The Blind Side: Disability and Development in Ghana
Think Africa Press
Helping Ghana's disabled could provide economic as well as social benefits.
ARTICLE | 3 JANUARY 2012 - 12:25PM | BY PAUL CARLUCCI
People in the street market in Kumasi, by Petr Kosina.
You see them scattered all across Accra: the disabled of body or mind, blind and begging in traffic, paralysed and lying on the sidewalk. These people are some of Ghana’s estimated 2.5 million disabled, themselves part of the world’s one billion, 80% of whom are thought to live in developing countries like this one.
Not only do they represent a human rights disaster, but also a serious impediment to socio-economic development. This at a time when Ghana is considered, however controversially, to be a lower-middle income nation and whose oil sector is expected to fuel double digit economic growth.
The link between disability and poverty has been stressed by civil society groups and international bodies like the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank, even if quantifying the connection remains a tricky business. Disabled people experience enormous challenges when it comes to accessing education, employment, and healthcare. Accordingly, disability should be viewed through the lens of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a point recognised in the UN’s 2010 MDG report, which called for policies and actions specifically addressing disability.
Left unchecked, the problem multiplies. As they stand, Ghana’s disability laws are failing its people and hindering the country’s development. The Persons with Disabilities Act (PDA) has not been wholly implemented, and the Mental Health Bill (MHB) has been in parliamentary limbo for years.
Ghana’s legal context
In 2006, after four years of habitual dithering, Ghana passed the PDA.
Advocates like the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD), which is composed of six disability organisations, were optimistic, but, five years later, few of the bill’s provisions have been enacted. Disabled people acknowledge incremental change but say their lives are mostly the same.
On paper, the PDA builds on the country’s 1992 constitution, which has eight provisions guaranteeing the rights of the disabled. A year after passing the act, Ghana signed but has not ratified the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which also supports the PDA.
The PDA ostensibly delivers social, cultural and civil rights to the country’s disabled. An umbrella provision guarantees dignity in social, political, cultural, recreational, and creative pursuits. Subsequent provisions promise job training, employment, an accessible built environment, accessible transportation, free healthcare, protection from discrimination, and a National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD).
A 10-year transition period was built into the law. And the GFD says much of the built environment remains unchanged, so much so that the remaining five years are unlikely to be enough to update infrastructure in time. The situation is epitomised by Accra’s ministries district, where government departments mark their central locations: only one of the ministries is accessible. Complicating the issue is WHO’s finding that 75 - 80% of Africa’s approximately 81 million disabled live in rural areas. The idea of manoeuvring a wheelchair - or maybe just some plywood with castors - down one of Ghana’s country roads is a daunting one.
Earning a living
There are also complaints about employment. The government says it’s addressing the issue with tax incentives for employers who hire disabled staff, training programmes, and community-based rehabilitation, which trains participants with local resources. But few disabled people, even those with good jobs, think these advances are adequate. They describe a reality of mostly inaccessible workplaces, discriminatory employers, and uneducated job-seekers, many of whom wind up relying on family for financial support.
That kind of support can strain families, and society at large for the expenditures associated with disability are extensive. Food insecurity is often experienced by developing world families with disabled members, and crime springs eternal from that kind of poverty.
According to the World Bank, research linking disability to economics is mostly undertaken in developed countries. There are few reliable figures for Africa. However, the Martin Prosperity Institute, a Canadian think tank, says that country’s province of Ontario misses out on $4.8 billion a year due to the marginalisation of the disabled.
In Ghana, public financial support is supposed to come from local governments, which manage the District Common Funds set up during a 1990s decentralisation exercise. Before the act, 2% of the funds were earmarked for the disabled, but the assemblies seldom transferred the money, claiming the distribution guidelines were unclear. After the act, the NCPD was tasked with writing guidelines, and local governments were told to set up specific committees and accounts. The allotment rose to 3 %. Even still, civil society groups say the transfers are delayed, sporadic, or absent entirely.
The list of grievances is extensive. NGOs say school lack facilities for the disabled, the NCPD is grossly underfunded, and the entirety of the act has been lost in the slow-cooker of Ghana’s bureaucracy.
The mental health bill
People with mental illness in Ghana have scant hope of treatment or recovery. According to WHO, about 650,000 people suffer from a severe mental illness, while another two million have milder disorders. The country has just three psychiatric hospitals, and only a dozen or so psychiatrists. There’s a reported 98% treatment gap, meaning only two of every 100 get medical help. Discarded by their families, many mentally ill people are shunted off to so-called prayer camps, where they endure preposterous conditions and cruel confinement.
In 2004, the MHB was drafted. Seven years later, it has yet to be passed, placing it in the neglected ranks of other potentially emancipatory laws, like the Right to Information Bill, itself in limbo for almost ten years.
The current Mental Health Act dates back to 1972 and focuses on centralised, institutional care, permitting decades of involuntary confinement.
The draft MHB, developed in partnership with WHO, proposes the creation of a Mental Health Service that would operate at the level of primary health care and focus on community delivery. District and regional services would also be established to deliver prevention, treatment, care, rehabilitation, and counselling. The government would have access to private sector facilities, which is what the prayer camps are considered.
The draft sets out parameters for voluntary and involuntary treatment, including standards for food, bedding, sanitation, staff qualifications, and essential medicines. It has further clauses protecting at-risk groups like women and children. Human rights are also addressed, with clauses articulating privacy and autonomy, access to medical records, access to personal money for in-patients, and access to employment and education.
A question of investment
Ghana’s politicians need to view these issues through a development lens, as MDGs or general national priorities. Government expediency is too often a question of elitist political priorities, like last summer’s $3 billion loan from the Chinese, approved at breakneck speed for the oil-producing Western Region. There is no reason the MHB could not be passed with at least a shadow of the same expediency.
Excuses about the high costs of fully implementing the PDA - or, when it is finally passed, the MHB - are flimsy at best, and, when one considers the reported $4 billion lost every year to corruption, those same excuses are just cynical.
Mentally and physically disabled people are human resources in the same way other members of society are. If they live in an environment that promotes their social, economic and civil rights, they will inevitably produce wealth - as consumers, units of taxation, or contributors to development. Implementing protective laws is a simple investment; it is neglecting them that is expensive.
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Twenty four war disabled people benefit from physical rehabilitation
4, January, 2012, Angola press
Malanje - Some 24 war disabled people from Malanje Province benefited from physical rehabilitation, in 2011, at Luanda Orthopaedic Centre, located in Viana Municipality, ANGOP has learnt.
This was said by the provincial director of former combatants and veterans of the homeland, Sebasti？o Rodrigues Manuel, when assessing the activities developed throughout the year 2011.
He said that during the mentioned period awareness campaigns were held with former combatants, widows, war disable people and orphans' guardians, so that they create farming associations.
Sebasti？o Rodrigues Manuel also said that 14 local families received zinc sheets, while 85 others were assisted with foodstuff.
Bus conductor impregnates ex-miss deaf
04 January, 2012, Swazi observer
PREGNANT: Former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula
SWAZILAND’S pride in the international beauty pageantsscene and the country’s former Miss Deaf, Simphiwe Magagula is pregnant. Magagula was crowned first princess in the Miss Deaf World in 2009.
What seems to be a serious problem with this particular pregnancy is that Magagula is an adopted child, whose livelihood is being taken care of by a family which wanted her to concentrate on cultivating a successful academic career for herself.
The pregnancy is seen as a factor that could hinder progress in this regard.
She is due to deliver her first born baby around May and the father has been identified as Sihle Dlamini, a bus conductor in Manzini, who also has a child with another woman. Though to some this might come as a piece of good news, her guardian Sindisiwe Maziya is heart-broken over the issue.
This incident has led to Maziya releasing Magagula to stay with her other relatives while she (Maziya) recovers from the shock.
Like any parent, Maziya believes in giving the young Magagula a second chance. It was gathered from a reliable source that a meeting between Magagula’s family and the Miss Deaf contest organisers was held last Friday at Siteki, where she admitted that while she was still at the School for the Deaf in Siteki, she would at times sneak out to visit her ‘prince charming’.
Magagula was crowned the country’s first Miss Deaf in 2008 and in 2009 she was crowned Miss Deaf World First Princess in Czech Republic.
When she returned from Europe, she was welcomed by top government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku.
“It’s every parent’s dream to see her child growing and achieving all her dreams as well as having her/his family. To be honest with you, I was very disappointed when I learned about her condition. But this is something that could have happened to any parent. We have talked about it and I decided that she stays with her relatives for a while. Everyone deserves a second chance,” said Maziya. When asked if she had met with the bus conductor who impregnated her ‘daughter’ or if she knew that he had fathered a baby with another woman, Maziya said she hasn’t met him.
‘She is carrying my baby, I love her’
THEY say being loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
This seems to be the case with Sihle Dlamini, who will soon be the father to former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula’s baby.
In an interview with this publication yesterday, Dlamini made it clear that he was in love with the former beauty queen and he intended marrying her soon.
Though his in-laws have not yet reported the pregnancy as per the custom and particularly because this is the first expectancy, Dlamini said he was looking forward to the new baby due in May.
He said he met Magagula in 2010 and from there they had been an item.
“I love Simphiwe and people know this. To me she is normal like any other human being and for the past year she has been helping me with the sign language which I now understand. People should not worry because as soon as my family meets with my in-laws I will start arranging marriage issues,” he said.
DEPUTY Prime Minister Themba Masuku was disappointed to learn that Simphiwe Magagula is now pregnant.
Masuku had always been behind Magagula’s projects while she was still Miss Deaf.
He even raised funds for the then beauty queen to compete in the Miss Deaf World contest in 2009 which was held in Czech Republic. His love for Magagula was shown when he led a delegation to the Matsapha International Airport to welcome her back after winning the First Princess prize in Czech Republic.
When called, the DPM expressed shock and made it clear that he was disappointed. He said as children grow, parents always hope to see them doing something positive regardless of their background.
“It’s a pity that she will have a baby while she also was still under her adoptive parents’ guidance and care. Such incidents have led to the increase of vulnerable children, which at the end becomes a huge problem for the country. I just hope more and more children can make wise decisions before being stuck with problems such as this one,” he said.
When asked how he wouldl cope since he fathered a baby with another lady, Dlamini said the two had met on several occasions. He pointed out though that he was yet to inform the other lover on the latest developments.
“It’s true I have another baby but that does not mean I will neglect Simphiwe,” he said emphatically.
She needs us - Miss Deaf organiser
MISS Deaf Organiser Nokuthula Mbatha is pleading for support for pregnant former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula.
She said it was important to understand how emotionally vulnerable deaf people are.
“First as a mother and the Miss Deaf organiser, I am heart-broken. She had and still has great opportunities her way and this will cause delays. But we must understand how emotionally vulnerable people in her position are. I still plead with the society to really reach out to her and offer support.
She needs us so much.
“The gap between the hearing community and the deaf community is currently too much.
The ground is not level yet the environment is structured such that people with hearing challenges function like the hearing society. Many useful structures are currently not in place and not in their favour,” she said.
She added that she needed support and people should not focus on the mistakes but look at the bigger picture and help her rise above the situation.
“I am not encouraging what has happened but only pleading for support. She brought change for the deaf girls in the country and let’s make change for her. She is an orphan and needs us,” pleaded Mbatha.
...DEAF ASSOCIATION CHIEF SHOCKED
PRESIDENT of the Swaziland Deaf Association Makhosini Makhubu was shocked to learn Simphiwe Magagula is pregnant.
Makhubu said though they had not been formally informed about the issue, he believed that Magagula needed to rest as she had been dominating the public arena for a long period hence this exposed her to vulnerability resulting in the early pregnancy. “No one has informed us yet but the association will support her during this period as this should be treated privately instead,” he said.
Immigration personnel intercepts visually impaired Nigerians at Sogakope
From: GNA Last Updated: January 5, 2012, 12:30 am
Five visually impaired Nigerians, who claimed they were professional beggars, were intercepted by personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service on board Aflao-Accra bound bus at Sogakope last Monday.
Nura Kasum, 70, Sali Abdul Karim, 70, Abdul Hamidu, 50, Hamadu Rufia, 65, and Tasir Issaku, 60, who were travelling with seven boys, aged between 15 and 20 years, said they were in Ghana to seek greener pastures due to harsh economic conditions in Nigeria.
All the 12 foreigners from Kano State in Nigeria, who spoke only Hausa, have since been handed over to the police at Aflao for investigations.
A source close to the Immigration Service, told the Ghana News Agency(GNA) that the 12 persons came to Ghana through separate unauthorized entry points on the Ghana-Togo frontier individually.
He said the 12 persons finally converged at Aflao and boarded the bus for Accra, but they were prevented from continuing the journey at about 0021 hours at the Sogakope checkpoint.
Mr Daniel Dzansi, Aflao District Police Crime Officer, said Police suspect the presence of the group in the country as the handy work of a human trafficking syndicate, and that the chief of the visually impaired at Sabon Zongo was the likely host of the suspects.
Mr Dzansi said the police would seek an order from the court for the deportation of the 12 persons since they were prohibited immigrants.
I’ll not allow the disabled to suffer - Taraba gov
Written by Celestine Ihejirika, Jalingo
Thursday, 05 January 2012
TARABA State governor, Mr Danbaba Suntai, has said the current administration will not fold its arms to see the disabled suffer in silence any longer.
Suntai, who stated this at the workshop organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs on capacity building in respect of skills acquisition for women with disabilities, in Jalingo, said it was honour for the state to be chosen to host such an important event, which would help people with disabilities to be trained on skills acquisition.
Represented by the State Head of Service, Mr Augustine Bazing, the governor explained that disability was an effect of impairment which caused them malfunction.
He said it had been a major problem in the country.
Earlier, the Minister of Women Affairs, Zainab Maina, said the workshop was indeed significant because it made another milestone in the ministry ’s determined effort to address the need for women with disabilities in the country with a view to harnessing great potentials for nation development.
The minister, who was represented by the director for disables of the ministry, Alhassan Tambari, said the ministry being gender sensitive was saddled with the responsibility of developing programmes that projected the social and economic empowerment of women, children and persons with disabilities.
Tambari said women encountered a lot of obstacles and challenges that limited their capability to play active roles in the social economic and political development of the nation.
Hearing impaired students cannot have education beyond SHS
January 5, 2012 | Filed under: Latest news | Posted by: VibeGhana
People suffering from hearing impairment in the country cannot pursue education beyond Senior High School (SHS), because of lack of logistics to aid their teaching and learning in tertiary institutions.
This compels hearing impaired students to pay for students’ user fees and engage sign language interpreters at their own expense in institutions of higher education.
Mr Samuel Asan, former National President of the Society for the Hearing Impaired, made this known at a National Bible Camp for the Deaf organised by the Church of Christ at Akropong-Akuapem in the Eastern Region on Wednesday.
He said there is only one SHS in the country for people with hearing impairment at Mampong-Akuapem.
Mr Asan said apart from logistics and other needs of the school students are not exposed to lectures in Information, Communication and Technology because the academic facility has no computers to facilitate the process.
Mr Asan noted that the school library is also too small for the students ’ population and therefore appealed to government to reverse the situation. GNA
School For The Deaf records 100% fail rate
January 05 2012
MBABANE ― In their first Junior Certificate examinations, the School For the Deaf High School recorded a 100 per cent fail rate.
Their motto is ‘be the best you can be,’ however due to a some challenges the school faced, it struggled to perform to its best.
Interestingly in the Swaziland Primary Certificate the School for The Deaf Primary School attained a 100 per cent pass rate.
Fourteen pupils sat for the JC examination but none passed yet in the primary certificate six had sat for the exams with one of them getting a first while two got second class passes and three managed to get third class passes.
Explaining the outcome of the results, Director of Education Dr Sibongile Mntshali-Dlamini said there was still a lot of work to be done in order for the school to achieve better results.
"Some of the teachers we have are not properly trained in the sign language that the pupils use and, in some instances, you find that they only have one translator so we have a challenge there," said Dlamini.
She said they further had a lot of work to do with the Examinations Council of Swaziland in order to structure the exams in a manner that was more suitable.
"However, we are not too worried. This was the first year in which we had introduced the exams at the high school and we shall have to conduct more training and engage better-qualified teachers in order for the school to perform better," said Dlamini.
There was no immediate comment from the principal of the school Zodwa Thwala as she was reportedly not at the school yesterday and her phone rang unanswered for the better part of the day.
The school is situated at Matsetsa.
Uganda: Govt Phases Out 200 Non-Deaf Students From Mbale School
11 January 2012
Barely three weeks to opening of the new school academic term, the Ministry of Education has directed the head teacher of Mbale School of the Deaf not to admit non-deaf students.
This means that parents of more than 200 continuing students at the school will have to look for other options.
The move only affects students from Senior One to Senior Three as Senior Four have been allowed to complete the year.
In a December 9, 2011 letter, the Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary, Mr Francis Lubanga, told Mr Paul Washireko that the move is in line with the agreement the ministry made with African Development Bank mission. ADB supports the school.
"This is to reiterate to you our position that the school is meant and should be exclusively for deaf students," the letter reads in part.
The letter says the ministry will continue to provide financial support to deaf students countrywide at the school.
It asked Mr Washireko to formally communicate the decision to the board of governors and PTA to enable them secure free land from incumbrances so that the ministry constructs a seed secondary school for the non-deaf students.
The chairman of board of governors, Mr Dison Wekono, confirmed the development, saying: "We have already secured 10 acres of land which is now readily available, and we are eagerly waiting for the ministry to carry out a survey and construct Makhai Seed Secondary School for the community."
Nyakurwa’s dream for the deaf
11 January 2012, The Zimbabwean
Charles Nyakurwa’s dream is to make the world a better place. And he is wasting no time.
Last month, he launched an organisation specially dedicated to the deaf and he did it in style. Aptly named Deaf Hands at Work (DHW), the company had meals served using sign language, something the benefactor believes was a first here.
“DHW provides opportunities for deaf people in the construction and consumer service sector,” former waiter Nyakurwa told The Zimbabwean.
“Deaf carpenters, project managers, teachers and housemaids are among the skilled and unskilled individuals for whom our mission is to create employment.”
The company’s long-term goal is to achieve prime status as a disability brand of choice in South Africa and to create a strong, motivated, skilled workforce.
“South African Sign Language is our medium of communication and we aim to promote it as the 12th national language. That will cater for more than half a million people.”
“My whole life I have been planning on the best way to introduce something new and worthy to the world, something different. I want to inspire the disabled and be one in millions to bring something positive.” Having already put his project to test, he is pleased with the early results. “On December 20, I served a table of about 20 deaf people at a restaurant here using SASL. This was my birthday celebration and I had saved money towards it partly in honour of my deaf young brother Peter, who was unfortunately not there.
I plan to do this every year in remembrance of all the deaf people who were abused at the hands of hearing people and never got justice, just because they were deaf.”
As a Zimbabwean, he wants his work to paint a positive picture of both his nationality and the ballooning migrant population, which is often despised by locals.
“I represent a migrant - that person who had to be in a foreign land and carried with him a big dream; that person who found shelter under a bridge and went for days without food, searching for greener pastures,” said Nyakurwa.
In South Africa, deaf people are rarely employed and most rely on grants that condemn them to lives of abject poverty. The eldest in a family of three, Nyakurwa was orphaned at the age of seven. His sister was five and deaf brother only three at the time. He grew up with his maternal grandmother in rural Chipinge, passing 14 O Level subjects with distinctions, despite struggling to finance his schooling.
“I worked for teachers and villagers in their fields for little money that I used to pay fees and buy stationery. I also extended my works to being a cobbler, tailor and barber.
“My life has been that of struggle, with a strong conviction to break the cycle of poverty and squalid living conditions,” he said.
“My story is that of hope, that whoever reads it even on the verge of giving up will find from within the zeal to carry on. I am inspired by those already successful in their endeavours, but even by those fighting to get there, for I know I have someone to relate to.”
Disabled Varsity students want admission system streamlined
Publish Date: Jan 12, 2012
By Petride Mudoola
Students with disabilities joining Tertiary institutions have asked Government to streamline the admission system to enable them get the courses they qualified for.
Benson Okware, a blind student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Education at one of the public universities told New Vision that during admission, some of the university authorities tend to change their courses after realizing that the student is disabled.
Okware explained that he was admitted for a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Administration (SWASA) but when he reported at the university, one of the administrators changed his course to Education
“When I inquired about the changes, the authorities informed me that I was not capable of pursuing the initial course of admission due to the fact that l am disabled yet it required moving with machines during lectures,” Okware remarked.
According to him, the allocation of courses does not give fair hearing to students with disabilities and that they are forced to give up the better courses they qualified for.
Kyambogo University’s Public Relations manager Lawrence Madete in his responded to the matter saying a student is given a particular course depending on the applicant’s qualification and that if the student has applied and qualifies for the course, the university Senate automatically gives him /her that course regardless of the incapacities.
However efforts to get a comment from Makerere University’s Public Relations Officer were futile as his phone was off.
According to the Universities and Tertiary Institutions Act (2001), students with disabilities at higher institutions of learning are entitled to necessities that include disability allowances, an extra time during examinations, provision of print material in alternative formats like Braille for the blind, audio tape recording, and descriptive video narration for the deaf.
Unlike Makerere, Kyambogo University provides guides for the blind, Braille study materials, sign language interpreters during lectures, use of lamps in lecture rooms, easy accessibility to toilets and provision of wheel chairs.
“Underrating students with disabilities has led to stigma, which has affected their learning ability hence contributed to the high dropout rate among the disabled,” Simon Ochan, a Special Needs teacher attributed.
According to research conducted by the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), out of the 2.5 million population of persons with disabilities (PWDs), only 2.2% of them have attained formal education.
Okware suggests that more institutions for students with special needs should be established and well equipped to enable disabled learners attain education in order that they can compete favorably on the job market.
Get specially trained teachers for special schools - Sen. Tom
13 January, 2012, Swazi observer
SENATOR Tom Mndzebele has stated that the Siteki School for the Deaf could have not done any better than recording a 100 percent failure rate in last year’s Form Three examination.
He laid the blame squarely on the ministry of education and training, noting that the odds were heavily stacked against the pupils as their teachers had no special education training and could hardly communicate with them through sign language.
“You then wonder as to what is exactly going on at that school and why the teachers were paid for not doing their job. It is obvious that they were not teaching.
“This means that the pupils are merely grouped together (babutsisiwe) to prevent them from sitting at home doing nothing. The results have clearly shown that there is no learning going on at that school,” he said.
Senator Mndzebele, the country’s only legislator living with a disability noted that last year he proposed to the Senate Portfolio Committee on Education to visit special schools in the country, so it could acquaint itself with the problems at such schools.
“We started at the Ekwetsembeni Special School in Mbabane proceeding to St Joseph’s at Mzimpofu and ultimately to the School for the deaf primary and high schools at Siteki. In all these schools, the main complaint was the lack of resources, especially human, which resulted in the schools failing to successfully educate disabled children.
“They observed that the country generally lacked teachers with special education training, who could teach at these schools,” he said.
He pointed out that upon winding up the tour, the committee compiled a report which had recommendations and was presented to both the ministry of education and training and the deputy prime minister’s office.
“I also followed up on the report constantly urging the minister to visit the schools so he could see for himself and get to appreciate the problems contained in the report.
But as far as I know, he has never done that, and I suppose he is busy with the problems in schools for able-bodied children,” Senator Mndzebele said.
He mentioned that the disabled community in the country had over the years pleaded that special education training should be incorporated into the syllabus of the country’s tertiary education to no success, adding that in this manner; such schools would continue to perform dismally.
He stated that even this year the same scenario could be witnessed at the schools if things did not change for the better.
“The ministry should at least import skilled special education teachers who would transfer skills to the locals before leaving the country. It is a further mystery as to what the ministry planned when it built the school, but failed to train teachers.
“I appeal to the minister to visit these schools so he could see for himself how bad things are, otherwise, they will record another 100 percent failure rate even this year, which was very unfair to the children since they had no teachers,” he said.
Director admits to problems
MEANWHILE, Director for Education Dr Sibongile Mntshali conceded that the School for the Deaf had problems which had resulted in it recording the 100 percent failure rate.
She noted that such challenges were worsened by the fact that it was for the first time that pupils at the school sat for the Form Three examination.
“Other challenges facing the school include the dire lack of well trained sign language teachers and the pupils had to rely on only one qualified interpreter.
“The exam is also not suitable for the needs of the pupils at the school.
But this was bound to change as the ministry was training teachers in special education for the school and we are of the hope that it will do well this year as the problem of unqualified teachers will have been addressed,” she said, when sought for comment over the alarming failure rate at the school.
Disability policy out in November
13 January, 2012, Swazi observer
A National Disability Policy is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Consultations on it are expected to be completed by September.
The document has already been approved by Cabinet and soon stakeholder consultations will commence.
Acting Principal Secretary in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office Dickson Mkhonta said it was envisaged that by the end of March, a consultative process with stakeholders in government will have been completed.
“In an effort to expedite the process, a request for funding has been forwarded to the ministry of economic planning and development and with acquisition of the funds; it will be possible to kickstart the consultative process that shall lead to the consolidation of the National Disability Policy.
“This process will involve extensive consultations with all stakeholders who are based in the respective government ministries, the federation of organisations of persons with disabilities and its members including the Swaziland National Association of the Deaf and the Swaziland National Association of Physically Disabled Persons.
“Other key stakeholders in the consultations, is the private sector, NGOs, community based organisation and other interested parties,” Mkhonta stated.
The PS noted that the lack of a policy and legislation for persons with disabilities has been a drawback, stating that the absence of these basic instruments denied disabled persons their guaranteed right to equitable share of valuable resources and inclusion into the socio-economic mainstream.
The document would provide both stimulus and momentum to the process of social development that will change the situation of persons with disabilities.
Mkhonta said they expected regional consultations with persons with disabilities to have been completed by June after which a report which entails their input would be compiled.
By the end of September, a process of consolidating the Policy and Bill respectively will have been completed.
“It is expected that by end of November copies of the final National Policy and Bill shall be tabled for adoption and dissemination,” he said.
Rapists torment the disabled, young girls
14 January 2012, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
WOMEN and Aids Support Network (Wasn) says it has unearthed several unreported rape cases of the disabled and young girls during an ongoing awareness campaign on sexual and reproductive health, which the organisation is conducting throughout the country.
Wasn director, Mary Sanders, told The Standard last week that her organisation has already reported some of the rape cases to the police.
She said most of the cases go unreported because the victims and their guardians lack information. This, she said, is most prevalent in rural areas.
“We have discovered several cases, but most of them were not reported because the victims felt that they could get victimised in the community and also get blamed by family members,” said Sanders, who could not give the exact number of cases her organisation has reported to the police.
“We really feel that there is a lot of awareness that we should be giving to the community and even to parents of children living with disabilities so that when anything like rape happens to their children, they should report to the police.”
Sanders however, lambasted the courts for their delay in dealing with the reported cases of rape.
In one case, she said, it has taken over six years for justice to be delivered and “I think it was unfair to the victim.”
She added, “We also have a case of a young girl who was raped in Chirumhanzu by her guardian and she is pregnant, but the justice system has taken so long to rein in the culprit.
“They are saying they are waiting for her to deliver the baby of the rapist and l don’t know how she will live with that baby.”
Wenchi gets disabled craft training centre
01月17日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
A craft training centre has been established at Wenchi in the Brong- Ahafo Region to assist persons with disabilities to learn vocations.
The Centre named ‘Young City’ was set up by Rural Youth Association of Ghana, an NGO, to help Disable people live a dignified life.
The Executive Officer of the NGO, and a former Member of Parliament for Nkoranza, Madam Theresa Nyarko-Fofie, said the centre offers free tuition and accommodation to trainees and parents of trainees will only be responsible for their feeding.
The centre gives training in carpentry, batik, tie and dye printing, dress-making, hairdressing, bead-making, and baking.
Madam Nyarko-Fofie expressed concern about how some people scorned disabled people and advised parents to help them acquire vocational skills for their self- development.
She deplored negative attitudes of parents who hide their disabled children at home saying the acts puts such children in disadvantaged positions.
Deaf preacher with gifted hands
The Standard, Kenya
17 Jan 2012
Boniface Okutoyi has an option of picking a tin, sitting at a strategic corner in one of the Eldoret streets and asking for alms.
But the 34-year-old, who is deaf, will not walk that path. Instead he goes out of his way to help needy Kenyans.
For example, during last years Kenyans for Kenya initiative, Okutoyi joined a group of well-wishers to collect food which they distributed to hungry residents of Pokot County.
When there is no such cause, he regularly identifies less fortunate people and uses his own resources to help them. To him, giving is a virtue.
When he rose above his disability, Okutoyi says God has uplifted him to a status he never thought he would get to.
He is today a pastor and counsellor, preaching to the able-bodied and disabled people. He is also a talented carpenter who runs his own workshop in Uasin Gishu County.
"Due to the stigma associated with disabled people, I found staying at home in Butere difficult and finally ran away. That was in 1996 and I became a street boy in Eldoret," he explains his life story.
Being away from his family and anyone he was answerable to, Okutoyi found himself picking bad behaviour in the streets.
"I started engaging in crime, alcoholism and smoking as well as sniffing glue. When I was drunk, I was the one relied on to beat up people in the streets when they refused to co-operate with us," says Okutoyi, through an interpreter, Dickens Owade.
Back then, he was unaware he had talent that would change many people and resigned to his fate, believing society had no place and time for disabled people like him.
"If you would have told me then that I would become a sought-after pastor and talented carpenter, I would have probably beaten you up for deceiving me."
When he was sinking into the depths of the underworld, Okutoyi met Pastor Albert Nasiali who encouraged him to quit street life.
Nasiali says God used him as vessel to reach Okutoyi. "I didn’t know it was his time, the time he was about to turn his life around," says Nasiali.
Quit street life
In the year 2000, Okutoyi returned to Pastor Nasiali who headed a church in Kidiwa, Eldoret town, and sought salvation.
"I quit street life and decided to lead a clean life. I haven’t looked back," says Okutoyi.
Nasiali and other well-wishers immediately enrolled him in a vocational training institute in Eldoret where he learnt carpentry, welding and masonry.
Today, he is a role model to many.
Five years later, Okutoyi started his carpentry work in Eldoret town and word spread across ridges about the beauty of his products.
"People did not believe that a deaf person would produce such masterpieces. Some even came to just watch me make the furniture from scratch to believe that indeed I had moulded them," he says.
Okutoyi’s sofa sets, dining tables, school chairs and desks, wall units, wardrobes, stools and beds fetch him a good income.
It is not hard for him to communicate with his clients and grasp exactly what they want him to do for them.
"An interpreter makes it easy. Also, some customers use a little sign language which I understand. With others, we write down what we want to express. I am used to it," he says.
While we are still at the workshop in Ainabkoi, a teacher comes to check progress of his sofa set which Okutoyi is making at Sh30,000.
Eunice Rop believed in Okutoyi’s dream of becoming a preacher and learnt sign language to be his interpreter.
"Whenever he is called to preach, we accompany him and interpret for him. He touches people’s lives with his ministry despite his handicap and we thank God for him," says Rop.
We met him and Rop preaching at Kessup Girls’ High School in Keiyo North District. Rop is also the school’s Christian Union patron.
"She and others like Jack Chelagat and his wife understand me and my messages. Apart from interpreting for me, they also support my ministry," says Okutoyi, who is unmarried as he is waiting "upon God to give me a good wife".
Reprieve for deaf patients as nurses training launched
January 17 2012
A 28-year-old expectant woman in her final trimester experiences a gush of pain in her belly.
Her brother hires a taxi and takes her to the nearest health centre.
At the hospital she gets frustrated as she tries to explain to the staff the nature of the pain in her abdomen.
Doctors and nurses are tongue-tied, literally, and admit her on assumption that labour contractions have began.
In the maternity ward, she reaches out to one of the nurses on duty and gestures at her stomach.
The attending nurse cannot interpret the signal. The young mother signals again. This mother-to-be is deaf and illiterate.
Ms Fatuma Ngoto, a nurse at Coast General Hospital, vividly remembers the events of this day five years ago while on duty at the maternity wing.
“The devastation in her eyes as I tried to decode the message is something I will never forget,” Ms Ngoto explains.
However, one of the support staff at the hospital was conversant in basic Kenyan Sign Language and came to her rescue.
“Through the interpreter she explained that she was experiencing sharp abdominal pains and the baby had not kicked that day,” Ms Ngoto says.
With this information the nurse called the doctor in charge and the expectant woman was booked into theatre where she underwent a successful Caesarean section.
“Today the child is healthy and attending kindergarten but I developed a desire to learn Kenyan Sign Language (KSL),” she says.
Sign language uses a system of manual, facial, and other body movements as the means of communication, especially among deaf people.
Ms Ngoto’s dilemma is replayed in most hospitals as the deaf seek health services.
Despite health being a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, communication barrier is rife.
Article 43 (a) of the Constitution under the Bill of Rights guarantees every person the highest attainable standard of health.
However, the situation is bound to improve if a plan to train nurses in basic sign language by the Department of Nursing under collaborative efforts of the ministries of Medical Services and Public Health takes off successfully.
Ms Ngoto is one of the health workers currently enrolled for the pilot training programme to improve health worker-patient relationship.
Currently, 21 nurses - nominated by the Department of Nursing - are learning the skill at the Kenyan Sign Language Research Project (KSLRP) at the University of Nairobi for one year.
In an interview with the Nation, chief nursing officer Chris Rakuom notes that the communication hurdle has denied deaf persons a chance to seek services in the country’s hospitals.
“Nurses play a crucial role in health education and are in contact with patients most of the time thus the need to train them in the Kenyan Sign Language skills,” Mr Rakuom explains.
He adds: “Lack of awareness of existence of these services among health care providers sometimes results in involvement of family members in consultation, which raises ethical concerns at different levels for example violation of patient rights or poor interpreting services from unqualified family members.”
When the Nation visited the KSL classes at the University of Nairobi lecture halls, the nurses were optimistic that the skills acquired would bridge the gap in provision of health services.
The nurses are drawn from Nakuru, Kakamega, Embu, Coast, Machakos and Nyeri provincial hospitals while others are from Kiambu, Siaya and Webuye district hospitals.
The training is sponsored by the National Council for Persons with Disability.
Ms Violet Kanusu, a mental health nurse at Webuye District Hospital, says the skills will help her handle her patients, four of whom are deaf.
“Prior to the training, waving was the only sign I knew and I relied heavily on writing on a piece of paper to communicate with the patients,” Ms Kwanusu says.
Lecturers from Nairobi, Kakamega and Machakos medical training colleges are also part of the KSL training.
Discussions are underway to integrate basic sign language into the medical training curriculum.
Article 54 (1d) of the Constitution under the Bill of Rights states that a person with disability is entitled to “use sign language, braille or other appropriate means of communication”.
Mr. James Mwisa, a lecturer at Machakos Kenya Medical Training College, terms the initiative timely in addressing the problem of relations with the deaf.
“This course will assist me deal with any deaf student and also impart basic KSL skills on the hearing students,” Mr Mwisa said.
Kakamega Medical Training College currently has a second year deaf student, who learns through lip reading and copying notes from colleagues.
Lip reading, or speech reading, is a technique of understanding speech by visually interpreting the movements of lips, face and tongue of the person speaking.
The nurses, who have been granted a one-year study leave, are studying for nine months and will be expected to undergo a three-month internship at deaf schools before returning to their work stations.
The course began last September and the nurses are expected to graduate in September this year.
Mr Rakuom says the initial goal is to train a considerable number of nurses per county in the next five years.
“They may not be enough to serve the entire county due to budget constraints but this is a step in the right direction,” he adds.
Ms Phanice Khayele, a nurse, says the training will help her handle deaf patients and their families better.
“It was difficult communicating with a deaf patient so most of the time we resort to administering the prescribed drugs to in-patients in the wards,” she points out.
According to the Kenya Deaf Resource Centre website, deaf Kenyans are considered to be more vulnerable to contract HIV due to low education levels, lack of access to information and lack of awareness on reproductive health.
“They interact everyday with the patient so the skill will ease some of the barriers that have existed,” notes Mr Rakuom.
Ms Faith Kiruthi, a nurse, was trained a year ago in a trial project and currently gets invitations to interpret in hospitals, health conferences and during public health campaigns.
“Some of my deaf expectant friends request me to accompany them for their antenatal clinics so they can understand the information communicated,” she says.
Access to medical care
According to Ms Kiruthi, lack of sign language knowledge and other alternative communication systems make access to medical care a frustrating experience for deaf persons.
Mr Washington Akaranga, KSLRP coordinator at the University of Nairobi, says the project will reduce the anxiety among the deaf whenever they visit hospitals.
“Deaf people fear going to hospital for fear of being ignored, queuing for a long time until an interpreter can be found or a misdiagnosis when they eventually see the doctor,” Mr Akaranga told the Nation through an interpreter.
He explains his ordeals while seeking treatment in most hospitals in the last three decades.
“I resorted to writing my symptoms on a piece of paper but this did not help much,” Mr Akaranga added.
Kenya: Special Needs Union Calls for Upgrade of Schools
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
17 January 2012
Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers has urged the government to upgrade the special schools to national status.
Secretary general James Torome said if at least one special secondary school is elevated, it will improve education standards of physically challenged students. "The state should consider the idea of upgrading of special schools like the way it recently upgraded over 20 to national schools in the country," said Torome, who addressed reporters in Narok town yesterday.
He is proposed upgrading of Thika High School for the Blind, Rev Muhoro High for the Deaf, Ngara High for the Deaf, Joy Town, Mumias High and others. Torome asked the government to consider increasing the number of talent academies. "The eight academies are not enough to cater for the needs of over 200,000 pupils who are excelling in other fields other than academics," he said.
He advised Teachers Service Commission to post more specialist teachers to the talent academies and increase the intake into the Kenya Institute of Special Education. Torome said special infrastructure should be put in place to cater for the special needs of the pupil with physical challenges to enhance easier learning. "Therefore the government should consider increasing incentives in these special schools for adequate structuring and special diets," he said The secretary general asked Education Ministry to rank best performed students who are physically challenged in national examinations. "If the state will rank them differently according to their status, it will make it easy for those who are from poor background to secure sponsorship,' said Torome. Torome said that as entrenched in the new constitution, all children are entitled to education hence the government should chip in every possible way to see that children with disabilities are supported to live a successful life. He said appealed for the reduction of fees for all children with disabilities so that a good number of them can get equality education.
When UPS put smiles on faces of the underprivileged
Written by Qudirat Hakeem-Apampa
Thursday, 19 January 2012
>From left, Administrator, Mr Cyprian Oraetoka; Director, Christian
Mission for the Deaf Nigeria, Ibadan, Engineer Emmanuel Ilabor receiving cheque from Regional Manager West, UPS Nigeria, Ring Road, Ibadan and Account Executive, Oyo and Osun Territory, Mr Gbenro Oseni during the press briefing on special funding held at school premises, Onireke, GRA Onireke, Ibadan. Photo: Alolade Ganiyu.
ATES and management of the Christian Mission for the Deaf, Ibadan could not hide their joy when on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, the Regional Manager (West) of the Universal Parcel Service (UPS), a courier service company donated through a cheque, the sum of $27,224, (about N4.2Million) to the institution to build a new dormitory for the inmates.
The Christian Mission for the Deaf Centre has been in existence since 1972 to train deaf Africans and was established by late Dr Andrew Jackson Foster who was a black deaf African-American Missionary and educator, but after his demise, Mr Emmanuel Ilabor took over the running of the place.
The centre aims to empower and train deaf boys and girls in vocations and academics, in order to reduce bondage, street begging, illiteracy, poverty, hunger and all manners of joblessness for deaf people in our society irrespective of their ethnic or religious background.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, Executive Director of the centre, Mr Ilabor said the centre already had a permanent site along the Lagos- Ibadan express road and would like to build new dormitory for the inmates, against that backdrop, it was able to intimate the UPS about it sometime ago and they immediately swung into action and to its surprise, the headquarters of UPS in Atlanta Georgia approved and eventually sent the cheque through its Regional Manager (West), Mr Fidel Obiefuna.
The centre striving hard to, make life comfortable for its inmates so that they can live and learn whatever vocation they intend to under a conducive environment that is why it is soliciting support from well meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations across the country so that it can achieve its aims.
Inmates of the home in their bid to express their gratitude to UPS prayed for the success of the organisation across the globe and promised to utilise the fund judiciously.
The UPS is a courier organisation with branches across the globe and 38 centres in Nigeria, and it has made it a point of duty to help the communities where it is based as part of its corporate responsibility to its host community.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune, the Sales Director of UPS, Mr. Gbenro Oseni explained that “when I was first posted to Ibadan and I had the opportunity of visiting this home, the first thing that came to my mind was how to contribute my own quota through the organisation I work with and fortunately when I spoke to My Regional Manager, Mr. Fidel Obiefuna he sprang into action and we sent a proposal to the headquarters of in Atlanta Georgia and after sometime it was approved and now it is coming to reality”.
According to Mr. Obiefuna, UPS was established in 1951 in Atlanta Georgia and one of its major subsidiary is the UPS foundation which is concerned with impacting on social issues. In support of this strategic approach, the UPS Foundation identifies the following focus areas of giving non-profit effectiveness, economic and global literacy, encouraging diversity, community safety and environmental sustainability..
In 2010, the UPS Foundation distributed nearly $44.6 million about N7.13 billion worldwide through grants that benefits organisations or programmes and provide support for building stronger communities, it is therefore committed to funding impactful programmes that make a meaningful difference in our society.
Northern sector Disabled Games scheduled for Tamale
Modern Ghana -
Source: GNA - Ghana News Agency
I HELD YOUR HAND, KISSED YOUR LIPS, SHARED YOUR DREAMS AND MORE WERE ADDED.
By: FRANCIS TAWIAH ,
Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - The 5th Disability Games is scheduled for the Northern Sector at the Tamale Jubilee Park on January 26 with a call on the Regional Co-ordinating Councils, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the public to support the event to make it a success and raise the image of the participants.
The Games, which is under the theme: “Endure to enjoy, London 2012, a must for Disabled Sports”, is being organized by Disability Options, Ghana in conjunction with the National Council on Persons with Disability.
Participants for the Games who are expected from the Northern, Ashanti, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo Regions are to engage in athletics, Goal Ball, Show-down, tricycle and Javelin among other events.
Madam Anne Doe, Director of Disability Options-Ghana said the Games are meant to draw public attention of the capabilities of the disabled to engage in fruitful activities and when given the chance they can contribute to nation building.
She said the games are also to encourage the disabled to make use of their talents by engaging in sporting activities instead of eking a living on the streets begging or engaging in unproductive activities that are detrimental to their health and well-being.
Madam Doe urged the public to support the disabled in all their activities and lend them a helping hand to live decent lives, adding that “the disabled needs support and encouragement and not to be marginalized or neglected by the society”.
Liberia: VP's Wife Rubbishes Allegation of Embezzlement
19 January 2012
The Group of '77 has described as false and misleading claims that the institution's Executive Director, Second Lady Kartumu Y. Boakai has misappropriated an estimated one million dollars donated to the Group by the international community.
The Women Voices Newspaper last week quoted a group calling itself the National Coalition of Disabled Persons Organization of Liberia of calling for the dismissal of Second Lady Boakai as Executive Director of the Group of '77 on grounds that she was not only involved in corrupt practices, but was prioritizing certain groups of disabled people, while marginalizing others.
But reacting to the allegation, the Program Officer of the Group of '77, Rev. Constance Kennedy clarified that the Group of '77 has never received any grant in the amount of one million United Dollars. She said contrary to claims by the National Coalition of Disabled Persons Organization of Liberia, which she referred to as a group of 'detractors', most donations coming to the Group of '77 are in the form of materials, and not cash.
"Anyone who knew what the Group of '77 looked like before the Unity Party came to power in 2006 will give the Second Lady a pat on the back for the good work she is doing.
"The Second Lady has genuine concern for the welfare of the disabled.
She has not only transformed the sanitary condition of the Newport Street home of disabled members of the Group of '77, but moved the school for disabled children which runs from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade from a palm thatched building to a modern edifice," Rev. Kennedy explained.
She added that for the first time since its establishment in 1977, the Group now has a clinic where the disabled are given free medical treatment and a tailoring shop where their clothes are not only sewn free of charge, but where interested members of the community are taught tailoring.
"It will be ungrateful for anyone to claim that the Second Lady has embezzled any money. Where is the money to embezzle? Liberians are noted for peddling lies about things they hardly know of," Rev. Kennedy lamented.
She said among other developments undertaken by Second Lady Boakai, is the construction of 40 housing units for disabled members of the Group of '77 in Montserrado County and parts of Nimba County. She noted that the project sponsored by the United States based Samaritan's Purse, has made it possible for the disabled to own their own houses.
Rev. Kennedy also disclosed that under the administration of Second Lady Mrs. Boakai, the Group of '77 has established branches in eight counties.
"There are plans to establish a vocational training center where members of the disabled community will learn any trade of their choice," Rev. Kennedy disclosed.
Call for recognition of sign language
19 January 2012, South Africa.info
The National Institute for the Deaf (NID) has called for sign language to be recognised as one of South Africa's official languages.
According to the NID, sign language is the fifth most used language in the country, with more people using it, for example, than those who speak SiSwati, IsiNdebele and TshiVhenda.
The NID said that about four-million South Africans had hearing difficulty, while 1.5-million were "profoundly deaf", with 93 percent of the deaf being unemployed.
This was revealed during public hearings on the South African Language Bill hosted by Parliament's portfolio committee on arts and culture in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Several organisations and individuals were set to add their input into the Bill. These include the Pan South African Language Board, the Law Society of SA, Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging, Vriende van Afrikaans, and FW De Klerk Foundation.
Ernest Kleinschmidt, one of the board directors at the NID, was one of those invited to add his voice to the Bill. He made a compelling appeal for the recognition of sign language.
"I'm a deaf person. I'm proud of the language I use," Kleinschmidt told the house, asking if there were people who did not use sign language in their daily life. He said people used sign language to express themselves, adding that "without communication, we are all deaf and dumb".
He asked that the Bill be crafted to include sign language as one of the official languages in the country.
The NID said many deaf children suffered both at school and at home as they were not understood.
Committee chairperson Thandile Sunduza said the South African Constitution had to be amended to accommodate the language.
Among other things, the South African Language Bill seeks to provide for the "regulation and monitoring of the use of official languages by national government for government purposes". It calls for the adoption of language policies by national government departments, national public entities and national enterprises.
It also proposes the identification of at least two official languages that "a national department, national public entity or public enterprise will use for government purposes".
During his submissions, Dr Neville Alexander of the Xhosa Africa Network called for government and non-profit organisations to preserve indigenous languages.
"If we are serious about democracy, we should take indigenous languages seriously," Alexander said, indicating that democracy depended on people being able to communicate with each other.
He said the government should review the "language dispensation in this country".
"Languages can cause conflict, but they can also reconcile people," he said, cautioning that the language debate should not be a racial one.
He said languages such as Afrikaans, IsiZulu and IsiXhosa were equal, and called for each province to have a Language Act. Currently, only the Western Cape and Limpopo had legislative pieces governing languages.
Disabled Persons Act defective
Sunday, 22 January 2012, The Standard
It is an indisputable fact that Zimbabwe is one of the few African countries to enact a disability Act upon the attainment of independence.
This was done in form of the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01], Act 5 of 1992 (the DPA). This is the principal Act that deals with the concept of disability in Zimbabwe.
However, contrary to what the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Ms Paurina Mpariwa, has recently said during the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities held at the Harare Exhibition Park, the author is of a strong view that the DPA has been overtaken by events at the international level and needs to be replaced by an entirely new Act. What follows are some reasons why the DPA should be scrapped from our laws:
The term “disabled persons” which is used by the Act is unpleasant as it reflects a medical and diagnostic approach to disability which ignores the imperfections and deficiencies of the surrounding society. The terminology used by the Act is therefore at variance with that used at the international level which is “persons with disabilities.” It is submitted that the term “persons with disabilities” include contextual factors like the disabling social and environmental factors.
In the DPA, a disabled person has been defined as a person with a physical, mental or sensory disability, including a visual, hearing or speech functional disability, which gives rise to physical, cultural or social barriers inhibiting him or her from participating at an equal level with other members of society in activities, undertakings or fields of employment that are open to other members of society.
This definition fails to capture the fact that disability is not only limited to individual impairments but also to barriers caused by both attitudinal and environmental factors.
The DPA establishes the National Disability Board (the NDB) which is empowered to issue and serve adjustment orders to ensure access by all persons with disabilities (PWDs) to mainstream public services. The NDB may serve an adjustment order requiring the owner of the premises to which members of the public are ordinarily admitted to or the provider of public services to undertake action at his/her own expense to secure reasonable access by PWDs.
Although the issue of adjustment orders is appreciated, there is a fundamental weakness presented by the Act. This is the fact that the NDB is ineligible to give adjustment orders to state hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools or educational training centres without the consent of the relevant minister of the institution concerned.
This has resulted in many government workplaces, magistrates’ offices and state recreational facilities being inaccessible to PWDs. As an example, it is very difficult if not impossible for PWDs to access government offices in some parts of the country given the fact that there are no guiding rails, the elevators have no recorded voices for persons with visual impairments and are too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs, and the toilet cubicles are not convenient for persons with physical disabilities.
It was going to be a different case if the Act had adopted a similar provision like that of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the CRPD) which provides for the identification and the elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility of all buildings or facilities open to the public.
What of inaccessible roads? ― This is the raining season and virtually all roads in various cities and towns have pot holes (or gullies); how are persons on wheelchairs supposed to enjoy their right to free movement? The Act needs to address this.
Coming to the critical area of employment,― it is saddening to note that the Act does not mention the right to employment of PWDs. The Act should have provided for some incentives to employers who employ PWDs like partial tax exemptions.
The Act also left unaddressed the issue of expensive and inadequate supply of aids and appliances like mobility aids, devices and prosthetics. Take for example persons with albinism, the major barrier is that of very expensive and inaccessible sunscreen products including skin lotions. The Act was supposed to make it clear that it is a government obligation to subsidise the purchase of aids and appliances for PWDs which are in short supply and are very expensive.
The Act further fails to provide for the participation of PWDs in disability issues thereby defeating the clarion call of the disability movement that is “nothing without us about us”.
There are also no formal policies, strategies and agreed standards to monitor the implementation of the Act. In sharp contrast to the best standards at international level, the DPA does not address the plight of women with disabilities, children with disabilities, old people with disabilities and persons with multiple disabilities who are doubly marginalised. All this leads to an inescapable conclusion that the DPA does not provide an environment that is conducive for the adequate realisation of the rights of PWDs and should be replaced by an entirely new Act.
Call to improve disabled care
01月23日 Gulf Times
The experts are seen during the discussion By Ross Jackson/Staff Reporter Panellists at the Shafallah International Forum have addressed the issues of caring for people with disabilities during and after natural disasters, as well as policies regarding refugees with disabilities.
Badaoui Rouhban, director of Unesco Section for Disaster Reduction, said that if countries and NGOs don’t invest in disaster preparedness, they ultimately end up paying more in disaster response, usually with the poor bearing the burden as they are less prepared and more vulnerable.
He said disaster preparedness need not be expensive, but a culture of safety needs to be developed in places like Haiti where earthquakes can occur but buildings are not built to a safe standard.
He warned that we are heading towards more natural disasters in the future due to climate change, urbanisation, demographic changes and greater interconnectedness, but greater scientific and technological know-how can help make societies better prepared to take care of people with disabilities during the response.
Panellists agreed that it is also crucial that relief workers and first responders are properly trained to care for people with disabilities, as their conditions are often misunderstood and can lead to conflicts.
Osamu Nagase, Associate Professor for Disabilities Studies at the University of Tokyo, gave the example of a young autistic boy who was reprimanded by a relief worker for trying to take a piece of bread when he could not in fact eat what he was given after last year’s disaster in Japan.
Ronald McCallum, chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said that there are too few countries willing to take in refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities due to fears of excessive costs. He advocated bringing people with disabilities into the decision making process, both in terms of policy making and practical implementation of those policies on the ground. He said that this would not only make governments and NGOs more responsive to the needs of disabled people, but would also improve their integration into society through education and employment.
Mary Crock, Professor at University of Sydney, said that a review is needed for policies covering disabled refugees, including a review of definitions of persecution and the determining factors for returning them to their place of origin.
In many cases, refugees may have a particular condition where they need specialised care or treatment, such as dialysis, which may not be available at home. Sending them back home would effectively kill them, and so returning them home cannot be the standard policy.
The definition of persecution must also be assessed, as people with disabilities may be in a more fragile condition than a regularly healthy person, and so the threshold for suffering is lower. All of the panellists addressing these issues see the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as a step in the right direction, and are awaiting the implementation of the convention by countries that have ratified it.
However, McCallum lamented that ratification and implementation was slow, and not without great difficulty. He encouraged NGOs to file their own “shadow reports” in order to keep international agencies aware of individual countries’ human rights situations. Cherie Blair, who moderated the panel discussion on refugees with disabilities, told the Gulf Times that discussion of these topics was relatively new. “I don’
t think people have really spoken about it much before. It’s an issue that’s both timely and fairly new, and sparking that interest will be a start for both study and detailed policies elsewhere,” said Blair.
She explained that “this seemed to be an area where Qatar could give leadership and really make a difference because it was very underdeveloped. And the fact that since it started, there are more and more examples of where it’s needed, is not simply a coincidence but an inevitability.”
Florence Nightingale Mukasa さん、
First Lady Attends PWD Forum In Doha
Monday, 23 January 2012 08:54
Ernestina Naadu Mills, Ghana's First Lady A three day forum on Persons With Disability (PWD) has been opened in Qatar’s capital Doha, with a call on governments and civil society groups to reconsider the major challenges confronting the physically challenged particularly in conflict and crisis situation.
The forum dubbed “Crisis, Conflict and Disability: Ensuring Equality” will focus on the impact of crisis and conditions on persons with disabilities in refugee camps and conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa and how recent natural disasters in Japan, Haiti, Pakistan and the US have affected persons with disabilities.
Ghana’s First Lady, Dr Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills is among some selected First Ladies across the globe attending the forum.
This is the fifth in the series of International forums hosted by the Shafallah Centre for Children with Special Needs in Doha.
Mrs Naadu Mills during a brief interaction with her colleague First Ladies drew the attention of world leaders to some cultural practices that pose a greater challenge particularly to persons with disabilities.
She called for dialogue among policy makers and traditional authorities to do all they can to remove such practices.
Mrs Mills said these practices can increase the level of marginalisation that persons with disabilities face, especially during crisis and conflict situations.
As part of the forum, Ghana’s First Lady will present the country’s plan for removing the bottlenecks associated with providing equal access and opportunities for all persons living with disabilities.
Source: Office of the First Lady
Pregnant ex-Miss Deaf Finds New Home
23 January, 2012, Swazi observer
FOUND NEW HOME: former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula
After being kicked out by her adoptive guardians, former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula has since found a new home. She will now be living with Miss Deaf organiser Nokuthula Mbatha.
The fallout with her adoptive parents emanates from her pregnancy.
On Saturday morning, the pageant’s director met with the Ndwandwe family at Ezulwini, who took Magagula in after she was sent packing by her guardian Sindisiwe Maziya.
Mbatha hasn’t adopted her but the arrangement is that Magagula will only live with Mbatha for a few months while she teaches her how to make a living through art.
Besides being the Miss Deaf organiser, Mbatha also makes a living through art.
Mbatha believes if she can teach Magagula the craft, she could generate decent income.
She also hopes that she will share the skill, she will learn with the deaf community.
“The theme of last year’s Miss Deaf was, ‘Given a platform we can do what the other girls can do’ and am partly building on that. It’s important that we create steps for them, expectations that will extend their ceiling and they must think of achieving higher goals. We can only do that if we believe in them,” Mbatha said.
She added that it was disturbing and hurting to hear Magagula say she had no dreams.
“The world is our oyster and everyone needs to have someone who believes in and encourages them.
We are all where we are because someone at some point believed in us,” she further said. Making her comments, Make Ndwandwe who has been staying with Simphiwe thanked Nokuthula for taking her in.
She said they were all disturbed by Simphiwe’s pregnancy. “But life goes on, we can’t change the situation.
The only thing that she needs right now is support. I am happy that she will learn something that will make her stand on her own,” she said.
‘I won’t go back to my foster parents’ - Simphiwe
Former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula has said she is not thinking of going back to her foster parents after she was chucked out for falling pregnant.
Though the former beauty queen says she has nothing against them, she maintained that she had no intention of returning to them.
Magagula is expected to give birth at the end of May and the father of the baby is identified as Sihle Dlamini, who is a bus conductor in Manzini.
Interviewed over the weekend at her relative’s home in Mdzimba, she said she would be comfortable staying there than going back to Siteki.
After discovering that she was pregnant her guardian Sindisiwe Maziya was very heart- broken and ended up releasing Simphiwe to her relatives while she recovered from the shock.
Maziya had mentioned that like any other parent, she believed in giving Simphiwe a second chance.
Magagula scooped the country’s first Miss Deaf 2008 title and in 2009 she was crowned Miss Deaf world first princess in the Czech Republic. As the interview continued, she seemed clueless on most issues pertaining her life and future.
All her decisions regarding the baby depend on what her ‘prince charming’decides. She says the father of her unborn child usually gives her E50 or E100 once a while.
Since falling pregnant, she has not even been to the clinic for basic antenatal care.
She mentions that there have been some funny movements in her tummy lately.
With the help of Linda Mamba, we interprete what Simphiwe had to say about her pregnancy:
How did you meet Sihle, the father of your unborn child?
Simphiwe- I met Sihle in Manzini and since he did not know the sign language, we communicated by writing.
Since moving from Siteki, how has life been?
Simphiwe- Everything is fine. My relatives have welcomed me with warm hands and I am grateful for that. I don’t intend going back to Siteki anytime soon. I am comfortable here. For me not to go back to Siteki does not mean I was ill-treated. My foster parents have been good to me.
When was the last time you talked to Sihle?
Simphiwe- We talk through sms but it’s been a while since I last saw him.
Now that you are pregnant is he supportive?
Simphiwe- I guess he is. He usually gives me E50 or E100.
Now that you are pregnant, what are your future plans and are you planning on getting married soon?
Simphiwe-I don’t have any plans and on getting married I don’t know. I will have to hear that from Sihle but I would not mind.
Have you met Sihle’s parents?
Simphiwe- Not yet. He said he was still organising that.
Do you love Sihle?
Simphiwe- I love him.
Are you not afraid that you are pregnant?
Simphiwe- I am not sure.
How do you feel about Nokuthula taking you in?
Simphiwe- I am eternally grateful.
Deaf Association disappointed at Simphiwe’s guardian
Deaf Association President Makhosini Makhubu expressed disappointment at the manner in which Siphiwe Magagula’s guardians have handled the issue of her pregnancy.
Makhubu was responding after being asked if he was aware that Nokuthula Mbatha had since taken Simphiwe under her guidance.
He said he expected her guardian to be responsible and come to terms with Simphiwe’s situation.
“It sounds very strange because I expected her guardian to have come to terms with the situation and forgiven her.
We have not been informed of the new development,” he said.
Government Urged To Assist Disabled
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 14:04
The Here For Perfection (H4P) Crew has called on government, especially the Ministry of Employment and Social welfare, to expedite action on the employment of qualified persons with disability, so that Ghana can benefit fully from the potential of her citizens. Making the call at the launch of the H4P Foundation in Accra, yesterday, the Crew also urged government to make transportation accessible to persons with disability by making available, buses that are disability-friendly.
The H4P Crew, a melo-drama group, believes that disability does not mean inability and, therefore, all qualified disabled persons should be given equal rights and privileges as any other person, as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana.
The H4P Crew also believes in the perfection of God for nation-building and aims to lift Ghana onto the world stage of melo-drama to attract tourists to the shores of Ghana to explore the many investment opportunities available.
Also key to the H4P agenda is the crusade against malaria, as part which agenda, it distributed almost 2,000 Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to some residents in Tema, Teshie, Nungua and Labadi- all in the Greater Accra Region- within a year.
According to the group, it was a sad commentary that a curable disease like malaria was wiping the up and coming generations of Africa’s future leaders, hence, their anti-malaria campaign, with a focus on the physically challenged.
In a speech, the Member of Parliament and chairman for the crew, Hon. Gershon Gbediame, commended the crew for their extensive contribution not only the disabled but also to the malaria menace.
He lauded them for striving hard within one year to come this far and not relenting in their efforts in dedicating themselves to nation- building and service to humanity.
Hon. Gbediame noted that the H4P Crew had come to stay and expressed the hope that it would continue to march forward with perseverance and willingness to serve as solution bearers in relation to the campaign against the malaria pandemic in Ghana.
Source: ISD (Tally Ansah Asiedu & Doris Sodjah)
Engage persons with disability in emergency plans
Bangladesh News 24 hours
Tue, Jan 24th, 2012 11:26 pm BdST
Dial 2000 from your GP mobile for latest news Nurul Islam Hasib bdnews24.com Senior Correspondent from Doha
Doha, Jan 24 (bdnews24.com) -A global conference that ended here on Tuesday called upon the governments to look at persons with disability as a 'cross-cutting' issue in all phases of humanitarian assistance.
Nearly 300 participants from over 50 countries at the fifth Shafallah International Forum recognised that persons with disability are an 'overlooked' population in emergency response.
The three-day forum adopted the 'Shafallah Declaration' which committed to promote the active participation of people with disabilities and disabled persons' organisations in planning, implementation and decision -making processes.
It also emphaised 'evidence-based' research on people with disabilities in crises and conflicts to develop more 'inclusive' programs and policies.
Chairman of the Shafallah Centre for the Children with Special Needs Hassan Ali, in his brief closing remarks, called upon all the participants to make a pledge to adopt the policy. He underscored the need for raising awareness so that people living with disability become part of social planning and disaster response from the beginning.
"The goal is not special treatment, but equal opportunity and access to resources," he said and added that the effort must be comprehensive. "We can change all the laws in the world, but if we don't change attitudes and the hearts of people as well, we cannot achieve true equality."
The chairman at the opening of the forum - regarded as world's foremost on issues related to disability - called upon countries to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In the Shafallah Declaration it was emphasised that the principals in the Convention should underpin all humanitarian efforts, particularly the principles of non-discrimination, equality and inclusion.
The forum, which brought together First Ladies, policymakers, educators, persons with disabilities and humanitarian relief organisations, discussed and showcased the latest developments in inclusive emergency planning to ensure the protection and safety of persons with special needs during armed conflict, humanitarian crises and natural disasters.
Saima Hossain Putul, the prime minister's daughter who spearheads disability issues in Bangladesh, also joined the forum.
The participants recognised and supported the launch of the '1 Billion Strong', a global campaign dedicated to awareness, right and education of one billion people with disabilities around the world, to garner support from the governments for meaningful implementation of the UN convention.
Aki, the chairman, said it was clear through the discussion in the forum that 'there is a critical need to address the situation facing millions of people with disabilities who endure natural crises and human conflicts, or whose disabilities are the result of such disasters'.
He said the Shafallah will be announcing the formation of many new and fruitful partnerships that began from here this week. "We look forward to your participation in 1 Billion Strong."
Talking to bdnews24.com, Matt Capobianco, director, emergency programme of Global Medic, said countries can achieve the target committed in the Shafallah Declaration, 'if they give it a priority.'
Badaoui Rouhban, director of Unesco Section for Disaster Reduction, in a panel discussion said that if countries and NGOs do not invest in disaster preparedness, they ultimately end up paying more in disaster response, usually with the poor bearing the burden as they are less prepared and more vulnerable.
He advocated bringing people with disabilities into the decision-making process, both in terms of policy making and practical implementation of those policies on the ground.
Afrim Maliqi of Kosovo, who lost his legs two decades ago in a mishap, told bdnews24.com the discussions would help mainstreaming people with disabilities through increased awareness.
"I am ready to lead disaster preparedness planning, if I get opportunity," he declared.
The participants in the Declaration also committed to establish a working group to coordinate and monitor progress on the declaration.
Prince of Jordan Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein, also vice-president of the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, in a grand dinner on Monday said a 'bottom up' approach regarding disability is essential, so too is a 'top down' approach that works in tandem.
He said the UN Convention needs to have 'teeth' to ensure implementation by governments and there are numerous ways in which this can be achieved.
"We must go beyond the regular lip service and commit ourselves sincerely to bring about change."
The prince added that the '1 Billion Strong' campaign launched by Qatar emir's consort Sheikha Mozah is a 'prime example of a bold initiative that deserves a great deal of praise and support.'
Forum focuses on protection of disabled during disasters
01月25日 Gulf Times
HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser attended yesterday evening a dinner banquet held at the Four Seasons Hotel on the occasion of the Fifth Shafallah International Forum. The ceremony was attended by a number of first ladies, guests and participants in the forum. PICTURES: Maher Attar Ross Jackson/Staff Reporter Experts at the Fifth Shafallah International Forum have said that prejudice against and abuse of people with disabilities is alarmingly frequent in disaster-struck areas, although programmes in some countries have made significant contributions to improving the lives and reducing the impact of disasters for disabled people.
RefugePoint protection officer Devon Cone has been working at the Kenyan Daddab Refugee Camp along the Somali border, where many refugees with disabilities have been subjected to abuse and assaults such as stoning, beating, burning and sexual abuse from other refugees.
She said that harsh treatment has led many protective parents to leave refugee camps with their children and head to urban areas in Kenya, as they cannot return home.
Unfortunately, NGO medical staff are not equipped or prepared to provide the kind of therapy needed by many people, and prosthetic limbs wear out quickly and other supporting devices are hard to use in that environment.
Cone also said that disabled refugees in urban areas struggle to earn a living, or if their child is disabled often find that they cannot care for their child and earn money at the same time.
In these urban areas, people with disabilities can become increasingly isolated due to a lack of ramps and accessible facilities, although physical therapy can often address this.
Unfortunately, most agencies focus their efforts on aid camps, and urban areas are either ignored or inadequately covered.
RefugePoint protection officer Devon Cone Education support is not available, and in many large urban environments, such as Cairo, agencies such as the UN High Commission on Refugees cannot reach the dispersed groups of displaced people.
Even if refugees find these agency offices, the staff is unprepared to care for people with disabilities.
Rooshey Hasnain, project director at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said that the number of disasters has been steadily increasing in recent decades, but better preparation and prevention has in fact reduced the number of fatalities.
She said that 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina changed peoples attitudes in the US from the “wait-for-help” mindset to more proactive and engaged disaster preparation.
She gave the example of a woman in a wheelchair who called the transit department in New Orleans for emergency transport from her home. Over the phone she was given assurances that help would come, and yet she drowned while still on the phone.
Katrina and the resulting floods caused around 1,800 deaths. Victims were predominantly Black and poor, with around 25% having some disability.
This disaster led to the creation of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, which is working to reduce the inequality between disabled and non-disabled people.
Hasnain said that among the respondents to survey conducted by her department, 57% of people with disabilities did not know who to contact in their community during an emergency, 61% had no evacuation plan for their home and 32% do not know how to quickly evacuate their workplace.
Hasnain also sited Turkey as an example where important lessons were learned, where earthquakes in 2011 revealed the lack of mental health specialists in the country, especially for children.
Hasnain echoed a call from Cone for more people with disabilities to be involved in “different cycles in disaster management” so that their needs can be met and their dignity restored.
Programmes run by institutions such as the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) in Bangladesh have contributed significantly to the decline in disaster-related casualties by properly training government and civilian relief workers in how to care for people with disabilities.
In Bangladesh, a country that sees frequent floods and cyclones, houses are made of light materials, and so elevated and reinforced storm shelters are a common refuge from bad weather.
CDD director Nazmul Bari said that his agency has been working with the government to make these shelters more accessible for people with disability, as well as arrange for easier collection of emergency supplies and registration for evacuation for disabled people.
A key reason for the CDD’s success is the livelihood training programme, teaching people with disabilities skills such as animal husbandry, fishing and maintaining floating gardens so that they can thrive independently in a disaster zone.
Jamwa's daughter tops school for deaf
Jamwa's daughter tops school for deaf
Publish Date: Jan 25, 2012
Achieng explains a point in sign language. PHOTO by Petride Mudoola By Petride Mudoola
Achieng Tezira Jamwa, 17, a former pupil of Uganda School for the Deaf, scored 21 aggregates in the just concluded Primary Leaving Examinations(PLE) to emerge as the best performer of her class and prove that disability is not inability.
According to Winston Oketcho, the Commissioner Special Needs Desk in the Ministry of Education and Sports, 60 Special Needs schools and 567 pupils were registered to sit for the last year's national exams.
These included 48 blind pupils, 179 were deaf, 158 with no vision, 67 physically handicapped, 38 of them had dyslexic and 77 with multiple disabilities.
Oketcho however, noted that establishing the best candaidate in the 2011 PLE is still a challenge because information regarding the general performance of Special Needs schools was not readily available since some of the disabled children sat for the exams in inclusive education schools.
The Ntinda-based school registered a total of 30 students. Of these, none passed in the first grade, three passed in the second, three managed third grade, eight in the fourth grade, 15 were upgraded and one in Division X.
Achieng, a daughter of David Chandi Jamwa, the embattled former managing director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), scored five in English, six in Science, seven in Social Studies (SST) and three in Mathematics.
Daniel Kirya, the deputy head teacher at the school noted that there was a marked improvement in Mathematics and English but with a decline in SST. “This was due to the fact that the questions in Science and SST were too wordy for a deaf pupil to comprehend,” Kirya said.
He appealed to the Ministry of Education and Sports to include Special Needs experts in the setting and marking of exams of children with learning difficulties, noting that it is challenging for a teacher who has not taught such pupils to mark their answer sheets.
Achieng being "swept off her feet' by her equally excited siblings at their family home. PHOTO by Petride Mudoola
Through an interpreter, Achieng told New Vision that she was capable of scoring a first grade but said the examinations were not easy.
“Some of the vocabulary used in the exams was too hard for the deaf to understand given that our grammar is different from the ordinary one, making it very complicated,” Achieng said.
She requested for Special Needs teachers to be integrated in marking the exams of students with learning disabilities, arguing that the ordinary teachers cross their correct answers assuming they are wrong.
“Though there are challenges we face as disabled students, with assistance from the teachers, matrons and the school administration, I concentrated on my studies and that is how I managed to excel,” she beamed.
Achieng said she wants to be a banker or information technology (IT) specialist in future because she loves mathematics.
Meanwhile, Moses Lukombo Michael, 17, emerged second-best with aggregates 23. He scored five in English, seven in Science, six in SST and five in Mathematics. Deborah Nabakyibi, 13, emerged third-best in the school with aggregates 25: seven in English, seven in Science, seven in SST and four in Mathematics.
South Africa: ANC Must Force Gauteng Premier to Pay Handicapped Boy
25 JANUARY 2012, all Africa
The IFP has called upon the leadership of the ANC to intervene and force the Premier of Gauteng, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane to drop the appeal against the court ruling handed down in 2011 which ordered her government to pay R9m to the family of a brain-damaged young boy.
The party said this in a statement issued today following ETV's coverage of the plight of the family of the 12-year old Prince Sibusiso Khanyi which struggles to care for him since he was brain-damaged when he was born in December 1999 at the Pholosong Hospital on the Far East Rand. In a statement issued after the news bulletin, IFP Deputy National Spokesperson Joshua Mazibuko said:
"The IFP finds it very strange and repugnant that it has taken the arrival of the sheriff to seize goods in the Gauteng Premier's Office for them to remember that they want to appeal the ruling that was handed down in February 2011. This conduct displays the worst form of insensitivity to the plight of the Khanyi family which, day-in and day-out, faces the struggles to care for their handicapped child.
"We call upon the leadership of the ANC to prevail upon Premier Mokonyane and force her to abide by the court ruling and pay the settlement without any delay. Hiding behind "an obligation to pursue and exhaust all avenues as this involves public money," does not wash away the sad fact that the 12-year old and his family are still struggling almost a year after the court ruling."
Decree on protection to people with disability shows humanism
25 January 2012, Angola press
Luanda - The Presidential Decree on the Policy on people with disability and the strategy for protection to persons with disability shows that the Angolan Executive is concerned about the plight of this group of the society.
This was said Wednesday in Luanda to Angop by the chairman of the National Association of Disabled Persons (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo.
According to ANDA official, this shows once more that the Executive is concerned about the wellbeing of the people with disability.
He considered the decree a gain, stressing the humanist sense of the Angolan head of State, Jos? Eduardo dos Santos, who all along expressed concern over the problems facing the most vulnerable groups of the society.
Silva Etiambulo said as well the decree will help rise obstacles and constraints facing people with disability in their access to public buildings, means of transports, education, social protection, job, technical assistance, didactic and technological material and others.
The normative guidelines contained in the Presidential Decree aim to ensure the full enjoyment of the individual and social rights by people with disability, through the implementation of coordinated multi-sector and multi-disciplinary actions on the part of the Government.
How mysterious illness cost me my sight
Written by Adebayo Waheed
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Alhaji Suleiman Abdul-Azeez presenting gift to one of the widows
AS part of activities marking its 16th anniversary, the Centre for Islamic Purification of Nigeria (CIPUN) presented cash and other items to widows, orphans, peasant farmers, the disabled, sick, accident victims and indigent students.
Also, a blind lady, Basirat Bola Fasola (29), was sponsored to College of Education (Special) Oyo.
Born in 1983 at Iya-Oba Compound, Ilero in Kajola Local Government Area of Oyo State, she attended Ansar-Ud-Deen Primary School, Ilero, between 1988 and 1993 and proceeded to Ansar-Ud-Deen Comprehensive High School, Ilero between 1993 and 1999.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, Basirat, who claimed that she was not born blind, said she was born with her two eyes working perfectly.
She added that, she completed her primary and secondary education as “ complete lady without any deformity.
“I proceeded to the College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Ogun State, where I completed the first and second year without any deformity,” she said.
However, the blind lady said she could not commence the third year in that college, not to talk of completing it.
She explained that she was on vacation when she was attacked by a mysterious illness which affected her two eyes. “This happened when I came to spend the second year vacation at my home town, Ilero, after completing her second year in the college.
“I was promptly rushed to the hospital so that I could be cured of the illness. All the doctors tried their best but it was not enough to save my sight,” she said.
In the process, she lost her two eyes and later became completely blind and she remained under the intensive care in the hospital for a very long time.
While in the hospital, she said her parents were shuttling between home and the hospital to provide her needs.
According to her, it was during the struggle that her father, while returning from the hospital, was involved in a ghastly auto crash which claimed his life.
As a result, her mother became helpless and could not really go further to assist the young lady.
When she left the hospital, her determination to continue her education was paramount in spite of her disability.
In an attempt to proceed with her education, Basirat, who was in her final year in the College of Education, had to return to Oluho Primary School for the Handicapped to gain basic education for the visually impaired.
She performed brilliantly at the primary school for the handicapped and she proceeded to higher school, Federal College of Education (Special) Oyo.
Shortly after gaining admission, she said, her matter was brought to the notice of the Centre for Islamic Purification in Nigeria by the ex- chairman, Kajola Local Government Area, Barrister Gabriel Olajide Ojolowo.
At the centre’s annual programme, a donation of N150,000 was announced and was handed over to the lady.
Speaking, the Centre’s Supreme Coordinator, Alhaji Sulaimon Abdul-Azeez, recalled that former Oyo State Deputy Speaker, Honourable Quasim Ayilara and Barrister Toohir Adeosun who were special guests of honour, donated to the course.
He disclosed that others at the occasion were able to raise N300,000 for the smooth education of the blind lady.
“The fund sustained her education throughout the course of study in the college between 2007 and 2010.
“She proceeded to Lagos State to pursue a computer course which she has completed successfully,” he added.
While noting that the blind lady was married to another visually impaired husband and blessed with a baby who is not impaired, Alhaji Azeez said that Basirat was desperately in need of a job to sustain herself and the family, saying that it could be a civil service job or teaching.
He called on the state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, to encourage the more to the lady the more by giving her employment in the state civil service.
Disability group salutes Joyce Banda
January 26, 2012, Nyasa Times (Malawi breaking online news source)
Members of the Malawi Fellowship for the Disabled (MAFED) have hailed state Vice President Joyce Banda for showing concerns and assisting the vulnerable people including persons with disability in the country.
This was registered by the MAFED leadership when the second citizen hosted their members a reception at her official Area 12 Regidence in Liongwe on Tueday.
During the reception, the members of the organization had an opportunity to interact with the Vice President and discussed with her issues affecting them and the physically challenged in general Malawi.
The Vice President donated blankets to all members of the organization who attended the function.
In his remarks, Chairperson for MAFED Maxwell Chiko, could not find a better word to convey the organization’s gratitude to the VP.
‘With God, truly everything is possible………even in our wildest dream we never thought of finding ourselves at a place like this one owing to our circumstances’ he said.
MAFED is a community based non-governmental organization based in Area 23 that brings together the physically challenged people in the location and its surrounding areas in Lilongwe.
The group aims at addressing the many challenges and problems that the physically challenged people face.
In addition to focusing on the material needs for the physically challenged. MAFED also focuses on addressing the spiritual needs of its members.
During the meeting, the Chairperson outlined a number of challenges and problems that the physically challenged face. These include, discrimination and abuses of different forms; food shortage; lack of capital to engage in small scale businesses; lack of vocation and entrepreneurial training opportunities; HIV/AIDS pandemic.
They also face lack of aids such as walking, hearing devices; lack or constrained access to essential services such as education due to lack of friendly services for physically challenged people in such sectors as education, health agriculture among others.
The organization attributed the many challenges that the disabled face to lack of coherent, and well defined policies and programmes that holistically address not only the needs of the disabled but also integrate them into all spheres of the country’s economy.
In her remarks, the Vice President indicated that the plight of the physically challenged is a constitutional issue.
She argued that improving plight of the physically challenged is a call to all of us as a nation.
Banda called for collaborated efforts to address the numerous challenges and problems confronting the physically challenged.
The Vice President announced that through, The Joyce Banda Foundation, she would do everything possible to help alleviate the many challenges and problems facing the organization.
Said Banda, ‘You can count on me. I will do whatever it takes to address the many challenges that you face. In me you have a partner. To me issues and plight of the physically challenged among other vulnerable groups is a matter of calling.’
The organization members were accompanied by traditional and religious who hailed the Vice President for the gesture and support extended to MAFED.
ACC aids visually impaired
by Francis Xoagub
30 January 2012, New Era
OSHAKATI - Visually impaired persons can now access information disseminated in Braille by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) after they received the material from the ACC director Paulus Noa last week on Friday.
Noa handed over the materials, which among others included the Anti-Corruption Act, to representatives of Eluwa Special School for the visually impaired at a ceremony in Ongwediva.
Noa said the ACC has an important role to play in ensuring that marginalized populations, such as the visually impaired, have access to critical information.
This, he said, is in keeping with the Anti-Corruption Act No.8 of 2008, to among others, educate the public and disseminate information on the evils and dangers of corruption.
“This may be done through the publication and distribution of brochures and pamphlets, or the holding of workshops, seminars and other relevant outreach programmes,” he said.
According to Noa, the campaign against corruption is the responsibility of every member of society, including teachers and learners at Eluwa Special School.
Said Noa: “Corruption affects all of us and the responsibility lies with all of us to ensure that Namibia becomes prosperous and free from corruption.”
He urged the Ministry of Education through the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED) to include in their syllabuses anti-corruption themes and topics, particularly in life skills subjects.
“I have no doubt that such inclusion will inculcate and deepen the roots of ethical values in the youth from an early stage,” he said.
Principal of Eluwa Special School, Eva-Liisa Shakuyungwa, thanked the ACC for the gesture.
Over 10.000 disabled people at labour market
30 January 2012, Angola Press
Luanda - At least 10.119 disabled people were integrated in the labour market by “Vem Comigo” project from April 2003 to 31 December 2011.
This was said to Angop on Monday by the chairman of the National Association of Angolan Disabled People (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, in the ambit of his institution 20th founding anniversary, to be marked on February 2.
Silva Etiambulo said that the integration was enabled by the supports of the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security(MAPESS) that funds the project.
On the other hand, Silva Etiambulo thanked the support provided by the provincial governments of Bi?, Huambo, Moxico, Hu?la, Benguela, Bengo and Kuando Kubango in the materialisation of this project, such as the granting of lands that enabled a lot of disabled people’s integration in agricultural activity. ANDA was founded 2 February in 1992 in Luanda.
King’s office man abandons disabled child
30 January, 2012, Swazi observer
A man got more than what he had bargained for when he abandoned his disabled child, only to be blessed with another.
The King’s office employee abandoned a 14-year-old when he was two years old. The father hails from Mbelebeleni but stays at Ludzidzini and worked for the King’s office at Nkhanini before being transferred to Mbangweni Royal Residence. The boy’s uncle explained that the youngster was born prematurely and could not walk.
He used to sleep all day until he attended therapy sessions at Cheshire Homes and the Mbabane Government Hospital. “After the sessions, he is now able to sit on a wheelchair,” said the uncle.
The uncle explained that the boy’s mother was only 17 years old when she got pregnant and was then forced to drop out of school. The father, a married man, took care of the boy’s mother until he discovered the child was disabled.
“He used to take care of them and when the boy was two years old, he discovered that he could not walk and disappeared,” he said. The boy grew up sickly and each time his mother would go to ask for maintenance from the father, he would give her E50. The mother, who is now married with three other children, is unemployed.
The father was reported to the Social Welfare department last year and a court ruled in favour of the mother. “We reported him to the Social Welfare last year and he admitted in court that he was not taking care of the child. The court ruled that he gives the mother E1 000 per month for the child’s maintenance. He complained that he had a lot of children and that one of these was also disabled. We then settled for E500,” he said.
The father could only pay the E500 once and started defaulting thereafter.
The child’s mother has on numerous occasions failed to get money from the father. She said she would go to the Social Welfare offices to report the latest development, stating that she needed the money to take the boy to school.
“There is a school for the disabled at Ngwane Park and I want to take him there because he is a brilliant child. The school needs about E5 000 per term and I don’t have that kind of money,” she said.
The King’s office man admitted that he was the father of the child.
“Actually I have two disabled children; one is a boy and the other a girl.
They are both on wheelchairs,” he said.
He said it was not true that he did not want to maintain the boy but his mother was not coming to fetch the money. He said he was currently stationed at the Mbangweni Royal residence hence could not meet the boy’s mother. He explained that his wife was at Ludzidzini and the mother could come anytime to fetch the money.
“I told her that she must fetch the money from my house but she doesn’t come. I even told her to send her sister if she is not comfortable or her mother. I paid once after the court ruling and we discussed how we can work together to take the boy to school but she hasn’t come back to me,” he said.
An official comment from the Social Welfare Department could not be obtained, however, an officer from the DPM’s office explained that this was a matter of contempt of court.
He suggested that the mother goes back to the Social Welfare department to report the matter after which the father would be brought to book for contempt of court and breach of contract. It could not be established, however, if the money would be backdated after another court ruling but hopefully so.
ICT helps the blind
A portable voice-based computer for the blind, developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been shortlisted in the South African Breweries (SAB) Foundation inaugural Innovation Awards.
The notetaker device is the first invention of its kind in South Africa and was developed by Willem van der Walt, a blind researcher at the CSIR.
Fellow researcher Gerhard van den Berg was also involved in the development of the product.
Van der Walt is respected in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) for disabilities.
The SAB Foundation Innovation Awards recognise individuals who have unique and practical ideas that can improve the lives of people living in low-income areas.
The main award is a grant of R1-million (US$128 000) with two runner-up awards of R500 000 ($64 000) each.
The notetaker is one of five recipients of a seed grant for further development. The grant includes funding for the commercialisation of the product, which will be supported by the SAB Foundation over a period of two years.
The notetaker was shortlisted as one of 18 inventions, selected from more than 100 entries, for improving the lives of blind South Africans.
According to 2009 statistics of the World Health Organisation, 314-million people worldwide live with some form of visual impairment.
Of these, 45-million are blind, and 90% live in low-income countries.
Cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
About 2.6-million South Africans are disabled, of which 24% have visual disabilities.
"As a blind programmer, I realised that a much more flexible, localised and cheaper machine could be built than other similar expensive accessibility devices for the blind, available from overseas," Van der Walt says.
Not your ordinary notebook computer
The notetaker is different from a standard notebook computer in that it does not have a screen and only uses speech as feedback to its user.
The computer has a keyboard for input and a voice synthesiser for output.
All its features are customised so that they can be used with a speech interface.
The device provides support for multiple local languages, including English, Sepedi, Afrikaans, Setswana and an experimental isiZulu voice.
Van der Walt says that finding a balance between cost and functionality was one of the biggest challenges of developing the notetaker.
"Finding the suitable hardware for the software was challenging," he explains. "For example, finding hardware with which one can make a good audio recording is not easy when cost, battery life and size is crucial."
The notetaker has been tested in the market at disability conferences and workshops, with successful results.
It is also supported by the South African National Council for the Blind.
The next phase of the project is to develop a production-ready prototype.
Commercialising the product
"I would like the notetaker to come into production and be available in the market through specialised companies such as those currently supplying accessibility technology to the blind," he says.
The customised computer device is easy to operate and can be used by young school children, university students and older people.
There is a gap in the market for an affordable computer for the blind.
He believes that the product has the potential to have an immediate impact in the educational and employment sectors.
Blind people can use computers that are connected to Braille keyboards and screens, but the skill and technology is not widely available and is usually only imported.
However, if the product is manufactured locally and is cost effective, it could change the lives of thousands of blind people.
The National Accessibility Programme
Van der Walt's research was part of the National Accessibility Programme.
The main focus of the five-year research and innovation initiative is to help people with disabilities become more integrated into mainstream society, through the use of ICT.
The project was developed by the CSIR Meraka Institute in partnership with a representative group of Disabled Persons' Organisations and the former Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency.
The Meraka Institutes the largest group in South Africa dedicated to ICT research.
Sierra Leone: Disabled Sad With Biometric Registration
BY SAMUEL BEN TURAY, 31 JANUARY 2012
The long queue and slow pace of registering at one of the voters registration centres using the biometric system in the ongoing registration exercise in various parts of the country has frustrated some people living with disabilities since many of them are either blind, deaf, amputated or physically deformed.
President of the Sierra Leone Union of Disability Issues (SLUDI), Kabba Franklyn, confirmed that people living with disabilities are not happy with the way they queue for the biometric registration saying the process is slow and some of these disabled are blind, deaf, amputated and others are too old to queue for long.
Mr. Kabba explained that when disabled people go to registration centers, they get provoked. "My colleagues are provoked and discriminated when they go for register," he said noting that he receives complaints everyday from his colleagues across the country. "Whereas, people living with disabilities have the rights to vote and to be voted for. Nobody has the right to discriminate at a disabled person." Another disabled person Osman Sankoh also told Concord Times that he was provoked when he went to register in one of the centers. "I was pushed and provoked. Some of the people even told me that elections are not for us disabled people,"
he said and urged the government to put a stop to people thinking that disabled people should not take part in electoral matters.
Disability is caused by impairments to various subsystems of the body.
Any impairment which limits the physical function of limbs or fine or gross motor ability is a physical disability. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 10% of the world's population experience some form of disability or impairment. However, the proportion of disabled people is much higher in Sierra Leone as a result of a decade-long civil war where rebel groups hacked off the limbs of civilians as a trademark.
Kenya: Armless Italian Artist Opens Home for Disabled in Nyahururu
31 JANUARY 2012
Celebrated armless Italian artist Simona Atzori at the weekend officially opened a home for intellectually challenged persons in Nyahururu.
Atzori said Betania home will go a long way in promoting work of the disabled and also involve them in day to day activities. She said communities living with these special categories of persons should allow them to show their talents instead of channeling all efforts to helping them as they rest.
The artist who is a professional dancer and painter said success in the life of a disabled person lies in how he is treated by the parents. She said feelings of pity shown to the disabled elicited feelings of worthlessness and made the victim not to make efforts to advance one's life. Simona was born in Milan, Italy, 37 years ago and has risen through ranks to achieve academic degrees in fine arts and languages.
It is her second visit to Kenya after the first in September 2010 when she gave motivational talks to students at Laikipia University College, Nyahururu GK prison and several homes for orphans and disabled children. She will visit Rumuruti GK prison, Nyandarua Institute of Science and Technology and Talitha Kum children's home. Betania home is a project of L'arche Kenya organisation which has another home for the same mission Effatha. L'arche Kenya organisation director Maurice Muthoga said Simona visits have caused parents with disabled children in the area to see the need of appreciating them.
Subsidy: People with disability to get 74,000 jobs -FG
Written by Gbola Subair, Abuja
Wednesday, 01 February 2012
The Federal Government, on Tuesday, reserved 20 per cent of the 370,000 jobs envisaged from the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment (SURE) programme to persons living with disabilities which amounts to 74,000 jobs.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who announced this in Abuja when the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) visited her office, said “we will ensure that 20 per cent of the jobs go to the vulnerable groups, which include persons living with disabilities.”
The minister also promised to bring President Goodluck Jonathan’s attention to the pending Disabilities Act awaiting his signature since 2010, which was intended to offer a holistic approach to dealing with the challenges of such vulnerable groups.
Speaking earlier, the president of JONAPWD, Mr Danlami Basharu, who himself is blind, decried the neglect of people with disability by the relevant authorities, adding that the refusal was causing untold hardship for its members nationwide.
He is an ear to Ntinda's deaf children
Feb 01, 2012
Kindness is the best language you can use with children who have a hearing problem. It is the only language they clearly hear.
Benedicto Onyango, a Primary Four teacher at Uganda School for the Deaf understands this language so well and has become an epitome of kindness to the deaf children.
Humble, reserved and calm are the best words to describe Onyango who has spent four of his 35 years as a teacher at the Ntinda School of the Deaf. Perhaps, this is the personality that has endeared Onyango to his students.
When he steps in class, he commands cult attention. He knows every student by name and where they hail from. If any of the students gets a problem, he escorts them up to the doorstep of their homes.
“I have love for the marginalized people in society. Not only the deaf, but even the elderly, youth and children. I believe it is my inherent calling,” the soft spoken Onyango says.
The deaf need extra attention when working with them. Onyango says this should not be seen as a burden.
“These students have the same hopes and dreams like other students with no disabilities. We need to help them achieve their goals,” Onyango says.
A visit to the Ntinda-based school brings you face-to-face with the passion and love Onyango has for the disabled. When he moves around the school compound he is swamped by students. He occasionally stops to listen and chat with some of them.
“There is a place for you in this world,” he reminds them each day and instructs them to sit confidently in their seats, thump their chests and let their confidence soar. The enthusiasm with which he speaks about their future seems to be working for the pupils and this has transformed a number of them.
The school performed well in the Primary Leaving Exams. Topping the list of good performers was Achieng Tezira Jamwa, 17, daughter of David Chandi Jamwa, the former managing director of the National Social Security Fund.
She scored five in English, six in science, seven in social studies and three in mathematics.
Elizabeth Kiconco, a colleague, describes Onyango as a person committed to being a voice for the deaf children.
“Even when things do not go according to plan, he never stops trying,” Kiconco says.
“Onyango is a good counselor to the children. Teaching is not all that he does. He goes beyond what is required of him and makes sure the children have the necessary social skills and Christian values,” Kiconco adds.
Onyango is devoted to his students and wants to see them become successful adults.
“You will not find many men willing to work with the deaf but he does it diligently. He cares so much about them and wants their plight to be heard,” says Ben David Ochom, a colleague who has known him for 11 years.
“Some of these children have never been baptised or gone to church. He makes sure they get baptised and also takes them to church every Sunday. He plays a big parental role to these children,” Ochom says.
This parental role does not stop when the students complete school. He tries to help them get jobs after school. “Onyango tries his level best to see they find work.
He always brings their papers and speaks on their behalf, highlighting each of their abilities. He is not just a leader; he looks after them like a father,” says Rebecca Amoding of Britania, one of the companies that has taken an active role in employing the deaf.
These acts of kindness have won the hearts of many of his students who see him as a parent.
“My regular interaction with them beyond the class has contributed so much to their behavioural change. Since many are neglected, they lack moral and social skills but I see them get better by the time they leave this school,” Onyango reveals.
It is not just the students whose lives he is impacting, the staff and administration decided to appoint him a senior teacher partly because he has been instrumental in to supporting teachers under their umbrella association.
“I decided to take this path because of the love to serve the disabled, to be part of them as a teacher and to share their challenges with the community,” Onyango says.
Besides teaching, Onyango reaches out and talks to different people about the deaf community.
In October 2009, when the school was celebrating 50 years of deaf education in Uganda, Onyango helped mobilise funds which saw close to sh25m collected.
His efforts extended to the Indian community where he portrayed the deaf in a positive manner. Partly because of his effort, there is a group of Indians who supply free food to the school.
Onyango says the nature of national examinations set for the deaf should be different from those set for normal children.
“Some of the exams, such as English, do not address some aspects of the deaf children. And some of the vocabulary used in the exams is too hard for them to understand given that our grammar is different from the ordinary one,” Onyango says.
He requests for special needs teachers to be integrated in marking the exams of students with learning disabilities. Onyango also suggests that more attention be given to teachers for the deaf.
He argues that such teachers should have the skills to relate with disabled children at a personal level. This will enable the teachers understand the challenges the children face in their dayto- day lives.
“The Government should also set up a vocational training centre for the deaf since many of them are good at hands-on training.”
Despite such challenges, Onyango has remained one of those teachers that never stop when the final bell rings. His vigilance reassures those that have gone through his class that there is a place for them in this world.
Onyango was born in 1954 to Daniel Onyango and Rovina Aboth and went to Nagongera Boys Primary School. He then joined Nyendo Teacher Training College from 1973 to 1976 and qualified as a grade two teacher.
Between 1994 to 1996, he upgraded his qualifications to teach grade three and in 2001, he qualified with a diploma in special needs education.
Onyango has taught in Nakongera Boys Primary School, Malanga Boys Primary School, St.Jude Najjanankumbi, Bright Light Academy, St.Kizito Primary School, Nakivubo Blue Primary School and Old Kampala Primary School.
He is married to Judith Achieng and they have eight children.
Ghana: Energy Ministry Presents Solar Scooters to Persons With Disability
2 FEBRUARY 2012
In line with Government policy of integrating renewable Energy in the Nation's Energy mix, the Ministry of Energy has presented solar powered scooters to persons with Disability.
The highly disability friendly innovation, which runs on solar energy, to guarantee an inexhaustible battery power also provides shade and comfort for users.
The solar powered scooter was designed by an Engineer from Elecnor, a Spanish Solar Technology company that is currently undertaking the provision of Solar Powered Technologies in Island communities not connected onto the National Grid, while funding was also provided by the Spanish Government.
The Retrofitting of the solar scooters, one of which was Donated by the Deputy Minister of Energy, and the others redesigned to suit the purposes of being powered by Solar Energy, each cost two thousand Ghana Cedis.
Presenting the scooters, the Minister of Energy, Dr. Joe Oteng Adjei urged corporate Ghana to assist in providing relief to the poor and vulnerable in Society. He, however, admitted that such innovation help to build local capacity and create jobs.
Head of the Economic Office of the Spanish Embassy could not agree more and pledged their Government's commitment to deep bilateral relations with Ghana, through such collaborative innovations.
The two Beneficiaries who could not hide their joy, expressed appreciation to Government for the kind gesture, but like Oliver twist, they called for more support to the disabled community.
Woman, 45, raped mentally and physically disabled boy, 13
February 02, 2012, Emirates 247
SOUTH AFRICA: In a first conviction of its kind, a 45-year-old woman has been sentenced for raping a 13-year-old mentally disabled and physically handicapped boy.
For the first time in the history of South Africa, a woman has been convicted for rape, reports Iolnews.com. The rapist has been put behind bars for 15 years.
The incident occurred when the woman was looking after the boy as a care giver.
The woman was earlier convicted on a charge of sexual assault. However, that decision was overturned when the new act came into effect. The new law recognises that a woman, man or a child can now be raped by another woman or man.
The change in law led to this landmark judgment and the woman's name will now be listed in the National Sex Offenders Register.
18 Visually Impaired Persons Get Succour
By VICTOR OMOALU
NO fewer than 18 persons with visual impairment were beneficiaries of the V.C.P. Wheels humanitarian scheme during the official presentation ceremony which held at the school of the physically challenged, Ukhegie Street, off I.C.E. Road, Benin City, on Thursday.
The non-governmental organisation, based in California, U.S.A., which works in partnership with the Network Advocacy for persons with visible disabilities (NAPVD) and hope for Independent Living Initiative (HILI), according to the donors’ representative, Mr. Joseph Ogbomo, aims at catering for the well being of the physically impaired across the globe.
Recalling his 32 years of experience in the United States and how he was later involved in a ghastly motor accident that left him in the wheel chair, Mr. Ogbomo further stated that the situation prompted him to set up the NGO which some private bodies later embraced in terms of partnership.
The SSA to Edo State Governor on Physically Challenged Matters, Comrade Ovenseri Iduozee, said that the state government had been doing its best to reducing some of the challenges faced by the physically challenged persons and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the well-being of the physically challenged in the state.
The President of the Network Advocacy for persons with visible disabilities and hope for Independent Living Initiative, Barr. Melody Omosah, noted that the monetary value of the items was immeasurable adding that the items will go a long way in alleviating the difficulties facing them in the course of moving from one place to another.
Noting that the school’s atmosphere was no longer conductive for adequate learning as a result of the decaying structures of the school, Barr Omosah appealed to the comrade governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to look back on his promise to renovate the schools of the physically challenged persons in the state.
Man United initiative raises sh20m for charity
Publish Date: Feb 05, 2012
AON staff demonstrating the ‘Pass it On’ at St. Anthony School for Deaf at Nkozi By Michael Nsubuga
THE AON-Manchester United ‘Pass it On’ global initiative made a stop- over in Uganda on Saturday with AON staff and partners contributing sh20m towards charity.
Travelling aboard two branded AON and Manchester United vehicles the Pass it On football made a stop-over at the St. Anthony School for the Deaf at Nkozi along Masaka Road as it made its continental-wide eight- month journey from South Africa via Tanzania .
John Lujuo from Tanzania passed on the ball to AON managing director Maurice Amogola. Amogola promised funding from AON for two special needs teachers for the school.
AON-Uganda staff handed over scholastic materials, foodstuffs, mosquito nets and other essentials worth sh10m to Fr. Anthony Ssenkaayi who runs the school. The insurance firm staff also participated in painting of the school.
A Manchester United soccer jersey was later auctioned at a cocktail, fetching sh10m which will go towards construction of a dormitory and a workshop at the school.
The campaign that kicked off in October 2011 moves north and will be in Cairo in four weeks before its final destination in the UK in June.
Disabled students want LI to enforce Disability ACT
February 5, 2012 |
Filed under: Latest news |
Posted by: VibeGhana
Disabled students of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), have appealed to Government to put in place a Legislative Instrument to enforce the National Disability ACT (ACT 715) of 2006 to enable them access free education.
Mr. Mark Akubire Attia, President of the Association, made the appeal when he addressed a forum to celebrate the world Disability Day at Winneba last Friday.
It was under the theme: “Together for development for Better World including persons with disability on development.”
They also appealed to the Government, political parties and the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that this year’s elections were conducted in a transparent, free and peaceful manner chaos.
The President said when conflict erupted, it was person’s with disability who suffered the most and stressed the need for a peaceful elections devoid of any trouble.
Mr. Attia also emphasized the need for the Government to employ sign language interpreters in all agencies and departments, especially in the law courts, Police stations and health facilities for their counterparts, the hearing impaired to access proper and fair judgement.
Eritrea: Endeavors to Ensure Equal Opportunity for Hearing-Impaired Nationals Register Encouraging Outcome
6 FEBRUARY 2012
Asmara - At an assessment meeting it conducted, the branch of the Eritrean Association of The Deaf in Central region said that endeavors to ensure equal opportunity for hearing-impaired nationals have registered encouraging outcome.
In a report she presented, by the Chairperson of the Association, Ms. Nazret Musa, indicated that various training programs were organized focusing on culture, communicable diseases and laws to raise their awareness, in addition to skill-upgrading training courses. In this respect, 20 hearing-impaired citizens received training on tailoring, she added.
Ms. Nazret further explained that over 600 deaf citizens have been organized in the association following research, and that efforts are underway to enable them to become beneficiaries of education and training programs.
The participants of the meeting on their part held extensive discussion and expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Information for commencing sign language news broadcast on Eri-TV which was interrupted for a while.
The branch office of the National Eritrean Association of The Deaf in the Central region was set up in 2003 and has 1,500 members.
Lwini Fund official happy with show put up by Chinese disabled artists
6 February, Angola Press
Luanda - The vice chairwoman of the Lwini Foundation, Joana Lina, last Sunday here said the group of Chinese disabled artists put up an excellent show for Angolan public, especially for the children, at the Belas Conventions Centre.
Speaking to the press, at the end of the show, the Angolan official said the Chinese company conveys to the public its liveliness through its various artistic themes, an experience that can be used by Angola.
Joana Lina also revealed that the country has a lot of talented children, with whom the foundation can work.
On his turn, the vice minister of Culture, Corn?lio Caley, stated that the show was a great lesson for Angolans.
“We’ll have the opportunity to organise a show like that, so that others can also live the same emotion we experienced by watching this show”, he said.
The Chinese artistic company, made up by 88 people, was created in 1987 with the aim of promoting the sense of equal opportunity through the arts.
The show was witnessed by the vice president of the ruling MPLA party, Roberto de Almeida, MPs, the vice chairwoman of the Lwini Foundation, Joana Lina, and Chinese Embassy officials, among other personalities.
Talking with Texts: How Cellphones Empower Deaf Children in Uganda
Posted by Ken Banks of National Geographic Emerging Explorer on February 7, 2012
Kids text all the time - at school, on the bus, even when you’re trying to talk to them. It can be annoying. But imagine if a child couldn’t communicate at all ? that’s when a mobile can become a lifeline. In some developing countries, children who are deaf don’t have access to special education, technology or even sign language teaching.
In this edition of “Mobile Message”, Cambridge to Africa’s Sacha DeVelle, explains how her organisation has been using mobile phones in specially designed education programmes to help deaf children in Uganda communicate. By getting everyone in their schools to help out, the projects also happen to be making them the coolest kids in school.
Mobile Message is a series of blog posts from FrontlineSMS about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives. This article was curated by Olivia O’Sullivan, our Media and Research Assistant.
By Sacha DeVelle
Kato and Kakuru are deaf twins. They have just arrived at the Child Africa International School in Kabale, Uganda. I am running a teacher training course at the school, and spend my lunch hours in the playground with all the children. But I am perplexed by the twins. They have fallen asleep in a far corner of the grounds, lying uncomfortably on some old wheat pallets, joined at the hip but completely isolated from the other children. This is a self-imposed exile, one they have lived in for years. For a week I watch them. They do not move from the pallets. Their clothes are dirty and ripped. They have no shoes and have not washed for a long time. Kakuru cries a lot, however the look on her face says she’s not someone who cries for attention, but out of frustration.
The girls are very different heights. It’s hard to believe they are twins. I ask the other teachers why they are so difficult to reach psychologically, why they are crying. “They have lice, they can’t sign, have no language skills, they have come down from the mountains and don ’t understand this environment. They only have each other” explains one teacher.
Kato and Kakuru (Photo: Cambridge to Africa)
There are nine other deaf children at the school, although they have had time to adapt and integrate. Dodi is a real character - he has a mother, loves to dance and has some sign language skills. The one deaf teacher working at the school provides a lifeline to these children. By the time I leave, the twins have joined the class, they are starry eyed and excited about their new uniforms.
Deaf teacher Flavia, and friend, taking a class for the children (Photo: Cambridge to Africa)
Back in the UK I think a lot about Kato and Kakuru. What it’s like to be deaf in East Africa.
Without a voice deaf females face a triple stigma: gender, poverty and disability. Many girls are violated because they cannot speak out. They may learn to use a pidgin signing system from the village, but are not fluent in any language (tribal, signed or English). Deaf girls are often abandoned. Their disability is seen as a curse on the family. Others are locked up in back rooms to hide the family shame. Those that make it to a school setting are the lucky ones.
One of our trustees tells me about a presentation she has just seen, using FrontlineSMS in developing contexts. It was this conversation that gave me the idea to run a mobile phone social inclusion project in Kabale: integrating deaf children into the mainstream environment.
We launched our pilot study in 2010. The wider challenges of carrying out such a scheme are complex. The management of existing prejudice and communication barriers must be factored into the design.
We have a methodology. Six deaf children have a hearing buddy, with a total of 12 students contributing to the study. We provide separate training to both groups for three days. Then they are brought together, with the hearing children playing a buddy role. We learn that the hearing children’s sign language skills and patience are far superior than we realised. We also learn that deaf children do not have much patience with their deaf counterparts! Our six pairs are given written instructions on scraps of paper. They must text messages to another pair somewhere in the playground, and wait for a response. They love this game. The deaf children are very vocal, a lot of frantic signing and suggestions for written responses.
Kakuru is one of the deaf participants. She is in awe of her new mobile phone, how messages fly in from nowhere. She likes to receive them, but is not too keen on writing - it’s hard for her. We learn that their written skills are very low - they are used to rote learning, straight from the blackboard. Now they must produce authentic, instantaneous text on a range of different topics.
Kakuru and ‘hearing buddy’ train together (Photo: Cambridge to Africa)
Our preliminary findings are very exciting. The SMS social inclusion project has united the school, developed the children’s confidence, and highlighted the need for more communicative literacy skills in the classroom. Most importantly, it has raised the status of the deaf children as Caroline explains:
I can now visualise a bright future because I am far better than what I was when I was still shabby in the village four years ago. Those who used to laugh at me in the village now see me as a star because most of the rural community members do not know how to use sign language or mobile phone SMS facility
Phase 3 of our SMS social inclusion project will be launched in 2012. We will work with new schools in Kampala that integrate deaf children into the Ugandan primary school curriculum. Self empowerment, social cohesion and improved literacy skills were all key outcomes from our previous phases. However, there is still much work to be done to further integrate deaf girls into the community. As Docus clearly states: “All my village mates used to laugh at me because I could not hear what they could say and also I did not have any way to speak to them. Can you imagine an orphan like me using a mobile phone SMS facility at the age of ten to communicate to educated people like you? God is great”.
Sacha DeVelle is the founder and managing director of Cambridge to Africa, a UK registered charity that provides funding and educational expertise for projects in East Africa. Sacha has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Queensland, Australia and currently lives in London where she works as an international education consultant.
Mobile Message is produced by Ken Banks, innovator, anthropologist, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Founder of kiwanja.net / FrontlineSMS. He shares exciting stories in Mobile Message about how mobile phones and appropriate technologies are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives. You can read all the posts in this series, visit his website, or follow him on Twitter.
Uproar as TJRC hearings abort in Nairobi
Capital FM News
February 7, 2012
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 - The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Thematic hearings on persons with disabilities were on Tuesday put off due to what was described as a ‘technical’ hitch.
The proceedings were however expected to resume on Wednesday with the thematic hearing on women, however that for the persons with disability which was due to take place at City Hall was put off indefinitely.
Some of the persons with disabilities who had attended the hearing expressed dissatisfaction at the postponement.
“They have done wrong. We had organised ourselves… we have wasted our time and we closed our businesses to be here,” complained Samuel Karanja, a person with disability.
“We really wanted to put our case forward but now we have to wait until they call us back,” said Daniel Njoroge another person with disability.
Timothy Aseka of the Albinism Society of Kenya said: “We were to talk about the issues that have been affecting persons with albinism in Kenya and the postponement of the meeting has been untimely.”
He added: “It’s quite unfortunate but it’s also good that they have postponed so that we can have more persons living with disability come and share their issues.”
However, there are those who felt the deferment was inevitable due to the low turnout.
“The attendance is evident enough that the event wasn’t so much publicised and to me this one now gives us an opportunity to be able to put forward a very strong case,” said the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya Program Assistant on Human Rights.
The issues to be addressed were situational analysis of persons living with disabilities in Kenya, funding for persons with disability, access to employment and recommendations Other issues were experiences of families/ caregivers of persons with disability and the relation between the association for the physically disabled of Kenya and the government.
The commissioners expected at the meeting were Margaret Shava, Gertrude Chawatema, Ronald Slye and Berhanu Dinka who only received memos and papers that were to be presented by the persons with disabilities.
The TJRC thematic and institutional hearings began in mid December last year after conduct of individual hearings countrywide.
The TJRC is expected to submit its report and recommendations in May this year.
Oscar wins Laureus Disability Award
7 February 2012, South Africa.info
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius received the Laureus World Sportsperson with a Disability Award at a gala function in London on Monday evening.
He was recognised for his feat of becoming the first amputee to win a non-disabled World Championship track medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, as part of the South African 4x400 metres relay team that claimed the silver medal behind the USA.
He also made the semi-finals of the individual 400 metres in Daegu, the only South African to advance that far, after clocking a fast 45.39 seconds in the heats.
Previous South African winners
Pistorius is the third South African to be named a winner of the Laureus World Sportsperson with a Disability Award. Wheelchair racer Ernst van Dyk was honoured in 2006 and swimmer Natalie du Toit won in 2010.
He was up against stiff opposition for the title in the form of two-time Laureus winner, Dutch tennis star Esther Vergeer; five-time London Marathon wheelchair winner David Weir; Russian cross-country skier Irek Zaripov, a winner of five medals at the 2010 Winter Paralympics; Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias, who won the Disability Award in 2009 and won seven gold medals at the 2010 IPC Paralympic Swimming World Championships; and visually impaired sprint star Terezinha Guilhermina, also of Brazil.
Pistorius was also a finalist for the World Breakthrough of the Year Award, which was won by Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.
London Olympic Games
Known as the "Blade Runner", because he runs on prosthetic limbs, Pistorius has long been one of the leading lights in the world of the Paralympics.
Now, after his success in Daegu, he is aiming to qualify for and make his mark at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"This is just a great privilege to be nominated, it is really humbling to be here," said Pistorius after receiving the winner's statuette from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and Spanish actress Elsa Pataky.
Laureus chairman Edwin Moses praised Pistorius after his win, saying:
"Oscar is a remarkable human being, one of the most impressive people I have ever met. When you think of the challenges he has faced in his life, and overcome, and gone on to break new ground, you can only be impressed.
He added: "And he is now also a Laureus Ambassador and has shown his determination to support the cause of sport for good. I congratulate him on this well-deserved award."
The Laureus Sports Awards are the biggest awards on the international sporting calendar, with the Academy that selects the winners made up of 47 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time. They include South African adventurer/explorer Mike Horn, golf legend Gary Player, who won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, and former Springbok captain Morn du Plessis.
This year's Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to English football legend Sir Bobby Charlton, while Ra Souza Vieira de Oliveira, a former Brazilian footballer, now a social justice campaigner, won the Laureus Sport for Good Award.
2012 LAUREUS AWARDS WINNERS
World Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
World Sportswoman of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot
World Team of the Year: FC Barcelona
World Breakthrough of the Year: Rory McIlroy
World Comeback of the Year: Darren Clarke
World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oscar Pistorius
World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater
Kenya: My Journey Back Home After 10 Years As a Missing Child
BY FELISTA WANGARI, 8 FEBRUARY 2012
When Rose Mueni's family woke up one morning in late 2001 to find her missing, they did not think much of it.
Rose, then 17, her deaf-blind mother Ndulu Munyoki and sister Mwikali Munyoki were living with the Nzuki family of six at Kiaoni-athi village in Makueni.
The Nzuki family adopted Ndulu and her two children in 1995 because they were too destitute to care for themselves.
They sympathised with the penniless and homeless Ndulu who carted along her children as she begged for food in shopping centres near Kibwezi.
The Nzukis, themselves subsistence farmers on a parched two-acre farm, were not well-off, but they took in the worse-off Munyokis and made them part of their family.
Rose, who is deaf, occasionally worked as a househelp at the nearby Kibwezi town to meet her family's needs.
She would work for two months at a time and then resign from her job to travel back home and give them what she had managed to earn.
Moreover, the evening before she disappeared, Rose had gestured that she would travel very far away by bus the following morning.
"She always came back home every couple of months and we did not think it would be any different that time," explains her foster mother Mary Nzuki, 50.
But that was the last Rose's family saw of her for 10 years.
At the time she disappeared, her name was Kavemba, which means a small maize cob and indicates that she was born during an unsatisfactory harvest.
"Initially, we assumed she had got found work, but when she didn't return after several months, we believed she had gone to live with someone else or got married like other girls her age," Mrs Nzuki told Living.
As months turned into years, Rose's deaf-blind mother became very sick and bedridden.
She was not able to articulate what was wrong and was too poor to seek medical attention, but her family suspected she could sense her daughter's absence and was grieved by not knowing where she was.
The more time passed, the grimmer Rose's family became over what could have befallen her.
"I asked the villagers and traders at the local markets whether they had seen Kavemba. Someone said she had boarded a bus at Kibwezi and alighted at Makindu," said Rose's foster grandmother, Tabitha Munila, 67.
Every time someone went to Makindu, Ms Munila would send them with Rose's photograph to use as they asked if she had been seen there. No one recognised her.
Rose's family began to believe she was dead.
So when she walked into their compound on July 22, 2011, they could hardly believe what they were seeing.
The commotion at the home drew a crowd of neighbours as Rose, now 27, struggled to gesture who she was and tell her story.
In improvised sign language, Rose explained that when she left home in 2001, she went to work as a househelp for a woman in Nairobi.
She does not recall the specific estate. She worked without pay for four months before she could take it no more.
"I woke up and decided to leave, but I did not know where I was going," a translator explains her gestures.
While wandering on the streets in 2002, she was arrested for loitering and locked up at a police station for a night.
She was then transferred to the Nairobi Children's Remand Home in Kabete. She was small in size then and the police officers were unable to get an indication of her actual age.
At the home, the officials named her Rose as being deaf and illiterate, she could not say or write her name.
As is the custom, the children officers tried to trace her roots. However, that proved difficult as her improvised sign language offered no clues on the whereabouts of her family.
But her animated reaction to certain photographs gave officials a general idea of where she may have come from.
"When she saw a photograph of Kalonzo Musyoka, she indicated that he was their leader, and that is when we confirmed that she was from Ukambani," says Jane Matigaro, a long-serving worker at the home. Rose thus earned a second name: Mueni.
When they took her to Mwingi, Kalonzo's home turf, Rose did not recognise anything or anyone there.
The remand home usually places lost children with a children's home within six months, but Rose's disability made it difficult to place her, so she stayed on at the home for nine years, the longest time a lost child has stayed there.
Rose's break came when pictures of lost children at the home were published in the Daily Nation pullout, DN2, on June 22, 2011. Frank Nzuki, her foster brother, recognised her picture.
"I was reading the paper when I saw the story about lost children. Immediately, I started scanning the photographs and saw Kavemba's face," says Frank.
But he was not sure it was their Kavemba as she had a different name but her face was similar to that of the girl he had known and played with in Makueni.
He went to the Nairobi Children's Remand Home to check, and sure enough it was Kavemba. However, she didn't recognise him.
He briefed the children's officers on his link to Rose and asked his family to look at her photo in the newspaper to confirm that it was indeed her. Preparations were then made to take her home.
On July 22, almost a decade after she disappeared from Kiaoni-athi village in Makueni, Rose travelled 200 kilometres to reunite with her family.
On any other day, Rose would have been crossing over to the other side of Lower Kabete road, across from her regular home, to the Nairobi Children's Rescue Centre where she volunteers, minding children aged three and below.
She also helps with the cleaning, cooking and feeding of the children as they wait for their relatives to find them.
Rhoda Mwikhya, who was a manager at the remand home when the police brought in Rose, was excited at the idea of reuniting Rose with her family. She took a day off work to witness the reunion.
"I am so happy that finally she will meet her family again," said Rhoda, who now works at the 116 children's helpline.
After a drive of five hours, the three vehicles in the convoy entered Rose's compound. The first to come out and meet the visitors was Mwikali - Rose's younger sister.
Mwikali could not hide her disbelief when she saw her sister. "Ai na niwe!. Haki Ngai ni munene! (It is you! God is great!)" she shouted.
But as Mwikali proclaimed the Almighty's goodness for bringing her sister back, Rose's demeanour betrayed no emotion or recollection of her sister, and her hands remained silent.
She stared at the face of the stranger who was speaking words she could not hear. She saw the joy on her sister's face, but it had no effect on her. She stared ahead, occasionally toying with her nails.
Mwikali, 26, was undeterred and hugged her sister several times, only letting go to size her up. And then she brought out a photograph she had kept of her missing sister.
On seeing it, Rose's face broke into a wide smile, she took the photograph and rubbed it on her chest. She looked at her sister, finally recognising her, and embraced her.
"Education is good. If it were not for Frank, we would never have known that Kavemba was still alive," said Mwikali, who has never been to school.
Rose's family and neighbours received her with singing and tight embraces.
However, Ndulu, her mother, was too frail to leave her bed and sat on her tattered bed linen eating boiled maize and beans. Being deaf-blind, she was had no idea what was going on outside.
Rose was taken to her mother. She took one look at her, took her right hand and began to cry, disheartened at her mother's state.
Immediately, Rose gestured to Caroline Towett, the manager of the Nairobi Children's Remand Home, that she would donate one of the three mattresses in her room to her mother.
Her mother felt Rose's hand and face, and she brightened. "Blood calls unto blood; she can tell her daughter is back home," Mrs Nzuki said.
Rose emptied her purse of all the money she had - Sh1,800 - her savings from the Sh2,000 allowance she gets per month from the home for her volunteer work, and divided it between her mother and sister. "I am very happy to have met my mother and sister again and I want to help them," she gestured.
Her foster mother, though happy at the reunion, insists that Kiaoni-athi village is no place for Rose. "Look at us. We have nothing to offer her here. Just stay with her and help her find work," she pleaded with Ms Towett.
"We would like her to find some work. She can't read or write, but she is good with housework and she can sew," Ms Towett replied.
After meeting with her family, Rose returned to the remand home to continue with her volunteer work. "I now feel complete and would love to visit my family often and buy them food and blankets as well as take my mother to hospital for treatment. But for that I need a job," she gestured, accepting she cannot live with her family just yet.
To date, Rose has not got a chance to travel back home, but she is saving up for a visit soon.
She also plans to start a small business using a sewing machine she was given by the National Council for Persons with Disability last year.
BY MUSA BARROW, 9 FEBRUARY 2012
Mr Gaira Lamin, a visually impaired teacher at GOVI School for the Blind shares his experience in this interview. Lamin explains his visual impairment and some of the ways he devised to overcome problems he faces on a daily basis.
Foroyaa: How did your vision become impaired?
Lamin: Well, I was born with visual impairment. However, in my early childhood I was seeing a bit. It was after early childhood that I lost my vision completely.
Foroyaa: When did you lose your vision completely?
Lamin: I lost my vision completely at the age of seven.
Foroyaa: At the time of losing your vision, were you already in school?
Lamin: By then I was not enrolled in a school. At that time, there was no vehicle that could ferry me to school.
Foroyaa: Did the fact that you lost your vision suddenly prompted your parents to send you to school?
Lamin: Yes, my visual impairment prompted my parents to send me to school.
Foroyaa: Were you perceived differently by your age mates when you lost your sight completely?
Lamin: Well, nothing changed as far as my play mates were concerned.
They continued to play with me. I must also add that there is an advantage when one loses sight in childhood rather than later in later life. As a blind child I did not have time to think about my visual impairment. In fact I believed I could do any thing that my sighted colleagues could do. Can you imagine I was climbing trees just like any other child. I feel so sorry for myself when I reflect on some of the dangerous ventures I embarked on during childhood. But again, some of those activities, though dangerous, gave me the opportunity to be socially included. One thing that also worked well for me is that I was brought up in the urban area. I believe that had I been brought up in the rural area, I would have been kept in the corner secretly. As a blind child I was never bothered about my visual impairment. I have the opinion that losing a sight at childhood is far better than losing it during adulthood.
Foroyaa: Quite interesting that you were not bothered when you lost your sight as a child. But what gave you the confidence that you could do anything that the sighted children could do?
Lamin: Even as a child I knew that my vision was lost, but was aware that I can do so many things despite my visual impairment.
Foroyaa: Having lost your vision, you must have found yourself in a class where you were older than most of your classmates?
Lamin: It is right that I was older than most of my classmates. But the age factor was never a problem as I did my best to cope with the situation. In fact at that time blind children were put together in Beginners Class where we were taught to write and read Braille. After this beginners class, blind children were put in other classes together with sighted children.
Foroyaa: What do you make of the fact that you as a blind child had the chance to learn with sighted children rather than going to a school meant for blind children alone?
Lamin: To have the chance to mingle with sighted children at primary school was a great experience. It gave me the chance to play with sighted children and, above all, the sighted children knew my capability.
Foroyaa: How was it like for blind children like you to compete with sighted children?
Lamin: Well, it was challenging but I was very competitive, although I was the only blind student in my class. I was doing everything that the sighted students were doing. I received no preferential treatment because I was examined and graded just like any other child. The same could be said of my secondary and college days as well as the shot courses I did. Through out all those periods, I was able to make it.
Foroyaa: How did you feel as a blind person in the midst of sighted students?
Lamin: I felt great to be in the midst of sighted students. I have self esteem. It would have been a totally different story had I restricted myself to thinking about my disability. More often, persons with disability keep thinking about their disability. This sometimes bars them from showcasing their potential but instead they keep on mourning their disability. Sometimes, blind students may make life difficult for themselves by expecting everything on a silver plate. This is not realistic. What such students must understand is that even though there are good people out there who might want to help, but they just don't know how to help them. The responsibility lies with the blind student to show how they can help him. This involves some innovation.
Foroyaa: What did you do to make this innovation happen?
Lamin: Being a blind student who was sharing the same class with sighted students, what I used to do was to ask the teacher to dictate his notes for me or ask the whole class or a student to read it out for me what was written on the blackboard..
When it involves research I had to ask someone in the class to read the relevant books. As a blind student, if you sit down in the class and keep silent it will be difficult for teachers and fellow students to help you. During my high school days, I had colleagues who were really helping me. Interestingly, those who have been helping me were also very good students. They were the ones who would take first position in the class.
Foroyaa: Were there some instances when a sighted student told you that he could not help you because he had to concentrate on his own assignment?
Lamin: Yes, I experienced that as well. There were some instances when my classmates could not help me because they had to concentrate on their own school work. However, there are two approaches to solve that problem.
The first one was to know when your fellow students are very busy with their own assignment. Really, they cannot leave their own assignments to help you. So, one has to request help when they are not very busy. The other option is if everyone in the class is busy, as a blind student you have to approach someone outside that class to help
Foroyaa: What are some of the problems that you as a visually impaired person faced repeatedly from primary school to Gambia College?
Lamin: The problems I faced are unaccountable. But the beauty for me is that I solved them as they came. One of the problems I faced repeatedly was accessing materials in Braille and on time. It was always difficult for me to get books and printed pages in Braille. I must say i face some of these problems even now. Imagine when i attend a workshop where all the materials are in Braille. I stand no chance to read those pages because as a blind person i cannot read printed page.
Foroyaa: Do you know whether your fellow persons with visual impairment use similar ways and means of overcoming the problems they face?
Lamin: Yes, they do. They must also have their ways and means of solving their problems. Every person is different so every one uses a different approach to solve a problem.
Foroyaa: Do you know why some persons with visual impairment are not doing well? Is it down to lack of creativity or the non-conducive environment they find themselves?
Lamin: I believe that has to do with the way they have been brought up or the place where they were brought up. More often, persons with visual impairment who hail from the rural area are isolated. They are not given the chance to mingle with the wider society. As a result they are relegated to the fringes of society and are therefore cut off from the rest of the society.
Foroyaa: Do you think that were you born in the rural area, you would not have accomplished what you have accomplished?
Lamin: I don't think that i would have accomplished what i have accomplished if i was born in the rural area. During our tour, we found some persons with visual impairment in a rather sorry state. I believe all that has to do with the mentality of the rural dwellers.
Foroyaa: What state did you find some of the persons with visual impairment?
Lamin: Some of the persons with visual impairment were excluded totally from society. They are being kept in corners, not allowed to mingle with other members of society. Some are sent to beg for alms. Above all, some of the persons with visual impairment live in horrible environment.
Rwanda: Disabled Ex-Combatants Get Artificial Limbs
The New Times
13 FEBRUARY 2012
Seventeen ex-combatants living with disability were, last Friday, fixed with prosthetic artificial limbs at Gatagara Hospital in Nyanza District.
Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (RDRP) Coordinator, Francis Musoni, hailed Gatagara Hospital for offering quality services to disabled ex-combatants.
"As a Commission, we appreciate what you have done for the ex-combatants and we shall continue working together to overcome the problems facing disabled ex-combatants", he pointed out.
He advised the beneficiaries to take care of the offered items, adding that this would enable the Commission to support others with similar problems.
Dr Evans Arumba, the director of Gatagara Hospital, also paid tribute to the Commission, describing it as "a blessing to the nation." He said the day was a turning point to the disabled ex-combatants since their limbs are able to function well.
"I can now stand up and walk without any problem," said Mariko Nshimiye, one of the beneficiaries.
The Commission is set to provide artificial limbs to 591 disabled ex-combatants to perk up their health standards.
Gatagara Hospital is the only centre in the Great Lakes Region that assembles artificial limbs.
Neighbouring countries such as Uganda, DR Congo, and Burundi have sought for artificial limbs from the health facility.
Apart from limbs, the Commission has also built houses for former combatants living with disabilities, countrywide, and offered many of them vocational skills to facilitate their reintegration process.
Enugu approves N195m for renovation of schools
Written by Jude Ossai (South East Bureau Chief) Monday, 13 February 2012
THE Enugu State government has approved the release of more N195 million for the construction and renovation of some public schools including the government school for Deaf and Dumb, Coal Camp, Enugu.
The approval for the release of the sum for the project was given by the State Executive Council at its meeting chaired by the State Governor, Mr Sullivan Chime in Enugu.
Briefing the newsmen at the end of the meeting, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Chuks Ugwoke, explained that other benefiting primary schools will include O’Connor Asata Council, Igbariam and Airport primary school, Emene.
Others are Community Primary School Nkpologwu, Emene, Community Primary School Ibagwa Nike, Community Primary School Ugbo Odogwu Phase 6 and Independent Layout Primary Schools I and II among others.
The commissioner who was accompanied by his Finance and Works counterparts, Messrs Godson Nnadi and Goddy Madueke as well as Mr. Uchenna Nwobodo, said that the project which will be executed through direct labour will include construction of new buildings and the renovation of the existing ones in the schools.
According to Mr. Ugwoke, at the School for Deaf and Dumb, government will construct two new hostel blocks, a sick bay, ICT centre, two lavatories, renovate two buildings and provide perimeter fence around the premises.
He recalled that the state governor had approved free transport for primary school children and secondary school students in addition to free education from Primary to JSS III in public schools in the state.
According to him, all these as well as the on-going renovation of schools are geared towards enhancing teaching and learning and consolidate on gain already made in the educational sector of the state economy.
Mr Ugwoke also told the press that the Exco approved the construction through direct labour 285 refuse bin holding pads, 283 conventional refuse bin slabs and five motorized bin slabs on major urban roads in the state.
The Commissioner explained that the new refuse bins will be located some meters away from the roads while the already existing ones will be relocated in a way that they do not constitute a nuisance to the people or cause obstruction on the roads.
He disclosed that the council approved about N3.2 million for the importation of over 149,000 dumpsters (waste bins) for easy refuse disposal in the state.
Visually impaired must register to vote
February 15, 2012 |
Filed under: Latest news |
Posted by: VibeGhana
Mr Lawrence Ameyaw Anshong, Chairman of Agona West Municipal Branch of Federation of the Disabled Association, has encouraged the visually impaired to participate in the biometric voters registration exercise.
He said the acquisition of the voters’ Identification Cards (ID) would not only permit them to exercise their franchise but the ID cards could also be used to transact other businesses.
Mr Anshong said this when 50 members of the association were presented with GHC200 each from their two percent share of the District Assembly Common Fund.
“It would be regrettable that members would stay away from the exercise simply because of their disability,” he said.
The exercise has been scheduled for March.
Mr Anshong also made strong appeal to the Electoral Commission (EC) to provide ballot paper in Braille to enable the blind to cast their votes.
He said that would help them to identify names of the candidates and their party symbols on the day of voting.
The Chairman advised the recipients not to misuse the money given them but invest them in profitable ventures to improve their living conditions.
Mr Emmanuel Kweku Tetteh, Agona West Municipal Chief Executive, (MCE) said the opening of special account for the two per cent of the Common Fund was ample evidence that government had good plans for persons with disabilities.
He said the Assembly was doing everything possible to ensure that the policy of accessibility in public structures for the physically challenged was complied with to enhance their safety and comfort.
Ms Monica Siaw, Agona West Municipal Officer of Department of Social Welfare, cautioned members of the Association that it is an offence to beg for alms.
She said henceforth the Department of Social welfare and Municipal Assembly would collaborate to arrest People with Disability seen begging on the streets.
Ms Monica Crentsil, a Member of Social Services Sub-Committee of the Assembly, said the first payment from the fund had been made to over 50 members. GNA
Sudanese National Association for `the Blind and SNRCB Workshop:
02月16日 Sudan Vision
Fifthly Years ago and Thirty Years before the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Sudanese Civil Society established Al-Nour Institute for Blind Children.
The education of blind children is a very expensive process and needs the support of the government, society and donors
Article 23 of the CRC
State Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child
should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity,
promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation
in the community.
States Parties recognize the right of the disabled child to special care
and shall encourage and ensure the extension subject to available
resources, to the eligible child and those responsible for his or her
care, of assistance for which application is made and which is
appropriate to the child’s conditions and to the circumstances of the
parents or others caring for the child.
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
Every child who is mentally or physically disabled shall have the right
to special measures of protection in keeping with his physical or moral
needs and under conditions which ensure his dignity promote his self- reliance and active participation in the community.
States parties to the present Charter shall ensure ,subject to available
resources ,to a disabled child and to those responsible for his care ,of
assistance for which application is made and which is appropriate to the
condition and in particular shall ensure that the disabled child has
effective access to training ,preparation for employment and recreation
opportunities in a manner conducive to the child achieving the fullest
social integration ,individual development and has cultural and moral
Association for the Blind
The State Parties to the present Charter shall use their available
resources with a view to achieving progressively the full convenience of
the mentally and physically disabled person to movement and access to
public highways and other places to which the disabled may. Legitimately
want to have access to.
It was an excellent gesture that a poem on the rights of the child
recited by a child from a AL-Nour Institute for Blind Children , was the
starting point in the Forum organized by the Sudanese National
Association of the Blind (SNAB) and the Sudanese National Rehabilitation
Centre for the Blind (SNRCB) in cooperation with the European
Commission in Sudan and hosted by the National Council for Child Welfare
(NCCW) on 8th February, 2012 to rise awareness about the rights and
welfare of the blind children and solicit support to the to attain their
rights .In addition to the many other poems and song have shown the
capabilities of those children if given the proper care and support from
the state and society.
The rights of blind children are protected by the Constitution in
Article 7 in addition to Article 27 ,said the President of SNRCB
adding that these rights in health, education ,etc are also guaranteed
by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as
well as by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
and we are determined to insure that the rights of the blind are
respected specially for children and women. We will strengthen our
partnership with the NCCW and the European Union to include all
activities specially for the wide spread of the use of the blind White
Stick which make their movements easier, in addition to the training of
the blind and rising awareness among them about their rights. He
concluded by stating that the SNAB activities will not be restricted to
Khartoum but will extend to the States and we have started with Gezira
and Kassala States and finally highly commended the efforts of AlNour
Institute as well as the role of the SNAB which have assisted in the
training of many blind youth as well as our staff.
Association for the Blind
Al Nour Institute Director stressed on the right of education saying
that education is the right of every person and it gives light to the
blind and should be the concern of all parties. government, civil
society and non=governmental organizations. The focus on the right of
the blind was a missing dimension in our concerns for some time during
the past period and we are glad that now the focus have returned back on
the rights of this segment of the society. He pointed to that the
education of blind children is a very costly processes because according
to our costs the education of one blind child cost US $ 300 per year
compared to US$ 120 for the ordinary child. This have resulted that our
Institute graduate only five children every year in the last decades but
if we receive the necessary funds, this numbers can be at least doubled
or trebled, but in turn this needs strong support from the executive and
legislative bodies and the civil society organizations as well as a very
strong support for the Institute from the Media. He concluded by saying
that the Institute doors are open for those who went to provide
assistance or do research. The SNRCB is not a regular traditional
educational institute but provide the necessary training for blind
children and youth to obtain a decent livelihood and concluded by
the necessity of providing the blind with the White Stick.
Association for the Blind
A committee have been formed to prepare for the Golden Celebrations
of Al Nour Institute headed by Ms. Saad Abdel Raza, the Minister of
Public Education ,said Ms. Gamar Habani, the Secretary General of d
NCCW, adding that the Institute gives hope to children and youth , male
and female and we will work with those interested in the development of
the Institute which he is in desperate need for at the present taking
into consideration it is the only institute of its kind in Sudan. It
needs more classrooms and board houses and at the same time look to the
future because and establish branches or similar institutes in the
states because not all children can come to Khartoum .In general, she
added that there is need for proper facilities for people with
disability like Khartoum Airport, She concluded by calling for more
youth participation as they are the most active segment in the society.
Same time, a representative from the Social Committee of the National
Assembly have affirmed their support to the rights of the disabled
By Alula Berhe Kidani, 9 hours 18 minutes ago
Ghana: Electoral Commission Ready to Register Disabled With Biometric Machines
BY AYUUREYISIYA KAPINI ATAFORI,
17 FEBRUARY 2012
The Electoral Commission (EC) has readied itself to register persons with disability to enable them to exercise their franchise in the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the Commissioner of the EC, has stated in Accra on Wednesday.
"If you are disabled, the machine will register you. If you have [only] six fingers, the computer will register you, [but] if you have none, we will make special provision for you," Dr Afari-Gyan told the audience during the open forum session of a presentation at on the topic "Election 2012: The EC's Preparations So Far."
The event was organised by the Editors Forum Ghana to educate the media on issues concerning the much-talked-about proposed biometric registration of the electorate and verification of voters. He said there would be special dispensation for voting by persons in the securities services and electoral officers. But he stressed that there would be no proxy voting since the physical presence of the eligible first party voter is required for biometric verification.
The EC chieftain said "the Commission is now in a position to announce that it plans to undertake a biometric voter registration of all eligible persons, including prisoners, in all [ten] regions and districts at the same time from 24 March to 5 May 2012.? He announced that the exercise will be a complete replacement of the existing voters' register, and thereby render any previous voter registration invalid for purposes of voting in the upcoming elections.
"Registration will be done at registration centres, which will serve as polling stations during elections; in line with the basic principle of where you register is where you vote. Obviously, 7000 kits are not enough for registration to be done in each of the country's 23,000 polling stations at the same time," he said.
"In the circumstances, the polling stations in each district of the country have been grouped into clusters. Each cluster consists of four polling stations. A team of six persons will be responsible for the registration of voters in each cluster. The team will spend ten days at each polling station before moving on to the next polling station," the commissioner explained.
He stated that the EC, out of its own volition, included verification in its budget estimates, and not on the prompting of any political party.
"Technically speaking, verification is not a registration matter. The issue arises after the person has registered to vote."
School of deaf top girl wants to be a lawyer
New Vision, Uganda
Publish Date: Feb 17, 2012
By Petride Mudoola
“Despite the multiple disabilities I want to prove to the world that disability is not inability,” says Oliver Nankinga a former student of Wakiso Secondary School for the Deaf.
Being deaf and physically handicapped did not deter Nankinga, aged 20 from scoring aggregates 38 and emerging as the best girl in her school.
She scored D2 in English, C4 in History, C5 in Geography, C3 in Agriculture, C5 in Literature, P8 in Mathematics, P8 in Biology, F9 in Physics, and managed an F9 in Chemistry.
Wakiso Secondary School for the Deaf registered 23 students to sit for last year’s Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) of which 18 qualified for Advanced Level studies, and five will join vocational education, the deputy headteacher Charles Owilli says.
“Performance in science disciplines is still poor due to the fact that sign language is limited to some objects. “ As a result, Owili explains, the mode of expression becomes a challenge for teachers yet it calls for demonstration to train learners with hearing impairment.
“Illustrating objects such as an atom, molecules, cells, veins, aorta is problematic since they are not included in sign language, making it hard for deaf students to understand the content.”
Through an interpreter, Nankinga told New Vision that despite the challenges she faces as a student with multiple disabilities, she prays that with God’s grace, she becomes a lawyer so that she advocates for the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
“With hearing difficulty and more so physical disability, my studies have been affected due to absenteeism from school because I was hospitalized for almost a year. But with assistance from my dear parents and teachers I managed to excel,” she remarked.
But amid her success, the 20-year old is uncertain of further studies since, she explains, her parents do not have a stable income to cater for her tuition.
Her father is a driver and mother a house wife.
The determined youthful girl vividly remembers the day she was turned away from a job vacancy. With the aid of her interpreter, Nankinga tried her luck at a job opening but was simply laughed at because of her disability.
Insensitively, the lady she approached for her application asked: “What kind of job can I give a person with multiple disabilities like you?” That left Nankinga shatteringly devastated.
Due to the stigma and discrimination that disabled people face while searching for employment, she prays that the public comes to her rescue to enable her achieve her goals.
Meanwhile, 18-year old Joseph Akol scored aggregates 33 emerging as the best student of the same school.
Just like Nankinga, Akol’s certainty for available income to cover his tuition for further studies seems hazy. His hopelessness stems from the fact that he is orphaned.
He scored D1 in Agriculture, C3 in English, C5 in CRE, C4 in History, C5 in Geography, C5 in Mathematics, C6 in Physics, P8 in Chemistry, and P7 in Biology.
Akol, also deaf, said that he was raised by his grandmother after the death of his parents. Despite tough financial times, his guardian was committed to paying his school fees up to the time he sat for the national exams.
Under his grandmother’s care, Akol decided to engage in carpentry during vacation so that he could help her raise tuition for his A’ Level studies.
But the sh6000 he earns daily will not be enough to clear his tuition. He calls upon well-wishers to assist him achieve his dream of becoming an accountant.
Kenya: Disabled Council Boss Nyagudi Wants Fresh Census for Members
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
BY RAMADHAN RAJAB, 17 FEBRUARY 2012
PEOPLE living with disability want be recounted to know their true numbers. Speaking at the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission hearings on disabilities, Phoebe Nyagudi, the director National Council for Persons with Disability, said the previous census failed to identify them.
"A special count will help give data on our numbers for easier planning and implementing programmes geared at improving our welfare," said Nyagudi. She said they have been ignored in previous development programmes and it is hard for them to demand their rights as they had no figures to use as the basis for lobbying.
Nyagudi said the current national infrastructure policy is discriminatory to the disabled persons and contrary to the Disability Act. "We have numerous challenges. Most of our roads, buildings and other amenities are not friendly to us. We literally cannot access some areas and this is ill-treatment in this day and age," she said.
The council, she said, had requested Sh1 billion from government to conduct its own census in this current budget but it was given only Sh285 million to run its programmes. "To offer the disabled persons with equal opportunity to enjoy their rights and make them productive we also need more people employed at the council to help in empowering them," she added. Nyagudi further said they were proposing changes on the Act on disability so as to offer strict guidelines on how constructions of building should be done as well on who to give and enforce that standards are followed.
Ghana: Deaf Condemn Exclusion From State of the Nation Address
20 FEBRUARY 2012
The Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) has lamented the failure to use sign language interpreters during the delivery of the state of the nation address in Parliament by President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday.
In a statement issued barely an hour after the President had concluded his address, the Association stated that "...majority of the Deaf population in Ghana did not hear what our President said during his State of Nation address in Parliament on February 16th, 2012" because no provision was made to cater for "Deaf people whose method of communication is Sign Language" and their means of having access to information is via sign language interpreters.
The statement, signed by Mr. Robert W. Sampana, Advocacy Officer, GNAD, said the omission was not only an infringement on the fundamental rights of the disabled but also a breach of Section 39 of the Persons with Disability law (Act 715 of 2006).
The referenced section states that: "A person or institution which organises a national, regional or district activity, shall as far as practicable ensure that facilities are made available for the participation in the activity by persons with disability."
Mr Sampana said: "It is therefore my hope and that of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) and every Deaf person in the Ghanaian Deaf Community that public events will have Sign Language Interpreters."
Deaf and dumb girl abandoned in hospital
New Vision, Uganda
Publish Date: Feb 20, 2012
By Gladys Kalibbala
Blessing Namara, aged 13 is both deaf and dumb and gives a sweet smile that shows very white teeth when you approach her hospital bed.
Unfortunately, behind her charming smile hides the misery of a teenage girl who was abandoned at the reception desk of CoRSU hospital, Kisubi on January 15 this year. An unidentified woman reportedly from Mubende district said she was only helping the orphaned girl when she brought her to the hospital.
Sadly before the administration at CoRSU concluded how she could be helped, the woman vanished leaving her behind.
For years, Namara has been moving on her knees and hands because of disabilities in her legs and her hands. With that much friction over time, her limbs have visibly become rough.
According to Irene Nabalamba, the Public Relations & Program Development Officer at CoRSU, Namara was recently operated on and it is hoped she will be able to walk in the near future.
“Namara is deaf and dumb and she also had severe bilateral clubfoot which had never been treated before since her birth,” Nabalamba explained.
She added that communication with her is very difficult.
“She cannot even speak in sign language and has not been able to direct anyone to where her home could be,” Nabalamba noted.
The Hospital has approached several children’s organizations looking after abandoned children but because she is physically disabled and above 10 years, no organization is willing to take her. Other organizations reasoned that, at 13 years, “she is too big”.
The Sister of Providence Home Nkokonjeru has agreed to take her in but says she can only provide accommodation.
Namara will have to be taken to a Special Needs school like Bishop Brown in Mukono for a start and later on to Ntinda School for the Deaf for her primary education. This all requires money to pay for school fees, scholastic materials and other basic needs, besides she will need to see an ENT and a speech specialist to examine why she cannot hear or talk.
“All this will cost money and that’s why she needs people who can stand by her during this trying time.”
Nabalamba noted that education is the only way to help her become self-reliant after being abandoned by her family.
According to her, there is need to establish whether Namara can be able to hear or not and asks well-wishers to come forward and take her to ENT professionals.
“That’s why we are appealing to Good Samaritans to come to her aid and take her to school for the deaf,” Nabalamba appealed.
Interest in drawings
Namara spends time making drawings she copies from the TOTO Magazine pull-out of the New Vision paper.
“She seems to be a bright child but since none of us can communicate with her, we cannot tell whether she has ever been to school or not,” explained Nabalamba, adding that the girl is clean and that she used to bath and wash her clothes before the operation.
Nabalamba calls upon government and other actors to come out and help provide free medical care, special needs education and other basic necessities to children with disability.
“Such is the plight of children with disabilities. Many parents abandon them in different places like hospitals, villages and other places where many times they are left to die off,” she observes.
She acknowledges that with good care, such children can also grow up into productive adults.
“Parents should not abandon children with disability. They should instead stand by them as they mature into responsible adults,” Nabalamba concludes.
For any form of assistance towards Blessing Namara , please call +256 782 995 841
Kenya: Thika Man Lynched for Killing His Wife
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
BY STAR CORRESPONDENT, 21 FEBRUARY 2012
A surveyor in Thika was killed by a mob after he had killed his estranged wife yesterday morning. Thika police chief, Paul K. Leting said Lucy Wangui Ndung'u, 44, who is a teacher at Munyu's Mary Magdalene Special School for the Deaf, was waylaid by her husband on her way to school.
The husband stabbed her six times in the chest as she waited for transport at a bus station at Landless estate, said the police chief.
The police boss said that after the 7.30 a.m. incident, the assailant took to his heels in a bid to escape but was cornered by members of the public who had witnessed the attack.
Letting said both the husband and wife were taken to Thika Level Five Hospital but both died as they received attention. The woman was the first to die. An hour and half later the husband,Alfons Njaramba Karagu, 40, also died.
The police chief said it was not immediately possible to establish the motive behind the attack. He urged the media and church to play their roles in discouraging domestic violence. A brother to the deceased teacher Christopher Ndung'u said the couple had two children aged 5 and 16 years and had been separated for nearly two years. the teacher has been living in her mother's house.
Sierra Leone: Disabled Urged to Quit Violence
BY JARIATU BANGURA,
22 FEBRUARY 2012
Member of Parliament of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party representing Constituency 67 has warned disabled persons in Bo city to quit violence.
Addressing members of the Gbotima Development Disability Right Association, Hon. Neneh Lebbie expressed her keen interest in working with the disabled provided they quit violence. She implored them to be law abiding and respect those in authority, while pledging her support to working with the organization in order for them to achieve their aims and objectives.
Hon. Julius Nye-Cuffie - a disabled himself - also pledged his support to the group and informed them about the work he has been doing in parliament to promote and advocate for the physically challenged in the country.
He maintained that the Disability Bill which was passed by parliament last year provides for the setting up of a disabled commission to seek the welfare of disabled persons across the country.
"I urge you all to engage yourselves in something productive and refrain from violence, only then will you be respected and recognized in society.
Please work as a team in order to achieve your goals," he urged.
The organization's chairman, Isaac H.S. Marvie thanked the two MPs for their advice and show of support, and promised to work in accordance with the organization's rules and regulations.
Family minister concerned about disabled, beggar women
22, Feb 2012, Angola Press
Minister of Family and Woman Promotion, Genoveva Lino
Luanda - Angolan minister of Family and Women Promotion, Genoveva Lino, met recently with a delegation of the Angolan National Handicapped Association(ANDA) to discuss the issue related to disabled and beggar women.
This information was released Wednesday to Angop by the chairman of the ANDA, Silva Lopes Etiambulo.
According to him, the minister has voiced during audience concern about the abandonment to which many women with disabilities are subject by their husbands.
"Many men who are married with women with disabilities decide breaking the relationship after having one or more children leaving them (women) with serious social hardships", regretted the official.
Silva Etiambulo noted that in recent months there has been a substantial increase of women with disabilities begging in Luanda, a fact that worries both government authorities and associations.
On the other hand, the ANDA delegation was received by the minister of Hotels and Tourism, Pedro Mutinde.
The parties discussed the issue on the employment of the handicapped, as well as the elimination of architectural barriers in the country’s hotels.
South Sudan: 'Economic Empowerment for War Disabled Is Our Target', Deng Dau
BY MATATA SAFI,
23 FEBRUARY 2012
Juba - The chairperson of the War Disabled, Widows and Orphans Commission Mr. Deng Dau Deng has said economic empowerment of the war disabled is the main target of his commission.
Speaking to goss.org in his office yesterday, Mr. Deng said that, the vision of the commission is to have a society in which War Disabled, War Widows and War Orphans have equal opportunities and rights to participate in development for improved quality of life.
Mr. Deng explained that war disabled are faced with a number of challenges including mobility as well as access to funds to start small scale income generating projects so as to contribute to nation development. He explained that in line with this, the commission has managed to secure some tricycles that have been distributed to the war survivors in all the ten states to ease their mobility.
He also said the commission is a support giving-service drive, is working on acquiring sewing machines, simple electronic grinding machines that the survivors can use for generating income for their families. He added that there are plans to acquire river canoes and speed boats that the beneficiaries would use for fishing hence generating income.
He also said the commission prioritizes capacity building. He explained that knowledge acquired from such trainings can be applied to generate income. He added that the commission has in plan small scale loans schemes that the disabled, widows will borrow to start small businesses.
He encouraged them to form an association if they are to benefit from such programmes.
Mr. Deng observed that the government needs the support of other stakeholders to achieve this. "As government, we cannot do this alone, we need support from organizations, it could church organizations or community organizations to support the government in its efforts to help the people who paid dearly for the realization of this country", Mr Deng said.
The South Sudan War Disabled Widows and Orphans Commission (SSWDWOC) is a commission that was established after the signing of the CPA in 2005.
It only deals with the war disabled, orphans and widows.
Tagged: Arms and Armies, Business, Conflict, East Africa, Human Rights, South Sudan, Sustainable Development
Namibia: Emotions Simmer at Disability Council
BY NICO SMIT,
23 FEBRUARY 2012
QUESTIONS are being raised about the appointment of Tjiueza Tjombumbi, a former chairperson of the National Disability Council's (NDC) management committee, as the NDC's deputy director for research and development, as he allegedly did not meet the criteria for the job.
The Namibian has been approached by a number of people with disabilities, who alleged that Tjombumbi does not have the requisite bachelor's degree for the deputy director post, and that his appointment was never approved and signed off by NDC director Martin Limbo.
Tjombumbi neither confirmed nor denied having a bachelor's degree, only saying that interviews were conducted and that Public Service Commission procedures were followed.
According to one source, Tjombumbi created the research and development deputy director post for himself, using his authority as chairperson of the NDC's management committee.
It is also alleged that Tjombumbi resigned from his post as chairperson of the NDC management committee a few days before his appointment as deputy director for research and development and is now a full-time employee of the NDC.
Limbo has told The Namibian the the NDC took a resolution to relax the requirements for the deputy director post on the condition that the person appointed to the post be working in the same field as that of the post in question, where the applicant is a disabled person.
When asked to comment on allegations that the NDC relaxed the requirements to pave the way for Tjombumbi's appointment to the post, Limbo says that it although it may seem that way, "such claims cannot be authenticated, it was coincidental."
Regarding the claims that the Tjombumbi created the post for himself and that he resigned from the Ndc only shotly before his appointment to the deputy director, Limbo said that this is not the case.
According to Limbo, he created the deputy director post based on a needs assessment of the NDC, and added that Tjombumbi resigned from the NDC and its management committee in January last year "before the interviews for the post were held.
When asked whether he did sign off on Tjombumbi's appointment, Limbo said that the submission recommending the appointment was made by NDC chairperson Alexia Ncube, and as such he did not have the authority to sign off on it.
According to Limbo, the submission was made and signed by Ncube because of the council's resolution to relax the requirements for the post.
Limbo said that Tjombumbi was formerly an employee at the Office of the Prime Minister and that he obtained a recommendation for Tjombumbi from the deputy director post from Prime Minister Nahas Angula.
The plight of the disabled vendor
February 23, 2012, Sokwanele (Zimbabwe)
At the beginning of December last year the Council launched yet another crackdown on vendors and I witnessed the wrath of the Council police in the Central Business District of Harare. With unemployment around the highest in the world, Zimbabwe’s disabled are the last to be hired and so to earn a living most resort to selling cell phone airtime, sweets, clothes, watches and fruit from the pavement, freely mixing with their able bodied fellow vendors.
According to the city by-laws, vendors should register with the city council so that they can freely sell their wares. Vendors argue that they will pay rents only when the local authorities give them a designated market space to sell their wares.
The police and the city council regularly launch crackdowns on these vendors, whom they accuse of littering the streets of the sunshine city and flouting city by-laws . Very often the situation declines to running battles being waged between the council police and vendors, including the disabled.
I witnessed such a battle in the city centre when a municipal police official ruthlessly pushed a man in a wheel chair and dispossessed him his basket of apples. The situation tormented me, so I approached the poor, disadvantaged man who said,
“We are not opposed to paying rents to the city council if they would just give us decent market places. Spending the day seated here on the street during this hot summer season is not by choice, we are trying to make ends meet. For these people to rob us like this is surely unfair.”
I gathered courage to question a senior City of Harare council authority on their position on disabled vendors and I was told that they have a special privilege of being exempted from the blitz. In fact, one of the lucky disabled vendors confirmed that the local authorities and the police were not cracking down on them but he added that only overzealous officers disturb them during the battles.
“If they come to where you are they tell you to hide your wares while they forfeit those of able bodied vendors, but this disturbs us a lot as we are all in this together. What we need is the creation of special markets for the disabled only so that we do not face these disturbances”, said the middle aged women on crutches.
Harare used to have designated market places until 2005 when the then ruling ZANU (PF) government destroyed them under operation Murambatsvina.
Since then the plight of the vendor has been marked by harassment.
In fact, the only way disabled people’s rights can be realised and respected is when they have representation in the political sphere. They should have representatives in parliament and cabinet for their views and demands to be realised. At the moment this is not the case and the disabled continue to silently suffer.
But recently the National Association for the Societies of the Care and Handicapped (NASCOH), a body which fights for the rights of the disabled, made it clear that they are not happy about their constitutional right to vote in secret. According to the organisation’s Director Farai Mukuta they have already found disabled people who want to contest as councillors, Members of Parliament even up to the Presidential candidate level in the next elections.
In my mind, I believe that if these people are afforded the chance to contest surely their political abuse will become history. You can find many reports that the disabled are being used and abused in Zimbabwe, I even heard a story that someone in a wheelchair was used to smuggle imported cars into the country.
Poverty and lack of economic empowerment affects everyone here, but especially the disabled. We are all Zimbabweans, regardless of our physical or mental capacities and it is time that the government made absolutely sure that all Zimbabweans’ rights are respected.
Kenya team get direct ticket to Deaf Olympics in Budapest
Friday, 24 February 2012 00:29 BY DAN OWERRE
KENYA team has been granted a direct ticket to next year’s Deaf Olympics in Budapest, Hungary after all their opponents withdrew from the championship at the last minute. Coach Charles “Ghost” Goro said International Deaf Basketball Federation (DIBF) gave the direct ticket on Wednesday after Kenya’s remaining opponents ? Nigeria?failed to show up. “We expected Nigeria to come for the show but after hours of waiting, they communicated to say they were unable.
As a result, DIFB have given us a direct qualification to the championship,” Said Goro. Uganda, Tanzania and Mali were the first to pull out, citing financial constraints. “We now have a chance to play at the biggest stage. We will reach out to some good and talented players out there and start our preparations early ahead of the event,” he said. The players in camp: Brian Wainaina, Daniel Ochola, Elvis Odhiambo, Victor Ogunga, Ben Bikweti, Caleb Kabaka, Jarvis Munyasia, Calvin Musalia, Peter Kagotho, Charles Ngugi, Dickson, Juma, Hassan Khalifa, Boniface Odhiambo and Timothy Kamau.
Zimbabwe: Housing Scheme for the Disabled Noble
27 FEBRUARY 2012, allAfrica
It is amazing how words can be crafted and spoken in a way that would leave the listeners overwhelmed with emotion to the extent that one really can feel the blood running within one's veins.
To achieve this, one really has to be an orator or professional actor otherwise they would need to have been part of the situation. Better still they should be the ones facing the odds if a real picture of a situation is to be portrayed with all the emotions embodying it.
Although not an actor or an orator herself, Beauty Kasokera managed to achieve this with no actual effort invested. She was speaking of something she was experiencing.
"When I cry for my rights, no action is taken because I am disabled . . .
Give us our chance, give us our space we demand space as people with disability and see what we can do," she said. Beauty is one of the beneficiaries of housing stands under the Mushawedu Housing Co-operative at Eastville, Caledonia Farm in Harare. A total of 200 families of disabled persons are to benefit from the scheme.
These families witnessed the commissioning of a core house by the Special Disability Adviser in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Retired Brigadier General Felix Muchemwa.
Responding to Beauty's call, Rtd Brig Gen Muchemwa said, " . . . no longer shall you have to cry because the commissioning today of this core house means that you are now a landlord as you will be having your own house."
The core houses will consist of a bedroom, kitchen, toilet and living room.
Mushawedu Housing Co-operative was formed in 2007 and is a brainchild of the National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe. The group came up with the initiative after realising that many people living with disabilities were shunned by landlords and ended had difficulty securing accommodation. This is because no-one accepts them in their houses because of their condition. The dream of owning a home will certainly come true for these persons living with disabilities. What is most captivating is that the majority of the beneficiaries are vegetable vendors who went out of their way to pay monthly subscriptions.
Mr Alexious Zindoga who is the chairperson of the Chitungwiza branch said little profits they obtained from selling their merchandise were dearly kept and paid as monthly subscriptions for the viability of the project that will see them accessing accommodation.
>From the look of satisfaction on many faces that made up the gathering,
>one could easily tell their happiness. Their zeal which was spurred on by a burning passion to become landlords had paid off.
"There are several housing co-operatives dotted across the country and Mushawedu stands above the rest as it is the only one of its kind providing housing stands specifically for the physically challenged," said Mr Zindoga
Rtd Brig Gen Muchemwa said the beauty of the initiative was that the success of the scheme was coming at a time when the Government was working flat out to address the housing shortages facing persons living with disabilities.
"These people are always abused emotionally and physically by landlords, so we have decided to provide them with housing stands on which they can build their own houses," said Rtd Brigadier Gen Muchemwa.
Another beneficiary Showorai Muganda said she was happy that the project that started off as a comic story had brought smiles.
"Hard work and determination made them us realise positive results. The main aim of the co-operative is to give shelter to people living with disabilities and ensure they have decent accommodation.
"The housing scheme serves as way of demystifying the notion that the people living with disability can't do anything meaningful.
"People used to look down upon us but we are now able to fight back all the abuses that we used to receive from our able bodied landlords," said Muganda who suffers speech impairment.
Another beneficiary Mr Matambudziko Utete urged Government to keep on supporting people living with disabilities in terms of accommodation and grants so that they stop begging on streets.
Mai Munya narrated what had befallen her as a result of her condition.
"Our neighbours used to hate us. They would not let our children play with theirs. They once threw a dead dog in my well. There was nothing we could do other than keep quite," she lamented.
Her face suddenly brightens as she encouraged persons with disabilities to form co-operatives.
"We are now convinced that the Government really cares for us. We can now see that they are now giving support to us, the people who are faced with disability," she added.
The co-operative with help from Government managed to raise US$450 000.
The money will be used to build more houses for the members. Services are beginning to put in place with a clinic already built in the area. The new clinic will cater for residents of Eastville, who were walking long distances in search of medical attention.
Retired Brigadier General Muchemwa, however, said a lot still need to be done in improving the road network, sewer and water reticulation systems and that required a lot of money.
Disabled cannot access courtrooms, judge told
By PAMELA CHEPKEMEI
Posted Tuesday, February 28 2012
An organisation has filed a case seeking to compel the Judiciary to build ramps to allow people with physical disabilities access courtrooms.
The executive director of Kenya Paraplegic Organisation Timothy Wetangula and a police officer who was crippled by a road accident filed the case accusing the Judiciary of failing to recognise the needs of physically disabled litigants.
They want the High Court to declare that the new Milimani Law Courtrooms and The Supreme Court Building in Nairobi are not accessible to persons with disabilities because they only have concrete barriers, stairs and elevations.
Mr Wetangula and Mr Paul Anupa want an order directing that all the courts in Kenya be fitted with ramps to facilitate access for all persons with disabilities.
They contend that they cannot attend the hearing of Mr Anupa’s petition as there is no ramp at the Milimani building, making it impossible for persons on wheelchairs or crutches to get to the courtrooms.
As an interim measure, Justice David Majanja of the High Court said he will make administrative arrangements to ensure that Mr Wetangula and Mr Anupa attend the hearing on Wednesday.
The judge gave the directions after lawyer John Chigiti, who is representing the two, told him that the petitioners want to attend the hearing but they cannot access the courtroom.
Mr Anupa has filed a case through the Kenyan Paraplegic Organisation challenging the decision by the Police Commissioner to send him on retirement on medical grounds in 2009.
He was employed by the Kenya Police and attached to the Anti-Stock Theft Unit in Isiolo and later at Gilgil.
While travelling along the Isiolo-Marsabit Road in 2003, the petitioner was involved in a road accident. He sustained spinal cord injury resulting in the paralysis of his lower limbs.
He wants the court to make a declaration that his right to fair labour practices and to reasonable working conditions have been violated by the his employer.
Man raped a deaf woman
February 28, 2012, Zimeye (Zimbabwe)
A 24 year old man was yesterday found guilty of raping a 20 year old deaf woman.
Robson Makaka (24) having been on bail before, had entered the court room from home when presiding magistrate Memory Chigwaza, convicted him of the offence sentencing him to prison forthwith.
He was sentenced to an effective 12-year-jail term for raping the 20-year-old deaf woman, but this was soon altered to 15 years after he attempted to flee the court room.
There was pandamonium yesterday after he attempted to flee seconds after he being convicted. Just as Judge Chigwaza was delivering judgment, Makaka lept from the dock and sped towards the door.
The magistrate ordered him to get back into the dock and sit down.
However, Makaka who may have taken advantage of the fact that the court officials were women and prison officers were not yet in court, stopped in looking womewhat shocked.
Magistrate Chigwaza then ordered him for the second time to return to his position, and at that juncture, Makaka seeing a policewoman approach to apprehend him paced back to the dock while shaking his head somewhat in disbelief.
Magistrate Chigwaza then stood down the matter for sentencing and later sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
She suspended two years for five years on condition Makaka does not commit a similar offence within that period.
The prosecutor, Mrs Tinashe Makiya pleaded that Makaka’s crime was worse than had bene declared. She said: “If the court may consider that the accused took advantage of the girl’s hearing impediment and the fact that she was unable to communicate.
“He also put the girl’s health at risk of HIV and Aids because he had unprotected sexual intercourse with her.”
Magistrate Chigwaza concurred with the State and said a deterrent sentence must be imposed to send a message to would-be offenders.
Sometime in March last year, the victim who is a student at a local school for the deaf, was at home where they are tenants at the same house with Makaka.
The court heard that around 7pm, she went into the kitchen to wash the dishes and Makaka followed her.
He grabbed her hand and dragged her to the toilet where he raped her once.
Makaka repeatedly sexually abused her on several occasions and the victim kept it a secret.
The offence came to light when she went back to school and a non governmental organisation visited her school to teach them about sexual abuse which led the girl to open up.
A police report was made leading to Makaka’s arrest.
Apps for the visually impaired
Article By: Hadlee Simons
Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:55
Technology has made life easier for countless scores of people, whether it's for research, communication or entertainment.
But visually impaired people have seemingly been left behind when it comes to tech, however, there are plenty of neat applications and features on hand.
This unique application uses the iPhone's camera to read out text on documents, menus and other forms, with users simply swiping to the right to hear the text being read.
The application works well enough, and is available for free from Apple's App Store, so what do you have to lose?
The default assistant for Apple's iOS platform is a pretty nifty piece of kit, delivering text-to-speech navigation for the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
Users simply activate the feature from the Accessibility menu in settings. Once that's completed, you can single tap on an item to have its description read to you, and then double tap to select it. Need to scroll? Then simply use a three-finger gesture.
This unique Android app reads your PDFs and DOC files out loud, making it a great tool for visually impaired office workers and the like.
Another neat feature is its ability to read webpages, with users simply pressing menu and then share from their browser.
Color ID Free
Another nifty application for the iPhone and Android platforms, Color ID Free identifies colours out loud, with even slight changes being detected.
The app could come in handy for checking the weather, whether the food is cooked or anything else.
My Blind Tunes
On the surface, this application doesn't look like anything special, being a music player, but My Blind Tunes has plenty of great features for the visually impaired.
The Android app lets users search media, enter commands and play music using the power of your voice alone, making it a great tool for drivers and the visually impaired alike.
This neat Android application speaks the address of nearby locations and streets as you pass them, making for a useful navigation tool.
Users can also receive walking directions, making it a great alternative to Google's default application.
This simple Android application reads out Wikipedia articles paragraph by paragraph, making for a convenient way to get your dose of the world's most popular encyclopaedia.
The app works simply enough, with users hitting the microphone button and speaking their search term. And if the term brings up a disambiguation screen, the application will read the possible entries as well.
One of the more popular apps out there, Vlingo is marketed as a personal assistant of sorts, letting you do plenty of tasks using your voice.
Available on the BlackBerry, iPhone and Android app markets, this nifty mini-program is more accurate than many competitors.
One of the more original Twitter clients out there, Tweet Speaker for iOS does exactly what you think, reading tweets out loud.
Tweet Speaker's user-friendly layout and smart execution makes it well worth a download, especially at the bargain price of $0.99.
Tanzania: Assisting Deaf Children - Everyone Has a Role to Play
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY ISSA YUSSUF, 7 MARCH 2012
AMINA Omar, 9 faced difficulties coping in class for the simple fact she has a hearing impairment. In a class of 40 pupils even the class teacher never gave her a second thought and dismissed her as 'too naughty'.
It was not until activists explained her problem at the school that the students' and teachers' attitude towards Amina changed.
This unfortunate incident was related by Ms Abeida Rashid, the Director, and Department of People Living with Disabilities in Zanzibar to the First Vice-President at a gathering to launch books on sign language in Zanzibar last week.
She said the beautiful young Amina (not her real name) is a bright student who could not communicate with her classmates and teachers effectively at school class nor with her family at home.
The Director says that Amina is an example of the many deaf children facing problems in communicating just because most people do not know how to communicate with deaf people."
Results from the survey conducted by the Zanzibar Association of Deaf (CHAVIZA) indicate that there are over 2,600 deaf people on Unguja and Pemba Islands, including children and yet only few people know the sign language to communicate. "Everyone, people including clerics, parents, teachers, law enforcers should learn sign language for easy communication with children and adults who are hard-of-hearing," Ms Abeida said in Zanzibar.
Abeida said there are still many disappointing cases of mistreatment and neglect of the deaf especially children and she asked the public to support the sign language learning project. "When you have a child with hearing impairment in your classroom, a teacher needs to be careful not to assume that this student is misbehaving."
Hassan Mohamed, 15, says that students have varying degrees of hearing impairment. "Some students are labelled as troublesome and are punished by teachers just because they do not understand what the teacher is saying. In fact many students and teachers need to learn how to communicate with deaf students.
Since it may take some time before modern hearing facilities for the deaf are available, Dr Islam Seif, Deputy Permanent Secretary, First Vice-President's Office, emphasizes the need for learning sign language. Zanzibar launched a sign language learning project to enable people communicate with deaf people. The campaign involves motivating adults and children to learn sign language by studying books/pamphlets which contains signs and communication language skills for the deaf.
Launching the books at the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Seif said: "Every person has the right to information and education is a right for all children. Let us all learn the sign language for easy communication with deaf children at home, school, and other hearing-impaired people. Parents, teachers, journalists, and all other people should know the sign language for easy communications with the deaf," Seif said.
According to the chairperson of the Zanzibar Association for deaf, Mr Jide Khamis, the 2011-2015 'sign language learning' project supported by USAID, VSO, Global Deaf Connection, and Digital Office and Print services is aimed at encouraging people to learn the sign language.
CHAVIZA chairperson says that persons with any type of disability have the right to access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live.
Causes of hearing impairment
Health experts say there are many reasons why a child can be born deaf or become deaf early in life. It is not always possible to identify the reason. There are possible causes before a child is born and after birth. Some children are born deaf due to genetic factors. Deafness can be passed down in families. Sometimes the gene involved may cause additional disabilities or health problems.
Deafness can also be caused by complications during pregnancy. Illnesses such as rubella and herpes can cause a child to be born deaf. There is also a range of medicines that damage the hearing of a baby before birth. Being born prematurely can increase the risk of becoming deaf. Premature babies are often more prone to infections that cause deafness. They may also be born with severe jaundice or experience a lack of oxygen at some point during birth and any of these cases can cause deafness.
According to 'deaf child worldwide' organization, in early childhood there is a range of things that can be responsible for a child becoming deaf. Infections like meningitis, measles and mumps can cause deafness. Occasionally deafness is caused by an injury to the head or exposure to loud noise. These can cause damage to the hearing system.
Congo-Kinshasa: Disabled Left to Fend for Themselves
BY BADYLON K. BAKIMAN, 9 MARCH 2012
Kikwit - The outlook for people living with disabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains bleak, despite a variety of efforts to improve their lot and bring them in from the margins of society.
"There are roughly 9.1 million people with disabilities in Congo, 11 percent of the total population of 60 million," said Patrick Pindu, coordinator of the National Federation of Associations of People Living with a Disability in Congo (FENAPHACO).
Pindu, who was speaking on the occasion of the first "Day of Sharing and Solidarity", organised in Kikwit, in southwestern DRC in February, said, "Amongst people with disabilities, 90 percent are illiterate, 93 percent are jobless and 96 percent live in an unhealthy and inhumane environment."
Godefroid Kiyaka gets around the N'djili neighbourhood of the capital, Kinshasa, on his hands and knees because of the extreme deformity of his legs.
"I don't have a wheelchair to go longer distances," he told IPS. "Many people turn away from me when I ask them for donations."
In Kikwit, 22-year-old Alphonse Mumbaka relies on crutches for limited mobility. His father died when he was young, and left to his own devices, Mumbaka never went to school or learned to read. "No one educated me."
Jolie Apelo is one of around 350 members of the Association des handicap?s et personnes invalides de Kikwit - the Kikwit Association of Disabled Persons. "As you see me here, I don't eat properly due to a lack of financial resources. I'm unable to buy clothes so I can present myself like a human being worthy of the name, even if I am a member of an association."
Apelo's association is one of 226 that are part of FENAPHACO, an umbrella group working for the defence, promotion and protection of the rights of the disabled.
FENAPHACO coordinator Pindu laments the fact that the DRC is yet to ratify the 1993 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, though the country's 2006 constitution offers at least paper guarantees.
"Both the elderly and people with disabilities have the right to specific protections with regards to their physical, intellectual and moral needs," says article 49 of the constitution.
"The government has a duty to promote the presence of people with disabilities in the heart of national, provincial and local institutions."
There are several initiatives - both public and private - to try to address the challenges faced by this community.
"We set up the National Training Institute for People with Disabilities more than three years ago, where they can learn appropriate technology for the production of soap, perfume, improved bread and so on. This will help them to care for themselves," said Jean Etienne Makila, the institute's director general, who is himself disabled.
"In Bas-Congo Province (in the west of the country), the provincial government has, for the first time, released two million Congolese francs (around 2,180 dollars) to create micro-credit facilities dedicated to associations of people with disabilities," he said.
"If I couldn't fend for myself selling the bread I make at the market, I wouldn't be able to provide food for my children," Madeleine Murakupa, a disabled mother of two, told IPS. "It's rare to find people with disabilities who are in business."
According to Makila, there is also a "Women, Families and Children Living with Disabilities Unit" in Kinshasa, which provides training and support for women and young girls to strengthen their self- esteem and livelihood prospects.
The Catholic church also runs several projects. Five years ago, the Diocese of Kikwit set up two schools for the disabled. One, called "Bo ta mona" - meaning, "they will see" in the local language, Kikongo - teaches blind people to read and write Braille. The other, "Bo ta tuba" - "they will speak" - is a school for people with hearing or speech disabilities.
But observers feel that despite these efforts, the situation for people with disabilities remains very worrying given their large numbers across the country.
"It's not acceptable that the government still doesn't get involved in resolving the problems facing the disabled. These people must enjoy their full rights like everyone," said Cyrile Mupasa, from the League for the Defence of the Rights of Children and Students in the Central Africa zone.
Kaseya Kibishi, secretary general for the Ministry for Social Affairs, said the newly-elected parliament will ratify the U.N. convention. The ministry, he added, "already supports many associations of people with disabilities in Kinshasa and in several provinces," although he declined to give further details.
Khaleej Times -
11 March 2012 Accra, Ghana -Indian telecommunications provider Airtel has added a human face to its operations in Ghana with “Touching Lives ”, a project to help improve the lives of physically challenged people in the West African country.
Airtel Ghana’s Touching Lives is dedicated to people “who are living in trying circumstances by offering them various support”, head of corporate communications Donald Gwira told IANS.
”This is not a social responsibility programme and at the same time, we do not want to take over the government’s role. All we are doing is to provide support that would help improve the lives of people in society, ” Gwira added.
Last year the company took over the case of eight physically challenged cobblers in Bolgatanga, Upper East regional capital. Gwira said, “ Airtel renovated the workshop for the cobblers and provided them with equipment that they needed to work in order to improve their lives.”
There were some 12 other cases which were chosen by people in various communities all over the country for the company to assist.
This year, the company is helping Rebecca Asantewa, one of the 13 who have been nominated for Airtel to help this year. Gwira said she “was nominated for us to help because of the tremendous work she was doing in the community.”
This is an exceptional case of a woman who has dedicated her life to helping people in her community with her own resources.
Rebecca has taken over the responsibility of looking after seven disabled children who were abandoned by their father because of their condition. Their mother, who could not cope with the situation, died 10 years ago. She has spent the past years looking after these children who have grown up now in addition to her own family responsibilities.
”They are unable to walk well and can only make movements through crawling. They are so feeble they can hardly do anything with their hands, including feeding, bathing and wearing their clothes. They are carried to attend nature’s call on a daily basis,” Gwira said.
He said Rebecca whom the children call “Special Aunt” stepped into the lives of the children at the expense of her own family and economic life.
As a result of her involvement, she is unable to work because she is required to stay with wards all day long.”
One of the children who is now studying under a scholarship at the Ghana Catholic University depends on friends and other philanthropists for his feeding and all this falls on Rebecca’s shoulders as the only person who has to care for their needs.
Airtel’s involvement is to provide assistance to Rebecca to care for the education needs of these children. As a result, the company will provide wheelchairs, a television set and ramps up the stairs in the place where they live.
By doing this, the company believes it would touch the lives of people who would otherwise not have had anyone around to assist them.
Nigeria: Ekiti Buys Braille Computers for Disabled Students
BY DOYIN ADEBUSUYI, 12 MARCH 2012
Ado-Ekiti - The Ekiti State government at the weekend took delivery of N16 million worth of Braille computers for students with disability in public schools across the state.
Similarly, the state said it would spend N6 billion for the procurement of learning materials for all the secondary school students in public schools in the next three years.
The computers, according to the state's Commissioner for Education and Technology, Dr. Eniola Ajayi, would put students at par with their able bodied colleagues in terms of learning and exposure to modern technology.
The commissioner said the project would be executed by the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration within a spate of three academic years.
Ajayi disclosed that the procurement of the specially configured computers for physically challenged students was targeted at driving the new educational policy of the Federal Government.
"Being blind or deaf should not be a barrier to a good future, and that is what Governor Kayode Fayemi is trying to prove with this policy", he said.
The commissioner added that about 33,000 of the 95,000 secondary school students and Science teachers in public schools will benefit from the solar-panel computers in 2012 while the others will benefit from that of 2013 and 2014 respectively.
She said the state government decided to spread the implementation of the programme due to paucity of funds and for effective implementation of the policy.
"These computers consist of educational software that can aid learning and this will be of tremendous help to the deaf and blind students in computer education to make them to be at par with their contemporaries.
These computers are durable because it is effective and of good quality, and they are automated with guarantee of two years from the firm that produced them. So, we are very sure that the programme, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria will be a success," she said.
Disabled people's association worried about member's situation
12 March 2012, Angola Press
Luanda - The Angolan Federation of Associations of Disabled Persons (Fadep) has expressed its concern about the serious situation facing its associates, ANGOP has learnt.
This was said by Fadep's chairman, Silva Lopes Etiambulo, who added that most of disabled people are facing great social and economic difficulties, a situation that worries the federation.
The official also said that the federation has been working for the acquisition of professional kits, aimed at supporting the members.
Sekyere Central presents GH?95,153.00 to the disabled
The Sekyere Central District Assembly has made available an amount of GH ?93,150.00 in support of the physically challenged in the area.
Mr Joshuah Adam Asihene, the District Coordinating Director, said this was in compliance with the requirement that two per cent of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) should be allocated to the disabled persons.
The money would be disbursed to a total of 274 people, he said, adding that it was meant to assist and provide them with some economic relief.
He urged those beneficiaries with vocational skills to use their share to apply their trades to better their lives.
Mr Asihene also appealed families to do more to support them to end the situation where they beg for alms at traffic intersections and on the streets.
Mr Francis Amedor, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Association of the Physically Challenged Persons, thanked the assembly for readily releasing the money.
Disability Fund disbursed in the Volta Region
Disability Fund disbursed in the Volta Region
The Ho Municipal Assembly disbursed a total of 37,025 Ghana cedis from its Disability Fund among 125 disability groups and individuals last year.
Madam Deti Selormey, Chairperson of the Fund’s Management Committee, announced these at a stakeholders meeting to identify ways children and young people with disabilities can have access inclusive education and live independently.
The meeting was organized by the New Horizon of the Blind (NHFB) and Kekeli, non-governmental organizations on People with Disabilities (PWDs).
Madam Selormey said education was needed to get more pupils and students with disabilities to take advantage of the benefits under the Fund.
She observed that the cost of educating the disabled child is much more expensive than educating their colleagues without disabilities saying the Braille- a very essential study material for a visually impaired child for instance could hardly be afforded by parents whose children have such a disability.
Madam Selormey said the assistance from the Fund was available to all persons with disabilities irrespective of the group they belonged and that they only have to apply to Disability Fund Management Committee.
Participants at the event suggested to the Committee institutes measures to monitor whether the beneficiaries of the fund were using them for the stated purposes.
Hearing-impaired students hold inter-house sports in Lagos ‘I see them, representing the state in the near future’ - sports administrator
By ONYEKACHI JET Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Mr. and Mrs. Ogunbayo (in white tract suits), together with other dignitaries, taking salute from the Green House.
PHOTO: THE SUN PUBLISHING
One breathtaking feature of the recent schools sports meet of the D- EstDot Group of Schools Idimu, Lagos was the superlative performance by some hearing impaired (HI or special) students of the school. Most of the HI students were among the first three competitors to brace the tape in the games they participated in.
among them were Alaraba Sodiq, Abas Rukayat, Ekeh Jerry, Chukwudi Ngozi, Olaoluwa Fasasi and Olumide Sodiq. Of particular focus was Alaraba Sodiq who picked Gold in 100m Boys (Open), 200m and 400m Boys races. While and Rukayat Abas who also picked Gold in100m Girls (Open), Sack Race Junior Girls and 200m Girls race respectively.
Then you wonder how they were able to hear the blast of the whistle to take off. Through an interpreter, Alaraba who also spoke on his aspiration explained. “There’s always an interpreter in front of us.
So, I focus my gaze at him and watch his signs very closely. And once he makes the sign ‘go’, I take off. That’s what we do. I hope to be a Chemical Engineer but if its God’s will, I will get involved in sports.”
Their efforts did not however, go unnoticed as one of the sports administrators from the Lagos State Ministry of Sports and Youth Development; Mrs. Bose Joseph observed it all on behalf of the Honourable Commissioner. She speaks of her impression on the event particularly, performance of the HI students.
“We’re not disappointed coming to this event. The whole vision of the Lagos State government concerning sports is that when you organize events like this, you should involve us for basically, areas of security, harnessing the talents properly and of course, giving the good exposure, giving them good mileage. That is why we came and we’re indeed very impressed.
“The students have all done well and the school is doing very well because the HI students have actually excelled. Special sports festival is a festival that goes on around the whole country. And we would have the festival in April. And we know that this local government will do well if they present these candidates because special sport is one area people don’t pay attention to. I see them representing the state in the near future.”
In a chat with newsmen, the school proprietress, Mrs. Esther Modupe Ogunbayo, held that if effectively utilized, sports could serve as a vital tool for national development. “Today, we have all seen how very good special children can be in sports. We’re just creating awareness for people to know that we have them in our school. Sports are a tool of national cohesion and integration. It also breeds friendship and love.
At the end of the event, the Green House (Mr. and Mrs. Adeniji) House did not only lift the trophy by its impressive outing in the track and field events but also, through its spectacular and dynamic match past.
Apart from the eye-catching callisthenics, the king, queen prince and princess of the house were conveyed into the area via 4-wheel Runner jeep, with a HI student thrilling spectators with breathtaking bicycle displays.
The Yellow (Mr. and Mrs. Kolawole) and Blue (Hon. Adejoke Adefulire Orelope) Houses lifted the Silver and Bronze medals respectively. The Pink (Mr. and Mrs. Ogunbayo) House trailed behind at the fourth position.
Parliament adopts report on disability
Parliament on Monday adopted the report of the Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprises on the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disability and the optional protocol.
The convention was laid in Parliament on July 20 2011 by the then Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Enoch Teye Mensah in accordance with article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and was referred to the committee for consideration.
Mr Alfred Abayateye, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sege, who read the report said the general obligation of States require that signatories to the convention are expected to promote the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities.
He said to this end state parties should undertake to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for implementation of the rights recognised in the present convention.
Mr Abayateye said the convention is divided into 50 articles with article one defining the purpose of the convention, which is to promote protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promote respect for their inherent dignity.
He said the Committee has noted that ratification of the Convention has advantages for Ghana domestically and internationally.
Mr Abayateye said the convention provides practical guidance for States on measures they should take to remove barriers to persons with disabilities being able to enjoy the rights.
Accordingly Ghana’s ratification will focus action domestically on enabling persons with disabilities to participate in all aspects of the society on equal basis.
He said greater impetus and support for implementation of the disability Act, 2006 Act 715 would be provided through ratification.
Mr Hackman Owusu- Agyemang, Member for New Juaben North, said there was the need to let the sector Minister and the President know that the Legislative Instrument should be handled with urgency.
Alhaji Pelpuo Addul- Rashid, MP for Wa Central said it was important for one to know that people with disability deserve the right to enjoy everything as enshrined in the convention.
Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaen wanted to know the number of district assemblies that have allocated the two per cent of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund earmarked for persons with disabilities.
She urged members to follow up to see whether their directives on the issue are being implemented by the district assemblies.
Mrs Osei-Opare Frema Akusua, MP for Ayawaso Wuogon observed no single ministry had made its premises accessible to persons with disabilities and called on the Minister of Employment and Social Welfare to take the initiative.
Ghana: Disabled Receives Assistance
BY ALFRED ADAMS, 13 MARCH 2012
In the quest to provide the disabled with a source of livelihood and self dependence, about 75 disabled persons in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region have received monetary assistance, ranging from 100 to GH???400.
The funds were drawn from the two percent of the District Assembly Common Fund to support the disabled in education, trade, vocation, and medical care among others.
The District Social Welfare Officer, Mr. Matthew Abizie, indicated that the move was to enable persons with disability to be self-dependent, and also better their livelihoods.
He disclosed that the 75 disabled persons were drawn from four zones in the district, and expressed hope that the assistance given them would enable them make a daily living.
Mr. Abizie explained that the assistance was a sustainable programme to ensure that they had a better life, and therefore, implored them to cultivate the habit of saving, to enable them rely on it during hard times.
The Branch Chairman for the Federation of the Disabled, Mr. George Mozu, thanked the government for the initiative, and also prevailed upon District Chief Executives to ensure that the access routes to banks and other public places consider the disabled in their layouts.
He also appealed to the Assembly to liaise with other bodies to provide them with new wheelchairs, since the existing ones were in bad shape.
The District Chief Executive, Daniel K. Eshun, addressing their concerns, advised them not to allow their condition to be a barrier to their aspirations.
He explained that all Assembly projects had access routes for the disabled, but assured them that he would implore on private developers to take their plight into consideration, to ensure that they would not be left out.
Mr. Eshun prevailed upon the public to respect people with disability, and assist them when the need be, so that they would also feel part of society.
He indicated that the government had their needs at heart, and was reviewing to increase their two percent benefit, to enable them venture into activities that will be beneficial to them, and reiterated the need to save, to enable them seek assistance when in need.
Kenya: 8,000 Disabled Refugees Stranded As Staff Sacked
Nairobi Star (Nairobi)
BY JOHN MUCHANGI AND CRISPUS KABIRO, 13 MARCH 2012
About 8,000 disabled refugees are stranded at Daadab after an international NGO sacked Kenyans who were caring for them. The sacked workers said they protested new contracts which stripped them of nearly all allowances and forced them to work six days a week. Handicap International finance and administration manager Mirela Le Dortz said he had given the workers until Thursday last week to sign the new contracts or lose their jobs. They did not sign the contracts.
The organisation has now closed three centres in the Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera camps, where the 25 staff were based. The 8,000 refugees get wheelchairs, counselling, treatment and referral services at the centres. The workers yesterday claimed they might be replaced by foreigners. "French expatriates have been on standby and it is just a matter of time we are replaced," said one who declined to be named.
About 50 disabled Somalis cross over to Kenya daily seeking refugee status, according to HI, the only NGO offering support to disabled immigrants. Head of HI mission in Daadab Jerome Gasnier yesterday did not respond to our calls and was said to be in meetings the whole day. The sacked staff said there are already 10 French expatriates at the organisation's emergency department in Dadaab doing work that could be done by Kenyans.
They claimed some are relatives of diplomats at the French Embassy who facilitated their immigration documents. "Kenyan staff are working under a lot pressure, fear and intimidation. They live with fear of being terminated any time their French bosses feel like it," said a former staff in Daadab.
This is the second time activities at the camp are grinding to a halt. The first time was in October 2011,after two MSF staffs were abducted in the IFO II refugee camp. Handicap International withdrew its development workers from the camps and moved everyone to Nairobi. In December a few members of staff were allowed back to Dadaab because the situation had improved.
Namibia: Disabled Woman Accuses Police of Discrimination
13 MARCH 2012, allAfrica
THE National Disability Council of Namibia (NDC) has slammed NamPol over its decision to transfer a disabled staff member from one flat to another.
Last week a local daily newspaper reported that Aina Kalomho, a human resources practitioner at the NamPol headquarters in Windhoek, was transferred from a Police flat in the adjacent Ausspannplatz area to barracks in Wanaheda.
Kalomho has laid a complaint of unfair eviction against NamPol, as she believes that she has been discriminated against, and that the decision to evict her is an infringement of equal rights for people with disabilities.
NDC director Martin Limbo has written a letter to NamPol Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga informing him of the complaint against the Police.
Kalomho, who lost her right leg in 2002, was initially housed in Wanaheda, but applied to be transferred to the Police flats across the road from her place of work to ease her transport problems.
Kalomho says she has been employed by NamPol since November 2010, and moved into the Police's Wanaheda barracks in February last year. According to Kalomho she applied for a transfer to the Ausspannplatz barracks to be closer to her work place in October 2011.
Kalomho says because she is a civilian and not a Police officer, she was never provided with Police transport to work.
Kalomho said she had to share the flat she was assigned with another woman, Elizabeth Shekupe.
According to Kalomho, as soon as she moved into the flat Shekupe started making complaints against her with the Police Housing Committee, claiming that she constantly has parties at the flat.
"She (Shekupe) accused me of things that I have never done," Kalomho said.
Kalomho told The Namibian that Shekupe held a meeting with the housing committee and Ndeitunga where the allegations were made against her. She claims that she was neither informed of nor invited to the meeting.
According to Kalomho, the decision to transfer her back to the Wanaheda barracks was taken at that meeting and she had to vacate the Ausspannplatz flat on February 29.
Kalomho says one of the apparent reasons for her transfer is that she is a civilian employee and thus does not qualify for Police living quarters.
Ndeitunga confirmed this, saying that the accommodation in Ausspann-platz is reserved for members of the force.
At the meeting it was decided that Police transport would be provided for Kalomho, Ndeitunga said.
However Kalomho says no transport has been provided to her and since the beginning of March she has had to rely on public transport to commute to work.
Limbo said this is "clear discrimination" against people with disabilities.
He gave the Police seven days to return Kalomho to the Ausspannplatz housing, failing which it will seek legal aid for Kalomho.
"Our office will proceed with treating this matter as an infringement on the rights of people with disabilities and thus will seek reasonable further steps within the mandate of the National Disability Council Act,"
Ndeitunga said he has not seen Limbo's letter yet, but the NDC seems not to understand that civilian employees cannot be housed in barracks for uniformed police.
Neuro-rehabilitation: Boosting quality of life in epilepsy, stroke
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Neurological diseases, such as stroke and epilepsy, are leading causes of death and chronic disability. Common problems with diseases like stroke include speech defects and paralysis. Experts say that neuro- rehabilitation in the aftermath of stroke, epilepsy and other such diseases can help to regain the ability to do everyday tasks, reports Sade Oguntola.
Mrs Helen Abubakar was a healthy, active 40-year-old school teacher. On Thursday,while shopping at a local market for the family’s needs, she suddenly lost ability to speak and felt a temporary weakness or numbness in her legs. She lurched as if in a drunken condition. The symptoms are clear-pointers to the fact that Mrs Abubakar was suffering from a minor stroke.
Many people who have either a minor stroke or mini-stroke are not always aware of it and do not seek medical treatment. Minor stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery and blocks blood flow to the brain. A minor stroke can cause symptoms that include unexpected trouble speaking, as well as vertigo, balance problems, and temporary weakness or numbness of an arm or leg.
Stroke is becoming a leading cause of death and disability in many parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive. Stroke, which implies a “brain attack ”, happens when a part of the brain experiences a problem with blood flow. This disruption in blood flow cuts off the supply of oxygen to the cells in that part of the brain, and these cells begin to die. Damage to the brain can cause loss of speech, vision, or movement in an arm or leg, depending on the part of the brain that is affected.
“One moment, you may be feeling fine, and the next, you are so disabled that you could not do the simplest of things like bathing or dressing.
Although, one’s thought processes are not affected, being unable to communicate thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears makes one to be isolated from friends and family. It is almost as though the end of one’s existence as a person has come,” recounted Mrs Abubakar.
Every stroke is different and it can affect individuals in ways that are almost limitless. Although no one suffers from every possible consequence of a stroke, a common effect of stroke is weakness or paralysis of the arm and legs. Usually, this is limited to one side of the body, the side that is opposite the side of the brain where the stroke occurs.
Some individuals may retain the use of their arms and legs, only to find that their muscles shake to such an extent that their limbs seem to go off each in its own direction. This is because they have lost the kind of sensation that tells them whether or not their limb is moving and where it is in space.
After a stroke, neuro-rehabilitation can help people who have had a stroke to recover and attain the highest quality of life possible while at the same time prolonging and ensuring that they fulfill their purpose in life.
Dr Muyowa Owolabi, Blossom Centre for neurorehabilitation, the first in East, West, and Central Africa, an affiliate of World Federation for Neurorehabilitation, described neuro-rehabilitation as a holistic model of rehabilitation for individuals with health problems such as stroke, epilepsy, headache, brain injury, hypertension, and other brain disorders.
“Basically, when we say neuro-rehabilitation, it has to do with getting people with neurological disorders, disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves, recover lost function as much as possible. It entails assisting them to attain the highest possible quality of life despite whatever limitations they had.”
Neurological disorders include spinal cord disorders, which may cause inability to walk, affect passage of urine and feaces and so on. It could be from accident, tuberculosis of the spine and tumour.
In addition, brain disorders that could benefit from neuro- rehabilitation include movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease (shaking disease). Usually, people with Parkinson’s disease experience shaking of their hands, legs, voice and sluggish movement. It is more common in elderly people.
Conversely, with neuro-rehabilitation, individuals with epilepsy or fit can be helped to control the symptoms and reconnect whatever dreams they have, whether at the workplace or life in general.
Basically, “in neuro-rehabilitation, the brain is stimulated to reorganise itself, to help the victim or patient to be able to cope. In addition, while helping them with their pain, they are made to develop coping strategies so that they can achieve their goals in life.”
Coping strategies that are taught and modalities of treatment that are provided are individualistic. For instance, the treatment would be subject to the severity of the disability and disability rehabilitation requested by the patient.
However, recovery is determined by other factors such as the site and the severity of the stroke, general health of the individual, quality of medical care, and the support of family and friends.
In many instances, Dr Owolabi stated that an occupational therapist is also required to help patients to be able to perform activities of daily living like dressing themselves up, cooking or even returning to work.
Similarly, a cognitive rehabilitation or psychotherapist is required in ensuring a holistic care for people with memory problems and memory disorders.
Speech therapy is an important part of rehabilitation and the long-term management of neurological problems such as stroke, autism and developmental language disorder. “There is a language centre in the brain and this affects how speech is made and the way people receive or perceive speech,” said Mr Folorunsho Awoniyi, a speech therapist at the Blossom Centre for Neurorehabilitation.
Individuals with speech problems arising from brain injury, stroke and other neurological diseases that affect the brain, aside requiring the attention of a neurologist, Mr Awoniyi declared also require assistance of a speech therapist to regain some ability of speech.
“We determine the language faculties affected based on the person’s medical diagnosis. For instance, it could be the person’s ability to speak fluently or comprehend what is said that is affected. When reading, some patients pronounce words wrongly. There are different treatment modalities that can be adopted to help make their speech better.”
Meanwhile, an important part of neurorehabilitation is psychotherapy.
According to Mr Olugbemi Olukolade, a clinical psychologist, the mind is very important in the healing process of the body.
Mr Olukolade stated that “the mind determines many things that happen in the body, including response to treatment and prescribed medications.
For instance, other factors that could also complicate treatment include depression and anxiety, care-giver burnout. So, working on a patient’s mind will help him to also master the coping skills required for high quality life.
“As a psychologist, I can help a stroke patient learn how to sleep without using drugs. For instance, a stroke patient who is worried about the number of drugs he needs to take everyday may be worried and unable to sleep.”
Often, getting the patient to cooperate with the therapist is not difficult. This is because the relations want to move on to doing other things. More often than not, the patient is well motivated, young, and wants to get back to doing things on his own.
However, most importantly, for neuro-rebailitation to be effective, the patient must be emotionally and physiologically prepared. He must cooperate and show interest in whatever the therapist is doing or asking him to do.
Disabled advised to participate in biometric voter registration
District Chief Executive for Gomoa West, Mr Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, has urged the disabled to participate in the biometric voter registration, which kick-starts on March 24, 2012.
He said this would enable them to exercise their franchise in the December 7 polls.
Mr Aidoo-Mensah gave the advice when he released GHC51,900, being the two per cent share of the District Assembly Common fund meant for the disabled.
He asked the disabled to refrain from going into the streets to beg for alms; instead they should take advantage of Government support for them to engage in economic activities.
Mr Cephas Abakah Neizer, the District Chairman of Ghana Federation of Disabled, who supervised the sharing of the money to the members, commended the Assembly for its support for the members.
He explained that the Federation is composed of Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled, Ghana Union of the Blind and the Ghana Association of the Deaf.
He said about 500 members of the Federation were benefiting from the Fund in the district, and appealed to other disabled persons to join the group.
Mr Neizer said members of the Federation were challenged by education, health and business needs.
He said Federation was sponsoring some members in school, provided wheel chairs and clutches and assisted others to establish businesses.
Miss Charity Ntiamoah Affum, treasurer of the Federation, said the group had registered 172 members with the National Health Insurance Scheme. **
Pregnant ex-Miss Deaf receives baby clothes
16 March, 2012, Swazi Observer
Heavily pregnant former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Dlamini received clothing items from SNG Sounds for her unborn baby. The company based at the Gables Shopping Complex in Ezulwini made the presentation yesterday at the Swaziland National Council of Arts & Culture (SNCAC).
Simphiwe, who expressed gratitude to the company, was present during the presentation which was also attended by Miss Deaf organiser Nokuthula Mbatha, the reigning Miss Deaf Nisipho Dlamini, Seed of Hope (SOHO) Director Lorraine Hope and a SNG Sounds representative.
The items included baby-grows, feeding bottles, baby wipes, toiletries and toys, to name a few.
Dlamini is expected to deliver her baby in July.
Simphiwe is living with Mbatha after her guardians threw her out, following news of her pregnancy.
During the presentation, she revealed that she would name the child Nokuthula.
“I would name my baby Nokuthula because she is the one person who took care of me when others turned their backs on me. Nokuthula has been like a mother to me and she is the one who has been scouting sponsors for me,” she said.
The father of Simphiwe’s unborn child is a bus conductor, who owned up to the responsibility and previously said he was waiting to pay a fine for impregnating the young lady as per Swazi custom.
...Reigning Miss Deaf foresees Miss Deaf World victory
Reigning Miss Deaf Nosipho Dlamini is ready to conquer the world and bring the Miss Deaf World title home.
This is despite her counterpart Miss Swaziland Ayanda Dube declaring that she is not ready for the Miss World contest.
Dlamini said she was more than ready to bring the title home as she had confidence she would win.
She said her predecessor Simphiwe Dlamini, who emerged as the First Princess in the World Finals in 2009, proved that Swazis had the potential to win an international contest.
This year’s Miss Deaf will be held in the Czech Republic on July 7.
The girls will report on July 1st and spend 10 days in the Czech Republic Dlamini was speaking during the presentation of clothing items to the former Miss Deaf Simphiwe, held at the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC).
“I am more than ready to represent the country in the Miss Deaf World contest. I am so fortunate to have Simphiwe as she gave me advice on how to conduct myself while still in the contest. She brought back something when she represented the country in the competition,” she said.
She said now the focus and pressure would be on her, since Simphiwe was crowned First Princess of the Miss Deaf World.
Dlamini said she also wanted to shift the focus from Simphiwe to her as people were still focusing on the former beauty queen.
Dlamini has been attached to Seed of Hope Outreach, a non-government organisation which helps under privileged children.
The organisation is under the leadership of Lorraine Hope.
Miss Deaf Director Nokuthula Mbatha said the reason they attached Dlamini to the organisation was because they were building a profile for the lady so that go to the world contest to win.
Mbatha said she was grateful for the support she received from the organisation, the sponsors of the Miss Deaf contest as well as members of the public.
SOHO Director Lorraine Hope said they were happy to work with the pageant organisers to prepare for the Miss Deaf world.
“At the moment, we are working with the community of Forbes Reef and also Nhlambeni, where we have built a pre-school and feeding centres. In this pre-school, we are preparing the children for higher education. We also have families which we give food parcels to every month,” she said.
Hope mentioned that they were also doing agriculture programmes with the help of Outreach University in USA.
The NGO yesterday donated clothing items to a woman who lives with her three children. The woman, who is dumb, received the clothing courtesy of SOHO.
Nigeria: The Heart-Rending Moments With Deaf Students
BY CHIKA OKEKE, 18 MARCH 2012
FCT School for the Deaf in Kuje area council is a place where pupils and students with hearing impairment acquire basic education. Despite the level of stigmatisation in Nigeria, do they have hope for the future?
CHIKA OKEKE who visited the school recently, shares her experience.
When Idris Umaru was born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Umaru in Kebbi State, little did he know that he would end up a deaf child. His plans of becoming a doctor after graduation may be shattered due to his hearing impediment but succour came his way as he enrolled in FCT, Universal Basic Education Board, School for Deaf, Kuje.
The 20-year-old is now in primary 6 and currently lives in Gwagwalada area council. Since it's a boarding school, Idris only goes home at the end of every term. He believes that his hearing impediment cannot obstruct him from achieving his goals in life, being the reason he accepted to go to school.
He said that since he identified with his school mates, his perception about life and other things around him changed for good. Though full of excitement, he did not fail to thank the government for alleviating the plight of the physically challenged children in FCT.
This brief but heart-rending conversation with this reporter was however, possible with the help of one of the school teachers, Mr. Rabiu who is frequently asking him questions using sign language while Idris also replies with sign language.
LEADERSHIP SUNDAY visited the school and learnt that a corps member serving with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Miss Blessing Isah Ejiji presented de-worming medicines worth several thousands of Naira to the school on Valentine's Day.
This news, however, did not go down well with some readers who thought that the donation was as a result of the poor hygiene condition of the school. But no, it proved all critics wrong that the students actually co-habited in a healthy and neat environment and none was one admitted in the school's clinic.
The school is located in Pasali community along the busy Kuje-Gwagwalada road. The fence is high enough to ensure the security of the students and there is a borehole inside the compound, a big hall, clinic, classrooms among others. The school opened its doors to Nursery I to 2 pupils, Primary 1 to 6 and JSS 1 to JSS 3 students.
Surprisingly, it's the only boarding school for the Deaf in FCT. This reporter also learnt that the tuition and boarding fees are virtually free for any student who wishes to enroll in the school.
It was established on October 21, 1991 with 2 girls, 1 boy and 3 teacherswho were all male. Presently, the population has increased to 470 students with 36 teaching and 16 non-teaching staff.
However, the few hours spent by this reporter to access the mode of operation of the school were quite pathetic. Not that the students were not well fed but seeing such category of children battling to communicate through spoken language, sends a signal that one needs to appreciate what God has done to those who are hale and hearty.
As LEADERSHIP SUNDAY was heading to the classrooms, two pupils between the ages of 9 and 10 years were running ahead of her just to say hello.
She did not realise that the children were after her except when one of them tried to touch her.
She turned to look at them and both bent down to say good morning. The reporter then responded by saying, "good morning, how are you?" and suddenly the students turned rushed to their classes. Oh! what a pity!
Still inquisitive to find out the general welfare of the students, the reporter however, requested to interview a female student.
So, Dorcas Yakubu who was summoned by Mr. Rabiu, told her story using sign language: " I am 14 years old but I came to this school in 2004.
Then I started in nursery 1 but I'm now in primary 5. I am from Nasarawa state and at the end of each term, I go back home to my parents.
"The school is fine and I'm very happy with the government for granting me access to free education including free food and accommodation.
The Head Teacher Reacts
The head teacher of the school, Mr. Onoja John Edache told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the students' stomach problem was as a result of worm infection saying that since the Corps member de-wormed them, they've all been in perfect condition.
"The school has a clinic but if their sickness goes beyond the nurse, we refer them to the general hospital or call the attention of their parents.
According to him, it is not that difficult overseeing the affairs of the school because it's something that we have been trained for. But with the cooperation of the UBE and FCTA, things are moving smoothly. The FCTA feeds the children and provides hostel facilities free. The school shares the same academic calendar and syllabus with their hearing counterpart.
The only difference is that we teach them using sign language, lip reading and finger spelling because of their disability. We also teach them skills acquisition like tailoring, hair barbing, knitting in addition to their normal academic teaching.
Who Donates What To The School
Mr. Onoja noted that since the government cannot provide all their necessities, the parents to some extent assist the school.
"Because the government cannot do everything, sometimes the parents buy the uniform, exercise books and writing materials for the students. The government is not expected to provide everything, at least, the parents have to augment by assisting the government.
Both the parents and FCDA donates food items like rice, yam, beans, and toiletries, to the school regularly and we have also been receiving tremendous support and donations from other non -governmental organisations. We don't have any definite problem now because the FCDA have almost addressed the whole issue.
"We enroll students with hearing impairment from nursery 1 to 2, primary 1 to 6 and JSS 1 to JSS 3 and we admit both sexes.
When they graduate to the senior class, we send to the mother school, GSS Kuje. They have been performing excellently in their academics because some of them even out-class the unimaired. They are not academically bankrupt except that they have hearing impairment.
FCT UBEB Speaks
The Secretary, FCT UBEB, Mr. Aliyu Dayubi told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that "they decided to build the school to accommodate boarders who are physically challenged to enable them stay far from their parents. That's the only boarding school for the deaf that we have in FCT.
After their graduation, they proceed to the senior secondary still in Kuje and it will interest you to know that they have won many cups in competitions both nationally and locally.
Miss Deaf leaving on June 1 for Miss Deaf World
19 March, 2012, Swazi observer
Miss Deaf Swaziland Nosipho Zwane will jet out of the country to attend Miss Deaf World in Prague, Czech Republic on June 1.
Miss Deaf World 2012 starts from 1st July to 10th July 2012. The finals are on July 7 at 7:30pm. Miss Deaf pageant director Nokuthula Mbatha confirmed that Zwane will be leaving on June 1.
She said the beauty queen would be accompanied by Antoinette du Pont.
“Miss Deaf is now attached to Seeds of Hope, an NGO, to do community projects which will help build her profile.
“I appeal to sponsors to support the beauty queen with clotheing and pocket money.
I am also appealing for support from the nation,” she said.
On another note, Mbatha thanked SNG Sounds at the Happy Valley for sponsoring her new sterling silver crown, as hers which was bought locally, was changing colour.
sashes and crowns for Miss Deaf 2012 have been sponsored by them.
SABC3 increases support for Deaf Community
19 Mar 2012, ScreenAfrica (South Africa)
As from March, SABC3 has ramped up its commitment to catering for the Deaf Community by adding wall to wall subtitles on the channel’s flagship soapie, Isidingo. This reflects SABC’s strong support for fostering deaf pride.
“SABC3 has supported the Deaf Community in South Africa in a significant way over the past years through DTV, the popular programme made by and for the Deaf. This community is very important to the SABC and to the channel in particular and so it gives us real pleasure in being able to provide wall to wall subtitling on Isidingo. Our hope is that this will enhance the viewing pleasure of the community and grant them full access to South Africa’s most popular soapie,” says SABC3 acting GM Ed Worster.
SABC3 has aired the magazine programme DTV since 1996 and this pioneering Deaf Community platform, which connects deaf people with sign language, has proven to be an example for programmes across the world such as Vee-TV in the UK. Proudly for the Deaf, by the Deaf and made accessible to a broader audience through subtitles and voiceovers, DTV airs on SABC3 on Sundays at 11.30am and is presented by the effervescent Candice Morgan.
The channel's commitment to motivate and empower, is reflected in a range of programmes including Around Iceland on Inspiration, the South African travel documentary series which premiered in December and aired on Sundays at 6pm. Following extreme adventurer Riaan Manser and cerebral palsy sufferer Dan Skinstad as they circumnavigate Iceland on kayaks in a 116 day expedition, Around Iceland on Inspiration is an encouragement for those who are afflicted by physical limitations.
Isidingo airs on weekdays at 7.30pm on SABC3.
Egypt: People's Assembly Approves Increasing Revolt Victims' Compensations to Le 100,000
20 MARCH 2012
The People's Assembly endorsed in its meeting on 19/3/2012 headed by Saad el-Katatni a bill increasing compensation paid to families of the January revolution's martyrs from LE 30,000 to 100,000.
The parliament also decided to include in the bill those totally disabled during the revolution. The meeting witnessed a wide debate about giving those totally disabled during the revolution the same amount of compensation as the martyrs.
The People's Assembly refused to respond to the request of the government to postpone their compensation until determining their exact number. The People's Assembly insisted on the compensation regardless any material costs.
Disabled get land at Lungi
Sierra Express Media
By: SEM on March 20, 2012.
As a way to boost the physically challenged in Sierra Leone, The Disabled International Foundation Sierra Leone’s (DIF-SL) Executive Director, Imambay Kadie (in photo) has secured two acres of land in the Lungi community, Kafu Bullum Chiefdom northern, Sierra Leone for the construction of a recreational centre for the physically challenged.
Speaking to Sierra Express Media in an interview, Imambay Kadie Kamara said that the organization was formed in 2008 to respond to the hard time challenges and maltreatment the disabled face in their every day life. She said they became an NGO in 2011 and they have been rendering different kinds of help and support to different groups of disabled persons across the country.
She said DIF-SL is operating on five thematic areas which include education, smaller medium Enterprise, Livelihood, Advocacy, and Skills Promotion. She furthered that accomplishment of those thematic areas prompted her to buy two acres of land to establish a recreation centre for the disabled and the less privileged in the country, a project she said would last till the end of 2013.
The centre, she said, will host a mosque, church, school, skills training centre, hospital and other facilities, adding that a target of disabled persons from places like PWD centre at Pademba road, Grafton, Waterloo, Lungi and the disabled closer to Crown bakery at Wilberforce street have been included.
Kadie Imambay Kamara concluded by saying that Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world as one child out of three dies before the age of six which explains clearly that the provision of medical care is extensively poor towards disabled women.
She said persons with disabilities living in poverty often have no say over decisions that affect their lives and livelihood.
DIF-SL, she said, is currently engaged in helping disabled persons as those with disabilities are being marginalised because of their status.
She said they are working with such groups to ensure that they have the means to enjoy equal access to jobs and essential services by which they can be given the supported they needed.
Rwanda: Disabled Decry Lack of Job Opportunities
The New Times
BY GRACE MUGOYA, 20 MARCH 2012
The president of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Gaston Rusiha, has called on the government to come up with strict measures against employers who unfairly deny employment to disabled persons, even when they have the skills needed.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Rusiha complained that many NCPD members approach him claiming they have been discriminated against.
"Disability is not inability.
If people have the skills to carry out the required task, why should they be locked out when it comes to seeking employment," he asked.
He explained that this undermines the efforts made by various bodies and organisations to build capacity among the disabled.
Zacharie Nkundiye, the legal representative of AGHR (Association Generale des Handicap？s du Rwanda), an association for people living with disabilities, said there was an urgent need to respond to the issue.
"Though partnerships with development partners, we have so far trained 153 people.
But it's quite challenging to continue empowering our members when employers are not ready to take them," Nkundiye said.
The Minster of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, said that according to the law, when an able-bodied person receives the same result as a person living with disabilities in a job interview, the disabled must be considered.
For private institutions, the minister said that government is considering coming up with incentives that will encourage employers to give jobs to people living with disabilities.
Miss Deaf crown rusting
20 March, 2012
MISS Deaf Nosipho Zwane’s crown is rusting and she will now use a new one which will be sponsored by SNG Sounds. This was revealed by Miss Deaf Director, Nok’thula Mbatha during a donation of clothes to former Miss Deaf, Siphiwe Magagula.
Mbatha said the crown, which was not pure silver, was rusting and not looking good on the queen.
“The crown we presented to Nosipho is now rusting as it is not of pure silver. She cannot wear it at the Miss Deaf World contest. When I bought the crown, I didn’t know that it was not real silver,” she said.
SNG Sounds have promised to give them a new silver crown. The company will also sponsor the Miss Deaf 2012/13 contest with new original silver crowns.
The demos of the new crowns were shown on Friday.
Mbatha was grateful to the director of the company, Francois le Richie who sponsored them.
Nosipho will represent the country in the Miss Deaf world contest in the Czech Republic on July 7.
She will be accompanied by former Swaziland Beauty Pageant PRO, Antoinette du Pont who will also manage her wardrobe.
Mbatha explained that the reason they chose du Pont was because she had vast experience in beauty pageants.
“We would have loved to see Simphiwe going with Zwane to the contest. But due to her current state, she cannot go,” Mbatha said.
She also mentioned that they got the blessings from the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture and also the Swaziland Beauty Pageant Association to send du Pont with the beauty queen.
Du Pont is a former Miss Swaziland herself and said they were confident that they would not come back empty ended as Magagula paved the way for all other beauty pageants in the country.
Handicapped contestant defies all odds
20 March, 2012, Swazi observer
HANDICAPPED Sibong’nkosi Mngometulu defied all odds by competing with other able-bodied contestants during the Miss and Mr SCOT Fresher’s Ball on Friday.
Mngometulu broke all stereotypes by entering for the contest. The 22-year-old Mngometulu joined 20 other male who were vying for the title.
Although he sashayed on stage with some difficulty, he still looked confident and gave his all.
Dressed in a black suit and on crutches, Mngometulu was embraced by the audience from the moment he got on stage. Others were surprised to see him on stage but that didn’t seem to bother him.
He went about his paces like any other contestant. He, however, didn’t make it to the top five in the contest which was eventually won by Terrence Bothma. Mngometulu was a winner by merely entering the contest.
Halt illegal mining - Deaf pupils appeal
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
Pupils of the Kyebi Unit School for the Deaf in the East Akyem Municipality have appealed to the government to take steps to halt illegal mining in the Akyem area, especially around the school which is posing a danger to their lives.
The pupils said the uncovered pits and huge valleys that have been left by illegal mining activities pose a threat to them because they have to use the same paths to run errands such as fetching water for their domestic chores and for school.
The pupils expressed the concern during a tour by the outgoing Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Akyem Apea-Kubi, to some illegal mining sites in the Akyem area.
The school with pupils as young as three years old, has been devastated by the activities of illegal miners.
The Regional Minister toured Ankaase, Kyebi, Asikam and surroundings areas where illegal mining activities have created deep holes which have become death traps.
It would be recalled that a young student of the Abuakwa State College at Kyebi in the same Municipality got drowned in a pit that had been left by illegal miners around the school premises two years ago.
Huge excavators, gallons of fuel and other mining equipment such as pumping machines were scattered all over the mining sites when the Regional Minister in the company of the Eastern Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwabena Gyamera-Yeboah and top ranking military officers visited the sites.
Dr Apea-Kubi warned that the government would not sit unconcerned for unscrupulous persons to take the law into their own hands and destroy people’s livelihood for their selfish interests and advised the youth who are engaged in illegal mining to desist from it.
Pass Disability Bill into law
The Nation Newspaper
By Evelyn Osagie 21/03/2012 01:02:00
As the world marks the Down Syndrome Day today, the Down Syndrome Foundation in Nigeria (DSFN) has called on the government to pass the Disability Bill into law.
According to the DSFN President, Mrs Rose Mordi, as long as the bill is not passed, disabled people will continue to suffer discrimination.
She called on the government to look the plights of the disabled. The WDSD is celebrated on March 21.
The date, 21/3, signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of Chromosome 21, which causes the genetic condition known as Down Syndrome.
The United Nations (UN) is marking this year’s edition with a conference at its headquarters in New York, today.
The conference will be presided over by the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. The Board chairman of Down Syndrome International (DSi), Penny Robertson, will be welcoming experts from across the world, who will be speaking on the theme Building Our Future.
Nigeria will be represented by Mrs Mordi who will be speaking on Changing Society Attitudes - From Neglect and Institutionalisation to Protagonist and Living in the Community Nigeria.
Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly receives GH?3,000 for the disabled
Nkoranza South Municipal Assembly has received GHC3, 000 from the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) Administrator to support the activities of the Disabled in the Municipality.
Mr. Effah Guakro, President of Nkoranza South Municipal branch of the Ghana Federation of the Physically Challenged, announced at a general meeting of members at Nkoranza at the weekend.
He noted that the allocation had since its inception encouraged members to learn vocations to improve their living standards, saying some of the members had already established themselves in dressmaking, leather works, barbering, hair dressing, electronics, farming and trading.
Mr Guakro gave the assurance the leadership of the Federation would make sure that about 247 registered physically-challenged persons in the Municipality would benefit from the allocation.
“The leadership of the Federation will ensure that registered members receive a fair share of the Fund to manage themselves”, Mr. Guakro stressed.
He said apart from the central government’s intervention through the DACF, the leadership of the Federation had also been supporting its members to learn vocations of their choice.
Mr. Guakro advised members against begging for alms in the streets, saying the practice denigrates the disabled.
He urged beneficiaries of the Fund to make judicious use of what is given them to improve on their personal circumstances.
The Presiding Member stressed that this would also enable them to benefit from future grants for the expansion of their projects and activities, the President added.
The 1992 Constitution makes it mandatory for all Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies to allocate two per cent of their annual common fund purse towards the rehabilitation and empowerment of the disabled.
A clergy’s passion for the disabled
The Nation Newspaper -
By Okodili Ndidi 23/03/2012 00:05:00
Akam presenting wheelchairs to the inmates Things are looking up for people living with disability in Anambra State, thanks to a Catholic Priest, Monsignor John Bosco Akam.
Rather than ignore them, or give alms and quietly walk away, as seems to be the societal norm, the priest is giving them education, skills and, above all, love.
Monsignor Akam has dedicated a great deal of his life and resources to the physical, medical and economic wellbeing of the handicapped.
>From a sprawling edifice in Uka Uga in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, which has a school and residential quarters, the compassionate cleric has given a meaning to the lives of about 27 physically-challenged people and over 26 motherless babies and orphans.
According to him, a little hand of help he offered to a crippled toddler he met crawling to school under numbing early morning shower has become a transformational home that now boasts primary and secondary schools, residential quarters for both the inmates and members of staff of the institution.
The soft-spoken priest, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of Tansian University, a private university in Anambra State, said that it is not enough to give alms or show pity to the disabled but to consciously invest in their social and educational development just like any other child.
“The physically-challenged people are not, in any way, less equal to the other children. In fact, they seem to be more intelligent than the other children, maybe because they devote more time to their academic and vocational works than their counterparts who engage in other time- consuming activities,” Monsignor Akam said.
He disclosed that one of the inmates had graduated a year ago and now works as a bursar at Tansian University, adding that three others who have made their O’ level results will be admitted into the university at the next academic session.
Akam, who blamed ignorance for the cruel fate and harsh discrimination suffered by the disabled in the Nigerian society, said that if the physically-challenged people are given equal opportunities and training, they could do just as well as any other person.
He further said that the disabled inmates are given opportunities of formal education, skill acquisition and other vocations at the centre, even as he added that they have three inmates who are amazing musicians with a fast selling album to their credit.
“You can imagine the joy it gives me to see the smile on the faces of these people who were once rejected and written off by the society, even by their closest ones when they demonstrate that they can do just as well as any other person. And this holds true of the parlance that there is ability in disability.
“At the end of their education or training at the centre, their parents often throng in here in their numbers to celebrate with them. That’s the only time we know that they have parents or relatives. But all the same, we hand them back to their people on their own volition to be reintegrated into the family as responsible people.”
Although a priest of the Catholic Faith, Akam, however, said that the inmates are not compelled on their choice of religion. “Here, without asking them to go to the church I go; I let them go to their different churches. It is not a centre for conversion unless any of them sees the way I live and gets attracted and wants to be a member of my denomination. “ Of course, the first graduate of Accounting is an Anglican. He is not even from my town or has anything to do with me. The other four who will be gaining admission to the university this year are not from my church or town either,” he said.
He said that living with the physically-challenged children and orphans had become his happiest moments, adding that he derives joy whenever he realises that he can give back to the society what God has given to him.
“I have drawn great inspiration from my close association with these special people. They remind me that whatever privileged position we may find ourselves in, we should glorify God by helping those in need, instead of using our positions to intimidate the less fortunate ones,”
According to him, the establishment of the centre now known as the Kinigin Des Freidens College was as a result of the touch he had seeing psychically-challenged persons on the major streets and roads across the country like sheep without shepherd.
According to him, this led to the establishment of the home known as the Villa Misercordae Dei, which means, a home where God’s mercy is practised.
Monsignor Akam said: “Many a times, we hold seminars and conferences on how to care for the needy among us but we achieve little or nothing.
“So, that is why the practical dimension of showing God’s mercy struck me at a point in 1985 and gradually, I developed special interest for the physically-challenged people and orphans. I was visiting motherless babies’ homes in the Southeastern part of the country.
“At a point, I said I will establish something with particular reference to orphans who have lost their parents and they are still persecuted by the relations of their parents to make sure they also liquidate them so that they can take the property of the parents. So, that is what I have been doing.
”I did this for many years and finally, today, we have a home established.
The actual beginning of the works of charity we engaged in was in 1985.
But it took root when I was coming back from Enugu and met a physically- challenged child throwing himself up and down on the Nnewi-Okigwe Road.
“That day it was drizzling but this child with his school uniform was throwing himself up and down in a way of movement and that caught my sight. I asked the driver to stop. We approached him and asked him what his name was and where he was going to. He said: “My name is Sunday Eze, I’m going to school. So, we offered him a lift to which he objected on the grounds that he would soil the car. After much persuasion, he reluctantly joined us in the car.
“That struck me and while we were driving, I asked him if it would not be better for him to live inside the school instead of coming from his village? He replied again in Igbo language that he would like it but he will tell his parents first. I said okay, tell them and give me reply tomorrow. That was how I put him at the house near the gate from there others started coming and living in that house.”
Continuing, he said: “What feeds my soul and fuels my passion is the realisation that in my own little way, I have given back to the society and mankind; a legacy that I will love to be remembered for even when am no more.”
Akam, who narrated his encounter with a foreign donor whom he could not contact thereafter, said that the glory for the success of the foundation which has also awarded scholarships to over 50 people and built houses for the destitute is God’s, who he said is the sole provider of the enormous needs of the centre.
DISABILITY ACTIVISM, PARTICIPATION
24 March, 2012, Swazi observer
Within a social justice understanding of disability, the role of disabled people is critical.
The slogan ‘’nothing about us without us’’ reflects, firstly, the importance of a unified disability movement and, secondly, the central role of self-representation. It is for this reason that a disability catalyst should pay close attention to the nature of effectiveness of the disability movement as a key sector in bringing about change.
The UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) describes disability as an evolving concept resulting from interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Article 1 of the CRPD further develops this theme in stating that persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Therefore, theemphasis placed on self-representations within the disability movement is problematic at two levels. Firstly, self-representation has less relevance within non-Western philosophies of care and community. The notion of the individual as autonomous and independent of their family or households is foreign in many African communities. In such settings, it may be that the disabled individual cannot speak only for his or her own needs and, conversely, the household representative is expected to speak for that disabled individual.
Secondly, recognition of the effects of different types of impairment on self-representation should be considered. This has been largely overlooked because the disability rights movement has highlighted the common experience of social oppression of disabled people, overshadowing the differences implicit in different types of impairment. However, a denial of impairment serves to silence certain groups who need extensive support in order to participate, among them people who are not able to communicate clearly - those with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities, communication impairment and severe to profound physical impairment.
Self-representation needs to be supported and may take different formsamong those with profound intellectual disability or severe multiple impairments. The accessibility requirements of this group need to be taken seriously as they may require information to be made accessible through various means such as less complex language.
Article 29 of CRPD
Participation in political and public life States parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others, and shall undertake to:
(a) Ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia by:
(i) ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use;
(ii) protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate.
(iii) guaranteeing the free expression of the will of persons with disabilities as electors and to this end, where necessary, at their request, allowing assistance in voting by a person of their own choice.
(b) Promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, including
(i) Participating in non-governmental organisations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country.
(ii) Forming and joining organisations of persons with disabilities to represent persons with disabilities at international, national, regional and local levels.
Tamer Husni joins campaign for the hearing impaired
Published March 26th, 2012 - 05:20 GMT Tamer HusniEnlarge Image
Egyptian singer Tamer Husni has joined a campaign to help 80 children that are hearing impaired. The campaign was recently launched by the Egyptian satellite television channel and called on people to donate any amount they can in order to help aid the children in having surgery done to improve their hearing.
Tamer had announced on his official page on the internet social network Facebook that he has joined the campaign and called on all his fans to join and asked if they could donate as little as one Egyptian pound noting that every pound makes a great difference.
According to the internet website MBC.net, the singer’s action was supported by his fans, who considered it a very humane act. Some people felt it was the singer’s way of trying to win back popularity he lost during the Egyptian Revolution due to his political views.
Education In a world with no sound, color
Publish Date: Mar 26, 2012
A deaf student (right) leads her deaf-blind friend to class.
Imagine waking up and not seeing the sun slowly make its way over the horizon; or perhaps you can see beautiful birds flattering their wings in the morning breeze, but you cannot hear them. For the boys and girls of Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda, this is normal.
Yet, despite their impairment, they go on with day-to-day activities.
Petride Mudoola visited the school and brings the story of the students and parents
Catherine Nassuna, a parent to a deaf-blind child, says: “It is very difficult. It’s costly and requires full time commitment.”
“Grooming my 14-year-old daughter has been demanding. Being a single parent and the only one to take care of her, I keep worrying about what would happen to her in case I died,” Nasuna laments.
Different from a normal child who adopts speech from its mother, it takes expertise to groom a deaf-blind child; one requires knowledge in sign language and vibration skills for effective communication. If you do not have these skills, you cannot communicate to your child, says Nassuna.
Josephine Kajabwangu helps a blind girl polish her shoes
Hajara Muzusa, another parent to a deaf-blind child, says her son’s future is bleak because she cannot afford the tuition required for him to attend a specialised school. “With multiple disabilities and more so not educated, I don’t know what the future holds for him.”
Through a sign language interpreter, Rose Yatuwa, a deaf-blind student, says despite the hurdles in life, her disability has not stopped her from achieving education. She is all praises for the gift of life and her parents.
“I thank God for the gift of life. Not many parents can afford to stay with a disabled child, especially one with multiple dis?abilities,” Yatuwa says.
“Interacting with people was problematic, but here, I was able to develop communication skills. Being here is an advantage because I realised that I was not the only disabled person in the world,” she says.
Yatuwa, however, says there are certain things that should be normal but they are treated as special circumstances, for exam?ple when she gets her menstrual cycle.
“The first time I experi?enced menstruation, I was not familiar with what had happened to me but while in class, Josephine Kajabwangu, the matron as?sisted me to the dormitory and instructed me to bathe.
She then guided me on how to place the pad in its right place and told me she would alert me as to when to change it. It was a scary experience, I was not aware that she was padding me.”
CAUSES OF DEAF BLINDNESS
According to the Uganda National Association for the Deaf- Blind, findings indicate that the western region, particularly Bundibudgo, is one of the districts worst affected by deaf blindness, many associating it with witchcraft.
Josephine Kajabwangu helps a blind girl polish her shoes
However, health scientists observe that 50% of the af?fected communities have a genetic condition. There are high chances that a member within this family may produce a sightless and deaf child.
Other common causes of deaf blindness include birth trauma, optical nerve atrophy, cataracts, glaucoma and muscular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy; some ac?quire it through birth trauma or rare causes such as charge syndrome.
It may also occur as a result of German measles, or due to poor use of contraceptives.
It can also happen due to severe damages inflicted on a per?son’s body as result of an accident.
Margaret Ocheng, a deaf-blind instructor at the school, says it is a challenge to train a deaf-blind child. “Despite affirmative action, educating deaf-blind children requires extraordinary teaching methods.”
The Uganda National Bureau of Statistics does not have statistics on population of the deaf-blind in Uganda, but the National Association of the Deaf Blind estimates that there are about 13,000 (60% female, 40% male). Of this, only 1% has acquired formal education.
Ocheng attributes this to lack of qualified professionals. Currently, the Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda has 203 pupils.
Ocheng notes that there are possibilities of training these children to be independent; however, lack of a curriculum affects their education.
In an art and crafts class
Different from the ordinary setting which requires a teacher to draw a lesson plan before teaching, a deaf blind instructor is required to teach according to the learner’s interests.
Pupils must consent to each lesson that is to be taught or else they may not concentrate and walk out of class.
Commitment and patience by the teacher is crucial because the child may refuse to listen to instructions,” Ocheng explains.
Christopher Oketcho, the assistant commissioner responsible for the Special Needs Desk at the Ministry of Education and Sports, says deaf- blind learners lack a program of study because their curriculum is tailored according to the learner’s interests and level of impairment.
Most of the learners with multiple disabilities, especially the deaf- blind, prefer hands-on courses as compared to theory, making it difficult for the ministry to develop a special curriculum because it is developed after assessment to verify what the learner is capable of doing,” Oketcho explains.