Telecom stakeholders laud Lagos over disability law
Segun Adekoye | 1 April 2012 | 0 Comments
LAGOS: The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria,(ATCON) has expressed pleasure with the for enacting a law to help the physically challenged persons in the state.
The law provides for protection of the interest of persons who live with disabilities and particularly addresses the issues of protection for them on matters of access, employment, privileges, and standard of living, among others.
This commendation was given by the President of ATCON, Titi Omo-Ettu in Lagos.
He said “the attention of our Association has been drawn to the Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011, which seeks to safeguard people living with disabilities from all forms of discrimination and equalize their opportunities in all aspects of living in the society.”
The state executive was also commended for its planned establishment of the Office of Disability Affairs that the Law prescribes as the implementation agency.
Omo-Ettu said: “The Law has a bearing to our industry in its prescription on access of persons who live with disabilities to telecommunications services which it specifically mentioned in the area of access of such persons to all other services.”
He called for the support of the implementation of the Law in the hope that its operators implement with a human face and in the spirit and letter of its objects and prescriptions.
The ATCON President challenged the Office of Disability Affairs which the Lagos State is about to establish to implement the Law to the letter for the good of the state and not to turn out to be an exuberant organization whose attention will only be to extort and abuse.
We need peace to progress as a people- Yendi MCE
The Yendi Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) Mr. Issah Zakaria has reminded the assembly members that as representatives of the people it is mandatory for them to strive for peace and for progress.
He said soon the political electioneering campaigns will gather momentum and they have to eschew any act of violence, so that together they can push the development agenda of the Municipality forward.
Mr Zakaria gave the advice during the first ordinary meeting of the assembly for 2012, at Yendi, in the northern region.
He commended the assembly members for the continued support and cooperation he enjoyed from them. He however noted that the actual receipts of the District Assembles Common Fund, from the Office of the Administrator for 2011, fell drastically below their expectation.
According to the MCE, the assembly received GH?1,272,088.92 out of an allocated amount of GH?2, 317,520.48. He indicated that the actual receipt was therefore 54 percent of their projections.
Mr Zakaria said, this consequently made it difficult for the assembly to implement some of its important projects earmarked for the year.
Touching on the disability account, the Municipal Chief Executive announced that GH?66.000.00 has so far been transferred into the assembly’s disability account, saying that, about 60 persons with physical challenges had been assisted to enhance their lives.
He said a resource centre in Yendi has been completed for use by the physically challenged.
Mr. Zakaria noted that, the assembly has been assured that the 2010 District Development facility and Urban Development Grant will be released to successful Assemblies in the course of the year.
He said, reports reaching the assembly indicated that, the publicity on the Biometric registration, especially about the scheduling of the programme, still poses a serious challenge to the exercise.
He appealed to the assembly members to ensure that all the electorates in their area registered.
Mr. Alhassan Adams, the Presiding member of the assembly called on the assembly members to preach peace in their electoral areas and ensure that they alert the security Agencies of any conflict in their areas.
Mr. Adams expressed worry about the armed robberies on the 97 kilometre Yendi- Tamale road and urged the people in the area to be alert.
He appealed to the assembly members to partner the security agencies to maintain the relative peace in the area.**
JAMB’s concessionary exam time to albinos: Is it necessary?
Monday, 02 April 2012
JAMB candidates in an examination hall
Recently, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), through its chief executive officer, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, gave an examination time concession of two hours to albinos, classifying them as visually impaired. Taiwo Olanrewaju and Ruth Olurounbi write on the desirability or otherwise of the concession.
EDUCATION means many things to many people. To some, it is the basis for national and individual development. That is why Derek Bok, an American educator and lawyer, and president, Harvard University from 1971 to 1990 said; “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”.
To Wikipedia, the online dictionary, education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts. In its narrow, technical sense, education is the formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another, e.g., instruction in schools.
However, to many scholars, the importance of education cannot be overemphasised. That is why Ropo Oguntimehin defined it as “a companion which no future can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and no nepotism can enslave.” Another erudite scholar, G.K. Chesterson, said “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
To Mr Robin Cook, “Education is more than a luxury; it is a responsibility that society owes to itself” while Benjamin Disraeli said, “Upon the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends.”
In order to further develop the nation by allowing more people access to higher education, the Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor ‘Dibu Ojerinde, said the board would henceforth classify albinos as virtually impaired persons, and thus, approved an additional time of two hours for albinos in the conduct of its future Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTMEs.
A statement by the JAMB Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr Timothy Oyedeji, in Abuja, upper Sunday, added that Professor Ojerinde said that while briefing officials of the board on the preparation for the 2012 UTME held on Saturday, 24 March.
Ojerinde said the decision was informed by the peculiar sight problem associated with albinism, saying, “For us in JAMB, we are trailing the blaze by incorporating the eye problem of the group into our examination planning.”
He further said that JAMB was determined to provide level-playing field for all albinos desirous of tertiary education by also providing them with magnifying lenses to help them to see clearly during the examinations.
While calling on other examination bodies in Nigeria and on the continent to do same, the JAMB registrar added that most Nigerians were ignorant of the peculiar problems, especially sight challenges associated with albinism.
What is albinism?
The Oxford Medical Dictionary describes albinism as “an inherited condition present at birth, characterised by a lack of pigment that normally gives colour to the skin, hair, and eyes. Many types of albinism exist, all of which involve lack of pigment in varying degrees.
The condition, which is found in all races, may be accompanied by eye problems and may lead to skin cancer later in life. They may be very far -sighted or near-sighted, and may have other defects in the curvature of the lens of the eye (astigmatism) that cause images to appear unfocused.”
Speaking on the eye sights albinos contend with, Dr Femi Fagunwa, an ophthalmologist with the Eyesight Medical Centre, Lagos, said in a telephone interview with the Nigerian Tribune that several albinos do have a constant, involuntary movement of the eyeball called nystagmus, a condition which may result in reduced or limited vision for the sufferers.
Dr Fagunwa said that albinos may also have problems with eye coordination which may make them appear as if they are cross-eyed, a situation which is known as underdevelopment of optic nerve. “But they are in actual fact not cross-eyed, they just lack coordination with their eyes and often times, we have seen this condition cause them problems with depth perception, especially at close distances because of decrease in acuity of one or both eyes due to poor transmission to the brain,” he said.
Albinos are photophobic in nature, another practising ophthalmologist in Abuja, Dr Hamed Hassan told the Nigerian Tribune. He explained that albinos are very sensitive to light because their irises allow "stray" light to enter their eyes. He therefore, debunked a common misconception that people with albinism shouldn't go out on sunny days, saying that they could go out quite comfortably with sunglasses on their faces.
Scientists say that albinism is a congenital disorder characterised by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. They added that albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans.
While an organism with complete absence of melanin is called an albino, an organism with only a diminished amount of melanin is described as albinoid.
In addition to the characteristically light skin and eye problems, people with a rare form of albinism called Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome(HPS) also have a greater tendency to have bleeding disorders, inflammation of the large bowel (colitis), lung (pulmonary) disease, and kidney (renal) problems, an online medical encyclopaedia added.
Albinism also occurs in various types of animals.
In a telephone chat with an albino, Mr Kola Olomide, a civil servant, he said it was the JAMB registrar who could explain why he decided to give concessions to albinos during the jamb exam, adding that albinism is all about being short- sighted.
“What’s the big deal there? Years back, I did my JAMB without any aid.
I completed my papers on record time, nobody gave me any magnifying glass or extended my exam time.”
Speaking in the same vein, an albino met on Challenge/ Anfaani road in Ibadan, who simply called himself Ayo, a student, appreciated the JAMB boss’ gesture, thanked him for the intended provision of magnifying glasses for albinos, “but the extension of time is not necessary,” he added.
In a chat with the Nigerian Tribune on behalf of the blind, that is the visually impaired, Mr Abioye Kayode Moses, principal, Omoyeni Special School, Aperin-Oniyere, Ibadan said, for the blind, it was a welcome development as the blind needed the extra hours.
“The blind employ the services of readers, who read out the questions to them before they answer it on their braille,” Abioye explained.
Mr Haruna Ibrahim said if all the examination bodies decide to treat albinos as special candidates and give them concessions, would the authorities of the higher institutions they attend do the same, he asked.
“Will the universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions follow suit? Haruna asked.
The Albino’s Foundation’s helmsman, Jake Epelle, was excited about JAMB’s far-reaching innovations, most especially its decision to officially categorise and treat albinos as visually impaired.
He opined that the act would surely translate to seeing more albinos registering and passing future UTMEs.
Will other examination bodies follow suit?
The registrar, West African Examination Council (WAEC), Alhaja Mulikat Bello told the Tribune that WAEC categorises the blind, deaf and dumb and albino as special candidates. What WAEC, however, does is to set the examination questions for the blind and the deaf and dumb on the braille and the examination period is not extended for them.
For albinos, WAEC increases the font size of their questions so that the questions would be more legible. Magnifying glasses are not provided for them and neither is the examination time extended for them, she explained.
At the National Examination Council (NECO) in Minna, the registrar, Professor Promise Okpala, was not available but an insider source, who refused to disclose his identity said NECO only gives extra few minutes to the blind to tidy up their papers after the examination. “Nobody else is given any other concession,” he volunteered.
Additional reports by Clement Idoko, Abuja; Kunle Awosiyan, Lagos and Adelowo Oladipo, Minna.
174,385 students begin WASSSCE throughout the country
Regional News of Monday, 2 April 2012
The West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE) commenced countrywide on Monday with a total of 174,385 candidates made up of 79,215 girls and 95,170 boys are participating in the exam.
Mr Lee Ocran, Minister of Education, touring some schools, said the examination was a crucial time in the life of candidates as it prepared them for the next stage in their educational ladder.
He explained that the tour was to ascertain the progress of the examinations since it was the first day and to encourage students to put up their best to qualify for the tertiary level.
Some schools toured were, Accra Girls Senior High School, Accra High Senior School and Achimota Senior High School all in Accra.
Mr Ocran said it was the responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that students who passed WASSSCE entered tertiary institutions, but noted that parents also had responsibilities to play by committing themselves to the financial support of their children.
He said government would continue to provide free education to the children but parents should endeavour to invest and provide the financial support for their children.
“Let us all resolve that the best we can give our children is by investing to give them quality education,” he added.
Mrs Rosmond Blay, Director of Special Education, said enough provision had been made for students with special needs, especially, the blind and the deaf and dumb adding that “we have made provision for interpreters to interpret the oral English for the deaf and dumb students as well as braille for blind students”.
The subject for the first day was Oral English.**
Family Defiled, abandoned by a ‘boda boda’ man
Publish Date: Apr 03, 2012
Nakalongo remembers her bitter past, but she has moved on. PHOTOS by Gladys Kalibbala By Gladys Kalibbala
Sylvia Nakalongo, aged 19 walks with her hands because she was born disabled. She has a one-and-half-year-old lovely daughter she cannot lift due to her physical incapability.
The only easier means of transport she is left to use when there are no taxis is a motorcycle a.k.a. boda boda and since she has no job, there are many times when she has no money and is left stranded, immobile.
The calm-looking single parent uses boda bodas not out of choice, but rather due to lack of it?choice. Yet it is that same means of transport that once piled more misery in her life with her physical disability, especially in a society where the disabled are highly discriminated by many.
Nakalongo now has to look after a child she had never planned for, and whose father she does not know nor can ever trace. All she knows is her daughter’s father, a motorcyclist then, raped and abandoned her on one such an agonizing day a little over a year ago.
Nine months later, she was inside the maternity ward at Nakavule hospital in Iganga district, ready to bring another life into her harsh world.
Despite the painful reminder of the dark events that led to her accidental pregnancy, Nakalongo says she loves her daughter.
“I love my baby so much but it would have been better if she came when I was prepared.”
She still admits that despite born with physical deformity, life was not as hard before as it is now with a baby she had not planned for.
In her quest for a better life, Nakalongo turned up at New Vision head offices in Kampala seeking for financial support to buy a mattress, bed- sheets and other necessities for boarding school. She has been offered a place at an institute in Nkokonjeru where she will be trained in hair- dressing for about six months.
“This will help me become self-reliant as I can attend to my customers at home,” she says, with a sense hope in her voice.
Nakalongo’s father died while she was in Primary Two [elementary school] followed by her mum two years later. Before the demise of her mother, she stayed at Bukeka village in Bugerere.
Consequently, she dropped out of school with no more support left for her.
Fortunately, it did not take long until a concerned resident in the area contacted the late Mayor for Lugazi, Haji Said Mubarak who offered to sponsor her further education.
But she had to drop out of school again when her source of hope died in 2006 while she was in Primary Seven, the final class of elementary education in Uganda
With no more support, she stayed with her grandmother, Annet Nakonde in Lugazi.
Her life suddenly took a harsh twist one-and-a-half years ago when a boda boda man riding her home turned against her along the way and raped her, leaving her pregnant.
Along the way, the rider turned into an isolated area, dragged her off the bike and went down on her. She gave birth to her daughter at Nakavule hospital in the eastern Ugandan district of Iganga.
Nakalongo admits that she would not identify her daughter’s father if they were to cross paths anywhere.
He remains a shadow in her life, but she basks in the hope that her training at the institute in Nkokonjeru will be a source of a brighter side for her and her daughter’s lives.
GSPD investigates disability-friendliness of the business community
Ghana Society of Physically Disabled (GSPD), has rolled out a research activity to measure the degree of constraints people with disability face in the business community within the built environment.
The research findings, expected to be completed at the end of April 2012, would be the basis for a stakeholders’ roundtable discussion for a proposed national law or standards to guide building engineers and their clients for the establishment of a disability-friendly and accessible infrastructure.
Mr Charles Appiagyei, National Administrator of GSPD, said this to the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the end of a recently held advocacy workshop organised by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund and facilitated by the Society for Managing Initiatives and Leadership Enhancement, Ghana.
He expressed worry that currently Persons with Disability (PWD) spent inordinate amount of time trying to gain access and transact business within the business communities.
Mr Appiagyei, expressed worry that most Automated Teller Machines of banks were placed at a height that made it possible for only physically- abled persons who even would have to be in a standing posture to use them.
He said, the findings had revealed that most internet cafes were located at higher floors within the buildings of most business communities, where it was difficult for PWDs to have access.
Mr Appiagyei indicated that, toilet facilities at some hotels were inaccessible for those with disabilities, stressing that, the situation was an affront not only to their rights to access but also to their dignity.
“In some of these washrooms, it is even difficult, if not impossible for a wheelchair to be pushed to enter the facility,” he said.
He said a cursory observation at most market centres and other business sectors across the country revealed the absence of pavements for persons with disability.
Mr Appiagyei expressed disquiet that some open drains were not covered to enable them “cross over” to have access to the buildings.
He said, by these access and movement constraints, the operators at the business community in the country were losing a lot of businesses from PWDs.
Mr Appiagyei said the Society hoped to engage the Ghana Standards Authority, Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Ministry of Roads and Highway on the proposed building guidelines.
Though the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), which was given a Presidential Assent in August 2006 had been passed, the Society felt persons with disability were denied free access to the built environment, especially in the business communities.**
Hearing impaired demand inclusion in HIV programms
April 3, 2012 at 3:16 AM by AHN
Kampala, Uganda (IRIN) - Leaders of the hearing impaired community in Uganda say the government’s HIV programs have failed them because their special needs are not taken into consideration.
“I am disappointed with the way the government has acted… they are not sensitive to deaf persons. There are no specialized health facilities where the deaf can access HIV services,” Alex Ndezi, a hearing impaired Ugandan legislator for persons with disabilities, told IRIN/PlusNews.
“The government has failed to train health workers in sign language.
Whenever they [hearing impaired people] go to health centers they need interpreters, who require payment… [few] can afford to pay… [them].”
According to UNAIDS, people with disabilities may be at risk of HIV infection for a number of reasons, including “insufficient access to appropriate HIV prevention and support services, and their higher risk of experiencing sexual assault or abuse… They may also be turned away from HIV education forums or not be invited by outreach workers because of assumptions that they are not sexually active, or do not engage in other risk behaviors such as injecting drugs.”
Alex Lawoko, chairperson of northern Uganda’s Gulu Association, told IRIN/PlusNews that hearing-impaired girls and women were particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation and often became sex workers due to poverty.
“We need to include livelihood projects in fighting against HIV/AIDS in the deaf community… deaf females we interviewed in regard to their reasons for sexual trade said they are looking for income, as they lack money to support their life,” he said.
Hearing impaired people miss out on radio programs and adverts aimed at educating people about HIV, while television broadcasts on the topic are rarely accompanied by sign language interpretation.
Christine Ondoa, Uganda’s Health Minister, told IRIN/PlusNews that her ministry had finalized a document on HIV/AIDS strategic plans, programs, services, and “all the HIV and related issues among people with disabilities; all [the points] they have raised are addressed in the document”.
The Ministry of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the School of Public Health at Makerere University in the capital, Kampala, will soon begin the first ever HIV-related survey among hearing impaired people in the greater Kampala area. There are no statistics on HIV levels among the hearing impaired.
Using a video-based sign language questionnaire, the research will investigate respondents’ general health status, alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, as well as access to health care, HIV testing, treatment and care, and HIV-related risk behaviors. It will also offer participants the option to test for HIV and syphilis. Treatment for syphilis will be provided while HIV-infected respondents will be referred to care and treatment providers.
The survey, funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), aims to interview a sample size of 1,000 deaf adults residing in Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso and Mpigi districts. It is expected to start by June 2012 and run for six months.
“Surveillance is a core public health function. It informs both policy- making and program planning. Surveys are also used for public health advocacy and general community awareness,” said Wolfgang Hladik, an epidemiologist at CDC-Uganda.
The survey is the first step towards an opportunity to create well- informed, effective HIV prevention, treatment and care strategies for hearing impaired people. “It’s a welcome move. We are going to support and ensure it succeeds,” said Ndezi. “There has been no information and data on HIV among the deaf persons.”
Deaf, gay and HIV positive activist battles against stigma
April 3, 2012, CNN
(CNN) -- It's been 11 years since John Meletse, a deaf, gay South African man, first learned he was HIV positive.
But the events of that day are all too vividly etched on his mind: After a brief but anxious wait inside a Soweto clinic, near Johannesburg, a doctor called him in his office. The doctor, unable to communicate with him in sign language, quickly wrote something in a piece of paper and stuck it in front of him.
"You are HIV positive" read the note. "He didn't explain anything," Meletse recalls in sign language as tears roll down his face.
"He just stuck this paper in my face and I was like: 'Me? What you're telling me is the truth?' And the doctor said 'yes,' and I could lip read and I asked him 'is it the truth' and he said 'yes' and the doctor told me 'go now, bye bye.'"
Finding new ways to communicate A role model for the deaf community
The news left Meletse shocked and devastated as he struggled to grapple with how to cope with the disease and a community unsure of how to deal with him.
"It was hard for me -- first I'm deaf, secondly I'm gay and thirdly I'm HIV positive, these three things, what must I do?" says Meletse, who was 25 when he was diagnosed with HIV.
Read: The Africans giving aid to the world
He decided, however, not to hide but to share his story and use his experience to inspire the deaf community to communicate openly about sex.
"I thought for myself, I need to make a stand and I need to be open and out-- I'm gay, this is me, it's my identity, I'm the same as everyone else. A lot of deaf people still are closed up, keep it covered in the closet and I'm taking a stand."
Today, Meletse's stance has seen him become a leading figure within the deaf and the gay rights community in South Africa.
Over the last few years, he's been visiting schools for deaf children across South Africa, organizing workshops where he uses visual techniques to teach deaf sex education counselors how to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.
"When I turned 30," Meletse says, "my family came together and I'm out -- I'm out about being gay, about HIV positive, my sister fainted, they thought I was going to die and I said 'no, I'm going to be a role model for the deaf community, I'm going to motivate them, support everyone, I'm going to educate everyone, I'm going to try and stop HIV, I'm going to stop the blame and still I feel good about that.'"
I said 'no, I'm going to be a role model for the deaf community, I'm going to motivate them, support everyone.'
John Meletse, activist
Read: Race, polygamy and politics: S. African comic duo stir up stereotypes
Meletse cites South African constitutional court judge, Edwin Cameron, the first South African official to publicly announce his HIV status, as his own role model.
When Meletse heard him speak a few years ago, Cameron had already been living with HIV for 20 years. Cameron's public announcement inspired Meletse to also spread his heartfelt message.
"I wanted that same feeling, I wanted to stop this stigmatization within the deaf community.'"
"There's no education, the clinics aren't helping, we're just hitting a brick wall, what does HIV mean? Nobody knows and they're just dying, I was like I'm going to stand up and say I'm going to show you -- the same that I saw Edwin do -- for the disabled community."
Read: Kenya doctor fights mental health stigma in 'traumatized continent'
Meletse recently collaborated with Human Rights Watch which chose him to be part of a public awareness campaign about HIV in the deaf community.
"People with disabilities throughout the world -- and we're talking about a billion people here -- are often ignored when it comes to issues of HIV and AIDS prevention, access to treatment, access to counseling and other preventative techniques," says Tiseke Kasambala, senior researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.
I wanted that same feeling, I wanted to stop this stigmatization within the deaf community.
John Meletse, activist
"This is because people living with disabilities are assumed not to have a sexual life, and it's something that for us is of great concern because we're seeing an increasing number of people living with disabilities who are now at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS because they simply don't have the information or the access to that kind of information," she adds.
Driven by his desire to help others, Meletse is determined to work hard to dispel myths and change attitudes.
"People look at disabled people and they say 'ha, they don't know about sex.' No, we're all the same, deaf people have sex, hearing people have sex. So blind people also have sex, all these things, we all do it.
"But it's hard -- interpreters at clinics, there are so few. For blind people in Braille, what material is printed? Ramps for people in wheelchairs entering the clinic, it's hard. I respect the disabled people for trying in this world."
Authorities set up centres to host war disabled people
3 April 2012, Angola press
Benguela - At least five regional centres to accommodate and provide social assistance to war disabled will be built this year in the provinces of Moxico, Luanda, Uige, Huambo and Huila.
The information was released Monday at a press conference by the deputy minister of Former Combatants and Veterans of the Homeland, Clemente Cunjuca, during his two-day working visit to the province of Benguela.
He said that the sheltering centres will assist war disabled who are in a situation of dependence to 100 percent and in need of better care, with regard to health care and food.
The government official indicated that the regional centres will provide more specialized and professional services, as well as moral and patriotic education of the beneficiaries, which will help in minimizing the problems that war disabled people lately.
He noted that the Luena city will host the Eastern Regional Centre, to serve the war disabled of Moxico, Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul, Luanda will gather the National Centre for the residents in the capital and those who are in transit for treatment.
Clemente Canjuca stressed that the Northern Regional Centre, designed for Uige province, will assist the disabled of Malanje, Kwanza Norte and Zaire, while Huambo city centre will host the Regional Centre to accommodate not only residents, but those from the provinces of Benguela, Bie and Kwanza Sul The official adds that the fifth project of its kind will be erected in the city of Lubango, to meet the need of the provinces of Huila, Cunene, Namibe and Kuando Kubango.
Executive delivers houses to disabled people in Benguela
3 April, 2012, Angola press
Benguela - The deputy minister for Former Combatants and Veterans of the Homeland, Clemente Conjuca, last Monday in Benguela Province symbolically delivered the first few completely repaired and refurbished houses to ward disabled people, aimed at improving their living standards.
Speaking to the press, the deputy minister announced that fourteen other houses, in the social ward for former combatants, will be fully repaired to be delivered to the beneficiaries by the end of this year.
He revealed that this is an on-going programme for the social ward, which means other war disabled citizens will also have their houses rehabilitated and refurbished.
The deputy minister also said that the Executive has been releasing special funds for the programme, which is about repairing and refurbishing the houses of former combatants and war veterans, having into account their contribution to the country’s process of armed struggle for national independence and liberation.
Clemente Conjuca revealed that as the National Housing Programme progresses specific quotas will be defined to cater for the needs of former combatants and veterans of the homeland, since this class of citizens is also included in the mentioned programme.
On Tuesday, the deputy minister is to deliver a lecture on the theme “Patriotic Education”.
Among other activities, Clemente Conjuca is also scheduled to visit the Benguela provincial department for former combatants and veterans of the homeland, as well as a workshop that trains people to be trainers in the entrepreneurial area.
Twenty-two deprived students in Talensi-Nabdam get support
Retired Peace Corps volunteers, Linda Atwater, Kirstin Green and Peal Deng and a Community Based Organization (CBO) have sponsored 22 deprived students in the Talensi?Nabdam District to continue their education.
In addition, Ms Green, Mr Ryan Almandinger, students from San Diego and the CBO have built an Information Communication Centre (ICT) for use by students from schools in the Talensi-Nabdam District.
Ms Atwater told the GNA in an interview that she was touched by the plight of the deprived students most of whom had lost their parents and could not continue with their education.
She said based on this she and Kirstin launched fund raising activities in California and Oregon, saying that, from 2005 to 2011 they raised $ 3,868 to sponsor 22 students’ education and presented sport kits, computers, books and bicycles to the School for the Deaf in the District.
She said $13,000 was raised in San Diego to complete the ICT Centre and the provision of computers and other logistics for the Centre.
Ms Atwater said the donors included Bill and Michelle Lerach Optimist Club, Coronado High School, Democratic Club, Amnesty International, Ishmeal Tetteh, Prentice Family and the Morris family.
She said there were still a number of deprived students in the District who needed support to continue their education.
Ms Atwater said she together with Peal Deng and local schools had compiled a list of deprived students and she would go back to look for more funding to support them.
“The students in the area have the greatest potentials and should be supported to continue their Education,” she said.
The Chairman of Peal Deng, Mr Alphones Daniel Kennedy Bangrey, said he was grateful to the Peace Corp Volunteers and the US donors.
He said most of the students who were supported with their school fees, school uniforms and books and the payment of their National Health Insurance Scheme premiums are in Senior and Junior High schools.
Mr Bangrey said the aim of the CBO was to support the government in the areas of education and other social interventions and that Peal Deng had planted 1,500 trees around a dam it had de-silted to prevent soil erosion and desertification.**
UGANDA: Deaf demand inclusion in HIV programmes
04 Apr 2012 13:23
Source: Content Partner // IRIN
Leaders of the deaf community in Uganda say the government's HIV programmes have failed them because their special needs are not taken into consideration.
Give priority to elderly, people with disability to register - Hlodze
Mr Ludwig Akpene Hlodze, has tasked eligible voters undergoing the biometric voter registration exercise to give priority to the elderly, persons with disabilities and other essential service providers at registration centres.
Mr Hlodze who is the National Youth Organiser of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), said this will enable this category of persons to register with ease and return to the respective homes and posts.
A statement issued in Accra on Thursday said, Mr Hlodze made the call at Kpone Apostolic Church polling centre, when he led a team of Regional Youth Organisers and Constituency Organisers of the party on a day's working visit to parts of the Greater Accra Region to monitor the exercise.
The visits, which began at the start of the registration process, have so far taken him to four regions including parts of the Volta, Eastern, Ashanti and Greater Accra.
The visits to the registration centres are to afford him the opportunity to interact with political party agents at the centres and to take feedback as to how the exercise is progressing.
Mr Hlodze expressed concern over the use of school premises as registration centres at a time when school children were writing their mock BECE examinations.
“I think the electoral commission should have factored in the welfare of the school children before mapping out the registration centres and the heavy traffic at these centres is likely to distract the attention of the children; this can have negative effects on their concentration and output in the examinations. Their education is as important as the biometric voter registration exercise,” he stated.**
Ladipo Hosts Victorious Nigeria's Deaf Soccer Team
Written by Ganiyu Salman,
07 April 2012
PRESIDENT General of the Nigeria Football and other sports Supporters Club, Dr Rafiu Ladipo, has promised to support the growth of football for the deaf in the country.
He gave the assurance in his office at Surulere, Lagos while hosting the Nigerian team which won the just-concluded Dr Goodluck Jonathan West Africa Deaf football tournament after defeating Togo 1-0 in the final.
"I want to commend you for winning this competition and it is a testimony to the fact that Nigeria is blessed in all fields of sports.This gathering is just to appreciate you and let you know that this victory is for Nigeria as a whole."
It is a laudable achievement because you have done what the Super Eagles did and I will mobilise support for you to help this game become a household name in Nigeria. I will on your behalf reach out to the authorities and corporate organisations to assist you. In fact, we need to provide this team the kind of equipment given to the Super Eagles to be able to meet the challenges ahead because football is football globally," Ladipo said.
He also promised to be in Hungary in July 2013 when the Nigerian team will hoist Africa's flag at the world deaf Games otherwise known as Deaflympics."Arrangement would be made towards presenting this trophy to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja in due course."
Disability inclusion: A possible mission
07 April, 2012、Swazi Observer
People with disabilities have the right to be included in mainstream society and to participate in family, community and national life.
Equal opportunity is defined as the process through which the various system of society and the environment, such as services, activities, information and documentation, are made available to all.
Mainstreaming may also be the process of assessing the implications of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programmes, in all areas and at all levels for people with disabilities. It is a strategy for making disabled people’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes across all sectors in all political, economic and societal spheres to avoid perpetuating inequality. A perspective that includes people with disabilities leads to more informed policy options and impacts, and better understanding of formulating policies to narrow the gap between people with and without disabilities.
Why inclusive development matters to us all?
The global development community will not achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015. We can say this with confidence because people with disabilities have been left out of the equation for the MDGs relating to poverty, health and education. For example, the goal of the second MDG(Achieve Primary Universal Education: 40 million of the 115 million children not attending primary school in developing countries have disabilities.
Very often, children with disabilities are not recognised, get frustrated with school and drop out. In the US, it has been found that the majority of children who repeat classes or drop out of school have emotional or intellectual disabilities.
This in turn makes it impossible to achieve the goal of Universal Primary Education unless the health aspects are taken into account,) but with 98 percent of children with disabilities excluded from school, this will be unattainable. A widely used statistic is that up to 10 percent of the global population is disabled and amongst them are some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world. They are excluded from the key international development targets thatattract funding and drive change. It is vital to redress this omission and the invisibility of disabled people because this percentage figure represents the social exclusion of up to 600 million individuals.
Change is critical because the reality of everyday life for disabled people global is harsh:
n 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school n 200 million of the world’s 1.2 billion poorest people surviving on a dollar a day are people with disabilities n 80% of disabled people in developing countries are unemployed n 51% of disabled people are women and they have even less access to essential services such as health care, education and vocational rehabilitation that disabled men.
Mystery as murder suspect becomes permanently deaf
Times of Swaziland
MBABANE - The fate of Magazini Groening (37) remains a mystery after he has become permanently deaf and cannot stand trial.
Groening was charged with murder after he allegedly assaulted Aaron Lukhele with a sharp object and inflicted multiple injuries upon him, from which he died on October 31, 2000. Groening hails from Mavalela in the Lubombo region. His trial had to begin on Wednesday but it was postponed after his attorney brought it to the court’s attention that he had since became deaf and would not stand trial. It is over 10 years since Groening was charged.
He was arrested but later released on bail in 2003.
He is represented by Sikelela Magongo and prosecutor Sikhumbuzo Fakudze represents the Crown.
Groening’s case has been postponed on several instances after he was dumped by lawyers at the last minute. The reasons for dumping him could not be ascertained. Judge Nkululeko Hlophe was optimistic that the case should be finalised this time after it has dragged for over a decade.
An ear specialist was ordered by Judge Hlophe to examine the accused and bring a report of her findings to the court yesterday. Nomsa Mabaso, an audiologist from Mbabane Government Hospital examined Groening and brought the report to court. She found that Groening had been a sickly person considering his medical history.
Mabaso found that the accused’s left ear showed that he had an infection.
She also found that both Groening’s ears were not functioning. She categorised the type as a sensory neural hearing loss. Mabaso asserted further that the type of hearing problem could have been due to the Tuberculosis (TB) drugs Groening took. The audiologist said she communicated to the accused through writing. She said she wrote down and Groening replied verbally. She also said the accused was able to lip read.
"My Lord, I want to ask the court to postpone the case so that I perform a second test in a month’s time. "We do not test them once my Lord because some patients malinger and in the second test we are able to draw a pattern of whether the hearing loss is real," Mabaso said.
She stressed that Groening’s case was rather abnormal as TB patients who suffered from such a defect would heal in a month after they have stopped taking the treatment.
"The problem also gets better by the aid of hearing aids. Groening stopped the medication in January 2012.
Mabaso said if after a year the hearing problem does not get better that would mean it would be a permanent loss of hearing. "If then that is the case, I do not know what we will do but the case has to continue and be finalised," Judge Hlophe said.
Rwanda: Giving Ex-Combatants a New Life
The New Times
BY GRACE MUGOYA, 8 APRIL 2012
When Alex Muhirwe, 47, an ex-combatant become disabled during his service in the army, he thought he would never have a smile on his face again.
"Although it's important that you seek employment, it's also wise for you to have business ideas to effectively start or create employment,"
"Just like any other person who was carrying out his daily activities and then life suddenly changes to the extent that you can no longer carry on some activities, there is a reason to worry especially when you have a family to take care of," Muhirwe narrates.
He goes on to say, "But people should never lose hope so long as they are still alive."
Muhirwe is one of the 54 ex-combatants who completed a six-month training course in electrical installation and electronics as well as tailoring, in Kicukiro as part of one of the courses organized by Rwanda Demobilization Reintegration Commission (RDRC).
He explains that the skills he acquired in the training opens a new chapter in his life and that he will be able to start his own phone repair business.
"For sure, I came here without any knowledge about electronics or phone repair, but according to the practical's we have been undergoing, I am delighted to inform you I am now able to repair phones," he says with a smile on his face.
On completion of the training, trainees were given various tools to help them start income generating activities which included sewing machines and electronic equipment.
The Chairman of RDRC, Jean Sayinzoga, urges them to use their skills to start businesses.
"Although it's important that you seek employment, it's also wise for you to have business ideas to effectively start or create employment," says Sayinzoga.
During the function to mark the end of the training Sanyinzoga urged them to desist from the habit of selling tools given to them pointing out that in the past; such cases have been reported to his office.
The training was conducted in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and AGHR (Association Generale des Handicap？s du Rwanda), an association for people living with disabilities.
The Legal representative of the association, Zacharie Nkundiye, called on employers to give the disabled chance to work and improve their standard of living.
"Work is all about capacity to perform and if a disabled person has the knowledge or required skills, then there is no legal reason they can be restricted from taking up responsibility or employment," Nkundiye said.
He explained that the disabled are part of the community warning against discrimination against them.
The president of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities Gaston Rusiha, promised that the council is committed to working with other development partners in making sure that lives of the disabled especially ex-combatants improve.
In her speech, JICA representative, Maho Harada, said that her organization will continue offering support in terms of capacity building.
"We are having a three years project and our mission is to make sure that at least 2000 ex-combatants are trained in various skills so that they can not only be integrated in their communities, but continue contributing to national development just like any other national," said Harada.
Zimbabwe: Disabled Worker Successfully Challenges Transfer
9 APRIL 2012, allAfrica
A disabled worker has successfully challenged, in the Labour Court, a transfer by his employer from Harare to Beatrice.
Mr Michael Samu is employed by the Ministry of Home Affairs as a processing officer in the Marriages Section of the Registrar General's Office at Makombe Building.
In November 2007, Mr Samu was served with a letter of transfer to Beatrice.
The January Mr Samu wrote a letter to the human resources director explaining that he had not moved to Beatrice owing to accommodation problems. When Samu failed to report to Beatrice, the Secretary for Home Affairs caused him to be removed from the payroll.
He challenged the Public Service Commission over the unprocedural transfer and the cessation of his salary.
The PSC through a letter dated April 20, 2009 advised the Home Affairs Secretary to comply with the Public Service Regulations when effecting transfers.
The Home Affairs Secretary then wrote to the PSC requesting reinstatement of Samu on the pay sheet from the day he was struck off.
The request was granted through a memo by PSC dated October 6, 2010.
In the same memo, it was written: "The Commission further directs that the period (1 March 2009 to date) the member was away from duty be treated as leave without pay.
"Disciplinary proceedings should be instituted against Mr Samu for continued absence from duty and receiving salary between December 1, 2007 and February 28, 2009 without rendering service."
It is against the above decision of the PSC that Mr Samu applied for reinstatement without loss of salary or benefits at the Labour Court.
He submitted that his transfer was unlawful, as he was never advised of such a transfer in time.
Labour Court president Ms Loice Matanda-Moyo noted that the PSC agreed that the transfer was not in accordance with regulations.
The regulations stipulated that a member should be informed of the transfer and given adequate notice to minimise discomfort on the part of the worker and his family.
Ms Matanda-Moyo said: "Mr Samu is a disabled person whose family was based in Harare and he relied on his wife on most chores.
"Since he was transferred to Beatrice without accommodation, he could not take his family there."
She was convinced that such transfer should have been done to offices around Harare and not to Beatrice.
Ms Matanda-Moyo then set aside the decision to transfer Mr Samu to Beatrice and ordered his reinstatement to his former position without loss of salary or benefits.
Anambra Deaf Club Decries Lack Of Govt Support
NKPOR (ANAMBRA) -Chief Onyebuchi Akpudo, the Chairman, Deaf Committee of Friends Club, Idemili, has decried the lack of assistance from Anambra State Government in the areas of educational advancement and employment opportunities.
Akpudo expressed the club’s displeasure to newsmen at Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, at the inauguration of its newly elected executive and launch of the club’s honorary awards to individuals. He said that the singular act of neglect by the state government has adversely affected the club’s welfare programmes both as a group as well as individuals.
“We have written so many letters to Governor Peter Obi in person to look into our plight, as destitutes, but all to no avail.
“We are appealing not only to the government but to individuals and corporate bodies to come to our aid in terms of achieving our set objectives, which the primary focus is education and a means of livelihood.’’
Akpudo said the club was formed in 2006 with the objective of helping to integrate the deaf into the society, harness the skills of the Deaf and channel it towards their development.
Other objectives, the chairman said, were sensitising the society on the needs of the deaf and influencing government policies as they affect the deaf in the state.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Fabian Onwuachu, urged corporate organisations, churches and the wealthy ones, to support the laudable aspiration of the club and give the deaf a sense of belonging in the society.
One of the award recipients, Mr. Obiora Chukwuka, said that it was within the responsibility of the government to care for the less privileged ones, adding that the government should not shirk its responsibility.
Among those inaugurated as executive members of the club were Prince Ifeanyi Chukwuka (Vice-Chairman), Mr. Ebuka Uche (General Secretary), Mr. Ikechi Apugo (Financial Secretary) and Mr. Okwudili Ezenwekwe (Treasurer).
Cameroon: Electoral Code - Disabled People Stake Claim
BY ELIZABETH MOSIMA,
11 APRIL 2012
They want their plight to be taken into consideration in enacting the new law.
The new electoral law under debate at the National Assembly is of interest to all segments of society. Disabled people united under the banner of the Plate Forme Inclusive Society for Persons with Disabilities are clamouring for their plight to be taken into consideration in enacting the new law.
This was the major outcome of an extra-ordinary general assembly of the association last Monday April 9 in Yaounde. The Executive Secretary, Joseph Pouagam said it is a surprise that the new electoral code does not include the views of disabled people. "We want to make our demands so that disabled people can also be given some consideration," he said.
At the end the discussions, members came up with some demands which were forwarded to the National Assembly. These include among others, the modification of legal provisions on discrimination against disabled people, ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, promulgatio! n of the law of April 13, 2010 on promotion and protection of disabled people, facilitating access to public contracts for disabled business people, and reinforcing access to the general electoral process for disabled people and also making employment for disabled people a priority.
The meeting brought together representatives of associations of peoples with disabilities from across the country.
Disable International say they have a solution to Sierra Leone's disability issues
By: Donstance Koroma - SEM on April 11, 2012.
The Disable International Foundation Sierra Leone (DIF-SL) organisation was registered in 2008 to ensure that the disabled of all categories are catered for by providing them shelters, skill training and learning facilities, micro finance, start up kits and educational support for disable children.
DIF-SIL have hit the ground running by visiting disabled persons at Pademba Road central of the capital of Freetown and providing wives and female polio persons with start up capital to do business.
A piece of land in Lungi Kaffu Bullum has been bought for the establishment of a disable center and another piece of land has been earmarked at Combema village in Kenema east of Sierra Leone.
DIF-SIL has also visited the headquarter town of Makeni that is paying host to a good number of disabled persons including the Polio Persons Development Association in Makeni.
Mathew Trolley, Chairman for the Polio Persons Development Association (POPDA) raised concerns about the degree of neglect they are suffering at the hands of the government and international human rights organizations.
He said the center for Polio Person Development Association is currently hosting hundreds of polio persons with various skills training centers to enable them learn and help them out of the streets to live a life of their own.
He said the aim of the organisation is to get all disabled persons off the streets and said they are gradually overcoming that challenge as they succeeded in adopting various life assuring programs and innovations such as story-telling. Trolley said it is not easy taking the disabled off the streets as many of them have imbibed in the habits of begging. Many abandoned the center in search of food leaving their tools and equipment unattended, he said.
Another major problem they are envisaging is a host centre for the blind as they are currently lacking accommodation. He said this is why a good number of them are roaming about the various streets of the country.
DIF-SL observed during the tour in Makeni that the physically challenged persons are growing in number almost equaling to the able bodied in the country which makes it difficult to cater for them and in terms of accessing free medical care, transportation and free education for all disabled.
DIF-SL’s aims and objectives are gearing towards bringing all persons with disabilities together and harmonizing them in skills and vocational training.
Imambay Kadie Kamara Executive Director and founder of Disable International Foundation, a daughter of a disabled mother, who is sharing the plight of the disabled that she decided to set up a disabled organisation to not only get them off the streets but she intends to make their lives better.Seventy percent of children whose parents are physically challenged often grow up with criminal tendencies and the foundation is trying to shape their fortunes for the good.
Regardless of the many challenges the disabled persons face, the Executive Director and Founder believes this is a race that she must run, victory to be won, hence she prays that God empowers every hour she goes through.
Motswana cyclist rides 776km for disabled
11 APRIL 2012, The Botswana Gazette
Oats Cox & Partners Cycling Club’s Otsile Mangatsa will embark on a 776.3 km journey to raise funds for six disabled children in Bobirwa region who are in need of wheelchairs. The fund raising bicycle journey will start from Tuli Block and end in Selibe Phikwe between August 10th and September 1st, 2012.
The cyclist will travel through twenty different villages to help raise funds for the needy, mostly children with disabilities. The bicycle trips will each have a finishing point whereby stalls for different businesses will be available at P500 for youth businesses and P3000 for others while companies who made donations will avail their stalls freely at all villages.
The cycling club has the financial support of the Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) Fund, Botswana National Youth Council (Phikwe branch), the Ministry of Health and RB 2.
The MVA Fund will contribute P94 104 to support the project. Mangatsa said the donations will be used to buy recording equipment such as video cameras and micro-phones to document the whole journey.
Cyclist will travel an average distance of 38.8 km per day. The journey will pass through places such as Mashatu, Bobonong, Tsetsebjwe, Lerala, Mmadinare, Mogapi, Seolwane and other surrounding areas.
Mangatsa is encouraging other cyclists in surrounding areas to join him on this journey. He also urged Batswana to support the activity through donations and to come in large numbers to support the rally at all the finishing points.
A fund raising concert featuring local artists will sum up the event on the final day. Tickets will be selling at P50.
Blind teacher wins fight for job
11 April, 2012, The Zimbabwean
A blind teacher, Tendai Ndongwe (33), is now a beacon of hope to people living with disabilities after she won a case to get back the job she lost when her vision disappeared six years ago.
Kudzi Shava: ---We are delighted that at last Ndongwe has managed to get her job back.--- The Public Service Commission had fired her without adequate compensation.
Ndongwe, who trained at Marymount Teachers College before being posted to Chipinge, developed an eyesight problem in 2006 after visiting a foreign doctor who was working in the country.
After exhausting all avenues in Mutare, she went to Mogernster Mission Hospital where she was informed it was impossible to restore her sight. She was given a certificate of blindness.
Ndongwe then went to Kapota School for the Blind where she leant Braille in 2008. She joined a local Disability Committee where she was elected Manicaland Regional Secretary General. She later assumed the post of chairperson in 2010.
“I did not know what steps to take until after I joined the Regional Disability Advocacy where this NGO Mercy Corps was running some programmes.
I managed to network with a lot of people who gave me the courage to fight my dismissal,” she said.
Ndongwe refused to give up because she knew there was light at the end of tunnel.
“I am grateful that they reinstated me. I am now able to look after my child who is in Form One. Life was terrible for me because I did not have any source of income to fend for my family,” she said.
Ndongwe, now a Grade Three teacher at Chihere primary school in Odzi, resumed her teaching duties when schools opened in January.
Grateful but bitter
Although grateful, she is bitter about the time she lost while she struggled to get redress.
“If I look back six years is not a joke because I lost a lot of time and I could have achieved a lot,” she said.
“I was working and I got the skills and qualification so I don’t see the reason why people with disability should be discriminated against.
Government should come up with a clear policy to protect such people from unfair dismissal,” Ndongwe said, adding that such people often did a better job than those who are able-bodied.
She cited an example of another visually impaired teacher, Baxter Dzindira, in Mutambara who recorded a 100 percent pass rate in his area of specialisation.
Ndongwe works with an assistant whose salary is paid by government.
Kudzi Shava, a disability activist, said it was high time employers changed their attitudes towards the disabled.
Shava said employers should create a friendly environment for everyone.
“For example, we simply need new technology which is user friendly so that the disabled can do the same work as able-bodied people.”
Another local disability activist, Clide Bvunzawabaya, described Ndongwe’s reinstatement a ‘triumph’.
“Ndongwe’s reinstatement is a victory for all the disabled in the country who have been suffering in silence. Our modern society is full of discrimination and injustices. We will continue to lobby for equality,”
Progression, an international charity, estimates that 1,4 million people are living with disabilities. United Nations estimates that a total number of disabilities in Africa are about 80 million. A good number of them are not employed and depended on begging for survival.
Physically challenged calls for sign language interpreters at registration centres
Physically challenged people in the Volta Region on Wednesday complained about the lack of sign language interpreters to help them in the biometric voters registration exercise.
The situation is therefore discouraging the deaf and dumb from registering.
These concerns were raised at a day’s sensitisation seminar on the Biometric Voters Registration for the physically challenged in Ho.
It was organised by the Ghana Federation of the Disabled with support from the Electoral Commission (EC).
They said, no Ghanaian should face discrimination during a serious exercise such as the Biometric Voters Registration and asked the EC to rectify the anomaly.
Mr Dogbe Selormey, Regional Deputy Director of the EC said, the anomaly was because of the limited number of sign language interpreters in the country.
He therefore appealed to families and friends of the deaf and dumb to accompany them to the registration centres and help them to register.
Mr Selormey said, registration officers received special training to assist people living with physical limitations to go through the registration processes.
He said, persons with physical disabilities are to be excused from being in queues for long periods.
Mr Selormey urged such people to seek assistance to overcome the challenges they face.
Mr Frederick Ofosu, Programmes Manager for Ghana Federation of the Disabled, also called on families of physically challenged people to encourage them to participate fully in the registration exercise.**
Egypt: Cabinet - National Council for Handicapped Established
12 APRIL 2012
The Cabinet, under Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri, agreed on Wednesday 11/4/2012 to issue a law on the establishment of the National Center for the care of disabled people.
The center will serve 15 million persons and comprise 15 ministers, in addition to the federation of NGOs and the head of the National Specialized Councils.
It also approved the bill on amending the decree no. 45 for 1980 regarding those who sell butane gas cylinders illegally so that they would be fined LE 10,000 to 100,000 and imprisoned for 3-5 years.
In the same vein, the government agreed on amendments to police law.
Ellen Extends Easter Hand to Orphanages As Disabled Community Outlines Constrains
Liberian Daily Observe
Written by Stephen Binda Thursday, 12 April 2012 12:10
As Christians around the world celebrate Easter, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has identified with several orphanages and other disadvantaged individuals in and around Monrovia.
The president, over the weekend, drove to several orphanages and disabled communities where she distributed assorted food items and cash.
The donation, according to President Sirleaf, was her own way of indentifying with the institutions. “This is Easter time,” she said.
“It is time of sharing and showing love for each other and that is exactly what I am doing,” she noted.
Among beneficiaries were the Redemption Hospital, Daniel Hoover School, Liberia School of the Deaf and the African Christian Fellowship International (ACFI).
Items distributed included begs of rice, dozens of fish and cash.
The President also emphasized her government’s commitment to improving the conditions of the respective institutions and called on others to follow suit.
Responding, Mr. Tolbert Dixon, Director for Administration, Liberia School of the Deaf, said his institution was gratified.
He added, however, that his institution was experiencing budgetary constraints and needed the timely intervention of the President.
Mr. Dixon informed President Sirleaf of the growing rate at which children were being abandoned by their parents due to their disabilities.
He proposed that legislation be made to compel parents across the county to educate their children regardless of their physical deficiencies.
The law should provide for a capital punishment for violators, he proposed.
He also called for the President’s support to ensure the fencing of the school. Dixon said the lack of fencing around the school has posed a serious threat to the vast stretch of the land.
“They are taking out the land on a daily basis and we need to fence the property,” he pleaded.
The late Bishop Nah Dixon, who conceived the need for disabled persons to be educated, established the institution in 1967.
Dixon said his institution was committed to working closely with the government to ensure that deaf people were educated.
For her part, Madam Eve Nifor, Vice President for Administration of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, said President Sirleaf’s donation signified that the disabled too were somebody despite their conditions.
She stressed the need for the placement of the names of instructional staff on the Ministry of Education payroll.
She told President Sirleaf that in order to ensure a smooth operation of the entity, a total of US$1.5M was needed in the upcoming national budget.
The institution currently has one vehicle and subsequently caters to over 75 children, all of whom are disabled students.
The President welcomed the suggestions and concerns and vowed to look into them.
Meanwhile, since the launch of the president’s Easter donation drive, over 355 bags of rice and 75 cartons of fish have been distributed to hospitals, old-folks’ homes and disabled communities.
EDGARS ACTIVE DONATES E32 000 CLOTHES
12 April, 2012, Swazi observer
EDGARS-ACTIVE Stores last week donated clothes and footwear worth E32 000 to the School of the Deaf at Matsetsa.
Store Manager, Baby Malindzisa said they donated the clothes to the school so that it could be given to needy pupils.
“It is now winter and we saw it as a good gesture to give out the little we have to the school,” said Malindzisa.
The children at the school will be the main beneficiaries of this generous offer.
Malindzisa said this was part of the store’s social responsibility and again ploughing back to the community.
“We do have such a programme of reaching out to communities and assisting the underprivileged. We just hope the items will motivate the pupils and at the same time make them feel wanted and appreciated,” she said.
Also present during the donation was Edgars-Active Assistant Manager, Nonhlanhla Nxumalo and staff.
“We make this donation as a way of assisting in enhancing social security for the underprivileged members of our society and also as a way of working together with the government of Swaziland in achieving its Millennium Development Goals,” Malindzisa said.
Arts teacher, Pholile Malaza said: “The donation will help the children a lot. May the Lord God bless Edgars-Active Stores for helping the underprivileged children!
Blessed is the hand that gives than the one that takes. I urge the public to continue supporting Edgars-Active Stores and I pray that they make lots and lots of profit, because they also give back to the community.”
She added that the clothes would go a long way in helping the children, during such cold winters.
Malaza urged other companies to emulate the example that has been set by Edgars-Active.
Visually impaired students sleep on bare floor
The lives of about fifty (50) visually impaired students at the Blind unit at Three Kings Special School at Adidome in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region, are at risk.
This is because the authorities are compelled to let some of the students pass their nights on the bare floor, due to unavailability of beds for them to sleep on.
The available beds have been poorly made by a carpenter contracted by the Ghana Education Service, resulting in some of the students falling over from their beds.
Three Kings Special School has two units; the school for the mentally challenged at Battor and the school for the blind at Adidome, the District capital.
Unit Headmaster at the school Joseph Dzah disclosed this to Adom News when a group of media practitioners organized a party for inmates and also presented an undisclosed cash to the school on Easter Monday.
Mr. Dzah said his Unit was faced with the problem of accommodation and called on authorities to immediately come to their aid and help the visually impaired.
Disabled youths seek help in Anambra
By Okodili Ndidi,
Disabled youths in Anambra State under the aegis of the Deaf Committee of Friends Club (DCFC) have appealed to the state government to empower physical challenged people in the state.
They stated that the empowerment programme which should include scholarship, vocational studies, skill acquisition and employment will help them to achieve their dreams and reduce the continuous abuse and stigmatisation by the public.
They lamented that efforts to get the assistance of the state government in the past were rebuffed, assuring that given the same opportunity like their peers, they could also contribute their quota in the development of the state.
The chairman of the club, Chief Onyebuchi Akpudo who disclosed this at Nkpor, during the inaugural ceremony of their trustees and patrons, as well as honorary awards to deserving individuals, said they have written so many letters to Governor Peter Obi to look into their plight but to no avail.
Akpudo who spoke through an interpreter, disclosed that the association was formed in 2006 to help integrate the deaf into the society, harness the skills of the Deaf and channel them towards the development of the state.
He continued that the Association was also formed to help sponsor their members at both formal and informal educational levels, sensitise the society to the needs of the deaf and influence government policies as they affect the deaf in the state.
Akpudo therefore appealed to government, individuals and corporate bodies to come to their aid as part of the society, irrespective of their challenges.
Also speaking, the Legal Adviser to the group, Mrs. Uchey Mmaju and the chairman of the Deaf Sports Association, Delta State Council, Friday Okobi, regretted that government and individuals are not doing enough for the deaf, suggesting that sign language should be made compulsory in schools.
In his speech, the chairman of the occasion and incumbent president of the Peoples Club of Nigeria (PCN), Worldwide, Chief Fabian Onwuachu, noted that the society has not been fair to the disabled and less-privileged in the society, stating that if properly aided, the deaf and dumb youths can achieve their goals in life.
In their own separate speeches, some of the awardees, Hon. Obiora Chukwuka and Mr. H. C. Udechukwu, a legal practitioner, urged public-spirited individuals and groups to assist the destitute in their midst.
The occasion witnessed the inauguration of the newly elected executive members of the club, including Prince Ifeanyi Chukwuka, Vice-Chairman; Hon. Ebuka Uche, General Secretary; Mr. Ikechi Apugo, Financial Secretary; Engr, Okwudili Ezenwekwe, Treasurer; Prince Raphael Uzo, Assistant Treasurer; Mr. Obiora Edeokosi, Chief Whip and Mr. Chine Onyedika, House Keeper.
Nana Ama McBrown Gives 550 Free Wheel Chairs To Disabled & Aged
Entertainment of Friday,
13 April 2012
Actress Nana Ama McBrown is touching lives across the country by distributing wheelchairs to the disabled and aged who need her assistance.
This forms part of her Nana Ama McBrown’s foundation project supported by her family to give back to the society that contributed to her successful career. To prove her love and readiness to support the disabled and the aged, Nana over the weekend sat in one of the wheelchairs which were imported in the country from the United State of America.
This was when the beautiful actress and her team donated a number of the wheelchairs to physically-challenged persons at the premises of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) off the Spintex Road in Accra on Easter Sunday. She will be donating a total of 550 wheelchairs in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.
Chairs will also be given to individuals in Tamale and other parts of the country if she gets a request to do so. Applicants therefore have to send photos of beneficiaries and their phone contacts or they can text their names and location to 0264362635. The chairs are from Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) Ghana, under The McBrown Family Foundation Nana told NEWS-ONE that she was inspired to carry out a project like this by her grandmother who died last year.
“It is not just for the disabled but the aged as well. It is to help this group of people to be mobile like we can move out of our bedrooms to take fresh air outside or move about freely.”
“It was my grandmother who inspired me to do this. But she died last year. Sometimes when I go home and she complains to me, ‘see how everybody has left me at home alone’. So I discussed it with my dad. We bought her one but not long after she died. So this project was in the pipeline,” she said. Nana said she was ready to support the disabled and was happy carrying out such a project.
“I just love that I can help everybody but I know it will take a lot of energy and time but I am ready. I believe it is my part giving back to society; it is my share of appreciating what people have done for me as well. I am just happy that I’m able to do this on a special day like Easter.
I hope that everyone that receives it will be happy.” Nana is described as a versatile actress considering her delivery on the screens over the years. She is special to both Twi and English movie industries. She is one of the few whose footsteps are being followed by young girls and has a lot of movies to her credit.
Xingwana failing the disabled - Helen Lamoela
16 April 2012, Politicsweb
DA calls for SAHRC to investigate Dept of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
HRC must investigate Xingwana's failure to protect the rights of people with disabilities
Note to editors: The following statement was distributed at a press conference held in Parliament today by DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, DA Shadow Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Helen Lamoela MP, and the DA representative on the Appropriations Committee, Marius Swart MP and disability activist Marlene le Roux.
Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is making a formal submission to the South African Human Rights Commission to request an investigation into the failure of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities(DWCPD) to realise and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
South Africans with disabilities are a vulnerable community often facing both economic marginalisation and multiple forms of discrimination on the basis of their race, gender and specific disability.
When the DWCPD was established by President Jacob Zuma in May 2009, activists and members of the community of people with disabilities saw it as a hopeful sign that the government is serious about supporting the efforts of vulnerable people to live lives that they value.
When the department's mandate was backed by a budget of approximately R142 million per year to coordinate and monitor the direct delivery of programmes to support, empower and develop vulnerable groups, there was an expectation that tangible outcomes will be achieved.
The DA has been monitoring the performance of this department closely.
Poor financial management and inappropriate spending priorities have become the defining characteristic of the DWCPD. The department's failure to effectively spend the budgets in its "Rights of Persons with Disabilities" programme is tantamount to a violation of the rights of South Africans with disabilities.
The mismanagement and skewed spending priorities in the department is evidenced by:
The fact that the Department's only available Annual Report (for 2010/11) indicates 66% under-spending in its programme for the "Rights of People with Disabilities";
overspending in the Administration Programme - with reports to the Standing Committee on Appropriations indicating that this programme has already spent 107% of its budget by the third quarter of 2011/12;
lavish spending on overseas trips: in February 2011, the DWCPD paid approximately R6.8 million for a two-week trip to New York for a delegation of 49 officials (this trip cost the department more than double its actual expenditure in the disabilities programme) findings of the Standing Committee on Appropriations that the Department is failing to comply with proper management practices as outlined in the Public Finance Management Act;
the lack of logical linkages between the objectives, targets and indicators in the Department's operational plans;
R4 million in unauthorised expenditure and irregular expenditure in excess of R6 million cited in its 2010/2011 annual report;
evidence from the 3rd Quarter Expenditure Report for 2011/2012 that the department is set to overspend on salaries, despite a 21% vacancy rate;
the 3rd Quarter Expenditure Report for 2011/2012, which indicates that the spending rate of the department is of "major concern" to National Treasury;
and * the fact that the 2012/2013 budgets for travel and subsistence once again surpassed the total amount budgeted for the disabilities programme.
The DWCPD budget and mandate, and specifically the money attributed to the disabilities programme, should be used to provide opportunities for people with disabilities. Instead, there is overspending on salaries and travel perks and under-spending on the actual work of promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable South Africans.
The result is that, since the establishment of the Department in 2009, the circumstances of the 5 million South Africans living with disabilities have not improved. If anything, they have worsened:
Only 1.2 million people (less than a quarter) receive a disability grant.
10.5% of the disabled population has no education. The Right to Education for Children with Disabilities campaign recently revealed that more than 165 000 disabled children are out of school.
The majority of people with disabilities in South Africa are unemployed.
Amongst the deaf, the incidence of unemployment is as high as 65%.
40% of deaf children do not receive life-changing cochlear ear transplants because of lack of funds.
The Human Rights Commission has a mandate to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights. The Commission must therefore investigate the failure of the DWCPD to take the rights of people with disabilities seriously.
Statement issued by Helen Lamoela MP, DA Shadow Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, April 16 2012
Give more attention to the deaf - NGO
Mrs Baaba Aidoo, Co-founder of the Ghana Association for Deaf Children, over the weekend called on the need to give equal attention to children with hearing impairment.
Mrs Aidoo said in most cases people were more concerned with disabilities that could easily be identified such as blindness, autism, amputees and forgot about people living with deafness.
Mrs Aidoo who said this during a day’s workshop at Abura a suburb of Cape Coast, explained that, quite often donors who assist people with disabilities do not extend their assistance to people with hearing impairments.
The workshop on the theme “a deaf child integrated into the family is integrated into the society” was aimed at educating the public on the need to pay attention to children with hearing impairment.
Mrs Aidoo appealed to all stakeholders to give the necessary attention and care to people suffering from hearing impairment.
Mr Benedict Boakye, a student from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Medical School, who assisted in screening the participants appealed to mothers to regularly visit health facilities during pregnancy for proper antenatal care so as to prevent disabilities like deafness.
He explained that, the causes of deafness could be prevented or in some cases cured if there is an early diagnosis and advised parents not to administer unprescribed drugs on their children when they complain of any ear pains but rather, report immediately to a health facility for proper medical care.
Mr Boakye described deafness as the most serious of all the disabilities because one could only identify a deaf person after he has been spoken to adding that deaf people become more vulnerable when danger is coming from their blind side.
In all more than 30 people were given free ear screening.**
Agona West records one case of pregnant candidate
Regional News of Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Only one pregnancy case has been recorded so far at on-going Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the Agona West Municipality, as against four cases last year.
Mr Francis Obeng Ampadu, Agona West Municipal Director of Education, made this known when Mrs Ama Benyiwa Doe, Central Regional Minister, toured some examination centres at Agona Swedru.
Mr Ampadu expressed satisfaction about the situation and said it would help girl child education in the Municipality.
The Regional Minister was accompanied by Mr Kofi Sarfo Kantanka, Central Regional Director of Education, and some Agona West Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and some education officers.
The centres visited are Nyakrom Secondary/Technical School, Swedru School of Business, Nyakrom Siddiq Senior High School, Bobikuma Methodist Junior High school and Swedru Senior High school.
A total of 2,245 candidates made up of 1, 193 boys and 1052 girls are writing the examination at these centres.
Six hearing impaired students from Agona Swedru Salvation Army School for the Deaf, are also taking part in the five days examination.
Mr Ampadu expressed the hope that, this year’s BECE results would be better than last year’s because of some mechanisms the directorate put in place before the examination day.
The mechanisms include, organisation of extra classes and mock examination for the final year students to prepare them adequately for the exams.
Mrs Doe said, she was impressed by the confidence and zeal the candidates exhibited during the visit, unlike last year when the students looked miserable.
She expressed the hope that the result would be better this time to redeem the image of the Central Region, known for its best education facilities and high academic profile.
The Minister said the Government, under President J.
E.A Mills, would continue to provide infrastructure to enhance education in the region.
Mr Sarfo Kantanka for his part, said this year’s BECE results would be different because the students wrote mock exams, which had prepared them well for the examination.
The Minister and her entourage had earlier visited examination centres at Ajumako-Enyan Essiam, Abura-Asebu Kwamankese,Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Awutu-Senya and Effutu Districts.**
若者が少女を集団レイプ、携帯で映した動画出回る 南ア2012.04.19 Thu posted at: 11:16 JST
Disabled people database creation recommended
19 April, 2012, AngolaPress
Ndalatando - The need for the creation of a data base on disabled people is one of the main recommendations of the 19th broad consultative council of the Ministry of Assistance and Social Reintegration (Minars), which closed Wednesday, in Ndalatando.
Participants said that this move aims at improving the control of this section of society and the adoption of governmental policies of assistance and social inclusion.
The meeting took place on April 17-18, under the chairmanship of the minister of Assistance and Social Reintegration, Jo？o Baptista Kussumua.
The meeting concluded that the future database may comprise the identification of people with regard to the province of origin, kind and level of disability, sex and age.
Service organisations attend deaf expo
19 April 2012, Mmegi online
RAMOTSWA: People living with hearing impairment are affected by daily challenges in the same way as hearing people.
However, their misfortune is that they cannot communicate or understand the language used by the majority of people and instead use sign language.
The Botswana Society for the Deaf (BSD) advocates for this group of citizens by offering them the much-needed education. BSD recently held an information-sharing exposition for various service providers in Botswana at Ramotswa Center for the Deaf.
"It is pleasing to note the attendance at this exposition, which is the first of its kind to be held for the deaf community," said the chairman of the BSD board, Bahurutshe Letsatsi. "We find this important because it seems the deaf are not taken into consideration when some vital service information is disseminated."
The service providers who took part in the expo included MVA, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, the Ministry of Health, the Local Enterprise Authority, Young Women's Christian Association, the Independent Electoral Commission, First National Bank and Journey of Hope.
Some of the crucial services include those provided by the Department of Road Transport and Safety and Botswana Police Service, but the two entities do not sufficiently serve the deaf and their participation at the expo served as the much-needed learning platform.
"The Botswana Police Service has some officers who have been trained in sign language, but their number is not sufficient to cover the whole country," said Senior Superintendent Dipheko Motube of BPS public relations.
"However, it should be pointed out that some schools throughout the country have special education personnel,"
Motube noted that having sign language interpreters in schools had helped the police handle deaf customers better. He said BPS should intensify the training of its own members in sign language in order to be in position to offer confidentiality to the deaf.
The public relations officer of the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS), Mmapula Sampson, said they were making efforts of providing their deaf customers with front and rear bumper stickers to alert other drivers.
"The expo sensitised the DRTS on the needs of the deaf people in society and in compliance with one of the values of the department - that of customer focus," Sampson said. "The feedback received from interacting with our customers motivated the department to train officers in Sign Language for better service delivery to the hearing impaired."
The efforts of the acting director of BSD, Orapeleng Mokgosi, and her team are bearing fruit as more service organisations now realise the need to communicate with the deaf in their language. However, Mokgosi complained that mobile phone service providers were not present at the expo while they enjoy the support of the hearing impaired, especially the latest chat room technologies.
The three-day event was attended by Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Kgopotso Ramoroka, the Member of Parliament for Ramotswa Odirile Motlhale, the Assistant District Commissioner Wapapha Wally and councillors.
South Africa searches soul over alleged rape of disabled 17-year-old girl
Suspected gang-rape by seven men and boys sparks outrage in country where sexual violence is common guardian.co.uk, Thursday 19 April 2012 Soweto, where the girl apparently went missing for three weeks without the alarm being raised. Photograph: Radu Sigheti/Reuters It is a country that can seem inured to violence from sheer familiarity.
But this was a crime so shocking that even South Africa has begun to search its soul.
A disabled 17-year-old girl, said to have the mental capacity of a five-year-old, was allegedly gang-raped by seven men and boys in an assault that came to light only when a mobile phone video of the brutal attack went viral online.
Outrage has been compounded by reports that the girl was missing from her home in the sprawling Soweto township for three weeks, yet no one raised the alarm, and police were only prompted to act after the video appeared.
There were angry scenes on Thursday when the seven suspected rapists appeared in a Johannesburg court. Protesters outside the building waved posters that read: "Cut their penis - no bail," "Let them rot in jail," and "Done with rapists."
Heinous acts of violence are all too unexceptional in South Africa, where nearly 16,000 murders and more than 66,000 sexual offences were recorded by police last year. But the stark details of this case have prompted a rare bout of introspection, particularly about the status of women.
"This is a story of complicity, gender violence and neglect in Soweto and is, in all likelihood - to varying degrees - representative of what so very often happens to girls and women at the hands of this nation's men," said a pointed story on page one of the Times newspaper.
"The complicity lies in the fact that a community knew this teenager, a child really, and must have known she had previously disappeared for weeks on end. She had apparently been raped several times since 2009. But no one seems to have found it necessary to report this to the authorities."
The article added: "But perhaps most tragic of all is the way that the 17-year-old was discovered yesterday.
"As police officers moved through the township, using loudhailers to ask community members to come forward with information about the missing girl, she was brought from a 37-year-old man's one-roomed home.
"He claimed she was his 'girlfriend' and that she had arrived at his house on Monday. Hungry, dazed and confused, the girl was yesterday unable to recall her whereabouts."
The mobile phone video, filmed on 21 March, reportedly shows the girl being raped in an open field, screaming "You are forcing me," and pleading for her assailants to stop. They ignore her cries, joking and laughing as they take turns. Eventually one offers her two rand - about 16p.
Under the front-page headline "A nation's shame," the Star lamented: "We are a nation of heroes; of Mandelas, Tambos, Luthulis, Bikos, De Klerks and Tutus, South Africans who won the world's praise for their courage and humanity. Today, though, we have tarnished their legacy - and the countless millions of decent South Africans who find this news as abhorrent as we do."
Politicians joined the condemnation. The women's league of the governing African National Congress said words could not describe its "outrage, anger and disgust". It demanded: "When does it become acceptable amongst a group of peers to rape a girl and laugh about it? It just makes one sick to the stomach."
South Africa boasts one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, enshrining women's rights. Yet activists estimate that more than one in three South African women will be raped in their lifetime.
Lisa Vetten, executive director of the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, which campaigns to end violence against women, said: "All the causes of rape you will find in South Africa."
She listed causes including a "dysfunctional" criminal justice system, a historical culture of violence in which such acts are tolerated, a very unequal relationship between men and women, a lack of adequate childcare, which results in the neglect of boys, a high rate of male unemployment and inadequate aftercare services for perpetrators and victims.
Mbuyiselo Botha, a spokesman for the Sonke Gender Justice Network, said:
"Men in our country have a sense of impunity. They rape because they can and because they can get away with it. Women are seen as fair game."
Critics have accused the president, Jacob Zuma, a traditional Zulu polygamist due to marry his fourth wife this weekend, of failing to lead the way. Botha said: "Males in leadership in our country have not, by their words or actions, spoken out loudly. Our president has not said: 'Not in our name.'"
RISE-Ghana donates sports equipment to Disabled
Other Sports of Friday, 20 April 2012
Sports Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (RISE), a Non-Governmental Organization on Thursday donated sports equipment to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital.
RISE, which is into good governance and promotion of human rights also supported the PWDs with capacity building in the area of inclusion in development, with special emphasis on using sports for development and the use of participatory techniques to empower members to be actively involved in issues of development.
The Project Manger of RISE-Ghana, Awal Ahmeed, in an address at the presentation ceremony, said the donation which included 12 Wheel chairs, four javelins, three discus and three shot puts, were made possible through the Australian Sports Commission under the auspices of the Australian Government.
According to Ahmeed, the Australian Government through its Sports Commission has committed 12,310 Australian dollars to promote sports among PWDs in the Upper Region.
Ahmeed stated that, a lot of capacity building workshops and the provision of the necessary sports equipment to empower PWDs in sports were being undertaken to ensure that, they participated effectively in sports and other disciplines that were key to development.
“Apart from the donation of the sports facilities by the Australian Government today, it is also promoting disability rights and inclusive development”.
The Project Manager also appealed to the Australian Government, the Government of Ghana and Non-Governmental Organizations to commit more resources to promote PWD Sports, since it was one of the surest way to addressing issues of exclusion, participation, disability rights, and stigma; and get PWDs to participate in mainstream development issues.
The Regional Sports Development Officer, Mr. Ewuntomah Iddrissu commended RISE-Ghana and the Australian government for the gestures to PWDs in the Region.
He re-countered that last year, when the regional PWDs Sports wing participated in the National Unity Games, they encountered various difficulties because they lacked sports equipment... and expressed the hope that the donation would help uplift development of sports among the disabled in the Region.
The Chairman of the Sports Wing of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Mr. Thomas Ayine, noted that, in spite of the challenges confronting the PWDs in sports, the regional team still excelled in every event they participated, stressing that the team had won a lot of medals which it could boast of and adding that the donation would enable them train better for more laurels and help them live decent life-styles.**
Two pregnant deaf and dumb candidates fail to write BECE
April 23, 2012 | Filed under: Education | Posted by: VibeGhana
Two female candidates of the Ashanti School for the Deaf at Jamasi in the Sekyere South District have failed to write this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) because they are pregnant.
Mr Kofi Oti-Frimpong, the Headmaster, said one other student, William Oppong, dropped out of school before the start of the examination.
He said the school presented 29 candidates, made up of 19 boys and 10 girls for the 2012 BECE compared with the previous year’s total of 46 where they scored 100 percent passes.
Mr Oti-Frimpong made this known to the Ashanti Regional Special Education Coordinator, Mr Stephen Gyasi Debrah, who was in the school to monitor the examination.
The school has a population of 542 pupils, 200 of them are being supported with scholarship from the “LILIAN Fund”, a Catholic Organization in Germany.
The Headmaster said they were grateful to the Chief Executive Officer of Tobinco Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Nana Samuel Amo Tobin, for donating an amount of GH?10,000.00 and food items valued at about GH?4, 000.00 in support of the school.
Added to these, was also free medical screening of the pupils and staff.
Mr Gyasi-Debrah said he was impressed with the participation of the deaf and dumb in the examination. GN
Microfinance Workshop Organized for Handicapped
04月24日 Sudan Vision
Khartoum - Abrar Organization for Care of War Disabled and Protection from Landmine organizes the activities of the workshop of Microfinance the handicapped in 21-23 of current April in the Officers Club in cooperating with the Unit of the Micro-Finance in Central Bank of Sudan and group of concerned bodies in fields of supporting the disabled persons.
Director of Abrar Organization, Badral-deen Ahmad declared that the workshop targets to cooperate with the unit of micro-finance and to explain the procedures of the work and to facilitate the connection between the disabled people and official bodies in the bank.
The workshop is a smart partnership with the Central Bank of Sudan and targets 20 handicapped people for utilizing the services of Micro- Finance.
The Unit of Micro-Finance works to create new legislations and charters to strengthen and support the institutions of the Micro-Finance addition to consist data of infra-structures to develop this sector, confirmed the Assistant in the Unit Mohammad Ali.
The bank working on putting strategies and plans to eliminate poverty including the strategy of 2007-2016 according to the decision of supporting and developing the processing of financing in all sectors through training, rehabilitating and building capacities addition to providing the funds and to consist the mechanisms of guarantees, explained Mr. Mohammad.
Number of specialized paper had been tackled in the workshop, which concentrated on the policies and conceptions of the Micro-Finance.
SUNA pointed that ABRAR Organization for Care of War Disabled and Protection from Landmine is a non- governmental organization (NGO)e established in 1997 . It is a member in the international and regional nets of caring and rehabilitating the war- affected and disabled peoples and their families addition to combating land mining.
By SUNA, 6 hours 18 minutes ago
Why diabetes can make you deaf
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
At a point in our lives, many of us suffer hearing loss due to ageing.
But evidence from new research has shown that diabetes is a cause of deafness and/or hearing loss, especially if blood-glucose levels are not being controlled with medication and diet, reports Sade Oguntola.
With all the extraordinary medical advances of the past few decades, medical professionals have been able to enumerate innumerable causes of deafness. Research is continuing in this area, and the latest on the possible cause of deafness is diabetes.
A new study has found that diabetes may cause men and women to experience a greater degree of hearing loss as they age, especially if their blood sugar is not well controlled with medication and diet.
The connection between diabetes and hearing loss was studied in three different groups: those with well-controlled diabetes; those with poorly -controlled diabetes; and those without diabetes. These were 990 ageing patients who were categorised by gender, age and whether or not they had diabetes.
The ages were divided into three groups: younger than age 60; between age 60 to 75; and those older than age 75. The patients with diabetes were divided into two groups: those with well-controlled diabetes, and those with poorly-controlled diabetes.
According to the study from Detroit, women between ages 60 and 75 with well-controlled diabetes had better hearing than women with poorly controlled diabetes, with similar hearing levels to those of non- diabetic women of the same age.
In addition, the study also showed significantly worse hearing in all women younger than 60 with diabetes, even if it is well controlled.
Similarly, men had worse hearing loss across the board compared to women in the study, regardless of their age or whether or not they had diabetes.
The study pointed out the importance of patients controlling their diabetes, especially as they age, because of the impact it might have on hearing loss.
Professor Christopher Alebiosu, Provost, College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Osogbo, stated that diabetes was ranked fourth killer disease in the world.
According to him, “Nigeria has the largest number of people with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa and the prevalence of diabetes in Nigeria based on the International Diabetes Federation data is 4.04 per cent.
The burden of premature death from diabetes is similar to that of HIV/ AIDS, yet the problem is largely unrecognised.”
Deafness is the inability to hear sound. It has many causes and can occur at any age. People can go deaf suddenly as a complication of a virus, or lose their hearing over time because of disease, nerve damage, or injury caused by noise.
Hearing loss is a spectrum with minor hearing problems at one end and profound, complete deafness at the other. Profound deafness is easy to recognise, since people will notice such a large change in hearing.
Milder hearing loss may not be noticed right away, since it often comes on gradually and people get accustomed to it.
Signs of hearing loss include difficulty in hearing background noises or hearing conversations in large groups, as well as regularly needing to turn up the volume on a radio or television.
There are basically two types of deafness. Conductive hearing loss is caused by problems with the sound reaching the inner ear because sound travels by conduction. Much more common is sensorineural hearing loss.
This is often called nerve deafness, but this is a misnomer, because the auditory nerve is almost never the cause. The problem is usually in the hair cells of the cochlea. Lots of things cause sensorineural hearing loss, including noise and some drugs and medications.
Why are diabetics more at the risk of developing hearing loss as non- diabetics? Dr Williams Balogun, a consultant diabeteologist, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State stated that there had been documented cases of people with hearing problems arising from diabetes even at the UCH, Ibadan.
According to him, “diabetes can cause nerve damage. There is a kind of hearing loss called sensorineural hearing loss. It involves nerves that make you hear well. So it is not difficult to reason out why hearing loss could happen in diabetics.”
However, Dr Balogun pointed out that although diabetes can increase the risk of a sensorineural hearing loss, but it is not as common as other complications of diabetes such as kidney damage, eye problem and foot ulcers.
Nonetheless the fact that younger males in general have worse hearing loss, enough so to possibly mask any impact diabetes may have on hearing, the researchers declared an indication for future research to determine the possible role, gender plays in hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss and/or deafness tends to be permanent because it involves damage to nerves or to the inner ear. The only method of treatment is a hearing aid worn in the ear, a device that amplifies the volume of sound electronically. Hearing aids are usually some variation of an in-the-ear or behind-the-ear device. Many are programmable to make them more effective for use in a variety of situations, such as noisy environments or talking on the phone.
Gambia: Visually Impaired Woman Reflects on Challenges
BY MUSA BARROW, 25 APRIL 2012
In this week's Disability column Ndey Secka, a visually impaired woman, continues her reflections, sharing her experiences at secondary school and life after school.
How was it like for you to be in a class where you were the only student with visual impairment?
Initially, it was strange to the sighted students in my class. They out of curiosity would leave their work only to come closer to me as i wrote my notes using the Perkins Braille machine. They were also amazed at my typing skills as i typed they would surround me as if they were watching a video game. After a while, they were familiar with me, along the way they offered me tremendous assistance. Some would dictate to me as i took notes.
Were your teachers at secondary school as helpful as your fellow students?
Having understood my situation, the teachers were equally helpful. They gave me support both in and out of the classroom. Some of the teachers took me to their homes for weekends. With the help of the teachers, I was able to study Home Science which enabled me to do so many domestic works.
Foroyaa: While at St. Joseph's High School, did you face any difficulty that eventually affected your academic performance adversely?
Yes, there were some difficulties that adversely affected my performance.
When I was writing the GCE O'level exam, because the supervisors could not read Braille a wrong paper was brought to me. I was on that day supposed to write Gambian history paper; instead they brought me Sierra Leonean history paper. I had to lodge a complaint to bring the right paper.
What happened when you lodged that complaint?
Well, the invigilator brought the right paper and read it to me.
Do you believe that you could have performed better if the examination paper was in Braille format which you could read, rather than someone reading it out for you?
Clearly, the mere fact that someone else had to read the paper to me put me in a disadvantaged position. The reality remained that the reader could not read as perfect as I would have done if the paper was in Braille's. I also faced a difficulty when it came to French, i had an English type writer and there was no way that i could type French letters and words correctly.
Because of the absence of personnel and facilities to teach Mathematics to the blind students, some students with visual impairment say it is impossible for them to do the subject. Did you encounter problems regarding Mathematics as a subject?
It is true that students with visual impairment face difficulty when it comes to Mathematics. It is right that the personnel and facilities were not available in this country.Eventually,i ceased doing Maths at school.
However, this problem in Maths is being solved gradually. A Dutch organisation did come here to train those teachers, who teach students with visual impairment, with a view to enhancing their capacity.
Furthermore, we also faced difficulties in Geography; because the diagrams were not in braille.Our education pursuit in the early days of blind education in this country was hard. Still, students with visual impairment face enormous difficulties. Nevertheless, the challenges are not comparable to what we face in the early days.
What did you do after you completed St.Joseph's High School?
After high school, I was lucky to meet a Briton called Mrs.Walker, who was very happy with my performance, and took me to United Kingdom where i studied Braille Technology and Business Administration.
How long did it take you to complete your studies in the United Kingdom?
It took me six months to complete my studies in United Kingdom.
Was it upon your return from United Kingdom that your search for work began?
Well, before I travelled to United Kingdom, i was working at the Social Welfare Department. I started to work there through some good people I knew.
Do you think that you would have worked at the Social Welfare Department if you did not know those people who helped you got a job?
I don't think I would have worked at the Social Welfare Department if I did not know those people. Here the thinking is that when you are a visually impaired, you are not fit for any job.
How would you describe your performance at the Social Welfare Department?
Well, I would describe my performance as satisfactory. I was doing secretarial works for the then Director. The Director trusted me so much so that he would ask me to sit in his office, while he was out. However, when a new director came to the Social Welfare Department, things were not the same again. Under the new director, persons with visual impairment found it so difficult to work.
Why do you think it was extremely difficult to work with the then new director as a visually impaired person?
It was down to the fact that the then new director did not accept persons with visual impairment, particularly me. Effectively, I was pushed out.
After your heart wrenching decision to quit Social Welfare, what did you do next?
As I left Social Welfare, a vacancy opened at the then Radio Gambia. I applied before my appointment. i was put on a six months probation.
When you applied for a job at the then Radio Gambia, were you asked questions as to how could a person with visual impairment perform such a job?
Since I applied for the position of continuity announcer, there was no such question posed to me whether I could do the job or not. They knew that with my Perkins Braille machine that job was not going to be difficult for me.
What did your new job as continuity announcer entailed?
Upon the realisation that I could type, I never did the job which I applied for. Instead of continuity announcement I was doing secretarial work typing the public notices. After a spell i was taken to the production department where I produced programmes such as Hospital requests, Voice of persons with disability and at times I help in the production of Women magazine.
What does it take to produce programmes?
Well, all it takes is to be a good listener. As a producer, one listens and takes the parts that are relevant to public consumption.
As a visually impaired person, how do you edit audio?
Previously, we were editing with rill tapes which requires razor blades to erase the unnecessary parts. However, now we edit using computers. We have gone digital moving from an era of catalogue.
How do you as a visually impaired person edit audio using a computer?
Well, i use software which enables me to edit audio properly. With this software am able to do so many things independently.
What computer software do you use in editing?
I used to edit using software called Haal, but I am now using software known as Window Eyes. At times also I use software known as Thunder. But I recently learned that new soft wares namely; Super novo and Audacity have emerged. I'm in touch with someone who will send Audacity to me.
Having been at the GRTS for so many years, do you think that the institution has whole heartedly embraced you as a visually impaired employee?
Well,i feel that am accepted by every one at that institution.
Nevertheless,i must say that I have talents that I always make sure that I perform as required of me.
As a visually impaired person, it is natural that you need certain tools or equipment for your work. Does your institution provide you with the appropriate facilities such as computers to be able to carry out your work effectively and efficiently?
Well, the institution is yet to do so.
Why do you think that your institution has not provided you with those facilities that you need in your daily work?
I think since I am the only person with visual impairment working at that institution, and the cost involved in providing the facilities in question are expensive, I don't think that will be much of a priority.
Disability Bill to pass, assures Malawi President
April 26, 2012
Nyasa times (Malawi)
Malawi President Joyce Banda has stressed the need for people with disabilities to be supported for their lives to improve after members of Federation of Disability Organisation in Malawi (FEDOMA) asked her government to push the tabling and passing of Dissability Bill.
Disability Bill, which was drafted several years ago but has not yet been brought to Parliament, is important because it will enable persons with disability to ascertain and enforce their rights.
If passed the bill will mark a paradigm shift in the way persons with disability are treated in the country.
Mussa Chiwaula: Bring back Disability ministry
Speaking at her residence in Mudi, Blantyre on Thursday, President Banda said she has always worked with people with disabilities to ensure that problems that they face end.
“It has always been my calling to help underprivileged people including the disabled, I know that they face a lot of problems in their everyday life and as a mother and president I will make sure that I help them in any way I can,” said President Banda
In their presentation, Board Trustee of FEDOMA, Pastor Towera Masiku commended government for introducing the Ministry of Disability that has been in the fore front in lobbying for the rights of the disabled.
She however noted that parliament is yet to pass the much anticipated disability bill.
“We have been waiting for the disability bill for 8 years, failure to pass this bill is denying the rights of the disabled,” worried Masiku.
Executive Director of FEDOMA, Mussa Chiwaula complained that the country lacks important and clear policies and guidelines on issues of persons with disability that can help them access things easy.
“Malawi has no guidelines that can help us access things easily, for example, in most schools, learners with disabilities are not given support to understand or access facilities at most schools,” said Chiwaula.
The Organization said the problems could be eased if the Ministry responsible for Persons with disability is brought back and placed under the Office of the President and Cabinet to promote visibility of the issue.
The Malawi leader promised the delegation to look into the bill as she does not know why it has been delayed.
She said she will make sure the bill is brought to parliament at the next sitting.
President Banda ended her speech by saying: “ Let us move together with hope and with God’s help, we will get there.”
Parliament meets from May 18 for the budget session.
Zuma meets with disabled’s leaders
April 26 2012, IOL news
The government has to have ongoing dialogue with the disabled, the presidency said on Thursday after a meeting with Disabled People SA (DPSA).
Improving the lives of the disabled in South Africa was the topic of discussions between President Jacob Zuma and DPSA at talks in Cape Town.
Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj described the meeting as “cordial and frank”.
It was discussed how the disabled's issues could be mainstreamed into government programmes. Job opportunities and programme funding were also on the agenda.
The DPSA delegation was led by its chairman Muzi Nkosi. The meeting was also attended by Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.
“The president expressed his satisfaction that the meeting took place and reiterated the government's commitment to the issues that affect people with disabilities,” Maharaj said.
Zuma said the government's commitment was reflected in a variety of government initiatives, but particularly in the establishment of the department of women, children and persons with disabilities.
Zuma committed himself to regular meetings with the DPSA to monitor progress addressing issues affecting people with disabilities. - Sapa
Rasetapa appreciates support for disabled sport
27 April, 2012 Mmegi online botswana
FRANCISTOWN: Thuso Rasetapa, the founder of the Paralympics Association of Botswana (PASSOBO) has said that support for sports for the disabled from the government and the private sector continues to grow.
Rasetapa, who has fought tirelessly for the recognition of disabled sportspersons in Botswana, said there is a lot of improvement. He said the government has shown its support through embracing Sports For All through its Vision, an indication that they are appreciated.
A teacher by profession, Rasetapa founded PASSOBO with the help of a Dutch man in 1997. He said that he went to special schools and then went on to complete his primary, secondary school in mainstream schools, which were not reserved for the disabled. "I then went to Tirelo Sechaba for teaching in 1997.
This is the year where I met a Dutch gentleman and we talked about the disabled and he suggested that we start an association that will include them too. I believe that disability does not mean that we cannot do anything. We also have talent and we should use it," Rasetapa said.
As a physically disabled person he did not sit back as he went on to teach the deaf in some schools. In the meantime, PASSOBO was doing well and in 2000 it was registered. "The Botswana National Sports Council(BNSC), Department of Sports, Youth and Culture and other stakeholders saw it befitting to register it. It is the same year that I was elected the president of the association. The association also helped because Botswana had no sports for disabilities so other countries had it," Rasetapa said.
Activities for the physically challenged include athletics, which is divided according to the ability of the disabled person. There is wheelchair racing, goal ball for visual impaired and sitting volleyball."When we place an individual in sports codes we look at their abilities and classify them accordingly. We note where they are able to perform better," Rasetapa said.
Tanzania: Kagera War Veteran in Abject Poverty
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY MASEMBE TAMBWE, 28 APRIL 2012
MARTELIN Ndimbo, a Kagera War veteran is cursing himself for ever having joined the army. He played a role in winning the 1978 war but is bitter that the sweat that poured then went without compensation and left him handicapped on his knee.
He is a 54-year-old who suffered disability in his knee after being involved in a motorcar accident when it was shelled and left seven people dead out of 15. He said that the government has forgotten about him totally and about 80 others.
The 80 plus former soldiers who fought the Kagera War in 1978 are scattered in various parts of the country and are desperately appealing to the government for help.
"For people who were drafted into the war and got injured while serving the nation, I think it is rather unfair that after retiring early from the army, we only receive disability allowances and not pensions," he said.
Mr Ndimbo explained that as per the regulations of the army, only a person who retires on their own will after servicing 20 years is entitled to a pension. Giving a background on his case and that of many of his colleagues, he said that he joined the army in 1976 under a two-year contract with the National Service (JKT) but in 1978 was drafted to oust the Uganda dictator, Idi Amin.
It was only in 1980 when he was formally given employment but was never given any benefits serving the army between 1978 and 1979. The former soldier explained that after being recommended by his doctor, he was shifted from Bukoba hospital where he was being treated and taken to Mzinga camp in Morogoro where he was allowed to do small jobs whilst occasionally traveling to Dar es Salaam for treatment.
"In 1983, because of financial difficulties in the army, some soldiers were asked to vacate the camps and start training auxiliary militia, this went on until 1987 when we told to return," he explained. Mr Ndimbo said that after all the hardships he had gone through, after the benefits that permanently injured soldiers lost like free food and good medical care; he opted to retire with the blessings of his commanding officer.
He said that he has every belief if the soldiers that were disabled from the Kagera were servicemen, the treatment would have been different and that they would retire with all their benefits.
"Since 1996 I have been forced to live on 37,500/- per month from my disability allowance and even this I am supposed to collect after every six months. "I don't like to say this but it is a lot better to be born disabled than be one after being injured in a war, you are left helpless," he said with tears stinging his eyes.
Mr Ndimbo is most awed by the fact that the government is able to spend millions of commemorating the birth of the army and 50 years of independence but unable to look after less than 100 disabled soldiers without housing, don't receive pensions and yet they fought for the good of the country.
In the 34 odd years since the end and victory of the Kagera war, Mr Ndimbo has yet to see a single government official or Member of Parliament give any mention of the plight of the Kagera heroes.
"We are soldiers and not civilians and therefore cannot take to the streets and demand our rights. We have written countless letters to the State House and to the defenders of human rights but to no avail," he said.
All that Mr Ndimbo and other disabled soldiers scattered across the country want is for them to be looked at with a kinder eye, people who got hurt in the war, are unemployable today but have wives and children to school and are dependent on a meagre 37,500/- a month to spend.
"Let's be honest here, how many civilians are ready to help a soldier? I am living the life of a beggar, since last year, I am trying to get financial aid to buy crutches but even that people haven't been able to help me with," he lamented.
Mr Ndimbo's daughter, Catherine a Form Four student of Goba A Secondary School on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam had to stay away for three weeks from classes because he wasn't able to pay 150,000/- fees.
Fortunately it was nearing the six month period when he would receive his 225,000/- lump some but after paying his daughter fees, Mr Ndimbo wasn't able to find the words to explain how he would survive the next six months on the 75,000/- without a job, mouths to feed and daily expenses to take care of.
Tanzania: Disabled People Need Help to Participate in Development
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY LAWI JOEL, 29 APRIL 2012
MUSIC blared, drums sounded and the children rocked to the music and sang with it. One of them, Derrick Faustine Kobello, 22, was beside himself with excitement and could not help jumping to his feet and swaying to the music in the shade of trees on the ground of Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School in Dar es Salaam.
About 400 school children with various forms of disabilities in the company of their teachers and some education officials of Dar es Salaam region were having a merry time in remembrance of an oriental religious guru who had devoted his life to serve God by caring for the poor and the needy.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba, a humble man, who saw life as empty without love, was the person. He died a year ago. "I am so happy today, because we are remembering Baba Sai," said Derrick, a blind boy, who lost his sight from a bullet fired by robbers and hit his head on one side, exiting on the other. He was just seven by then.
"Sai Baba was a good man. He always had the poor like us on his mind." The Indian guru, founder of Sathya Sai Society, may have died on 24 April 2011, but in Tanzania's harbour of peace, thousands of miles from his home land, he was alive, assuaging despondent hearts with benevolence he had inculcated in devotees of the Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania (SSST), established in the country in June 1992 to serve the needy.
Tanzania appreciated the good work SSST did, said Ilala Education Officer Mrs Tatu Kikwete and Temeke Municipal Council education officer, Mrs Mumba, both through their representatives at the gathering. There was nothing better than to help the poor for the country would be a happier place if everybody who could, lent a helping hand, they said. Her Excellency Mrs Helalata Bhagirath, Commissioner of India to Tanzania, graced the meeting earlier with a brief meeting.
Bagamoyo District Administrative Secretary Renatus Mongogwela who was also present called for parents to show responsibility for their disabled children without feeling embarrassed. "There is much potential in those children. They need only assistance to make their contribution to the nation. Mgongolwa thanked Sai Baba for his long helpful hand from India. He may be dead, but in Tanzania he was so much alive in his charity activities," he said.
"We need to emulate the good deeds for the poor." Born on 23 November 1926 to a humble family in the heartland of rural South India in the village Puttaparthi, Andra Pradesh, Sri Sai Baba may be in the yonder world today, but his love, even in death, still transcends racial boundaries to give hope to the wretched of the world that, despite their misery, life is still worth living. The religious leader demonstrated to the world that indeed charity begins at home or should by serving the poor of his continent.
In Rayalaseema region where residents walked long distances "just to procure a few pots of drinking water every day," Sai Baba initiated a water project of an unprecedented scale that gave clean, drinking water to around 10 million people of the arid region and reflected his divine proclamation of "Hands that help are better than a mouth which prays."
His devotees worldwide underlined that message last Sunday when they silenced rumbles of hunger of nearly 400 Dar children with various disabilities and proved Bhagavan Baba's posthumous charity that he can give in death as much comfort to the miserable hearts as he gave in life. Dr April Nanda, Professor and Chairman of Department of Neurosurgery, LSU Health Science Centre, Shreveport, Lousiana USA, calls what Baba has left behind "A legacy of love".
The professor met Bhagavan Baba for the first time in Whitefield, a suburb of Bangalore and learned from him that mankind suffers a lot because there is so much waste of material and time, all for greed and personal aggrandizement. "And I was introduced to the fact that the cost of B-52 Bomber at the height of the Vietnam War could wipe out leprosy in India," says Prof Nanda. It was that "legacy of love" which the wretched of the nation in Dar experienced.
The handicapped of Buguruni School of the deaf, Jangwani Secondary School, Pugu Secondary School and the disabled of the Salvation Army in the city, were treated to charity gifts of food, bedding, mosquito treated nets, clothes and shoes. Starting around the end of this April, SSST, which has been providing free meals and medical services for over 18 years for some handicapped schoolchildren, will hold a medical camp in the city in cooperation with Regency Medical Centre to screen patients with heart defects to be sent to a hospital of Baba's in India for operation, free of charge. For many who listened to him, Baba left behind a vast mental wealth. He taught values of life too.
Zena Yahya, one of the few Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School's disabled schoolchildren who in 2010 went to India on educational tour and "shook hands" with Bhagavan Baba, appears to have been moved by teaching of the religious teacher. Now the 16 year old blind girl wants to illustrate Baba's teaching with her own deeds of charity.
"I want to become a member of parliament to fight for the rights of the handicapped, women and children because they are the ones always denied their rights," she said before getting opportunity to entertain the gathering with her Indian song of love, one that she had sung for passengers aboard the plane to India.
Obviously, Baba's influence on Zena was profound in that it has gone beyond racial and national borders, leaving behind indelible impressions on many.
"The first thing I noticed about Baba was his unconditional love, comparable only to a mother's love," says Pandit Shivkumar Sharmar, master and instrumentalist of the Santoor. Selfless people like Baba are not without enemies.
His detractors say: "Sleight of hand and magic tricks won him followers." But a man who built so many institutions of higher learning like the Sai University Convocation at Prasanthi Nilayam and such medical institutes of higher learning as the sprawling Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttapathi, both in India for free service to the poor, and now funds educational institutions like Uhuru Primary School for the Blind in Dar, proves validity and piety of his acts without doubt.
Works of charity like these best speak for his compassion. To Baba, love is the foundation upon which education will flourish. He defines the best education as: "That which promotes unity, equality and peaceful co-existence with fellow human beings. It flows from the heart."
Chair of SSST brother Nathumal Sajnani says the orgnisation pays for the education of many blind children at Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary and helps others with basic needs. Various members of SSST in the country made donations of different kinds to facilitate the momentous occasion.
Disabled people advised to change attitudes
29 April 2012, Angola press
Luena - Disabled people were advised last Saturday in Luena City, eastern Moxico Province, to change attitudes and behaviour, in regard to the way they use their state pension.
The advice comes from the chairman of the National Association of Angolan Disabled Persons (ANDA), Silva Lopes Etiambulo, on his two-day visit to Luena City aimed at assessing projects for the benefit of disabled people and motivate the local branch members of the association.
Speaking to ANGOP, the official said that "there are Deficient people that are not able to save the monetary amount they get from the government, they spend their time drinking, this does not dignify any citizen at all".
He also advised disabled people to join the literacy lessons and professional training centres, which will help them to have access to the employment market.
To Silva Etiambulo, the micro-credit for rural people and for the creation of small enterprises, a programme being promoted by the government, will facilitate the creation of more jobs and disabled people should not put themselves in the margin of these opportunities.
He announced the creation of agricultural co-operatives in which disabled people will be the main protagonists, following the experience of provinces such as Bi?, Huambo, Benguela and Hu?la.
Stone carving centre gives work to deaf children
1 May 2012, The Zimbabwean
A professional stone carver and educator, Ronika Tandi (37), of Manyame Park Chitungwiza, founded Shungu Arts Centre last year to help provide employment for pupilsof Emerald Hills School for the Deaf.
Tandi looked visibly concerned about welfare of the deaf. She narrated to The Zimbabwean how she was touched by the plight of the deaf who ended up begging on the streets after receiving artistic skills at Emerald Hills.
“I joined Emerald Hills School for the deaf as a voluntary stone carving teacher 2007. I was driven by the passion to improve welfare of the deaf after I had obtained a certificate in fine arts,” she said. “The centre is temporarily based in Budiriro High density suburb of Harare. We are promoted by Fritz Meyer, from Germany and sponsored by local artists.
Dominic Benhura is one of the major sponsors and provides us with raw stone.
“We promote the works in Germany by internet and also hold local exhibitions. The next one is scheduled for Domboshava in September, under the theme “Without Words”.
“Some 300 children from Emerald Hills will eventually benefit from employment provided at Shungu Arts Centre. Business is booming as the local market has overtaken foreign buyers to become the major consumer. “We mainly use Opal from Chiweshe area and Spring stone from Mvurwi and Guruve,” said the dread-locked artist.
Stone carving runs in the blood of the Tandi family. All the 11 children are stone carvers. Seven are based at Chitungwiza Art Centre. One, Maxwell, is plying his trade in Canada.
Her trade has taken her to Germany and Italy for workshops. She expressed concern at the small ratio of female artists in the country compared to that of men.
Health Ministry and Lwini Foundation launch International Health Hall
1 May 2012 Angola press
Luanda - The Health Ministry and Lwini Foundation launched in Luanda the 1st edition of the International Health Hall, Well-being and Technical Aid for Disabled People in Angola, to be held from June 29 to July 1 this year.
The event will be known as “Expo Lwini” and is aimed at providing assistance to disabled people, particularly those victims of landmines and ensuring living conditions and creating public health network.
The event will be held under the motto “With health and well-being everybody is different and equal.” It will be organised in the country and abroad.
Create more sign language training centres - Sackey
Mr Emmanuel Sackey, President of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), has appealed to political parties to prioritize the establishment of sign language interpreters training centres.
He called on political parties to recognize sign language as an official language for the deaf in Ghana, “involve deaf people in decision- making process, and employ full time sign language interpreters in hospitals nationwide”.
He expressed concern that politicians over the years have discriminated against persons with ear impairment, and called for integration of sign language into various sectors economy.
Mr Sackey said these at a public forum in Accra organized by GNAD and sponsored by STAR- Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism by DFID, DANIDA and EU, project for political parties to educate persons with hearing disabilities on the electioneering process.
The GNAD President accused both governmental and private sector institutions and healthcare centres for failing to adhere to the National Disability Act (715).
Mr Sackey said it was unfortunate that most deaf persons had employable skills in various areas but are denied opportunities to prove their worth, stressing that political parties and the general public should see deaf persons as a worthy contributor to national development.
He called for the immediate implementation of the Act 715, stressing that: “The inability to implement the Act has hindered us from demanding our rights and expectations.
“We hope that political parties would focus on our expectation and advocate for us”.
Mr Sackey revealed that the Association had 240,000 members representing about one per cent of the total population, hence the need for them to be factored in national development programs in all sectors of the economy.
Mr Michael Ampong, Greater Accra Regional Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), said statistics provided by the association on their membership should be of concern to all political parties
He said looking at results of the 2008 elections, the current administration won with about 40,000 votes therefore if the NPP had concentrated and involved persons with ear impairment in the campaign process, they would have won the elections out right.
Mr Ampong called on participants to cast their vote for the NPP stressing that, a vote for them would ensure quality healthcare, and ensure the accomplishment of the free Senior High School education promise made by Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, the flagbearer of the party.
Mr Kofi Wayo leader of the United Renaissance Party (URP), promised to use his outfit to advocate for the recognition and acceptance of persons with ear impairment in the government and private sector.
STAR- Ghana is an NGO that seeks to increase the accountability and responsiveness of government, traditional authorities and private enterprises to Ghanaian citizens and also to increase the influence of civil societies and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery.
Disability group empowered on Elections 2012
Politics of Wednesday, 2 May 2012
2012 Disability Groups in the Volta Region were on Wednesday sensitized on Ghana’s electoral process, the role of various stakeholders and the Political Parties Act 574.
Other issues discussed included the productive usage of social media platforms, the Biometric Voter Registrations (BVR) and participation by disability groups, youth in elections and conflict management in post 2012 elections.
Mr Kinna Likimani, Project Lead, Ghana Decides- Blogging Ghana (A BloGh Election Project), addressing participants at the workshop, called for collective vigilance on the electoral processes to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections in December.
He charged disabled groups, youth and vulnerable persons to participate fully in the electoral process, saying “do not allow your fragility to be a hindrance to active involvement in Elections 2012.
The Ghana Decides- A BloGh Election Project, is funded by STAR-Ghana under its Election 2012 project aimed to encourage a better informed electorate for free, fair and safe elections using online social media tools.
The non-partisan project also aims to educate the youth, civil society organisations and public institutions on the effective use of social media for social change.
Mr Likimani called on election management bodies, the various political parties and the National Commission for Civic Education to inculcate vulnerable groups in their electoral projects.
The groups used the workshop to analysis the on-going Biometric Voter Registration process, its impact on the groups, operational hiccups, hindrances to their participation in the BVR especially accessibility to most registration centres.
The groups therefore recommended to governance institutions such as the Electoral Commission (EC), NCCE and other stakeholders to work-out campaign strategies for people with disability.
Mr Francis Ashong, Director of Voice Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, tasked the groups to mobilize their efforts and work together to realize their demands after elections.
He tasked members of the group to always exercise their franchise whilst calling on government to equip ordinary people to deal with any tension that could bring challenges.
Mr Eli Aidam, of the Centre for Creative Youth, tasked the youth to spread the message of peace throughout the election year and afterwards, stressing that the work of ensuring and maintaining peace must be primarily led by Ghanaians.
He cautioned the group to beware of “blind solidarity” and shun away from supporting political parties only because of their parents and other influential people.
Mr Aidam tasked the participants to make their own independent choices, get involved in national issues and defeat the perception of apathy among Ghanaian youths.
The workshop was attended by members of Voice Ghana in Abutia Kloe, the Centre for Creative Youth and other physically challenged groups in Ho.STAR-Ghana is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism by DFID, DANIDA and EU and seeks to support Civil Society Organisations to enhance transparency, fairness, free and peaceful Election 2012.
STAR-Ghana acknowledges the critical role CSOs and non-state actors play in consolidating democracy.
Tanzania: Humanitarian Aid to Cushion Disabled People's Lives in Bariadi
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY MOSES MATTHEW, 5 MAY 2012
Bariadi - DISABLED people in Bariadi got a lifeline following the donation of humanitarian aid worth Tsh. 10 million by a local non-governmental organization (NGO), World Vision Tanzania.
The Bariadi District Commissioner, Mr Baraka Konisaga, on Friday said that the support was directed towards benefiting the most vulnerable children in the area."The organization has been frequently supporting you and the donation is significant in your lives. So, there is need to be extra careful when using the donated items," said Konisaga during an event held in Nangale village.
World Vision Tanzania has also supported disabled and most vulnerable children in Nangale and Chinamila dispensaries and villages in Kanadi ward, Bariadi District in Simiyu Region. Konisaga went on to say that the aid comprised 500 wheelchairs, crutches and over 33 thousand pairs of shoes.
Represented by Bariadi Divisional officer, Mr Mlingwa Magangila, the DC said that the disabled should value the aid by properly using the donated items so that they can last longer. He also appealed to World Vision Tanzania to support good governance for local leaders as this will help village chairmen, ward councillors and village executive officers (VEOs) and ward executive officers (WEOs) in their day-to-day responsibilities of serving their people.
This, he said, will help to bring transparency in their execution of daily duties such as supervising public resources for a better economic, social and political development in the district and the entire region. The Bariadi District World Vision Tanzania Cluster Leader, Mr Machibya Mwalla, said that the support is intended to improve the welfare of the disabled while at the same time supporting most vulnerable children in the project areas.
Over four million Nigerians blind, visually-impaired
05月08日 The Nation Newspaper
By Nicholas Kalu, Calabar 1 hour ago
NO fewer than 1, 130, 000 people between 40 and above are blind, Consultant Ophthalmologist at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Dr Bassey Etim, has said.
Etim spoke at a workshop on low vision for optometrists, ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses organised by the National Eye Health Programme (NEHP) in conjunction with the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE) in Calabar, Cross River State. He explained that the Northwest geo-political zone has the highest number of blind adults (28.6 per cent) .
Another 2. 700million adults, he said, are estimated to have moderate visual impairment, with an additional 400, 000 severely visually impaired.
He also said low vision is an indication of diminished vision that is not corrected by standard glasses, contact lens, medication or surgery.
He said in the country, untreated cataract is the most common cause of low vision and blindness, adding that 84 per cent of visual impairment in the population is caused by either preventable or treatable causes.
Sub-regional Manager, West Africa, ICEE, Dr Anne Ebri, said over 124 million people globally have low vision, adding that the figures would double over the next two to three decades.
She said, traditionally, low vision services have come under neglect as practitioners have very limited skills, and inaccessibility to assessment tools and devices is a major deterrent.
She said NEHP in collaboration with ICEE, the Cross River State Ministry of Health and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital have trained
45 practitioners who are providing low vision services in 34 tertiary and secondary institutions in the country.
Disabled persons get relief materials in Osun
Written by Tunde Oyekola
Tuesday, 08 May 2012
The Chairman,Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Mr. Kehinde Onitiju, has commended wife of the Osun State Governor, Alhaja Serifat Aregbesola, for her efforts towards the betterment of the lives of the disabled and underprivileged people in the state.
Onitiju who gave the commendation at the distribution of some working tools, as well as cash donations to all members of JONAPWD across the state, organised by the governor's wife, noted the importance of the distribution of items to his members across board as a condition of a round peg in a round hole.
He said that since the present administration came on board, they did not take the issue of people with disability and the underprivileged with levity.
Onitiju's words, "I want to admonish my members that, disability is not in-ability, persons with disability should not see themself as a beggar or useless elements. I want to assure you all that my tenure in office as your state chairman would always demonstrate your upliftment in all ramifications as my representation will not be in vain.
"The JONAPWD chairman who prayed for the government of Osun State, however, enjoined his members to join hands with the incumbent administration in the state for them to continue to enjoy the fruits of the land.
Onitiju, however, stated the contribution of the state Commissioner for Health, Mrs.Ilori to them since her assumption in office.
Nigeria: Racing Towards Rights for the Disabled
Nigerians with Disabilities have been struggling for years to end social exclusion, to no avail. In 2007, several interested parties took the bull by the horns. The Association for Comprehensive Empowerment of Nigerians with Disabilities (ASCEND), in collaboration with Mobility Aid and Appliances Research and Development Centre (MAARDEC) and other organizations of people affected by disabilities, presented a bill to protect the rights of people with disabilities to the National Assembly.
The Association supported the bill with unprecedented advocacy to end the social exclusion of persons with disabilities in Nigeria. In 2008, inspired by Baroness Lynda Chalker, the Association promoted a programme via which certain Nigerian legislators participated in a "One Day Disability Experience". For just one day, the legislators put themselves in the shoes of people with disabilities.
Some of them were blindfolded. Others had their ears stopped and their mouths muzzled. Yet others used ! a wheelchair for the day. This generated unprecedented awareness in the upper legislative chamber and helped to ensure the passage of the bill. Unfortunately, it has been awaiting the Nigerian President's assent for over a year. This situation, coupled with other troubling matters, inspired me to celebrate my 50th birthday in a unique way.
MAARDEC will celebrate my birthday with me, supporting a manual hand-tricycle ride of over 1,300 km, from Lagos to Abuja. I will ride alongside five other young athletes, male and female, with disabilities, and three others, one male and two female, without disabilities.
The athletes will be accompanied and supported by Federal Road Safety Commission officials and the Nigerian police. They will manage traffic and provide security, a medical team, an ambulance, caterers and trumpeters. The ride will take off from Lagos in November. The athletes will cycle through 11 states and end at Abuja on 3 December 2012, to mark the International Day fo! r Persons with Disabilities.
This "Hope and Possibilities Ride" - a title borrowed from the Achilles Track Club's international Hope and Possibility Race - serves to end the social exclusion of persons with disabilities; persuade the president to ratify the disability bill; promote the eradication of polio; and encourage safety on Nigerian roads.
Inclusivity is one way to shape Africa's transformation. Let's go, Africa. On your marks, get set, go.
Author: Cosmas I. B. Okoli, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mobility Aid and Appliances Research and Development Centre (MAARDEC), Nigeria; Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Nigeria, 2006
In Sierra Leone, “Mumus” Put PZ under Siege, Stabs One
05月11日 Awareness Times
NEWS : LOCAL NEWS
By Aruna Turay May 10, 2012, 17:12
Dozens of deaf and dumb “Mumu” youths along the central business district of Freetown (PZ), in the morning of Wednesday 9th May 2012, put the entire PZ roundabout under siege for close to three hours.
This was as a result of a fracas that broke between a mat seller identified as Abdul and a mumu trader who was also identified as Abess.
The fracas led to the latter being stabbed by the former on his right shoulder with a kitchen knife. According to eyewitness reports, the fracas began when Abdul advised Abess to take his market off the way so that his customers would have access to his market table. Abess put up resistance on the grounds that he has equal rights as Abdul to put his table where he chose to put it.
Reports say the two youths argued over this for some minutes and subsequently resulted to a fight after one of them threw unprintable words on the other. During the argument, reports say Abess directed abusive words on Abdul’s mother, using dumb signs, which Abdul could understand very well. Abdul grew over offended and took a kitchen knife from a street trader and stabbed Abess. He was about to repeat his action, when onlookers rushed and separated them. Abdul then took to his heels whilst Abess was rushed to the Connaught Hospital for immediate medical attention.
Few minute later, the news spread and dozens of mumus from nowhere, stormed the scene in search of Abdul. Their search led to commotion and markets being destroyed, as traders and passer byes were all running helter skelter, finding rescue. The situation was however quelled down when police personnel from the Central Police Division, stormed the scene. Despite police attempts to address the matter, the mumus over ruled the peace accord attempts and went ahead to confiscate Abdul’s market in their custody. On to press time, Abdul was no where to be seen, the mumus could not release his market and the police were seen cracking heads on how to address the matter.
Nigeria: Stakeholders Decry Delay On National Disability Bill
BY ABUBAKAR YAKUBU, 14 MAY 2012
The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) as well as other International development agencies have criticized Nigeria for dragging her feet over the National Disability Bill, when she is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which under article 4 mandates member states to pass national legislation on disability.
They called for the fast-tracking of the bill's approval and establishment of a Disability Commission.
This was contained in a communiqu? issued on Thursday in Abuja, after a four-day Advocacy Skills Development workshop organized by JONAPWD with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through a grant from Pact Nigeria as well as International Republican Institute.
The communique, signed on behalf of participants by Calister Ugwuaneke, Omotunde Ellen Thompson and Evangelist Olu Kayode, noted that after the Disability Bill was passed by the National Assembly on two different occasions, it was denied presidential assent.
The group then resolved to build strategic alliances with various policy makers to assist in fast-tracking the passage of the bill and presidential assent.
The participants were also unanimous in demanding for inclusive education for Persons with Disabilities as defined by UNESCO, provision of health as defined by the National Health Insurance Scheme and the setting up of a Disability Commission as an implementation mechanism for the Act when passed.
Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai Assembly spends GH¢34,980 on disabled people
The Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai Assembly has spent a total of GH?34,980 from its common fund to support people with disability in the district.
Out of the 66 beneficiaries, 12 are undergoing apprenticeship in carpentry, dress making, hair dressing, tailoring and leather work while 7 persons have been supported with their businesses.
Mr Joe Adansi Bondah, District Chief Executive (DCE) of Bibiani-Anhwiaso Bekwai, said this during the assembly,s first ordinary meeting, adding that 47 people with disability have also received top-up packages to expand their business in tailoring, carpentry, dress making and hair dressing.
The DCE said the support to the disadvantaged people is in line with government’s principle of ensuring equity and balanced development across the country.
Mr Adansi Bondah said as part of efforts to improve security situation in the constituency, the assembly has embarked on fixing street lights in the entire district.
He said so far about 99 per cent of the work has been completed adding that areas which have not been covered under the street lighting system will be considered.
The DCE tasked assembly members to ensure that the street lights are put off during the day time to enable them save energy.
Mr Adansi Bondah entreated the assembly members to avoid attacking colleagues who express their opinion on issues raised on the floor of the house during meetings and rather work together as a team to ensure peace and development in the district.**
Church of Christ celebrates Deaf Awareness Day in Ghana
Religion of Monday, 14 May 2012
Mr. Ebenezer A. Asamoah, National Administrator of Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD), has called on the government and benevolent institutions to establish more specialized educational institutions for the deaf.
“In addition to the establishment of more specialized institutions, it is paramount for the Ghana Education Service to expand the curriculum of specialized institutions, particularly the School for the Deaf, to include the learning of sign language.
“We also need schools to be devoted exclusively to the teaching of sign language....People learning the sign language can help bridge the language barrier between the hearing and deaf community,” he said.
Mr. Asamoah said this at the second edition of Deaf Awareness Day celebration organised by the Deaf Ministry of the Nsawam Road Church of Christ at the weekend in Accra.
The Awareness Day was on the theme; “Challenges Confronting the Death,” and sought to draw attention to the challenges, limitations and capabilities of persons with hearing impairment.
Mr. Asamoah said there were only 13 deaf community basic schools and two Senior High Schools serving the large population of children with hearing challenges.
He said majority of teachers in these schools did not possess adequate sign language skills to effectively communicate and impart knowledge to the pupils and students.
Mr Asamoah said there was no tertiary institution for the deaf and “Most of the deaf cannot enroll in public and private tertiary institutions because they cannot afford the cost of hiring an interpreter and a note taker.”
“It would be virtually impossible for the deaf to enroll in these institutions and realize their dreams without an interpreter”.
He said the lack of interpreter services at public places like the hospitals, banks, schools, churches and police stations was a great challenge for the deaf because, most of the people who worked in these places did not understand the sign language.
Mr. Asamoah commended the Church of Christ especially the Nsawan Road branch for the initiative to embrace the deaf community by establishing the Deaf Ministry.
He also lauded them for taking up the teaching of sign language in the church to enable both the deaf and hearing to interact during and after church service.
Mr. William Sam, coordinator for the over 200 Deaf Ministries of the Church of Christ nationwide, said the church had sponsored some deaf children to schools and other skills learning institutions.
He appealed to the government and philanthropists to support the deaf ministry of Nsawam Road Church of Christ.**
Group seeks support for Special Peoples’ Law
By Precious Igbonwelundu
The Lagos Civil Society Disability Policy Partnership (LCSDPP) has called on the private sector to support the government in implementing the state’s Special People’s Law.
The law, which was enacted in 2011, is aimed at safeguarding persons with disabilities (PWD) against all forms of discrimination.
LCSDPP noted that for effective implementation of the law, there was need for partnership between the government and the private sector to take advantage of the investment opportunities.
In a statement signed by Dr. Adebayo Adebukola, the group listed areas in which the private sector could invest to include employment and economic empowerment; access to products and services, support for accessible public infrastructure, information, communication and technology, as well as support for inclusive education and advocacy.
LCSDPP recalled its stance at the last Lagos Economic Summit where it posited that investing in a socially inclusive environment brings direct investment benefits.
According to the organisation, the 10 million population of PWD in Lagos and the Southwest of Nigeria was significant for investors to consider.
"PWD access to education, health, social development and economic empowerment in Lagos State is rapidly increasing their purchasing power and consumption capacity which creates significant market potential for investors," LCSDPP said.
The group maintained that while the huge PWD population offers investors significant market opportunities, their expanding productive capacities will in no small way contribute to the manpower and human resource potentials in Lagos and its environs.
They further noted that asset value on persons with disabilities was steadily on the increase, even as their dependency status was reducing rapidly.
"The socio-economic prospects of a PWD were largely driven by aspects of ICT known as Assistive Technology, mobility aids and rehabilitation kits most of which are imported from develope! d nations.
"The group urged investors in the manufacturing, assembling or wholesale and retail of these disability-support appliances to take advantage of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) because investments in these areas were virtually absent in this part of the world, except for South Africa that was making attempts.
"The fall in the dependency status of persons with disabilities will free-up more investable resources in the public and private sectors.
"They maintained that investors who tap into the opportunity will have easy and direct access not only to the Lagos market, but also to the rest of Africa.
"The ability of investors to imbibe inclusive and disability-friendly practices in designing and organising work places and business environment, design, development, production and delivery of products and services such as: banking, telecoms, transportation, hotel, ICT, education, health, mass media, etc will increase turnovers and profits on investments as no potential consumers are left out," they said.
LCSDPP said a memo has been sent to the Lagos State government to approve and inaugurate the Public Private Partnership (PPP) on the implementation of the state’s Special People’s Law by the end of the second quarter.
"That Lagos State government empowers the Office of Disability Affairs (ODA), upon its establishment to coordinate the Public Private Sector Partnership on the implementation of the law and that private sector-supported creation of 15,000 jobs and economic empowerment for same number of PWDs by 2015 at the rate of 5,000 per annum be achieved," the group said.
They added that the private sector should adopt and make provision for various degree of support to at least 15 public inclusive schools at the rate of five per annum with five in each senatorial district by 2015 among others.
South Africa: Police Challenged to Take Part in Disability Programmes
15 MAY 2012, allAfrica
Pretoria - Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, has challenged police officials and those working within the justice system to take part in disability programmes to help increase the conviction rate of people abusing those with disabilities.
Xingwana stressed the importance of police learning sign language, noting that when people using sign language go to police stations to report cases of rape and abuse, they are not properly assisted.
"All of us - the Departments of Social Development, Police, Justice -- must make sure we do [our best] to [secure] the convictions by taking part in programmes to assist prosecutors to ensure they produce credible evidence to ensure conviction.
"For the police and justice system, we need extensive training to handle such cases, especially for women with intellectual disability ... We still have a huge load and lot of work still needs to be done," Xingwana said.
Xingwana, who was speaking at the National Disability Machinery (NDM) meeting in Pretoria on Tuesday, acknowledged that there was still a lack of places of safety for abused children, and that special schools had many challenges which needed to be addressed.
This included a shortage of accommodation, where parents were forced to stop working so that they can look after their disabled children because they have no place at a special school.
The two-day meeting will look into the strengthening and restructuring of the NDM, which was approved in 2007.
Among other things, the meeting will reflect on the objectives of the NDM in line with the mandate of the department.
Issues for discussion will include the role and mandate of the department and how the department collaborates with other government departments in fulfilling its mandate.
In addition, the meeting will reflect on expectations around the purpose, role and responsibilities of the NDM. This will include clarifying intra-departmental as well as inter-governmental institutional arrangements responsible for driving the national disability agenda across all three spheres of government.
The objectives of the NDM are to facilitate the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Millennium Development Goals and the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities within the South African context; and to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement across disciplines and sectors on the national disability agenda.
The role of the NDM, among others, is to identify and make recommendations on new initiatives that should be undertaken and facilitate participation in those programmes in the disability sector.
Kenya: Parents Advised On Disabled Children
The Star (Nairobi)
17 MAY 2012
Parents with children with disabilities have been urged not to hide them but take them to school. Speaking at the Kibarani Primary School in Kilifi yesterday after donating uniforms, Basiva Foundation goodwill ambassador Petro Schatz called on the parents not to stigmatise disabled children by denying them education. Schatz, who sponsors deaf pupils at the school, said: "Deaf children should be given priority in education so that they can get a way to interact with other children."
She further urged the society to change their attitude towards the deaf and stop regarding them as unproductive people. She also called on the government to make plans so that deaf children could have their national exams set in a language they can easily understand. She argued that giving them the same exam with normal students would be challenging to them because they are mostly acquitted with the sign language.
According to the Kibarani for the deaf head teacher, Eric Salim Mramba is that the school has been performing poorly due to the language barrier. Mramba also called on the society to treat deaf people like any other so that they could create room for interaction. "People tend to think that deaf people get angry easily but it is because they always feel neglected" He said.
He called on all stake holders to support the school and called on the parents to make sure that they bring their kids to the learning institution. He however expressed concern that most parents regard their kids as bad omen. He complained that most parents do not care about the welfare of their kids once they bring them to the school. The school has a total number of 188 students where 96 are boys.
Visually impaired want manifestos in braille
General News of Thursday, 17 May 2012 Visually impaired persons in the Central Region have kick-started a campaign to promote peace ahead of the December general elections.
The campaign dubbed “the Disable Peace Train” will carry-out vigorous advocacy on the need for peace throughout the region and some parts of the country.
It is being spearheaded by a group of visually impaired members of the Royal Sparrows Band, an organization under the Ghana Blind Union.
Leader of the group, Charles Oppong said the campaign will target all segments of society including the church, political parties, government and security agencies.
He explained that his group was particularly concerned because visually impaired people suffer the most in chaotic, unstable situations.
He cited the war in Liberia which claimed the lives of a number of physically challenged persons especially the blind.
Mr. Oppong also appealed to politicians to ensure the availability of braille versions of their manifestoes to enable persons with visual impairment make informed decisions on the coming presidential and parliamentary elections.
Mampong Vocational Technical School appeals for new campus
News Date: 21st May 2012
The Mampong Senior High Technical School for the Deaf has appealed to the government and philanthropists to help the school to relocate to a new site.
The school is located on two campuses with dormitories separated from the classrooms and the students have to cross the main Mamfi/Aburi highway from their dormitories to school.
As a result of the hearing impairment of the students, they are sometimes knocked down by vehicles when crossing the road to school and between 2009 and 2011 four students were knocked down and wounded by vehicles.
The headmaster of the school, Mr Emmanuel Afenu, made the appeal when the chief of Mampong-Akuapem, Nana Kwame Otu Darte III, visited the school as part of his second anniversary of his installment to find out problems facing schools in the area.
He said 55.5 acres of land given to the school by the chiefs and people of Mampong-Akuapem in the 1990s for the relocation of the school had been reduced to 29.8 acres as a result of encroachment.
Mr Afenu said the lighting system in the school was poor and parts of the administration block, kitchen and woodwork shop are without electricity following a fire outbreak in July 2009.
Nana Kwame Otu Darte appealed to telecommunication companies to assist to rehabilitate of the school.
He also visited the Mampong Presbyterian Senior High School (PRESEC) and the Demonstration School for the Deaf.
The school, which has over 300 students, was established in 1975 purposely as a secondary vocational school but has not seen any major rehabilitation and most of the equipment used to teach the student have broken down.
The Clothing and Textile Department that serves about 70 students has only three sewing machines. The Catering Department has no utensil, burners and ovens for practical work.
Handicapped boy (12) raped
22 May 2012, iafrica
A man was arrested in Soweto on Tuesday for allegedly raping a 12-year-old mentally handicapped boy, police said.
The child was raped on 15 May when he was apparently lured to the man's backyard room in Zola with the promise of R7, police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said.
"The boy was walking to the Philip Kushlik Special School near Baragwaneth Hospital and was near Zola Clinic when the man stopped him and said he could help him get to school," said Makhubela.
Philip Kushlik Special School is for children with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
The boy, who lives in Snake Park with his parents, accompanied the 43-year-old man who took him to the backyard room where he was raped. The man then gave him R7.
Makhubela said the boy's parents took him to the police station when he told them what happened to him.
The alleged rapist disappeared but eventually returned to his room where Jabulani police arrested him at 3am on Tuesday.
The man will appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court in Soweto on Wednesday.
Ghana: Chief Supports Five Disabled Brothers
BY SEBASTIAN R. FREIKU, 22 MAY 2012
Kumasi - Otumfuo's Atenne Manwerehene, Nana Boafo Konadu Yiadom, has taken up the challenge to provide paternal responsibility and cater for the needs of the five disabled brothers at Sunyani.
They are Frederick Kwarteng, 32, Benjamin Kwarteng, 30, Isaac Antwi, 27, Emmanuel Yeboah, 18, and David Djan, 14. Their father, Benjamin Kwarteng, is said to have abandoned them to their fate due to their conditions.
The three older brothers are unable to care for themselves at all, but thanks to their Aunt's (Rebecca) intervention, the younger two are attending "normal" school and are able to perform a lot of their own personal tasks.
A sixth brother, Vincent Acquah, 22, now undertaking studies at the Catholic University in Sunyani, believes he was born "normal' to help his brothers. Over the past five months, Nana Konadu Yiadiam, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Ashan Children's Home, has been providing three bags of rice, sugar, cooking oil, soap and detergents, as well as money every month for their upkeep.
The latest news is that Nana Konadu Yiadom, known in private life as Jim Akwasi Konadu, has moved to provide a befitting shelter for the five brothers. He has acquired a plot of land at Sunyani for the construction of a GH???30,000 three bedroom house for them.
The project has started with the moulding of cement blocks for the foundation to be laid, and about GH???2,000 has so far been sunk into it. The chief hopes that the completion of the project would give their "mother" (caretaker) Rebecca Asantewaa, who has since taken over the responsibility to care for her sister's family, a big relief.
Nana Konadu Yiadom has, therefore, appealed to corporate entities, organisations, religious, and spirited individual members of the public to complement his efforts in providing for the disabled brothers.
Nana Konadu Yiadom's orphanage (Ashan Children's Home), established 15 years ago at Denase near Kumasi, is catering for about 80 inmates, the eldest being 20 years old, while the youngest is seven months old.
Tanzania: Problem of Abandoned Families Escalates in the Isles
Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)
BY ISSA YUSSUF, 23 MAY 2012
Zanzibar - ZUHURA Rajab Ngwali, 43, a mother of nine children including six disabled has been abandoned by her husband. Out of the six children with disabilities (one-deaf, three- physically, and two- mental disorder), four are female. "My husband has abandoned me and children (age between six and 13); and has recently married another wife.
We have no support for our living," said Zuhura at her residence in Mtoni-Kidatu village, north of the Zanzibar stone town. The rise in the number of abandoned families has raised concern of 'women and children' rights activists, religious leaders, and Zanzibar authorities.
Statistics in Kadhis Court and the ministry of social welfare, youths, children and women development shows that the problem has been growing; yet, there is no immediate solution. Ms Maria Obel Malila, head of Child Protection Unit (CPU), Ministry of social welfare, youths, children and women development said that her office has recorded total of 205 cases of family abandonment between July last year and April this year.
"The number of abandoned mothers and children is high and a challenge to us," she said, as the Chief Kadhi of Zanzibar Sheikh Khamis Haji Khamis said, "we deal with family disputes, but unfortunately mother with children complained greatly about neglect by male parent." Khadis adds, "We normally summon men implicated with neglect and remind them of their responsibility to the family. If the husband behavior persists, Kadhis court has the mandate to order employer (Public offices) to deduct money from the husband's salary for family care. But it is difficult for men working in private sector."
Many cases of family abandonment are reported in all parts of Zanzibar, but mainly in villages close to the sea or fishing areas such as Tumbatu, Nungwi, Kojani, and Micheweni, where men leave their families for fishing camping (locally known as Dago) away from home. Men disappear for months without any help to wife and children! Men such as Sheikh Omar Issa from Matemwe village on Unguja Island say poverty is to blame for the family abandonment, "Many men are forced by economical difficulties to leave homes in hunt for money."
But women argue that dishonesty among men, mainly husband in relationships outside marriage, has been the main reason for family abandonment. "We start-off marriage life and have children in happy mood. But unfortunately once a man get another woman, he starts excuses including that of poverty!" says Ms Rukia Yussuf. Kombo Hassan, 10, abandoned by father for two years could not hold his tears when asked about their family life, "I share my pain with my mom.
We have been told that my dad is in Dar es Salaam with another wife. He does care anymore about us." Other reasons for family abandonment as mentioned by victims and activists include moral decay, forced marriages, conflicts family in families, rising cost of living, and unemployment. Abandoning mother and children has several effects which include deep sense of loss and shame in kids, especially when the absence appears to be voluntary.
Ms Jennifer Wolf, international analyst on family issues says that for some kids, abandonment extends beyond a parent's failure to support the child financially, and includes the failure to communicate with the child or play an active role in the child's life.
"Sadly, parental abandonment, and its effects, often leaves children with lingering questions about their own self worth," she says "in some cases, children who have been abandoned by one parent will make an effort to completely reject him or her.
You'll see this when a child expresses the desire to be the exact opposite of the absent parent." Wolf argues further that children who have experienced parental abandonment may also be prone to developing poor self-esteem and a sense of shame surrounding the parent's absence.
They may even question whether they could have contributed to the absence, whether they somehow 'deserved' to be abandoned, or whether the absent parent believes he or she is better off without the 'burden' of a child.
The Kadhi and officers responsible for social welfare and families in Zanzibar, says abandoned mothers and children turn to beggars and putting themselves at risk of being abused (rape), and also some children grow to become drugs users and robbers.
Disabled 72 -year-old man wants to die
23 May, 2012 Swazi observer
A 72-year-old man, confined to a wheelchair, has given up on life and wants to die.
The man, who identified himself as Robert Mazibuko, lives a sorrowful life as he sleeps in the open despite the biting chilly weather these days.
He has filthy and worn out blankets that he uses to cover himself. As a man that uses a wheelchair, at times he spends nights inside a trench along the road to the new bus rank, opposite a complex housing Wozani Supermarket.
This newspaper found him at his spot on Saturday evening at around 9pm in his deep sleep. Interviewed earlier, Mazibuko said he was forsaken by everyone and even those he considered close friends. He said he was rolled over by a truck which led to him to being confined to a wheel chair, an accident he claimed happened along the Nhlangano-Mahamba public road.
He is originally from Fonteyn in Mbabane, but has spent most of his life in the Shiselweni region, after he left the capital city when he was only eight years old.
“Someone stole me from home, when I was eight. He promised me some sweets and took me to Nhlangano, where I was dumped. I was young then; it is now not easy to trace some of my relatives as Fonteyn location is now completely changed. It is not what I used to know as a child as it’s now a suburb,” he said.
His other side of the body is paralysed and he cannot even scratch himself.
Since the accident three years ago, he says he is now living as a beggar.
“Life has been miserable for me. I think dying is the only solution now. As I speak, I live on handouts from sympathetic people and passersbys,” he said.
Mazibuko said a young man called Dumisa Ngwenya, who is a well-known photographer in the area, assists him at times.
Ngwenya said he would assist by getting him whatever he needed from shops with the money donated to him.
“I also find myself having to babysit him including seeing how he gets to answer to the call of nature. Otherwise, as things stand, if I am not here, he soils himself. It is such a painful experience and I just wonder where his relatives are,” said Ngwenya.
Jan Sibandze, a popular airtime vendor, said he was touched by the old man’s plight such that he donated some money to help him meet some of his needs.
“It is not the old man being embarrassed here but everyone in the region if not the country. We should be caring as the Bible says and it doesn’t portray a good image for the country to abandon such old people. I don’t think anyone would be happy to see this situation if it was any of their relatives,” said Sibandze.
MISS DEAF 2012 TO BE BIGGER, BETTER
23 May, 2012 Swazi observer
BIGGER AND BETTER: Miss Deaf 2011/12 Nosipho Zwane WITH sponsors pouring in from left right and centre, this year’s Miss Deaf contest will be bigger and better.
Palaistra Fitness Emporium has joined the lists of sponsors for the Miss Deaf pageant to be held on September 29, at the Royal Swazi Convention Centre, courtesy of Royal Swazi SPA.
The sponsorship is worth E34 000.
Palaistra Fitness Emporium Marketing and Development Manager Shakira Rudd said; “The reason why we wanted to participate in this initiative is to show that the ability of looking after your body is not dependent on any disability you may have. We want to expose them (contestants) for a period of four months to our facility where they will achieve the goals set for themselves before the main day of the contest. They will be taught what nutrition they need to undertake as well as top class training by our staff. The total sponsorship is E34 000 and this is to promote healthy leaving and lifestyle.”
SwaziBank is one of the major sponsors for this year’s Miss Deaf beauty pageant.
Nokuthula Mbatha organiser of the pageant said she was excited about the response they were getting from members of the public and companies.
“The support is amazing, I am very grateful to Palaistra. They have assured me that they are not just giving me the gym equipment but qualified trainers to attend to the girls. I have great respect for my sponsors such that I view them as partners of Miss Deaf pageant. Their input and advice in the project is well respected by me, they are not just sponsoring but supporting the vision to correct an oversight, create awareness and add value in the lives of these young women. I am working hard to get each of them a prize that will change their lives and leave a memory that will last,” said Mbatha.
Not long ago, RGR Signs and Swazi Hearing Aid announced a sponsorship worth E35 000 to the beauty pageant while Jamming House donated a laptop as one of the prizes to be handed over to the queen as well as the sound system to be used on the night of the contest.
Palastria Fitness Emporium offers Cardio Exercises, Aerobics, Spinning and Tae Bo (this is ideal for all those who want to burn excess body fat and tone their bodies).
The Emporium also has Weight Training and Bodybuilding (to transform one’s frame into a head-turning physique). Nutrition Supplements (which controls body-weight, increases muscle growth, strength and recovery).
The nexus between poverty, affluence and disability in Ghana
Feature Article of Wednesday,
23 May 2012
According to unofficial records, Ghana has approximately 3 million individuals with disabilities out of a population of about 25 million. Disabilities are part of the human experience. Generally speaking, persons with disabilities can be found in almost every village, town and city. Despite the several years of legislations and lackluster investments by the government, non-governmental agencies and religious entities, it appears the dismal situation that these individual’s encounter continue to persist. Invariably, vast numbers of individuals with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed and live in abject poverty. As Ghanaians, we have failed to acknowledge the prevalence and complexity of poverty, affluence, and its relation to disability and employment.
A major law, the Ghanaian Disability Act (Act 2006) Section 18 states that “the government shall provide free education for persons with disabilities”. In reality, do we have mechanisms in place to ensure that this law is being implemented with fidelity?.
The poverty rate for deprived areas has increased over the years since wealth is concentrated in the capitals of the country. Most Ghanaians living in these rural areas do not have access to adequate health facilities or well-equipped schools with resources. Some of these areas also do not have access to good drinking water and sanitation tends to be suspect.
I am not saying that the situation in the capitals is perfect. Yes, there are pockets of areas in some capitals that can comfortably be compared to some of the rural areas in terms of sanitation, access to good schools, access to health facilities and resourced schools. Sobering as these may sound if one looks at the total picture of the landscape in Ghana, those individuals that are well to do in some of these capitals can afford to send their children to the better schools that provide services to their children with disabilities. However, those that live in these rural areas do not have the same opportunity to do so. Thus, the question becomes how does the government of Ghana ensure equity and access into programs for all children with disabilities?.
The effects of poverty are more than simply the lack of money. If one grows up in a rural area, or in an underprivileged area in the capital or in a penurious home or a devastated neighborhood, one is likely to attend schools that are not well-resourced. Often times, these schools have teachers that are not well qualified, use of technology is non-existent and parents are not involved with their children’s education. Inevitably, attending high poverty under-resourced schools has an impact on pupils with disabilities. In some cases, children with disabilities are kept at home.
The co-occurrence of disability and poverty is closely associated with poor outcomes. If you are poor, it is very difficult to attend school unless you are lucky to come across some benevolent benefactors. For those with disabilities living in underprivileged areas, the poverty issue becomes multiplied. Having a child with disabilities is a very expensive venture. It involves extra cost and tends to affect the family as a whole. This episodic event tends to consume the family’s meager resources.
In addition, growing up in poverty may increase the possibility of having children that may be disabled. This is not to say that the poor tend to have more children with disabilities. Rather, living in distressful areas may expose one to unsafe water, inadequate health, and access to pre-natal facilities, environmental stress, and lack of money for the basic essentials.
On the other hand, there are cases where the affluent increasingly are also being exposed to these risk factors. For example, you have situations whereby the affluent in the capitals are more likely to engage in habits like drinking and smoking. These are risk factor that affect the unborn child and thus leads to children being born with very low weight and incidences of various disabilities, including learning disabilities. In addition, the taste and consumption of processed meats, sugar coated soft drinks and imported processed food also causes lasting damaging effects on the unborn child.
One area that has not gotten much attention is learning disabilities. This disability area is considered an unseen disability. Anecdotal data suggests that this disability has been with us for a long time. More often than not, it tends to afflict individuals from more affluent societies than those from less privileged. Take a look back to when you were in elementary or secondary school. There were some students that no matter how hard they studied just could not do well. More often than not, these students came from affluent families. Teachers often branded these children as “lazy students” just because their parents were well to do. Till date, the area of learning disabilities has not been comprehensively investigated or addressed in Ghana. Yes, we have some programs for those that have visible disabilities (hearing impairment, visually impairment, mental retardation and physical disabilities). However, learning disabilities is a very complex area of disability that requires a scientific approach.
In their quest to see improved results for their children, you see some affluent families paying huge sums of money to private teachers in order for their children to be taught the subject matter so that they can pass and go to the next stage in the educational venture. After spending so much money, they realize their children are unable to experience any positive educational outcomes.
Unfortunately, the manner children with learning disabilities process information is rather complex. For such children to overcome their learning challenges, it requires working with an expert in exceptional education who is grounded in the sciences of attention, memory, meta-cognition, motivation, cognitive psycholinguistic, literacy, technology and neuroscience.Finally, the issue of disabilities is an equal opportunity problem that has to be addressed in a comprehensive fashion.
Disability cuts across the political, social and economic divide. Having a safe environment, access to quality health, qualified teachers and support services, well-resourced schools, with adequate assistive technology, early interventions, additional funding, can profoundly improve the current dismal situation. The government has to challenge itself to ensure that there is some parity in allocation of resources.
There is no reason why we continue to exclude a large percentage of our population who can contribute to Ghana’s productivity and our gross national product. We have to recognize that as long as we are alive we will one day grow into our old age, and most of us will experience a measure of poverty and chronic disabilities. Let us stop the wastage and invest in our human capital. Truth be told, how many houses or cars does an individual really need?. Most of us are more interested in supporting beauty pageants than supporting individuals with disabilities. As a nation, we are more concerned about the next football championship than our support for individuals with disabilities. Let us do the right thing and posterity will surely be kind to us in our old age.
The writer, Dr. Selete Kofi Avoke is an exceptional education consultant and an adjunct professor based in the USA. (email@example.com and 301-335-8861)
Many disabled not at school
MAY 24, 2012 Sowetan south africa
According to the Department of Basic Education (DBE), at least 400,000 disabled children of school-going age are not in the system.
Twelve years after the signing of the white paper on inclusive education, there are more than 500 full-service schools countrywide but they are not working as well as they should.
The white paper was meant to strengthen special schools but also to accommodate pupils with disabilities - but not intellectual problems - in mainstream schools.
Full-service schools are institutions that can accommodate children with disabilities and able-bodied ones. According to the paper, the Department of Basic Education was supposed to convert 500 primary schools into full-service schools.
According to the department, there are 513 full-service schools nationally.
Manager at Inclusive Education Western Cape Robyn Bath said: "A huge number of children are out of the school system."
She said that 2001 figures indicated that at least 280,000 disabled children were not in the school system.
The department says that their research indicates that at least 400,000 children of school-going age are out of the system.
Gauteng education spokesman Charles Phahlane said the hardest thing with running full-service school was funding.
"The biggest challenge with the implementation of full-service schools is that there isn't national norms and standards in place for additional funding and staffing for these schools," he said.
Infrastructure development is also a problem.
According to the national list, Ntuthuko Primary School in Katlehong is a full-service centre. But children with disabilities have not been able to get into the school because a contractor did not build ramps and toilets for disabled pupils.
The Department of Public Works gave a joint tender worth R6-million to Makhamabavele and DSST to do the job. They have already been paid R4.6-million. It is unclear when construction will resume.
Researcher in children's rights at the Community Law Centre of the University of Western Cape Lorenzo Wakefield said: "About 10% of children in South Africa live with a disability. Even though this percentage might seem small in relation to the general child population, the numbers of children with disability currently out of school is extremely high. The DBE is not addressing this as their plan acknowledges that they have shifted focus to the quality of education, considering that universal access has been reached."
Bath said that the implementation of inclusive education was flawed.
"There are systematic problems like overcrowding, transport and long waiting lists at schools."
The 2008 screening identification assessment and support (SIAS) strategy is under review. In the DBE's annual plans they stipulated that 100 schools would be trained on this.
Bath said: "This target clearly does not take into account the large number of schools that have already been trained in SIAS since 2008 and also reflects a very low percentage of all schools in the country." - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigeria: FCTA to Set Up Ear and Nose Treatment Centre
BY CATHERINE AGBO, 25 MAY 2012
The Secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Demola Onakomaiya has disclosed plans by the administration to set up and ear and nose centre of excellence at the Maitama District Hospital.
This he said was to ease challenges of residents with disabilities affecting those body parts.
Onakomaiya, who was speaking when members of Abuja Association of the deaf (AAD) paid him a courtesy visit in his office, yesterday, noted that the deaf and dumb had a myriad of challenges before them but assured that the FCT administration through the secretariat, was putting in place programmes aimed at alleviating these challenges.
He reiterated the commitment of the Bala Mohammed led FCT administration to the provision of quality health care services to residents, citing the establishment of the centre as one of the intervention strategies which he also noted would assist patients with hearing impairments especially by providing hearing aids to them.
Housing stands attract back errant husbands
27 May 2012 The Standard
A man who dumped his wife for bearing him a child with cerebral palsy has returned after learning his family was among beneficiaries of residential stands in Mabvuku.
The man, who could not be identified to protect the identity of the disadvantaged child, is among a number of husbands that are coming back to their wives in the suburb where the fortunes of women, dumped by their husbands years ago after giving birth to children with disabilities, are fast changing.
At least 26 parents of children with various forms of disabilities will soon own residential stands after their association bought land to accommodate the families, most of whom presently live in backyard shacks.
The families have for years been making monthly savings through the Zimbabwe Parents of Handicapped Children Association (ZPHCA), enabling them to raise US$15 000, which they used to buy a piece of land to be subdivided into residential stands.
Each member will own a 200 square metre stand in Harare’s Mabvuku suburb.
These developments have resulted in some of the husbands who had run away coming back to their families after realising that their wives would soon receive residential stands.
“There is a man who had left his wife and five children, including their nine-year old child who is suffering from cerebral palsy (CP),” a ZPHCA official said. “The wife soldiered on, vending to raise money for her children’s upkeep and the association subscription. She is one of those who benefitted under this phase and her husband is now back home.”
The beneficiaries were hopeful that the initiative would bring relief to most members of the association as they were being discriminated against when looking for accommodation to rent.
“My husband left me and our three children in 1998 because of our 19-year-old daughter who suffers from cp,” 42-year-old Virginia Chirinda said. “At one point, I was promised a room for lodging with my family but when I went back with my disabled child the following day, the potential landlord told me she had no room for that thing, referring to my child.”
Speaking at a ground- breaking ceremony in Mabvuku last week, ZPHCA coordinator Theresa Makwara said members had been saving up for stands for several years.
“We started off as a big association with more than 100 members but we are down to 42 now because of various problems, among them lack of resources,”
Makwara said. “Most people got discouraged when our Zimdollar savings came to naught but some of us soldiered on and that has finally paid off.”
Body caters for parents of the disabled
Formed in 1987, ZPHCA is an organisation of parents of children with disabilities. The Harare Province is the largest with a growing base of 23 support groups.
The association advocates for the rights of children with disabilities, especially in the areas of health, education, food, shelter, housing and recognition in the society.
Most of the handicapped live with cerebral palsy (PC), a condition which affects brain development and body functionality while others suffer from Hydrocephalus condition, which is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling.
Feature Article of Monday, 28 May 2012 Columnist: Sarpong, Kofi
In my maiden article last week, I highlighted the serious lapse in the Persons with Disability Act 2006, where our lawmakers made a cardinal error of judgment by not defining disability. I ended the article by asking for that Act to be revisited, a challenge to our lawmakers to make it workable.
This article will look at the British experience, juxtapose it with the Ghanaian one and draw some conclusions that may help us understand the issues better. This, it is intended, may ultimately aid us in the formulation of proper and sustainable policies to help disabled people in our country.
In my research into disability in Ghana, I have come across so much prejudice it defies belief. In discussions on disabled people and work, a bank manager and a well-known radio presenter, at different times, made statements to the effect that I should not worry myself because ‘ even those who are not disabled cannot find work, so I should not talk about the disabled.’ A total misconception and misunderstanding of the issue. When I told them that Roosevelt was a wheelchair user but a President of America, their faces and body language exuded nothing, but scepticism.
The British have long recognised the need and importance of having an all-inclusive society. From the old Quota System through Registration of Disabled People, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to The Equality Act 2010, a person is defined as being disabled if “they have a physical or sensory impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities”.
The Act also covers people who have had a disability in the past and those who have recurring and progressive health conditions. These conditions may not always have a substantial adverse effect or may not yet have a substantial adverse effect but potentially, can do so. It also covers people who have severe disfigurement. Those who have terminal illnesses are classified disabled from the day of diagnosis.
‘Long term’ under the definition means a disability or health condition that has lasted or is likely to last over twelve months. ‘ Substantial’ means it can affect your performance badly or negatively.
’Day-to-day activities’ are covered under eight headings:
1. Mobility - moving or changing one’s entire body, getting around unaided or walking short distances
2. Manual dexterity - the ability to use hands and fingers with precision
3. Physical co-ordination - the balance and co-ordination of whole body movement, hand and eye co-ordination, walking and using hands at the same time
4. Continence - the ability to control bladder and/or bowel movements including the frequency and loss of control
5. Ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday object - carrying a kettle of water, a bag of shopping, a briefcase, moving a chair or piece of furniture and bearing weights over a reasonable period of time
6. Speech, hearing or sight - the ability speak, hear or see, including face-to-face, telephone and written communications
7. Memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand - the ability to remember, organize thoughts, plan and execute an action, learn new things at the same speed as most other people or read straightforward text or numbers
8. Perception of the risk of physical danger - the under or overestimation of physical danger including danger to own well-being; whether a person neglects basic functions such as eating, drinking, sleeping, keeping themselves clean or behaving in a reckless way which puts themselves or others at risk.
The British definition covers a whole spectrum of disabilities and conditions including asthma, arthritis, sickle cell, general and specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia and dyspraxia), mental health illnesses (e.g. bi-polar, schizophrenia, psychosis,. post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety), epilepsy, vision and hearing impairments, HIV, alcoholism etc.
In addition to the law, there are so many general and disability- specific organisations that offer help, support and guidance to disabled people and their families and carers, the Stroke Association, National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for The Deaf, to mention a few. There are also thousands of local organizations which offer accredited training to disabled people to qualify them to apply for, and work in mainstream jobs like everybody else. The Residential Training Colleges for disabled people offer accredited courses from accounting and bookkeeping to photography and video production.
Jobcentre Plus, part of The Department for Work and Pensions, also has specialists, Disability Employment Advisers, who in collaboration with Work Psychologists, help people with disabilities to find work if they job ready. The Disability Employment Advisers also help people with the disabilities to access training, thereby enabling them to get closer to the world of work. Finally, they help people to retain work if they become disabled or their disabilities become worse.
The Equality Act enjoins all institutions -economic, social, commercial, educational - to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities to live, work and enjoy all amenities and services like everybody else. For example, students who have dyslexia and have difficulty organizing their thoughts, are given additional time to write examination papers. The same Act requires that by January 2017, every bus or coach in the UK should be disability-friendly. Even though the Act came into force in 2010, years before its introduction, bus transport operators had been advised. That is why buses in the UK have ramps to enable wheelchair users get on them. Spaces are reserved on the buses for wheelchair users. Every station on the bus route is announced to help the blind and visually impaired know where to get off. The deaf can also tell where they are by reading the infra red station announcer.
I will leave the British scene and look at Ghana, but before I do that I will attempt to identify the various ways in which people can acquire a disability.
1. A disability can be congenital i.e. a person is born with it
2. Accidents (domestic or otherwise), disease and infections can also cause disabilities.
3. Life style choice whether advertently or not, may cause disabilities
4. The aging process - as one grows older the wear and tear of the body can cause disabilities
5. Trauma and events in people’s lives may start the process of them becoming disabled eventually
6. A long term condition can become a disability if it worsens
By the British definition and looking at the causes, any living individual can become disabled at any point in their lives.
Ghana paints a different picture.
Most Ghanaians think that disability is only physical. People with learning difficulties (which we unfortunately still refer to as mentally handicapped) for example, are disabled from carrying out ‘normal day- today activities’ just as wheelchair users are. People who have sickle cell are disabled from carrying out ‘normal day-to-day activities’ when they have crises and are in pain. These are all disabilities, even though those who have them may hate to be defined as such.
The stigma attached to people with disabilities is nauseating. I have not come across one person with epilepsy who has been to school. All the other parents would withdraw their children from that school. People who have epilepsy are treated with a lot of contempt and other people would not touch them with a barge pole. Yet epilepsy is a disorder of the nervous system which is marked by convulsive attacks and loss of consciousness and nothing more. It is not contagious. Neither is it ‘ devilish’. Interestingly, most types of epilepsy are controlled by medication in the western world. Some of the expatriate investors who do business in Ghana may have epilepsy that is controlled by medication.
Ghanaians are happy to confer, eat and dine with them at Labadi Pleasure Beach and Golden Tulip hotels. Their epilepsy does not stop them from living active business lives, and we are happy to shake hands with them to conclude business deals.
We equate disability with stupidity and/or inability to be like us. Are non disabled people perfect? It is not uncommon to see so many people with disabilities working in the UK and the rest of the western world.
Professor Hawkings, a world-renowned scientist in the UK is a wheelchair user who communicates through assistive technology. I met a lady Programme Director from the BBC at a conference once who was profoundly deaf without speech. She communicated through sign language. Please note that I did not say ‘deaf and dumb,’ because it is derogatory. We are so dismissive of disabled people that we think they can only do basket weaving and other crafts. The great war time Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill, had bi-polar (manic depression). Gordon Brown who succeeded Tony Blair as the Leader of The Labour Party and Prime Minister of Britain was blind in one eye. The American President Roosevelt was a wheelchair user. All these people led their countries in spite of their disabilities.
Recently, our government announced that they had given 60,000 computers to school children. I am not being political here, but I wonder how many of them went to school children with disabilities. Come to think of it, would the children with disabilities not need them more than those without? Our education system is tilted heavily against those with disabilities. Educational opportunities are not equal by any stretch of the imagination. Disabled children from poor family backgrounds are less likely to have any education. The majority of them never have partners until they depart this life.
The barbaric practice where disabled children were murdered at birth may be a thing of the past (I stand for correction here), but cases of abandonment are still rife. Why do mothers abandon their disabled children at birth?
Our traditional beliefs account for a certain percentage of the problem.
Spirituality, witchcraft and the numerous pastors and healers, some of them self-styled PhD holders, are all part of the problem. More importantly, there are no support networks for parents of disabled children. Neither are there any other social interventions to help the parents cope with the onerous burden of looking after their disabled child. Family, friends and neighbours who see a disabled baby are more likely to pass negative and wicked comments about the baby, than compliments and support. “W’akohwe adee huuhuuhu bi a asomasi awo noo no?”, (have you been to see the horrible thing that so-and-so has given birth to?), they may ask another friend. Our society can be ignorant and wicked in that respect.
Our successive governments do not help us either. We appear to always want to follow the example of the western world. Can we not for once initiate something that they can copy? We need to start serious public education to make people understand disabilities and cope with them better. What stops us from starting a National Disability Week? We could organise activities in every region to highlight various disabilities and end them with grand durbars of chiefs and queens, with performances by disabled people. It could be organised to coincide with The International Day of the Disabled which falls somewhere in December, I believe. What better way to start the Christmas celebrations?
As people see, read, hear about and relate to people with disabilities, society will be more welcoming of the latter. The stigma will gradually fail to gain roots, disabled people will be more confident in themselves and avail themselves of the opportunities available. Ghana will then be the winner because the greatest resource we can have as a country is human, and what better way to tap into the huge deposits lying latent in our disabled population.
We need to define disability and set up proper and workable regional and district disability focus groups to start the serious business of looking at disability with professional lenses. Some of the issues these groups will be well advised to start looking at are:
1. The total number of disabled people in each region
2. Age ranges
3. Categories/types of disability
5. Types of support available i.e. family, circle of friends
7. How disability affects them
9. Independent living or life skills
10. Family circumstances
11. A register of disabled people in their area and giving them registration cards. A better way of doing it would be to have special codes on their voters ID cards or National ID cards to show they are disabled.
Such groups should be free from government control and the majority of members should be either disabled or have a family member who is disabled.
Public education is the key. The role of these groups should be phased with the initial aim of bringing disability to the doorstep of the population. As an example, they may be charged with the responsibility for training people in evacuation procedures when there is an emergency.
Once this done, they may negotiate with stadium managers in all the ten regions to give discounts to disabled people and their carers who would like to go to football matches and other events. Designated areas could be reserved for them to make evacuation easier.
Kofi Sarpong MBE Peckham, London
The writer, Kofi Sarpong-Boachie, worked as a Disability Employment Adviser with The British Civil Service until his retirement in 2010. He was awarded the MBE by The Queen in the New Years Honours in 2011 for his distinguished service in the area of disability.
South Africa: Mandalay Train Station Disabled-Unfriendly
28 MAY 2012, allAfrica
Almost a decade after the provincial transport department bequeathing approximately R9million for the facelift of the premises, the Mandalay train station is still inaccessible to disabled and handicapped commuters.
The Western Cape Transport Department says it has nothing to do with the station and questions should be forwarded to the Passenger Rails Agency of South Africa (Prasa), as it was its mandate to upgrade the station.
However, organisations advocating for people living with disabilities are outraged at the discovery that the station is inaccessible calling for the Transport Department to act urgently and make necessary changes.
Eight years since they were promised a state-of-the-art disabled friendly station, disabled people and handicapped commuters still had to be carried up and down the stairs by security personnel at the station because of faulty lifts.
When West Cape News visited the station yesterday there was no sign of progress or work being done at the station.
In 2007, then Transport MEC, Marius Fransman promised to attend to the station's problems and turn it into a disabled-friendly facility.
After visiting the station in 2007 Fransman announced ambitious plans for how the neglected station and neighbouring Lentegeur Station would be given a facelift at a cost of about R18-million.
The state-of-the-art lifts with built-in intercoms were installed at the station to raise people in wheelchairs from the bottom deck to the ticket sellers on the top deck of the station and then take them down to the platform to board a train, but these lifts have never been in operation.
They were part of the station's R9-million makeover done in December 2004 to make it accessible to the disabled.
Steven Otter, speaking on behalf of MEC Robin Carlisle, blamed these logistical failures on Fransman's empty promises.
"Marius Fransman made a series of promises at municipal election time to various communities to do all sorts of things that he had no intention of doing, and which he often had no authority to do in the first place," wrote Otter in a statement.
Otter further went on to say "we cannot be held responsible for electioneering campaign promises made by irresponsible politicians".
According to Otter, the facelift of the station is Prasa's mandate and the provincial transport department has no authority over Metrorail and Transnet.
"Any station upgrade would be the responsibility of one of these entities.
We do contribute financially to some Metrorail projects - the nine fencing hotspots being a case in point - but in those instances the projects are run by Metrorail, not us," said Otter.
"Metrorail should maintain the lifts," commented Carlisle, before commenting further that he had met with Metrorail representatives and have promised him that when Metrorail rolls out its new stock of trains "the new trains must be disabled friendly".
Metrorail manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said Metrorail is in the process of establishing special needs passenger (SNP) desks at major information centres where literature, accessible information and assistance will be available.
"The rail operator maintains a register of users that require special assistance to ensure that station staff assists customers to travel with dignity. Commuters with specific requirements can register their requirements at a customer information desk," said Swartz.
A woman, 40, who only gave her name as Nokuzola, who uses a wheelchair and lives in Mandalay said she decided to stop using trains because she felt her rights were not being taken seriously by the Transport Department.
"I was happy when I heard of the upgrade of the station but that was 10 years ago and the station is still the same, nothing has changed.
I am angry ofcourse but there is nothing I can do because our voice as disabled people is not heard in this country, it is like we don't exist,"
Nokuzola said when she was using the station when would wait for a commuter to take her up to the first floor then down to the platforms.
Now, she is using taxi and said it is very expensive but she has no choice.
The director of the Cape Town Association for the Physically Disabled, Bridget van der Merwe, said although she was not familiar with the Mandalay train station, "most (train) stations are problematic with disabled people using wheelchairs".
"Apart from the risk of falling, their dignity is compromised. People using public transport should do freely, regardless if they are disabled or not,"
said Van der Merwe before adding that the Transport Department needed to act urgently on the issue.
Rwanda: With Locally-Made Content, Laptops Become Real Education Tools
Rwanda Focus (Kigali)
BY ERIC BRIGHT, 28 MAY 2012
It's been over two years that the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project, under the Ministry of Education, started the distribution of XO laptops, as they are officially called, to children of P4 to P6 across the country. As many as 105,000 XO laptops have already been deployed so far.
However, only 185 out of 2,388 public primary schools have so far been served mainly due to the fact that the majority still has no electricity (only 473 do, although a program of setting up solar power in the remaining ones is being rolled out). The laptops usually come loaded with a universal selection of content that includes educational material and games.
Even though the laptop is a powerful tool for learning and collaboration, exposing children to a wealth of knowledge and providing opportunities that they would not have with traditional educational tools such as textbooks, one thing has so far been lacking: a curriculum adapted to Rwanda's education system.
Until now, students were being introduced to the pre-loaded general content, most of the time unrelated to the curriculum. Yet this is changing, and the integration of the curriculum is already being carried out.
"The integration of curriculum is a fundamental step in our strategy," says Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator. "The idea of integrating technology in schools goes beyond just the deployment of laptops. It is a full transformation of the role of the teacher who becomes a facilitator, a moderator between the digital knowledge in laptops and the students."
He adds that with the adapted content, the laptops can even serve to help develop the skills of primary school teachers, many of who are still underqualified.
The new content is being tested since May 16 in two schools, and the system that has been devised has the advantage that the curriculum has to be installed only once in the school's server, from where the children can access it with their laptop's wireless network connection. So there is no need to go through a lengthy process to install the content in every single machine, and any adjustments to the curriculum can be carried out easily.
However, having the curriculum stored only in the school's server has the disadvantage that you have to be close to the premises to be able to access it. To solve this, students have the option to save content for offline reading and revision at home.
>From an educational point of view, the use of the laptops means that the information can be presented in a much more interesting way. "The digital content is presented in a graphically rich and interactive environment, which enables students to visualize things better and therefore retain the material more in a playfully way," Bakuramutsa points out. "For example, when in biology the teacher wants to talk about human blood circulation, the student can watch an animated graphic of the blood actually flowing throughout the body."
One of the schools that received laptops is the Institut Filippo Smaldone in Nyamirambo, which is an exceptional case since it caters specifically for deaf/mute students. To say they are satisfied with the experience is an understatement.
"These laptops have really helped improve students socially and intellectually," says headmistress Sister Antonia Gadaleta. "They are always excited when using them. For them, images are very important."
Those students are actually doing very well because they are more focused, adds Bakuramutsa, and their teachers are experts in creating bridges between the regular lessons and those for special needs. "We are working on a special content for handicapped students as well," he explains.
Angola: Cabinet Okays Programme for Support Disabled People
30 MAY 2012 all Africa
Luanda - The Cabinet Council Wednesday in Luanda passed a programme for support the people with disabilities, as an auxiliary tool of the Angolan government to reduce the inequalities and social exclusion, under the Law on Social Protection goals.
The decision of the programme, which also contains complementary measures of other social assistance, was taken during the 5th Ordinary Session held at the Presidential Palace under the guidance of Head of State, Jos? Eduardo dos Santos.
The programme is also intended to promote the opportunities of social inclusion, that encourage the micro entrepreneurs' activities of disabled and poor.
The programme for support the disabled people, approved Wednesday, covers about 250,000 handicapped people.
>From this number, 127,000 beneficiaries belong to the Health Ministry, about 30,000 of the Ministry of Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans and some 92,000 with Social Welfare Ministry.
ZSAD In K710m SoS
05月31日 Times of Zambia
THE Zambia Sports Association for the Deaf (ZSAD) is scouting for K710 million to participate at the 2012 World Deaf Athletics Championships slated for Toronto, Canada next month.
ZSAD acting president Prosper Mulinda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the association has been invited to take part in the World championships scheduled to start on July 14 to 21.
Mulinda has appealed to the Government for sponsorship to help the association raise the money to enable the team travel and participate in the international championship and prove to people that hearing impaired people were also talented sportsmen and women.
“We are scouting for K710 million to enable us travel and participate in this tournament, the money will cater for membership fees, transport, accommodation, medicals, training and insurances for the team. And this is why we are calling on the Government and other well wishers to come forward and help us,” he said.
He said it was high time the Government started working with the hearing impaired athletes in the country so that the speaking and hearing challenged persons could feel accepted in society because they currently felt neglected.
“We want to help young deaf persons to have a bright future through sports. We are appealing to the Government to help us feel accepted in the Zambian society by coming to our aid because at the moment we feel neglected for the reason we don’t understand.
It is sad that Government can manage to sponsor sports for the disabled disciplines like the blind, physically challenged and the intellectually challenged but has failed to organise sports competitions for the deaf since the inception of our association in 1995,” Mulinda said.
Meanwhile, the association has embarked on a talent search for the deaf sportsmen and women that would represent the country at the Canada outing.
He said deadline for submitting the list of participants to the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (CISS) would be on June 17.
Mulinda said at the weekend ZSAD held trials for the hearing impaired athletes at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka saying the programme would spread out to other parts of the country.
Nigeria: Maitama Hospital to Get Ear, Nose Centre
BY NASIR IMAM, 31 MAY 2012
The FCT Administration (FCTA) has said that plans are on-going to set up a befitting ear and nose centre at Maitama District Hospital.
Dr. Ademola Onokomaiya, secretary, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, disclosed this when members of the Abuja Association for the Deaf paid him a courtesy call in his office.
He said the challenges facing deaf and dumb people in the society is enormous and that the FCTA, through his secretariat, has put in place programmes aimed at alleviating such challenges in the territory.
Dr. Demola stressed that the ear and nose centre when established, will be made to procure hearing aids and possibly have a specialised clinic for the deaf in the near future.
Earlier in address, Chairman of Abuja Association for the Deaf, Abdulwasiu Mabawonku, intimated the secretary on the neglects they suffer due to their disability, especially in the campaign for the eradication of HIV/AIDS in FCT.
He said the association will appreciate if a deaf person is appointed as desk officer for persons with disabilities in the FCT Health Department.
Mabawonku added that the association is an affiliate of Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) headquarters, which is the umbrella body that oversees the affair of the deaf in Nigeria.
PWDs receive more funds from Kwabre District Assembly
Regional News of Thursday, 31 May 2012
The Kwabre District Assembly has since 2010 disbursed a total amount of GHods.
The Kwabre District Assembly has since 2010 disbursed a total amount of GH¢85,414.47 to 173 People With Disability(PWD) to help improve their livelihoods. The amount represent the mandatory two per cent share of the common fund for disabled persons.
In year 2010, 77 of them received GH¢33,753.60 and this went into the areas of education, skills acquisition, income generation and supply of assistive devices.
Madam Agnes Boakyewaa, the District Director of Social Welfare and Desk Officer for the Persons with Disability, said this when presenting an amount of GH¢36, 950.00 out of 2011’s release of GH¢51,660.00 to 96 to them at Mamponteng.
She advised the beneficiaries to work hard to become economically self-supporting.
Mr Adams Iddisah, the District Chief Executive (DCE), expressed satisfaction with the good rapport and cooperation between the assembly and those with disability in the area and assured them of continued government support.
The DCE said they would see to it that there is equity in the disbursement of the money and that no one would be disadvantaged.
Mrs Angelina Adu-Boateng, Chairperson for the District Federation for the Disabled, thanked the government for the gesture and appealed to the DCE to ensure that the district assembly’s hall is made disability friendly.**
Nigeria: Corps Member Organises Free Medical Screening for Disabled Persons
BY ITODO DANIEL SULE, 1 JUNE 2012
A corps member, Grace Akande, yesterday organised a free medical screening and counselling exercise for disabled persons residing at the Blind and Disability Colony in Karamajiji, Abuja.
Grace Akande, who is a Batch 'B' 2011 corps member serving with NEXIM Bank Abuja, said she carried out the free medical tests/check up to enable the physically challenged persons know their health status as well as get some basic medications.
"We are conducting tests on their blood pressure, blood group, blood HB genotype, blood sugar, urinalysis, hepatitis, dental check-up, HIV/AIDS testing and counselling," she explained.
The corps member also donated mosquito treated nets, water purifier, Indomie Noodles, exercise books and school sandals for the disabled persons and their children.
She decried the poor living conditions at the colony and called on government as well as philanthropic organisations to assist the residents of the place with basic social amenities, especially a health centre, to make life better for them.
Also speaking, Chief of the FCT Disabled Emirate Council, Alhaji Sulaiman Mohammed Katsina, appealed to the FCT Administration to provide them a permanent place with necessary social amenities.
He said the people stay in ramshackle apartments and have no health centre, water and school.
Speaking earlier, representative of the NYSC HIV/AIDS community development service group, Mrs Abu Blessing, commended the corps member for carrying out a people-oriented project and called on other corps members to emulate her.
A beneficiary of the exercise, Hajiya Amina, thanked the corps member, pointing out that people in the area hardly visit public clinics as they are usually stigmatised there.
Namibia: Handicapped People Take On 1 500KM to Vic Falls
1 JUNE 2012
TEN Danish nationals with physical disabilities started a 24-day adventure in Swakopmund yesterday where they would have to brave some of the toughest conditions as they make their way to the Victoria Falls in Zambia.
The adventure, which will end on June 25, is a 'Mastiff AB Production' (Denmark) reality series called 'Mod alle odds', based on the British success series 'Beyond Boundaries".
Wolfgang Knoepfler of Magic Touch Films in Namibia is responsible for the logistics of the event. This is his fifth adventure related to this reality series.
The eight-episode series (of 40 minutes per episode) is about ten physically disabled people going on an extreme expedition. In this case, four of the participants had their legs amputated (one was hit by lightning, while another's leg was blown off by a road-side bomb in Afghanistan); two participants are paraplegics and are dependent on wheelchairs; one is a dwarf, at 98cm tall believed to be the shortest man in Denmark; one is deaf and another blind; and one has 'adult syndrome' that affects physical development, including vision.
The 1 500km route started off at the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay yesterday morning, and the first obstacle was for them to get over the coastal dunes and make their way to the amphitheatre dune on the other side of the dune belt - about 10 kilometres.
Until June 25, they would make their way to Goanikontes; the Moon Landscape; Brandberg and Damaraland; Kamanjab; Waterberg; and then to the Caprivi; from where they will cross the border into Zambia and then raft 40km down the Zambezi River to Livingston Island at the Victoria Falls where their adventure will end.
An experienced expedition leader will guide and advise them, while there will also be an expedition doctor to look after their health and safety needs.
Asked if the participants will have to do the entire expedition 'on foot', Knoepfler explained that only certain areas will be done physically, but the participants will also be transported when there are major distances between key locations such as Goanikontes near Swakopmund to the Brandberg near Uis; and also from Waterberg to Caprivi. "Otherwise they will have to do this expedition on their own, using their individual skills and working together as a team. They will fend for themselves; build up their own camp, make fire, purchase wood, purify water and cook. Occasionally they will use boats, trucks or animals to get them from A to B. They will have to struggle in knee-deep mud, cross rivers, deserts and savannah," he said.
The aim of the programme is to bring across the message that one is able to achieve much more than one ever thought possible.
"It is an inspirational journey for both able-bodied and disabled people," said Knoepfler, adding this will also promote Namibia as an adventure destination.
Both Mastiff Production and Magic Touch Films commended the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for the assistance they have provided in "opening doors" for the safe and free movement of the participants through protective areas.
MEET NOKUTHULA MBATHA
02 June, 2012, Swazi observer
In 2011, many wondered who Nokuthula Mbatha was and where she came from when the Swaziland Nation Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) announced that she would be the director of the Miss Deaf pageant.
She has been unstoppable ever-since. After successfully hosting the pageant despite all the criticism, the Council awarded her the tender to host the pageant once more this year. What most people don’t know about her is her natural skill in beadwork which has recently caught the attention of those willing to buy her work.
“Great beadwork artists always say the most important part of a bead is its hole,” she says.
She adds that colours and patterns have had an indelible effect on her and her life.
“My interests have been far flung and diverse with a background of our culture, ” she also quickly points out.
It is clear that she is passionate about what she does. According to her, she lives, eats and breaths art. Her greatest works that can be seen are the ‘bling bling’ lihiya which are common these days.
She uses different stones which she exports from South Africa. Apart from that, she does corporate logos using beads.
How did you start?
I had always been artistic in my own way. I would sew my own things and noticed that whatever I wore there was something special about it. People would ask me, where did you get that or where did you buy it? There was a point when I couldn’t stop. What urged me on was when my friend saw one of my works and she was so amazed. She encouraged me to keep on doing more stuff.
Why choose beads?
The best stuff comes from nothing. The other thing I like about beads is that it’s more challenging and wide-open for me than other mediums.
Tell us about your first work?
I decorated lihiya using beads and it was so amazing. I sold it for E200. For some reason I felt complete and it covered that space I had in my life for a while.
What tools do you always have within reach?
This is another thing I love about beadwork. It’s simple and low-tech. I have a bunch of beading needles, scads of beads of all sizes, found objects, scissors, professionally tailoring thread in a bunch of colours, a lump of beeswax, and most importantly,I love that beading is very portable and social when done in public.
What challenges do you have?
At some point I feel that inside I am bigger than this and you don’t know how to get it out to the world. As you busy are with work some people come and try to manipulate you but I avoid that.
Do you support yourself with your art, or do you have a day job?
I support myself with my art.
Which work you reckon it’s special?
Each work is unique, I can’t choose one. They are all fantastic but the lihiya beading is exceptional.
Tell us about the process?
I work at a desk facing any direction with a desk lamp on; lots of light. It helps to focus at a distance while working on tiny objects. I also have a notebook handy, although I normally don’t sketch out designs ahead of time.
What makes your work your special?
I don’t copy someone’s work and make sure that I give a customer what he or she wants.
Any future plans?
Since you know that at some point, I was teaching former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula beading. My greatest wish is to share my skill, open a centre where people would come from different parts of the country to learn. Mostly the deaf community who are out there. This can help them earn a living like do.
Again this year, you are hosting Miss Deaf, what should we expect?
A much better event than last year. With sponsors coming through each and every day this year’s event will be big.
How far with the preparations?
Everything is going according to plan, we will be launching the pageant soon.
Cold-blooded doctor sends back disabled child
02 June, 2012, Swazi observer
A member of the Another Hope Foundation, an organisation for parents of children with disabilities, related how a female doctor at the Mbabane Government Hospital turned her back with her disabled child. She told this to a gathering during the launch of the children’s month (June) at Happy Valley Hotel on Friday. The woman, identified as Make Ginindza, explained how she had waited 24 years to get her first child in her marriage.
Something tragic, however, happened to the baby boy when he was seven months old. The little boy fell from the two-storey building but did not die. Damage Ginindza said the boy was taken to hospital where he was given Panado and discharged. It later appeared that the child was in severe pain and had actually suffered a brain damage.
“When we went to the Mbabane Government Hospital to request for funding under the Phalala Fund, we were attended by a female nurse who asked me to prepare a decent funeral for my child as there was nothing that could be done to save him. The doctor was so brutal and I felt badly but didn’t give up,” she said.
Ginindza said she came back again with a letter from a private doctor and that was when her child was sent to South Africa where she was attended to by a Neurologist.
However, the child had suffered severe brain damage and is now 14 years old and living with the disability. Behaviour Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku condemned the behaviour of the doctor, saying there were a lot of other cases reported by mothers who fell victim to such brutal acts.
“When these things happen you start wondering were such insensitive people came from. “Government spends a lot of money training doctors and such behaviour is not what we anticipate. We appeal to those responsible to ensure that such behaviour is not accommodated into the profession for the quality of health care for all Swazis,” Masuku said.
Local shops selling fong-kong salt - Senator Senator Thandi Shongwe has alleged that salt sold in local shops is not iodated, yet labelled so. She was speaking during the launch of the children’s month (June). She said soon she would move a motion in parliament regarding the matter and wondered what the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) was doing about the fraud.
“The salt we buy in local shops is labelled ‘iodated’ yet this is not so. As a result we are unable to prevent a lot of diseases that would have otherwise been prevented if we were using iodated salt. I will move a motion in Senate and hope the ministry of health is ready for this,” she said.
Emphasised UNICEF Country Representative Jama Gulaid emphasised that while a few drops of vaccine prevents crippling diseases, regular use of iodated salt at home was the most effective strategy to prevent mental retardation in new born babies.
“In fact, use of iodated salt is the most effective strategy for improving the IQ of children. But the properly treated salt should be used during pregnancy when the brain development of the foetus is taking place. Once the child is born, it is too late for that child,” Gulaid said.
He noted that the review of the 2010 Multiple Cluster Survey data showed a dramatic decline in the proportion of households using iodated salt. Achievement In 2006/07 over 80% of the households used adequately iodated salt. This impressive achievement made the country one of a handful of countries in Africa which achieved the global goal of universal salt iodisation.
“To inspire other countries, Swaziland’s example was presented in a regional meeting in Seychelles in 2009. Sadly, Swaziland has lost ground since 2007. By 2010, the proportion of households using adequately iodated salt dropped by 25%,” he said.
Gulaid said there were possible explanations because the country does not manufacture salt; it is possible that poorly treated salt is entering the country or it is losing the good stuff due to poor storage practices. Investigating The UNICEF rep said, therefore, more work had to be done in investigating the quality of salt which was entering the country and impact of storage on quality of salt.
“Without IDD salt, there is a significant risk of new born babies developing conditions such as mental retardation and loss of intelligence. The matter calls for urgent attention, we need the support of the ministries of health, commerce as well as that of communication to continually disseminate public messages,”he said.
South Africa: Govt to Develop Strategy to Curb Abuse At Filadelfia School
3 JUNE 2012 all Africa
Soshanguve ― Government says it will develop a comprehensive strategy by the end of this year to curb incidents of sexual misconduct at Filadelfia Secondary School in Soshanguve, north of Tshwane.
Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, visited the school on Friday, which has in the past made headlines for reports of sexual offences.
Bogopane-Zulu told BuaNews that her visit to her alma mater was not only to celebrate International Children's Day, but also to ascertain what progress had been made in addressing the issue of sexual misconduct. In 2010, three educators at the school were dismissed by the Gauteng Department of Education after being found guilty of sexual misconduct against learners. A fourth resigned before the case against him could be concluded.
"We also wanted to check if there were systems in place to prevent all forms of abuse at the school's hostel from happening again, as well as check if the school has already established a victim support programme.
"To our surprise and shock, we found that no systems are in place and no criminal charges have been laid against the [educators], even though the Department of Education has already de-registered them as teachers."
The outspoken deputy minister further said 14 disabled learners were pregnant at the school.
"As a matter of urgency, we are going to convene different task teams which will comprise the Department of Social Development, South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Department of Education.
"We want to do all this to ensure that by the end of this year, we have a comprehensive strategy to turn around this school already dubbed the school of shame," she said.
Bogopane-Zulu said they would use the Adopt-a-Cop strategy to create direct reporting channels to the police.
Social Development will conduct an audit at the school hostel to identify students who need help with school uniform and investigate allegations of unhealthy food at the school.
"We also want to convene a meeting with parents and guardians of these learners because we don't want them to shift their own responsibilities to teachers. We are also going to meet with those households adjacent to the school who are selling alcohol to our disabled learners.
"We've also realised that the majority of our disabled learners don't know their rights, so we've planned to commence with human rights workshops on Saturdays," said Bogopane-Zulu.
Gauteng MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, who is also responsible for Social Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, said: "I'm going to send two social workers to the school to identify learners in need of school uniform.
"I'm committed to ensuring that these learners are treated by both by their teachers and the community fairly and as dignified human beings. We are committed to turn this school to 'disability friendly'."
Mayathula-Khoza said the social workers would also encourage learners to refrain from engaging in sexual activities at an early age to avoid unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Deputy Minister for Higher Education Hlengiwe Mkhize said the visit to the school was an eye-opener: "... I never thought these learners are faced with multiple problems which include emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
"We've set aside R76 million that must be used over a period of three years to train and develop teachers on sign language."
School principal Victoria Mazibuko said the school, which opened in 1985, had 485 visually and hearing impaired learners and learners with physical disabilities.
Amongst the 54 teachers at the school, whose learners come from all over South Africa, only eight teachers had the relevant qualifications and skills in sign language and Braille.
Mazibuko also echoed the student's sentiments that there was minimal learning at the school because some teachers were lazy and not sensitive towards disabled learners.
"We are always sending teachers to both Braille and sign language courses, but we don't see any improvement. We will appreciate it if government can intervene in this regard," she said.
Learners had, during their meeting with Bogopane-Zulu, Mkhize and Mayathula-Khoza, demanded that the teachers leave the hall so they could express their grievances without fear.
Mothers of disabled children blamed by husbands
04 June, 2012 Swazi observer
SOME mothers of children with disabilities experience the brutality of their husbands on a daily basis, who call them names and blame them for giving birth to such children.
A member of Another Hope Foundation, an organisation of parents for children with disabilities, identified as Make Ginindza, related her own experience of having a child with a disability.
Speaking at the launch of the Day of the African Child at Happy Valley last Friday, Ginindza said some women were being called names by their husbands for having given birth to disabled children. She said this has resulted in some mothers feeling ashamed and hiding their disabled children.
She however, thanked government that through the Phalala Fund, some children’s conditions have improved as they were able to be attended to by specialists in South Africa. She further thanked government for bringing some of the specialists to local hospitals and further urged that more specialists and equipment be made available in local hospitals.
She also recommended that a centre for children with disabilities be built.
She said there were a lot of children that they were caring for as an organisation that have lost their parents and needed to be taken to such homes.
She noted that the current available homes for orphaned and vulnerable children did not cater for children with disabilities. Ginindza said she was lucky because her husband has been very supportive of their 14 year-old son who is living with a disability. After waiting for 24 years to get her first child in her marriage, Ginindza was finally blessed with a baby boy.
Something tragic, however, happened to the baby boy when he was seven months old. He fell from the two story building and sustained severe brain damage.
Ginindza said some mothers were not as lucky as she was to have supportive husbands but are subjected to emotional abuse on a daily basis.
Day of the African Child launched
STAKEHOLDERS gathered at the Happy Valley Hotel on Friday to launch the Day of the African Child and the month for children, June.
The launch was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, parliamentarians, non-governmental organisations, the civic society and pupils. This year’s theme is; ‘The rights of children with disabilities; the duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfil’. The Day of the African Child is commemorated on June 16, worldwide.
This is a day where Africans remember the lives of South African children who suffered during the apartheid regime.
Speaking at the gathering, the DPM explained that the country would adopt the theme and has planned a variety of activities that would be initiated in the month of June and continue for the rest of the year. He also recognised the month of June as children’s month, which is an opportunity for the country to intensify advocacy for children’s issues. Masuku stressed that government was committed that every child must be afforded the right to be a child and to be protected. He said the country’s constitution provides legal framework for the protection of the rights of all children and the general population.
“This year’s theme tallies very well with the national constitution section 30, which states that persons with disabilities have a right to be respected and that government should take appropriate measures to ensure they realise their full mental and physical potential.
“It gives us great pleasure to note that one of the major milestones on children’s issues is the Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill,” he said.
The Bill was recently passed by parliament and is currently awaiting assent by His Majesty the King. Masuku stated that Section 11 of the Bill focused on children with disabilities. He said his office was currently in the process of developing a draft disability policy.
“My office in partnership with UNICEF conducted a situation assessment of children and young persons with disabilities in Swaziland, whose findings are readily available for all stakeholders to use in the drive to address and improve the quality of life for children with disabilities through enabling environment for them to fully attain their fundamental rights,”
the DPM said.
‘Introduce inclusive education in all schools’
CHILDREN living with disabilities have urged government to introduce inclusive education in all schools.
This will allow children with disabilities in the whole country access to education in their regions.
During the launch of the children’s month, the children stated that currently, they were sent to special schools such as Ekwetsembeni, St Joseph’s and School for the Deaf in Siteki.
The children said the introduction of inclusive education in all schools would give them the leeway to choose which school to go to without necessarily being sent to Mzimpofu.
“We want to be able to choose the school we want to go to and this will give us a chance to attend schools closer to our homes. Currently, disabled children are sent to special schools because other schools cannot offer specialised education for example; Braille and sign language,” said Bheki Dlamini, a pupil of Matsetsa High School for the Deaf.
Bheki also lamented that at high school level they were made to write mainstream examinations and compete with able-bodied children. He said this posed unfair competition on them. He thanked government for building them a high school. He said while they were going through their primary education, there was no hope of where they would proceed to further their education.
But now that there was a high school they had hope, even to further their education to tertiary institutions.
The pupil also said they were grateful for the interpreters introduced to interprete news on Swazi TV, saying this encouraged them to sit with their family members and watch the news.
He said, however, they felt neglected when other programmes were playing, and suggest that subtitles would come handy in this regard.
Mapeke laid to rest
4 June 2012, The Monitor
Lecturer and advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities Paulus Mapeke was laid to rest on Saturday morning at Gaborone's Block 5 cemetery.
Mapeke, 53, was described by speakers at his funeral as a "pathfinder" and a "pioneer" in working for the rights of people living with disabilities.
Speakers at the funeral, including Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi and former Ministry of Education and Skills and Development(MoESD) spokesperson, Nomsa Zuze, agreed that Mapeke was a man of great character who did not let his visual impairment get in the way of his goals.
Perhaps this was best illustrated by an anecdote told by a representative of Tertiary and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), of which Mapeke was a member, of how he (Mapeke) came to be the first Motswana without a drivers' licence to buy a car. Edward Tswaipe, vice-president of TAWU, remembered back in the day when the country's laws did not allow anybody without a drivers' licence to buy a car. He said Mapeke, who could not get licensed because of his visual impairment, had decided to buy a car, and he fought with the government until he was able to buy the car. "That is when I really saw his character. Because I could see in the calm way that he was fighting, that he was not just doing it for himself, he was doing it for the generations of other people with disabilities who would not be able to get licences," he said.
Speaker after speaker told of Mapeke's independence, his single-mindedness and his great leadership skills with which he mentored many, as well as his intelligence. Former University of Botswana (UB) lecturer Dr Rodgers Molefi, who taught Mapeke, said he once awarded him 86 percent on a particularly difficult paper, and an external examiner later said the paper actually deserved 97 percent. Mapeke is thought to be one of the first Batswana with visual disabilities to graduate with a Masters Degree. He graduated from the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) with a Masters Degree in Education in 1992, and before that had done a double major in English and History at UB.
He was also applauded for his commitment to fighting for the rights of the visually impaired as well as people living with other disabilities. In his lifetime, he was founder and executive member of many of these non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted, Botswana Society of People Living with Disabilities, Sir Seretse Khama Memorial Fund, National Coordinating Committee for People Living with Disabilities and the Botswana Federation of the Disabled. He was chairman of the Botswana Council for the Disabled for 10 years, at a time of donor flight, when the organisation was struggling to survive because of lack of funds, according to a representative from the council. He was credited with getting financial support from government for the council. He was also in charge of developing curriculum for HIV training for people living with disabilities, and sat on the board of Pudulogong Rehabilitation Centre. Thomas Motingwa, the head of the coordinating office for people living with disabilities in the Office of the President (OP), credited Mapeke with teaching him the politics of being an activist for the rights of the disabled. Motingwa said that even today, he is inspired by words uttered by Mapeke, when he said "There is ability in disability," and when speaking at a forum in Lesotho when he said "People living with disability are the ones that understand the shell of disability".
By the latter, Motingwa explained that the late activist meant that no solutions could be found for people living with disabilities without their involvement, as they best understand what solutions they need. Head of the Botswana Public Officers College (BPOC), at which Mapeke started his professional career in 1986, while the college was still known as the Botswana Institute of Administration and Commerce (BIAC), said his
(Mapeke's) hard work ensured him steady promotions. When he died, he was Principal Trainer in the Research Department for the BPOC.
Molefi said in his first years of work, he was inspired by Mapeke's attitude of living without complaints and despair despite his disability.
He encouraged mourners to take comfort in all Mapeke had done for the country. "It is not usual that one without sight can lead those who can see," he said. But perhaps most poignantly it was Tswaipe who asked if people really appreciate the work done by people like Mapeke, because their death leaves a huge gap. Mapeke was born in Francistown and did his primary and secondary schooling in Mochudi (Linchwe Primary and Molefi Secondary schools) before going to UB. He is survived by four children, and an older sister.
Deaf gardener to represent SA on world stage
JUN 5, 2012
"I will never let anything hold me back" - Mkhuseli Holose A Kei Mouth gardener has beaten the odds and will represent South Africa when he plays at the World Deaf Golf Championships in Japan later this year.
Despite losing most of his hearing in 2006, Mkhuseli Holose continued to pursue his passion for the game.
Ranking fourth at the South African Deaf Golf Championship in Kwazulu-Natal in March, Holose scored himself a spot in the world championships in October.
The Kwazulu-Natal trip was the first time the 32-year-old man has ever left Kei Mouth.
Gifted and grounded, the hearing impaired golfer worked as a gardener for East London resident Leon Delport at his Morgan Bay beach house, who pushed his passion for the sport.
“He was the first gardener I’ve had that could hold a conversation about sport. I soon realised this young man loved golf and used to caddy at the Kei Mouth Country Club,” said Delport.
However, Holose went missing six years ago and Delport visited his home where he was told the gardener had died.
But months later Holose returned home having lost weight and his hearing from Tuberculosis.
“He came back to the community and strengthened up. He went back to the golf club and started working again as a caddy,” said Delport. Holose started entering competitions where the local caddies played a round of golf against each other.
The Kei Mouth Country Club noticed his potential and embraced his perseverance.
He currently has a two handicap.
Aware of his determination to succeed in the sport, Delport contacted the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) to see if Holose could develop his skills.
Operations manager at SADGA Michael Bredenkamp said Holose’s story immediately caught their attention.
“It’s such a success story and very emotional. We took an immediate interest in him,” said Bredenkamp.
Holose now joins 27 other hearing impaired golfers to represent South African in Japan.
“I am very happy to go to Japan, I will miss Kei Mouth but hopefully I will win,” joked Holose.
Before he can jet off to Japan, each player needs R30,000 to cover costs.
They are asking the public for donations.
Holose is determined to make it and won’t allow anything to stand in his way.
“No matter what, I will keep on playing and never let anything hold me back,” he said.
Royal Swazi Sun donates sponsorship worth E15 000 to Miss Deaf pageant
05 June, 2012 Swazi observer
With 11 days before the launch of the Miss Deaf 2012 pageant, Royal Swazi Sun has once again awarded a E15 000 sponsorship towards the pageant.
The sponsorship includes the use of the Convention Centre to be used during the crowning of the queen and plus a free night for the queen and her chaperon.
Miss Deaf pageant will be held on September 29.
This will not be the first time the hotel has sponsored the pageant.
Last year, Royal Swazi Sun accommodated all the finalists during the finals.
This year’s Miss Deaf pageant promises to be bigger and better.
WITH sponsors pouring in from left right and centre, Palaistra Fitness Emporium recently joined the list of sponsors.
Palaistra Fitness Emporium sponsored the pageant with E34 000 whereas; RGR Signs and Swazi Hearing Aid has come onboard by announcing a E35 000 sponsorship.
Jamming House has also donated a laptop as one of the prizes to be handed over to the queen as well as the sound system to be used on the night of the contest.
Nokuthula Mbatha, organiser of the pageant said she was excited about the response they are getting from members of the public and companies.
“The support is amazing, I am very grateful. I have great respect for my sponsors such that I view them as partners of Miss Deaf pageant. Their input and advice in the project is well respected by me, they are not just sponsoring but supporting the vision to correct an oversight, create awareness and add value in the lives of these young women. I am working hard to get each of them a prize that will change their lives and leave a memory that will last,” she said.
Accra New Horizon School emerge champions
Accra Horizon School emerged champions in the Intellectual Disability Soccer Tournament held at Cape Coast to round off a three-day exchange programme between Oguaa Football for Hope Centre and Special Olympics of Namibia.
They beat Cape Coast Aboom Methodist 2-1 to lift the championship trophy which was presented by Mr. Musa Wahab, Manager of the Centre.
Other schools which participated in the tournament were Twin City School, Takoradi, Rev. Father John School, Winneba and Agona Swedru Presbyterian School.
Other activities for the programme were a seminar on intellectual disability, training workshop for volunteers, coaches and teachers of the Oguaa Football for Hope Centre.
Ms. Esther Kambala from Namibia, who was the resource person, appealed to the participants at the seminar to work hard to sustain the activities of the Centre and encourage the youth to engage in social activities.
Mr. Wahab commended the schools for their sportsmanship and asked them to keep it up and ensure the disabled are afforded an enabling environment to help develop their talents.**
People living with Disability receive support in Mampong
More than 200 people living with disability in the Asante-Mampong Municipality are being supported to acquire employable skills.
Mr. Stephen Attah-Gyamfi, the Municipal Social Welfare Officer said an amount of about GH?40,000.00 had been earmarked to train them in various vocations including animal husbandry, catering and other trades.
The money is from the mandatory two per cent allocation of the municipal assembly’s share of the common fund.
Mr. Atta-Gyamfi told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that apart from the skills acquisition training, some of them also have been assisted to receive medical treatment that involved major surgery in the limbs.
So far, 400 disabled persons have been registered by the Department of Social Welfare in the Municipality.
He said the department would make sure that people living with disability lead independent and decent lives.
The situation where some of them are seen begging for alms on the streets and traffic intersections should not be allowed to continue.
Mr. Attah-Gyamfi encouraged parents with disabled children to register them at the department to enable them to benefit from the support package.**
Firestone Tops WAEC Exams Again...As Many Students Went Into Division One
06月06日 The Inquirer
Story by Melissa Chea-Annan
The national offices of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has released results for the May 2012 Liberia Senior High School Certificate Examination (LSHSCE) with the Firestone Senior High School topping the Exams.
Professor Thomas Gaie, Head of WAEC, who made the disclosure yesterday at WAEC's Headquarters in Congo Town, said the results produced six candidates from Margibi and Montserrado Counties in Division I, while 81 candidates from schools across the country obtained Division II.
Those who obtained Division I, include candidates Mildred C. Wilson, Varney Armah, Lancelot Waka, and Steward Borbor, from the Firestone Senior High School in Margibi County. Others are candidates Lucretia Aminata Williams, of the Jireh Community International School, Margibi County and Dominic Garwon of the Susan Berry Memorial School in Montserrado County.
In a rather joyous mood, Prof. Gaie, explained that of the 25,000 candidates that sat the exams, 18,133 or 73% or the candidates made a successful pass, something he described as significant improvement in all categories. He said 18,046 candidates also obtained Division III.
According to Prof. Gaie, the May 2012 successful candidates' figure comprises of 10,709 or 59% males and 7,424 or 41% females. He indicated that WAEC statics showed that 25,425 candidates registered for the exams but 25,000 candidates, including 14,306 or 57% males and 10,694 or 43% females sat the exams. The WAEC boss further said that the statistics also includes eight visually impaired male candidates and seven hearing impaired male and female candidates.
Professor Gaie pointed out that this year's exams produced more Division I and II candidates than that of the 2011 exams where only one candidate obtained Division I and ten candidates in Division II.
The WAEC Boss commended the Government of Liberia, the Ministry of Education for its renewed support to WAEC that further enabled the institution to the release of results on time. “We also extend our gratitude to all those who assisted and continue to assist the council in its strive to achieving academic excellence,” he added.
In a related development, WAEC has withheld the results of the Calvary Temple Assembly of God High School, pending investigation in the violent disturbance that erupted during the administration of the exams.
The Government has therefore cautioned the administration of Calvary Temple not to conduct any graduation until the investigation is completed.
Meanwhile, WAEC is calling on school administrators in Montserrado County to pick up their candidates' results beginning Monday, June 11, while schools outside Montserrado County results will be sent to them through the Ministry of Education.
Give loans to disabled, NTD asks corporate world
ZAMBIA DAILY MAIL
6 June 2012
By STEVEN MVULA
NATIONAL Trust for the Disabled (NTD) publicity committee chairperson Larry Njungu has appealed to the private sector to complement Government efforts in providing loans to people with disabilities.
Mr Njungu said this in a statement issued in Lusaka on Monday.
“Government established a national trust fund for the disabled and we believe the authorities have done their level best in keeping the fund going since its inception,” Mr Njungu said.
He also commended Government for embarking on a review of legislation and policy regarding the empowerment of disabled people.
Mr Njungu said many disabled people are poor and therefore require soft loans to start businesses to sustain themselves.
“The challenges faced by people with disabilities can only be addressed effectively if more partners come on board to enhance what Government provides,” he said.
Mr Njungu said NTD has in the past initiated income-generating activities to supplement Government grants but that the demand for loans by persons with disabilities has been high.
“Government’s relentless effort in funding NTD is a clear testimony that it wants to see disabled people fully participate in national development and this must be emulated by corporate bodies and non-governmental organisations,” he said.
And Mr Njungu has appealed to members who got loans to pay back so that others can benefit.
“The concept of a revolving fund is being frustrated by some of our clients who deliberately choose not to pay back,” he said.
Mr Njungu said NTD is revising its lending scheme by making it more stringent so that only those eligible and with the ability to pay back access the funds.
Zimbabwe: Copac Shortchanges Disabled Persons
6 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
THE Copac outreach process raised hopes of a better future for many marginalised groups in Zimbabwe as their concerns would for the first time be comprehensively included in the country's supreme law.
Little did they know that the consultations were only a flavour of the mouth as their views would be relegated to dustbins leaving the views of the strong to prevail.
This is synonymous with the 'Social Darwinism Theory' premised on the survival of the fittest. Persons with disabilities in particular cannot keep mummer this gravy train. Indeed such a fiasco has left them wondering where the drafters got the disability-related issues purportedly gathered from this group.
Persons with disabilities with the pains of exclusion rising to a crescendo and being always taken for granted were shocked to discover that despite several representations by their organisations and individuals, provisions in the draft constitution that attempt to address disability issues were completely out of sync with international laws and best practices which any informed drafter would be expected to benchmark against.
Schooled by the moribund and thread bare medical disability model which views persons with disabilities as sick, the draft constitution refers to persons with disabilities as: 'People Living With disabilities' in synonymity with people living with Aids.
In terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (UNCRPD), the right terminology to use is 'Persons with Disabilities'.
It is also disgusting that the draft constitution does not provide a definition of 'disability' even though they refer to 'physical and mental disability', other disability categories not falling under the two (physical and mental) will not be protected if it passes the litmus test.
Let me now enlighten the drafters on the subject of disability, which appears quite hazy to them.
In terms of the UNCRPD, persons with disabilities include those with 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 'pursuant to Zimbabwe's Disabled Persons Act of 1992 a person with a disability is 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/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.' These two definitions are similar in that they are both broad and view disability as a Human Rights and developmental issue.
There are both informed by the 'Social Disability Model'. The two definitions emphasise that the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life is only possible if there are no socially constructed or imposed barriers. It is quite mind boggling to have subsidiary legislation in the form of the 'Disabled Persons Act of 1992,' having superior rights which are ironically reversed by the country's future supreme law.
It is also disturbing that other disabilities emanating from intellectual and sensory impairments and skin pigmentation will not be protected by the draft constitution if ratified. This draft in its current state would be a barrier to the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in all life's spheres on an equal basis with others.
Part of Section 2.12. Subsection 2 of the Draft constitution reads:
"All State and governmental institutions and agencies at every level must endeavour, within the resources available to them; to assist persons living with physical or mental disabilities to achieve their full potential and to minimise the disadvantages suffered by them."
The Phrase 'within the resources available to them' is too apologetic to be a constitutional provision. Further it makes this provision a mere pie in the sky. It exonerates government from fulfilling such a provision.
It seems to me that the provisions in the Kariba Draft were taken and no reference whatsoever was made to the issues raised by persons with disabilities.
Unless and until the draft constitution is fully representative of the concerns of this group, persons with disabilities feel betrayed by the three political parties involved in this process.
Tsarai Mungoni is the Research and Advocacy Officer - National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH)
Agaba gives back to community through Rwerere Standard
Publish Date: Jun 07, 2012
By Abdulkarim SsengendoEdward Agaba comes across as an intelligent but humble man. Having been raised in a poor home, Agaba learnt from a tender age to sacrifice luxury to acquire an education.
When he graduated with a bachelor of arts with education (economics) from Makerere University, he began helping the unprivileged in Rwerere community, Agaba believed he had a great contribution to make towards a lasting change.
It is from this village where he emerged with triple “As” and joined Makerere University on a government scholarship.
With time, Agaba realised that the quality of education in his community had sunk so low that the schools he went to were no longer producing even a second grade. He felt a moral duty to change this.
In 2009, he came up with the idea of starting a secondary school named Rwerere Standard High School.
He began by mobilising support from the community before going to the local churches. Agaba used local council leadership to build a strong network and sold the idea of opening up a school to support vulnerable children.
“There were many orphans who did not have an opportunity to get an education. That is why I set up this school,” he says.
In 2010, Rwerere Standard High School opened its gates. The school began with 70 children, out of which 30 were orphans. These children are sponsored by Compassion International through Church of Uganda.
Last year, the school had a population of about 100 students. Of these, 54 are orphans and vulnerable children. Thirty-seven children come from single-parent homes, 17 orphans and 13 have learning disabilities. There are three blind children, three deaf ones, seven suffer mental retardation and 35 are school dependants.
What makes the school stand out?
The school serves children from two sub-counties of Bugangari and Nyakagyeme.
“What makes Rwerere Standard High School different from other schools, is that we target students from low-income families,” Agaba says.
The school established a partnership with Compassion International through which it sponsors the vulnerable children. Students pay a subsidised tuition fee of sh77,000.
Students whose parents cannot afford to pay the fees are given alternatives like bringing beans, maize and firewood to the school. Sometimes, the school asks parents or guardians to offer labour, in exchange for the education of their children.
“The government-aided schools where these students could have accessed education are over 10km away. So, if there are any disabled children within the community, Rwerere Standard gives them an opportunity to access education near home,” Agaba says.
The school has a staff of 22, which includes teachers who sacrifice a lot since they get a small salary. Most of them are recruited from the community.
Why Agaba started the school
“I am an orphan and I managed to get an education because I was helped. I don’t know how many people helped me, so I feel obliged to help the entire community because they helped me. My mother never paid my schools fees because she could not afford it. I was helped by relatives and the communities so, I had to pay back by starting up the school,” Agaba explains.
After graduating from Makerere, Agaba taught at Namirembe Hillside in Kampala before he chose to return to his roots.
Agaba has managed to get a UNEB centre number for his school.
Last year, about 18 students sat for Senior Four exams, and they performed well.
The school continues to rely heavily on its founder. The money parents contribute is not enough.
They need to establish boarding facilities to help disabled children, who do not have parents or guardians to look after them at home. They also want to get bigger space to put up more facilities.
Agaba wants to see the school extend more of its services to the community.
Government sponsorship at university has become extremely competitive, so they want to offer vocational studies for students, who complete Senior Four and cannot proceed with formal education.
Agaba wants to continue working with other partners who are involved in promoting education including the Government. They want to introduce computer studies and extra curriculum studies like sports and music.
Government to give cash rewards to deaf athletes
THURSDAY, 07 JUNE 2012 23:47
BY MUIGAI KIGURU AND WENDY MAINA
PSYCHED UP: Berl Atieno. Photo/David Ndolo THE government has promised to extend cash awards to the disabled persons who win medals at major international events. Speaking during the final day of the Deaf Athletics Championships held at the Nyayo Stadium on Wednesday, Sports Minister Paul Otuoma said the deaf athletes have been in the forefront in bringing medals into the country and should also be given recognition just like their disabled counterparts.
The event attracted 215 from the 47 counties and a team was selected to represent the country at the second World Deaf Athletics Championships to be held in Toronto, Canada between July 12 and 22 this year. The government honours excelling sportsmen and women with cash award which in turn helps to empower them economically,” said Otuoma.
The cash award scheme is uniform for all individual and teams regardless of their ability. In this regard, the athletes who will win medals will be awarded with Sh300,000 for gold, Sh200,000 (silver) and Sh100,000 for bronze medal.” “Deaf athletes have continued to be good ambassadors and do the country proud,” remarked Otuoma, observing the excellence of the team that took part in the 2009 Deaflympic summer games where the country garnered four gold, two silver and one bronze.
Otuoma said the government is in the process of developing 30 sports stadia around the country in line with the Vision 2030 and will be user friendly for both able and disabled persons. However, otuoma observed that it will be a huge task for the government to develop these facilities on their own and called on the corporate and individual sponsors to come on board and assist.
Namibia: Wheelchair Basketball Takes Off in Windhoek
7 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
JOACHIM Swartbooi and Roodly Gowaseb are anxious to show off their skills when their Windhoek wheelchair basketball team hosts Oshana Heroes Sports Club on Saturday.
The two said while the game at the Khomasdal Sport Ground is an exhibition, they hope it will be the catalyst needed for the development of structured wheelchair basketball in the country.
Saturday's game forms part of this year's National Disability Day and the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week programme.
The game starts at 10h00 and entrance is free.
"I'm happy that we can get to play. So long as it keeps going and doesn't stop," said Gowaseb.
"We hope to make a national team one day," added Swartbooi. "The players are there. The problem now is just the chairs. We need special chairs to help us play better."
The team, coached by Mike Hamukwaya, have been training hard for over a month and are raring to go against their Oshana rivals, who have a bit more playing experience.
Each team is expected to field one female player on their side.
"They told us that the guys from Oshakati are regulars and they are good.
But we will see. We will try our best," said Swartbooi.
"We want people to come and see for themselves that we can play. I think it will be a nice experience," Gowaseb said.
Zimbabwe: Her Job Is Not a Bed of Roses
7 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Chivi ― IF there is any way to describe Zimbabwe's only visually impaired school head, Rosewitta Mudarikwa (46), go-getter sums it up. She has stood her own in the sector and now heads Mushandike High School in Masvingo and two satellite secondary schools - Mukonde and Zvehuru. She also headed Mudadisi Primary School in Chivi.
She is known not because of her visual impairment, but of being a powerful, hardworking and good leader.
She is also testimony of how family support, especially by males, opens many doors of success for disabled people.
Mudarikwa joined Mushandike Secondary School in 2005 at a time the school's buildings were substandard.
"Classrooms did not have verandahs; our administration block did not meet education standard plans and so forth.
"Maybe it was so because they did not have resources and they would just reduce the size of the buildings," she said.
Mushandike High has an enrolment of 425 students and offers classes from Form One to Upper Six.
"Our Upper Six classes are small because we are close to town and most students opt to go to boarding school.
"We mainly accommodate those who cannot afford paying high fees in boarding school.
"O-Level passes stagger a bit because we take everyone on board. If children are from the school's catchment area, their entry into the school is automatic," she revealed.
For monitoring purposes, she regularly travels to the satellite schools whose day-to-day running is managed by teachers in charge. According to Mudarikwa, monitoring teachers is not a big task though she always finds one or two stubborn ones.
"What is important is to always monitor and have checks and balances to ensure that things are done the way you want.
"It becomes easy to monitor as I work closely with my deputy and senior teachers and heads of departments. I also closely work with teachers-in-charge at the satellite schools," she revealed.
Added Mudarikwa: "I formed an academic board comprising heads of departments. We discuss what should be done and agree on what to look for during lesson observations and inspection of exercise books.
"It is never a bed of roses; you will always have people who want to get away with mischief especially when it comes to punctuality.
"Some people will come late and log time as if they were early, or they leave early and log like they left at dismissing time. I just check everything."
She said first impressions on the community and teaching staff was critical.
"In Chivi, I enjoyed the support of my superiors who told me that I would have failed them as a district if I did not do well. They were 100 percent behind me.
"Each time they would check on how I was faring. Masvingo provincial education office was difficult. I think it's because of the proximity of the school to town and the main road.
"In most cases, some people at the district and provincial education offices with relatives who could not get teaching places in town would try to bring them here even if they are not good enough.
"If you have difficult and try to stop them, they would victimise you," she complained.
Mudarikwa says she has a supportive district education officer.
"Sometimes I had endure education officers who even want to run the school and come to address and deal with my staff without my knowledge.
"Maybe because I am an activist, I know that these are just attitudes. I am not offended but try to manage such.
"Being the only visually impaired head in the country, it is difficult to get support of teachers with my similar condition as they are not amused that I was promoted first," added Mudarikwa.
She said economic hardships and donor fatigue have made mobilisation for resources difficult.
The school now depends on a tuckshop, poultry project and provides photocopying, typing and printing services.
Mudarikwa said that although she is entitled to an aide, she does not need one at all times during work since the nature of her job is highly confidential.
"I would not discuss matters to do with staff in the presence of an aide. I normally have one who drives me to work, assist with formatting of documents on the computer without so much interference with the contents, and assist when I want to go to town to visit certain offices.
"I manage very well, and right now I do not have any challenge when going for class observations," she added.
Mudarikwa knows all 27 teachers she works with and identifies them through different ways.
"I used to teach classes as big as 50 pupils and still I could recognise each student.
"So recognising 27 teachers is much easier, as I know their voices, perfumes, lotions, footsteps. Sometimes I do not disclose how I recognise them because someone may not like what I will say," she explained.
Born on June 16, 1956 in Takawira district, Chirumanzu, Mudarikwa is the fifth child and the only girl in a family of seven.
She lost her sight after contracting a disease during her early childhood.
"Though the health officials were not sure of the cause of my blindness, I was told that I had measles," she said.
Mudarikwa's father, who is her inspiration, worked as a clerk in the district administrator's office.
"He retired and became a peasant farmer till his death. He was a loving father and struggled to send me to school despite my ailment. My mother was not employed," she said.
She was enrolled at a preschool in Mvuma as it integrated both able-bodied and children with disabilities.
"In November 1970, my father decided to enrol me at Capota School for the Blind. I was still underage when I got there and had to return to the compound," she said.
The following year, Mudarikwa's father -- who was determined to see her educated -- altered her birth certificate so that she would be accepted into school.
It worked and she was accepted and did her primary education at Capota.
"I remember my father was not happy with my staying away from the family at that age because I was still very young. He tried to look for a school somewhere near our home. He even tried to enrol me at Jairos Jiri, Gweru, but I think he later developed an attitude about the institution, so I remained at Capota," she said.
After completing Grade Seven at Capota in 1976, I enrolled at Waddilove High School in Marondera.
"My father was happy because there was an integration system at Waddilove.
Disabled students had a recess unit where we would operate from but learnt with everyone else in the classroom," she added.
After O-Level she attempted to enrol as a teacher but training colleges would not take her even with her amended documents. They maintained she was still too young.
She had no option but proceed to A-Level at Gokomere High.
"Chisipite Girls High wanted me for A-Level, but I hesitated because I knew they had not dealt with anyone with visual impairment. I opted for Gokomere who I knew had experience of handling students like me and completed A-Level in 1982," she said.
After A-Level, she worked as a receptionist for the Public Service Medical Aid Society for three months before enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe where she did her bachelor's degree in English, Political Economy and History.
"During the holidays, students would also go and work as temporary teachers but I would join the eye unit at Sekuru Kaguvi Hospital.
"I would do reception work. I joined a bowling team, though it was boring for me. I thought bowling was too slow and for older people, but I did that just to pass time. I would work in the morning and go to Harare Sports Club later," she added.
Upon completing her studies, Mudarikwa taught English at Girls High School in Harare between 1986 and 1987.
She also joined the UZ's Faculty in Education Department to study for a Graduate Certificate of Education. Afterwards she did small courses in management and computers.
"I married and moved from Harare to Masvingo.
"Between 1998 and 1999 I studied special education at the United College of Education.
"I went to another school and by then I was an adult and discovered that there are more challenges for a learner with visual impairments," she said.
Mudarikwa learnt that teachers of children with visual impairments could not communicate with students because they did not know Braille.
"The kind of typing they taught them was not useful for the learner.
"Teachers should know Braille to be able to teach someone how to type.
Braille has its own rules and regulations that are different from what is normally in the print.
"I found that they had good English teachers who unfortunately did not have any knowledge of Braille and this affected their pass rates," she said.
Her first pass rate for English at the new school was 32 percent.
"I was disappointed because I thought I would get a pass rate of 100 percent, something I was used to at Girls High.
"I was demoralised and wanted to transfer but I decided to stay since I was now a family person," she added.
The other challenge included too many mistakes that arose when students wrote exams in Braille and teachers would transcribe into ink print.
"It would be a combination of mistakes made by the candidate and those made by the transcriber.
"The teachers would get one of the visually impaired students to read for them while they write.
"If a reader gave them the wrong information they would transcribe it that way and in some instances, some information would be left out.
"The result would be disastrous," she bemoaned.
After complaining to the head, they agreed to proofread the transcribed version and see if it is as close as possible to the Braille version.
Following the change, results improved and authorities at the school endorsed her suggestion.
She said she would also transcribe for Zimsec though she was not paid.
Zimsec would only pay markers and leave out transcribers.
When she started transcribing her subject's answer scripts, the pass rate started to improve, going up to 90 percent.
"I was happy and stayed a little bit longer. Because of experience and also my level of education, I became senior woman, and also head of department.
"I applied when they advertised posts for deputy head and got the job. The challenge was going into a community that had not been sensitised on how to work with people with disabilities," she said.
Later on she applied for any open school head post.
She then became the head of Mudadisi School in Chivi.
"The school is quite big and when I got there it had just been destroyed by Cyclone Eline and I had to do the reconstruction and electrification with no resources.
"I was innovative and started projects that included agriculture. We would sell our produce to the surrounding market. We also opened a school tuckshop and tried to get commodities like sugar that were in short supply," she added.
She said they repaired most of the damaged buildings and electrified 16 teachers' houses.
"I had the support of the SDC and everyone else. Maybe they had their own suspicions and wanted to see how I would manage," she revealed.
Her next call was Mushandike High School.
Mudarikwa lives in Mucheke, Masvingo, with her husband and four children - Wadzanai (22), Tapiwa and Munyaradzi (both 19), and Tinotenda (16).
Her husband, a former teacher, has low vision and works for an organisation of people with visual impairments.
If hard work and success are the food of life, then Mudarikwa is clearly enjoying her fair share.
National Paralympic Committee holds Emergency meeting ahead of Games
Other Sports of Friday, 8 June 2012
The National Paralympic Committee has in concert with the Ghana Cycling Federation and the National Council on Persons with Disability(NCPD) held an emergency meeting towards the preparations of the Para athletes who will be representing Ghana at the London Paralympics Games from 29th August to 9th September.
The road-map meeting also included a proposed meeting with the Director General of the National Sports Authority, Mr. Wolanyo Agra and conclude a final meeting with the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Clement Kofi Humado.
So far four Para athletes have qualified for the Games-Alem Mumuni- Paracycling, Charles Narh- Powerlifting, Nkegbe Botsyo and Anita Fordjour all in athletics. Two more are expected from Athletics to make up the Team Ghana.
Present at the meeting were
the President of the Ghana Cycling Federation, Mr. Sahnoon Mohammed;
Executive Director of the National Council on Persons with Disability, Mr. Max Vardon;
Bishop Adja Coffie, President of National Paralympic Committee;
Teye Doku, Vice President of Ghana Cycling Federation;
Williams Kyei, Secretary General of Ghana Cycling Federation;
Ignatius Elletey, Secretary General of National Paralympic Committee;
Wilson Agbesi, Sports Development Officer of NCPD;
Mr. Kuku Dzane, National Treasurer of Disabled Sports Association and Dennis Kweku Moore, Director of Communications, Ghana Cycling Federation.
The successful meeting was also geared towards ensuring the smooth preparations and made an appeal from various corporate bodies for assistance.
Meanwhile, the Committee has extended its appreciation to the efforts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Sports Authority and local based NGO-Right to Dream’s massive assistance towards the preparations of the para athletes.
Angola: Runner Sayovo Calls on Disabled to Practise Sports
8 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Lubango ― The Angolan athlete Jose Sayovo Friday, in Lubango, southern Huila province, advised the disabled people to practise sports in order to maintain their health condition and stabilize themselves socially.
Speaking to Angop at the end of a farewell meeting with the deputy governor of Huila for political and social sector, Jose Arao Nataniel, he said that it is precious that the disabled people practise sport, not only for health, but to be respected in society.
"The disabled should no longer be always on the streets to beg and relying on institutional support, where we are not respected and treated as invalid," said the sprinter.
He said that when travelling inside the country and abroad he has always expressed the appeal to disabled people to develop any physical activity or sports as the prospect of achieving social and economic objectives.
Media campaign to underscore importance of persons with disability in December elections launched
The Ghana Federation of the disabled has launched a media campaign in Accra to underscore the important role persons with disability play in the success of the December 2012 Elections. People with disabilities also want the electoral commission to make the entire electoral environment more accessible to them. Vice President of the Ghana Federation of the disabled, Yaw Ofori Debra who launched the media project admonished the media to interrogate political parties and question candidates if their manifestos make provisions that address the needs of people with disabilities.
Ghana’s GH¢21m ICT training programme for Persons With Disability starts
Ghana Business News
Page last updated at Monday, June 11, 2012 19:19 PM
John Mahama - Vice President
Vice-President John Dramani Mahama on Monday cautioned public and private institutions against discriminating against persons with disability (PWDs) in the engagement of workers.
He said such discrimination was not only illegal, but immoral in the perspective of fundamental human rights.
“When persons with disability go for job interviews, they can have better curriculum vitae but as soon as the employers realise that they are disabled they are discriminated against,” he said.
Vice President Mahama made the call when he launched the start of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training programme initiated by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare and Rlg Communications, a local telecommunication company for PWDs in Accra.
He also inaugurated an ICT training centre for the programme at the Accra Rehabilitation Centre.
Under the GH¢21 million programme, 5,000 PWDs nationwide will be trained in ICT, mobile phone and computer repairs for six months.
The government is contributing GH¢19 million, while Rlg is supporting with GH¢2million to cater for the tuition fees and transportation allowances for the trainees.
After the training, the graduates will be engaged as instructors in the various resource centres, mobile phone and computer repairers in the districts, while others will be assisted to set up shops to sell and market Rlg products.
Vice President said PWDs were not created to be beggars on the streets, basket weavers, or shoe makers and that they could do the same work as the able persons and even do it better, since “disability is not inability”.
On the training, the Vice President said “The world is changing and becoming modern”, hence the need to equip the PWDs with ICT skills to fit into the job market.
The Vice President said the government intended to train about 20,000 PWDs countrywide by the end of 2013.
Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Employment and Social Welfare said the ICT training for PWDs was in line with the government’s key pillar of investing in people, since that was the only way the people could realise their potentials.
He said the PWDs were to receive ICT training that would make them marketable on the job market and afford them the opportunity of having a decent life.
Mr Roland Agambire, Chief Executive Officer of rlG said the training of the PWDs fell in line with his determination to revolutionise ICT in Africa and create one million jobs for the youth in the world.
He stressed that it was the desire of the rlG to give decent jobs to at least 30 per cent of the four million PWDs in the country, and indicated that the graduates would become technicians, engineers and sale’s persons.
Mr Agambire announced that rlG would soon cut the sod for the start of construction works of a Technology City that is modeled in the form of the Silicon Valley in California, USA to enable the company to realise its dream of creating one million jobs.
The Board Chairman of the National Council for Persons with Disability, Mr Andrew Okaikoi, stressed that the ICT training would “enhance the job opportunities for the persons with disability in today’s technology -driven world.
Rwanda: MPs Want More Financing for the Disabled
BY JAMES KARUHANGA, 11 JUNE 2012
MP Pierre Claver Rwaka, last week, called on all ministries to factor in the interests of persons with disabilities in their respective budget frameworks.
Rwaka, who is a member of the Chamber of Deputies' Committee on Social Affairs, noted this when officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Minicom) appeared before the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony to defend their 2012/13 budget allocations. The legislator represents the disabled in parliament.
The MP stressed that a country cannot develop if people with disabilities are inadequately catered for.
"They [ministries] highlighted plans for the youth, women, and others but Honourable Chairperson, no country can claim it is developing when a section of the population is left behind.
"Every ministry ought to show the plan it has for these people because mainstreaming disability is a cross cutting issue. Honourable Chairperson, please, remind all these people about this issue; as for us, we can't be in this session all the time," Rwaka pointed out as he appealed to MP Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, the chairperson of the Committee on National Budget and Patrimony.
Advocacy to promote the interests of persons with disabilities gained impetus when officials in the ministry of local government (Minaloc) appeared before the committee to defend their total Rwf45,88 billion from the Minaloc budget.
The government last year set up a new agency - the national council of persons with disabilities (NCPD), to largely serve as an advocacy platform as well as facilitating government to implement related policies and programmes.
The NCPD has a budget allocation of Rwf 593, 533, 619 out of Minaloc's budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Speaking to The New Times after the Thursday session, Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the NCPD Executive Secretary, noted that he supported Rwaka's proposal to allocate more support to persons with disabilities through all ministries.
Ndayisaba cited the key challenges as lack of budget categorisation for the over 500,000 persons with disabilities country countrywide, as well as the need to conduct a support needs assessment with manufacturers of rehabilitation material. Ndayisaba said that despite coordination from the ministry of health, more assistance is needed.
"Another is insufficient budget allocated to NCPD compared to its mission and responsibilities, especially the social protection budget."
Ndayisaba said the categorisation exercise may cost at least Rwf 1.068 billion in response to a query from MP Mukayuhi. The minister of Local Government, James Musoni, however, informed the committee that it was the Ministry of Health that budgeted for the work.
Kigali mayor told the committee that the NCPD intends to create public awareness on pertinent legislations and set up a guiding strategic plan.
The strategic plan's creation will cost an estimated Rwf 33 million.
Reports from India, on Sunday, indicated that the National Advisory Council (NAC), chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, recommended giving tax incentives to private employers who are disabled as part of measures to enable their greater participation in the workforce. It is reported that while giving its suggestions on the draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPDB), the NAC has also suggested the extension of subsidies and financial incentives to persons with disabilities (PWD) to start small-scale income generation activities.
On March 1, the UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, called for enhancement of political participation among persons with disabilities through the removal of barriers that prevent them from participation in political life and public affairs.
A recent study conducted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) shows that in many countries, persons with disabilities continue to encounter a number of legal, physical and communication barriers.
Ghana: Akuapem South Assembly Donates White Canes to Blind Union
BY MOHAMMED SULEMAN, 11 JUNE 2012
The Akuapem South Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region has presented 40 pieces of White Cane to the Municipal branch of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) as part of its share of the District Assembly Common Fund.
The presentation was made at a mobility training workshop organised by the Municipal branch of the GBU for the visually impaired in the municipality. A white cane is mostly used by people who are visually impaired to aid mobility.
Making the presentation on behalf of the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Andrews Charway, Deputy Municipal Coordinatoring Director, observed that despite their challenges, the visually impaired had made significant contribution towards the development of the society. Thus they should not allow themselves to be intimidated by others.
The workshop, Mr Charway indicated, was vital for building their capacity in life. He urged them to endeavour to excel in whatever they do as well as see beyond the horizon with their minds eye.
While calling on all to make the environment friendly for the visually impaired, he assured that the Assembly would do its best to ensure that the safety and welfare of the disabled were guaranteed.
The Chairman of the Social Services of the Assembly, Naa Naero, who chaired the workshop, emphasised the need to change the name of the Association (GBU) to one that was more suitable.
He argued that the only blind thing in the world was the blind spot of the human body as it was insensitive to stimulus. Thus those referred to as blind were not blind but visually impaired.
Naa Naero pointed out that mobility training was of crucial importance to many visually impaired. The training therefore helped to develop skills required to move around safely in the environment.
He encouraged the visually impaired to develop and use their other senses very well. When you are visually impaired, you must be able to develop and use your other senses very well because the tools for the visually impaired are the senses which include smell, auditory, taste and touch. We must develop these senses seriously otherwise our mobility becomes a challenge.
Taking participants through the history lane of the White Cane, Mr Agyei Mensah, Eastern Regional Chairman of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, explained that the White Cane, also known as a Hoover Cane named after Dr. Richard Hoover, was designed primarily as a mobility tool used to detect objects in the path of a user.
The length of a particular cane depends upon the height of a user, and traditionally extends from the floor to the user's sternum.Mr Agyei indicated that for centuries, the White Cane was used by the blind solely as a tool for travelling and it was not until the twentieth century that it was promoted for use by the blind as a symbol to alert others to the fact that the user was blind.This new role for the White Cane had its origins in the decades between the two World Wars, beginning in Europe and then spreading to North America.
James Biggs of Bristol claimed to have invented the white cane in 1921. After an accident claimed his sight, the artist had to readjust to his environment. Feeling threatened by increased motor traffic around his home, Biggs decided to paint his walking stick white to make himself more visible to motorists. It was not until ten years later that the White Cane established its presence in society.
Sierra Leone: INCLUDE Certifies Parents in Sign Language
BY ALUSINE SESAY, 11 JUNE 2012
After days of intensive training exercise in sign language, the Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment (INCLUDE), on Thursday 7 June issued certificates of merit to 15 parents.
The certification ceremony was followed by a distribution of holiday packages including some learning materials, toiletries and toys to some hearing-impaired children attending the National School for the Deaf and Dumb.
Executive Director of the organisation, Melrose Kotay, encouraged parents to make use of the training received for the betterment of their children. Her organization, she said, will do more to intervene in the improvement of the lives of persons with disability, especially the hearing-impaired.
Coordinator of Lillian Foundation, one of the funding agencies for INCLUDE, Sallieu Allieu, expressed happiness that the training has created improvement and parity in the learning process of the hearing-impaired children whose parents received the sign language training.
"I am happy that there has been visible progress and lots of differences created," he said. "This training will help create parity in the educational process of the children.
"The foundation, he said, currently sponsors over 600 children with disability across the country through other organisations, including the Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment. He added that their motto is 'equal opportunity to all'.
"We give opportunities for people to live a better life," he said and encouraged the parents to make judicious use of the training received to effectively communicate with their children while promising his organisation's continued support.
Board member of INCLUDE, Paul Coker, said the training was commendable in the sense that it complements government's effort who, according to him, could not do it all but needed such intervention.
"It is a commendable venture," he said. "The government cannot do it all by itself but need some intervention like this.
"Meanwhile, in a joint letter written by the parents, they expressed their appreciation for the knowledge gained, adding that they can now communicate with their children without constraint.
Lobby calls for reproductive health rights for intellectually disabled
06月12日 Africa Science News Service
Written by Eric Akasa
The Kenya Association for the Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH) has called for the introduction of sexual education among the intellectually challenged individuals, who have so far been left out.
According to Fatma Wangare Hajj, coordinator, KAIH, when sex education was introduced in my organization, some parents were against it because they were afraid for the children to be taught about condoms and all whatever surrounds reproductive health.
“Children with intellectual disabilities are growing and with time their bodies start to respond to sexual urges and without reproductive health education, they are given sweets, chips among other cheap things for sex which they fall for since they don’t know,” she said in Nairobi recently.
She said sex education for the intellectually disabled is critical since it has to be communicated to them in a way they could understand probably by their support persons.
Wangare who has a 25 year old intellectually disabled daughter remembers how she came to terms with her daughter’s condition.
“My daughter had not been performing in school and when the teachers called me, they told me to take her to a special school since she could not comprehend anything at school. It was stigmatizing for us,” she says.
Her daughter had to stay at home for two years since she had no knowledge about special schools until when she met a friend who was a teacher who then advised her.
“Special school education is meaningless, for instance my daughter has nothing to show like a certificate which amounts to violation of human rights (right to education),” Wangare laments.
The United Nations resolution on the protection of persons with mental illness provides that all persons with mental illness have the right to protection from economic, sexual and other forms of exploitation, physical or other abuse and degrading treatment.
According to Margaret Makayengo of Division of Family Health, Kenyatta National Hospital, Intellectual disability is commonly caused by prolonged labour sometimes may be due to lack of enough staff to attend to the women during childbirth.
“Other causes for Intellectual disabilities include infections, sexual abuse, gender-based violence among others,” says Dr. Makayengo.
“Israel is far much ahead where they can detect Intellectual disabilities in children as early as six months; I hope Kenya reach there one day,” she adds.
Dr. Makayengo says that for now what can be done in Kenya is for the ministries of Health and education to work in conjunction with the community to intervene and give specialized services to the affected children.
With Kenya’s population estimated to be 40 million, the World Health organization (WHO) estimates that there are 3.6 million people living with intellectual disabilities in the country of which one per cent are able to access care and rehabilitation services.
Deaf, dumb man wanted for armed robbery
12 June, 2012 Swazi observer
A deaf and dumb man is on the police wanted list as it is believed he is linked with a car theft syndicate.
Just two weeks ago, he is alleged to have robbed a woman her car valued at E25 000 while at Checkers. Bheki Ndlela (35) of Nhlangano and Mbabane (Zone 5) is wanted for armed robbery.
He is on the police wanted list together with other three men who are believed to be part of a car theft syndicate.
Two of them have been also linked to an attempted murder case, which happened more than three years ago at Meikles Mount.
Mxolisi Mkhize Dlamini, a 35-year-old man of Malangeni in Mankayane and Mbhuleni is wanted for an attempted murder, whereby he shot and injured a person during an armed robbery in August 2008.
He is also wanted for several armed robbery cases at Meikles Mount and around Mantabeni.
Sifiso Banele Dlamini of Mbikwakhe is also wanted for the same cases.
Another man on the police wanted list is Sibusiso Ndlovu.
The 28-year-old man of Gelekeceni is wanted for two counts which he committed in Mbabane and Manzini.
In February, he unlawfully and intentionally broke into a house and stole items.
He is also wanted for theft of an Audi vehicle, which he allegedly stole at extension 3 in Mbabane.
He is said to have forcefully taken the car keys from a housekeeper.
Police PRO Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed that the four men were wanted by the police, saying; “anyone with information about the above suspects can call Hhohho Lukhozi at 76127994 or D/Const Tumeletsi 76143967.”
Mkhulu (63) ‘drowns’ in shallow river
A 63-year-old man of Ngwenya was on Sunday found dead floating inside Ndlotane River.
The deceased’s body was retrieved from the river and taken to Mbabane Government Hospital, where he was certified dead.
It remains a mystery how the old man drowned because the part of the river where he was found is shallow.
It is believed the man, whose state of sobriety was questionable on the night, slipped and fell into the river.
He was last seen in one of the drinking spots on Saturday night. A dead rabbit was found next to the river, which it is suspected was his.
police are still unclear about what really happened as he was alone when the accident happened.
Police PRO Superintendent Wendy Hleta confirmed the incident and warned people to stay away from water if their state of sobriety is questionable.
In the past month, about three cases of drowning were reported by the police despite the winter season having begun towards the end of April.
Since the beginning of the year, close to 30 people died in drowning accidents.
On another note, three people were arrested in Pigg’s Peak for dagga possession on Sunday morning.
The three were nabbed in different incidents after they were found with dagga valued at close to E60 000. Pigg’s Peak police arrested and charged a 31-year-old man of Nkamanzi for being found in possession of 23kg dagga with a street value of E13 800.
On the same day in the area, a 52-year-old woman of Nkamanzi was arrested and charged for possession of 40kg dagga with a street value of E24 800.
On Saturday afternoon, a 44-year-old man of Mshingishingini was arrested and charged for possessing 32.9kg dagga with a street value of E19 740.
All three suspects were expected to appear before Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
World Bank, EU sponsor E500m project for health
THE ministry of health has embarked on a multi-million project that will see the rehabilitation of some clinics and procuring of medical equipment.
The project has already kicked off with the hiring of experts and consultants, who will contribute in the success of the World Bank and European Union funded programmes. One of them is from the Republic of Nicaragua.
The country’s health sector has been plagued with problems.
Doctors at the Mbabane government Hospital last month even threatened to down tools because of shortage of medical equipment and drugs.
Principal Secretary Dr Stephen Shongwe said the World Bank/EU project on health would be of great assistance as they could use funds that had been availed to Swaziland through the implementation of the approved work plan to improve the country’s health sector.
“Through this project, we will get funds for improving maternal health, rehabilitation of some facilities, procuring equipment and health regulatory framework,” he said.
He disclosed that the European Union and World Bank pumped E500 million into the country’s health sector to cater for the fight against HIV, TB and maternal health.
Shongwe said the contentious issue of the Moneni TB hospital was also catered for in the project. He said this would also include TB control infection leading. The experts will work with the medical and nurses councils in strengthening health institutions management.
He revealed that just last week there was a World Bank mission in the country doing a follow up on the start of the projects.
The PS said the multi-million project was quite a huge one for the ministry and they were hoping that it would soon be launched by the minister as it was a meant to improve the health sector in the country.
The World Bank has backed the project despite the country failing to meet some of the targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the fiscal recovery strategy following economy meltdown in the past year.
The IMF had set targets for the country so it could deal with the situation which included cash flow problems.
Council set to improve living standards of disabled people
12 June 2012 Angola Press
Luanda - The creation and implementation of National Council of People with Disability will improve the living conditions of the handicapped, for integrating ministerial departments and associations that will jointly implement various social actions for the benefit of disabled people.
This was defended Tuesday by the head of Department, Control and Monitoring for Social Sphere of Former Combatants, Silva Lopes Etiambulo.
Delivering his speech at the first Plenary of National Council of People with Disability in Luanda, Silva Lopes Etiambulo said that the real situation of the handicapped in the country is not favourable yet but the government has been doing its best to improve the situation of this group of society.
According to official, the Executive approved the Presidential Decrees on the Policy and Protection Strategy for People with Disabilities with a view to ensuring the protection of disabled people.
Angola: President Aware of Disabled People's Concerns - Minister
12 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Luanda - The chairperson of the National Council of Disabled People (CNAPED), Jo?o Baptista Kussumua said Tuesday that disabled people continue deserving special attention by the Angolan head of State, Jos? Eduardo dos Santos.
Jo?o Kussumua, who is also the minister of Social Welfare, stated this at the opening of the 1st Plenary (ordinary) of the National Council of Disabled People.
The official stressed that the situation of this group of society has led the government to search for sustainable solutions that can compete for better integration and their social promotion.
According to him, this is the reason why, the Executive approved the Presidential Decrees No. 237/11 and 238/11, both dated 30 August, on the Policy and Protection Strategy for People with Disabilities.
He noted that this will make State intervention sharpest and better harmonious with the different departments and social partners involved in this vulnerable group of population.
The Council of disabled people integrates 17 departments, among them Minars, Health, Education, Justice, Former Combatants and Motherland Veterans, Energy and Water, Defence and Youth and Sports, as well as social partners.
The plenary elected the vice minister of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, Sebasti?o Lukinda, vice chairman of the Council.
Namibia: People With Disabilities Suffer Regular Discrimination
12 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Twenty-two cases of people that were discriminated against because of their disabilities have been registered with the National Disability Council of Namibia (NDCN) since 2004.
This is one of the issues covered in the first official newsletter of the NDCN, launched by NDCN Director Martin Limbo at the National
Disability Day commemorations at the Khomasdal Sports Stadium on Saturday.
The day was organised in support of the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
The registered cases date back to 2004 when the National Disability Council Act, Section 4 (1) was promulgated.
Limbo vowed that the NDCN would procure legal representation to take up those and other incoming cases.
"I thus encourage all readers and people with disabilities to learn something from reading this mouthpiece that we have developed, and collaborate with the council and the entire disability movement in Namibia in ensuring that issues related to disability are tackled with passion," he noted.
Speaking at the same occasion, Member of Parliament and NDCN chairperson, Alexia Ncube, called for support from various sectors to provide more services and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
"Challenges faced by people living with disabilities are enormous and hectic.
"We are faced with stigma, physical limitations, denied access to buildings and have no equal opportunities in our everyday lives," she noted.
According to Ncube, the day should be celebrated as "a disability is not an inability".
She said it also sought to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life.
Ncube commended government for the establishment of the day "that should monitor the implementation of the National Policy on Disability".
Activities initiated or implemented by the council include the establishment of smart partnerships with relevant stakeholders for the benefit of people with disabilities; organising national days and fundraising events; inauguration of new council members; and the launching of a booklet on "Mainstreaming Disability in the Namibian Public Sector."
The MP further said that disability remained a critical issue and needed collective efforts.
Some of the issues covered in the newsletter are: Polytechnic and NDCN offer training for better services to people with disabilities; construction of NDCN's offices underway; and five social welfare organisations identified for funding from the Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Development Bank of Namibia.
Eight students with disabilities have been enrolled at the University of Namibia and Polytechnic after the NDCN called for the relaxing of entry requirements.
The quarterly publication is free of charge.
Kenya: Treat Us Equally in Law, Say Disabled
BY ELIZABETH WERE, 13 JUNE 2012
PHYSICALLY challenged persons have urged the government to treat them equally. A letter from Disability Caucus on the Implementation of the Constitution (DCIC) yesterday, said the new law clearly stipulates the case for their inclusion based on principles and provisions of the constitution,the laws of the country and international best practices.
"The provisions of the Article 10 of the constitution which requires the governance of the country to be conducted through the values of human dignity,equity,social justice,inclusiveness,equity,human rights,non discrimination and protection of the marginalized", stated the letter.
It further said the values are further supported by the call for equity and freedom from discrimination in Article 27 of the Constitution and the right to political participation established in Article 38 of the Constitution. DCIC is a coalition of organisations of and for persons with disabilities. The main objective of it is to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the constitution generally and those regarding persons with disabilities in particular.
It also promotes the interests of persons with disabilities under the constitution and the law. The coalition said it recognizes that there is a great range in policies and practices that can be undertaken by various institutions to ensure the fullest enjoyment of the right to political participation of persons with disability. "DCIC recognises that historical factors that have previously limited the scope of enjoyment of this and other rights still abound,"stated the letter.
Luanda hosts first edition of fair for disabled persons
13 June 2012 Angola press
Luanda - The Ministry of Health, together with Lwini Foundation and the Luanda International Fair (FIL) will hold the first edition of the International Health, Walfare and Technical Aid Fair for People with Disabilities from June 29 to July 1 this year, Angop learned.
The event will take place under the motto: "With Health and Wellbeing, All Different, All Equal.”
The first edition of the event aims at promoting the potential of health as an area that deserves much attention in order to determine the improvement of quality of life of the population for the attainment of welfare.
The event is also intended to promote the potential of the market, positioning itself as a partner of the Ministry of Health and Lwini Foundation in a perspective of sustainable economic development of Health in Angola.
Angop also learned that the first edition of the fair will gather contributions for the reduction of the mortality rate within population.
It also ensures improved living standards, the creation of public health networks and support for people with disability, in particular the land mine victims.
Tanzania: No Allowances for Disabled - Govt
14 JUNE 2012
Dodoma - THE government has no plans to give allowances to the disabled whose number in the country is estimated at over four million, the parliament heard here on Wednesday.
Instead, the government has directed the communities to value and take care of the disabled persons who are part of the families, saying disabled homes should be the last resort after a disabled person fails to get accommodation and care. Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare Seif Rashid said in any society there is a group of people with reduced or without the capacity to serve themselves and that the communities within which such disadvantaged people exist have the responsibility to care for them.
He said the national policy on service development for the disabled entrusts the communities with the key responsibility to care for the disabled. The deputy minister was answering a question by Khalifa Suleiman Khalifa (Gando--CUF) who had wanted to know the population of disabled in the country and any plans by the government to support them with subsistence allowance. He said the national policy and the disabled Act of 2010 do not provide for allowance payment to the disabled.
NGOs say disability is not witchcraft
By Press ReleaseJune 14, 2012 11:39:24am GMT
The Child Rights Non-Governmental-Organisations - Stepping Stones Nigeria and Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation - have called upon the Nigerian government to take action to demystify the common ailments that are associated with witchcraft and prevent the labelling of children with disabilities as ‘witches’.
In a statement released in Lagos and signed by Stepping Stones Nigeria’s Advocacy Officer, Dr Emilie Secker, the groups said there was an urgent need for the Nigerian Federal and State governments to raise awareness about the nature of physical and mental disabilities and to combat the belief that these are evidence of witchcraft in children.
Utibe Ikot, Acting Director of Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation said “Around the world, thousands of people are celebrating the Day of the African Child on 16th June. This year, the theme of the Day is the rights of children with disabilities. I am very sad to report that we have seen many cases where a child with a disability, for example autism, epilepsy, or Down’s syndrome is automatically considered to be a witch due to their condition. The behaviour traits that children with disabilities may have, such as stubbornness and poor school performance, or simply looking different to other children, mean that people looking for an explanation often label them as witches. Instead of the child getting the support and care they so richly deserve, they are often hidden from view, prevented from attending school, or in the worst cases beaten, tortured and abandoned to survive on the streets. It is vital that the belief that physical or mental disability is a sign of witchcraft is challenged now so that no more children suffer these abuses”.
Dr Secker further explained that “in many countries around the world there is a huge lack of understanding of disability and as a result disabled children do not get the understanding and support that they need. It is vital that the Nigerian government acts now to educate the public about the nature of disability and to make sure that people understand it properly. The government should set up public awareness campaigns across the country and should also train police and social welfare teams to look out for cases of abuse involving disabled children who have been accused of witchcraft. As a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Nigeria has a legal and moral responsibility to uphold the rights of children with disabilities and to protect them from harm”.
Children with disabilities need access to education
June 14, 2012 UKZAMBIANS
IT is a wish of every parent to have a ‘normal’ child (a child with no disability) once it is born, yet circumstances and nature at times take away that wish and most parents end up having physically challenged children.
No mother has an idea of whether the child she is carrying has a disability or not, the situation is unpredictable.
And once the child with a disability is born, the options on how to raise that child continues to narrow. In terms of the child’s access to education, the road gets narrower because of the limited schools that offer special education in Zambia.
Statistics show that Zambia has inadequate schools offering special education as compared to the population of the disabled children. Only 15 schools are offering special education in Zambia.
Among the few schools is Maamba Mine Special Education School in Southern Province. The school is one of the few schools offering special education to the physically challenged children in Zambia.
Maamba Mine Special Education School has 131 pupils and 87 of these are in boarding.
A recent visit by Southern Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta and Sinazongwe UPND member of Parliament Richwell Siamunene was a blessing to the school following their promise to bring corporate companies in Maamba on board to render support to the school.
“The school has 131 pupils (84 boys and 47 girls) and out of these, 87 are in boarding. We have a lot of problems like teaching and learning material, infrastructure, as you can see, the school uses these same two classrooms which are also used as dormitories in the night. We have two dormitories and one ablution block with two toilets and two shower rooms,” deputy head teacher Innocent Milambo says.
Besides the infrastructure, teaching and learning challenges that the school is facing, other challenges include water and financial problems.
According to Mr Milambo, the school depends on the rationed water from Maamba Mines. “We need a borehole of our own here, currently we depend on water from the mines which is often rationed and we tend to be disadvantaged most of the times. It becomes difficult especially when the pupils mess themselves up,” he said.
The school handles visually and hearing-impaired, intellectually and physically handicapped children coming from within Maamba, Lusaka, Chipata, Livingstone, Mongu and other parts of the country.
“We urgently need help here. There are few teachers because of the teachers’ housing problems. We do not have enough mattresses. Two or three children share a bed. We have no industrial stove and we only have one stove we use, the normal stoves like those for household use and a brazier, which makes preparing meals for the 131 pupils a challenge,” Mr Milambo says.
One of the physically challenged children, Joseph Musanje, 18, a grade nine pupil at the school, says the difficulties in accommodation are just but one of the motivational factors to study hard and be selected to grade 10 next year.
“I come from Livingstone and I cannot walk because my spine developed a problem when I was young and it caused paralysis. Four pupils share a single bed, two facing the opposite direction each but I am not discouraged because I am not here to stay but to get an education and leave,” Joseph says.
For Joseph, being physically challenged is not the end of the world but an opportunity to change societal perception about people with disabilities.
“All I can say to the disabled and physically challenged children is that they should come out in the open if they are to be helped and for society to accept them. For me I am here to challenge society and change their thinking about us.
“I have been here for many years; I came here before I even knew how to write. For me it is a good place because we are given an opportunity to get educated. All I can wish is to have enough classrooms, dormitories, dining room and a kitchen,” Joseph says with a wide smile on his face.
Being the eldest in the family of six, Joseph wants to be a medical doctor so that he can serve the lives of many including those with disabilities.
Despite all the challenges, it takes a second glance to realise that the children are actually physically challenged as the smiles on their faces beat it all. They live as one family, play and pray together as one.
The school, which was opened in 1991 as Maamba Mine Basic School and following the ever-increasing number of children with disabilities, was delinked from the basic school and is now a stand-alone.
The school, which takes care of children aged between six and 20, has classes from grade one to nine with eight teachers of whom only six are trained.
STUDENTS at Maamba Mine Special Education School demonstrate how they sleep every night. -Picture by DOREEN NAWA.
And Mr Mwaliteta says there is need for more trained teachers so that the school can run effectively, adding that it was sad to note that children were being neglected by society.
“Do not tell me Maamba has no corporate companies who can come to the rescue of these children. I know there is Zesco here and the Maamba Collieries Limited who can help this school through their corporate social responsibility. There are also not enough people to take care of the children and these institutions can help,” Mr Mwaliteta says.
And Mr Siamunene, the area MP, says most children suffer stigma from their parents and other family members, hence the need for Government and other stakeholders to recognise and care for them.
“It is very depressing to be here, that is why I brought the provincial minister to see for himself. This is the biggest challenge we have ahead of us as newly-elected leaders, we need to go out and sensitise the people out there that children with disabilities are human beings too and need to be loved and cared for just like other children. They need to be taken to school and should not be abandoned,” Mr Siamunene says.
The mixed understanding of disability in Zambia is quite a big challenge especially as it contributes to inefficient provision of education and other social services.
Like the situation at Maamba Mine Special Education School, it calls for a united, co-ordinated, and pragmatic action by all stakeholders, to expose disability perceptions, and freely share the universal perception if the country is to live by the ‘Education for All’ target.
As long as there is no action taken by all stakeholders, these members of the Zambian society (disabled children) will continue to live as third-class citizens. / Times of Zambia
Southern Africa: All Disabled Children Have Right to Education
14 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
"I want to exercise my right to go to a school of my choice and not be forced to go to an exclusive school for the blind," said Delisle, a blind Form 4 student from Swaziland - helping to kick-start a three-day conference on education for children with disabilities with a clear and compelling call for inclusive education.
But sadly - as a five nation study on the state of special needs education(SNE) shows - southern African countries are a long way from being able to provide decent education of any sort for most children with disabilities across the region.
Conducted by the Secretariat of the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) with support from OSISA, the research painted a grim picture of the situation in Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa - and across the region. Not only is there a dearth of data on children with disabilities and access to education, there is also lack of adequate budgetary allocation to SNE, even though most Education Ministries have established SNE units.
At the same time, the lack of adequately trained teachers and critical policy gaps are major bottlenecks hampering the provision of quality SNE - which is compounded by high levels of discrimination and stigmatisation against children with disabilities due to the negative attitudes of parents, teachers and communities.
Shockingly, disabled children are still viewed as a 'curse on the family or community' by many southern Africans - making it easy to deny them their basic rights, such as education.
To help tackle this, the Swaziland Ministry of Education and Training, SADPD and OSISA organised this major conference under the theme of 'Rights of Children with Disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfil Education for all Children with Disabilities' - with the aim of issuing a 'call for action' by all stakeholders to fulfil the right to education for children with disabilities.
And there is no doubt that the right exists. Most southern African countries have signed and ratified the UN Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Rights of Children as well as the SADC Education and Training Protocol, among others. All these instruments oblige states to ensure the fulfilment of the right to education for all children and they further call on states to particularly fulfil the right to education for children with disabilities.
But these rights exist largely on paper since in practice structural challenges impede access to education for most disabled children.
And it is not just a problem at lower levels. As a parent of one of the visually impaired learners in Swaziland asked, "where is the university for my daughter?"
"She has struggled to make it through primary and secondary education, walked long distances to school, withstood stigmatisation, made use of the limited learning materials available, had to wait two years at home before the classes form 3 and 4 were introduced at her school, but it seems her education will be nipped in the bud due to lack of facilities at the university level."
There are no Braille materials at the university level, new technologies for accessing audio materials have not been embraced and there are inadequate, if any, sign language lectures. And other disabilities are also not catered for. Courses are not tailored for learners with disabilities and nor is the infrastructure. These issues receive peripheral attention - if any - from most planners and yet they are life changing for those who depend on them to undertake tertiary education.
However, as the saying goes 'disability is not inability' and where targeted interventions have been made, tremendous achievements have been noted.
At the conference, there were many children with disabilities who have beaten the huge odds stacked against them and are now flourishing. A student with hearing impairment explained how he has sailed through primary school and into secondary school and had come second in Form 4. Another student with a speech impairment addressed the delegates using sign language through an interpreter and stated that he passed Grade 7 with a distinction.
This shows that what is required is political commitment to ensure a conducive educational environment for children with disabilities and to tackle wider issues of stigmatisation and discrimination. But interventions need to start at early childhood development level (most children with disabilities are not included at this stage at all) and they need to be institutionalised throughout the whole system.
As governments move to implement these interventions, they must also understand the concepts behind the right to education of children with disabilities. Indeed, there has been intense drama and debate around whether or not SNE is different from education for children with disabilities. Indeed, SNE, just like inclusive education, caters for a broader category of learners including children with disabilities.
However, unlike inclusive education, SNE is losing favour among human rights advocates. Accordingly, southern African States should think more in terms of inclusive education and not SNE when implementing these interventions since the definition and understanding of SNE has proved to be controversial.
But ultimately, as this conference has shown - what is needed is for southern African countries to move away from rhetoric and begin to reform their education systems so that they successfully cater for children with disabilities - and provide them with the chance of a brighter future.
And only when existing inequalities facing marginalised and vulnerable groups of children, and children with disabilities specifically, are addressed will southern Africa be able to say that education for 'all' is indeed be education for ALL.
By Wongani Grace Nkoma, OSISA Education Programme Manager, and Enoch Chilemba, Doctoral researcher, Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape
Namibia: Disabled People Fully Capable
15 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
The National Disability Council commemorated the Annual Disability Day over two days with events at the Khomasdal Sports Stadium, on 9 June and at the Zoo Park on 10 June. It has also launched the Councils' first edition of their quarterly newsletter titled "Disability-ability Today."
In her keynote address, Member of Parliament, Hon. Alexia Ncube, said the Annual Disability Commemoration Day is the ideal platform for all people in the country living with disability to appreciate their uniqueness, self-esteem and honour their own worth.
She said that the annual celebration of the day presents the disability council eith the opportunity to make sure that disability remains on the radar of all institutions.
"..that disability remains a critical issue which needs a collective effort by all people with disabilities in order to achieve the objective of inclusivety in a society for all," she said.
Ncube said that the day should remind all people with disabilities to stand and advocate for their own rights to human dignity, equal rights, equal opportunities as well as equal aspirations in society.
"The challenges that people face in our society are enormous and hectic.
Ranging from the stigma attached to their conditions and physical limitations to denied access to buildings, information and equal education opportunities," she said.
Ncube congratulated the council on signing a memorandum of understanding with the Polytechnic of Namibia and the Disability Council on capacity building and said that she is proud to witness the launch of the official newsletter of the council.
The two days of celebrations and commemoration were well-supported by people with disabilities. It attracted much attention from the public when disabled people showed off a little, proving just how capable they are.
Tanzania: Disabled Mistreatment On Increase
BY ANTHONY TAMBWE, 16 JUNE 2012
THE government will take stern action against people who mistreat children. This was said on Friday by the Temeke Welfare Officer, Sultan Mziray on behalf of the Temeke District Commissioner, Sophia Mjema, who said that acts of violence against children are on the increase.
He said that the government will also work closely with stakeholders to improve education, health, employment and infrastructure to benefit disabled children.This was during the launch of a special children's forum in preparation of the Day of the African Child and was organised by Plan International Tanzania.
This year's Day of the African Child marked on Saturday across Africa, comes under the theme "The rights of disabled children: It is our responsibility to protect, respect and improve."Earlier on, the Headmistress of Buguruni School for the Deaf, Winfrida Jeremia, urged government to increase its support towards disabled children, and put more emphasis on educating the society on the rights of the disabled.
She said that the government has done a lot towards the rights of the disabled in the country, but more needs to be done, because disabled children require special attention."The disabled children, especially deaf children, have special needs which need to be addressed urgently, and the government is in a better position to do so," she said.
She said that deaf people and children are faced with daily challenges in almost everything, including hospitals, roads and schools, saying that this is made even worse by the fact that most people are not aware of the rights of the disabled.The headmistress said that apart from facing challenges from the society, some disabled children also face hurdles at their own homes, as some parents are ashamed of their conditions and hide them from the public.
"Harsh measures should be taken against such parents, because they commit all sorts of atrocities towards disabled children, and we have heard of parents who lock their children indoors, others throw them around, while others go to the extent of killing them," she said.
Reading the mission statement from the Children's Council of Buguruni and Vingunti, Rukaiya Hadari, a standard six pupil at Kombo Primary School, said that government and society have failed to protect and ensure the implementation of the rights of the disabled.
"In the government's education policy, it indicates that all children should learn together, whether a child is healthy and fit or disabled, but our schools, most of them, lack facilities to cater for the needs of disabled children," she said.She said that school facilities do not cater for the needs of the disabled, and gave the example of toilets, which are in most cases meant for the able bodied children.
DiSiL commemorates Day of the African Child with disability children
A Non Governmental Organisation, Disability Sierra Leone (DiSiL) has on Saturday, June 16 commemorated the Day of the African Child with disability children.
The International Day of the African Child (DAC) is commemorated each year on June 16 since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) now (AU). The Day honours those South African children who participated in the Soweto uprising in 1976 against the then apartheid regime. It also raises awareness on the continuing need for the improvement in the quality of education provided to African children.
The theme for this year’s event is “The Rights of Children with Disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfill”.
Director of DiSiL, Teddy Musa said that his organisation provides services for persons with disabilities, noting that the Day of the African Child is being commemorated “out of content”. According to him, “it should be a day of reflection for the thousands of African children that were killed in Soweto during that uprising in South Africa in 1976, ” he maintained.
Mr. Musa said that children with disability have faced “lots of discrimination” pointing out that in Africa the plight of children with disability “are usually hidden, ignored or disregarded by national policy makers.”
The Director maintained that parents should train their children “to stand up and demand for their rights”.
In her statement, Mrs. Miattia Kamara, a representative from the Special Needs School at Kissy Mess Mess said her school “trains children with intellectual disability” in different skills like soap making, tailoring and as gardeners which makes the children useful in society and makes them self reliant in future.
In her keynote address, Senior Teacher, Freetown Chesire Home, Mrs. Tenneh Baimba said the Day of the African Child should be a day of prayers for those children that lost their lives in Soweto, for a peaceful repose of their souls.
“Children”, she said, “are our future leaders so we need to send them to school and care for them so that they will become lawyers, doctors, teachers, technicians, politicians etc. that will run the affairs of the country in their time.”.
She stressed that the discrimination of children with disability is too much, especially when boarding public transports and therefore appealed to the general public “to now use their common senses to consider such children as human beings and that they can be as useful like able body children.”
By Abibatu Kamara
Zimbabwe: Afford Equal Opportunities to the Disabled - First Lady
16 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
THE First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday urged society to desist from discriminating against people with disabilities, saying they should be afforded equal opportunities like their able bodied counterparts.
She said this at commemorations to mark the Day of the African Child in Harare under the theme, "The Rights of Children with Disabilities, the Duty to Protect, Promote, Respect and Fulfil."
"Disability, as has been stated is not inability. The challenge we face as society is to rise above the stereotype person with disabilities we have been conditioned to believe in.
"However, far from being cases or object of pity, those who live with disabilities have different skills, talents and capacities which we only get to know when we listen to them more carefully and take an active interest in their lives," she said.
Amai Mugabe said children with disabilities faced a lot of challenges that included exclusion from education, employment, cultural activities, sports, sexual abuse and other social events.
"The World Health Organisation estimates that only 33 percent of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe have access to education, compared to over 90 percent for their able bodied populace.
"This alone must surely shake our society from its apathy and encourage a more positive view towards these children," the First Lady said.
Amai Mugabe said the welfare of children with disabilities should be the collective responsibility between Government and civil society.
"The fight for children with disabilities has mainly been a preserve of the civic society with minimal support from Government.
"It is my considered view that this responsibility must be collective and all stakeholders should pool their efforts together in order to formulate actionable strategies to ease the burden of children with disabilities,"
The First Lady, who is also the matron of the Danhiko Project, said she had embarked on the construction of a Children's Home in Mazowe as a contribution to the challenges facing children.
"The Children's Home and ancillary facilities at Mazowe are the result of a vision I was blessed with in the late 1990s. Over the years I have faced setbacks, doubt and financial challenges but the vision would not die.
"I am thankful to the Almighty who has sustained me throughout. The work at Mazowe is my modest contribution to the children of this great nation God gave us," Amai Mugabe said.
She said it was important that the various plans and concepts that have been drawn up to improve the plight of disabled children should be put to practice, adding that as a person she believed in action.
Various activities and displays were on exhibition by children with disabilities from various institutions.
The Day of the African Child was first commemorated in 1991 to mark the Sharpeville massacre of school children by the South African Apartheid regime on June 16, 1976.
The school children were protesting against the racist policies in the education sector.
Yesterday's ceremony was attended by Government officials including Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and co-Minister responsible for the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, Mrs Sekai Holland.
Lwini Foundation donates goods for disabled people
16 June 2012, Angola Press
Huambo - About one thousand and 80 disabled people benefited this Saturday in Huambo city, from wheelchairs, tricycles, crutches, Canadian peers and blankets, a gesture made by Lwini Foundation aimed at facilitating the movement of the beneficiaries and contributes in the reconstruction and development of the country.
During the symbolic act, which was witnessed by the provincial governor, Fernando Faustino Muteka, were given 50 pairs of crutches and an equal number of normal crutches, ten catalogues of the tricycles, a thousand blankets and 70 of the 100 wheelchairs expected.
By intervening, the vice-president of Lwini Foundation, Joana Lina, said that the institution will continue faithful to its main objective, which is to give people with disabilities an opportunity, a life capable of helping and look at the world differently, feeling part of this whole process of the country’s reconstruction.
Kadaga decries reluctance to hire people with disabilities
Publish Date: Jun 18, 2012
By Henry Sekanjako
The speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has decried the reluctance by corporate organizations to hire people with disability (PWDs) fsaying they have been sidelined.
According to Kadaga, majority of the disabled persons are always left out during recruitment exercise by such companies which affect their right to employment.
“We should all recruit disabled people into corporate bodies and avoid the stigma,” Kadaga said.
She made the remarks over the weekend during the Second Tumaini awards gala at Hotel African in Kampala.
Kadaga said there was need for all corporate organizations to put in place facilities that are favorable for people with disabilities for a better working environment.
“Let us walk the talk and make the conditions for disabled persons favorable. How many of our corporate bodies have 10 percent facilities for these people to access,” she asked.
She added; “such people need support, and protection, which police officer can take a statement from a deaf child, all these areas need to be improved upon”.
According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2005/2006, currently 7.2% (2.5 million) Ugandans have a disability. Most of these people however lack formal employment caused by stigma and poor education.
The 2002 national census indicated that only 2.2% of PWDs in Uganda have attained secondary level education. The same survey revealed that 90% of PWDs in Uganda do not go beyond Primary Level education. This may partly explain why employment opportunities are scarce for the PWDs.
Section 12 of part III of the Disability Act 2006 states that a person shall not discriminate against a qualified person based on disability regarding any job application procedure, hiring, promotion, compensation, job training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.
Rwanda: Right to Play Boosts Sports for Disabled Children
BY OSTINE ARINAITWE, 18 JUNE 2012
As a way of celebrating the international day for the African Child, Right to Play, an NGO that uses sport and drama to help disadvantaged children better their lives hosted children country wide over the weekend where children of various ages took part in different games.
Bugesera beat Kigali stars 51-46 in sitball and National Paralympic Committee Secretary General Celestin Nizeyimana told Times Sport that they would be drafting some of the youngsters who impressed in to different clubs.
"We are thankful to Right to Play for organising this competition because it not only encourages young disabled people feel they are worth to society but also helps us scout talented youngsters to join sitball clubs," said Nizeyimana.
Right to Play Project Manager for Rwanda Edwin Byusa told this paper that they plan to continue sponsoring sports in a bid to help young children have 'a better out look at life'.
The games were also used as a sport light to high light the dangers of child labour.
Persons with disability empowered to operate in telecom retail
From: Ghana/Luv Fm/Kofi Adu Domfeh
Last Updated: June 18, 2012, 1:10 pm
Physically-challenged persons in the northern sector of Ghana have been presented with 65 motorized tricycles to be economically empowered in the telecom retail sub-sector.
The Alternative Livelihood Project is a corporate social responsibility initiative of MTN Ghana Foundation and Itel Limited.
The tricycles are powered with dual solar and electricity systems to facilitate movement as beneficiaries vend MTN products and services, including sales of airtime, SIM cards, and charging of handsets.
MTN has invested over Gh?468,000.00 to deploy 215 tricycles across the country, while Itel has also invested about GH?77,500 towards training and monitoring and would also be responsible for the maintenance of the machines.
Stephen Asare, MTN’s Mobile Money Implementation Manager for Northern Ghana, told Luv Biz Report the tricycles are given out “free-of-charge ” though beneficiaries provide “a little capital outlay for the recharge and SIM cards”.
“We believe that if we give the physically-challenged people the needed logistics and support, they can also contribute their quota to the development of the nation”, he stated.
Ashanti Regional chairman of the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Francis Amedor believes the project will enhance the economic status of beneficiaries.
He encouraged other corporate bodies to take up innovative initiatives to enhance the livelihoods of persons with disability.
Disabled children needs special care and attention - CCFC
Ghana News Agency
18th June 2012
Tamale, June 18, GNA- The Christian Children's Fund of Canada a non- governmental organization, has said the rights and dignity of children living with disabilities should be respected, promoted and protected.
This, he said, would enable them to develop their full potentials and contribute to the socio-economic development of the nation.
It said recent reports painted a gloomy picture of the deplorable and inadequate educational facilities, poor housing, lack of parental care and protection for children born with disabilities.
Madam Gifty Akosua Baka, the Country Director of the COFO, said this in Tamale at the weekend, to mark the African Union Day of the African Child, under the theme; "The Rights of Children with Disabilities; Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and to Fulfill."
The AU day of the African Child is celebrated on 16 June every year by the AU to commemorate the 1976 massacre of children in Soweto, South Africa.
Madam Baka, whose speech was read for her, said children in Ghana were facing enormous problems and a report by the President' s Committee on Review of Education in 2002, showed that of the more than 1.8 million people with disabilities in Ghana, 800,000 are children less than 15 years.
She said there were 21 special schools for children with disabilities out of which six are primary schools, 14 joint primary and junior secondary schools and a special secondary technical school.
She said the schools are over-crowded with inadequate facilities, learning materials and equipment and0 there was little or no academic progression for the graduates of the special schools.
Madam Baka appealed to the District Assemblies to ensure that allocation for disability support in the common fund is used to provide disability aid in public basic schools, libraries and other educational facilities to enable children with disability to erJjoy equal rights to quality education and train more special teachers to help these children.
Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, the Northern Regional Minister, said children's issues needed to be highlighted and their concerns addressed and protected.
Africa: UNICEF Calls for Social Inclusion of Children With Disabilities in Africa
18 JUNE 2012
Theme of the Day of the African Child 2012: “The Rights of Children with Disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfill”.
A 17-year-old, who lost his sight at the age of ten due to river blindness, speaks for many of Africa’s children with disabilities when he says: “I thought it was the end of my world, but with education, I am hopeful that I will be useful in society and not be a beggar in the streets.” Bai Kamara is enrolled at the UNICEF-supported Educational Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the capital Freetown where work is underway to put the Sierra Leone Child Rights Act into Braille.
Millions of children in Africa live with some sort of disability. On the Day of the African Child 2012, UNICEF calls on families, communities and governments throughout the continent to protect children with disabilities from discrimination, violence and neglect, and to provide them with access to all the services they need to grow up healthy and live up to their potential.
“Children living with disabilities continue to be the most excluded among all groups of children in Africa. Only a small portion of them are in school, and far fewer receive the adequate inclusive education they need,” said the Chief of UNICEF’s Disability Unit, Rosangela Berman Bieler.
Country-specific information suggests that between 5 and 10 per cent of all children in Africa grow up with disabilities. The leading causes of disability ? in addition to genetic disorders and complications during birth -- include poliomyelitis, measles, meningitis and cerebral malaria, as well as inadequate prenatal and neonatal health care services and inadequate diet leading to stunting.
So far, 25 out of 55 African countries have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that stipulates that children with disabilities should be protected against all forms of discrimination, and that they should have access to education, health services and protection from violence. By becoming a signature state, countries commit themselves to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
School enrolment among children with disabilities is much lower in most countries than among other children. A 2011 UNICEF study undertaken in Madagascar found that on average only 11 per cent of children with disabilities attended primary school, with school attendance among girls much lower. Almost all children interviewed reported that they were ridiculed by other children. Because of such bullying, as well as a lack of inclusive practices, children with disabilities are more likely to drop out of school than their peers without disability. Their learning achievements are often worse than those of other children, because schools are not designed to cater for them and teachers are often not adequately trained.
Children with albinism are particularly at risk of being excluded and even attacked. Tanzania, the country with one of the largest populations of persons with albinism in the world, assembled children and adults with albinism in special protection centres to protect them from violence and even murder, fuelled by the belief that their body parts may give rise to good luck and fortune.
“I encourage the adoption of legislative measures to improve the socio- economic wellbeing of children living with disabilities and the implementation of protective and rehabilitative programmes,” said Agnes Kabore Ouattara, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
A number of countries in Africa introduced specific legislation, national policies or strategies to respond to the needs of children with disabilities. When it comes to implementing inclusive programmes and allocating adequate resources, however, many countries lag behind although there are examples of activities aimed at helping disabled children achieve their potential.
Rwanda is one of the countries that invested significantly in specialized education for children with disabilities. The number of children benefiting from special education increased from 632 in 2000 to around 17,000 in 2010. In Ghana, some 6,900 students went to special schools in 2009/2010. In Guinea, the NGO Nimba Centre -- with support from UNICEF ? organizes a three year training course for almost 90 children in small trades, ballet, knitting, shoe-repair, literacy and sewing. The Ministry of Education in Lesotho has established a Special Education Unit which supports the integration of learners with special educational needs into mainstream schools and organizes related training for teachers.
UNICEF is supporting the development of national frameworks for inclusive education in a number of African countries, which includes the training of teachers and the development of adequate learning materials and facilities. Further to this, UNICEF supports concrete interventions for children with disabilities, for instance through the distribution of text books in Braille for children with visual impairment in Zimbabwe.
Around the Day of the African Child, UNICEF offices throughout Africa, including in Benin, Guinea, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe are supporting activities and public events to raise awareness about the situation of children with disabilities.
Cameroon: Junior MPs Want Integration of Disabled Children
18 JUNE 2012
The 14thsession of the Children's Parliament in Cameroon took place on Saturday June 16 at the National Assembly in Yaounde. The session marked for the 22nd edition of the Day of the African Child. The theme this year was "Rights of children with disabilities: Duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfil."
In his presentation, the Assistant Resident Representative of UNICEF Zachari Adam said it is estimated that, overall, between 500 and 650 million people worldwide live with a significant impairment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 10 per cent of the world's children and young people, some 200 million, have sensory, intellectual or mental health impairment. Around 80 per cent of them live in developing countries. In Cameroon, statistics show that over 2 million children live with disabilities; most of them discriminated and marginalised. It was in this light that the young MPs asked members of government some pertinent questions on the plight of disabled children.
The Minister of Social Affairs Catherine Bakang Mbock was the first to take the rostrum. The Junior Member of Parliament for Mefou and Afamba, Honourable Herman Teugne Fongang Hermann wanted to know what the ministry is doing to ensure the social integration of disabled children.
Minister Catherine Bakeng Mbock said several measures had been taken to ensure the social integration of children such as sensitising parents of disabled children to take care of their children, supporting the work of the National Centre for Rehabilitation of Handicapped People and the offer of subventions to centres caring for disabled children. The Ministers of Public Health, Secondary Education and Women's Empowerment and the Family equally gave presentations of the measures taken in their ministries to protect the rights of disabled children in the country.
Closing the session the President of the National Assembly, The Right Honourable Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, called on all Cameroonians to join efforts in the protection of the rights of disabled children. He called on the Junior MPs to be good ambassadors as they go back to their constituencies. One of the major resolutions taken at the end of the session was the integration of brail in training the training of teachers. The MPs took the commitment to work harder than last year and to support and protect the rights of disabled children in the country.
Disabled children need special care and attention - CCFC
Regional News of Monday, 18 June 2012
The Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), a non-governmental organization, has said the rights and dignity of children living with disabilities should be respected, promoted and protected.
This would enable them to develop their full potentials and contribute to the socio-economic development of the nation.
It said recent reports painted a gloomy picture of the deplorable and inadequate educational facilities, poor housing, lack of parental care and protection for children born with disabilities.
Madam Gifty Akosua Baka, the Country Director of the CCFC said this in Tamale at the weekend, to mark the African Union Day of the African Child, under the theme; “The Rights of Children with Disabilities; Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and to Fulfill.
”The AU day of the African Child is celebrated on 16 June every year by the AU to commemorate the 1976 massacre of children in Soweto, South Africa.
Madam Baka, whose speech was read for her, said children in Ghana were facing ! enormous problems and a report by the President’s Committee on Review of Education in 2002, showed that of the more than 1.8 million people with disabilities in Ghana, 800,000 are children less than 15 years.
She said there were 21 special schools for children with disabilities out of which six are primary schools, 14 joint primary and junior secondary schools and a special secondary technical school.
She said the schools are over-crowded with inadequate facilities, learning materials and equipment and there was little or no academic progression for the graduates of the special schools.
Madam Baka appealed to the District Assemblies to ensure that allocation for disability support in the common fund is used to provide disability aid in public basic schools, libraries and other educational facilities to enable children with disability to enjoy equal rights to quality education and train more special teachers to help these children.
Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, the Northern Regional Minister said issues children needed to be highlighted and their concerns addressed and protected.**
Nigeria: Minister Decries Rising Bias Against Disabled Children
BY OJOMA AKOR, 18 JUNE 2012
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, has expressed dismay over the rising cases of discrimination against children with disabilities.
Speaking at the event marking this year's Day of the African Child at the weekend in Abuja, she said children with disabilities in most African countries due to erroneous beliefs and misinformation were seen as punishment or bad luck to their families.
She said the children undergo hardships and other forms of abuses like neglect, abandonment and sometimes being left as street children to pursue their cause of survivals.
Maina said when these children are catered for and given the opportunity to go to school, they would engage in meaningful activities to realize their potentials as leaders of tomorrow.
Earlier, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), Ms Kabore Ouattara, who was represented by Mrs Maryam Uwais, a member of the committee, said thousands of children were among the estimated 80 million people living with some kinds of disability in Africa.
SD ratifies UN Convention on disability
18 June, 2012 Swazi observer
SWAZILAND has realised the need to accelerate the ratification of a UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Stakeholders have been calling for the ratification of the Convention to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Speaking during the Day of the African Child commemoration at UNISWA Sports Emporium on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, said the country committed to promoting and protecting the rights of all persons living with disability by signing the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.
“The country also signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes several articles specifically addressing children with disabilities,” Masuku said.
He mentioned that the country was currently in the process of developing a National Policy on Disability. He said while there was a legislative framework which guided interventions on disability issues in place, there was still a need to urgently intensify advocacy for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children (1990).
The commemoration was held under the theme ‘The rights of children with disabilities; the duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfil.’ Present during the event were delegates from SADC who were attending a conference on education for children with special needs at Happy Valley last week.
Others included UNICEF Representative Jama Gulaid, Save the Children Fund and Children’s Consortium Chairman Dumsani Mnisi, UNISWA Vice-Chancellor Cisco Magagula pro-Vice Chancellor Victor Mtetwa and Swaziland National Sports Council CEO Dan Mavuso.
Most disabled children have mental disabilities
THE most common type of disability among children in the country is the mental one.
This is according to a study conducted in 2010 on children and young persons with disabilities in Swaziland.
Children constitute 52% of the country’s total population and according to the survey, about 1 400 children in the country are disabled.
The DPM noted that the findings indicated that the most common was mental disability. Other types include physical disability, speech impairment, deafness and blindness.
“The results also inform us that children and young persons with disabilities often lack access to basic services including education and health care,” he said.
Masuku said Parliament recently passed the Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill of 2011, which domesticated the UN Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child through the Children’s Policy (2009). The Bill also takes into cognisance the needs of Swazi children living with disabilities and seeks to provide comprehensive protection for them within and outside the family.
Govt challenged to deliver on promises
Chairman of the Children’s Consortium Dumsani Mnisi said governments have an obligation to ensure children with disabilities have equal rights as normal children.
Mnisi, the Director for Save the Children Fund, said the Day of the African Child presented an opportunity for governments, communities and international institutions to renew their commitment to supporting the needs of children. “As signatories of various international protocols and treaties that address issues of children living with disabilities, governments, including civil society, must ensure we deliver on these promises we have made to all children and to promote their best interest,”
He noted that in Africa, the main causes of disability were preventable diseases. “poor nutrition, lack of prenatal, and neonatal health care also contributed to disabilities."
South Africa: Disabled Couple and Son Finally Get Promised House
18 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Following a year of promises coupled with disappointments, a disabled couple who are cared for by their 13-year-old son have finally received a house in the Nuwe Begin housing project in Blue Downs.
For over six years, Ntsikelelo Bharhuza, who is an only child, has looked after his mother Nomzamo Bharhuza and his father Nceba Kwinana in between attending school.
Ntsikelelo said for as long as he can remember, his father had been confined to a wheelchair due to a stroke. But disaster struck in 2005 when his mother also suffered a disabling stroke, leaving him, at six years old, the only able-bodied member of the household.
Nceba has some use in his hands but often has difficulty controlling his muscles, resulting in his hands shaking uncontrollably.
Nomzamo lost the use of the right side of her body and can only use her left hand, but is able to lift herself out of her wheelchair into a seat.
"It was so hard for me because I was very young. I couldn't go out with other kids. I always had to sit at home to watch my parents," said Ntsikelelo.
Following the publication of the their story in March last year the family, who lived in a one-roomed shack in Khayelitsha's YAB informal settlement and survived on disability grants, were promised a house by Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana.
On the eve of the local government elections Xingwana, accompanied by TV, radio and print journalists, visited the family and broadcast her promise.
Representatives from Xingwana's department visited the family two months later but expectations that the shiny black cars outside the family's home meant she was to announce a new home for Ntsikelelo Bharhuza and his parents were crushed. They were told the promised house might take "a year or two" to materialise.
Their hopes were raised a couple of times more during the year when promised visits by government officials failed to materialise.
In the meantime charitable Capetonians came forward to assist the family with food, money and a television set.
Then in December last year Human Settlement MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela moved the family into a house in Plumstead while their new home with wheelchair access was being built in Blue Downs.
After a year of expectation, Xingwana's promise was finally made real as they received the keys to their new house in Blue Downs on Monday.
"I'm happy that we have a house. It's big now we have a stable home." said Nceba.
Nomzamo wrote a special letter, thanking all the people who have come forward on the rescue.
"A special thanks goes to a journalist who first wrote the story, since our story was published we received help from people who didn't know us. We were living with our child, every day before he goes to school he has to help us first. I would like to thank Standard Bank representative Mosotho Mloyi, for buying furniture for our house. May God bless all the people who were involved in helping us. I'm happy that the minister has gave us the house."
Madikizela's spokesperson Bruce Oom on Monday said about 39 families were going to be moved to Nuwe Begin this week.
He said the first people to receive houses were those with disabilities and pensioners.
Madikizela also visited the area to check that the houses were in good order and electricity had been connected.
Togo: Relieving Disabled Children From Crippling Customs
19 JUNE 2012
Lome - Out of fear, shame and strong traditional beliefs, disabled children in Togo are often ridiculed, hidden indoors for years and neglected, cutting them off from normal life and worsening their plight.
"I was told I was good for nothing. Even my brothers and sisters said I was inferior to them, and they mocked me," said Sofia Adama*, 18, who was left disabled by a botched injection when she was a baby.
Between five and 10 percent of children in Africa have disabilities, mainly due to genetic and birth complications, diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles, meningitis and cerebral malaria, as well as poor health and diet, according to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"Disability is considered a form of sorcery or the result of a demon in the family," said Naka Abalo, coordinator of the Community Based Rehabilitation Project run by the Plan International NGO in Sokod?, Togo's second largest city.
Out of a population of six million there are around 378,000 children with disabilities in Togo estimates Christian Blind Mission (CBM), an international aid group working with disabled people.
In a small village outside Sokod?, Afi Ouro*, 13, who has epilepsy, hides in a dark room in her family home, where she has often taken refuge from being humiliated by the villagers, who publicly mock her club feet and have ostracized her entire family.
Their neighbours believed that throwing stones at Ouro when she was experiencing an epileptic seizure would prevent her from spreading epilepsy. Her parents, who were convinced she had not been cursed, relentlessly sought medical help.
"People told me I was wasting my time and that nothing would change, but then people saw the changes," said Fatima*, Ouro's mother. After spending five months in hospital in neighbouring Benin, Ouro can now walk to school by herself without fear of having a seizure on the way.
"Other people still hide their children with disabilities because they first insulted us, and they think that they will also be insulted.
Disabled people were once thought of as useless. Now, things are changing and they can integrate into society," Fatima said.
While marking the Day of the African Child on 16 June, UNICEF called for an end to neglecting children with disabilities, and discrimination and violence against them.
"Children living with disabilities continue to be the most excluded among all groups of children in Africa. Only a small portion of them are in school and far fewer receive the adequate inclusive education they need," Rosangela Berman Bieler, the head of UNICEF's Disability Unit, said in a communiqu?.
Changing long-held traditional beliefs in Togo will be difficult, but families whose disabled children have received help know that excluding them from daily life is unhelpful.
"Progressively, when the mentality has changed, we will overcome this.
Then we can move disabled children from the shadows into a society that knows how to treat them," said Laure Akofa Tay, CBM's coordinator for Togo and Benin.
"[Disabled children's rights are] no different from the rights of all children. We already have human rights, but we need to work on the rights of children with disabilities in Africa. Their rights still need to be communicated."
The Togolese government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2011, and is aware of the added difficulties the disabled must deal with, but it has yet to establish clear measures to help them, or counter the damaging beliefs.
"The government acknowledges that it is an important issue but they don't know how to go about it," said Tay. "We need to work closely with the government institutions like the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to... [help formulate] their early protection and rehabilitation programmes."
"We know that disabilities and poverty are a vicious cycle," Tay said.
"And here, because the children with disabilities are living in a low- income country, their situation is worse."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
South Africa: New Unit to Help Young, Old and Disabled
19 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Secunda ― A Mpumalanga municipality has established a unit to address the needs of young people, children, senior citizens, women and people living with disabilities.
Mayor of the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality in Secunda, Lindi Masina, said the transversal unit was established as part of Youth Month.
She said significant strides had already been made to halve unemployment amongst the youth through programmes such as IT learnerships and the Expanded Public Works Programme and Community Works Programme.
"These interventions have provided young people with short to medium term job opportunities and skills. We are assuring all youth structures and interested stakeholders that in the 2012/13 financial year, we will prioritise the youth and people with disabilities, (who meet) the criteria for these programmes," added Masina.
She said the 1976 generation stood tall and grounded "even when it became fashionable to be flamboyant".
"They never hesitated to criticise that which sought to undermine the principles and values that an egalitarian society stands for. These gallant fighters were vocal inside and outside South Africa. They taught us to be always on the side of the weak and the poor," Masina said.
The mayor urged today's generation to become drivers of change and lead from the front.
She said the change should be within the context of government's five key priorities, which are education, health, economic development, safety and security and rural development.
"Like Hector Peterson, Mbuyisa Makhubo, Tsietsi Mashinini and many others did, let us all instil the culture of service and sacrifice to champion the plights of the weak and poor.
"May the immortal spirits of these selfless cadres serve as a foundation stone with which we construct a new egalitarian world. All South Africans, both black and white must answer to the clarion call of nation-building and social cohesion," said Masina.
Society of Physically disabled calls for more disability facilities
The Ghana Education Service and school authorities have been urged to do more to make the school environment friendly to children with physical disability.
The Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled, said everything should be done to make sure that the right conditions and facilities are in place so that children with disabilities are not disadvantaged.
Mr. Francis Amedor, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Society gave the advice when he addressed a forum in Kumasi to mark the African Union Day of the African Child with focus on the disabled child.
He said Section 16 of the Disability Act enjoins parents to send their children with disability to school.
The Garden City Special School and Ashanti School for the Deaf on the average have more than 200 children on their waiting list every year due to lack of facilities.
Mr. Amedor therefore called for the integration of the schools into the normal school system to reduce the pressure on the special schools.
He said children with disability have potentials and talents which must be tapped through education.
He said it was also important to provide children with disabilities with assistive devices to enhance their education.
He lauded the African Union for instituting the Day and pleaded with leaders on the continent to work hard to tackle socio-economic and cultural practices that tended to discriminate against the physically- disabled.
Mr. Johnny Osei Kofi, a Member of the Management Board of the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, called on the nation’s leaders to see to it that all public buildings and other facilities become disability-friendly.**
Determined Ntambazi crawls into the future
Publish Date: Jun 20, 2012
Ntambazi uses his feet to lift the spoon in order to have his meal.By Petride Mudoola By Petride Mudoola
Imagine being born without arms; unable to touch, dress oneself or hold anything. This is the life Lawrence Ntambazi, a pupil at Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped leads.
Ntambazi was born in 2007 in Nalubira village, Nabigasa sub-county in Rakai district.However, this young man is striving to lead an independent life despite his disability.
At school he strives on his own. He uses his feet to feed himself, brush his teeth and do his laundry.
“He even paints,” says his teacher, Tina Nadamba.
“He is active and willing to do anything, sometimes even challenging his classmates to lifting heavy items,” says Mable Magoba, another teacher.
But it is his ability to dress himself that epitomises this young man’s resilience.
Using his feet, Ntambazi reaches out to his pair of shorts and shirt placed on a mat. He slides his legs into the shorts and using his feet, puts on his shirt. The matron then helps him to button the shirt and fasten his shoe laces.
At meal times, teachers set aside a bench on which his food is placed t.
With a spoon held firmly between the toes, Ntambazi stretches his legs and bends over slightly to enable his spoon-holding feet to reach his mouth. He repeats this exercise until he completes the meal.
It takes exceptional hygiene to ensure Ntambazi’s feet are always clean, especially because he uses them to feed. It is for this reason that he only wears closed shoes.
People like Ntambazi need a special chair, but because his school lacks the means to buy them he has to make do with a bench.
The school does not have a special toilet, so easing himself is still a big challenge.
Ntambazi’s teacher shows him how to play scrabble
“He has to share the toilet with his colleagues,” says the head teacher, Juliet Tumuhairwe.
A mothers’ plight
The birth of Ntambazi in such a state was a surprise to his family. “It shocked the family,” says Florence Nazziwa, his mother.
“I did not know how the rest of the family would react,” she recalls.
Fortunately, her husband accepted the child. “He consoled me and encouraged me to look at this child as a blessing.”
The extended family, however, was less receptive.
“Our relatives were disappointed. They said our son was a curse to the family. They discouraged me from breastfeeding him,” she says with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Recalling the birth of his son, John Senyomo says it caused disharmony between his immediate family and relatives.
“My relatives advised me to leave my wife; they threatened to disown me for fathering a limbless child,” he says.
Despite the threats, Senyomo vowed not to desert his wife and baby. His family disowned him.
“Today, my relatives do not associate with my family,” says the father of six.
Despite all these challenges, Ntambazi and his family have moved on. Ntambazi has found ways to accomplish tasks. His father is proud of his progress.
“He is the most brilliant and confident child among my children. He is innovative and can undertake assignments without waiting to be told,” Senyomo proudly speaks of his son.
He knows that it is through education that his son will lead a fulfilling life.
Today, Ntambazi is on course to realising his dream of becoming a teacher. However, as peasants, Senyomo and his wife have to struggle to find school fees.
Children living with disabilities have few opportunities for education and are likely to drop out of schools due to insufficient infrastructure to support them.
Tumuhairwe says there are not enough teachers to attend to children like Ntambazi.
Currently, the education ministry recommends that there be one teacher for every 10 disabled students. However, in cases where some students might require extra attention, this might not suffice. Tumuhairwe appeals to the ministry to provide more support for special needs education.
The parents appeal for support towards the education of Ntambazi who ever is capable of assisting the disabled child should contact them on the following numbers 0779415235 or 0773377867.
Nigeria: Hearing Impaired People in Borno Seek Special Schools
BY HARUNA GIMBA YAYA, 20 JUNE 2012
Maiduguri - The association of hearing impaired people in Borno State has appealed to the state government to establish special schools for them to reduce illiteracy among physically challenged persons in the state.
Secretary of the association, Malam Adam Gaji Bukar, who made the appeal in an interview with our correspondent, called on the state government to consider the deaf in its poverty alleviation programme. Malam Bukar also appealed to the state government to provide them with employment opportunities and funds to start businesses.
Cameroon: Disabled Pupils Receive Testimonials
BY ELIZABETH MOSIMA, 20 JUNE 2012
It was an eventful day at the Cardinal Paul Emile Leger National Centre for the Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities (CNRPH) Yaounde last Thursday June 14. The event was the award of testimonials to pupils of the Special and Inclusive School for Children with Special Educational Needs and the return of some disabled, abandoned children to their families.
The event was equally in line with activities to mark the 2012 Day of the African Child. Speaking at the occasion, the Director of CNRPH, Grace Fomulu Nubonyin said the prize award ceremony was a moment of joy as it does not only enable the children to measure their learning abilities, but also for parents to meet and share ideas on the conduct of their children.
CNRPH has in the past eight years been caring for handicapped children who were abandoned for various reasons. A search carried out by CNRPH led to the tracing of six out of 11 families. The children were therefore reunited with their families after being sensitised on the need for parents to take care of their children.
The challenges facing CNRPH include insufficient specialised teachers and the absence of government stationery support for the school.
Organised by the CNRPH, the event brought together authorities of the Yaounde VI Subdivision, representatives of partner ministries, international partners and guests.
Morocco: HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa Chairs Deaf Children's School-Year Graduation Ceremony
20 JUNE 2012
Rabat - HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa, Chairwoman of the Lalla Asmaa Foundation for Deaf Children, presided, on Wednesday in Rabat, over the graduation ceremony of the 2011-2012 school year of this institution.
On this occasion, His Royal Highness attended a ceremony marked, at first, by the verses of the Holy Qur'an recited by a pupil of the foundation. Subsequently, Mustapha Fettouh, teacher in charge of the institution, expressed his deep gratitude and consideration for the support and solicitude that HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa continues to lavish on deaf students.
President of the Lalla Asmaa Foundation, Karim Essakalli, underlined, on the same occasion, that the foundation, a pioneering center of reference in Morocco that initiated for over 40 years the primary education for deaf children, "will allow, from the next school year and for the first time in Morocco, our children to benefit from the secondary education (junior and high school) in order to prepare the baccalaureate diploma."
To prepare students, this year saw the launch of the sixth grade that will, for the first time, allow six students to sit in the national examination for the certificate of primary studies, he added.
In this respect, the foundation's president thanked the Director of the Academy and the delegate of the National Education Ministry in Rabat, who "allowed an adaptation of the national exam for our students, taking into account their specific needs."
In vocational training, he noted that in addition to workshops, embroidery-sewing, hairdressing-beauty and plastic arts, two new activities were launched this year in the Foundation. This is, according to him, a workshop of computer aided graphic design and a culinary arts workshop. All these workshops will be real opportunities for social and professional integration of quality, said Essakalli.
After recalling that this year's ceremony did not take place in the new Princess Lalla Asmaa centre for deaf children and youths because of technical constraints, he said that the major works and finishing are completed while the phase of school, educational and technical equipment will only take a few weeks, thanks to the participation of two partners, Morocco Telecom and Redal.
"The new center, with its new environment and the significant increase in pupil numbers from 120 to 200, requires us to establish a new educational and pedagogical strategy in the short term," he noted, saying this requires the collaboration and partnership of the Education Ministry, Ministry of Social Development, Family and Solidarity, the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Health.
Essakalli also recalled the generous gesture of HM King Mohammed VI, who offered to children of the institution a significant amount of foodstuffs.
These foodstuffs were handed to 120 families of students, attended by members of the board.
Subsequently, HRH Princess Lalla Asmaa handed awards to the foundation's brilliant students and visited an exhibition by deaf children.
Day of the African Child: More than an event
Zambia Daily Mail
June 21, 2012 | Filed under: Features | Posted by: web editor
By KELVIN KACHINGWE and MWAPE MWENYA
ONE of the biggest threats with any commemoration is that they may run the risk of becoming mere events which easily get forgotten only to be remembered when the next event is on.
But if there is one commemoration that should never be tucked away until the next one, it is the Day of the African Child, which was commemorated on Saturday.
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela may not have been specific on the African child, but he was nevertheless spot-on when he said: “ There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
He undoubtedly understands the unique position of a child!
While imprisoned on Robben Island for fighting a system that was rotten to the core, over 10, 000 black school children in 1976 took to the streets of Soweto, South Africa to protest the inferior quality of their education and demand for the right to be taught in their own native language, rather than English and Afrikaans.
In a much more than half a mile long, hundreds of young boys and girls were shot down by security forces, and in the two weeks of protest that followed, more than a hundred people were killed with more than a thousand were injured.
In an effort to honour those who were killed, as well as the courage of those who marched, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner to the Africa Union (AU), designated June 16 as the Day of the African Child in 1991. However, the day also draws attention to the lives of the African child today.
For this year, the special focus was on children with disabilities hence the theme “The Rights of Children with Disabilities: The Duty to Protect, Respect, Promote and Fulfill.” This theme is said to have been chosen by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) because “children with disabilities are generally hidden in Africa, and therefore their plight is often ignored and disregarded in national policies and legislation.”
The concept note on the theme suggests that the leading causes of disability in Africa are preventable diseases such as poliomyelitis, meningitis and cerebral malaria and accidents as well as inadequate prenatal and neonatal healthcare services.
Others are diseases caused by emotional deprivation affecting the personality of the child, particularly borderline pathologies and developmental disorders which can result in physical, mental or psychological disability.
That said, Save the Children country director Lontia Chinkubala believes that the rights of disabled children leaves much to be desired with a high number of them unable to enjoy life as normal children.
Ms Chinkubala notes that school infrastructure and other social amenities are the worst enemies for the physically challenged children resulting in many of them dropping out of school.
Save the Children in collaboration with Community Based Interventions
(CBIs) carries out awareness campaigns in communities in the Southern Province to educate people on the importance of respecting the rights of disabled persons in society. ”It is unfortunate that disabled children are not only discriminated by society but families as well, families in communities hide disabled children for fear of being laughed at,” she laments.
Children with special needs require special attention, special treatment and special care, embraced with love to make them feel that they are not different from other children. All children have the right to enjoy life, freedom of expression, attain quality education and other social services notwithstanding the physical and mental status.
“Disabled children are already physically disadvantaged therefore society should not disable them further by discriminating them,” Ms Ckinkubala laments adding that the plight of disabled children should galvanise everyone into action and ensure that disabled children enjoy life like the able bodied children.
She is saddened that easily preventable and curable diseases cause disability in many children. She notes that some causes may include late identification of a disability by health care providers and in some instances parents themselves. It is the duty of parents to help identify some curable disabilities and it is the reason that her organisation has embarked on awareness programme to sensitize the community on how to identify disabilities in children.
Government and cooperating partners should take immediate and sustainable remedial action in addressing the plight of disabled children in the country.
“I have observed that disabled children are suffering because of inadequate appropriate health care services for their afflictions. The best goal we can ever set as parents is to leave this world a better place for our children than it is for us,” she said.
In an effort to achieve the country`s desired development in future, there is need to continue addressing the needs of different abled children.
Minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina, who attended the national commemorations that took place on Saturday in Mongu, says the Government is committed to uplifting the lives of disabled children in the country as evidenced by its speeding up of the domestication process of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
Government has plans to address the inadequate number of rehabilitation centres and engaging physiotherapists to attend to children with special needs especially those affected by down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
The commitment of government is manifested in various ways.
For a start, government is speeding-up the domestication process of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and ensuring that disabilities are not disadvantaged in terms of education by ensuring that their right to education is contained in the person with disabilities bill of 2012 which is before Parliament. The bill has punitive measures for any parent or guardian who fails to enroll a child with disability under his or her custody to school.
Government has also realised the need to set-up a committee through the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) to assess assistance devices locally manufactured or imported for use by persons with disabilities to ascertain their fitness and safety for use by the disabled.
Further, it has the intention of studying the issue of the disability allowance which should be given to children with disabilities through their parents or guardians.
There is also a plan to come-up with a comprehensive database on statistics on children with disabilities through the help of cooperating partners. This survey will establish an approximate number and geographical distribution of children with disabilities in the country including available service provision to them in areas such as education, health, assistive devices, sport, and recreation and so on.
But most importantly, government’s appeal is to parents with disabled children not to hide these children in homes and communities but instead bring them out in the open and assist them in reaching their potential by ensuring that they access services such as physiotherapy and counseling within and outside their localities.
Perhaps it is only through such interventions that disabled children can indeed reach their potential.
Does anyone remember Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only American president elected to more than two terms? Or indeed back home here Lazarous Tembo and P.K Chishala?
In Sierra Leone, New hope for children and disabled
Jun 21, 2012, 17:00 Email this article
Freetown, 20 June (SLENA): In a bid to address the welfare of children and disability issues, government through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is to set up two commissions in due course.
According to the Vice President, Alhaji Sam Sumana, the National Commission for Children and that of the Commission for Persons with Disability will be set up and when fully established and becomes operational they will derive their powers from the 2007 Child Rights Act and the 2010 International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability.
The Commission, the Vice President further revealed, will undertake advocacy, resource mobilization and translate policy into concrete actions for participation and development of children and disabled person.
Making the disclosure in a keynote address at the Miatta Conference Hall while deputizing President Koroma at this year’s celebration marking the Day of the African Child, the Vice President said the day was initiated by the then OAU now AU for global observance to mark the horrendous attack on peaceful school pupils demonstrating against the injustice of apartheid in South Africa.
He noted that the importance of such a day and especially its solemnity cannot be underplayed as it makes the present generation of children know the sacrifices made by the children in Soweto in demand for their rights to be accepted by society that resulted into hundreds killed and many injured and maimed.
Dilating on this year’s global theme of the celebration, “The Rights of Children with Disability”, the Vice President opined it was in conformity with the national strategy to increase public awareness on the rights of children with disability.
According to him, it was now time for the government and all stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to the welfare of the physically challenged and obligations centred on physically and mentally challenged children to remove all socio-cultural barriers affecting their lives.
“Disability should not exclude them from their rights to quality education, health care and voice to be heard, voted for and participation in representative governance,” he stressed.
The Vice President noted with concern that most high public buildings and other infrastructures have no remedial facilities for use by disabled persons and therefore appealed to all architects to make comfortable provisions for the disabled in such directions.
The Deputy Representative, UNICEF, Gopal Sharma, said the event reminds all that children with disabilities have equal rights as others to access service. “They need to grow up healthy and live up to their potential without having to face discrimination, violence and neglect, the UNICEF rep reiterated.
Dilating on the improvement of the lives of children with disabilities, the deputy Health Minister I, Tamba Borbor Sawyer said their inclusion is a matter of social justice and an effectual investment in the future of society not based on goodwill but as integral element of expression and realization of universal human right.
Social Welfare Minister, Stephen Gaujia said this year’s celebration from the 13 to 16 June included a national conference that attracted children from all over the country focusing on the child’s welfare. A blind student, who spoke on behalf of the children, reiterated that disability is not inability and called for empowerment to improve on their lives and be included to feel as partners in development.
The chairperson of the occasion Mrs. Emma Parker, an old student of the Milton Margai School for the Blind, appealed for provisions to be made in the areas of health, education and employment for persons with disability.
Nigeria: Al-Makura to Build Varsity for the Deaf in Nasarawa
BY HIR JOSEPH, 22 JUNE 2012
Lafia - Plans are underway by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State to replicate the Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. in the United States in the state, Comrade Abubakar Hussaini, the state's Commissioner for Education said yesterday.
Hussaini, who noted that Gallaudet University specializes in undergraduate liberal arts education, career development and outstanding graduate programmes for the deaf, said Nasarawa is the first state in the country to seek the cooperation of Gallaudet. "The driving philosophy of Gallaudet is that no human being, no matter how physically challenged, is a waste.
Gallaudet has provided the platform for the deaf and hard in hearing as well as persons suffering from other physical challenges, to play a role in our modern society, by equipping them with knowledge. That is what we want to replicate back home," he said.
He said the Al-Makura-led delegation met with the management of Gallaudet and extracted a commitment to collaborate with the administration in the establishment of the school. "We were challenged with the development of the students when we visited the university.
They are good with modern technology, and we can have exactly that in our state," he said.
Namibia: Disabled Not Fully Represented
22 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Persons living with disabilities in the Erongo Region are not adequately represented on organisations that decide in issues affecting their future.
This is according to persons living with disabilities who handed a petition to Walvis Bay Mayor Derek Klazen, asking for the matter to be rectified.
According to Elsa Murangi of the Walvis Bay Child and Family Centre (WBCFC), who deals with the rehabilitation of disabled people at Walvis Bay, the lack of monitoring and evaluation of programmes implemented for disabled persons is one of the areas that need attention.
Murangi further said access to education for peoples with disabilities must also receive special attention, as this is not sufficiently done, resulting in people with disabilities being denied the right education.
"We strongly urged that representation, including self-representation of people with disabilities, be promoted at all levels," Murangi said.
Deputy Mayor of Walvis Bay, Benson Uakumbua, said the wellbeing of disabled people depends largely on the strength of protection provided by their immediate families and organisations such as the WBCFC.
He added that although government finds it hard to sustain programmes that are intended to help the vulnerable, and is sometimes forced to privatize them, it does not mean government should not fulfil its responsibilities.
"What I would like to encourage is that all of us provide solutions to ensure Namibia becomes a healthier nation on all fronts," he said.
Uakumbua said providing adequate access to education facilities to disabled person should also not only rest on the government but should be a collective effort, with private sector involvement.
"Almost everybody in Walvis Bay knows that the Walvis Bay Child and Family Centre, incorporating the Sunshine Centre, have been fulfilling that role with honour for many years now. The centre has been doing this despite difficult conditions most of the time. For them to continuously succeed in their mission, they need support in many different ways, but mostly financial support" he added.
Uakumbua urged all stakeholders to create smart partnerships to build healthier and more competitive local communities that would see disabled persons crafting their own destinies too.
State revises building regulations to accommodate disabled
22 June 2012 Mmegi online (Botsuwana)
The Attorney General is revising building control regulations to cater for the needs of people with physical disabilities, the Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi has said.
The revised draft of the 1981 Building Control Regulations seeks to make it mandatory that buildings should cater for those with disabilities.
Speaking at the Ntlo ya Dikgosi on Wednesday, Molefhi said the current regulations are only advisory and far too inadequate to deal with the requirements of the disabled.
The minister spoke at the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi representing Hon. Johnie Swartz of Infrastructure, Science and Technology ministry.
He said all design professionals have both a moral obligation to cater for people with disabilities.
"Design Audit Teams established in the ministry are another level of verification for compliance to design requirements for the disabled," he explained.
Molefhi stated that catering for people with disabilities will be a slow and gradual process which will address the requirements for each building as and when they are refurbished.
He said that as the Ministry of Infrastructure carries out condition surveys on various facilities, an assessment for the provision of amenities for those living with disabilities will be done.
"The Botswana Council for Disabled's position is that all public buildings must be accessible to all people with disability.
In light of this position therefore, all public buildings must be evaluated to ensure they meet all requirements for people with disability such as parking, rampings, lifts and toilets," he said.
The minister was answering a question from Kgosi Maruje III who wanted to know what integrated building systems the ministry has put in place to cater for those with disabilities.
Rwanda: Mineduc Distributes OLPC Computers to Disabled Students
Rwanda Express (Kigali)
23 June 2012
The Ministry of Education through the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) programme early this week gave a total of 175 XO laptops to Filippo Smaldone school situated in Nyamirambo, Kigali city.
The school accommodates students with hearing disability. They are admitted in both primary and secondary levels.
The OLPC coordinator Nkubito Makuramutsa visited the school in company of a friend of Rwanda called Larry Webber from the United States of America.
In his remarks, Webber said that what is most important is not introducing technology, but providing technology to children as early as possible so that they can grow familiar with internet for further development in successful life skills.
"It is very clear that where the OLPC programme is used, children learn to read early, are good in mathematics, learn working together and perform well in exams," stressed Webber said to thebasic12.
According to Bakuramutsa, the OLPC programme is currently doing well and the results have manifested in schools where the programme has reached.
The Ministry has sofa distributed about 111, 459 XO laptops in schools and are yet to donate 150, 000 more, by the end of this year.
Tanzania: Disabled Girl's Fate Illustrates Today's Big Social Challenge
BY LAWI JOEL, 24 JUNE 2012
HURUMA can sit and eat normally, but she cannot clean or dress herself.
"She is what they call a penguin baby," explains Dr Zena Mkumba of Mafinga Hospital in Iringa region down south of the country. "Otherwise she is normal because she can speak and think well like any other child."
Although Huruma can sit on a table and follow lessons with the other pupils, the Ihomasa Primary School teachers where she should have gone to school, have refused to accept her, no doubt because she would be too much of a task for them. "But she deserves to go to school because she is mentally normal," the medic notes.
Dr Mkumba says that taking care of Huruma's toilet needs and feeding her is a demanding task that needs commitment and relentless attention.
"Only her mother and a few others can do that," says the doctor. The name Huruma means sympathy. The fate of Sarafina Huruma Msaka evokes sympathy as her name Huruma means. The eight-year old girl was born without limbs in Bagamoyo where her mother worked as a house maid. For arms and legs she had nothing but short, spindly growths, which barely reached her chest.
Medical examinations at various hospitals in the country including the CCBRT in Dar es Salaam have revealed that the poor limbs have no bones but mere cartilage. The case of Huruma was exposed to the world by the Iringa Region wing of a non-governmental charity organization Tanzania Resource and Assessment Centre for Disabled Children (TRACED) of which Dr Mkumba is a member. With its development partner and chief donor, Eriks of Sweden, TRACED, has reached and assisted many other disabled children like Huruma.
Efforts to make Huruma acceptable at the school by providing her with a wheelchair have not won the hearts of the teachers
at Ihomasa school and she has remained a disabled child living in ignorance at home. Only her younger sister, one of those close to and mindful of her, teaches her to read and count. "She can read and speak a couple of English words her younger sister who goes to a kindergarten school teaches her," Dr Mkumba says.
Huruma may be a poor child living the life of a disabled who attracts some sympathy, but that of her mother, Elizabeth Ignas Mwani, is total misery. In 2004 she travelled from Iringa, her home region to Bagamoyo and there she got a job as a housemaid. The son of her boss took a liking at her and they became intimate with each other. Soon she was pregnant. Characteristic of romeos, the boy denied responsibility for the pregnancy.
"He stopped altogether any relationship with me," Elizabeth explains.
Her chance to go on working and earning her livelihood ruined, her future shuttered, Elizabeth returned to her parents in Iringa. They were shocked when they saw Huruma. What a child! Only three toes on what should have been the right foot. The young woman has strove to get any possible assistance for her penguin child. She returned to the coastal city to chance a Good Samaritan.
A friend of hers took her to Salvation Army with her little Sarafina Huruma. There, she filled in a form to go to the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). At CCBRT the doctors merely confirmed that the appendages on her daughter for limbs had no bones at all. Huruma's father has long died without giving a cent for the poor girl's welfare. But he did not want to depart to the yonder world and face the Almighty with the sin in his chest. "He admitted responsibility in his bed shortly before he died," Elizabeth revealed to a workshop in Morogoro.
That, however, is not enough. Speaking at the workshop TRACED organized for its field officials, the organizations chairperson Ruth Saleh told the delegates that the disabled community deserved more than just recognition. Her organization could trace a disabled in the villages where they were treated as a stigma to their communities and locked away out of sight, she said. "But after tracing them, then what?" she asked.
It was awful and such a national embarrassment that the communities and indeed the nation with so much at its disposal to assuage the pain of the poor, could so forget people living in such deep misery.
She said ours was a disabled nation for it failed help its needy where it could. Ms Salehe parodied the sinfulness of ignoring the plight o people with a disability with an illustration of a person who saw a person in need because of a disability but did nothing to help. "The disabled are those who fail to distinguish people in need of help," she told the delegates. The TRACED chairperson, a teacher herself, has a daughter with a retarded mind, but her husband and she have worked hard to educate the girl. "When Ester was 9 years we celebrated," she said, implying the difficulty of taking care of child with that disability.
Overall, said Ms Salehe, the Tanzania community needs more awareness on people with various disability because many cases show that unfortunate parents think having a disabled child is a curse and are therefore embarrassed about having them. "My husband and I discerned that our main problem was, first, having the child," she said. "We therefore must take care of her, not run away from her." The converse was the case with many other parents with similar children. She warned them, saying: "Do not take it as a punishment.
Take it as a blessing." Supportive of Ms Salehe, TRACED Executive Secretary Ramadhani Mbonia says poverty is the main challenge to both guardian and parents in their endeavour to take care of their disabled.
"The second one is the low level of awareness of the community and the local authorities," he adds. According to Mr Mbonia, more efforts need be put in informing the community on the rights and needs of children with disabilities, who, as Ms Salehe puts it, are a blessing.
Lobbying meetings in some 24 project wards has produced positive results as parents or guardians are beginning to bring their disabled children out in public to play with their age mates or go to school. Assistance programmes have also improved general health status of 200 children disabilities in Bagamoyo, Isalanavu in Iringa Region and in Dar es Salaam.
Most important, says Mbonia, guardians or parents of disabled children have been given training in physiotherapy and nutrition to enable them to take care of their unfortunate handicapped people. Huruma's father should have had such awareness training. Belatedly though, he admitted he had done wrong to deny the child and should have participated to her ubringing. "He admitted Huruma was his child just before he died,"
Angola: Disabled Association to Engage in Electoral Observation Process
25 JUNE 2012 allAfrica
Luanda ― The National Association of Disabled People of Angola (ANDA) will be engaged in the election observation process, in the next polls set for next August 31, said in Luanda, the organization's chairperson, Silva Lopes Etiambulo.
Speaking to Angop on the role of civil society in the electoral process underway in the country, he stressed that the information and public participation are also essential throughout the process, to allow a transparent and accountable election administration.
He stressed in this context that the majority of ANDA members and their families, will be engaged equally in the process of civic education within the national territory.
With regard to election observation, he noted that the observers are first and foremost witnesses to the electoral process and, what is required of them is to observe, record and suggest.
Let the disabled dream
By Salwa Samir - The Egyptian Gazette
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 08:33:32 PM
CAIRO - "IF the country neglects us, the economy will seriously lose out,"
says Mohamed Salah, sitting in his wheelchair in front of two rectangular tables, offering colourful handmade accessories for sale.
Salah, 50, is the manager of an Egyptian NGO caring for people with special needs, one of seven NGOs participating in a sales exhibition entitled 'Dream, Tomorrow is Yours'.
The exhibition, which ends tonight at 10:00, is being held in el- Sawy Cultural Centre, Zamalek. A total of 250 disabled people are members of Salah's NGO.
"We offer them medical equipment and consultations, organise seminars for them and teach them how to make handmade products," he told The Egyptian Gazette in an interview.
Salah, who worked for an electricity company before establishing his NGO in 2005, came up with the idea of launching his institution while working as a volunteer with some NGOs for people with special needs.
"Most of these NGOs use the handicapped as a 'tool' for getting people to make large donations on big occasions," he said, bitterly.
Salah complained that the society doesn't really care about these people.
He said that, when the Government wants to create special places for them, it doesn't ask them first. "It's as if they want to say that 'we've done something for the disabled'.
"We can't use our wheelchairs on the escalators. The more modern metro stations have lifts, but they don't always work. They don't think of us when they're making these things," he explained, adding people like himself are not well represented in the workplace or political life, which means that no-one gets to hear about their problems.
Unofficial figures show that there are around 10 million disabled people in Egypt - the figure might be even higher.
In el-Sawy Cultural Centre, Salah is exhibiting cheaply priced goods made by his NGO members, such as necklaces, bracelets and beads.
Not far from him, there are goods made by the six other NGOs, including leather crafts, ceramics, knitted clothes, carpets, perfumes, woodwork, bamboo furniture and others.
"We want to prove they are productive and able to make an impact on society, while our goal is helping them prove their capabilities and motivate them," says Moustafa Mohamed, a student at the British University in Egypt and president of 'Dream' project, which has organised the event, along with the Egyptian Federation for Disabled People.
Mohamed and his team started this project last year by visiting special needs NGOs and discussing their problems, pinpointing their abilities and the areas they like working in.
The team also visited some companies, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and call centres; they succeeded in getting some of them to offer jobs to people with special needs, but many refused.
"Some of these people with special needs told us that their managers let them stay at home and get paid without working. Unfortunately, these managers think that they cannot benefit from them. It's a misconception in our society," Mohamed says with regret.
He and his team want to change this conception and encourage employers to give such people the opportunity to work.The whole idea of the exhibition at el-Sawy is to show people that they are productive and 'have the right' to work.
"We are planning many more exhibitions nationwide, so that we can talk to the public and show them the products made by people with special needs. We are going to ask the big shops about making space to sell their products. We have already talked to a big restaurant chain about making a menu in Braille for blind people," Mohamed explains.
"We dream that the public will change their mind about them. These people certainly have a lot to offer society."
Kenya: Kabogo Wants Schools for the Handicapped
BY STANLEY NJENGA, 26 JUNE 2012
JUJA MP William Kabogo has challenged the government to set up more special schools for mentally challenged children. Kabogo said mentally challenged children have equal rights with normal children. He regretted that families and the society continue to disregard mentally challenged children. "In this era, we should not have any child staying at home for any reason. All children should go to school," he said.
Kabogo was speaking at Nairobi's Uhuru Park when he hosted mentally challenged children from Limuru constituency. The more than 100 children were drawn from special units in six schools in the constituency. Edita Wanjuki from Murengeti Special Unit in Limuru appealed to the government to expand existing facilities as it plans to set up more. "It is sad to note that in Limuru district, we do not have a special school but just special units in primary schools," she said. Wanjuki said they will work with local chiefs to urge parents to take mentally handicapped children to school.
Kenya: Action Plan to Ensure Buildings, Roads Are Friendly to the Disabled
The Star (Nairobi)
By Chrispinus Wekesa, 26 June 2012
A National Plan of Action to ensure all buildings, means of transport and roads are disability friendly is being drafted at the conference on disability and accessibility rights.
The conference being held at the KICC aims at increasing awareness of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003. It also aims at ensuring the provisions of the Act concerning reasonable accommodation to ensure accessibility to public buildings, housing, roads and transport facilities, employment, education, health, sports and recreation. "The conference brings the attention of stakeholders to their role and responsibility in increasing access for persons with disabilities," Gender PS James Nyikal said.
He said the conference will employ the relevant legal frameworks which include the constitution, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003. Gender minister Naomi Shabaan said the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 aims at providing for the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
She said it also aims at achieving equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities and establishing the National Council for Persons with Disabilities as a semi-autonomous government agency The minister said to achieve these objectives, it requires the collective efforts of the government, private agencies and stakeholders.
Ex-Miss Deaf’s baby daddy’s first public appearance
26 June, 2012 Swazi observer
THE father of former Miss Deaf Simphiwe Magagula’s baby made his first public appearance at the weekend.
Bus conductor Sihle Dlamini attended the second regional Millers Karaoke Talent Competition at the Siteki Hotel on Saturday evening.
Clad in an all-white ensemble, Dlamini remained calm throughout the event, watching the contestants compete for a place in the finals in the ongoing competition.
Speaking about his new role as a father, he maintained that he would continue loving and supporting Magagula and their child.
He spoke fondly about the child and added: “I am really proud to be a father.”
Magagula made headlines early this year when news broke that she had been impregnated by a bus conductor, who declared his undying love for the former beauty queen.
She was crowned first princess in the Miss Deaf World in 2009.
Mental disability more common in males
26 June, 2012 The Swazi observer
A survey conducted on children and young persons with disabilities in Swaziland reveals that more males than females suffer from mental disability.
The study was conducted by the deputy prime minister’s office’s Disability Unit in 2009 and was released in December 2010.
The exercise was funded by UNICEF and was aimed at providing previously unavailable information on the situation and needs of children and young persons with disabilities in the country.
More than 1 400 live with disabilities in the country. About 36% of them have more than one disability.
The survey indicated that mental disability was the most frequently classified type of disability with 57% of all those classified having the condition.
More than 40% have physical disability while blindness is the least common type of disability at only 8%.
“Between males and females, mental disability is more common among males with a difference of eight percentage points,” the study found.
The study further reveals that 37% of persons with disabilities need personal care, which includs assistance with bathing, walking, eating and answering the call of nature.
Those with speech impairment are most likely to require assistance with their personal care at 76%, while only 59% of those with visual impairment need assistance.
No speech impairment persons at secondary school
PERSONS with speech impairment never proceed to secondary school, an assessment conducted by the deputy prime minister’s office on children and young persons with disabilities in Swaziland reveal.
This could be that the country has fewer schools that cater for children with special needs.
Most stakeholders are advocating for the introduction of inclusive education and fewer schools have taken a step towards achieving that goal.
The survey shows that about 92% of persons with disability attend primary school and only 15% proceed to secondary.
All the children with blindness sampled for the survey attended primary school and about 38% of them proceeded to high school.
Schools such as Ekwetsembeni and Eqinisweni special schools have contributed immensely in improving the levels of education for children with mental disability and slow learners. About 94% of children with mental disability attended primary school with a huge drop with those proceeding to secondary school (8%).
The Education and Training Sector Policy adopted inclusive education as an approach that should guide and inform programming at all levels of the education system.
The DPM’s office is also in the process of developing a National Policy on Disability which will ensure improved services for people living with disabilities.
President Kibaki assured the teams that they will be rewarded
Written By:PPS, Posted: Wed, Jun 27, 2012
President Mwai Kibaki has assured that the Kenyan teams to four international sports championships next month will be handsomely rewarded by the games organizers, international sports federations, the Government, corporate organizations and individuals.
The championships include the London Olympic and Paralympic games, the world junior championships in Barcelona, Spain and the Deaf World Athletics Championships in Toronto, Canada.
President Kibaki, therefore, urged the teams to focus on scooping as many medals as possible, saying victory will project Kenya's supremacy in the sporting arena.
Said the President: "You will get fame and glory for both yourself and Kenya. I therefore, urge you to go for it and bring us that success."
The President was speaking Wednesday at State House, Nairobi when he handed over the national flag to the teams that will represent the country at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and Deaf World Athletics Championships in Toronto, Canada.
Speaking during the occasion, the Kenya Olympics Committee Chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino said gold medalists will be awarded Kshs 1 million, silver medalists Kshs 600,000 while bronze medalists will be awarded Kshs 300,000.
Dr. Keino said other corporate organizations including Mabati Rolliing Mills have also pledged hefty awards to the medalists.
The Government has been running a cash incentive award scheme for Kenyan sportsmen and women for the last seven years.
Commending the sportsmen and women for qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and Deaf World Athletics Championships in Toronto, President Kibaki said the nation is proud of their accomplishments.
"I wish you all God's blessings and care. We send you out as champions.
Bring our nation the glory because we are looking forward to a good medal tally," President Kibaki added.
President Kibaki noted that the men and women chosen to represent Kenya in the London, Barcelona and Toronto games are part of a long history of excellence by Kenyan sporting heroes who have brought glory to the country.
Said the President: "We look forward to the playing of the Kenyan national anthem as many times as possible during the various events."
"These events symbolize excellence in sport. "We take great pride, as a nation, to compete in them," President Kibaki said.
Saying the national flag symbolizes Kenya's nationhood and gives the team a national identity throughout the games, President Kibaki saluted all past and present sporting heroes who have raised the flag high.
He observed that Kenyan sportsmen and women have always fought gallantly and brought the country fame and glory in the international sports arena.
"The challenge ahead of you, therefore, is to emulate those who were there before you, and put our country in the international limelight,"
President Kibaki told the teams.
The President, once again, encouraged the Kenyan teams to perform well at the Olympics and Paralympics and Deaf Games, saying the victory will earn them a place in sports history which can never be erased.
In this regard, President Kibaki advised the Kenyan teams to the London Olympics and Paralympics, Barcelona world junior championships and Deaf Games in Toronto to re-dedicate themselves to national duty and remain true patriots.
He also urged them to be confident and maintain high standards of discipline as a weapon of success.
President Kibaki, at the same time, called for fast-tracking of the establishment of the national sports lottery.
The President noted that the lottery will help to raise funds for various sports programmes in the country.
"We must fast-track the establishment of this lottery that we proposed many years ago," President Kibaki said.
The Head of State reaffirmed that the Government will continue investing more resources in sports development in the country.
To consolidate the gains realized, President Kibaki said the Government has embarked on the rehabilitation of the country's stadia including the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret and Mombasa Municipal Stadium among others.
The President added that his Government has also factored in the VISION 2030 the setting up of an international sports academy.
Said the President: "The academy will be utilized for specialized training in various sporting activities. Researchers and other sports professionals will also find the Academy useful."
President Kibaki pointed out that the Government has embarked on steady improvement of sports facilities in all regions and counties.
In his remarks, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Dr. Paul Otuoma said a Sports Bill developed by his ministry and approved by Cabinet was ready for debate in Parliament.
The Bill once passed into law, the Minister noted, will create a National Sports Fund to manage a national sports lottery that would augment government budgetary allocations to the sports sector.
Dr. Otuoma, at the same time, said the Government was forging partnerships with private institutions to rehabilitate sports facilities across the country.
The minister reassured that the selection of the teams to the four international sports championships was done transparently.
Others who spoke included the Kenya National Paralympics Committee Chairman Mr. Jairus Mogalo and the Kenya Sports Federation for the Deaf Chairman Mr. Peter Kalae among others.
In attendance were Assistant Ministers Kabando wa Kabando, former Sports Minister, Prof. Helen Sambili, Naivasha MP John Mututho, acting Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet Mr. Francis Kimemia and the British High Commissioner to Kenya Dr. Christain Turner among senior Government and sporting fraternity officials.
Kenya Deaf Squad Get Sh17 Million Boost Ahead of World Show
BY WILLIAM NJUGUNA, 27 JUNE 2012
The Kenya team to the World deaf athletics Championships in Toronto, Canada received Sh17 million boost yesterday towards the tour. The government pledged to give Sh15 million with National Bank of Kenya forking out Sh2 million to aid in their preparations for the event scheduled for July 12-22 in Toronto. The Sh15 million from government cover air tickets, accommodation, visas , Insurance cover, competition kit and allowances for the 24-man team. Otuoma said sponsorship will go a long way in preparing the team for the task ahead and expressed confidence that the team will deliver. " I am confident that the team going for the event in Canada will do the country proud and win several gold medals," he said .
In the event's 2008 edition staged in Turkey, the team won four medals- two gold, one silver and one bronze. At the deaf Olympics held in Taiwan in 2009, the team won seven medals-four gold, two silver and one bronze.
Otuoma said National Bank of Kenya have promised to match the government award scheme introduced eight years ago. He said this time round, gold medallists who have been pocketing 300,000 will go home with Sh600,000 courtesy of NBK. Silver medallists who have always pocketed Sh200,000 will go home with double the prize and so will be the bronze medallists who have always received Sh100,000.
Otuoma lauded NBK's efforts in supporting athletics in the country. "I want to thank NBK for their support for athletics events in the country and I urge other corporate to come on board," added Otuoma. The event in Canada will be used as a qualifier for the 2013 deaf Olympics to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria. NBK managing director Reuben Marambii urged the team to do the country proud at the event. Marambii promised to increase the sponsorship of the team next year. "We are looking at increasing the sponsorship package in the next edition of the games," he added.
Speed up passage of disability bill - Disabled Youth
Ghana News Agency -
28th June 2012 Bolgatanga,
June 27, GNA - Mr Akubire Mark Atia Ismail, Regional Chairman of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled Youth, has called on the government to ensure that the disability act is passed into law.
In a press release issued copied to the GNA in Bolgatanga, the Regional Chairman explained that without a legislative instrument backing the act it was meaningless.
He said section 18 sub section A and B of the Act which talks about the provision of free education and establishment of special schools in the country for Person’s with disability who by reason of their disability cannot enroll in regular schools and indicated there were only few of such facilities in the country as compared to the number of persons with disability.
Mr Ismail said currently there were no disability curricula in the health institutions in the country which, he noted, was affecting the delivery of quality services to persons with disability.
“Persons with disability who have hearing impaired problems find it most difficult to access proper and appropriate prescriptions whenever they visit health institutions”, he said.
Mr Ismail said they were also marginalized in the job market because of low educational background and the necessary training adding that this was worsening the plight of the disabled.
He said if the appropriate training were given and jobs made available to persons with disability, it would take a lot of them from the streets.
Mr Ismail said the only way to address the problems of persons with disability was to pass the Disability Act into law to give it a backing to bite.
He said the earlier the bill was passed the better because in life any person could become disabled including the law-makers.
Miss Deaf gets E650 from DPM
28 June, 2012 Swazi observer
SAFE JOURNEY: Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku, Miss Deaf Nosipho Zwane and Minister of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs at the DPM's offices Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku has donated 50 Euros (E650) to Miss Deaf Nosipho Zwane.
The money was handed to Miss Deaf Director Nokuthula Mbatha by DPM’s Principal Secretary Khangeziwe Mabuza. Nokuthula will be going to Czech Republic to take part in the Miss Deaf World pageant.
Masuku urged others to follow suit.
“I will contribute towards the trip of Zwane, I urge others to also make contributions to the queen’s trip,” he said. He said individuals and companies wishing to make contributions should contact his office or come there in person.
Miss Deaf bids farewell to DPM
Miss Deaf Nosipho Zwane yesterday bade farewell to Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku ahead of her trip to the Czech Republic for the Miss Deaf World pageant.
She leaves the country Saturday and will be accompanied by her chaperon Nelsiwe Lushaba.
Masuku said he was very optimistic that Zwane would bring the title back home as she had all the qualities of a winner.
He said His Majesty’s government fully supported people with disabilities, adding that the Constitution stated that they deserve to be respected by society.
“As you have seen that the former queen brought back something in the contest.
I am sure this time around you will be crowned the queen,” he said.
Masuku said it was the mandate of his ministry to promote the welfare of people with disabilities.
He said Zwane should know that she would not be representing herself but the Kingdom in Czech Republic.
“Your personality during the contest will reflect how Swazis conduct themselves.
I am sure you will show them that Swazis respect other people.
We were happy to see that even in churches, people with disabilities are catered for.
Nokuthula Mbatha, we are happy with the commitment you have shown towards this contest, only the brave can do this,” He said.
Nosipho thanked the DPM for his kind gesture and promised to bring the crown home.
Her wish now is to see the king before she leaves on Saturday.
Demonstration School for the Deaf sends SOS to Government
06月29日 Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
The Demonstration School for the Deaf, at Mampong-Akuapem has sent an SOS to government for assistance.
The Headmistress of the School, Regina Dankwa said as a special school, the poor state of infrastructure and lack of facilities are making effective teaching and learning difficult.
She said since the school is not fenced, the life of the pupils are in perpetual danger because the school is located on the main Accra- Koforidua Highway.
The situation she said put the children's life at risk.
Madam Dankwa made this known to Radio Ghana when the school visited Parliament as part of the school's 45th anniversary.