp are used to enhance sports for persons with a disability. I’m sure this will change the way disability sport is run in the whole region,”
The camp, which is sponsored by the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF) and Charity and Sport, runs from 3-8 October. Its goals include creating a unique atmosphere to give NPCs the opportunity to share knowledge.
Carolin Rickers, IPC Development Manager, who is in Zambia to facilitate the camp, said: “The IPC Regional Training Camp is a tremendous result of our blossoming partnership with NIF, which has been supporting NPCs in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho to develop the Paralympic Movement there. This week is a culmination of that work.
“The IPC Regional Training Camp is a fantastic opportunity to bring athletes, coaches and NPC administrators closer together.
“It’s also a chance for countries to exchange best practices and programmes in order to learn from each other.
“This week will bring promising athletes closer to their dream of participating in the Paralympic Games.
“What I’ve witnessed this week is a huge dedication to the Paralympic Movement and I believe that in the years to come Paralympians from these nations will be a force to be reckoned with.”
In total 23 athletes, 17 coaches and six administrators from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana will spend the week learning from experts in workshops and being trained by NIF coach instructor Nils Helland.
“With the right coaching and follow up, some of these athletes have the potential to make it to the top,” Helland said.
At the Opening Ceremony, Zambian athlete Annie Simfukwe gave an emotional speech, appealing for more sports equipment and facilities.
“We humbly request the Zambian government to link up these countries present to further sports for persons with disabilities.
“I stand here today to make an earnest appeal to you for help in terms of equipment and transport as this has been the biggest challenge to all National Paralympic Committees. There are a lot of persons with disabilities out there who are eager to join the sporting world but lack the facilities.
“I hope this camp is part of a new beginning for the Paralympic Movement in Southern Africa and I am excited for what the future holds.”
The Opening Ceremony was closed by a passionate address from Namibia’s Gideon Nasilowski, a London 2012 hopeful.
“If we can take this as a step to unify Africa, this is a perfect opportunity. We are standing together as one and there’s nothing that can hold us back. As people with disabilities, we can use sport as a means of success.
“We sometimes feel that we are neglected or discriminated against, but we are much further in life than the able-bodied because we stand together. We are one.”
With the IPC Foundation intending to carry out similar projects in the future, the IPC hopes to enable NPCs to develop their athletes and for them to inspire their country through their sporting abilities.
WAEC reacts to deaf and dumb oral exam error
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has dismissed media reports that it failed to exempt some deaf and dumb students from writing the oral English examination this year.
According to WAEC, provisions are made for persons with hearing impairments and other physical disabilities to indicate their conditions on the application form.
Steven Abrokwa and Amu Christie wrote the Senior High School oral English paper on June 9 while Hlovor Kwame Francis took the oral English paper on September 6 in the ongoing West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates at the Mamfe Methodist Girls SHS.
According to reports, WAEC failed to exempt the three students from taking part in the paper which left the students with no choice than to take the examination, which is done through listening and writing.
Speaking to Citi News, Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, Public Relations Officer of WAEC, expressed surprise at the reports and stated that the regional examination regulatory body would initiate steps to investigate the matter and come out with appropriate solutions.
"WAEC does not register any candidate for exam even if you are in school; those who take the May/June exam are registered by the school so if there is any impairment or any other disability the school informs us.
"With Nov/Dec exams candidates go online and register and there is a portion on the registration form that you tick if you have any disability, so we have to find out whether they did that. If you don’t give any information about any disability how would we know?"
Three deaf students take oral exam
From: Ghana/Myjoyonline.com/Isaac Essel
Last Updated: October 7,
2011, 3:30 pm
Two male and a female deaf and dumb students had no choice but to write the Oral English paper this year because the examining body, West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), failed to exempt them from doing so.
Due to their hearing impairment, such students do not write any oral examination which is usually done by listening and writing.
The affected students, Abrokwa Steven and Amu Christie wrote the Oral English for senior high schools on 9th June 2011 at the Menako Exam Hall in Cantonments and Okuapeman Senior High School respectively, Luv FM’s Benjamin Henaku reported.
The third person, Hlovor Kwame Francise sat for the Oral English paper on 6th September 2011 at the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates at the Mamfe Methodist Girls SHS.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye- Cudjoe told sit-in host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show the news has come as a “surprise” to the council.
She said WAEC has been exempting persons with hearing impairment from taking oral exams, and also made provisions for those with other impairments.
Mrs Teye-Cudjoe believed there could be a probability that the guardians of theses students or their schools failed to indicate on their forms that they were deaf.
She cited instances where persons who had difficulty with their sight were given papers with big font size. She however stated that the “ appropriate action” would be taken to rectify the anomaly, if those students involved produced medical records to prove they are deaf.
“The councils’ policy is that candidates who are hearing impaired do not take Oral English as in candidates who have other challenges in one way or the other we make the necessary provisions for them.”
The guarantor of one of the affected, Amu Christie, Mr Kwame William confirmed to Myjoyonline.com that his niece was made to write the oral paper.
Meanwhile, the Headmaster of the Mampong School for the Deaf, sounding a bit surprised about the development, told Myjoyonline.com Thursday that students from his school do not write the oral papers because the school indicates on the forms that they are deaf.
Mr Emmanuel Asenu recalled he had a call from Mamfe Methodist Girls SHS that one of his students was there to take the oral paper, but he quickly dispatched an emissary to the exam centre to rectify the situation. He said the student in question, though he could not recollect whether he or she was one of the three mentioned students, was not made to write the examination.
Islamic Charity donates to school of the deaf
Cape Coast, Oct.8, GNA - Ustaz Abdul Jaleel Abdul Ganiy, head of an international Islamic charity organization, has donated food items worth GH= ¢ 2000 to the Cape Coast School for the Deaf. The items include six bags of rice, four gallons of vegetable oil, fou= r cartons of key soap, four of cartons milk, toilet rolls, bags of sugar, biscuits and soft drinks. He said the donation was part of their social responsibility towards the needy in society and gave the assurance that the organization would mak= e an annual donation to the school. The Housemaster of the school, Mr Bernard Koranteng Gyapong, thanked the donors for the gesture and appealed to other organization to emulate th= e example. He said the school which is now 40 years old has a pupil population of 397, made of 222 boys and 175 girls and that the school scored 91 per cent in this year's BECE. He said the school's major problem was the inability of most parents= to communicate with their wards using the sign language, adding that in some cases when the pupils were on holidays their parents had to bring them to the school for signs to be interpreted for them. He said to address the situation, the school has decided to organize weekly sign language training for the general public and urged parents to take advantage of the program.
In a related development participants attending this year's Ahlussau= nna Wal-Jama'a Da'awa (Convention) being held in Cape Coast have donated bl= ood to the Central Regional Hospital blood bank. The three day national convention being attended by more than 5000 delegates from all the 10 regions in the country is under the theme "Homosexuality a danger to society". Mr Martin Ampofo, Senior Blood Programme Coordinator, thanked the participants for the blood donated, stressing that the donation was timely since the blood banks were low. He said the bank receives the bulk of its blood supply from second cycle schools in the region adding that when the students are on holidays i= t becomes difficult to get people to donate. He appealed to other organizations to emulate the members of the Ahlussaunn= a Wal-Jama'a group and donate regularly to the blood bank to help save live= s.
Zimbabwe: Miss Disability Winners Receive Prizes
9 October 2011, allAfrica
Miss Disability Harare 2011 Yeukai Mazhawidzwa was all smiles after she received her prizes for clinching the crown at a glittering ceremony held at Leonard Cheshire Trust in Harare.
The 25-year-old walked away with a return air ticket for two to Victoria Falls courtesy of Air Zimbabwe and voucher valued at US$150 from Topics and accommodation for two at any Hotel or Lodge of her choice.
Chiedza Nkomazana, who emerged the second princess, got a holiday voucher for two at Carribea Bay Hotel in Kariba courtesy of Africa Sun, US$100 shopping voucher from Topics and her travelling expenses will be covered by the trust.
Second princess Talent Muchengwi won herself a dinner voucher for two at the Rainbow Towers plus a Topics voucher valued at US$50.
Speaking at the prize-giving event, Juliet Muzondo, the co-ordinator of the pageant, expressed delight at the support the beauty pageant received from the corporate world.
"We are grateful of the support we got from our sponsors and partners. We hope to build on this relationship such that we have a much bigger and even better organised event next year," she said.
Miss Disability was held last month with 15 beauties taking to the ramp.
"We have started consultations with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe to take the event to the rest of the country. It is our hope that disabled ladies from all parts of the country become part of this pageant," Muzondo said.
She said it was the trust's vision to make the beauty pageant an annual national event.
The newly crowned Miss Disability 2011 Yeukai, a psychology student at the Zimbabwe Open University, said she was ready to take on her role as ambassador of young disabled women in Zimbabwe.
She said the inclusion of disabled persons in life issues would see an end to discrimination.
"We are also human and as such we deserve to be treated equally with dignity, it is only with the support of the rest of society that we will curb discrimination," she said.
The Leonard Cheshire Trust is a member of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Global Alliance which operates in more than 50 countries worldwide. It is a non-profit organisation working with children and youth with disabilities.
Physically challenged advocate employment at tollbooths
Ghana News Agency
10th October 2011
Cape Coast, Oct. 10, GNA - CECON Organization, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) comprising a group of road accident victims, has appealed to the Government, the Disability Council and other stakeholders to consider employing its members as tollbooth operators since the job was physically less demanding.
He said tollbooth operation was one of the job avenues people living with disabilities (PWDs) could easily manage and advocated that such jobs should be reserved for them.
The plea which was contained in a statement signed by the President of the Organization, Mr Nicholas Nimo, and copied to the GNA on Monday said it was only through such avenues that the PWDs could be profitably engaged, rather than leaving them to take to the streets to beg for alms.
He said in about 95 per cent of road accident cases, it was usually not the fault of the victims but that most of them were left to their fate to fend for themselves, thus making it very difficult for them to survive since their physical capabilities would have been severely impaired.
He described as worrisome the discriminatory attitude of some members of the public towards PWDs, saying that given the necessary incentives they would be able to provide for themselves.
Mr Nimo regretted that little attention was given to the plight of the disabled and stressed that it was the responsibility of the Government and, for that matter, civil society to ensure that victims of road crashes were integrated into the society and helped to obtain a decent means of earning their livelihood.
He appealed to the media, religious leaders, traditional authorities and all stakeholders to lend support to the advocacy being carried out by PWDs to assert their rights in society.
MISS DEAF PRINCESS GETTING MARRIED
10 October, 2011, Swazi Observer
THREE weeks after the Miss Deaf contest, Thandeka Mnisi who was crowned the second princess has pulled out.
Mnisi pulled out because she will be getting married in a few weeks.
This has therefore, seen Vuyisile Masangane who was awarded most photogenic contestant, stepping into her shoes.
All the prizes that were to be handed to Mnisi will now go to Masangane. This was announced by the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) CEO Stanley Dlamini, who explained the decision was taken after they met with Mnisi’s parents.
Dlamini announced this during the Miss Deaf 2011 prize presentation held at the George Hotel in Manzini on Friday.
Dlamini said; ‘I will assume some people have been asking themselves as to where Thandeka is? A few days ago Nokuthula Mbatha and myself met with her parents, who wanted advice as to what they are going to do with the crown now that their daughter will be getting married. After the talks it was later agreed that she hands over the crown. Just because she needs time to prepare for her big day, we felt that we should take the crown.”
Mnisi was present during the presentation. Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association (SBPA) President Tony Dlamini congratulated Mnisi, adding that they wished her all the best as she prepared for the wedding.
He justified handing over the prizes to her successor by explaining that Mnisi hadn’t signed the necessary contracts.
Miss Deaf Prizes
Queen (Nosipho Zwane)
2. Hearing Aid Assessment
3. Driving School Course
4. TV Set
7. Sewing - Art Design
8. Edgars Clothing
Second Princess (Vuyisile Masangane)
1. Edgars Clothing
2. Hearing Aid Assessment
3. Cell phone
4. TV set
5. Fabric Design Attachment
First Princess (Seyenzile Dlamini)
1. Edgars Clothing
2. Hearing Aid Assessment
3. Fabric Design Attachment
4. Massage and Saloon
5. TV set
6. Cell phone
3 deaf students take oral exams: WAEC voices dismay
10月11日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
The Public Relations Officer of West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Mrs. Agnes Teye-Cudjoe has expressed dismay about reports that three deaf and dumb students were forced to write the Oral English paper this year.
Mrs. Teye-Cudjoe said, it has always been the policy of WAEC to exempt persons with hearing impairment from taking oral exams and also make provisions for other impairments, hence, the news come as a surprise to the council.
She stated that probably, the candidates failed to indicate on their forms that they were deaf and dumb.
The affected students are Abrokwa Steven, Amu Christie and Hlovour Kwame Francise.
Meanwhile, the guarantor of one of the affected, Amu Christie, Kwame William has confirmed that his niece was made to write the oral paper.
RGR Signs offers Miss Deaf a job
11 October, 2011, Swazi Observer
Miss Deaf 2011 Nosipho Zwane has been offered a job by RgR Signs in Manzini.
The beauty queen will be attached to the company throughout her reign, practising graphic designing and learning more on how to use a computer.
The 26 year old queen has been at home since she came back from Cape Town where she was schooling. Part of her studies included graphic designing something which Nosipho said she would love to do as a full time job.
Organiser of the Miss Deaf pageant, Nokuthula Mbatha thanked RGR for the job offer and wished other companies would hire deaf people like they hire normal ones.
The company has also offered Nosipho a hearing aid. She said deaf people are normal people just that they need that guidance.
“When I started organizing the pageant I knew little about deaf people. Now that I have started working with them I have learnt a lot. Actually they are the nicest people ever. As you work with them, you learn a lot. Thanks to RgR for the job offer. She will be paid as well so it’s a lot of sacrifice on the company’s budget,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of RgR Signs was Roland Roberts also known as Mavuso, who said the job offer is not a marketing strategy but they are trying to improve the lives of deaf people in the country.
Africa: UNICEF Says One-Third of Children Not in School Have a Disability and Are Often Denied Dignity and Rights
12 October 2011
New York - Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups and suffer widespread violations of their rights, UNICEF said today as a key report was presented to a committee of the UN General Assembly.
Children with disabilities are denied access to education and health care, opportunities for play and culture, an adequate standard of living and the right to be heard.
They are discriminated against and treated as an invisible burden. In some cultures disability is viewed as a curse or punishment. A child with an impairment is blamed as the embodiment of past failure, inadequacy or sins.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake presented the report of the Secretary-General on the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with a special focus on children with disabilities to the Third Committee of the General Assembly in New York.
Their discrimination is not from the intrinsic nature of their disability, but rather from entrenched social exclusion resulting from multiple barriers including discriminatory legislation, lack of training for teachers, prejudice, social stigma and inadequate understanding by teachers, parents and society, as well as a lack of services and support.
Children with disabilities are at risk of suffering violence, abuse and neglect
There is little reliable data on discrimination against them, but it is undoubtedly widespread. Some estimates are that at least one third of the world's 72 million children not in school have a disability.
Some steps have been taken to address the current paucity of information.
However, significantly greater investment is still needed in data collection to begin to build a more effective picture of the reality of the lives of children with disabilities.
The prevalence of disability is a complex issue depending not only on factors such as access to health services and resources allocation, but also to social attitudes which can vary over time and from place to place; what may be considered a disability in one place is not in another. Consistent and accurate information is necessary to render children with disabilities visible.
Barriers are formidable and include discriminatory legislations, lack of training, prejudice, stigma and inadequate understanding as to the nature of disability.
In health care, several studies show that children with disabilities do not receive standard immunizations and basic care.
There is a common misconception that people with disabilities are not sexually active, they find it difficult to get access to confidential health services, including contraception and HIV/AIDS services. Action is also needed to stop children with disabilities being subject to forced sterilization or abortion.
Children with disabilities, who could be cared for at home, are at a higher risk of being placed in institutions. This means they are outside of their community in an anonymous environment which increases their isolation. Part of this is due to stigmatization, but this is also due to a simple lack of basic services accessible to the family.
The report said that children with disabilities live with discrimination in every aspect of their lives. The impact can be profound, dehumanizing them, denying them access to basic rights, access to a visible life, even to the right to life itself.
Zimbabwe: Jairos Jiri Scoop Danhiko Honours
October 12, 2011, Zimbabwe Telegraph
JAIROS JIRI of Kadoma were crowned champions in this year’s Danhiko Paralympic Games as the curtain came down on the competition on Sunday.
Participants took part in athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, swimming, wheelchair slalom, visually impaired goal ball, visually impaired soccer, hearing impaired swimming, hearing impaired soccer, hearing impaired netball, mentally handicapped soccer and netball.
Jairos Jiri scooped the title, which was previously held by Danhiko who won last year’s title.
The former defending champions were toppled into fourth place. For their efforts Jairos Jiri walked away with US$800 and a trophy.
Copota from Masvingo were second while National Rehab Centre of Ruwa finished third and they pocketed US$500 and US$300 respectively.
Chairman of the organising committee, Godfrey Majonga, was pleased with the level of competition and discipline at the Games.
“The competition in some areas such as wheelchair basketball, goal ball, and some soccer events was very high.
“As the organisers we were very satisfied with the way the games went. The international flavour brought by Botswana was excellent and really boosted competition,” said Majonga.
He paid tribute to the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, who is the patron of Danhiko Project, for her support.
“We are very grateful to her Excellency, Amai Mugabe, who is also the patron of Danhiko for making everything possible.
“We want to thank her for the material and financial support and the entertainment. She spent a day with the participants and we are really grateful,” said Majonga.
The event attracted 2 300 athletes from 110 clubs, including one from Botswana.
Winners in different categories walked away with US$500 while the runners-up got US$300 and the third places pocketed US$100.
Outstanding individuals in every category got US$100.
Majonga also paid tribute to all the sponsors who made the Games a success, Delta Corporation, Marange Resources, CBZ, CMED, Chinese Embassy, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, Schweppes, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army and Greengrove Primary School.
SA Sundowns bring smiles to Deaf pupils
13 October, 2011, Swazi Observer
SOCCER - SOUTH Africa’s glamour side Mamelodi Sundowns brought smiles to the sports loving pupils of the School for the Deaf Primary in Siteki when they donated 10 soccer balls and mini rackets yesterday.
The balls, presented to the school by the team’s representative Zakhele Dlamini and the local supporters branch, are part of the consignment left by the team during their pre-season camp held in the country.
Making the presentation at the school’s premises in Siteki, Dlamini said he had been tasked by the team to look for other possible beneficiaries for the balls donated to the people of Eteni in Matsapha during their stay in the country.
The former Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) CEO said this was not the end of such donations elsewhere as Sundowns was well entrenched in the country with many supporters.
Speaking on behalf of the pupils at the school, Sabelo Khumalo, a member of the school’s soccer team, said they were very grateful for the donation.
“We are very thankful to Sundowns for choosing us out of many other schools.
I can only hope our relationship with the team will be very strong and we will get even more in the future.
Thank you very much and may God bless all of them,” the young star said.
The Acting Deputy Principal Sindisiwe Jele said they felt blessed to be visited by representatives from Mamelodi Sundowns.
Lugongolweni Member of Parliament Joseph Souza was also full of thanks to Sundowns stating that the School for the Deaf was very special in the area.
He thanked the team for recognising the school.
Also present was Mamelodi local supporters’ branch’s committee whose Chairman Sifiso Dlamini expressed their wish to open a School for the Deaf supporters branch.
...Deaf Primary pupils just love ‘Teko’ modise
SOCCER - pupils of the School for the Deaf Primary just love South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns’ iconic player Teko Modise.
This was revealed by their teacher Sizwe Ndlela declaring that as soon as Sundowns’ representatives leave, the school the children will be reflecting with sign language ‘Teko Modise’ all the way. He also disclosed just how much they love and excel in sports, beating other schools in the area.
He narrated how during the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa four of their pupils got lost and were found on their way to South Africa to watch the global football showpiece.
He said this eventually forced the school to purchase satellite dishes so that the pupils could watch soccer games on television.
“I can assure that Teko Modise will be on the children’s minds today as they love him so much and show that through sign language. I must state that the children are very good in sports and other activities that require body movement,” the teacher explained.
Ndlela also stated that they were hoping one day some of their pupils would go all the way to be recruited to the Manzini Sundowns’ academy where their skills could be moulded for the better.
He said this could be through a programme that could allow as many people as possible to be able to communicate with the deaf.
Association decries dearth of sign language interpreters
Friday, 14 October 2011
The Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) has expressed concern over the low number of skilled sign language interpreters in the country.
The association’s President, Malam Suleiman Dagbo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja through an interpreter that the situation was hampering the involvement of the deaf in national activities.
He said language interpreters would bridge the current information gap, which placed the deaf at a disadvantaged position in accessing information.
According to Dagbo, deaf individuals are being marginalised in the scheme of affairs in the country due to public misconceptions of deafness and the inability of the deaf community to speak out at the appropriate time.
He emphasised that having sign language interpreters was part of the fundamental rights of members of the association and urged the government to assist in this regard.
The association’s president urged Nigerians to encourage the deaf to achieve their full potential without any discrimination.
“The home and school environment of the deaf child must continuously provide appropriate motivating and progressive ingredients such as parental care and love, discipline, communication, interaction and exposure to societal functions and realities.”
On special education for the deaf, Dagbo said that there was the need for the Federal Government to restructure existing schools for the deaf in the country.
“The school environment must provide qualified sign language skilled teachers and rich learning environment.”
The NNAD was established in 1972 to promote the rights of the deaf through partnership with relevant stakeholders and non governmental organisations for equal participation of the deaf people in national development.
Tanzania: No Solace Yet for Brave, Disabled Man
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
Songa Wa Songa
15 October 2011
Dar es Salaam - At 19 years, Thomas Kone left his rural home in Handeni District expecting a better life in Dar es Salaam.Like most of the youth in upcountry regions, he believed Tanzania's commercial capital and largest city would offer him an opportunity to change his life for the better.
Literally armed with nothing, Kone was undeterred when he joined the ranks of thousands of the jobless in the city and hoped he would quickly settle down and fulfil his dream of at least earning a living .
"I did not go to school and had nothing much to do at home due to my physical disability. The conditions in the village were getting increasingly tough, and I was getting worried each passing day," Kone told The Citizen on Saturday.
He basically came to Dar es Salaam for economic reasons. "I heard stories about abundance of wealth and opportunities in the city, I believed there would be something good for me too," Kone said.
Unlike in Handeni, he also thought Dar es Salaam had better facilities for people with physical disabilities like him.
Nine years down the line, the 28 year old's dreams have largely come to a naught. He has instead learnt the hard way that in the big city, life is a 'survival of the fittest'."I have since adjusted to the harsh realities of life for people with disabilities who are unlucky to have not gone to school," he says with a tinge of bitterness.
Kone contracted spinal poliomyelitis or 'polio' that led to asymmetric paralysis of his legs at a tender age of four. Since then he uses his arms to move around.When he arrived in Dar es Salaam, poverty and limited mobility remained a big challenge. The unfriendly environment still haunts him to date as he struggles to survive. He is among the many homeless people in the city.
In the early days after his arrival, he was constantly mistreated by daladala commuters as he needed someone to help him on and off their vehicles whenever he travelled. Worse, he couldn't pay the fare because he was penniless.
Soon, he was forced by circumstances to start thinking of how he would cope. "A wheelchair was out of the question. I had to think of something else that I could afford to be able to move about easily in the busy city," he narrated.
Back home in Handeni he used a wheelchair from 1990 to 2000. But the experience was very uncomfortable, as he frequently suffered from chest pains and exhaustion from peddling with his arms atop the hills. At times he failed to make the rides.
"The exercise also distorted my body physique as my arms and chest became too muscular, making me look somewhat awkward," he complains.
To settle that problem, Kone settled for the unthinkable--the ordinary bicycle meant for able bodied cyclists, which to the amazement of many people, he started riding.Explaining how he manages to ride the bicycle, he says: "I sit on the left pedal with my right hand firmly gripping the handle. My left hand, shielded by a slipper, works as an accelerator."
Thus Kone is no longer worried about the lack of transport. But he fears the possibility of becoming a casualty of the numerous road accidents caused mainly by reckless driving in the city exhibited by daladala commuters. "I have had many near misses," he admits.
In the midst of his agony, Kone wishes he had an education that could have enabled him to get a decent job and more convenient means of transport."My parents didn't consider education important for me because of my disability. In addition, our Maasai nomadic life made the schooling idea more untenable," he laments.Up to now Kone is an illiterate man. He feels ashamed of not being able to fill in simple forms, and he has to stamp his fingerprints for a signature.
But given the tenacity he shows by riding a bicycle, a number of people have asked to employ him, but he resists the idea due to the fact that he cannot read or write.He says people with disability deserve to be educated to help mitigate the suffering they already face.
"However, when it comes to counting no one can fool me, particularly when the unit in question is money," he brags. He now earns Sh50, 000 as a watchman. The meagre earning enables him to eke out a precarious living. "No much bills to pay, rafiki (friend). I am basically living in the street, right here; in this or that veranda," he points out.
The two verandas that Kone refers to as his open-air abode are also his means of earning a living: the owners of those two shops have entrusted him with overseeing security at the premises.
"Because I work as a night watchman, I usually look for a cool shade during daytime to sleep for a few hours before proceeding with other duties," he says.When the going gets tough, Kone rides to the city centre to beg. "I feel very ashamed to beg, but in the face of the unbearable hunger I swallow every bit of pride and go on begging," he says.
What could he have done instead? "I am passionate about farming; if I could secure a little capital, I would go straight back to Handeni and embark on farming in the spirit of Kilimo Kwanza."
"Meanwhile, I would appreciate if any good Samaritan gave me better means of transport, like a bajaj for instance. That could drastically change my life," he noted.
Vodafone restores sight to 2,500 visually impaired
From: Ghana/Daily Graphic
Last Updated: October 16, 2011, 12:00 pm
The initiative is part of Vodafone’s contribution to the World Sight Day Vodafone Ghana has teamed up with Sight Savers and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to restore the sight of 2,500 visually impaired Ghanaians suffering from cataract and trachoma across the country.
The initiative is part of Vodafone’s contribution to the World Sight Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to focus global attention on blindness and visual impairment.
Vodafone is providing funds for the project, which is being organised by Sight Savers as part of the World Sight Day celebrations.
Qualified healthcare professionals from the GHS have set up 80 screening centres to offer free screening and surgery to patients suffering from cataract and trachoma, two major causes of blindness in Ghana.
According to the Head of Corporate Communications at Vodafone, Mrs Carmen Bruce-Annan, the association of Vodafone Ghana with the initiative reaffirmed its commitment to the well being of Ghanaians, especially the economically disadvantaged who had little or no access to quality health care.
Announcing Vodafone's collaboration with Sight Savers and the GHS in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Bruce-Annan said Vodafone was delighted to be partnering Sight Savers and the GHS to give the “gift of sight” to 2, 500 visually impaired Ghanaians, adding, “We are passionate about the health of the people in our communities, especially the less privileged sections in society.”
Mrs Bruce-Annan said eyesight was something that was usually taken for granted and yet it was well-known that cataract was the leading cause of blindness in the country.
“We believe every Ghanaian deserves good health and we are committed to making the right partnerships to fulfill our promise of empowering Ghanaians to take control of their health and lead more fulfilled lives, ” she said.
For her part, the Country Director of Sight Savers Ghana, Madam Joyce Ashun, said to be able to reduce the high rate of blindness in the country required the collective effort and responsibility of the people in the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) information on blindness indicates that cataract is the leading cause of blindness globally, accounting for between 40 and 50 per cent of all blindness.
In Ghana, the major causes of blindness are cataract refractive errors which account for 50 per cent of sight impairment; trachoma, 15 per cent; Glaucoma, 15 per cent; cornel scares, five per cent, and other causes, 15 per cent.
The screening and treatment sessions are scheduled to run till the end of November this year under the supervision of Sight Savers.
Voting Simulation Paving the Way to Free Elections on the 23rd
Farah Samti | 16 October 2011
ISIE's polling station
Yesterday, October 16th, the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) held a voting simulation of the Constituent Assembly elections in downtown Tunis, voting district Tunis1. While press coverage of the simulation was intense and safety measures were taken, only few people witnessed the event.
The people that attended the simulation were volunteers, with men, women, youngsters, elderly, and even disabled Tunisians acting as voters. At least two people and ideally three worked at the polling station: two were in charge of list names and one stood next to the ballet box. Mr. Med Habib Khadraoui, a member of the Tunis1 ISIE office, stated that there can be a fourth person in charge of organizing voter lines. The only other people allowed in the polling station are observers, political parties, and list representatives.
Different problems that might occur on the 23rd were simulated, such as being at the wrong polling station, showing a copy of the identity card or passport instead of the original document, or not appearing on the voting list. The 35 years old Bassma, who acted as a voter during the simulation, said “I didn’t know that voting can be that easy. Now I’m even more excited about going to vote next Sunday. Everything went fine, there was no confusion.”
Indeed, the voting procedure was not difficult to follow. Voters entered the polling center, showed their ID cards, signed the list, picked a paper, marked a finger with ink - preventing them from voting again - went to a private corner, made their choice, folded the paper, and then put it into the box. The head of the polling center and the observers around made sure that there was no confusion during this process.
Disabled Tunisians were accompanied by someone to help them vote.
Assistants are allowed to help up to two voters only, and are supposed to sign at the entrance as well. One of the simulators was in a wheelchair and was able to vote with the help of his assistant.
Assistant helping disabled voter
Whilst the simulation was held without difficulty, a high media presence was subject to controversy. The observer Najm Eddine Hbibi, however, highlighted that the media presence will be lower during the real elections. This is because - in contrast to the simulation - the elections will take place nationwide and last for the whole day, i.e. the media would not concentrate on one specific office.
When asking a few journalists and other Tunisian citizens who came to witness the simulation about problems with the organization of the elections so far, a very important issue was addressed, namely that illiterate Tunisians are not able to use an assistant’s help. We called Mr. Mourad Bilmouali, head of Judicial Affairs of ISIE, and asked him about the matter. He confirmed that illiterate Tunisians can vote but are not allowed to receive any kind of assistance. Symbols of political parties and lists, however, enable them to submit a vote.
GHS 'snubs' visually impaired at World Sight Day
From: Ghana/Maxwell Kudekor/Asempa News
Last Updated: October
17, 2011, 2:00 am
The Ghana Health Service on Thursday apparently snubbed some visually impaired and residents of the Eastern Region who had come for a well advertised free eye screening and a durbar to mark this year’s World Sight Day, held in the Eastern Regional capital Koforidua.
The 2011 World Sight Day which was Themed: "Reducing Blindness, Importance of Eye Care to National Development".
But participants, who had come from various communities and districts across the eastern region, were highly disappointed over the manner in which the Ghana Health Services and their eye specialists treated them during the screening exercise.
Over 250 people who had joined a long queue to check their eyes or seek eye care were left unattended after wasting barely four hours in a long queue, whether any tangible explanation.
The eye screening started at around 10:00 am, but was suspended after 30 minutes in order to give prominence to the durbar. It however resumed after the programme had ended.
Shockingly, the eye specialists who were conducting the screening exercise packed their equipment, luggage and left the old, young and visually impaired who were in the queue to check their eyes.
This development generated some murmuring among the poor people. Though annoyed, they had no option but to leave the place disappointed.
When journalists probed them for their action, officials only asked persons who want to seek eye care to go to the Central Hospital in Koforidua.
Meanwhile, available statistics indicates that a total of 83,088 eye diseases were recorded in the Eastern region alone between January to September 2009, out of this 5,587 had Cataract.
In 2010, same period, 83,985 cases were recorded with 7,541 being cataract.
Eye specialists say ideally, 80% of eye diseases would not have occurred if such cases were reported to hospitals or health facilities early enough.
But unfortunately, healthcare, including eye health, is out of reach to the majority of the people living in the rural areas.
Mogadishu’s Oasis of Understanding
To the ignorant, the judgemental and the selfish, people who manifest a physical and mental disability have always been an easy target for ridicule, chastisement and rejection. Down the centuries the blind, the deaf and the dumb have stoically endured the spiteful conduct of those who vanity means they believe that they are in some way superior. Stigma and social ostracism persist, with some deluded souls attributing certain disabilities to a curse. Thankfully attitudes are slowly changing and more enlightened and truly charitable individuals have begun to work assiduously to change social attitudes and to ensure that people are valued for who they are.
The Horn of Africa has more than its far share of difficulties in this regard. Life is difficult at the best of times, with access to medical treatment in many areas near non-existent. A harsh and forbidding climate, dust and increasing pollution means that ocular diseases are commonplace. Conflict and civil war continues to plague the region and has brought with it thousands of casualties, some physical the result of machine gun fire, rocket propelled grenades and land mines, but also a considerable amount of psychological damage, the result of untreated trauma. All of this has been exacerbated by the fact that a sizeable percentage of the few trained medical professionals have either been killed or fled the region, and precious clinics and hospitals have been repeated shelled, and appear to resemble warehouses of death. Access to adequate training, let alone suitable equipment and medicines compounds the problem.
In war-torn Somalia the situation for thousands is desperate. Whilst the UN, the AU, powerful NGOs, the TFG and local warlords play out their perverse game people continue to suffer and die unnecessarily. The politics of aid, and make no mistake, aid is very much a tool of politics dominates those in need, who see little or nothing at all of that which is meant to alleviate their plight. All we see at present is Power Politics as opposed to what is really necessary and that is the Politics of Responsibility. Somalia’s situation is made worse by the callous indifference of the major players. Historical pragmatism tells us that this is unlikely to change anytime soon, especially as regional neighbours will continue to do all they can to thwart purposeful dialogue and progress. The status quo suits a number of players and they are determined to exploit it for all they are worth. It is regrettable that many Somalis themselves have abdicated their responsibility and have failed to take ownership of their problems. Some pessimists might urge us all to throw in the towel, but thankfully there are still people of conviction, drive and decency prepared to wage their own peaceful war to effect positive change not just to built on hope but a desire to transform lives.
Whilst Mogadishu may have become synonymous with anarchy, chaos and privation, even here in one of Africa’s most benighted cities evidence can be found of real and lasting goodness. To be disabled in such a city means one is usually abandoned, hidden away or shunned by the wider society. Zakat seems in particularly short supply if you happen to be blind, lame, deaf or mentally or physically disfigured by war and its attendant foot soldiers. So it is all the more heartening to come across the Al-Bashir School for the Blind and Deaf-Blind (ABSBD), on Via Liberia in the Waberi District of Mogadishu. ABSBD whilst only founded in February 2011 (originally it was started in the Wajadir District) is already endeavouring to meet the needs of 22 students (21 blind students and one deaf-blind student). From the outset it has sort to ensure an inclusive education, one that sees boys and girls educated together in a safe and supportive environment. Running a school in a city such as Mogadishu is a challenge at the best of times, especially when the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has little or no writ and is pre- occupied with its own international wrangling rather than seeking to meet the needs of the people it is meant to serve. Self-help and local community initiatives are essential if anything is to be achieved of lasting worth. The school came into being thanks to the vision and drive of a number of remarkable individuals:- Mr Abdulkadir Mohamed Alasow, the chairperson of Somali Union of and for the Blind (SUB), Mrs. Fatuma Ahmed Mohamed, the Deputy Chair of SUM and Mr. Yusuf Sheik, General Secretary of SUM along with the support of the Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC). Mr. Abikar Hussein Bashir, the School Principal ably assisted by Mr Ahmed Hassan Warsame and Mr Abdi-Noor Foodey has already set about the task with extraordinary zeal and sensitivity. What the school lacks in resources and facilities it more than makes up for in enthusiasm and desire to change perceptions about disability. From the outset it has been on a mission to enable those with visual disabilities.
This has meant raising awareness and convincing families of the value of educating children and youths with particular needs. Understandably, some families have been anxious to let their children leave their homes, especially in a city beset with dangers. Yet gradually word has filtered out of what ABSBD is doing and numbers have increased putting an additional burden on already meagre resources. The School is well aware that has plenty more to do, not least to ensure that it has trained specialist staff, acquires new equipment and formulates policies to enhance child protect procedures. At present Somalia has no education guidelines, lacks any form of institution to codify the rights of children with special needs and is without a formal school curriculum.
With regard to the latter the School’s profile provides an interesting introduction to what it has set about doing:
“Somalia has no formalized curriculum due to lack of structured government. The school uses UNESCO curriculum in the areas; Mathematics, English, Geography & History, Physical education, Science etc which is given by an educational umbrella which is called SOFEN. The additional curriculum (subjects); Orientation and Mobility, Activities of daily living, Games, Sports, leisure and recreational and other activities for Braille proficiency are offered in school.”
Facilities whilst cramped are optimised as effectively as possible and the unfailing good humour of the staff is a constant source of joy and encouragement to the students. ABSBD is an oasis of understanding in a world all the darker for the callous and judgemental nature of mankind.
Resources and equipment are in short supply and to date the school has had to operate in isolation. Funding is a constant headache, for the school relies on the goodwill and generosity of a dedicated band of supporters. Mohamed Mahamoud and his family are typical of Somalis that feel the school warrants their support, he is a budding entrepreneur based in Dubai, yet both he and his sister send money across to keep the school going and his mother who lives in Mogadishu works diligently to raise both awareness and funds amongst her network of friends and via the Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC). Recently Mohamed returned to Mogadishu for a month to do what he can for the city he cares for and is proud to hail from. He is passionate about why he wants to help; “For me it is the children that are in greatest need. Many are extremely vulnerable; some are orphans literally bringing themselves up on the streets. If we don’t protect, champion and educate the young there really is no hope for country or for the region.” Such conviction is echoed in the work and achievements of ABSBD. If attitudes to disability are to really change it is imperative that those of us who are fortunate to enough to enjoy the privilege of sight are prepared to see the whole person and value them for who they are and what they have the potential to become ? Insha’Allah.
Mark T Jones.
PROMOAFRICA on disabled and new footbridges
10月19日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
A Group calling itself Network of Journalists for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, PROMOAFRICA has criticised the absence of necessary structures that will enable persons with disabilities to have access to the footbridges being constructed from the Tetteh Quashie Roundabout to Mallam Junction.
The Group condemned the planners of the ongoing projects for not factoring in the interest of persons with disabilities and the aged.
PROMOAFRICA is therefore appealing to government to take urgent steps to correct the anomalies and ensure that PWD's and the aged have equal access to foot bridges along the Tetteh Quashie Roundabout.
Deaf Persons Having Rights to Drive in Ghana
I would like to inform Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authourity (DVLA) that under the Disability Law- Persons With Disability Act 715, 2006, Article 27, a person with a hearing disability has right to own a driving licence after passing driving test and satisfying the conditions.
Hearing disability means the conditions in which individuals are fully or partially unable to detect or perceive at least some frequencies of sound. It also refers to deafness, hearing impairment or hard of hearing as any dictionary describes clearly. Under the law, the deaf people (persons with hearing disabilities or impairments) are allowed to own the licence.
Under the Disability law, Article 7- Access to the Public Services, the public agencies should grant the requests the persons with hearing disability look for.
According to the law, Article 4 (1), the persons with any type of disabilities should not be discriminated by the governmental agencies and may not be neglected when they seek for their needs.
In the pursuance of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 29, Ghanaian governmental agencies shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others.
On July 4, 2011, as a hearing impaired person, I approached the Driving and Vehicle Licencing Authourity (DVLA) headquarters at Cantonment in Accra for a driving licence. I was invited to the DVLA office to request the licence along with section 27 of the Act 715, 2006.
As one of the staff of DVLA Office was aware I am deaf and could not talk, he asked if I could read and write and we wrote note each other.
He said that my hearing examination may be required to submit medical report so that it would let him see if I can hear the levels of sound with aid of hearing aids before granting the request. I did not agree with his opinion and asked him why it is required.
He said with authourity’s concern the medical report may be necessary because the deaf drivers could be a source of the danger to the road users. However, I could not agree with him. I was so disappointed very much that DVLA might go on discriminating against the persons with hearing impairment. I had showed to him the Section of the Act 715, 2006 that a person with hearing disability is allowed to own driving licence.
I told there are many deaf drivers in Africa who could drive on road and see carefully emergency sirens and horns on basis of rearing view- mirrors without hearing any sound and have very good views rather than hearing sounds when driving on the roads.
According to World Federation of Deaf (WFD), there are no known reports that deaf drivers are a threat to other road users in the countries where deaf people are allowed to obtain a driving licence, or that they are involved in more traffic accidents or injuries than the general population. The deaf drivers are better than hearing ones based on respecting the road safety regulations and viewing at rear-mirrors fully on the roads. There are some deaf drivers in Africa who could drive without any traffic accident.
All but 26 countries in the world have allowed people who are deaf to drive as long as they pass the test regardless of the degree of hearing loss. It should not be an impediment for the deaf people to enjoy the right of driving which is a civic of free movement guaranteed by Disability Act. It is not a problem for the deaf people to learn how to drive. They can learn to drive through visual instructions ? hand motions, eye contact and visual aids. There are many deaf drivers in world that could drive on road and see carefully emergency sirens and horns on basis of rearing view-mirrors without hearing any sound and have very good views rather than hearing sounds when driving on the roads.
Deaf people are capable of becoming good drivers because they drive safely. Though their sense of hearing is impaired or non-functional, yet their other senses and reactions are naturally trained to be extremely acute which is an advantage over the hearing drivers and, therefore, it is logical to allow them to have legalized driver’s licence. However, he decided to write the letter for hearing examination but I could not complain with the authourity because I thought they may not know the law allowing the persons with hearing disability to hold licence and drive.
After note writing, the director of one department of DVLA gave me a draft letter attached to my passport-size photo to be given to the audiology center, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra for hearing examination. Approaching the hospital, I presented the letter to one of staff of audiology department. In a one week later I was undergone hearing examination by audiologist who knows at the least sign language.
As I was told I purchased a pair of old or used hearing aids from the department. Also I was given a medical report.
Finally, one day later with wearing my hearing aids I went to the DVLA office for submission of medical report. As I was told by the receptionist I should sit on sofa for 3 hours waiting as director was not reported earlier to work. I was not happy that was why some staff were not reporting earlier to work and even many people sitting with me waited so long as much as 5 hours. After three hours, when director appeared I faced him looking unfriendly. I was invited to sit in the room looking like a conference so we discussed, then I showed my hearing aid and medical report to him. As on how communication was I could write on note. However, this seemed him to change his mind as he asked I could hear any sound when driving on roads and they need any interpreter who knows sign language. I responded to them I could hear at the least frequencies of sound with aid of hearing aids but for me I could watch carefully with aid of view rear-mirrors when I drive without hearing aids. I was told that I could come to the DVLA next one and half weeks.
I was disappointed so much that the hearing impaired people are suffered from delay of their request for the licence by Ghana government.
Road accidents among the hearing people have been common even though they can hear and pass the test to get driving licence. Therefore, there is difference between them and deaf people who are still driving without any tangible report of accidents with or without licence.
Driving gives one a sense of independence, pride, self-esteem, and belongingness, and rejection thereof tantamount to violation of civil right and a case of prejudice and chauvinism of the dominant society.
It is not a problem for the deaf people to learn how to drive. They can learn to drive through visual instructions - hand motions, eye contact and visual aids.
When deaf people drive, they enjoy a basic privilege they deserve just like anyone else. It also demonstrates that deafness does not have to hinder the quality of life.
Public transport can benefit from having more deaf drivers on the roads.
Studies conducted by different researchers (in different countries where deaf people are allowed driver’s licence) comparing deaf drivers to hearing drivers suggest that deaf drivers have fewer accidents and traffic violations than hearing people do. It is possible that deaf people drive more safely because they have better concentration. Having impaired hearing improves other senses making deaf people more sensitive to movement and visual surroundings.
If deaf people are allowed to drive, it could decrease prejudice by changing the public’s misconceptions about deaf drivers. In turn, decreased prejudices could help eliminate discrimination against deaf drivers in public policy.
The disqualification for driver’s licence does not rest with the deaf people themselves, but with the environmental and attitudinal barriers of the society and those that govern the system. We cannot and, even it is not possible to change an inclement environment, yet we can adapt to the environment by changing our attitude. The world is replete with human, cultural and linguistic diversity and other natural inclemencies that we are not compatible with. The same holds true where the deaf people are concerned who is a part of the human diversity as a natural process and also as recognized by the UNO. Although the deaf people are disqualified for holding licence due to poor and congested Ghanaian road conditions, yet the situation can be adjusted with special provisions through legal adaptations, additional rear view mirrors, special signal stickers/labels, public awareness, ban on non-motorized and slow moving stray vehicles from the main and busy roads that are the distinct features created in the rest of the world facilitating an accessible environment for the deaf people to drive safely and smoothly and obtaining driver’s licence. Driving cars is not a problem for the deaf people who can drive judiciously, smoothly and safely with the brain instead of the ears.
Disability to hear and unsafe road conditions don’t justify disqualification from obtaining licence that contradicts justice and atrophy the concept of accessibility, empowerment and independent life.
Legal adaptations and improving road conditions are the way out to enable them to qualify for retaining the civic and legal right of driving.
The “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” states that national and state governments are obliged to consult with people with disabilities through their representative organizations when developing and implementing legislation and policies to effectuate their rights.
I am appearing to the government to recruit and employ any interpreter who has skills and experience in Sign Language and Deaf Culture (SLDC) at DLVA so the deaf drivers could get comfortable when they read interpretations and even the signal sticker/ label should be shown with “Deaf Driver (DD)” or “Handicapped (H)” on front transparent glass of the cars, trotroes, buses, trucks, etc so police would have to understand the DD or H symbol when emergency is met. There is no problem for DD or H sticker.
Therefore, as person with hearing disability, I am appealing to DVLA to grant the deaf people a driving licence and even the DVLA signal sticker / label should be launched and shown with “Deaf Driver (DD)” or “ Handicapped (H)” on front transparent glass of the cars, trotroes, buses, trucks, etc so police would have to understand they have right to drive who have the DD or H symbol when emergency is met. There is no problem for DD or H sticker. I intend to establish the association- Ghana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Drivers Association (GDHDA) which would make awareness of deaf ability to drive in the country soon and urge the government to grant the persons with hearing disability their needs.
Hearing Impaired Person
Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal Association of the Deaf (LEKMAD)
YAA BRONI GOES TO TOWN: What a heartless people!
10月20日 Accra Daily Mail
I have always said that a whole lot of Ghanaians are not friendly towards disabled people.
It is that or we simply don't knowhow to.I see people leave doors to bang in their faces.
I see people in wheelchairs struggling to enter premises with security guards quite oblivious to their plight.
I am saying even the security guards because they should have had disability training.Sometimes I wonder whether we are just not a kind, warm hearted people or we just like to mind our own business and ignore all else.
It does not take away from us if we help a blind man cross the street or wheel a woman to wherever she is going or help her do her shopping.
And if we as Ghanaian people are heartless, then our governments ? local and national ? are even more heartless.
The other day I saw a disabled man park his car close to the entrance of a certain popular supermarket so it would be easier for him to walk within a short distance only to have the car park attendant shouting at the man to move his car.
Firstly,he had no business talking to a customer in that manner and secondly he should have realized that the man was disabled.
He would not even listen when the man was trying to explain why he had parked so close.I was livid and intervened by going in to tell management to employ people who not only have a heart but who can think for themselves and not behave like robots.
I appreciate the fact that he might be in awe of his employers and the danger of losing his job,but all he needed to do was to have informed whoever was in charge of the situation.
My sentiments are further compounded by the story of parents killing their deformed or disabled babies in some parts of Ghana.
It is totally horrendous, but when people are steeped in the power of black magic or believe such children are the work of the devil,it is very difficult to disabuse their minds.
The horror such children must go through before their lives are snuffed out does not bear thinking about. I was at the New Horizon School for the disabled.
The autistic children were lovely and reaching out to be loved. The proprietress has single-handedly run this school.I think it is about time the government subsidized such schools.
For autism and all the other ailments that afflict children can affect any home or family.All they need is love,care and understanding and they will live a near normal life.
Doctors could do with a few more new cedis
The doctors strike rages on and we have all jumped on the bandwagon with our opinions,some don’t make sense,others too emotional and it goes on and on.
It is sad that people are dying because of the strike and we all hope and pray that it will all be resolved soon.
But the question I ask is why do we wait for the cookie to crumble before we do anything about it?The issue of doctors and their salaries and promotions has been raging on for years.
Now it has reached dangerous heights and it should be resolved immediately.Let us stop being ostriches all the time.
The doctors deserve to be paid well.Our lives are in their hands for crying out loud.Let us face the realities, no matter how hard it may be for some of us.
It is not about the taxpayer sending doctors to school,it is not about nurses wanting to earn the same as doctors,it is about the right thing being done.
Health workers should be paid well and this is not to say others should not be paid well.Let us get our priorities right.
The Government people should get off their backsides and resolve this issue now.When they fall ill now they will fly off to foreign pastures and get first class treatment, so perhaps they are not so bothered if there are no emergency services.
Flashing and telephone manners
I am getting really exasperated with people ''flashing'' and then when you call back,they ask who you are and why are you calling.
It is so downright rude; we really need to be schooled in some telephone manners.The land line is worse.The phone rings, you pick up and the caller says ''Akua” or some other name, and when you begin to correct them,they rather get upset with the fact that you are notAkua.
Oh boy! And I have decided to not call back people who ''flash''.We all buy units for crying out loud so we can all stop ''flashing'' and call people.
If it is that important to you to talk to the person,then you can spare some units to call them. After all, you need them and not the other way round.
There are times when I want to ram the phone down some receptionist's throat for not identifying their company but also for not being efficient on the phone.
A lot of the time people who should be more professional, sound like zombies on the phone.It is so irritating and so, yes, so unprofessional.
Let us take a little time to be professional and do the job we have been employed to do to the best of our abilities.
Respect the deaf vendor
25.10.11 The Zimbabwean
EDITOR - It’s of great concern that in a country where more than half a million people are deaf, some of us treat deaf people in an inhuman manner.
To the lady who shouted at the deaf vendor, this is for you and I hope that with the grace of God you will change your attitude.
I watched as you shouted for your change from the deaf vendor, even though you saw he could not speak. Please note that the vendor always has a white laminated card clipped on his shirt where it is written: "I’m deaf and selling". Not only that, but the price lists of what he sells are clearly displayed.
This man’s life is made difficult by people like you. If only you could give him respect, you would be blessed enough. Whatever reason you had for behaving the way you did, you need to acknowledge how inappropriate it was for you to shout at this man.
The next time you see this man he won’t be holding a piece of cardboard, he will be wearing the t-shirt I made for him which reads: "Pliz don’t shout at me! I`m deaf and selling". There will also be a list of the things he is selling, with clearly displayed prices for everything. - CHARLES NYAKURWA, Monkey Valley
AwaaWaa2 helping children with speech disability
By Bernice Bessey
A cross section of the participants and some children with SLD’s at the launch of the 2011 AwaaWaa2 Week at the Kama Conference Centre in Accra
Last Wednesday, AwaaWaa2 launched its weeklong celebration packed with activities to encourage people to accept and embrace children and other persons with communication difficulties.
AwaaWaa2 is a non-profit making organisation providing free specialist speech therapy services to children and young people with Speech and Language Communication Disabilities (SLD’s).
The activities of the organisation are geared towards promoting the rights of the underprivileged who are incapable of effective oral communication, and are denied the opportunity to compete and survive in a challenging world driven by communication.
Speaking at the launch held at the Kama Conference Centre, Nana Akua Owusu, Founder of AwaaWaat2, said the difficulties faced by persons with disability in finding the right care, health services, education, and even leisure opportunities, were disheartening.
“At best, they can feel obstacles are constantly put in their way by society. At worst, they feel abandoned by the rest of society. Such prejudice and discrimination have a very damaging impact. It leads to their world becoming smaller, opportunities more limited, and a withdrawal from the wider society,” she stated.
Ms. Owusu admonished the public to end discrimination against persons with SLD’s. She urged Ghanaians to “Open their arms and embrace children and all persons with communication difficulties.”
On its part, AwaaWaa2 is focused on educating the society on communication difficulties, and how to support people with such challenges.
Over the past six years, the charity organisation has played a significant role to realise its vision of a changed situation in a modern Ghanaian society, where everyone is valued and has the chance to play their full part in national development.
“It is our aim that the wider society will love and embrace this group.
Our focus, therefore, is to educate society on communication difficulties, and how we can support this group,” she emphasised.
It is common knowledge that a significant proportion of the population are denied what is a basic human right - the right to effective oral communication and the opportunity to compete and survive in today’s challenging and communication-driven world.
She revealed troubling statistics which show that nearly one out of every eight children of school-going age suffers some form of communication difficulty, needing the help of speech and language therapists.
Meanwhile, Ghana has only six active speech and language therapists, five of whom are in Accra, with the other in Kumasi, thus depriving most of the population with communication difficulties the much-needed support.
As a result of the limited availability of speech therapy services, coupled with the dedication of AwaaWaa2 and the splendid results of its services, there is an increasing demand from parents of children with SLD’s, which AwaaWaa2 is unable to accommodate, due to its limited resources and funding.
This year, AwaaWaa2 is using the occasion to solicit the support of public-spirited individuals and corporate organisations, as part of their social responsibility programmes, to assist the organisation to raise funds to care for the less-privileged, in response to the increased demand.
The weeklong celebration, which involves awareness creation and a sponsored walk, will be climaxed with a Thanksgiving Service at Calvary Baptist Church, Adabraka, on October 30.
Handicapped street artist writes his way to fame News
Date: 26th October 2011
He rolls out a long strip of rubber and kneels down on the ground in front of it. Grabbing a piece of chalk in his deformed fingers, he begins to make strokes on the sheet.
He pauses -- considers his work -- then continues stroke by stroke as people gather to watch. And they are quickly amazed.
For Cui Xianren is a master calligrapher, a trade he fell into literally by accident, and his particular style, and the gnarled hands he uses to hold the different sizes and colors of chalk, have made him a bit of a celebrity.
"Isn't he Brother Chalk?" asked a middle-aged man who thought he recognized him from the Internet.
"The writing is beautiful," said a young boy as he pulled out a digital camera to shoot Cui's calligraphy.
For nearly a decade, Cui has made a living on the street by writing traditional Chinese characters in chalk, with crippled hands caused by an explosion some 18 years ago.
The 49-year-old man became the center of public attention recently after a photo of his unique street art in Yantai, Shandong province was posted and reposted on the Internet.
Among those who recognize Cui's talent is domestic font developer Founder Type, which has just signed a contract with Cui to include his calligraphy in the company's character base.
"Cui Xianren touches us with his independence and persistence," said Wang Haichao, project manager of Founder Type. "In such a physical condition, he can still write so beautifully, which is already enough to move people."
Cui wears an old blue plaid shirt, a gray cap and sunglasses to cover his burned and distorted face as he writes.
A native of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, years ago Cui tried to charge his motorized tricycle with a bucket of diesel, which exploded.
The accident left him incapable of doing manual work, but he could not stand wasting time at home. So he dug back to something he had always loved since primary school - writing calligraphy.
"Chalk is short and thick, it is the only writing tool I can possibly hold," he said.
He first practiced regular script on a wooden board at home. Later he tried to add a personal style to the characters, such as finishing strokes with a tiny tick, and making strokes thicker or thinner, as his characters began to take on an individual style.
In 2003, he started to showcase his calligraphy on the street in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province. At first he felt embarrassed and nervous, but appreciation from the crowd of passers-by encouraged him.
In the beginning he wrote directly on the ground, but urban management officers stopped him from doing that, so he wrote on a black rubber board.
"Every time I wrote, there were always many people surrounding and watching me," he said. That attention not only encouraged him to continue writing, but also brought him some income - in good times more than 80 yuan ($13) a day.
Wanting to see more of the world and know different people, he has tramped through more than 10 cities with his chalk art.
"Most of the time people are nice," he said.
A security guard in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, gave Cui his coat when the temperature suddenly dropped. Another man in Qingdao, Shandong province, brought him a cup of warm tea on a cold day.
Sometimes, though, he found it hard to keep writing because other peddlers came and took over the area. At such times he always had to leave.
"They are healthy people, I can't compete with them."
Now that he has become popular, Cui believes his days of wandering on the street will come to an end.
The contract with Founder Type also includes profits from sales of the font for the next 50 years. And he has received 50,000 yuan from Founder Type as living subsidy, which he deposited into the bank account of his only son.
"Let more people help him, so that he could make a better living with his hands, his writing," said Founder Type's Wang.
Chess goes to the deaf
29 October, 2011 Swazi Observer
CHESS - The Swaziland National Chess Association has declared Siteki School for the deaf as the next stop in their drive to promote the sport in the country.
This was announced by the association’s secretary Layidaphansi Dlamini when interviewed on Friday.
“We have been able cover a number of schools in the Hhohho and Manzini Region and we have now moved to the Lubombo region,” he said.
He said the school is as capable as the others who have been introduced to the sport.
“We are currently engaged in negotiations with the school and are hoping that the logistics regarding our visit will be finalised soon,” he said. On another note, Dlamini expressed gratitude to the teachers and pupils of Mankayane for taking to the sport with keen interest.
“Last week we paid a visit to Mankayane and the turnout was very impressive. We had over 20 players affiliating and this shows that we are achieving our goal, which is promoting the sport at grassroots level,” he said.
He also expressed gratitude to senior national champion Sobhi Mziyako for gracing the event. “We were very honoured to have him there because he was able to share ideas with the new players and also educate them on how they can improve in the sport,” he said.
Ghanaians should give moral and material support to Persons with Disability
Ghana News Agency
31st October 2011
Dormaa-Ahenkro (B/A), Oct 31, GNA - Mr. Vincent Oppong-Asamoah, Dormaa Municipal Chief Executive, has called on Ghanaians to give moral and material support to Persons with Disability to dissuade them from begging for alms for survival.
He stressed that the status of Persons with Disability could be greatly enhanced if the Disability Act 2006 (Act 715) was strictly adhered to by stakeholders.
The MCE was speaking at this year’s annual week celebration of the Dormaa Municipal branch of Ghana National Association for the Deaf(GNAD) at Dormaa-Ahenkro, under the theme, “Breaking the communication barrier between the deaf and the hearing public through sign language’.
Mr Oppong-Asamoah emphasized that disability was not inability and that the Physically-Challenged had a lot to offer towards their development and that of their communities.
“Modern technology and refined government policies have offered windows of opportunity to all Ghanaians and it is unacceptable for the physically-challenged to resign themselves to fate on grounds of their physical appearance”, the MCE said.
In an address read for him, Mr. Emmanuel Sakyi, national president of the Association called on society to respect the rights of the hearing impaired.
He noted that part of the Disability Act had tasked providers of public and private social services to make adequate provision for the physically-challenged.
The National President also identified accessibility to information and communication as two big challenges that confront the deaf and urged the hearing public to assist the deaf in accessing information “without let or hindrance”.
Mr Sakyi appealed to families of the deaf to send such persons to special institutions to acquire basic knowledge in sign language for the enhancement of their communication status.
Mr. Anthony Yeboah, Brong Ahafo regional president, announced that the Dormaa branch had 76 members made up 46 males and 30 females.
He commended the Municipal Assembly for making available to the Association the two per cent component of the District Assemblies Common Fund and gave assurance that the allocation would be put to good use.
The Municipal Social Welfare Officer, Mr. Owusu Sekyere, appealed to the Deaf to avoid taking the law into their hands and to seek counsel at the appropriate quarters for solutions to their grievances.
Rwanda: People With Disability Rebuffed When Looking for Jobs
Rwanda Focus (Kigali)
Eric Didier Karinganire
31 October 2011
Although tremendous effort has been made to accord people with disabilities their fundamental rights, a lot remains to be done to be done to protect them against discrimination in the job market.
"People refuse hiring us saying, saying 'how will I speak to you if I employ you'?" said a deaf woman.
Over the last few years, changes toward achieving universal education have been priority for Rwandan government. This political will did not leave behind physically impaired people who sometimes require specialized education. However, now that some of them have been graduating, access to employment has become a nightmare for them.
Jeanne d'Arc Ntigulirwa, 26, one of the deaf people, graduated from the School of Financing and Banking in human resources management in 2010. Yet no company could hire her for simple reasons of her physical disability.
"I and my colleagues once applied for a job in a company that was looking for brilliant people who had passed with distinction, but I was surprised to find only my application rejected without any notice while all of my colleagues were employed," Ntigulirwa said. She declined to name the company.
Yet the struggle to convince the community that she could excellence in anything was not easy at all. "After I finished my studies, an institution came to the school looking for an outstanding student who had had over 70% and SFB recommended me, but the institution refused and took others who had even scored lower than me," Ntigulirwa said.
Now, after many attempts to apply for a job like any other competent person and regrettable disappointments, the lady, who became a deaf at the age of 5, ended up getting a job, in July this year, at Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD) where she is the executive director.
In spite of the nightmare she went through before she got a job, she finds herself to be lucky among her fellow deaf persons. Statistics show that she is among only 5 deaf people who are employed in formal sector countrywide.
Among them, one is working with a public institution, another hired by a private company while 3 others are working with disability based organizations, she said.
Here too, access to employment is not only a big fight for deaf people, but also to the whole category of people with disability since they often have some particular cases depending on their disabilities.
"We don't easily access employment opportunities because many employers feel that if they employ us we would be a problem to them in terms of transportation and other special facilities we would need," points out Victor Zinda, a wheel chair user and father of 3.
This kind of discrimination does not only affect these people while job hunting, but also many other activities that take place in society due to stereotypes that have remained for long time.
"In society, people do not welcome us in different events, they do not treat us as human beings," Ntigulirwa remarks. "They think that deaf persons can't do anything, but we can."
Discrimination against disabled people does not only stop in labor market, as Zinda pointed out.
"It was another stressful experience - because of my disability many girls rejected my proposal simply because of appearance. And whenever they rejected me, I felt so desperate."
It also happens at work place where laws and regulations have been made to protect such people.
For instance, according to the information from the labor ministry regarding employment, its article 12 on non discrimination criteria says: "It shall be forbidden to directly or indirectly make any discrimination aiming at denying the worker the right to equal opportunity or to the salary especially when the discrimination is based upon disability."
So far, there is no specific law, although the law N° 01/2007 OF 20/01/2007 relating to protection of disabled persons has been established in general.
The law says that: "no discrimination of any form shall be subjected upon a disabled person in matters related to employment. However, a disabled person shall be given greater access to employment opportunities than any other citizen in case of equal capacities or in case of equal marks in competition."
This is a good step forward, but longer is still required, according to Silas Ngayaboshya, head of inclusive education project at Handicap International, Program Rwanda.
For the official, inclusive education should be a good preparatory to employment. "The more deaf people interact with the physically fit ones, the more they get familiar with each other and develop their ways of communication which can even serve at work place without any other interpreter," explains Ngayaboshya.
Referring to other country's experiences, Ngayaboshya suggests that the discrimination should be minimized by institutionalizing systems where each institution has an official in charge of fitness of disabled people at work place.
"It's not up to a disabled person who has to come and match the environment, instead there should be an environment favorable to the disabled in his work," explains Ngayaboshya.
ANDA committed to reintegration of street handicapped
11/1/11, Angola Press
Luanda -Angolan National Association of Disabled People (ANDA), in cooperation with the Ministries of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, Health and Agriculture, have outlined project focussed on social reintegration of jobless disabled people in the country in particular in Luanda.
The information was released Tuesday in Luanda by the secretary for cooperation, information and law of ANDA, Enoque Bernardo.
The source said that the intention is to work mainly with the begging disabled people, roaming the streets.
He also recognised the need of financial and human resources enabling the concerned institutions to carry out the planned action.
Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly release GHC 35,000 for disabled
Ghana News Agency
2nd November 2011
Nkoranza (B/A) Nov. 02, GNA - The Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly has released GHC 35,000 into the special account for the District’s branch of Ghana Federation of the Physically-Handicapped to enable its members to engage in productive ventures towards their rehabilitation.
The amount represented arrears of the Disabled share of the Assembly’s Common Fund arranged by the Government and the Ministry of Local Government to promote the welfare needs of the physically-handicapped.
Mr. Effah Guakro, president of the District branch, disclosed this at a general meeting of the Association in Nkoranza at the weekend.
He commended the Government for considering the plight of the physically -handicapped, as well as Mr. Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, District Chief Executive, for his instrumentality in ensuring the prompt payment of their share of the common fund.
Mr Guakro announced about 146 people had registered with the Association in the Municipality.
He said the management committee of the Association’s fund had approved of the release of GHC30,000 from the amount to support development activities initiated by the association.
Some of our members are learning vocations including dressmaking, hairdressing, electronics and leather works, whilst others are in school or engaged in trading/business activities, he added.
Mr Guakro deplored the negative attitude of some physically-handicapped persons who beg for alms at roadsides and advised such people to stop the practice.
Kenya: Lawyer Accuses Thika of Ignoring the Disabled James Wainaina
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
3 November 2011
Thika Municipal Council has been accused of failing to give equal opportunities to people with disability. It has also been accused of failing to involve people with disability when formulating policies.
The accusations were made by an advocate for people with disability Lucy Wairimu who explained that other local authorities such as Nairobi, Ruiru and Mombasa, people with disability are involved in LATF, LASDAP and budget committees.
She added the councils also employed people with disability. Wairimu said the constitution demanded that people with physical or mental disabilities be protected and given equal opportunity like other people.
She noted that in Thika town there are no toilets friendly for people with disability. She added the council had not employed people with disability as would be expected.
Thika branch chairperson for the visually impaired Jacinta Syombua said that when they sought services in government institutions officers used abusive language on them. Symbua who is visually impaired said the government and private sector should employ them so they don't depend on begging.
A mother of two, Syombua said she holds a diploma having trained as a telephone operator. Wairimu said she convened a meeting in Thika because it is the only municipality that had adamantly ignored the plight of people with disability.
A 13-member Board of Governors of the Bechem School for the Deaf
Ghana News Agency
4th November 2011
Bechem (B/A), Nov. 4, GNA - A thirteen-member Board of Governors of the Bechem School for the Deaf was on Thursday inaugurated with a call on stakeholders in education to help promote quality education among all children irrespective of their defects.
Mrs. Georgina Enyan, Brong-Ahafo Deputy Regional Director of Education who made the call advised parents who had children with any forms of disability not to keep them at home but to enroll them in school to obtain formal education.
The Board is made up of representatives from the Ghana Education Service, the Bechem traditional council, the District Assembly, the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, the Old Students Association as well teaching and non-teaching staff.
Mrs. Enyan explained that children with disabilities had talents just as their able-bodied counterparts and that there was an urgent need for society to help them unearth those talents to enable them to grow to become useful to the nation.
She explained that promoting quality education among all school-going age children was a collective responsibility and advised the parents and all key actors in education to lend their support.
Mrs. Enyan said government alone could not shoulder the responsibility of ensuring quality education and asked members of the board to build partnership and seek assistance from foreign agencies and NGOs.
She explained that under the Education Act 1961 (Act 87), it was an obligation for the board to help control the general policies of the school and advised members to monitor and evaluate activities in the school.
Mrs. Enyan urged members of the board to maintain regular contacts with the schools PTA for total development.
Mrs. Veronica Ayeh, headmistress of the school said it was established in 1969 with 14 pupils but currently had 373 pupils made up of 215 boys and 158 girls.
She said it had Kindergarten, Junior High, Technical/Vocational and a Unit for the blind, as well as 51 teaching staff including a Peace Corps volunteer and 40 support staff.
Mrs. Ayeh mentioned inadequate staff accommodation, classroom blocks, as well as the lack of a computer laboratory and inadequate teaching and learning material as some of the problems that faced the school.
She said over the years the school had received all kinds of support from World Vision, an NGO and Christian Education Fund in Kassel, Germany, and commended the two institutions whose assistance had help increased student’s performances.
While commending the past board of governors for their good work, Mrs. Ayeh expressed the optimism that the new board would also work harder to raise the image of the school.
The Reverend Richard Asafo-Adjei, Chaplain at the Bechem Presbyterian Senior High School called on the government to provide incentive packages to teachers serving in special schools.
The Rev. Dr. Wiseman Kwasi Kusi, a retired educationist, on behalf of members of the board, gave the assurance that members would work hard to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Disabled urged to join electoral registration
11/4/11 Angola Press
Luanda - The chairperson of the Angolan “M?os Comuns” Associatiion , Jos? Eduardo Gomes, Friday in Luanda appealed to disabled people to join the electoral registration.
Speaking to Angop, Jos? Eduardo Gomes said that the handicapped youths, despite their condition, should also participate in all social and party activities.
According to him, the handicapped should take part in decision-making activities for the country's future.
He also expressed his organisation's concern about the low number of disabled persons turning up for electoral registration in Luanda.
Founded on October 05, 2006, "M?os Comuns" Association is tasked with supporting the disabled people.
Cops stop disabled demo
04.11.11, The Zimbabwean
Police on Thursday blocked and detained a group of 50 disabled people for at least two hours in Africa Unity Square. The group was heading for President Robert Mugabe’s office to seek a meeting over what they called discrimination from getting access to national resources.
Anti-riot police stopped and surrounded the group, many of them blind or in wheelchairs, and took their placards - which read “We also need land and decent housing “, and “respect our rights because disability is not inability”.
The leader of the group, Gladys Munyukwi, told reporters before the arrest that they wanted to meet Mugabe over the continued suppression of their rights.
“We are not given the chance to meet top political leaders as we are blocked by their secretaries whenever we try to engage them,” she said.
“We want accommodation .We have had a lot of government housing initiatives which did benefited the able boded citizens. None of our members benefited from developmental programs in this country and we want that to be addressed. We are being sidelined, we are not being empowered.”
Visually impaired teacher seeks reinstatement
Sunday, 06 November , The Standard(Zimbabwe)
MUTARE ― She gropes her way around with the help of her only child, Tapiwa, who finished writing Grade Seven examinations this year.
Without the child’s assistance, it would be virtually impossible to navigate her way or carry out ordinary chores.
This is the sad story of Tendai Ndongwe, a former primary school teacher, who lost her job after she was dismissed on medical grounds a few years ago.
But the 35-year-old teacher is now fighting with her former employer, the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, for reinstatement.
She claims to have been forced out and paid a paltry compensation.
“I want to go back to work,” says Ndongwe. “But the PSC (Public Service Commission) says it is still waiting for a directive from above to start re-employing.”
But the PSC says it will reconsider her case when the government unfreezes posts that remained vacant after it ceased employing new staff due to the decade-long economic crisis that bedevilled the country.
Presently over 1 000 teachers, who were granted amnesty after spending years out of service following indications that they were recruited unprocedurally, face dismissal.
The teachers emigrated at the height of the economic crisis in 2008. But the government later offered to reinstate them following a critical shortage of teachers.
Public Service deputy minister Andrew Langa recently said his ministry only considered those recommended by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.
Ndongwe said she trained at Mary Mount Teachers’ College in Mutare before getting a teaching post in Chipinge, where she started developing sight problems.
She longs to read newspapers which she last did in 2006 when she read a story about gospel singer Ivy Kombo.
But she did so with some difficulties.
Disaster struck when she visited a doctor that fateful day, who injected her three doses of a drug and about 40 minutes later she was totally blind.
“The doctor injected a drug that sad day and my right eye was the first to be affected after that and 40 minutes later I could not see,” she said.
The first days were the most difficult in her life as she could not live with her new condition. But with time, reality dawned on her and she accepted her situation.
“Acquired disability and the disability that one is born with are two different things,” she said.
Liberty Lupahla, who is also visually impaired, said he also lost a lot of opportunities due to his visual impairment.
Lupahla, a trained journalist, said for 12 years he walked from pillar to post in search of a job but to no avail.
“Employers at a certain prominent media organisation in Harare did not take me for unclear reasons but they claimed they were not discriminating against my disability,” he said.
Ndongwe and Lupahla’s cases are not unique.
There are many people with disabilities in the country who face similar discrimination because of their condition.
Progressio, an international charity organisation, estimates that there are 1,4 million people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe.
The United Nations estimates that the total number of people with disabilities in Africa is approximately 80 million.
A good number of them are not employed and depend on begging for survival.
Zimbabwe: Enhance to Disabled's Access to Information - Mushohwe
6 November 2011, allAfrica
PEOPLE with disabilities are left out on critical information on HIV and Aids, Resident Minister and Governor for Manicaland Province Chris Mushohwe has said.
In a speech read on his behalf at a National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped media sensitisation workshop in Mutare recently, Governor Mushohwe said health provisions were out of reach of people with disabilities.
"Lack of information is a veritable hurdle for the people with visual impairments who in the absence of brailed material cannot read conventional print therefore they are left out on critical information on HIV and Aids.
"People with hearing impairment also suffer the same predicament due to the inability of society to interact with them using sign language," he said.
People with disabilities constitute 1 300 000 of the country's population and they have no access to fundamental freedom and rights that other people enjoy.
"We do not have to look very far to find evidence of social exclusion of people with disabilities in society, in the education sector the issues of mobility, physical and attitudinal barriers," said Governor Mushohwe.
"The reluctance to cater for the special needs of children with disabilities keeps them out of the education system.
"Only one percent of people with disabilities are employed in the public sector and none in the private sector.
"The doors of employment remain shut and bolted against people with disabilities," he said.
The Governor urged the society to make an effort to change the negative attitude against people with disabilities.
"Negative attitudes result in social exclusion and the erection of multi-faceted barriers that prevent people with disabilities from accessing fundamental rights and freedom like anyone in the society.
"The built environment pauses additional accessibility challenges to wheelchair users as they fail to access most public buildings," he said.
The Governor revealed that NASCOH through one of its member organisations, the Zimbabwe Association of the Deaf (ZIMNAD) was supporting a programme in Manicaland on enhancing the participation of people with disabilities in governance issues.
"This has seen people with disabilities assume positions as village heads and ward committee members, with a special councillor for disability being considered," he said.
Most buildings have no access for those using wheelchairs and even new ones under construction lack that basic facility too.
This then hampers the mobility of physically challenged people in the communities we live.
Zimbabwe: Let's Support the Disabled
6 November 2011, allAfrica
The spectre of people with disabilities passing the begging bowl and singing for money, selling airtime, vegetables and all sorts of paraphernalia illegally at street corners in the country's cities belies a deeper, and often unacknowledged social problem the grinding poverty that is a permanent feature amongst people with disabilities (PWDs) in the developing word.
So pervasive, so multi-dimensional and so subtle in some of its aspects is the poverty that characterises the lives of PWDs that it is often referred to as the hidden face of African poverty.
Although the generality of the public have yet to acknowledge it, so devastating is the impact of poverty on disability that it led Norman Acton, former Secretary General of Rehabilitation International, in 1983 to remark that, "The combination and poverty and disability is a fearsome one.
"Either one may cause the other and their presence in combination has a tremendous capacity to destroy the lives of persons with impairments and to impose on their families burdens that are too crushing to bear".
Destroyed lives and crushing family burdens are terms that aptly capture the lives of people with disabilities, who, in the developing world, are estimated at 10 percent of the population but make up 20 percent of the world's poorest. Poverty-related diseases, which are the major cause of a wide array of impairments, combine with attitudinal discrimination by the wider society to create a potent disabling force, that not only results in the discrimination and ostracising of people with disabilities, but also in the creation of institutional barriers that preclude access by people with disabilities to vital life opportunities including employment, education, health care and other vital services.
Banks will often not accept customers with disabilities, employers routinely discriminate against people with disabilities and even families have been known to exclude children with disabilities in the distribution of inheritance. Attitudinal discrimination also gives rise to environmental discrimination, exemplified by a physical environment which excludes PWDs.
Buildings with steps and narrow entrances, inaccessible public transport, a scarcity of information transcribed into Braille or available on audio tape and a lack of sign language translators all these serve to keep PWDs out, relegated to the margins and without the information they need to participate equally in societal activities.
Analysis of case studies in some developing countries shows that higher disability rates are associated with higher illiteracy, poor nutrition status, lower inoculation and immunisation coverage, lower birth weight, higher unemployment and underemployment rates, and lower occupational mobility.
Comparisons indicate higher proportion of disability by communicable maternal and prenatal diseases and injuries and the proportion of childhood disability in developed countries.
Regrettably, much of the disability in developing countries stems from preventable impairments, and a large part of the disability could be eliminated through treatment or alleviated through rehabilitation.
Contextually, poverty may also increase the likelihood that a health condition may result in disability.
In addition, stigma associated with a health condition may lead to activity limitations and participation restrictions given a particular social and cultural context and it might be worsened by the stigma associated with poverty. Additionally, an inaccessible physical environment, makes it difficult for an individual with a disability to engage in activities and participate in the community.
The relationship between poverty and disability is well-documented, with disability being both a cause and a consequence of poverty. Not only does disability add to the risk of poverty, but conditions of poverty add to the risk of disability.
Poor households do not have adequate food, basic sanitation and access to preventive health care. They live in lower quality housing, and work in more dangerous occupations. Malnutrition can cause disability as well as increase susceptibility to other disabling diseases.
Malnourished mothers have low-birth weight babies, who are more at risk of debilitating diseases than healthy babies. Lack of adequate and timely health care can exacerbate disease outcomes, and a remedial impairment can become a permanent disability.
Disability may lead to poverty due to lower access to work opportunities from the social discrimination and add significantly to the personal cost of work and social participation from expenses related to medical care, assistive technology, adaptations to home and work stations, transportation, and personal care.
There is also the issue of "courtesy poverty" arising from family members foregoing earnings and reproductive work as the result of time spent in the care of the family member with a disability.
Furthermore, the direct cost of disability is usually unequally shared. The burden of care most often falls on family members, usually mothers or other female relatives.
Caring for a child with a severe disability further increases the workload of women living in extreme poverty, and takes valuable time away from the daily struggle to make a living.
Lovemore Rambiyawo is the Information and Communications Officer for the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped.
Govt assures disabled
07 November 2011, Times of Zambia
GOVERNMENT has assured that graduates from National Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (NVRC) will be integrated into the employment sector.
Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health Joseph Katema said after touring the centre at the weekend that Government would work in liaison with the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZADP) to accomplish its objectives. Dr Katema said his ministry would work with other stakeholders to sensitise employers on the need to avail equal opportunities to the disabled. He urged NVRC to redesign its training curricular to encompass business skills so that those graduating from the institution could start their own businesses.
Dr Katema urged the school to promote the information communication technology course being offered to the visually impaired so that they could find employment after graduating. “My ministry is cognisant of your institution being instrumental in the training of telephone operators which was mainly targeted at thepartially blind and blind who have greatly contributed to the communication industry,” Dr Katema said.
He reiterated the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s vision of an inclusive approach with regard to education in line with the United Nations Convention on rights for persons with disabilities. He said the Government would review the disability policy and domesticate the Geneva protocol on rights for persons with disabilities which Zambia ratified as a member of the United Nations.
Dr Katema pledged Government’s commitment to addressing some of the challenges that the institution was facing such as the collapsed roof in the carpentry and joinery workshop. “Be assured that it is the responsibility of the Government to avail and provide the same resources in an equitable manner when they are available.
Government shall promote quality education for children with special needs and integrate them into secondary schools and tertiary education such as this one because the Government attaches great importance to human development,” he said. NVRC acting principal Mary Lungu expressed happiness at the decision by the minister to visit the institution. Mrs Lungu said the dilapidated state of the infrastructure was as a result of inadequate funding. Funding has not been increased since 2006.
FTH:K's back with new show ahead of US trip
11/07/2011 Artslink.co.za News
Award-winning visual theatre company FTH:K returns to the stage with a second new work this year, before the production travels to the US in March.
OfficeBLOCK: ... business as usual... will be performed at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town from 15 to 19 November. This is the first version of the show, which will be further developed next year during the trip to Washington DC in the US for the Artsbridge International Exchange, followed by a national South African tour next July.
The Artsbridge International Exchange is a two-year skills and cultural exchange project between Deaf and hearing communities in Cape Town and Washington DC. It comprises of workshops, discussion forums, sharing of performance techniques and the creation of a visual theatre piece and education programme to be presented at the National Arts Festival in South Africa and QuestFest, a biennial international visual theatre festival in Washington DC.
This is a pilot project with a long-term objective of establishing a wider-reaching exchange and education programme between Deaf communities in South Africa and America. The creative collaborators are FTH:K, US-based Wings, the National Arts Festival in South Africa and Quest Fest. The educational component is brought on board through Gallaudet University in the USA - a leader in Deaf education internationally.
“Following on from FTH:K’s recent return from Washington for the first phase of the initiative, we are proud to present the foundation of the new visual theatre piece,” says FTH:K’s artistic director Rob Murray.
OfficeBLOCK: ... business as usual... will be performed by the talented trainees on the Tell-Tale Signs theatre education programme - Marlon Snyders, Christopher Beukes and Sinethemba Mgebisa under the direction of Murray. Joining them on stage is FTH:K’s leading performer, Liezl de Kock (Fleur du Cap Nominee for Best Female performer in Womb Tide), with set and costume design by Jayne Batzofin, and lighting design by Murray.
In a series of four vignettes, the challenges of office politics with themes such as power, greed and sexism are explored using FTH:K’s signature style of non-verbal theatre. The newcomer who has to learn the pecking order. The female who comes up against her all male counterparts. The young executive who is corrupt with ambition and the aging employee who still maintains his dignity despite his humdrum work.
“The production promises to be an intriguing blend of physical and visual performance - gritty, poignant, and absurdly comic, with more than a little touch of magical realism. It’s Kafka meets The Matrix and is heavily inspired by The Little Prince!” enthuses Murray.
“The Artsbridge project is also a significant step for the company as the South African national tour and workshops will serve as an audition process for the next intake of trainees on our Tell-Tale Signs programme. We are excited to be able to open up this opportunity for Deaf learners across the country.”
Well-known for their funky approach to marketing and merchandising, FTH:K designer Jayne Batzofin has created a limited edition collection of badges for the run of OfficeBLOCK: ... business as usual... “They feature elements from the four vignettes from the show and are a must to add to the collection of badges from our previous productions, or for newcomers to start the collection now!” says Murray.
OfficeBLOCK: ... business as usual... will be performed at the Intimate Theatre in Cape Town from 15 to 19 November at 8pm.
This run will also be a fundraiser for the Artsbridge project. Tickets cost only R30. Tuesdays is Twosdays - buy one ticket and get two.
Suit up for Friday night's show wearing your interpretation of a suit.
Enjoy a summer bring 'n braai on Saturday night after the show from 6pm.
There are also great prizes to be won.
For bookings contact Angela on 021 448 2838 or
For more information about FTH:K, the Artsbridge International Exchange and OfficeBLOCK: ... business as usual... visit www.fthk.co.za
Over P200,000 needed for recreational centre for the deaf
15 November 2011, Mmegi Online
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Society for the Deaf (BSD) needs over P200,000 to build a recreational shelter for deaf children at Francistown Centre for Deaf Education.
Speaking at the fund-raising sponsored walk last week organised by the board of BSD, vice-chairperson of the board Roy Letiatsi said that over P200,000 is needed to build a recreational shelter for deaf children. "The shelter will provide students with recreational activities as it is a boarding school. They will have a games room where they can relax and be boredom-free," he said. Letiatsi added that without a place were they can keep themselves busy after school, students could resort to unpleasant acts such as breaking school property and indulging in sexual activities.
Francistown High Court Judge Professor Kholisani Solo, the chief walker at the fundraising event promised to approach his fellow judges on the matter.
He also donated P2,000.
"I was requested to come to the event last minute after Justice Phumaphi who was supposed to be the chief walker asked me to attend on his behalf,"
he said. Meanwhile Letiatsi encouraged Batswana to learn sign language so that they can communicate with those that are deaf.
He said that many Batswana do not have an interest in learning sign language including some people with family members who are deaf.
" I urge all of you to learn sign language such that we accommodate the deaf in our society instead of ignoring them in the name of not understanding their form of communication, these people need all the support they can get," Letiatsi added. Stanbic Bank donated P20,000 towards the centre.
Ghana: Association Helps Improve Communication for the Deaf
16 November 2011
The government, after almost six years since the passage of the Disability Law, has not yet been able to meet the needs of People with Disability (PWD), even though the law was meant to give them a positive lifestyle. Indeed, the government is doing its best to make the country a better place for PWDs, unfortunately, no matter how hard it tries, it does not seem to be reaching its target.
According to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) estimates, the disability rate of Ghana is between 7 and 10 per cent, which equates approximately 1.55 to 2.2 million people in the country. This makes it visible that with the limited resources of the country, the government alone cannot conquer the quest of helping PWDs to be accepted and have a good standard of living, however, all hope is not yet lost, as with the passage of the Disability Law, there is still hope of a better future for them.
As part of the government's activity in helping PWDs, the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) was created to give maximum attention to PWDs who are deaf and mute. The GNAD, through their development partner, DANIDA, a Denmark-based organisation, organised a programme for the training for local interpreters. This was meant to help make communication easier and more understandable between the local interpreters and the deaf and mute. It will enable them feel accepted by society, as people will easily understand whatever they want to say.
Communities involved (local interpreters and training)
The programme, which was part of the GNAD's efforts in strengthening the advocacy campaign for the rights of the deaf and local sign language interpreter, took place in the eight DANIDA project districts - that is Lawra, Bongo, Nanumba North, Saboba, Dormaa Ahenkro, Asutifi, Juabeso and Sefwi Wiawso, where they have been trained to assist the deaf in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
According a report gathered by the Communications Officer of the association, Johnson Mahama, another new project will take place in seven new districts in five regions of Ghana, which are the Volta - Ketu South, Eastern Region - Kwahu West, Ashanti Region - Ashanti Mampong and Ejisu, Central Region - Senya/Winneba, and Greater Accra - Amasaman.
Apart from organising this programme for the local interpreters in the above-mentioned places, the association, as well, organised same for the Association of Ghanaian Sign Language Interpreters (AGSLI) which received training with Marco Stanley Nyarko and Frank Owusu Sekyere of the University of Education-Winneba, and a veteran in the trade, Francis Agbenya, as resource personnel in Kumasi.
Local interpreters receive training
During the programme, Mr. Marco Stanley Nyarko took the participants through the following topics: Conduct of interpreter; Confidentiality in Interpretation; Ghanaian Sing Language Idioms; and Levels of GLS and the Interpreter, whilst Frank Owusu Sekyere lectured on Interpreting in Educational Settings; Interpreting In Legal Settings; Interpreting in Medical Settings; and Paying of Interpreter Service.
Mr. Amuah lectured on Sign Language in Ghana and Deaf Culture. He said deaf people use sign language, adding that deaf people have a history, culture community language and value, method of communication, norms, customs and arts. He stressed that in the deaf culture, first impression is key. As a side attraction to the training, there was a presentation on proposal writing by Kwami Ansre, DANIDA Programme Manager.
In demonstrating the various hand formations in sign language, Mr. Frimpong Manso said in sign language interpretation, finger spelling is important, and the dominant hand is mostly used. "You must be careful, because a single flip of the finger(s) could mean a different sign," Mr. Frimpong cautioned. During the training, George Pinto, who was one of the facilitators for the training, in his presentation, said that there were various categories of deaf people, that is congenitally deaf, adventitiously deaf, post-lingual deaf, pre-lingual deaf, hard of hearing and profound deaf. He stressed that an interpreter must be able to vocalise words or syllables at the same time as they are being spelt.
In Ghana, deaf and mute people do not get the chance to work as normal people, they are considered as less-privileged, due to their difficulty in speaking and hearing. Deaf and mute people are limited in some functions, because of an impairment they have. Though they are also useful, some people prefer the disabled without arms or suffering from a form of paralysis. To them, these people can express themselves more freely and easily than the deaf and mute. According to them, working with the cripple is quiet easier than the deaf and mute, due to this, getting an official position for the deaf/mute is very difficult.
According to the report of the Communications Officer, the initiative will further boost the rate at which the pupils/students of Schools for the Deaf pass in their examinations, especially at the Junior High School level, which makes it a forward step to them achieving higher heights in education.
It is a good thing that the Director of GNAD assured the participants that his office had plans to liaise with the University of Ghana, Legon, to set up a training department to train interpreters who will come out as proficient diploma-holding graduates, to enable them gain full recognition as professionals.
Deaf beauty queen to fight for the disabled
Daily Nation, Kenya
Posted Thursday, November 17 2011 at 19:46
When she strode on the stage alongside other beauty contestants, her radiant smile and confident pose was an assurance that Vivian Awuor was headed to modelling stardom.
Vivian acknowledged the applause from the crowd, even as she could not hear what her fans were saying. Vivian can neither talk nor hear.
But one thing is for sure: she has the beauty and the will to be a model. At least that was the verdict of the judges after the beauty contest at the School of Monetary Studies auditorium last Sunday.
The 22-year-old who lost her hearing in childhood is the Miss Deaf Kenya 2011. She will use the position to champion the rights of all disabled persons in society.
“People are yet to get information about the deaf, so with my position, I will ensure the public is informed of what we want,” said Vivian, who relies on sign language to communicate.
While some deaf people, especially those who can utter some words are able to read the lips of the communicator, this is not the case with Vivian who lost the ability to hear following a malaria attack when she was two years old.
Vivian was born and raised in Ahero, Kisumu, and did not go beyond primary school because of what she terms lack of a conducive environment.
According to her, disabled persons are yet to get full support to compete alongside normal persons.
“All this is as a result of ignorance. People need to be educated on the challenges we go through,” Vivian told the Nation through volunteer sign interpreter Douglas Okeyo, a University of Nairobi sign language student.
The rare beauty pageant brought together dozens of people with hearing impairment, which saw 10 men and 12 women from different towns in the country battle it out for Mr and Miss Deaf Kenya titles.
Ancent Kioli, a 25-year-old student at Karen Technical Training Institute in Nairobi, won the men’s title and says he wants to model to international level.
“I admired the models on television, although I was not keen about modelling because of my condition,” says Ancent, who was born normal, only to lose hearing at the age of four.
He says he had hearing problems even in primary school, but didn’t know he would later on become deaf.
“I went to a primary school with normal children and because I could only hear partially, the teachers had a difficult time with me. At times, they spoke and I didn’t respond.
“They would beat me up thinking I was rude,” says the model, who later on joined Machakos School for the Deaf when his condition worsened and he lost his hearing completely.
Despite this, he counts himself lucky because he can utter some words beside reading other people’s lips and so communicate with them.
“There are people with our problems and their relatives have failed to understand how to help. We will be their ambassadors,” Ancent says.
According to Timothy Liani of Deaf Agenda - an NGO that cares for the deaf - there’s need for a forum to bring together the deaf.
“The two will be the role models of the deaf society and other Kenyans at large, as they champion their rights,” said Timothy about the contestants who were picked in an event sponsored by Ashleys, Haco and School of Monetary Studies.
According to Miss Kenya organiser at Ashleys Sammy Kinyua, this was a unique event that will ensure the disabled are recognised
Ekurhuleni hosts Deaflympics qualifier
THE South African Deaf Sports Federation has joined forces with the City of Ekurhuleni to host the qualifier for the 2013 Deaflympic Games tomorrow.
Federation president Julius Maxajwe said the qualifiers will take place at Germiston Stadium at 3.30pm with South Africa playing against Egypt.
"Initially there were four teams in our group but Kenya and Guinea withdrew due to lack of funds.
"We are now only left with Egypt," Maxajwe said.
"The winner between the two countries will qualify for the 2013 Deaflympic Games in Budapest in Hungary."
Maxajwe said they appreciated the support they are continuously getting from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee as well as Mondli Gungubele's City of Ekurhuleni.
"Our players were selected during the National Deaf Games in Potchefstroom in March and National Soccer Development tournament in Pretoria in August.
"We are, however, disappointed that the South African Football Association gave us the cold shoulder when we requested them to assist with the hosting of this football event," Maxajwe said.
Safa president Kirsten Nematandani could not be reached for comment.
The SA team is: Jabulani Sikhosana, Lindo Khanyile, Thuthukani Sokhela, Try Ribabu, Thabo Moremi, Philemon Malope, Lethola Mokubung, Kabelo Makgopye, Neo Sethlabi, Johannes Motlousi, Precious Moichela, Solly Tweleng, Tsholedi Moli, Prince Mathere, Themba Malinga, Thembinkosi Malevu, Mpho Mokhethi, Vincent Morajane, Andile Booi, Bonginkosi Jili, Precious Mulele, Mzwandile Magagula and Gungu Molefe.
Govt pledges conditions to ensure survival of disabled people
11/19/11 Angola Press
Luanda - The Angolan government, through the Ministry of Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans, control over 30.000 war handicapped, 10.000 which suffer from I and II disability degree, unable to handle any task.
This was said to the press on Friday by the former combatants vice-minister, Clemente Cunjuca, on the fringes of the 12th Consultative Council, taking place in Luanda.
According to him, the need of building regional sheltering and advising centres, among others, will enable the government to transfer the disabled people interned in the hospital centres, especially at Luanda-based military hospital, to those regional centres with specialised conditions.
S/African walks for charity
19 November 2011 Times of Zambia
A SOUTH African national, Craig Sieben has arrived in Ndola after walking for 63 days from Cape Town in South Africa on a mission to raise more awareness about the rights of disabled people in Africa.
He told the Times that he reached Ndola on Monday but had earlier entered Zambia through Siavonga district last week on Thursday.
Mr Sieben said he embarked on walking and hitchhiking to cover a stretch of 16, 000 km across 15 African countries from Cape town to Egypt, which started on September 17 this year and was expected to arrive on April 26 next year.
He said the journey would take him to the 15 countries which included South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, North Sudan and Egypt.
He said he was inspired to walk by Chaeli Campaign, a group of four girls between the ages of nine and 13 who had fundraised money to buy a wheelchair for a disabled person.
Mr Sieben said he was also fundraising to purchase 222 wheelchairs, which is the total number of days that he would cover on his journey, for donation to disabled people in the 15 countries. “My physical challenge is to get to Egypt without using any public transport and as I walk, I will be able to generate awareness around the abilities of disabled people and what they can do in an inclusive society,” he said.
He said while in Zambia, he wanted to help give exposure to Zambia Deaf Vision for the amazing work it had done in fighting for education of the deaf in the country.
Mr Sieben said he would join the campaign for opening of more schools for the deaf in Zambia and support the designing of reading material for the deaf which was expected to be translated into local languages in order to bridge the education gap for the deaf people in Zambia.
He said before leaving Zambia, he would travel to Luanshya where he would donate a wheelchair and then later proceed to Malawi.
Disabled nods Jere’s appointment as PS
Times of Zambia
Written by Davies M.M Chanda Saturday,
19 November 2011 08:11 By Times Reporter
THE Zambia Disability HIV/AIDS Human Rights Programme has welcomed the appointment of Patricia Jere as the new permanent secretary in the ministry of Justice.
Programme director, Elijah Ngwale said the appointment of Ms Jere as the new permanent secretary in charge of legal was a two-fold achievement. “One because she is a women and two because she is disabled, to us this is something great. She has been appointed meritoriously,” he said.
He said he was happy that President Sata was recognizing the qualifications of persons with disabilities.
“She was not just appointed because of her disability but because of her qualifications, Ms Jere has two degrees. She was the co-architect of the persons with disabilities Act No 33 of 1996,” he said.
He said Ms Jere was the key advisor when the persons with disabilities were coming up with the disability Act. The President yesterday swore-in Ms Jere as the new Permanent secretary in the ministry of Justice in charge of legal.
During the swearing-in ceremony President Sata said he had decided to appoint Ms Jere because of her ability. “I think our colleagues from the disabled should have been complaining but they haven’t mplained so we decided on their behalf this lady you are seeing there, she might not walk, she might not run, but that head of hers, the entire Government, the entire judiciary, the entire police depends on her,” the President said.
“If she can’t draft the right word, right laws, it was going to be very difficult for lawyers to interpret but we thought that we should recognize her. He said while she was disabled she was still valuable to the country.
The President told Ms Jere to consult widely from people like Eva Jhala who had worked in the ministry before.
“Madam consult people who have been there before like Eva Jhala, I have put you on the Constitutional Technical Committee and a few other people from the ministry of justice,” he said. And speaking in an interview shortly after being sworn-in, Ms Jere thanked President Sata for recognizing her ability. She said it was difficult for people to recognize people with disabilities. Ms Jere hoped that the submissions by organizations for the disabled for the inclusion of disability rights in the Bill of rights would be dealt with by the Constitutional Technical Committee.
Disabled people denounce presidential scholarship
Sunday, 20 November, The Standard(Zimbabwe’ s Sunday news paper)
PEOPLE with disabilities have claimed that they were being excluded from the Presidential Scholarship because of their condition. Not even one of them has benefitted from it since its inception.
Addressing journalists at a workshop in Mutare recently, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (Nascoh) executive director, Farai Mukuta, bemoaned the trend, saying it was retrogressive.
“No disabled person has benefitted from the Presidential Scholarship. The able-bodied people, even without proper qualifications, are benefitting,”
Mukuta said the government must consider disabled people in setting its development goals. “We want to have a strategy to ensure that disabled people are included in national planning. We challenge you journalists to empower us,” said Mukuta.
Mukuta’s remarks were echoed by several other participants at the workshop, who appealed to the governor of Manicaland, Christopher Mushowe, to take this complaint to President Robert Mugabe.
Mushowe, who is patron of the Presidential Scholarship, was represented by a senior official from his office. However, Mushowe denied discriminating against those who are disabled, saying the allegations were unfounded and malicious.
“The scholarship programme does not discriminate,” said Mushowe. “It does not also look at one’s political affiliation. We select children from every district across the country. What people must understand is that we cannot accommodate everyone at once.”
Mushowe said they would this year consider only 500 children due to shortage of funds. The programme used to offer scholarships to between 1 000 and 2 000 students.
Mukuta said his organisation was pushing for a significant representation of the disabled people into the country’s policy-making positions.
It is estimated that people with disabilities constitute 10% of the country’s population.
Vendors exploit the disabled
21 November 2011, The Zimbabwean
Hilary Gomo (not his real name) spends his days in a wheelchair selling pirated music in the city centre. His ‘boss’ is in his office on the other side of the road, burning the CDs for re-sale.
Gomo’s wages amount to a plate of sadza and a dollar for transport every day and, unfortunately, his story is a common one on the streets of Harare.
Vendors employ people with disabilities in order to avoid hide and seek games with the local police who the vendors believe are unlikely to chase less able-bodied sellers.
A vendor identified as Takura said that the council had declared ‘war’ on informal sellers. “We are at war. We are trying to live a decent life and the police are always on our tails. But, ever since I employed my disabled relative, my fortunes have changed for the better. Police officers are human, they cannot harass disabled people,” he said.
Takura dismissed claims that disabled sellers were underpaid. “My relationship with my disabled relative is mutual; we need each other for survival. Sometimes I am the cow and he is the tick, on other occasions the reverse is true,” he said.
Though many vendors allegations that they were underpaying their disabled employees, many workers said they were not receiving a decent wage. “We did not know that it was a ploy to evade the police,” said one disabled seller.
“When my employer approached me, he was so compassionate and sympathetic.
He even said my life was now going to change for the better. He promised to buy me groceries, but none of that has happened.”
Harare city spokesperson, Lesley Gwindi, is on record saying there were no council bylaws which gave preferential treatment to disabled vendors, but that the municipality police were careful when dealing with less able-bodied members of society.
Social analysts and human rights activists have castigated the government for failing to cater for its disabled citizens.
“When the government fails to take care of the less privileged members of society, they are prone to abuse from the community,” said Adeline Makaro, a human right activist with a local Non Governmental Organisation.
“The government should have projects to help the disabled. Disability does not mean inability; the disabled might have magnificent business proposals, but society looks down upon them.”
Algerian players seek probe into disabled children
ALGIERS - Several former Algerian international footballers have called for an investigation into whether their children's disabilities could be linked to medication given them in their playing days.
Eight former Algerian internationals have handicapped children, former defender Mohamed Chaib told AFP.
"We have serious doubts over the effects of medication that we were given during training camps," said Chaib, a father of three girls all born with muscular dystrophy. "We just want the truth."
One daughter died in 2005 at age 18 as a result of the disease, he said.
He and his wife were given a series of tests but no abnormalities were found.
The players all represented Algeria in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.
Many football fans remember the team's shock win over West Germany in the first round of the 1982 competition.
The players' claim, however, was met with skepticism by Ali Fergani, captain of the "Desert Foxes" during the 1982 cup in Spain.
"The number of players who are parents of disabled children is minimal compared to the total number of players selected," he said.
Players said they could not recall the names of the medications they suspect may have caused birth defects. Some said doctors never gave them their medical files, the El Watan newspaper reported.
Djamel Menad, a striker in the 1986 cup, said his daughter born in 1993 suffered from agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition that causes seizures and muscle weakness.
Menad said it seemed unlikely to be a coincidence that several other players his age had children with disabilities and blamed the medications doctors handed out.
"Since I discovered I was not alone, I began to ask myself questions,"
Menad thinks its possible there is a link between the medicines and tonics doctors gave players.
"They gave us drugs and vitamins to battle for energy loss after training and matches," Menad said.
But Fergani said the only substance he recalled being given was Vitamin C.
Former midfielder Mohamed Kaci Said, the father of a 26-year-old disabled daughter, also wants an investigation.
"Doubts persist until an enquiry has been opened and the truth told,"
Said told newspaper El-Khabar.
He said he was shocked when his daughter was born and some thought he and his wife may have been related, but he stressed his wife is of Turkish origin.
Former midfielder Said said that foreign medical staff with the team may have been using players as guinea pigs to test drugs but Fergani insisted that all team doctors were Algerian.
Sports authorities in the former Sovet bloc have been found to have administered drugs to athletes without their knowledge in the 1970s and 1980s.
Algerian authorities have not commented on the allegations.
Former Combatants Ministry happy with funds allocated for 2012
11/21/11, Angola Press
Luanda - The vice-minister of Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans, Clemente Cunjuca, Monday in Luanda, considered as feasible the funds allocated to the sector under the State Budget for 2012, despite increased challenges posed by the assistance to disabled people countrywide.
The sector got a budget share estimated at AKz 4.0 billion.
Speaking to Angop on the fringes of the session with the 5th Commission of the National Assembly, Clemente Cunjunca said there has been an improvement as compared to the previous years.
The official mentioned among the priorities for the sector, the construction of regional centres to shelter and guide disadvantaged former combatants and war disabled persons.
Answering questions raised by MPs, the vice minister pointed out social welfare programmes, including the implementation of self-employment projects to benefit the former combatants.
There are over 70,000 former combatants and 35,000 war handicapped persons to be assisted by the Ministry, including 10,000 with first degree disabilities requiring a daily aid care.
Government orders suspension of permits for construction of public buildings that are not disability friendly
11月22日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
Vice President John Mahama has instructed persons responsible for the issuance of building permits not to issue permits for public building that are not disability friendly. These include schools, churches and clinics.
The Vice President gave the order at the launch of a training programme for 5,000 persons with disability in ICT Mobile and Computer assembling and repair in Accra.
He insisted that persons with disability can contribute to economic growth and further urged the first batch of the training to chart a good path for others.
The CEO of RLG Communications Ltd, Roland Agambir assured government that his organization will carry out the programme to a successful end.
He stated that ICT has come to stay and called on the private sector to compliment government efforts in improving the livelihood of persons with disability.
He said the total cost of the training is GHC 21,741 adding that RLG will absorb GHC 1,983,000.
The President of the Ghana Federation of the disabled, Antwi Boahen Obeng talked about the high level of discrimination against persons living with disabilities and said they are not given the opportunity to take part in social activities and benefit from educational and other forms of training.
Mr Boahen Obeng urged government to continue to assist persons with disabilities.
The Chairman of the Council of the Disabled, Okai Koi also noted that persons with disability form a very significant segment of the nation with an estimated 21% of the population.
With this in view, if they are not given the necessary skills it will affect the economic growth of the nation.
Ghana: Gbeogo School for the Deaf Excels in Football Tournament
William N-Lanjerborr Jalulah
22 November 2011
The saying that disability does not mean inability, last Saturday manifested clearly at the Bolgatanga Sports Stadium, when students of the Gbeogo School for the Deaf Senior High School took part in a well- organised football tournament.
The tournament, organised by Daan van Benthem and Danny Teders, both from Holland, was played on November, 12, 2011, with support from the Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, a Bolgatanga-based non-governmental organisation (NGO).
According to the organisers, the tournament was organised to show that the "deaf can do anything except hear." In all, five teams took part.
They are Soccer Intellectuals, Sharp Arrows, Harvest Academy, and two teams - Male and Female - came from Gbeogo School for the Deaf.
Daan van Benthem and Danny Teders are both volunteers at the Gbeogo School for the Deaf. They arranged a sound system and entertained the participants. One of the hearing impaired children danced to the admiration of the spectators to the vibration of the music.
There was face painting, as the volunteers helped with the painting, and many children smiled all day long wearing painted faces.
The tournament, dubbed 'Ultimate Football Tournament Bolga', also saw every participating team with its own flag and logo. To guarantee safety, a first aid kid and a nurse were available.
The first and only female match was between Sharp Arrows and Gbeogo School for the Deaf. The 40-minute game was led by official referees who communicated with the children with the use of a whistle and a flag.
Though the ladies from Gbeogo School for the Deaf played very well, they lost by a lone goal to their opponent, the Sharp Arrows, in the dying minutes of the game.
At the end of the tournament, Gbeogo School for the Deaf came 2nd, after Soccer Intellectuals, with Harvest Academy coming 3rd.
Each team received a prize, depending on the score. The Goal getter and best player of the tournament received individual prizes, which were Manchester United or FC Barcelona replacer jerseys.
The Gbeogo School for the Deaf was established in 1996. It encompasses a kindergarten, Primary and Junior High School, with a teaching staff of 23, including six volunteers.
Ghana to train 5,000 physically-challenged persons in computer assembling
【THE AFRICA REPORT】
The Ghanaian government is set to train 5 000 people living with disabilities in a project worth Ghanaian cedi 21.7 million (US$ 13.3m).
As part of the information and communication technology (ICT) project, the disabled will be trained in assembling and repairs of computers and mobile phones.
About 4.2 million of the country's over 24 million people, about 20 percent of the population, are physically challenged, according to the West African country's 2011 census.
The country's Vice-President John Mahama launched the project, which will train beneficiaries in 45 training centres spread across the country.
A Ghanaian owned ICT firm known as RLG Communications is to conduct the training in partnership with the government beginning in January 2012.
The launch, which was on the theme, "Equipping Persons With Disability with ICT Skills for Today's World", brought together persons with various disabilities and other allied groups in Accra on Monday.
The objective of the programme is to build the capacity of the disabled persons in order to empower them to secure sustainable jobs.
Currently, the government through its Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare has nine vocational and rehabilitation centres where persons with disabilities are trained in various skills such as basket weaving and wood works.
Meanwhile, the government has also announced an increase in the allocation to the disabled community at the district levels, saying it is a demonstration of its commitment to the welfare of the physically challenged.
Cameroon: Contractors Urged to Consider the Disabled
23 November 2011
The Minister of Social Affairs on wednesday opened a workshop in Yaounde to make public buildings accessible to the physically challenged.
Social Affairs Minister, Cath？rine Bakang Mbock, has challenged real estate developers, contractors, public and private administrators to make both official and residential buildings accessible to people with disabilities by drafting recommendations that are worth implementing.
The Minister was speaking on wednesday November 23 as she opened a two- day workshop aimed at reminding contractors on what they need to take into consideration when building houses.
She said disability was a major concern to government, adding that policies and activities have been put in place for the socio-economic integration and employment of the disabled. An April 13, 2010 law on the protection and welfare of persons living with disabilities, she said, was evidence of government's will to satisfy the physically challenged.
Article 1 of Section 33 of the law which stipulates that "Government and private buildings and institutions open to the public shall be designed such as to facilitate access and use by persons with disabilities," she explained, was just part of initiatives to ensure that physically challenged persons have access to the fundamental human rights enjoyed by able people. Flanked by the Ministers of Public Works and Women's Empowerment and the Family, Cath？rine Bakang Mbock sounded optimistic that with plans to transform the country into a vast construction site by 2012, attention will be given to people with disability in accessing public buildings.
"The architectural design of most of our buildings and public places makes access difficult, thus limiting the use of wheel chairs and other walking aids," Tabley Ngwa, a disabled architect in the Ministry of Public Works lamented. He explained that it restricts movement and makes it difficult for some physically challenged people to effectively participate in socio-economic activities. This, it was explained, renders some of them poor and vulnerable. He however commended government for coming up with policies and activities for implementation on the socio-economic integration and employment of the disabled.
Stakeholders at the workshop are discussing the cost and possibilities of making staircases, toilets, doors, public files and roads accessible to the disabled. The opening of the workshop marked the launch of activities for the 20th edition of the International Day of Persons living with Disability to be commemorated on December 3 on the theme, "Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development."
Deaf association calls on state to learn sign language
23 November 2011, Mmegi Online
The association of the deaf in Botswana has called on the government and the larger community to learn how to communicate in sign language.
This emerged last week during the three-day workshop for the training of interpreters in sign language in Gaborone. The aim of the workshop, which was organised by the Botswana Association of the Deaf on sign language, was to teach hearing people, especially unemployed youth, sign language so that they are able to communicate with the deaf and get jobs as sign language interpreters.
During the workshop, members of the association complained that the government and the community were not doing much to learn sign language.They said lack of knowledge in sign language makes it hard for them to communicate or express their needs and wants to the government and other people on a personal level. They said that not being able to communicate with people whose hearing is intact makes it hard for them to take part in the development of the country and they are not able to express their feelings to their leaders because of communication barriers that make it hard for both parties to understand each other.
"We want the community to be familiar with sign language by training interpreters as Botswana Sign Language users, for the purposes of communicating effectively with deaf people," said Shirley Keoagile, who is the treasurer of the Botswana Association of the Deaf. She said that they want to give people adequate skills so that they can become fluent users of Botswana Sign Language (BOSL).
"The workshop's aim is to teach the unemployed youth sign language so that they can look for jobs as interpreters and teach the deaf people various life skills in sign language," said Keoagile, who is able to lip-read and talk.
They raised their problems with the Assistant Minister of Education Keletso Rakhudu, who in turn agreed that government needs to do more for people with disabilities. To that end, he said government has established a unit to cater for them within the Office of the President.
They told him that they face challenges when they visit government offices for assistance because hearing civil servants cannot understand sign language.They said doctors the police and the community at large must learn sign language.
Deaf people requested the government to introduce sign language in the school curriculum, especially at primary school level. Rakhudu said that the government appreciates the many challenges faced by deaf people and that why their issues are being addressed at the highest level within the Office of the President.
However, he said that his ministry is working hard to educate and train the deaf and has to that extent,established four units at primary school level for them. These are based at Ramotswa, Francistown, Boyei Primary School in Maun and Masa Primary School in Gaborone.
Furthermore, government has established three units at secondary school level for the deaf. These are Ramotswa Secondary School, Tashata Junior Secondary School and Maun Senior Secondary School. He said the units have increased the number of learners with hearing impairment to access education and training.
He said he hoped government would increase schools that can assist the deaf in their education and training.Rakhudu encouraged workshop participants to put what they have learnt from the workshop to good use.
Kenya: Busia Medical Officer Calls for Joint War Against HIV Gilbert Ochieng
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
23 November 2011
THE Busia medical officer of health Dr Evan Kiplagat has appealed to stakeholders from Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga and Busia to sensitize residents from their respective areas on HIV/Aids.
Kiplagat was addressing the stakeholders during the official launch of counselling and testing programmes targeting hearing impaired persons in the four counties at the Busia district headquarter's boardroom yesterday. He said the war against HIV and Aids and other dangerous illnesses is a collective responsibility and stakeholders should work closely with the government to address the issue.
On the polio vaccination that was concluded in the district a week ago, the medic lauded all the health personnel who participated for managing to reach 100 per cent of the locals which was above the target.
Nambale public health officer Stephen Anjeche said the deaf are most affected by HIV/Aids. which statistics show are more than 300 thousand nationally.
"These people seldom seek voluntary HIV testing and counseling services and most of those tested may be after sexual assault of defilement hence making them vulnerable,' said the public health officer, adding that most often than not they miss out on the essential services most probably due to communication barriers.
Anjeche at the same time said there was urgent need on the part of the government to consider providing health facilities with interpreters well versed with sign languages saying that the widest gap is found in health delivery systems and specifically HIV testing and counseling care givers who do not have skills in the sign language.
"Sign language and lip reading are the most effective communication methods known, however, not enough people know the sign language well enough to facilitate communication," said the public health officer.
The public health officer further said it is not quite easy to come across health workers who know the sign language adding that there is need to bring special teachers on board and train them on HIV testing and counseling so that they can be deployed at special schools and vocational training centres.
Kenya Hiv/Aids Support Organization, a community based organization operating in Busia County has been identified by the Nambale Constituency Aid Control Council[CACC] committee to spearhead HIV/AIDS counseling and testing Busia County alongside others in western province.
Government Succeeded in Getting Additional UNDP Support for the Physically Challenged
Widad Babikir Calls on the UN to Form Joint Unit for the Disabled in Sudan
Khartoum - The government has a political will to launch programs in support of persons with special needs after Sudan joined the International Agreement on the Rights of Persons with Special needs and endorsement a national law for the handicapped. This is in addition to the formation of a National Council for Disability, Widad Babikir, the First Lady said.
While addressing in Khartoum yesterday a workshop on disability organized by Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration Commission(DDR) with the participation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Babikir underscored the necessity for the disabled to enjoy all rights and privileges the country is committed to.
The wife of the president called for concerting formal and voluntary efforts to contribute to the work, she described as a “challenge”.
Widad appealed to UN agencies operating in Sudan benefiting from their experience in countering multifaceted issues to form a joint unit to combat HIV/AIDS.
The First Lady said the work in the field of disability poses a great challenge under present international economic conditions especially in Sudan. The DDR Commissioner Dr. Salaf Adeen Saleh said the workshop was one of side programs the Commission is carrying out in Sudan. He added that latest surveys show that the disabled account for 10 percent of former fights including women.
Saleh told Sudan Vision that the Commission after exerting pressure on the UNDP managed to provide additional financial capabilities for the disabled in Sudan. According to the commissioner program- in its first stage - is aimed at 5000 disabled persons in South Kordufan, the Blue Nile and Khartoum. However, he said that the Commission does not have specific figures in Darfur but will reach the exact figure there through its work. Saleh stated that projects have been implemented according to the desire of the disabled themselves.
Salma Ahmed Geneif, in charge of the disabled at the commission, said the workshop was aimed at persons with special needs, especially from various regular forces, adding that the commission has received lists, classified them, in addition to medical screening to provided needed assistance.
She further said the unit provides economic projects for the disabled so that a demobilized individual is able to continue their public life. She pointed out that various projects provided to the disabled so far - in collaboration with Zakat Chamber, National Council for Artificial Limps as well as other concerned organizations - have proved successful.
Geneif further said the Commission managed to create effective partnership with the UNDP, which in turn has reflected on the performance of the commission. She stated that the workshop will consider surveys conducted on the conditions of the disabled to submit recommendations to the Presidency in order to supply necessary support.
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You are not disabled enough, 50 elderly told
24 November 2011, Swazi Observer
ABOUT 50 elderly people who arrived to collect their social grants were told that they were not disabled enough hence did not receive their money.
The 50 are from Maphungwane in Matsanjeni North where Nkululeko Mbhamali is Member of Parliament.
There are about 500 disabled people at the constituency and most of them depend on the social grant to survive.
Mbhamali confirmed that 50 of them were at the park and were turned back because welfare officials told them they did not look disabled.
“Some who suffer from stroke were told they can’t receive their grants because they did not show signs of having suffered a stroke,” said Mbhamali.
He said the affected people had no means of earning a living other than the social grant.
ICT Training For Disabled
11月24日 Modern Ghana
Source: Musah Jafaru & Sebastian Syme - Daily Graphic General News | 2 days ago
By: akoaso,HH Germany
The Vice-President, Mr John Mahama, Monday launched an ICT programme in Accra which seeks to train 5,000 persons living with disabilities (PWDs) in the assembling and repairs of mobile phones and computers.
Known as the Persons with Disability ICT Project, the beneficiaries would be deployed to the 45 training centres of the Institute of Technology of the rlg Communications spread across the regional and district capitals where they would be provided with the best hands-on ICT training expected to commence in January, 2012.,
The launch, which was on the theme: “Equipping Persons with Disability with ICT Skills for Today’s World”, brought together PWDs and other allied groups at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Giving a background to the programme, Mr Mahama said Cabinet in October, this year, approved a memorandum to collaborate with rlg Communications, a local ICT firm, to embark on the training programme which would last six months.
The objective, he explained, was to build the capacity of PWDs in order to empower them to secure sustainable jobs.
Provisional estimates of the 2011 Population and Housing Census put the number of PWDs at 4.2 million, representing 20 per cent of the population for which reason the government found it prudent to conceive a programme to develop the capacities of PWDs to contribute their quota to national development.
The Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare (MESW) has nine vocational and rehabilitation centres where PWDs are trained in various skills such as basket weaving and wood work, which vocations the Vice-President indicated were not modernised thus the decision to add value to their skills through ICT.
As a demonstration of the government’s commitment to the welfare of the physically challenged, Mr Mahama said Cabinet had given approval for the increase of the District Assembly Common Fund allocated to PWDs from two to three per cent with guidelines in place for the disbursement of the funds.
“The establishment of the National Disability Council in the early days of the government is in fulfillment of our manifesto promise as a social democratic government,” he added.
Mr Mahama, who was not enthused about the failure of institutions to comply with the Disability Act that enjoins institutions to provide walk ways that allows PWDs easy access to such institutions directed organisations not to issue building permits for the construction of public buildings that did not comply with the law.
The MESW is partnering with rlg Communications, the ministries of Communication and Information and the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to implement the Disability ICT Project.
The government is expending GH¢21,741,000 on the project of which rlg Communications would absorb GH¢1,983,000.
The Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Mr E.T. Mensah, earlier in his welcoming remarks, said Ghana could not claim to be advancing sustainable human resource development when PWDs who constituted a large percentage of the population were left out.
According to him, the government owed a constitutional and moral duty to them to ensure they got their fair share of the “Better Ghana Agenda” and expressed gratitude to rlg Communications for its financial and material support as well as the Ministries of Communications, Education and Environment, Science and Technology and the Disability Council for their support.
The Chief Executive of rlg Communications, Mr Roland Agambire, told the PWDs that ICT which was changing the world had come to stay.
For him, disability was not inability or a dysfunction and recalled a number of personalities including former UK Home Secrertary, David Blanket and former US President Franklyn Roosevelt who were respectively blind and crippled.
FII finally gives Miss Deaf beauties their prizes
25 November, 2011 Swazi observer
MISS Deaf finalists will today get their prizes from First international.
This was disclosed by FII assistant manager, Shameol Khan who stated that the reason they have delayed with the prizes was because of poor organisation by organiser, Nokuthula Mbatha.
She had earlier accused FII of not keeping their promise of sponsoring with three TV sets, three cellphones and driving lessons for the queen.
Khan mentioned that during the prize presentation at the George Hotel, he could not make it because he was busy with something.
“I have always asked the organiser to set a date so we could give the winners their prizes. If the company promises to sponsor any event we do that. I was very disappointed on their handling of the issue. The prizes are ready, we were just waiting for them,” he said.
An average work-day with miss deaf at rgr signs
26 November, 2011 Swazi observer
Miss Deaf 2011 Nosipho Zwane is having an awesome time at RGR Signs.
She is currently on internship.
This is part of the prize package after she emerged as the winner of the contest a few months ago.
Nosipho joined RGR Signs two months ago as she furthers her studies on graphic designing.
Since joining the company she has not only been brushing upon her skills on graphic designing but has also been taught how to use a digital printer and brand t-shirts.
When the L & E team visited her early in the week, we found her busy at work.
She sat closely with her teacher Stix Sithole, who attested that Nosipho was coping very well.
He described the beauty queen as a person with brains and that she was a fast learner.
“When she came here she only knew how to use PowerPoint in designing but now we have introduced her on how to use Coral Draw. In no time, she will be at the top of her game. She is very easy to work with,” he said.
The shy and down to earth queen said, “The staff here is great. They have been nice to me since I came here. I have learnt a lot and I hope by the time I leave I would have achieved so many things,” she further said.
Furthermore, RGR Signs Manager Roland Roberts said he was happy that Nosipho is part of his team.
He said ever since she joined them the beauty queen had gotten along well with the staff members and that she was willing to work all time. The sponsorship is valued at E1 800 and at the end of the programme she will walk away with a new lap top which she will use at home to polish her skills.
Senator’s disability foundation launch next weekend
26 November, 2011 Swazi observer
All is set for the launch of the Senator Thomas Mndzebele Disability Foundation at the Caritas Centre next Saturday.
The launch of the foundation opens a new chapter in the history of people living with disabilities in the country as it will be the first of its kind and with the sole aim of uplifting the improving the welfare of people living with disabilities of any kind in the country.
It mainly aims to establish a revolving fund where people with disabilities could access financial loans to start their own businesses in their localities so they could be able to properly feed, raise and educate their families just like able bodied people.
“History has taught that we have to strive to be our own providers as we tend to lag behind in mainstream society.
We believe that society will appreciate our endeavours and be in a position to assist and support us if they see us doing it for ourselves.
I have harboured dreams of such a foundation and I am so excited that finally it will be seeing the light of day,” Senator Mndzebele said this week.
He mentioned that for the past six months the foundation’s committee has been working around the clock to get it moving and it they felt it was time it was introduced to the disabled community and the nation at large.
“We face a lot of challenges which we endure from an early age right to adulthood as the disabled.
But we are appreciative of the efforts government has made in the past like the provision of vocational schools for our members. It is then time to assist those who have acquired such skills to put them into use and fend for themselves,” he said.
Members of the Senator Thomas Mndzebele Disability Foundation committee:
Senator Thomas Mndzebele:
He is the founder, director of the foundation and his appointment as Senator in the legislature, availed him the opportunity to pursue such a dream which he had harboured for many years.
He is the country’s first ever disabled Parliamentarian where he fervently advocates for issues pertaining to people with disabilities. He is currently employed as a switchboard operator at the Central Bank of Swaziland and serves in a number of capacities in organisations working with the disabled in the country.
Maziya is currently working for NERCHA as an organisation development officer. He has previously worked with the Ekululameni Centre for the Disabled where he assisted in the training of disabled people and their skills development.
He has also worked for Caritas Swaziland and has vast experience in working with people from disadvantaged backgrounds. He also administrates the foundation while also designing its programmes.
Ginindza has is a vocational skills instructor at the handicapped vocational school next to SCOT in Mbabane. He has trained many people with disabilities in trades like carpentry and welding. He is very much pained to produce graduates who then go to sit at home doing nothing, hence his being part of the foundation will enable him to assist those graduates pursue businesses while also offering them technical assistance and advice.
Dlamini is a retired nurse who has worked for many years in the optical departments of the country’s hospitals. She is specialist in working with the visually impaired and many other optical deficiencies.
Despite being in retirement, she is still regularly sought to give advice and assist in visual problem cases in the country’s hospitals. Her experience in this field will enable the foundation deal effectively with its members who are visually impaired.
Peter Makhosini Makhubu-Member
Makhubu has been president of the FODSWA (Federation of the Disabled in Swaziland) since 2009, and has a hands-on approach towards leading the organisation. He also directs the Swaziland Association for the Deaf. His inclusion in the committee is to ensure that the foundation reaches as many members of the disabled community as possible as he knows their backgrounds very well.
Gugu Mndzebele- Member
She is the wife of the Senator and drives him around while also acting as his vision in many cases. She also has a business background having operated a number of informal shops. She will ensure that the foundation does not lose track of its mandate by interpreting the founder’s wishes to the members.
Senator Mndzebele stated that they had invited a number of high profile guests for the launch that includes the Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini who will present the main address if he makes it and the Minister for Commerce and Trade as they regard such a move as an employment drive for the country.
“We have also invited the country’s embassies while also being grateful to the Chinese Embassy which has pledged two wheelchairs top the foundation.
Other people wishing to make financial donations to the foundation can do so and our account is held with the Swazibank with its number being 1040127141.
We would also like to invite the disabled people to come in their numbers to the launch next Saturday at the Caritas Roman Catholic centre in Manzini, where they will be availed more information about the revolving fund,” he said.
Metro Mass Transit bus involved in gory accident
Tamale, Nov. 26, - Authorities at the Tamale Teaching Hospital have confirmed the deaths of 21 people in a sad accident that occurred around the School for the Deaf on the Savelugu-Pong-Tamale highway.
The accident occurred on Saturday morning when two vehicles, a Benz bus and and Metro Mass Transit (MMT) bus collided at the junction close to the School of the Deaf.
Inspector Alex Oppong of the Tamale Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Ghana Police told the GNA that the MMT bus was coming from Bolgatanga to Tamale while the Benz bus was from Kumasi to Bolgatanga.
He said the Benz bus was trying to make an overtaking but unfortunately collided with the MMT bus which resulted in the death of the two drivers and many others on the spot.
Dr Opoku Boateng of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, confirmed the news to the GNA saying that several other passengers were injured and in critical conditions at the hospital.
NGO organises autism management training
By Osas Robert
28 Nov. 2011
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Behaviour and Social Intervention Demonstration Centre has organised a training programme for teachers and therapists in the management of autism-related conditions and other developmental disabilities in children. The training took place at Carol School, Ikeja, Lagos.
Mrs Bosede Asikhia, founder and programme director of the NGO, said the programme was meant to empower teachers and parents in boosting their ability to manage and help children suffering from autism and other developmental challenges to function like their mates.
She admitted facing challenges in getting parents of disabled children to cheer up and see the immense possibilities before such children. But she went ahead to provide some tips for proper management of children with autistic challenges.
She said: "The greatest issue is that some of the people have the notion that I cannot invest my money on this kind of child. But most of them that are educated and enlightened know the benefit that if effort is put into these children, there is ability in disability. Eventually, they are going to be able to develop a particular skill in that child.
"When intervening in the development of a disabled child, you should note the following: increase access to alternative sources of stimulation, use different reinforcement strategies, use shaping techniques, use substitutions like rhymes, songs, flashing/clapping devices, use stimulus equivalence ? pictures of obsessed items and avoid withholding time-out."
Speaking at the seminar, the clinical director, Dr. Edward Asikhia, a United States-trained child psychologist, said autism which makes children unable to perform like their peers is something that can be managed psychology.
"Autism," he said, "is a developmental disability that is characterised by social restrictiveness, poor social interaction, poor communication potential and presentation of challenging behaviour. Children mostly affected are male from age two to age 20. Autism has no cure but can be managed through a new technology called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which is a simplified way of looking at areas of deficit of a child and different factors that you can alter so that the child will be able to adapt as much as possible to his environment" he explained.
He commended the efforts of the Lagos State government in training disabled children but noted that a lot still has to be done. He said over 60 people have benefited from their efforts in training teachers on how to manage the behaviours of a child in the classroom through ABA and urged corporate bodies to also help in training teachers to manage physically and mentally challenged children.
"The level of awareness is so far more in Lagos State though there is a lot to do. Lagos State has been able to pick out some of these disabled children and put them in inclusion schools. From records we have over 1000 children that are been trained but what the government should know is that the teachers that are put there are not trained in ABA knowledge. That is why we came back from U.S to equip teachers to handle autism cases. We intend to move from Lagos to Port Harcourt and Edo State but we cannot do it alone."
FII to go all the way for beauty pageants
29 November, 2011 Swazi observer
ALL THE WAY: FII’s Marketing Manager Menzi Matsebula, SNCAC Chief Executive Officer Stanley Dlamini and Miss Deaf Nosipho Zwane during the prize presentation
First International Investments (FII) has promised to continue supporting Swaziland beauty pageants in the coming years. FII’s Marketing Manager Menzi Matsebula announced this during the Miss Deaf 2011 prize presentation at FII premises in Manzini on Friday.
The car dealership company sponsored the Miss Deaf prize package which included three TV sets, three mobile phones and driving lessons for Miss Deaf, Nosipho Zwane.
Matsebula said they were not pleased with media reports about the delay in delivering the prizes was because the organisers of the Miss Deaf pageant did not set a date for the presentation.
“The prizes have always been here with us. We were surprised by the organisers’ statement in the media. We had to wait for an hour for you to get here today.
“It would be nice to work with organised people. FII has always been there for the country’s beauty pageant industry and I would gladly say that in the coming years we are looking forward at working with them,” he said.
Shamuol Khan, the Assistance Director of FII said organisers of beauty pageants should be organised or it would be hard to work with them in future, citing the attitude of Miss Deaf organisers.
Receiving the prizes was SNCAC Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Dlamini who thanked FII for the donation.
He said when they implemented the project, organisers were told to protect the image of the sponsor to maintain the relationship but was surprised to see the organisers doing their own thing. He blamed this on poor communication.
“It’s great to see Miss Deaf getting such recognition from big companies like FII. We appreciate FII for the prizes they have given to the winners.
We would like to urge the public to support companies that give back to the community,” he stated.
"What's disability to me" series of videos
11月30日 World Health Organization (press release)
Hearing directly from people with disabilities about their lives is vital to good research and effective policy. In this series of short films we learn from Rachel, a nurse with disability from the United Kingdom about the obstacles she has overcome in her career; we discover why Faustina, from Tanzania, feels that wheelchairs are so important to people with disabilities; Mia, from Lebanon, shares her experience of discrimination in education; and we hear about the efforts of Feliza, from Bolivia, to promote accessibility in her home town. Each film relates to a different chapter of the World report on disability, launched on 9 June 2011 in New York. Blind aboriginal musician Geoffrey Yunupingu Gurrumul has supplied the soundtrack to the films.
“TOGETHER FOR A BETTER UGANDA: INCLUDING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN DEVELOPMENT”
11月30日 Uganda Media Centre
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
PRESS RELEASE ON INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Theme: “TOGETHER FOR A BETTER UGANDA: INCLUDING PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN DEVELOPMENT”.
1.O. Uganda joins the International community to mark the International Day of the Disabled (IDD) on 3rd December 2011. International Day of the Disabled was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/13 of October 1992 to commemorate the anniversary of the World Program of Action concerning Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the General Assembly Persons with Disabilities.
The theme for this year is “Together for a better Uganda: Including Persons With Disabilities in Development”.
The aim of this day is to promote awareness among the public on the needs and rights of persons with disabilities. This is a day also when various stakeholder take stock of achievements they have made, challenges ahead and map out strategies for overcoming these challenges.
2.0 Inclusion of Person With Disabilities means the engaging the different abilities to create a culture of belonging in which persons with disabilities are valued , respected and given autonomy to including freedom to make their own independent choices to enable them fully participate in all spheres of development for sustenance.
3.0. According to the Uganda National Household Survey (2009/10) persons with disabilities constitute 16% of the population of Uganda. Going with this percentage, persons with disabilities are estimated at 5.1 million.
4.0. Persons With Disabilities are vulnerable by virtue of their impairment and negative societal attitudes arising from fear, ignorance, superstitions, neglect and lack of awareness of their rights. They usually receive less education, skills training, medical attention which reduces their employment opportunities and active participation in development activities. Consequently this discrimination and neglect ends their self-esteem, confidence and makes them dependent on their families and communities for survival.
5.0. The NRM Government has come up with measures to address the plight of persons with disabilities. It has ratified the Convention on the rights of Persons With Disabilities. The purpose of this convention is to promote, protect and ensure full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and its fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It has further, established the necessary National and Legal frameworks such as the National Council for Disability (2003) and Persons With Disability Act(2006) to promote rights and service delivery to Persons With Disabilities.
6.0.To promote participation in decision making processes at various levels, there are over 56,000 Persons with Disabilities participating in decision making bodies in the country. This is to ensure that their needs are articulated within the framework of decentralization emphasizes bottom-up approach to development.
To further promote the participation of Persons with Disabilities, Government put in place the Community Based Rehabilitation program to address issues of Persons With Disabilities.
Government has further established a special scheme to fund income generating activities among groups of Persons With Disabilities to improve on their livelihoods. Every year 3 billion Uganda shillings is sent to all district and municipalities of Uganda as seed capital.
A special Mine Action Victim assistance Program targeting land mine/UXO survivors in mine affected districts in Northern and some parts of Western Uganda is being implemented by Government. Here UXO/Land mine survivors and other Persons With Disabilities receive medical treatment and rehabilitation, psychosocial counseling, livelihood skills so that they can reintegrate into their communities.
7.0. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Disabled Peoples’ Organizations, such as National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda and all the Uni-disability organizations and development partners who have always worked together to form a strong unified voice. Uganda has one of the strongest disability movements in the world.
It is through this concerted effort between the Government and such organizations that challenges of Persons With Disabilities will be overcome.
To create awareness on the needs and rights of persons with disability, Government in collaboration with the disability fraternity has planned for a number of activities in the different parts of the country during the week and on 3rd December 2011.
I request you to provide coverage to those activities that will culminate in the activities for the D-Day.
Rights groups lament lack of assistance for disabled voters
Yomna Mokhtar Wed, 30/11/2011 - 10:57
Photographed by Adham Khorshed
Disabled citizens faced difficulties while voting in this week's round of parliamentary elections, a number of rights groups have said.
There were no sign language interpreters to help the deaf and the majority of polling stations were located on upper floors, making it difficult for voters in wheelchairs, the Egyptian Coalition for the Disabled in Alexandria said.
The High Elections Commission provided no facilities for the disabled, according to a report by Hoqooki, an association for the rights of the disabled, assessed the suitability of voting stations in Cairo, Alexandria and Fayoum.
Heba Hagras, an Egyptian Bloc candidate who has a disability, also said no facilities were available for those with special needs. Hagras said she found it difficult to go up to the polling stations in her wheelchair. She said one supervising judge refused to leave the voting station to help her.
Mohamed Mokhtar, who also uses a wheelchair, said his polling station was on the third floor and the scrambling of voters made it even more difficult to reach the ballot box.
The Adl Party had provided sign language interpreters at 12 polls in east Cairo. Interpreter Nadia al-Sherbiny said deaf voters tend to be unaware of the significance of their vote and lack information about the process, which, she said, lowered their participation rate.
Translated from the Arabic Edition
Talking traffic lights in pipeline
30 November, 2011 Swazi observer
THE country might soon have ‘talking’ robots telling people to either stop or cross the road.
Mbabane West Member of Parliament Johannes Shongwe is advocating for such traffic lights to cater for the disabled, especially the blind.
He was speaking at the inkhundla, where he presented blankets to disabled members of his constituency yesterday.
“I have already moved a motion in parliament to have talking robots so that the blind can be able to cross roads on their own. Minister of Housing and Urban Development (Lindiwe Dlamini) promised to look into the matter,” he said.
Shongwe said phone booths should also be lowered to allow those using wheelchairs to make use of them. He stressed that he didn’t go to parliament to take care of his family’s needs, but to cater for the disadvantaged.
“When I’m in parliament, I understand that there are people who sent me there to represent them and some of them are disabled. That is why I am always on the road approaching companies to help the people of my constituency,” he said.
The Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation (SRIC) donated E20 000 to the constituency. The MP used the money to buy toiletries which were distributed to patients at the Mbabane government hospital last week and the rest of the money was spent on the blankets that were distributed to the disabled yesterday.
SRIC Assistant General Manager Malo Mthande represented the company during the presentation while local gospel group Christ Worshippers Gospel Choir rendered music.
The popular group, which sings in towns for purposes of fund raising, has all its members disabled with most of them blind. They also benefitted from the MP’s kind gesture.
The constituency also received dust bins and paper bins from Pudo Investments in Matsapha. Pudo Investment’s Nkosilenhle Kunene said some of the bins were donated to Mbabane East Inkhundla, which would be placed in schools around Mbabane as well as distributed to the elderly.
“We want to ensure that bins are available at every corner of the country, including our border gates so that our visitors will know that Swaziland is a clean country,” he said.
Manzini flea market on Friday
IN a bid to economically empower citizens, the Municipal Council of Manzini will on Friday stage a flea market at the Jubilee Park near the Manzini Post Office.
This will give members of the public an opportunity to showcase their wares and sell to interested buyers. Manzini Municipal Council Public Relations Officer Mathokoza Thwala said the flea market would run the whole day.
“We are all alive to the dire economic situation that the country has found itself in, hence as council, we felt we have to do something to assist citizens survive the predicament.
“For only E35 per stall, people will be able to sell a variety of items to members of the public,” he said. Items to be sold have been classified into 10 categories.
These are art and craft, homeware, clothing, plants and flowers, kiddies entertainment, cosmetics and jewellery, furniture, second-hand goods, books and magazines as well as automotive accessories.
“Pre-cooked food and snacks will also be allowed, albeit with limitations,”
He urged members of the public, who want to participate in the activity, to register at the council offices and pay the participation fee at the Rates Hall.
“We urge members of the public to visit the flea market and buy the valuable items that will be on display. We trust that the prices will be very reasonable.
“The only way Swazis will survive the economic crisis is if they hold hands and support one another,” said the PRO.
Digitization of the Eritrean Sign Language
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:11 | Written by Mansour Nouredin |
A new software package referred to as ‘Eri Lingual Solutions’ has been developed and is soon to be distributed to the public, according to information given to Shaebia.org. The package, designed by Fitsum Gaim, a Computer Science graduate from the Eritrean Institute of Technology, has received a positive reaction from institutions and the public.
The software, which won first prize in the innovation category at the Eritrean Festival 2011, will particularly be of great help to the disabled and especially the deaf, says Uqbamichael Tewelde, Chairman of Eritrean National Association of the Deaf.
The design approaches for the presumably first step in digitizing the Eritrean Sign Language was carried out in two phases.
The first phase consisted of designing and creating a typeface (font), which enables the publication in the sign language and also transformation of Tigrinya, Arabic and English texts to sign language and vice versa. This in turn helps the hearing impaired to gain access to written materials and online services such as email and social networking. The typeface or font, known as EriSL, can be installed and used with most operating systems.
The second phase involved designing a virtual keyboard. This enables the end-user, especially the deaf, to write texts in Tigrinya, English and Arabic or directly to Sign Language itself, without the requirement of additional ‘input method editor’ ? operating system component that allows any data, such as keyboard strokes or mouse movements, to be received as input. This implies that any user can write scripts other than the normal Latin words, using computers.
“The newly-published Eritrean Sign language dictionary served as a major reference during the preparation,” Fitsum said. “While its publication will have a great impact in the advancement of educational endeavors of the hearing impaired, I think the digitization of sign languages will also open them limitless opportunities to actively participate and contribute in the society,” he added. Fitsum went on say that the 2000 words in the dictionary are only sufficient for basic communication, and not enough to help them keep pace with the innovative advancements in information technology.
The software package also features a voice enabled input method for the Geez script. This enables the visually impaired people to write and edit with voice support.
“Visually impaired will no longer require the help of other people to edit their writings,” he adds.
Since the package can be used by the wider public including the disabled, it is intended to be distributed free of charge
“For the hearing-impaired citizens, speech will no longer be indicated in the air but rather transcribed into a written format thanks to the help of a new dictionary,” says Uqbamichael Tewelde.
Launched in a reception held at the Eritrean Chamber of Commerce in the presence of Ms. Salma Hassen, Minister of Labor and Human Welfare, the dictionary took 7 years to take its final form. It has 238 pages and comprises over 2000 pictorial presentations with descriptions in Arabic, English, Tigrigna as well as the Sign Language. The words were chosen according to their cultural significance and frequency in usage. As a supplementary, a documentary film, which elaborates the sign language, has also been included.
Although the challenges of teaching and learning process to the deaf still remain, the launching of the dictionary is considered a big achievement and those who prepared it should be given due credit, comments Pastor Zere Bekit, director of the Evangelical School for the Deaf in Keren.
Established in 1955, the school is believed to be the first school for the deaf in the Horn of Africa. Currently it accepts students with hearing impairment and provides them with education and vocational training. Some of the successful trainees are being recruited in many companies. Eri Kog, a textile company that specializes in military outfits, employs a score of citizens with hearing-impairment.
“Education being one of the basic rights of citizens, the Ministry of Education is striving to address the issues of disadvantaged citizens,” says Mr. Mussa Hussen Naib, Director General of General Education at the ministry.
Referring to his longstanding research on ‘Educational Involvement of Disadvantaged Students’, Mr. Mussa says that the number of students at the primary level is not satisfactory. “The need to address the issue is timely and it must be a holistic approach- an approach that focuses on all challenges of the disadvantaged citizens.”
On this matter, the ministry issued an Educational Policy that enables the accommodation of all challenges of the disadvantaged sector of the society, he emphasized. On a short-term approach, the ministry is introducing a supporting class and resources center so that the hearing-impaired will keep pace with the regular students while in the long term to mainstream the hearing-impaired with the regular fellow students.
“The global understanding on the same matter is likewise,” he remarked.
However, Mrs. Seidi Mussa, in charge of a unit that coordinates associations of the disabled at the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare believes hearing impaired should be taught with their peers.
“As the deaf has their own culture of communication and sign language being a mother language, the provision of educational opportunities with their like, will help them in better utilizing their ability,” said, Seidi.
The current number of schools that are catering educational service for the deaf are not enough to address the existing big demand, pointed out Ms. Seidi. Pastor Zere concurs and further said that more schools should be opened.
“Whenever I go to a family whose members are deaf, it’s like I become deaf myself because I can’t understand their language,” Ms. Seidi noted. Similarly the deaf have been facing challenges in many service rendering institutions as their language is barely understood. In an attempt to alleviate that, the Eritrean National Association for the Deaf has offered sign language courses to teachers, judges and members of the police force among others.
Given information’s vital role in updating a person with national and global current affairs, an interpretation of programs to sign language in the Eritrean TV would be a good start, she adds.
“The combination of the above two products, among others, may enable the deaf not only to best use technology but also pursue their education, which so far has been largely confined to middle school level” Futsum Gaim concluded.
Egyptian Coalition for Handicapped lashes out at parliamentary candidates
Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Dec 2011
The Egyptian Coalition for Handicapped is set to stage a sit-in to protest against the way some candidates 'have misused their cause' to farm their votes during crucial parliament elections
Muslim Brotherhood expresses gratitude to voters for 'landslide victory' in parliament vote
The Egyptian Coalition for the Handicapped is set to stage a sit-in at the headquarters of the military area in Alexandria to protest against the way some candidates “have misused their cause.”
The coalition says that both partisan and independent candidates of the first round of the ongoing parliamentary elections used the handicapped to farm votes, without having a genuine interest in the disabled's cause or demands.
“Until today, no parliamentary candidate has really cared about our cause,” read a statement issued by the Coalition for the Handicapped.
Aside from the protests planned in Egypt's northern city, the coalition is also considering boycotting the second round of the elections, scheduled this month, on 5 and 6 December.
African Christmas Fair Raises Money For Orphanage In Kenya
By Casey James, KTXS News POSTED: 11:20 pm CST December 3, 2011
ABILENE, Texas -- The Christmas spirit is making its way from Abilene to the other side of the world in Africa.
Saturday, the 2nd Annual African Christmas Fair was held at The Church of Christ on South 11th and Willis.
Each year, groups from Abilene take supplies and equipment to Sam's Place, a school for deaf orphans in Kenya, Africa.
When they come back they bring goods from Africa to sell here in The Big Country.
The proceeds from those goods go right back to buying supplies and food for the orphans.
If you would like to donate and help the orphans in Kenya, Africa you make a donation to The Church of Christ on South 11th and Willis.
Ebonyi empowers women and disabled persons
Daily Times Nigeria
Governor's wife distributes items worth millions of Naria to 450 widows, disabled people and "vulnerable women"
ARTICLE | DECEMBER 5, 2011 - 1:06AM | BY NNAMDI AKPA
The wife of Ebonyi state Governor Chief Josephine Elechi, through her skills acquisition programme and support from chairpersons of local government areas, distributed items worth millions of naria to over 450 widows, disabled people and "vulnerable women" in the state.
Items distributed to the beneficiaries across the 13 council areas and 64 development centres included sewing machines, hair dryers, wheel chairs, generators, cassava grading, machines, computers among others.
The distribution was done during the Ebonyi Women’s Day celebration at the Abakaliki Township stadium.
Elechi said the celebration provided an opportunity for the economic empowerment of women, youths and the less privileged to enable them to be self-reliant and contribute to the economic growth of the society.
She called on various societies and cultures to do away with obnoxious and harmful traditional practices that bar women from attaining their full potentials and deny them access to justice.
According to Elechi, “The theme of this year’s celebration ‘Economic empowerment: A panacea for sustainable development’ is very apt especially at this period that the state government has mapped out various programmes geared towards empowering the people through various poverty alleviation schemes and other economic development oriented programmes.”
She called on all women to be part of the efforts to entrench positive societal transformation among the people, so as to end the cases of insecurity in the localities and society at large, and create a conducive environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
Governor Martin Elechi, in his speech, commended women for their support during the April general elections.
“I am a living witness to how you have transformed from being carriers of wood and water, hawkers of yam tubers along the streets of Abakaliki to scientific farmers, business women, educationists, lawyers, administrators, active politicians,” he said.
“I have watched you championing advocacy causes to better the lot of women, especially widows, the very poor of the earth, as well as orphans and vulnerable children. You lot have changed from being mere casters of votes on election days to front-liners in the expression of political ideals and in providing necessary roadmap for the attainment of political goals.”
South Sudan: Ministry, United Nation Mark International Day of Disabled
Veronica Mule 5 December 2011
Juba - The United Nation Human Rights and the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare last Saturday celebrated the International Disabled Day in Juba Football Stadium. The United Nations Human Rights representative Richard Bennett stated that the contributions of disabled persons in the new country politically especially during the campaigning and voting procedures in the recent political activities was significant. He said that the disabled should not to be left out as they can participate in politics as well.
He added that, the government should never leave them behind because they are part of the government. Bennett said the disabled are also important and should be given equal opportunities like others in order to accomplish their duties and responsibilities and the government can benefit from them." He said a nation is built by many people such that the building can be done quickly and easily.
The Deputy Chairperson Of War Disabled Abbas Yousif Ramba said the government is in position to construct schools where signs and braille language will be taught in South Sudan. He said the disabled have duties and responsibilities like normal persons and that they can be teachers, doctors and they can contribute to our nation. Ramba said being disabled does not mean that one cannot do anything in nation building. According to James Pitia the coordinator of Young Voices South Sudan, here in Juba they are taken care but some of their brothers in other states are not being cared for.
He called upon the government to introduce education system and other productive programmes for the disabled. He added that, the government should celebrate this day regularly so that they as disabled can feel that their voices are being heard and their rights can be respected and they can be loved in the society. He said without education one can be a beggar for good and therefore schools should be built for them and equipped with the necessary facilities.
He said the disabled citizens do not want to remain behind but to participate in the development of our new nation together with other citizens. "Although I am a disabled man but I managed to acquire education and now I am a teacher by profession and I can teach very well so disabled does not mean that one is not able to participate in the development of our new nation," said Pitia.
260 physically challenged persons given walking aids
12月06日 Ghanaian Chronicle
>From Samuel Agbewode
The 160 wheelchairs and 100 crutches to support the physically challenged in the Volta Region, provided by Wheels for the World The Deputy Volta Regional Minister, Col. Cyril Necku (rtd), has called on Ghanaians to show sympathy, love and care for people living with disabilities, and avoid looking down upon them, because disability of any kind is inevitable, as anybody could suffer from it anytime.
Col. Necku (rtd) said the government attached more importance to people living with disability to ensure that they live normal lives just like their able counterparts, and would do everything possible to protect the interest of the disadvantaged in society, to enable them to contribute meaningfully towards national development.
The Deputy Regional Minister, who was speaking at the handing over ceremony of 160 wheelchairs and crutches to physically challenged people in the Volta Region in Ho, said, “it should be clear to all of us that everybody is potentially a disabled person, because even now I am using glass to aid visibility, which was not the case in the past,” he emphasised.
The items, which were provided by a United Kingdom (UK) non-governmental organisation (NGO) Wheel Chairs for The World, through the initiative of a Member of National Council for Disability, Rev. Victoria Vitasi, as part of the government’s efforts to make life more comfortable for the physically challenged in society.
Rev. Vitasi stressed that the gesture from the NGO formed part of a public and private partnership to help accelerate development, noting that the physically challenged should be seen as people who needed to be supported, and cautioned against all forms of discriminative practices, and advised that rather these categories of people should be embraced to enable them feel part of society.
The Ho Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Isaac Kodobisah, thanked the donors for the gesture, and said the provision of the items had come at the right time, as there were many physically challenged in the municipality who were without wheelchairs and crutches, and urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the items.
A beneficiary, Madam Casia Adzo Ametefe, thanked the donors for the gesture, saying many years ago, her family members used to carry her around under difficult situations, and expressed joy that with the new wheelchair, her life would become more interesting.
Hotline: Beyond Disability
From: Ghana/Kwaku Owusu Peprah/Joy FM
Last Updated: December 6,
2011, 2:00 am
More than ten percent of every human population live with some form of disability.
Thus with a population of 25 million, Ghana has an estimated 2.5 million disabled people - the visually impaired, physically-challenged etc - Most of them suffer serious discrimination.
Those unable to stand this retreat into their shells forever ? their dreams and aspirations in life completely shattered.
But there are some who manage to push past the limits their disability imposes on them - Kwaku Owusu Preprah reports in this edition of Hotline.
Ghanaians urged to respect persons with disabilities
December 7, 2011
The Adansi North District branch of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, has called on Ghanaians to respect and appreciate challenges confronting persons with disabilities.
It also asked the public to show love and support for persons with disabilities and to stop discriminating against them.
Members of the group made the call through inscriptions on placards they displayed during the celebration of this year\s international day of disabled on the theme: ‘’ recognizing the physically disabled persons potentials in the socio- economic development of the nation,” at Akrokerri.
Some of the placards read: “we are able, only challenged,’’ disability is not inability,‘’ and ‘’together for better world for all, including disabled persons’’.
The branch outdoored assorted soap, pomade and powder produced by its members for sale, to the public.
Alhaji Abdul Lateef Majduob, the Adansi North District Chief Executive, said the assembly was commitment to promoting the welfare of the physically challenged persons.
He said the assembly had allocated its’ share of the Assembly Common Fund for the physically challenged.
Alhaji Majduob advised them to invest the money in small businesses to derive maximum benefits from it.
He said the Government was committed to promoting the welfare of the physically challenged.
Nana Asirifi Asare II, Krontihene of Edubiase, who represented the Adansi Traditional Council, said he was happy that the number of disabled persons begging for alms on the streets had reduced.
The chairman of the Federation, Mr. John Osei Bonsu, said more than 50 members of the branch had undertaken training in soap and pomade making, organized by Rural Enterprise Project in collaboration with by National Board on Small Scale Industries. GNA
SLUDI & OFP organize competition between learning institutions and disabled persons
The Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI), One Family People(OFP) and partners, have organized a day’s exhibition, music, drama and poetry competition between learning institutions and disabled persons.
The competition which was held at the Presidential Lounge of the National Stadium in Freetown attracted audience from primary and secondary schools, Njala University, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET), LICCSAL Business College and College of Medicines Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS).
The topic of the poetry competition was “Disability is not inability” and “ability in disability”.
Purpose of the competition was for persons with disabilities to know their rights and to expose their talents.
Giving an overview of the programme, President of SLUDI, Kabba Frankly Bangura, said that this was one of the activities set in the International Day of Disabled which was commemorated on December 3.
He added that in planning, implementing and monitoring of governance programmes, persons with disabilities are neglected.
“Even in Universities and Colleges persons with disabilities are easily forgotten”.
Bangura maintained “we have been marginalized and discriminated in society”.
The President stated that since the Disability Bill was enacted, one of the major things in it was the establishment of a Disabled Commission.
“We believe come March 31, 2012 if the Commission is not formed we will launch a campaign for disabled people not to participate in electoral processes next year,” he said.
He revealed that even their wives and children will not vote. The SLUDI President called on the government to implement the Act through the establishment of the Disability Commission that will look into issues of persons with disabilities.
Bangura noted that if that is set up, then the rights of persons with disabilities will be looked into.
Sight Savers International Director said government has showed commitment to address disability issues by ratifying the conventions on the rights of disability and enacting the Persons with Disability Act.
“The implementation of the Act can contribute to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the development, she said, adding that the implementation also requires the support of all.
COMAHS, MMCET and LICCSAL Business College Students Unions threw their support and promised to respect persons with disabilities in their various campuses and protect their rights.
Yusif S. Mansaray, District Coordinator, One Family People (OFP), said “we as an organisation have special passion for persons with disabilities.”
He said that in the past nobody wanted to associate themselves with disabled persons which have led them to be begging on the streets.
OFP Programme Manager, Hadiatou Diallo, said this initiative of together bringing disabled and abled persons to compete and share knowledge, is first of its kind.
She registered their support to SLUDI and called on the government to establish the Disability Commission so that persons with disability can have where to direct their issues and also to implement the Act.
Drama performances was done by the Sierra Leone Association of Deaf, MMCET, Wan pot , young voices, secondary schools and musical performances by COMMAHS Walpoleans, and fashion parade by Disable Persons Organisations.
By Abibatu Kamara
Sierra Leone: Disabled Cry Foul Over Budget Allocation
7 December 2011
Freetown - Members of the disabled community have cried foul over the 2011 budget allocation saying they were left out in the whole process.
President of the Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues SLUDI, Kabbah Franklyn Bangura, said that unlike last year when Le600 million was allocated for disability programmes in the budget, the 2011 budget mentioned nothing about the disabled.
"Last year 2010, the national budget showed Le 600 million. In this year's budget, nothing was mentioned specifically for disability issues or programmes," he said adding that they only received Le100 million out of Le 600million budget projected for them in 2010. He then raised a rhetorical question: "Why is the begging industry increasing within the disability communities and who is responsible?"
Bangura commended their effort in the ratification of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability and the enactment of the 2011 disability act and called on the government to implement the Disability Act of 2011 and also to establish the disabled commission.
Reacting to the statement made by the SLUDI president, Member of Parliament, Hon. Nye Kofi who is also a person with disability said budget allocation for the disabled community goes through the Ministry of Social Welfare and Gender Affairs and the government has increased their budget to meet the needs of all vulnerable communities.
He said the government has the disabled community at heart and that they will try to meet their needs and aspirations.
Al Makura leads disability protest to national assembly
The Nation Newspaper
By Victor Oluwasegun,
Abuja 07/12/2011 00:32:00
Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura yesterday led over 500 Nigerians with disabilities to the National Assembly to protest the delay in assenting to the disability bill by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The bill seeks to establish a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and vest it with the responsibilities for their welfare, including education, healthcare, and protection of their social, economic, civil and political rights.
The harmonised bill was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on September 8, last year.
Addressing the representative of Senate President David Mark, the governor noted that the protest was to remind the lawmakers on the need for President Jonathan to assent to the bill.
He said: “The essence of our visit to the National Assembly is to remind the National Assembly that the bill they passed for more than one year is awaiting assent of Mr. President.
“We are appealing to them to see if they could urge Mr. President to sign the bill into law so that it can become functional as soon as possible.”
The governor, who is a member of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWD), regretted that people living disabilities were discriminated against and denied the basic necessities of life.
“People living with disabilities do not enjoy equal opportunities with other Nigerians,” Al-Makura said.
The governor noted that successive governments in Nigeria had done little or nothing to reduce the suffering of this class of Nigerians, adding that the agitation by the group for government to provide for them basic necessities of life is not a privilege but a right.
The National President of the association Danlami Umaru Basharu said over 22 million Nigerians are living with one form of disability or the other.
He noted that Nigeria remains one of the few countries without a dedicated department of government dealing with disability.
“Nigeria is one of the four countries in the world that is still polio endemic,” he said.
Senator Ayogu Eze, who represented the Senate President, assured that the National Assembly would persuade the President to assent to the bill.
Senator Bode Olajumoke, who took part in the protest, said he championed the passage of the bill and would be glad to see it signed into law for the disabled to access the basic necessities of life.
Iyke Ibe, the National Vice President of the association, and Agu Evaristus, a member, said people with disabilities would have access to basic things of life when the bill is signed into law.
Tanzania: Despite the Odds, Edith Demonstrates a Successful Life
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
7 December 2011
Disability is not a reason to be unsuccessful as long as one dedicates one's talents, energy and time to do productive things in order to succeed.
Edith Kagomba is one among people with skin disability (albino) who has worked towards proving wrong the notion that disabled people are usually dependant on others or have to beg to earn a living. Looking at this gorgeous special woman, one cannot resist smiling back as that is her signature gesture. She will always greet someone with a broad smile.
The smile will also send home a clear message that . feel comfortable when talking to her. She knows exactly what she does to make a living and interview with her will be straight forward.
Despite the skin challenge, Edith is very successful, and she did not allow her disability to pull her back in development but rather tried to overcome every challenge that comes her way and move on.
"As my status shows, I face many challenges in my life and it was not easy to be where I am today without hard work, good deployment of skills and time, determination to do things I have planned with success", She said Edith was appointed an education for Shinyanga in 2007 and has been shifted to Misungwi District, for three months now, holding the same position. Professionally, she is a teacher.
Climbing the ladder of profession from primary to secondary school has not been an easy task given the stigma and associated dangers that face people with skin challenges, according to her.
But what is amazing and makes her unique is that she does not depend on her work only for survival. She has tried to look for means to supplement her income after work, during weekends and holidays. She has ventured into entrepreneurship. She makes home decorations such as wall decos, flowers, table and sofa fabrics, table mats and the likes by using sweater thread and tree barks.
Through this self invented entrepreneurship, Edith can afford to live comfortably catering for her various needs and those of her family, and some relatives. Edith who is divorced, she comfortably take care of her three children and help three other disabled children from the neighborhood.
"When my husband left me, I said it was not going to be the end of my family's good life. I said life must go on the same or better way than when he was around," she said adding; "I thank God for this courage and support he gave me, I he fulfilled my dream of sending my children to good schools, without the support of their father. I combined work and business resources to better our lives and as we are speaking now, my son is a graduate. I am very proud of this and myself". She said confidently.
Her major success and accomplishment, she revealed was to manage to send her children to good schools and be able to help other disabled children go to school and live a good and descent life using available resources.
"The most thing I succeed to do and I am happy and proud of is sending my children to school without the help from anybody and to help other needy people, " She said with a big smile on her face Behind her success, there is a painful journey she endured to be where she is now, and to her, the worst moment and big challenge she faced was the time when albinos killing in the country kept pace.
"At that time, I was in Shinyanga where was the centre of this crime and I was very afraid that anything bad could happen to me. As a woman divorced, there was a time when I had to enlist security support from security organs and I had to spend most time in hiding instead of doing productive work," she said.
She also revealed that in Sukuma land where she lived for a long time, and like many other parts of the country and Africa, skin albinism was taken as omenious and associated with supernatural beliefs that put their lives in danger.
This, she said, lead to many people with skin challenges fail to do productive work and achieve their potentials. And this, she added, affected people of all ages starting from school children to those in higher positions like her.
However despite this, she noted, she has tried and being able to prove and change misconceptions about the ability of disabled in Shinyanga and Misungwi by studying hard and be able to cling to the big position and tried to do things which even people without disabilities could not do.
"There are changes in my community, people now know that a disabled person could hold sensitive position, I tried to study hard and reach my goals. I also ventured to vie for parliamentary seat through Chama Cha Mapinduzi in 2005 in Iringa, but lost in the party primaries". She added Edith advises people with disabilities not feel inferior but have plans and goals and work hard towards achieving those goals assuring them that with determination, nothing was impossible.
She said disability should not be taken as a reason for failure in life as there were several works and income generating activities that can be done by people with various disabilities to earn them money and good life.
Whenever they get opportunity, she said, they must also develop themselves academically and professionally without hesitation, and this will uplift them economically and command respect communities they live.
According to her, the government should also find way of restoring the mutual respect of people with various disabilities by ensuring their respect, education and employment position in various including sensitive areas so that the community could understand and appreciate the ability of people with disabilities when given a chance.
Apart from disabled, she also advised the government to improve general schools environment especially in rural areas so as to attract teachers to work and live in those areas instead of flocking to urban areas.
Born 51 years ago, Edith is the first child in the family of four, and the only albino in her family. She thanks her family for their support, education and always being there for her when in need, something she said has had big contribution to what she is today.
With this kind of support, she believes, many people will disabilities will carry on their lives with success and pride. And this will be reflected in the welfare of the nation.
Persons with disability marginalised
Source: Phyllis D. Osabutey - Ghanaian Chronicle General News | Wed, 07 Dec 2011
Dr. Kwabena Anaman, IDEG Director of Programmes
In Ghana, and the world over, People With Disabilities (PWDs) constitute an impoverished and marginalised group, characterised by lack of access to public health, education, and other social services that would ideally support and protect them.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are more than 600 million disabled persons in the world, of which approximately 80% live in low-income countries, and estimates that in Ghana, there are between 7-10% PWDs, representing about 1.55-2.2 million people.
However, the majority of PWDs live in abject poverty, because the state has not done much to improve their wellbeing, as they lack opportunities in education and employment among others.
For instance, since the passage of the Disability Act (Act 750) in 2006, the Legislative Instrument needed for the full implementation of the Act is yet to be realised, and one wonders how many more years would pass before the LI comes into force.
As the world marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Saturday, December 3, various organisations commemorated it by highlighting the plight of PWDs, and calling on the government and society in general to be more sensitive to the needs of PWDs.
The day, which is observed every year since 1992 by the United Nations, is to promote the understanding of disability issues, mobilise support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of PWDs, and increase awareness of gains derived from the integration of PWDs in aspects of political, social, economic and cultural lives.
To the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), and SEND Ghana, the commemoration of the day was done on Monday, by sharing the results of an independent survey concerning PWDs in Ghana with members of the media and the public.
the theme 'Together for a Better World for All: Removing Barriers and Promoting Disability-inclusive Development', the organisations shed light on the awareness and compliance of the Disability Act, and the level of usage of the allocated 3% share of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) devoted to PWDs.
The Project Officer of IDEG, Kojo Impraim, who read the press statement signed by the IDEG Director of Programmes, Dr. Kwabena Anaman, said the survey was carried out by the Governance Issues Forum Network (GIFNets) on education, medical and transport services in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Sekondi-Takoradi, New Juabeng, Ho, Wa, Ashaiman and East Gonja districts.
He pointed out that though the government had made some attempts to promote the rights of PWDs, the latter still faced many difficulties in accessing public facilities, stressing, 'PWDs face many challenges in society, and are often discriminated against.'
According to him, the survey revealed that accessibility of education facilities by PWDs was not encouraging, such that about 78% of education institutions did not have policies that specifically outline objectives related to access of school facilities by PWDs.
Also, about 18.2% of schools did not allow enrolment opportunities for PWDs, and '98.3% of schools do not have desks specifically designed for wheelchair users in classrooms,' he stated.
He added that while 15.8% of schools had taken steps to optimise lighting for visually impaired PWDs, 89% of schools had set up programmes to enhance the understanding of non-disability children on issues relating to PWD children, but '94% of school officials do not involve PWDs in school training programmes.'
Concerning accessibility of medical facilities by PWDs, the study showed that among other things, 54.2% of medical centres did not have access to ramps for wheelchair users at their entrances, 57.4% did not have obstacle-free walkways, aisles or corridors for wheelchair users, 74.5% do not have seating places available in public areas, and 88.9% did not have handrails on walls and staircases for use by PWDs.
He further expressed worry that all medical centres surveyed did not have medical transcriptions and instructions in Braille, 89.4% did not have language interpreters for the deaf, and 90% did not allocate money to improve accessibility of facilities for use by PWDs.
In terms of transportation, it came out that only 22.7% transport unions had un-written policies in place for PWDs, while 86.4% of union members had not undertaken any special training to handle PWDs, and 90.9% of unions did not have physical or communication measures to address the boarding of vehicles, and use of station facilities by PWDs.
Kojo noted that two-thirds of PWDs were aware of their 3% share of the DACF, but only less than 1% of sampled PWD associations were able to access the money allocated to them, and contrary to guidelines, 55% of ministries, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) sampled had not set up the mandated Disability Fund Management Committees, which are prerequisites to accessing the fund.
Furthermore, he indicated that nearly two-thirds did not have bank accounts for the management of the PWDs share of the fund, and 'the absence of these bank accounts prevents disbursement of the PWDs share, with reference to the new guidelines.'
In view of these lapses, IDEG and SEND Ghana recommended the mainstreaming of disability issues in planning, saying, 'it is imperative that development efforts in Ghana by state and non-state actors, include disability issues during formulation policies, programmes and projects for PWDs.'
To enhance accessibility by PWDs, they called for the Public Works Department to enhance their understanding of disability issues, and mainstream them in the design and construction of public facilities.
Additionally, they want the implementation of the Disability Act to be linked to the implementation of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), while state and non-state actors, including educational and medical institutions, as well as transport unions, should institute training programmes aimed at pursuing disability-friendly policies at work places.
Another solution, they proposed, was to increase public awareness that would in turn enhance the citizens' understanding of disability issues for effective development, and for institutions to document and celebrate significant success stories of PWDs.
Such measures were necessary because, 'when PWDs are empowered to participate in development, it creates opportunities for everyone, and is essential for national development and poverty reduction.'
Chairman of National Disability Congress opts for Politics
The Chairman of the National Disability Congress (NDC) in Bo Town, Joseph H. Kainessie Jr., has disclosed his intention to the press to vie for the position of Councilor in Constituency 69, Bo Town 3 under the ticket of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) Party come 2012.
He said as a physically challenged person in Bo City in the southern region, he is fit and qualified to contest for the councilorship in the interest of all, especially physically challenged persons who feel they are always neglected by the community. He described himself as a grassroots man who is part and parcel of the problems in the community.
Joseph Kainessie Jr. said he knows exactly what to do to improve on the present condition that will be favorable for all. He said his intention of going to the Council is to seek the interest of disabled people, liberation of women and youth empowerment.
He said if he succeeds in his venture to become a councilor, he will be the first physically challenged councilor in the Southern region.
Kainessie Jr. is a graduate from Njala University College (NUC). He read Linguistics, Literature, Principles of Modern Management and Accountancy.
He concluded by saying “disability is not an inability and that a man like him can perform better than some able bodied persons”.
By Saffa Moriba
Ghana: State and Non-State Actors Asked to Include Disability Issues in Policy Formulation
Ama A. Amankwah Baafi 9 December 2011
It has been recommended that policy makers and the general public improve upon delivery of public services to persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Similarly, it has been noted that, it is imperative that development efforts in Ghana by state and non-state actors include disability issues during formulation of policies, programmes and projects for PWDS.
Again, the implementation of the Disability Act should be linked to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ghana.
The Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and SEND Ghana made the recommendations on the occasion of the International Day of PWDs which fell on December 3, 2011, and celebrated under the theme, "Together for a Better World for All: Removing Barriers and Promoting Disability- Inclusive Development".
The day is used to increase awareness of gains derived from the integration of PWDs into every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
IDEG and SEND Ghana suggested that the Public Works Department (PWD) should enhance their understanding of disability issues and mainstream such knowledge in the design and construction of public facilities.
Again, they said state and non-state actors, including education, medical institutions and transport unions should institute training programmes aimed at pursuing disability-friendly policies at work places.
"State and voluntary actors including the media should organise sensitisa- tion programmes such as fora, public discussions and information campaigns to enhance citizens' understanding of disability issues for effective development," stated Project Officer of IDEG, Mr. Kojo Impraim, at a press conference in Accra.
He advised that institutions should strive to document and celebrate significant success stories of PWDs.
"District Assemblies can pursue innovative measures that ensure access to information of District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) by citizens to elicit their support and participation in the implementation of DACF projects. Currently, communities rely substantially on their assembly members for information. Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) can explore other options such as the use of community radio stations for dissemination of information on the DACF."
Commemorating the day, IDEG and SEND Ghana with support from Christian Aid Ghana under the Governance Transparency Fund (GTF) programme funded by UK Aid, shared the results of an independent survey on the awareness and compliance of the Disability Act 715 (2006) in seven Governance Issues Forum (GIF) Projects districts, and the level of usage of the three per cent share of the DACF devoted to PWDS.
The GIF programme primarily focuses on civic empowerment of local citizens in decision making processes, civic participation and accountability in local governance.
The accessibility audit was carried out by the Governance Issues Forum Network (GIFNets) for three social facilities: education, medical and transport services in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Sekondi-Takoradi, New Juaben, Ho, Wa, Ashaiman and East Gonja districts.
Similarly, SEND Ghana through its District Citizens Monitoring Committee (DCMCs) in 50 districts across four regions of Ghana (Upper West, Upper East, Northern and Greater Accra Regions) carried out a study which report is titled "Making Decentralisation Work for the Poor." The main purpose of the study was to bring civil society perspectives to bear on the implementation of activities related to the utilisation of the DACF.
On accessibility of educational facilities by PWDS, the report revealed that about 70 percent of school officials in seven districts were aware of Act 715. However, majority of the educational institutions (78 per cent) do not have policies that specifically outline objectives related to access of school facilities by PWDs.
About 81.1 per cent of schools have policies that allow for enrolment opportunities for PWDs. However, about 18.2 per cent of schools do not allow enrolment opportunities for PWDs.
The study reveals that 98.3 per cent of schools do not have desks specifically designed for wheelchair users in classroom.
Also, the report shows that although 83 per cent of medical officers are aware of the Disability Act of 2006, 76.6 per cent of medical centres do not have policies that specifically outline objectives relating to access of medical facilities by PWDs. Even of the 23.4 per cent of the medical centres that have such policies, the majority (79.5%) do not monitor, review or update existing disability policies.
The study reveals that 54.2 per cent of the medical centres do not have access to ramps for wheelchair users at their entrance. Further, 57.4 per cent of medical centres do not have obstacle free walkways, aisles or corridors for wheelchair users. Again, 74.5 per cent do not have seating places available in public areas for PWDs and 88.9 per cent do not have handrails on walls and staircases for use by PWDs.
On accessibility of transport services by PWDs, the study reveals that about 63per cent of union members, including drivers are unaware of the Disability Act. About 72.7 per cent of transport unions do not have specific written policies regarding carriage of PWDs.
Not surprisingly, 90.9 per cent of unions do not have physical or communication measures to address the boarding of vehicles and use of station facilities by PWDs. A significant number of union stations (81%) do not have specific booking policy to assist PWDs.
About the DACF, the report revealed that more than two-thirds of PWDs were aware of their three per cent share of the DACF earmarked to assist them. Also, less than one-third of sampled PWD associations were able to access the three per cent share of the DACF allocated to them.
IDEG and SEND Ghana argued that PWDs make up an estimated 15 per cent of the population and yet encountered significant difficulties in accessing public facilities. However, experiences show that when PWDs are empowered to participate in development, it creates opportunities for everyone. Thus, including PWDs in development efforts is therefore essential for national development and poverty reduction.
HIV-positive woman kills disabled son
09/12/2011 New Zimbabwe
Desperate measures ... Sick woman kills disabled son
A SICK HIV-positive woman from Mberengwa in the Midlands province bludgeoned her disabled son to death; apparently fearing no one would care for him if she were to die.
Neighbours said a desperate Siphiwe Mlauzi, 53, struck her bedridden 28-year-old son three times on the head with a pestle, instantly killing him before attempting to commit suicide.
Midlands police confirmed the incident.
The neighbours said Mlauzi, a widow, has been on anti-retroviral therapy over the last three years but started worrying for her son after her own health deteriorated.
“When Mlauzi who has been taking anti-retroviral drugs for the past three years recently fell ill, she then took the unfortunate decision and killed her son before she tried to commit suicide,” a relative told The Chronicle.
The son, said to have been disabled from birth, needed constant all-round care.
Relatives said Mlauzi told a neighbour she had killed him because she thought she was “dying” and he would not get assistance.
She then tried to commit suicide but the neighbour called for help from other villagers and managed to stop her.
“I think Mlauzi did not get the much needed counselling and we are equally to blame as the family for the tragic incident,” the neighbour said.
“After staying with her son for the past 28 years, we thought she had accepted what God had given her and never thought of this tragedy.”
A Midlands ZRP spokesman said villagers took Mlauzi to local police after the incident adding investigations were continuing.
“The accused Mlauzi is leading police with investigations. We appeal to members of the public to seek counselling and advice from elders in society when faced with problems,” Assistant Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said.
Ghana: Assemblies Embracing Transparency in Common Fund Management
12 December 2011
It is one year since SEND-Ghana, released a report which indicted many Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for poorly handling the disbursement and utilisation of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF), especially relating to the portion meant for Persons With Disability (PWDs).
The PWD share, which is three percent of all DACF allocations to the MMDAs, has been fraught with controversy as, sometimes, some Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) have declined to make the funds available to PWDs for various reasons, most which the PWD fraternity have often deemed untenable.
On a number of occasions, some MMDCEs have released the funds on condition that the PWDs would pursue projects deemed appropriate by their assemblies.
But all that is changing, according to SEND-Ghana which has been organizing various focus group discussions as follow up to the study to track the extent to which its recommendations are being acted upon.
At a policy meeting held in Accra on Friday, it came to light that two of the key hindrances to PWD access to the Common Fund were being feverishly acted upon by MMDAs. These challenges are the setting up of Disability Fund Management Committee (DFMC) in each district and the opening of separate accounts into which the three percent PWD component of the DACF would be lodged. So far, majority of the MMDAs have responded to calls for these challenges to be dealt with. And, at the last count, 127 out of the 170 existing assemblies have set up the committees and created the accounts. The trend in the 50 districts where SEND-Ghana carried out its study in 2010 was similar.
George Osei-Bimpeh, Director of Programmes and Advocacy, told Public Agenda that the actions of the assemblies were positive and could be partly attributed to the study undertaken by his organisation.
However, there is still need for the central government to address delays in the release of the Common Fund, he noted. Usually, the DACF which is in released quarterly has a quarter's arrears however recent media publications, as well as, the SEND-Ghana study have suggested the Fund was in arrears of more than three months.
Decentralization and DACF
Ghana began the process of decentralisation in 1988 and within five years established the DACF. The establishment of the fund was to give MMDAs more financial autonomy to actually make decisions at the local level. Many local governance experts believe the DACF has since become an important tool for the achievement of fiscal decentralisation in particular and overall decentralisation in general.
In 2005, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and the Administrator of the DACF began setting out clear guidelines for the utilisation of the fund by MMDAs. The initiative was meant to ensure prudent use of the DACF as we as ensure value for money. Some of these guidelines related to procurement, while others related to special allocations, such as a 2 (now 3) percent earmarked to reduce poverty among PWDs and a 7 percent earmark for Members of Parliament to use for development purposes in their constituencies.
Following submissions made by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled a further guideline relating specifically to the three percent meant for PWDs has also been issued, mandating the MMDAs to open separate accounts for the PWDs as well as establish the DFMCs.
But SEND-Ghana stated in its report that 'Generally, the findings reveal that there has been non adherence to the guidelines for the utilisation of the DACF funds by MMDAs, particularly the 2 [now 3] percent share of the fund for PWDs. The use of DACF money is not transparent, and frequently is decided without meaningful community participation. Access to information on and community participation in DACF projects have become very problematic to the extent that responsiveness of MMDAs to the local needs of citizenry has been affected.
The study was conducted in the second and third quarter of 2010 covering 50 districts across four administrative regions - the Upper East, Upper West, Northern and the Greater Accra. According to the researchers, the three northern regions were purposively selected based on their high incidence of poverty as per the fifth Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSSV) and the active presence of SEND Ghana while Greater Accra was selected against the backdrop of growing urban poverty noted by the GLSS V. A total of 50 districts were purposively sampled from the four regions based on the GLSS V.
The study focused on some of the key elements of the DACF. These included: the extent of community participation in DACF sponsored projects; the level of citizens awareness and access to information on the DACF by communities; the degree to which DACF sponsored projects were awarded in line with National Procurement Law; and finally, the utilisation of 7 percent MPs and PWDs 2 percent share of DACF.
The resultant report titled "Making Decentralization Work for the Poor' was published in December 2010, seeking "to draw attention to the proper access and utilization of the fund to reducing poverty particularly among the rural poor in Ghana."
Its main findings included: more than two-thirds of PWDs were aware of their share of the DACF; less than one-third of sampled organizations of PWDs had access to the DACF from 2003 to 2008; Access in the Northern Region was more than 50 percent.
However, the researchers said in the Upper East, Upper West and Greater Accra regions less than one-third of PWDs successfully accessed the funds in 2009. They explained that the establishment of the National Council for Persons with Disability could have contributed to the relative high access in 2009.
Still, the reports states that about 44 percent of PWDs who successfully accessed the 2 percent share of the DACF between 2003 and 2009 expended the fund on the celebration of the International Day for the Disabled and attendance of meetings/conferences.
Also, contrary to guidelines, about 55 percent of MMDAs sampled did not have the mandated Disability Fund Management Committees in place even though per the new guidelines the existence of these committees is a pre -requisite to accessing the PWD share of the DACF.
"Nearly two-thirds of MMDAs do not have separate bank accounts for the management of the PWD-share of the DACF. The absence of these bank accounts prevents disbursement of the PWDs' share of the DACF with reference to the new guidelines for the management and disbursement of the DACF," the report further stated.
The report has since been used as a basis for engagements at various district and regional fora in the quest to whip up interest and push for reform.
The Ghana Federation of the Disabled is the umbrella body for PWDs.
Frederick Ofosu, who is Progranmmes Manager at the Federation, told Public Agenda that the trend is changing and considerable progress has been made.
In August 2011 when he last received update on the opening of accounts and establishment of the DFMCs, 127 assemblies out of 170 had obeyed the directive regarding the two actions. That is a remarkable improvement, he indicated, recalling that before the year 2010, only 25 percent of assemblies were disbursing part of the Fund to PWDs while seven percent were providing information about the DACF to organizations of PWDs.
"By and large, it has contributed to getting the right amount of money getting to the right account and insulated from the solitary control of the DCEs," he told Public Agenda.
Beyond the allocation of the funds, "PWDs have monitoring of the fund and ensure that their colleagues who get access to the funds are making good use of them" and the scope for support has been broadened so apart from the organizations of PWDs, there is opportunity for individual PWDs to access the fund for education, health, the purchase of assistive devices, the pursuit of income generating activities.
The MMDAs have also been reacting to the findings of the report at various regional and district level interface meetings, which have also involved Focal NGOs/District Citizens Monitoring Committees.
In Accra last Friday, officials of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Dangme West District disputed claims that officials of their assemblies were unaware of the DACF guideline, contending that the researchers probably did not speak to appropriate officers of their assemblies. There was also a dissenting voice from the Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly that the PWD front was divided.
In the Upper West Region, some assemblies claimed that PWDs present programmes which are nowhere near what is contained in the guidelines, making it difficult to approve. This was however due to lack of information.
At the end of the day, Radio Upper West committed to devote airtime to discuss issues concerning PWDs while PWDs also committed to take advantage of phone-in programs to make their concerns known to the public.
In the Bole District of the region, low awareness about the new guidelines issued by the National Council on PWDs on the utilization of PWDs share of common fund was identified as a challenge. On a positive note, the district assembly had committed as part of its support for PWDs to construct a resource center for the PWDs.
Khoroni invests in intellectually impaired
12 December 2011, Zout NET
Khoroni Hotel has brought hope to intellectually impaired children of the Tshilwavhusiku-Razwimisani Special School by donating Bosch machinery for woodcraft.
Khoroni Hotel is not just a lavish hotel when it comes to accommodation and entertainment, but also has staff with soft, caring hearts. This was proven last Friday when Khoroni donated wheelchairs to three intellectually impaired children at Tshilwavhusiku-Razwimisani Special School. The hotel also donated Bosch machinery to use in the woodcraft training department.
According to Ms Mashudu Muthuli, the public relations officer, the donation was part of the hotel’s social responsibility programme. “We always invest back into the community that we do our business in,” she said.
She added that the donation was also the beginning of good things to come.
“This is just a start and we will come back with more, next time we visit the school.” Muthuli, who also has an intellectually impaired child, said she was touched by the plight of the children at Tshilwavhusiku-Razwimisani. Muthuli also pledged to donate school uniforms to the school in January next year.
It was an exciting, happy day for the children at the school, as the hotel had also organised a Christmas party for them. Situated at Ravele village in the Makhado Municipal area, Tshilwavhusiku-Razwimisani Special School takes care of more than 300 intellectually impaired children within the Sinthumule and Kutama areas.
The donation came a week after the Deputy Speaker of the Limpopo Legislature, Ms Miriam Ramadwa, who had celebrated her 50th birthday at the school, had donated stationery to the school. Ramadwa, who recently adopted the school, said that she would continue engaging local businesspeople to assist the school.
The chairperson of the board of governance at the school, Musanda Vho-Piet Ramabulana, expressed his appreciation for the donations.
Stop stigmatising the physically challenged
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
I read with rude shock an insulting statement in one English Language textbook entitled Extensive English for Senior Secondary School 2, page 5, co-authored by Benson O. A. Oluikpe, Emeka J. Otagburuagu, Elsie A. Ogbonna,Nnaemeka B. Anasiudu, Sam Onuigbo and Thelma Y. Obah, in which the following sentences were used by the authors as examples in speech writing:
1) Blind people never think of luxuries
2) Deaf people never make good employees
3) Handicapped people always broad (sic) on whether life is worth living.
We, the deaf community find the statements embarrassing and an insult to our collective intelligence. Many deaf people are educated up to P.hd level, and are actively involved in the day - to- day activities at their respective places of employment. For the authors to state that deaf people never make good employees, shows the level of ignorance some educated members of the society, especially on the issue of disability.
The fact that some disabled people are not graduates or non-performing doesn’t mean that all deaf people are the same everywhere.
For instance, the issues of Boko Haram, corruption and other social vices in our country today, are not enough to make anyone conclude that all people who can hear in this country are members of the Boko haram.
People should desist from tarnishing the image of the disabled hearing impaired people.
Rather, they should give them the chance to prove their mettle. I wonder if the writers, who are well- knowledgeable in their fields of endeavours, have thoroughly carried out their research, before concluding that deaf people do not make good employees? Please stop painting us black.
Stories abound in a state in the nothern part of Nigeria, where a hearing man is the incumbent governor of the state. He is not just an incumbent governor, but also a wealthy businessman and a political leader in his state. What then can we say this man can not do?
Ministry of Labor Assigns 2% of Jobs for Disabled Persons
The Ministry of Labor has renewed its commitment to employ the disabled and assigned 2% of the civil service jobs to them in the year 2012.
The State Minister at the Ministry of Labor, Dr. Amna Dirar, affirmed in a statement to SUNA the commitment to assign 2% of the civil service jobs, around 25,000 jobs, to the disabled in the fiscal year 2012, adding that opportunities are available for disabled in the field of training on areas suitable to their capabilities.
By Editorial 3 hours 19 minutes ago
President Goodluck Jonathan
Time for Jonathan to pull out his signing pen President Goodluck Jonathan’s continuing refusal to assent to the harmonised bill seeking to establish a National Commission for Persons with Disability is condemnable. Such a bill is long overdue in the country, considering that the interests of persons with disability are rarely taken into consideration when our roads, public buildings, living quarters and transportation systems are being developed. Obviously, to rouse the president to action, a group of persons with disability, led by one of their own, Governor Tanko al-Makura of Nasarawa State demonstrated at the National Assembly to solicit their support.
Now that the unjustified delay to assent to such an important bill by the president has been brought to public attention, we demand that President Jonathan should either assent to the bill, or return it to the National Assembly for further action. The involvement of Governor al- Makura in the protest at the National Assembly underscores his democratic credentials and we strongly commend his actions to other politicians. We also believe that many Nigerians would want an explanation on why the president withheld his assent to such a critical bill passed by the National Assembly since September 8, last year.
The commission, when established, will have responsibilities for the welfare of members and that include their education, health care, and protection of their social, economic, civil and political rights.
Considering the serious handicap experienced by able Nigerians as they toil for survival in a country where the welfare of citizens has remained secondary to the private interests of their political leaders, there is the urgent need to make laws to protect the physically challenged who are even more vulnerable in the scheme of things. Any further delay to assent to the bill must therefore be interpreted as gross insensitivity by the president to the plight of the handicapped.
We must also commend the Lagos State government, which from all indications has shown recognition to the enlightened need to cater for the interests of disabled persons when developing access to public places. Many of the new public buildings and highway crossings in Lagos now have an elevation that is friendly to persons with mobile disability.
This attitude must be furthered by enacting a law that no public building plan will be approved unless the special interests of the disabled are taken into consideration. The fate of challenged persons is better left to imagination when there is a stampede in a building built for only able persons.
An encompassing law to protect Nigerians with disability across the country is most desirable since most of our administrative officials are incapable of doing the right thing unless they are compelled to. Indeed, while waiting for a national law on the welfare of persons living with disability and the necessary funding that would come with it, states that are progressive-minded may as well take the initiative and enact disability-friendly laws within their jurisdiction. Such a step would further put pressure on the Jonathan administration to urgently do the right thing.
The Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAP), of which the Governor of Nasarawa State is a member, must be commended for the democratic steps it has taken to realise its demands. The members of the National Assembly that supported them should not relent, so that if need be, they can mobilise to override President Jonathan in favour of a Disability Act, in the interest of our common humanity.
South Sudan: Human Rights for Disabled Are Fundamental Rights
Ben Lou Poggo
14 December 2011
Human rights are not privileges. They are neither negotiable nor arguable on the basis of intellectual exercise. In fact, human rights are fundamental rights. They are part and parcel of human dignity.
Infringement of anybody's fundamental rights thus, threatens that individual's very existence. Violation of ones human rights may also lead to marginalization of the individual or groups of people.
A vivid case of marginalization that resulted from violation of fundamental human rights which will linger in the minds of many South Sudanese for a long time is the assigning of them to the third or fourth class citizenship by the successive regimes of the Sudan Governments before the declaration of independence of the South on July 9th 2011. At this juncture, South Sudanese should be vigilant never to infringe on the rights of their fellow citizens because the effects of such infringement are very adverse and long lasting in people's minds. Put differently, before anybody violates another's fundamental human right, he/she should put his/her feet into the shoes of the individual or group of persons whose fundamental human rights he/she is about to violate.
All human rights issues should thus be respected by all. That will be the way we shall embrace our national Anthem which guarantees Justice, Liberty and Prosperity to rein in our land forever more.
The problem is that some human beings who seem to have perceived that they are more human than others often infringe on other people's rights apparently with no sense of remorse or sensitivity to the issue of human rights. For example, when some people who feel marginalized in society demand for their rights they are branded as agitators of certain issues that have nothing to do with. A case in point is the recent peaceful demonstration staged by persons with disabilities over the inclusion of their fundamental human rights in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. The demand by the demonstrators for 5% representation of persons with disabilities in the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary and other levels of the government as a fundamental human right was treated with strong mixed reactions from some quarters in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, with majority of members rejecting the demand.
The crux of the matter is that issues of fundamental human rights, especially for persons with disabilities need to be treated with soberliness. People in authority need to be well informed about the current trends on disability globally in order that they make informed decisions to avoid the embarrassment which may arise from ignorance. The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which the new Republic of South Sudan is about to sign and ratify, guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in Political Socio - Economic and other spheres of nation building. One thus wonders why some people regard the participation of people with disabilities in the politics of this nation negatively. If women are guaranteed at least 25% affirmative action appointment in the organs of the government, what is this 5% for persons with disabilities? Nevertheless, let it be known to those with such negative attitudes towards PWDS that disabilities is a club which anybody can join. All those who have joined the club never opted for it all.
Thus, those who block the progress of persons with disabilities may join the club much sooner than later.
He is a man of people
December 14, 2011
Duncan Ndegwa was struck by polio as a child, leaving his legs paralysed.
With rehabilitation and education, (he has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration) Ndegwa has been able to build a successful career that has seen him positively change the lives of many disabled people in Kenya.
For his selfless service, Ndegwa, the disability programme coordinator at the Liverpool Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre, recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Services and the National Council of Persons with Disability.
At 46, this father-of-four, who is studying for his Masters degree, says he has barely scratched the surface of his potential.
“I’ve always been a fighter,” he begins.
We are seated outside the beautiful home he shares with his wife of 23 years, Janet Wanjiku, and their four children.
The lawn is a lush green, their maize farm showing promise of a bountiful harvest.
It bothered Ndegwa that at the age of eight, he still could not crawl.
“When the other children went to play or herd cattle, I would be left behind, since I couldn’t do either,” he recalls.
He longed to kick a ball, run after cows, but even at that young age, he understood that he would never be able to do this. It frustrated him and he took it out on the other children.
“I was arrogant, and bullied my age-mates who could do all the things that I couldn’t,” Ndegwa says, pointing out that his disability made it possible for him to get away with a lot.
But what pained him most was the fact that he could not go to school.
“I’d never been into a classroom, but for some reason, I felt that going to school would take away the helplessness I always felt.”
His salvation came in the form of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), who came across Ndegwa while distributing relief food at his home in Kirinyaga, Central Province.
It was in 1972 after a long drought which made life even more difficult for poor parents like Ndegwa’s.
“I was malnourished and, being disabled, I stood out from the other children,” he recalls.
Ndegwa is convinced that the drought was a blessing in disguise ? at least for him, because it is through the help of KRCS that he was able to realise his dream of going to school.
“KRCS introduced me to the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Kenya (APDK), who rehabilitated me,” he says.
The rehabilitation involved physiotherapy to strengthen his legs and proper nutrition and medication to improve his health.
After rehabilitation, Ndegwa was enrolled at the Nile Road Primary School in Nairobi, which had a special unit for disabled children.
KRCS, which Ndegwa is grateful to, found him a sponsor, Mr Dennis Oxyley, who paid his school fees and ensured that he had pocket money and everything that he needed.
In 1980, with the continued support of his sponsor, Ndegwa joined Joytown Secondary School in Thika town.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t do well in my final examinations, but Dennis, a very kind man who was genuinely interested to see me succeed, wouldn’t give up. He paid for private tuition, and when I did the exams again the following year, I got a Division Two.”
He would go on to study business administration, computer studies, customer care, and public relations at a city college, again through the assistance of a benefactor.
His first job was with a private company in Nairobi as a computer programmer. He went on to work for several other companies before joining World Vision in 1996 as a logistician.
“They had advertised the job in the newspapers. I applied and was called for an interview, which I passed,” he explains.
His primary job was to ensure that children in Southern Sudan, especially the disabled, received medication and books.
In 2000, he went work for Save the Children as a logistics and office manager. He ensured that medicine and other basic items for physically challenged and malnourished children were available.
“The most successful phase of my career was with the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya, where I worked for 10 years. It is here that I got to positively impact the lives of other disabled persons,” he says.
It is the innovative projects that he initiated while working there that won Ndegwa recognition.
For instance, in 2003, he approached the Australian High Commission with a proposal for a grant to alleviate poverty among some groups of disabled people.
His proposal was accepted and APDK was granted Sh4million. He then approached a local bank, which set up accounts for the disabled for free.
“APDK would send interest-free loans to the applicants’ accounts, which they used to set up businesses or farming projects, which we oversaw and monitored.”
The following year, with financial backing from Safaricom and APDK, he initiated another successful project, which came to be known as Simu ya Jamii.
The project involved providing phones to the disabled for commercial purposes. The phones were fitted on specially designed tricycles.
“I designed a model tricycle with an umbrella, which I developed with welding technicians,” Ndegwa explains. Safaricom gave 150 community phones, loaded with Sh5,000 airtime.
The project was an instant hit.
“Then, not many Kenyans owned mobile phones, making Simu ya Jamii a worthwhile venture,” he explains.
Today, with almost everyone having a mobile phone, it may not be the money-maker it was, but the tricycles still come in handy since one can still sell sweets and other items on them and still ease mobility,” Ndegwa reasons.
Later, Ndegwa approached some colleges in Nairobi and persuaded them to sponsor several disabled youths.
“It wasn’t easy ? my proposal was rejected several times, but eventually one college took in a couple of disabled students, while a private university sponsored two.”
That is not all. Ndegwa also lobbied the Ministry of Local Government to preserve 150 stalls for disabled people at the Muthurwa market, in the outskirts of the city.
“It took lengthy negotiations with the then town clerk and the Ministry of Local Government, but it bore results,” he says.
Through Ndegwa’s intervention while working with APDK, 300 disabled graduates got jobs with various companies.
When we marvel at his achievements, Ndegwa says the greatest one is his family, from which he derives his encouragement and inspiration.
His firstborn son, Dennis Ndegwa, 22, wants to be a pilot. He recently discontinued a mechanical engineering degree programme at the University of Nairobi.
“Who am I to discourage him from pursuing his dream,” Ndegwa shrugs, even as he comments that his son’s change of heart will cost him and his wife a lot of money.
Their secondborn, Damaris Wambui, 17, is a student at Pangani Girls’ Secondary School in Nairobi and wants to be a doctor.
Also in the same school is Faith Wangari, 15, who tells everyone who cares to listen that she will be a lawyer.
Lastborn daughter Praise Wairimu, 11, is at Westlands Primary School and is yet to decide what she wants to become.
Ndegwa has designed his house to accommodate the needs of a disabled person.
“It’s the kind of house where a person with a disability like mine can live independently,” he says.
The doors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and the windows are low, so that a disabled person can open and close them. It is also fitted with a ramp. Public buildings, he says, should be disability-friendly to make it possible for such people to access services with ease.
The lively Ndegwa, who describes himself as a gentleman living happily with disability, is also a musician.
“My music is woven around topical issues and patriotism,” he explains. Some of his songs have titles such as Amani, Kenya Nzuri, Wakenya Tupendane, Vijana Acheni Madawa, Karibuni Kenya and Tuwape Nafasi Walemavu.
What motivates him? The word of God.
“I would hate to hear God tell me, ‘I gave you the knowledge, but you did not make use of it’.”
Though some gains have been made, Ndegwa feels that a lot still needs to be done for disabled people in Kenya.
“For instance, many disabled children have missed admission to public primary and secondary schools because they lack facilities that would make their learning easier,” he points out.
Free and quality education, he is convinced, would be a permanent solution to the cycle of poverty that dogs disabled people since it would give them the opportunity to compete on a level field with fellow Kenyans.
“I have accomplished what I have done because of the generosity of people who were kind enough to invest their money and resources in me. These people saw potential in me in spite of my disability. I wish we’d all be like this.”
Zanu neglect disabled
14.12.2011 The Zimbabwean
An association representing people with disabilities has castigated Zanu(PF) for neglecting the needs of disadvantaged people over the past few years.
Johannes Manomwe Chagwiza, Masvingo Provincial chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Zimbabwe, said the former ruling party had overlooked the rights of people with disabilities and he hoped the inclusive government would take more action.
“We are going to approach the local political leaders and confront them over issues affecting people living with various forms of disability. We need to be given the platform to express our views. Politicians must consider our plight. We experienced problems at the hands of Zanu (PF) politicians who never entertained our requests and concerns. We must be given equal space and equal opportunities to participate in vital national processes,” said Chagwiza.
He said that besides being snubbed by Zanu (PF) politicians, people with disabilities were generally ostracized from the broader society.
“I want to salute MDC officials, Festus Dumbu (Zaka West MP) and Senator Misheck Marava (Zaka) for coming up with programmes to serve the interests of people with disabilities. It is a fact that we are being alienated from the broader society. Some people do not want to be associated with people with disabilities. I hope that various stakeholders will move in to assist our cause,” he said.
Car dealers cheat taxman
14.12.2011 The Zimbabwean
Automatic vehicles have flooded the country, with car dealers reportedly striking deals with the disabled to import the vehicles duty free.
Interviews with car dealers here revealed that many are making a killing, conniving with disabled people.
“I don’t see anything wrong in helping the disabled,” bragged a local car dealer (name supplied), adding that he was paying th em for assisting him to import vehicles from South Africa for resale.
Disabled people are entitled to import vehicles duty free. Another car dealer, also named, admitted doing well in his business as he was not paying duty for the vehicles he imported, thanks to a chain of deals with disabled people in his town and even from rural areas in Manicaland.
“ The car selling business here does very well, especially with diamond dealers nearby. So I made plans to work with the disabled, who are privileged to import vehicles duty free,” he said.
But Mac Haraj, another car dealer, criticized those deceiving the government by evading paying duty. “It’s not good to take advantage of the plight of the handicapped and use them to one’s advantage,” he said.
“These people are in dire need to make ends meet. So if you approach them with promises of money, wanting them to import vehicles on your behalf for resale, they will obviously give in. But how much do they get? In most cases here in Mutare, the dealers pay them from $250 to $300. Yet these ruthless car dealers reap exorbitant profits when they sell the vehicles,”
A disabled man who uses a wheelchair said he was grateful for the car dealers who continued to approach him for help to import automatic vehicles on free duty.
“You see, I can’t walk and it is difficult for me to fend for myself and my family, so these car dealers are my saviours,” he said.
He said the vehicles are bought in his name and all the paper work is done soon after the vehicles reach home to change ownership.
Farai Mukuta, Executive Director for the National Association for the Care of the Handicapped castigated business persons who abused the car import facility meant to benefit the disabled.
“We can not allow the government to be defrauded by these dubious car dealers, who do not want to pay for the vehicles they bring in the country, abusing people who are disabled in the process,” Mukuta said.
“The growing rot could be due to some ZIMRA officials conniving with car dealers and the disabled persons.” He said his organisation had formally written to the Ministry of Finance to address the problem.
He urged ZIMRA to work with NASCOH to clear vehicles reported to have been imported for the disabled persons.
“If ZIMRA would want to clear vehicles purported to belong to disabled persons, NASCOH would be of great help as we know disabled persons from our database,” Mukuta said.
“Disabled persons found to be conniving with car dealers to import vehicles on free duty should be banned from any benefits associated with the free duty car import facility,” he said.
The government’s policy is one person per vehicle.
PM hands over goodies to charity
14/12/2011 The Zimbabwe mail
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday called upon Zimbabweans to assist people living with disabilities for them to make maximum use of their abilities.
He was speaking at Emerald Hill School for the Deaf where he handed goods worth more than US$20 000 that were donated to charity organisations by some well wishers.
"We must always remember that when an institution like Emerald Hill is looking after the disabled we must make a contribution," he said.
"I am sure that their needs are not limited.
"I have been honoured and humbled to be the ambassador for people living with disabilities."
PM Tsvangirai said there were a lot of disabled people in different parts of the country who needed assistance.
The acting director general of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled, Mr Robert Mkozho said people living with disabilities needed to be empowered.
He said Government programmes should focus on social assistance instead of providing food.
"People with disabilities should be empowered to work for themselves and support their families," said Mr Mkozho.
"If you help us by empowering us, you will not see us on the streets.
"A disabled person is just like anyone else."
Mr Mkozho said Zimbabwe must ratify the UN Convention on People Living with Disabilities.
He said resources should be channelled towards ensuring that provisions of the Disability Act are implemented.
Companies and organisations that donated goods included Kingdom Bank, CBZ Bank and the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.
The goods donated were wheel chairs, blankets and food.
Some of the organisations that received the goods were Jairos Jiri Zvishavane, Jairos Jiri Gwanda, Zimcare Trust, Zambuko, Emerald Hill School of the Deaf and Ngomahuru Hospital.
United States Department of State (Washington, DC) Ugandan Is Advocate for Deaf Women and Girls
15 December 2011
Washington - Rehema Namarome wants all people with disabilities in Uganda to know their rights.
The rights advocate also wants Uganda's police officers to learn about their country's 2006 law protecting the rights of people with disabilities and its enforcement. More than 1 billion of the world's people live with a disability and encounter significant difficulties in their daily lives, according to the World Health Organization.
Namarome, 35, became deaf at about age 6 after receiving a medication at a hospital in her home district of Mbale, which is in an area now called Bududa. She is at the end of a four-month State Department-sponsored exchange through which she worked with the Madison, Wisconsin, nonprofit group Access to Independence Inc. Washington-based IREX International implemented the program, which in August brought 64 professionals from 21 countries to work with nonprofits throughout the United States.
In 2002, Namarome co-founded United Young Deaf Women, a nonprofit in Kampala that advocates for Uganda's deaf women and girls and teaches them about their rights. Typically in Uganda, she said, people with disabilities, facing difficulties of communication and mobility, do not go to school, so they don't learn about the laws that protect them. Many families do not let a person with a disability out of the home.
"That means no opportunity, no future," Namarome said, adding that her group helps deaf women and girls, who have less access to disability programs than do men and boys, take short trips outside their homes and learn to write their own grant proposals. The group also focuses on deaf women who are victims of sexual violence.
The group also teaches sign language to deaf women and girls and their families. In 2011, her group helped about 300 women and girls. So far, she has collected the names, parents' names and schooling and job status of about 650 deaf women and girls living in villages in five districts. The group gets funding from the nonprofits Disability Rights Fund, based in Boston, the London-based Deaf Child Worldwide and Amsterdam's Mama Cash.
People with disabilities can face discrimination in accessing transportation, Namarome said. "The bus refuses to let me on because I'm disabled," she said.
Namarome said she is fortunate in that her large family supports her work. (Her father has three wives and 16 children -- all living together at the same residence.) "My family felt my future wasn't good because I was deaf. Now my family is happy with my work and sees me as very successful." She has a bachelor's degree in teaching from Islamic University in Mbale and a master's in human rights from Makerere University in Kampala.
Access, which answered calls from nearly 3,900 people from four Wisconsin counties in 2011, is part of a national network of independent living centers that began to spring up in the late 1970s, said Denise Pulfer, 42, an independent living specialist who worked closely with Namarome.
Namarome said she enjoyed her time in Madison and working with Pulfer. Among the skills she has learned are how to develop computerized databases, raise funds from private and government sources and work with government bodies to develop policies related to people with disabilities.
Namarome and Pulfer plan to continue to communicate when Namarome returns to Uganda. Namarome said she will tell Pulfer how she is using what she learned and ask for technical advice when she needs it. She and Pulfer developed a follow-up plan to study deaf women and girl victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Uganda.
Pulfer, who lost her hearing at age 30 after removal of a brain tumor, said working with Namarome gave her new perspectives on how people with disabilities in different countries face situations. In the United States, "we are used to the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] and know what our rights are. Many other countries don't have this and are continuing to fight for it," she said, noting that people with disabilities in America have advantages like various communication tools. "But what do deaf girls [in other countries] do if they have no sign or vocal language to communicate if something happens to them?" she asked.
Namarome said her goal is to see people with disabilities in Uganda and other developing countries enjoy their rights and have barrier-free access to activities as much as do people in the United States. "This will make the world a better place," she said.
Persons with disability get Airtel support
BY NELLA MUKALENGE
AIRTEL Zambia has donated 10 community payphones with K5 million airtime to Zambia Association for Persons with Disability (ZAPD) as a way of commemorating International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
Head of corporate communications and government affairs Chabuka Kawesha said persons with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world’s population adding that one-fifth of the estimated global total of disabled people face significant challenges, hence the need for them to be empowered.
Dr Kawesha said this in a statement in Lusaka yesterday “Persons with disabilities encounter many challenges in our societies. It is against this background that Airtel has decided to contribute to the many empowerment initiatives the IDPD are undertaking,” he said.
And receiving the donation, Zambian chairperson of the national committee for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities John Miyato thanked Airtel for the gesture, saying “the community payphones being donated will go a long way in information sharing in the community-based rehabilitation programmes and income generating activities.”
Meanwhile, Airtel has announced a two-year partnership agreement with Samsung which will leverage the two companies’ strong band equity, developed distribution infrastructure and footprints across the continent.
Bharti Airtel International chief executive officer and joint managing director Manoj Kohli said the agreement gives Airtel exclusive distribution rights for selected Samsung products for the initial six months after they are launched.
He said the two companies will work together to provide market-specific products based on trends and consumers preferences, to ensure Airtel customers have access to products that are tailor-made to individual needs.
He said the wide range of innovative products that Samsung will collaborate with Airtel include; samara phones, mass market handset, tablets, dongles and routers.
Plight of deaf and dumb children in education
20 December 2011, Manica Post
SO often deaf people are sidelined even by groups trying to reach out to people with disabilities because of the language barrier. Children living with deafness have been the most affected as it has affected their education.
Most deaf adults in Zimbabwe today have poor literacy skills due to late diagnosis, lack of consistent education and poor resources.
An estimated 135 000 (2.5%) school children in Zimbabwe have some degree of deafness.
WHO states that 10% of the population has a disability. Leonard Chelshire also states that 75% of children with disabilities never complete primary school. Can the millennium goal of universal primary education be achieved without including children with disabilities?
In Manicaland ,there are 210 deaf pupils and there is only one school which has a resource class for deaf people which is Munyoro Secondary in Zimunya district.
Sign language has not yet been officialised and is not taken as one of the formal languages like Shona and Ndebele.
It is reported that in every three children who are out of school in Zimbabwe, one is a child with a disability.
Although there is no school for the deaf, the Ministry of Education Sport and Culture, in 1990, started Resource units for deaf children at Primary and Secondary schools around the country.
These are special classes in ordinary schools where deaf children can learn in small groups with their own teacher.
The Government has set up structures to provide education to all children with disabilities.
In 1999 an early intervention programme was established at the only organisation in the province which provides deaf children with opportunities to learn sign languages.
Nzeve Deaf centre, which is working towards addressing the plight of deaf and dumb children, offers vocational training skills like gardening, poultry, fashion and fabrics and carpentry for deaf students.
Children with hearing loss are enrolled in NZEVE programmes and their parents and siblings are also involved.
NZEVE has acted as a focal point for the Deaf community and for teachers of the deaf employed within the Ministry of Education.
Recently, the organization opened a new workshop at their premises for deaf youth.
The extension will increase the capacity of the organisation to train more young people and administer the project efficiently.
The Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Mr David Coltart said there is need to increase awareness of the needs of the deaf. He said more awareness is necessary so that parents understand the importance of bringing their children when they are still very young.
He said that since almost all parents of deaf children are not deaf, the need to teach sign language to their parents must not be underestimated.
"We all have a responsibility to change this and make sure that parents and school authorities are aware that children with disabilities have the right to go to school.
"But then we must ensure that they do not just sit at the back of the class learning little.
"It is vitally important that our teachers and schools provide education to all children appropriate to their individual needs. The government of Zimbabwe is working to make all schools "Child Friendly".
"What this means is that every school and every teacher is able to cater for every child appropriate to his or her ability.
"Placing children with disability in ordinary schools is the preferred option so that they can learn with other children.
"But this will only be possible for deaf children if Zimbabwe Sign Language is understood and used by more Zimbabweans. I am happy to report that my Ministry this year has approved two new dictionaries of Zimbabwe Sign Language.
"It is reported that of in every three children who are out of school in Zimbabwe, one is a child with a disability. We all have a responsibility to change this and make sure that parents and school authorities are aware that children with disabilities have the right to go to school.
"But then we must ensure that they do not just sit at the back of the class learning little. It is vitally important that our teachers and schools provide education to all children appropriate to their individual needs,"
said Minister Coltart.
He challenged business people to assist the development of market linkages for deaf young people who would have acquired practical skills.
"Deaf Youth who are out of school now have more space where they can learn vocational skills. But as we all know, acquiring skills does not automatically mean Deaf youth can become self sufficient. Marketing the goods that they produce is challenging especially in the current adverse economic environment in Zimbabwe.
"I would like to encourage business people here today to assist the development of market linkages for these Deaf young people or even employ some of them as they graduate after three years at Nzeve's youth training project."
The Nzeve Deaf centre Director, Mrs Libby Foster said children with disabilities should also be embraced in mainstream schools and be offered resources since they deserve equal right for education.
"Oftenly, deaf children are sidelined and disadvantaged. Some of them - if not few - acquire primary education only and never realise their dreams.
There is lack of resources to meaningfully help the deaf child. It is a pity that sometimes the deaf community is associated with poverty. Some of them are begging in the streets yet they also deserve that privilege to go to school.
"There is need to take sign language as a formal language. I am glad the Minister (David Coltart) has promised to address the challenges faced by the deaf community, particularly on educational (visual) equipment.
"Most of the children we are working with are profoundly deaf but we are aware of many children with partial hearing loss in ordinary schools who are struggling. We have tested 900 children and most of these children do not get any special help. Many of these children would be able to be mainstreamed and included in ordinary schools
"However, teachers need training and supporting to be able to change their teaching methods and help these children. There are more than 200 deaf children in schools in Manicaland, half of them are in boarding schools.
"Their homes are too far from schools with Resource units, so they need to board, but many parents cannot afford the fees. These are the children BEAM is meant to help but they have not been getting BEAM funds," she said.
Society for the deaf gets a helping hand
21 December 2011, Mmegi Online
The chairperson of Botswana Society for the Deaf's board, Joy Letsatsi, applauded the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between his society and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) in Gaborone yesterday.
Letsatsi said the agreement of cooperation would improve the standard of education delivery for people with special needs, the deaf in this case, which has been facing endless challenges.
He cited lack of financing as a major hindrance to quality and inclusive education given that the country's two specialised deaf training facilities in Ramotswa and Francistown are boarding institutions that are expensive to run."We have been facing a number of challenges at the grassroots level, and the signing of this MoA means a lot to us and our clientele," Letsatsi said.
He lamented that since the society was established in the 1970s it has been a charity, heavily dependant on donors and this lack of resources has impacted progress. Now the agreement with MoESD will see the society's centres included in the ministerial budget and the two will plan together as partners.
Letsatsi said it is crucial for this partnership to be of mutual benefits because it would not achieve the desired impact if it were to be one-sided.
He added that the MoESD has been helpful in a number of areas before like provision of qualified teachers, inspection and curriculum development.
However, he said places like Tswelelopelo Brigade in Ramotswa used to offer courses for the hearing-impaired and this was later extended to Masunga Brigade but at the moment the training has halted. "The facilities are still there but somebody is just not doing his or her job," he said.
For her part, MoESD permanent secretary, Grace Muzila, said it is important for the Society for the Deaf to align its strategic plan with that of the education ministry in order for the two parties to work in synchrony towards attaining quality and inclusive education.
She said educating the nation is a big task that cannot be achieved by the 37,000 employees of her ministry alone. Muzila said the agreement between the two bodies should ensure that the deaf are well-trained and contribute meaningfully towards growing the local economy and become globally competitive.
"We should strive for excellence and establish a centre for training the deaf that will not only admit locals but people as far as China and the rest of the world," adding that so far P2.4 million has been spent on tertiary education training outside and it is time those countries grow the local economy too.
Though she admitted the partnership comes late, she said it is better done late than never done at all. Statistics indicates that of the 276 deaf pupils who have completed primary education in Botswana only 120 have proceeded to junior and senior secondary schools and just four have went through to tertiary. On the issue of partners aligning plans, Muzila explained that they want all key partners to have aligned their strategic plans with that of the ministry in March 2012. To date, a number of private tertiary institutions have already done that. The exercise started last December, she said.
Worshippers sprayed with bullets
24 December, 2011, Swazi observer
IN PAIN: Jackson Shongwe was allegedly shot by community police
An indvuna and two others were seriously injured when community police opened fire at the congregation of 10 worshippers, who were deep in prayer at the grazing land in Maphungwane.
Indvuna Jackson Shongwe and two others, Mandla Matse and Melusi Xaba (14) were rushed to the Good Shepherd Hospital, when the community police after they got injured.
Xaba is admitted to the Good Shepherd Hospital and he referred to the alleged Prophet, Amos Makhukhu Dlamini, head of the pilgrimage, as his uncle.
Matse is said to be deaf and it is not known what part he was playing during the alleged prayer meeting.
The group of over 10 people was in the company of 91-year-old Lomadhibhi Maziya, Bucopho Gobovu Mbhamali, Gume Maziya and many others.
Gume is the man whom some residents at Maphungwane claim is supposed to be the rightful chief as opposed to Chief Maliwa.
The incident happened at a place called Emakhuleni around Mhlabubovu at about 1am on Friday.
According to Shongwe, the group had been conducting prayers and also present was Amos Makhukhu Dlamini, who is said to be a Zion Prophet.
Some community police officers, however, claim the team had been practising strange and unacceptable rituals whose details will not be mentioned as police are still investigating.
Shongwe blames the shooting on the ongoing chieftaincy dispute and further claims that all those who were shot at are those opposed to Chief Maliwa.
“I am not surprised as I have been threatened before and I was warned that I would be shot. We are now living in fear,” said Shongwe after making statements at the police station.
Information gathered is that Shongwe and others had gone for prayers at a place called Emakhuleni, which is also used for cattle grazing.
He then said that after they had finished, they discovered that community police had barricaded the road using stones.
Gobovu Mbhamali, who was driving one of the vehicles then tried to force his way through the stones and damaged his vehicle bumper in the process.
“We were then showered with bullets and sped off but others got shot in the process,” said Busisiwe Matsenjwa, who was amongst the group.
Shongwe also complained that police were interrogating them yet they were the victims and blamed police, accusing community police of taking law into their own hands.
Xaba, who was also shot said that all he wanted to do was open a gate so that the vehicle could pass but was then shot in the leg.
...We thought they were cattle rustlers - Community Police
Kaiser Matfonsi, a chief community police officer at Siteki said the group was mistaken for cattle rustlers.
Matfonsi said the community police heard noises as if cattle was being slaughtered and went to check what was happening. They are then said to have met the group which also allegedly sped off and the shooting ensued, resulting in three people being shot, one grazed on the head.
“There is a lot of cattle rustling going on in the area and the people were mistaken for cattle rustlers,” said Matfonsi. Police Public Relations Officer Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed the incident, saying police were still investing. Noteworthy is that Indvuna, Jackson Shongwe and Lomadhibhi Maziya were amongst a group that was detained by police over six months ago.
They were detained after being accused of holding illegal meetings and inciting residents to revolt against Chief Maliwa, who was appointed by His Majesty the King. Shongwe and some of the residents believe that the rightful chief should have been Gume Maziya and they took the matter to court. He (Shongwe) argued that it was strange that community police would claim that they suspected them to be cattle rustlers. “They know us and even know our vehicles,” said Shongwe. When asked if community police were allowed to shoot at fleeing suspects, Supt. Hleta said anyone protecting his/her property can use force. “Even a citizen like you could use force when protecting his property,” said Supt. Hleta.
Chicken killed with needles, burnt and buried during ritual
A chicken was killed using needle pins and later burnt at a place where some residents claim to have gone to pray.
This has led many residents at Mhlabubovu to believe that the people who claimed to have gone for prayer had in fact gone to perform some rituals.
Amos Mkhukhu Dlamini believed to be from Shiselweni was also amongst the group and alleged to have been dressed as a Sangoma when community police pounced on the group.
Community police acting on a tip off blockaded a road using stones so that the group of about 10 would stop and be searched.
Gobovu Mbhamali, who was driving in an Isuzu double cab, however, drove through the blockade and damaged his vehicle. Community police shot at the vehicle several times and injured those inside.
“The Buchopo led the police to a place where these people had killed a chicken and we believe they were practising witchcraft,” alleged a senior resident who did not want be mentioned.
Superintendent Hleta said the shooting took place but added that police were still investigating as to what really took place at Emakhuleni.
Information gathered is that the group did not seek permission from the local chieftaincy when performing the ritual which they referred to as a prayer.
They are currently being investigated by community police on allegations of practicing witchcraft and Kaiser Matfonsi, the regional community police chief confirmed the investigation.
Was the group practising witchcraft?
Some of the residents claim that the group shot at was not praying but had gone to perform certain rituals.
Also in the group was Mandla Matse, who is deaf and it is believed that he was to play an important role in the ritual.
“There is a belief that a deaf person will not be able to tell people what really happened so they wanted to use him for that purpose,” alleged a senior resident.
Matse was also one of the people who was grazed by a bullet during the shooting.
There are also fears that Matse may have been tricked as it is not known whether he knew what he was getting himself into.
An impeccable source claimed that police would return to dig up something that is believed to have been buried during the ritual. Superintendent Hleta, however, said that police were still investigating and did give further information.
A community police officer also wondered why members of the group tried to flee if they had been praying. He also wondered why the alleged Zion prophet was dressed like a Sangoma (traditional African ancestral healer) and not as a man of God.
Mary Banda: Wonder woman in silent world
Times of Zambia,
HAVING children is one thing, and raising them can be such a daunting task, especially for a single parent who literally lives in a silent world.
Ever thought of being deaf, unable to speak but blessed with two healthy able-bodied children that will definitely need to adopt a language to ease communication in school the community they live in and day to day interaction with their deaf parent?
What mode of communication will such a parent adopt whenever there is an interaction with her growing children worse still that she takes the sole responsibility of being a single parent?
Mary Banda is such one deaf single mum of two who is faced with the challenge of bringing up these children up to the ages of 12 and 14 years in Lusaka’s Matero Township.
But thanks to Mary’s mother who took care of the children at that early learning age to ensure that they learn how to verbally and effectively communicate.
Mary tells an interesting but heart- rending story of how she has managed to bring up her children single handedly after the father could not cope with the language barrier between them and decided to divorce her.
Mary had to go though the pain of being battered by her former husband before resorting to accepting to end her marriage and offering to shoulder the responsibility of having to bring up the two kids alone.
As a result of the constant battering that she received at the hands of her merciless former husband, Mary has remained with a permanent injury on her right shoulder.
She does not want to remain with more than one scar in her life to remind her of the past and for this reason; she has chosen to use her own surname for her children Brenda, 14 and Dolson 12.
Narrating her ordeal ,Mary recalls how her husband one day beat her up almost to a point of death and set all her clothes ablaze.
"I was terrified because I had a breast feeding baby with me, so I had to run away to seek asylum in my mother’s house who equally agreed that the marriage should end," she recalls.
At such a tender age, Mary’s daughter Brenda was able to interprete the sign language to the author at some point before the sign language interpreter Joel Mondoka took over the interview to unravel the depth of Mary’s story.
" We learnt sign language from her recently and that has eased communication, so far, we have no difficulties and we thank God for her because in her situation, she conducts herself just like any other mother,"
As for her son Dolson, he understands what his mother says and is able to tell when her mother is annoyed with him.
He said he would do nothing to deliberately offend his mother for he feels for her as she can’t express herself fully as normal people do.
She has to use gestures to express her self unless one is conversant with the sign language interpretation then the communication becomes a hassle.
Mary possesses a number of talents that she says would have won her a fortune had it not been for the language barrier.
Believe it or not, Mary is a superb choreographer who can mesmerise an audience with her captivating dance routines.
She even does, wedding dance routines!
"I can’t get the sound of the music but with any loud music, there is a beat which even us the deaf are able to follow. I am able to tell you that this is Rhumba or reggae beat provided the music is loud, but I perfectly follow drum beats," she said.
With such captivating rare talent, Mary and sign language interpreter Chipampe Ngulimba were in 2007 accorded a trip to go and showcase her choreography skills in France.
This now boosted her confidence such that upon arrival from France, she opted to register for the Ngoma Awards for the best female performer in her special category.
"I don’t know whether what I was given meant that I had won the prize or not, but that does not really matter to me, what matters is that I was nominated as a deaf person among the many hearing and received something,"
Merry is just a multi-talented diva who said her talent had been blanketed mostly by communication barriers.
Mary is a talented hair stylist who worked on most of the former minister’s wives in the Chiluba regime but had since lost track of her customers due to upswing of beautiful salons with special skills.
"I have not stopped plaiting hair but I now do it at home, at a small scale. I have a huge obligation to fulfill, I need to ensure that my children go to school until they finish their education, it is important for them and me," she said.
Inside the tale of her challenges of life, Mary tells a story of how one woman had touched her life with love and compassion for the deaf-the former first lady Thandiwe Banda.
Apparently, Mary has an unfulfilled contact to braid the former first lady’s hair and that she cannot wait for that special day to come a reality a blessing in to her life.
"I wish you knew how good that woman (first lady) is to the deaf. When she was the wife to the vice-president then, she invited me to do her hair but due to her busy schedule and the communication problem I was unable to do it," she said.
" Mrs Banda is one woman who does what she says and had a rare passion for the deaf. Many people would not pay attention to the deaf but our former first lady, God be with her, she is humble tolerant and loving. I only pray that one day I will be accorded that opportunity to do her hair and trust me, you will be amazed," she said.
Mary said she had tried hard to live a life of self reliance and through the braiding of hair; she is able to at least earn a living.
Her appeal, though is to be considered as one of the beneficiaries of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.
She said once granted the rare opportunity, would waste no time but put up a hair salon that would help her educate her children, feed and pay the bills and save enough to pay back the loan in good time.
Mary said she is capable of making a minimum of K450, 000.00 per day in a well spaced and established salon.
She boasts of her magic fingers that would call back a lot of clients.
What a woman of wonder!
District Assemblies ordered to recruit sign interpreters for district hospitals
From: Ghana l GNA Last Updated: December 29, 2011, 5:30 pm
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu- Ampofo, has directed all the 170 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the country to recruit a person each for employment and training as sign interpreters to be attached to all district hospitals in the country.
This is to provide the opportunity for people who are hearing impaired, and sight impaired to communicate their health problems to the medical officers when they visit hospitals.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo gave the directive when he celebrated the Christmas with the participants of the National Bible Camp for the Deaf organized by the Church of Christ at Akropong-Akuapem on Christmas Day.
The camp is organized annually by the Deaf Evangelistic Ministry of the Church of Christ for its members who include the hearing impaired and the visually impaired.
The Minister also directed the Akuapem North District Chief Executive to get in touch with the administration of the Senior High School for the Deaf, Akuapem Mampong to help restore the electricity to the school which had been disconnected for the past two years.
He said all Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies in the country had been directed to set up a fund to lodge the 2.5 per cent of their common fund meant for the disabled to be used to fund facilities for the training of the disabled in their districts and part to support activities of the disabled in their areas.
He said so far about 95 per cent of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in the country have established the fund with a representative of the disabled as a signatory to the fund.
Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said his Ministry had held discussions with the Administrator of the Common Fund for possible acquisition of buses for the disabled training institutions.
Evangelist Sam Williams of the Church of Christ, the coordinator of the camp, said the church started the annual camp for the deaf seven years ago to preach the gospel and share experiences on how to lead good lives.
How to improve services for the disabled
The advantages of telecommunications services are numerous. They have improved people’s ability to stay in touch with friends and family and changed the way people live, work and play. But subscribers, especially people living with disabilities, are not happy with the quality and nature of service delivery. An industry consumer advisory forum has been set up by the telecom industry regulator to address issues of service delivery, ADLINE ATILI reports Nigerian telecommunications subscribers are faced daily with myriad challenges ranging from dropped calls, high tariff, dubious sales promotions, poor dispute resolution mechanism, inability to connect operators’ call centres, unsolicited Short Messaging System (SMS) and caller tunes, erratic data or Internet service, incorrect airtime billing, among others.
To these subscribers, the disadvantages of telecommunications far outweigh the advantages. They see operators as shylock and believe consumer protection bodies do not exist.
A telecom subscriber, Olayinka Esan said he has been using a mobile phone since the introduction of Global System for Mobile communications services in 2001. According to Esan, an engineer, he has spent at least N500,000 on recharge cards alone. Esan said so far, he has not enjoyed quality service worth N20,000.
“Since 2001 to date, I have spent not less than N500,000 on recharge cards alone. I don’t think I have enjoyed up to N20,000 in services. You remember in those days before the per second billing system, when you make calls and there is poor connectivity, you are fully billed. No apologies or compensation from anyone. Those days were terrible. Though services have improved since then, it is still not up to standard.”
Challenges of the disabled
The worst critic of telecom services in the country, arguably, is disabled telecom subscribers. To them, all the operators and their services have “connived to work against them because of their circumstances.”
A blind telecom subscriber who gave his name as Uche Eze said apart from the difficulty he faces, using a mobile phone, whenever he visits the customer care centre of his network operator, he is treated with contempt. “Has disability become a disease?” he asked.
He urged operators and other stakeholders to come to the aid of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in ensuring they are treated fairly.
President of the National Disability Empowerment Forum (NADEF), an umbrella body for PWDs, Dr Chris Nwanoro, said though the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has, through the years, tried to make sure that the telecom industry lives up to standard and make its services available and accessible to all Nigerians, the industry has increasingly become unfriendly to persons with disabilities.
He regretted that PWDs do not enjoy the advantages of telecommunications to the fullest.
“We persons with disabilities sometimes wonder if we are precluded from gaining the joy derivable from the services of the industry. When the Federal Government brought Information and Communications Technology to the limelight in 2000, Nigerians accepted it as great relief as it afforded every Nigerian the opportunity to communicate with others within and outside the country. We were as happy as our compatriots since we hoped it would break the communication barriers, which have existed over the years.
“Eleven years on, we are still left in the dark by the telecom service providers. The absence of disability desks and wheelchair ramps in the offices of the service providers clearly illustrate the case in point.
Again, the telephone user who cannot see the phone screen is made to pay for just checking his/her account balance. This, you will agree, is so painful that he regrets buying the phone in the first place.”
Quoting a blind American, Darren Burton, who said ICT is bound to positively affect the life of every American and so persons with disabilities should not be left out of the benefits of ICT, Nwanoro said Nigerian telecom service providers need to do everything possible to serve every Nigerian efficiently including persons with disabilities.
He wondered if there ever would be a way to make the lives of PWDs worth living in the ever-emerging world of technology. He said some of the service providers have foundations which give scholarships and other financial aid to Nigerians.
“One wonders if any disabled person has ever benefited from such worthwhile deed. Someone may wish to argue that the NCC, in conjunction with some of the service providers, doles out wheelchairs, white canes and such things to disabled persons. Is that enough? Certainly not.
Owing to the enormity of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities, the telecom service providers should do more to help mitigate challenges faced by us,” he said.
Nwanoro said further: “A Telco, Vodacom in South Africa sells phones that are pre-installed with ‘Talks,’ a screen-reading software, to their blind customers in order to make them use the phones independently.
Tunisia, a country less-wealthy than Nigeria, currently has a disability desk in all their telecom offices.
“These desks are meant to take care of concerns of persons with disabilities. Sadly, this is not the case in Nigeria. The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have disability numbers which is universal across the country. A disabled person will have his/her questions answered promptly as soon as he/she calls that particular number. Can we not have such a number in Nigeria?”
Nwanoro observed that in other African countries, PWDs are employed in call centres, taking a lot of them off the streets.
“In Mauritania, Angola, South Africa and many other Third World countries, persons with disability are employed in call centres where people come to make calls or do research for information related to ICT.
In Nigeria, many of us are not employed or supported by government. This also explains why thousands are on the streets begging for alms. Who knows how many thousands would have been employed in our call centres?”
Making out a case for the disabled
He proposed establishing a dedicated disability desk in offices of service providers and a universal number dedicated to PWDs which will take care of whatever issues they may face.
“From our little research, there are no PWDs employed in any of the Telcos. Telcos, should as a matter of necessity, employ as many qualified PWDs as practically as possible,” Nwanoro added.
He stressed the need to provide vocational education for PWDs as well as provision of wheelchair ramps in offices and sales outlets of service providers. Responding, the NCC said it will not relent in ensuring efficient service delivery in the nation’s telecom sector as well as safeguarding telecom consumers and other stakeholders from unfair practices.
The commission’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr Okechukwu Itanyi said the commission has set up a forum, Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) to aggregate and provide solutions to issues concerning telecom consumers.
At the first industry-wide ICAF forum, Itanyi said: “There is a paradigm shift from mere service provision to ensuring that consumer satisfaction ranks highest in our priorities as a nation in the provision of ICT services and this forum earnestly seeks ways towards achieving this primary objective.”
He assured that the NCC would continue to safeguard the interests of the consumers, especially as it relates to facilitating investment, ensuring national spread, facilitating rural access, licensing new operators, holding consumer outreach programmes and consumer parliaments, ensuring service availability, affordable and quality service for subscribers.
The overall objective of the ICAF, while acting in an advisory capacity, he explained, was to make recommendations to the commission regarding the interests and concerns of consumers, including persons with disabilities and the elderly, as well as submit memoranda on and facilitate the review of the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.
Speaking at the forum, a member of the House of Representative Committee on Communications, Lara Omidiran said that the nation’s lawmakers would continue to give necessary support to ensure efficient service delivery in the sector.
The Chairman, Industry Consumer Advisory Forum and Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mrs Ify Umenyi, noted that people, particularly policy makers, are becoming more concerned about the condition of consumers and the manner the industry works towards protecting consumer interest in the country.
According to her, recently the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce invited the NCC and other regulatory bodies to explain the dearth of quality service delivery and consumer protection in Nigeria.
“This behoves all of us, particularly operators, to do all that we can to minimise the hardships faced by consumers in the marketplace,” she said.
‘Bogus’ sales promotions
To Henry Osa-Uwaje, of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), a most unfair practice towards telecoms consumers is bogus sales promotion and reward schemes that are targeted at unwary subscribers.
“Some of the promos are outright deceit,” he stated.
“Everyday, we open the newspapers and read of winnings. I’m sure if I go round and ask if anyone knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who has ever won anything in these promos we see everyday, I’ll get a negative response. The winners, if there are any, are few and far apart. If truly, people win the so-called millions, there’ll be no more poverty in Nigeria. But while the operators are smiling to the banks, the consumers become more and more impoverished.
The problem is these consumers do not even know where to complain.”
Osa-Uwaje said to address the issue, in 2012, NLRC will work in collaboration with the National Broadcasting Commission to censor the language used in the sales promotions, noting that the language used in some of the adverts are “flowery and deceptive.”
He added that in 2012, the commission will tighten its noose around operators who contravene the regulations of the lottery act and those without proper permits from the commission.
Addressing dispute resolution in the telecom sector and how consumers can be better protected, Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (nba), Emeka Obegolu said dispute in the telecom sector can be enormously disruptive, adding that effective dispute resolution in the sector is increasingly central to successful deployment of modern information infrastructure.
Obegolu noted that successful dispute resolution is key to industrial harmony and is increasingly important for attracting investments, competition and development.
He advised NCC on the use of well-focused regulatory intervention to create an environment where industry players and consumers have incentives to resolve disputes constructively.