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アフリカ障害者の10年 African Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2013年7月〜9月


アフリカアフリカ Africa 2015


Gender in Africa
ケニア共和国 Republic of Kenya 大統領選挙と騒乱
アルジェリア民主人民共和国アンゴラ共和国ウガンダ共和国エジプト・アラブ共和国エチオピア連邦民主共和国エリトリア国ガーナ共和国カーボヴェルデ共和国ガボン共和国カメルーン共和国ガンビア共和国ギニア共和国ギニアビサウ共和国ケニア共和国コートジボワール共和国コモロ連合コンゴ共和国コンゴ民主共和国サハラ・アラブ民主共和国サントメ・プリンシペ民主共和国ザンビア共和国シエラレオネ共和国ジンバブエ共和国スーダン共和国スペイン領カナリア諸島スワジランド王国セーシェル共和国赤道ギニア共和国セネガル共和国ソマリア民主共和国タンザニア連合共和国チャド共和国チュニジア共和国中央アフリカ共和国トーゴ共和国ナイジェリア連邦共和国ナミビア共和国ニジェール共和国ブルキナファソブルンジ共和国ベナン共和国ボツワナ共和国マダガスカル共和国マラウイ共和国マリ共和国南アフリカ共和国南スーダン共和国モーリシャス共和国モーリタニア・イスラム共和国モザンビーク共和国モルディブ共和国モロッコ王国リビア(旧 大リビア・アラブ社会主義人民ジャマーヒリーヤ国)リベリア共和国ルワンダ共和国レソト王国

○2007年までのニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 〜2007年
○2008年1月〜3月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2008年 1
○2008年4月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2008年 2
○2008年7月〜9月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2008年 3
○2008年10月〜12月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2008年 4
○2009年1月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2009年1月〜6月
○2009年7月〜9月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2009年7月〜9月
○2009年10月〜12月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2009年10月〜12月
○2010年1月〜3月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2010年1月〜3月
○2010年4月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2010年4月〜6月
○2010年7月〜9月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2010年7月〜9月
○2010年10月〜12月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2010年10月〜12月
○2011年1月〜3月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2011年1月〜3月
○2011年4月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2011年4月〜6月
○2011年7月〜9月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2011年7月〜9月
○2011年10月〜12月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2011年10月〜12月
○2012年1月〜3月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2012年1月〜3月
○2012年4月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2012年4月〜6月
○2012年7月〜9月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2012年7月〜9月
○2012年10月〜12月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2012年10月〜12月
○2013年1月〜3月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2013年1月〜3月
○2013年4月〜6月のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年 2013年4月〜6月
○最新のニュース・情報  アフリカ障害者の10年

* 主としてアジア経済研究所の「障害と開発」メーリングリストで紹介された記事を収録しています。
  アジア経済研究所 森壮也

* 新聞記事は、ウェブサイトへの掲載期間が限られています。ウェブで見あたらなくなったら縮刷版で内容を確認してください。

* 幅広く多種多様な情報を紹介しています。情報源、情報が発せられた状況などに留意しながら活用してください。

◆2013/07/01 National Mirror 13, 626 pupils are visually impaired -Commissioner
◆2013/07/01 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: IMF Supports Disabled Children
◆2013/07/01 AllAfrica.com Rwanda: Disabled People to Be Categorized
◆2013/07/02 AllAfrica.com Gambia: Disabled Man Grateful to Yagana World Foundation
◆2013/07/02 BusinessGhana Bechem School for the deaf appeals for assistance
◆2013/07/03 Ghana Business News Security officer remanded for defilement
◆2013/07/05 日本トイレ協会ノーマライゼーション研究会 アジア・アフリカでのアクセシビリティ改善における日本の活動
◆2013/07/10 AllAfrica.com Ghana: Sorry Plight of Mampong School for the Deaf
◆2013/07/12 AllAfrica.com Africa: Treaty Eases Access to Books for the Visually Impaired
◆2013/07/13 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: Special Disabled Education Scheme Now in the Offing
◆2013/07/16 AllAfrica.com Uganda: That Quinine Injection Could Leave You Disabled
◆2013/07/16 AllAfrica.com South Africa: Deaf Demand More Sign Language
◆2013/07/17 GhanaWeb US citizens supply disability aids to Ghana
◆2013/07/17 Aljazeera.com (blog) Safe Love Club' for Zambia hearing impaired
◆2013/07/17 AllAfrica.com Nigeria Signs Copyright Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons
◆2013/07/17 Sierra Express Media Blind and Deaf and Dumb Schools barricade Wilkinson Road
◆2013/07/18 AllAfrica.com Africa: Focus On Disability - Delivering Equal Access to ICTs
◆2013/07/18 AllAfrica.com Ghana: Deputy Gender Minister Addresses UN Session On Disability
◆2013/07/19 Ghana Business News Disabled persons get cash, mobility gadgets
◆2013/07/19 AllAfrica.com Liberia: Disability Inclusive Transport Sector Talks Climax Today
◆2013/07/19 Ghana Minister Addresses UN Session On Disability
◆2013/07/19 AllAfrica.com Sierra Leone: No Access to Justice for Hearing-Impaired
◆2013/07/21 Zee News Sign language of the times
◆2013/07/21 AllAfrica.com Uganda: Ecobank Supports the Deaf
◆2013/07/22 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: Keshi Donates Boots to Deaf and Dumb National Team
◆2013/07/22 Leadership Newspapers Keshi Donates Boots To Deaf And Dumb National Team
◆2013/07/24 GhanaWeb Planning Committee donates to the deaf
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Rwanda: Visually-Impaired Persons Demand Inclusion in Development
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Gambia: Beakanyang, RSOD to Involve Disabled Women in Climate Change Mitigation
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Uganda: Troubles Women With Disabilities Encounter to Control Birth
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: Education Only Suitable Gift for Child's Future
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Zambia: Love Games try to help raise awareness of HIV in Zambia
◆2013/07/24 New Vision Teachers Making A Difference
◆2013/07/24 AllAfrica.com Sierra Leone: DIFSIL Provides Succour to Grafton Disabled Persons
◆2013/07/24 P.M. News Deaflympics: Nigerian Deaf Stars Set To Redeem Image
◆2013/07/25 Mmegi Online BDF donation stimulates disabled businesses
◆2013/07/25 AllAfrica.com Malawi: Visually Impaired Islanders Appeal for Inclusion in Civic Education Committee
◆2013/07/25 AllAfrica.com Africa: Kenyan Doctor Receives Peace Corps Association's Highest Honor
◆2013/07/25 New Vision Kaberamaido’s deaf, dumb couple love each other to death
◆2013/07/26 Ghana Business News Ghana’s Disability Act: The State must set the pace
◆2013/07/27 AllAfrica.com Zambia: Disability and HIV/Aids
◆2013/07/28 Sierra Express Media Local NGO Calls For Sign Language in Teacher Training & Police
◆2013/07/28 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: Abia Sanitation Court Jais Three for Contempt
◆2013/07/29 AllAfrica.com Liberia: Lebanese Community Identifies With Physically Challenged
◆2013/07/29 The Africa Report Kenya-Tanzania: Trafficking handicapped children and the economy of misery
◆2013/07/30 GhanaWeb Okaikoi calls for speedy passage of LI on disability
◆2013/07/30 AllAfrica.com Zimbabwe: Miss Deaf Shines in Czech Republic
◆2013/07/30 The Guardian Nigeria Nigeria adopts WIPO’s Copyright Treaty for visually impaired persons
◆2013/07/31 The Guardian Nigeria Deaf athletes yearn for more tourneys in Lagos
◆2013/07/31 Ghana Atta Mills Anniversary Committee Supports Special Schools
◆2013/07/31 Vibe Ghana Noise, not age is the leading cause of hearing loss
◆2013/07/31 Nyasa Times Bright Nkhata’s daughter speaks on father’s legacy
◆2013/08/01 Leadership Newspapers Enugu Govt Approves N171m For Special Centre For The Deaf
◆2013/08/03 AllAfrica.com Angola: Education Wants More Disabled Children in School System By 2014
◆2013/08/03 AllAfrica.com Zambia: Ensuring Access to ICTs for Disabled
◆2013/08/03 BusinessGhana Health personnel undergoes sign language training
◆2013/08/04 AllAfrica.com Uganda: UNICEF Report Urges On Disabled Children
◆2013/08/05 AllAfrica.com Rwanda: Deaf Siblings Express Themselves Through Art
◆2013/08/06 Zambia Daily Mail How we care for highly disabled pensioners
◆2013/08/06 AllAfrica.com Africa: Greetings Sent to World's Hearing-Impaired Children
◆2013/08/08 Zambia Daily Mail Pick ‘n’Pay: Equal oppotunity employer
◆2013/08/09 AllAfrica.com Africa: UN - Disaster Policy to Get Input From Disabled People
◆2013/08/11 AllAfrica.com Zambia: Economic Independence Eludes Zambia's Disabled
◆2013/08/12 SOS Children Making media available to deaf children in Zambia and worldwide
◆2013/08/14 Myjoyonline.com Inmates of Kumasi Children's home share facility with mentally disabled children
◆2013/08/14 AllAfrica.com Kenya: Disabled Ex-Soldier Demands Sh22 Million Dues
◆2013/08/15 GhanaWeb Inmates of Kumasi Children's home share facility with mentally disabled children
◆2013/08/16 AngolaPress Lwini Foundation donates means of locomotion to disabled people
◆2013/08/16 The Gambia Journal Gambia drops charges against disabled beggars
◆2013/08/27 AllAfrica.com Zimbabwe: U.S. Grants Help Deaf Achieve Independence in Zimbabwe
◆2013/08/28 Mmegi Online Deaf students to represent Botswana in SA
◆2013/08/28 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: The Deaf Underscore Inclusion of Their Rights in New Constitution
◆2013/08/30 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: Enitan-Oshodi Plans Big for Paralympics, Deaf Table Tennis
◆2013/08/30 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: 13-Year Old Visually Impaired Author Calls for Quality Education
◆2013/08/30 AllAfrica.com Zimbabwe: Schools of the Disabled Exhibit at Agric Show
◆2013/09/01 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: People Living With Disability Want Equal Services At All Hospitals
◆2013/09/01 AllAfrica.com Uganda: Report - City Buildings Inaccessible to Disabled
◆2013/09/01 AllAfrica.com Zambia: Inclusive Education for Deaf Children
◆2013/09/02 AllAfrica.com Sierra Leone's Polio Disabled Battle Adversity
◆2013/09/03 Zambia Daily Mail Livingstone council, RDA to ensure disabled access new roads
◆2013/09/05 AllAfrica.com Kenya: Mother to Serve Six Years in Prison for Killing Son
◆2013/09/05 AllAfrica.com Namibia: Nasilowski Hopes for Disability Sport Growth
◆2013/09/05 AllAfrica.com Namibia: Row Over Disability Grants
◆2013/09/06 JCCP ケニアでスラムのろう児を持つ親を支援するプロジェクト
◆2013/09/06 AllAfrica.com Tunisia: First Regional Conference of Arab Deaf-and-Dumb Starts in Tunis
◆2013/09/06 AllAfrica.com Namibia: Equality for Deaf People
◆2013/09/08 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: My Encounter With Abuja's 'Proxy Beggars'
◆2013/09/09 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: Disabled Persons Call for Bunge Representation
◆2013/09/09 AllAfrica.com Gambia: Members of Association of Physically Disabled Recite Quran for Sponsors
◆2013/09/09 AllAfrica.com Kenya: Disabled Call for Education
◆2013/09/09 New Era Ohengwena literacy on the up
◆2013/09/10 AllAfrica.com Kenya: Uasin Gishu Raises Funds for Disabled Kids
◆2013/09/13 AllAfrica.com Nigeria: The Disabled - A Powerful Untapped Resource
◆2013/09/14 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: Disabled Organisation Sends Plea to Media
◆2013/09/16 AllAfrica.com Egypt: Constituent Assembly Discusses Rights of Disabled Persons
◆2013/09/17 BBC News ガーナのインクルーシブ教育のビデオ
◆2013/09/17 AllAfrica.com Tanzania: Disabled Children Need Protection
◆2013/09/25 The Kubatana People with disabilities sidelined in global HIV and AIDS fund intervention - once again
◆2013/09/26 AllAfrica.com Sierra Leone: Deaf and Dumb Demand to Be Treated Equally
◆2013/09/26 AllAfrica.com Gambia: Gadhoh Defeats Access Bank in Global Deaf Week Commemoration
◆2013/09/28 AllAfrica.com South Sudan: 'Do Not Discriminated Against the Physically Disabled' - Labour Undersecretary Urges
■Child-friendly text of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Word/PDF)
■International Rehabilitation Review, December 2007 - Vol. 56, No. 1, SPECIAL EDITION
■アジア太平洋/中東/アフリカ地域における障害関連の資料(小説、論文等)のリスト www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles200807.html(html)
This annotated bibliography lists a selection of 130 novels, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, materials from philosophy, anthropology and folklore, and literary criticism, in which disability, deafness or mental disorders play some significant part, from East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, available mostly in English or French.
■WHOから途上国の車椅子ユーザーのための新ガイドライン http://www.who.int/disabilities/publications/technology/wheelchairguidelines/en/index.html
■「アフリカ障害者の十年」事務局 ニュースレター「Human Rights Africa」2008年第2号 http://www.africandecade.org/humanrightsafrica/newsletter.2008-10-21.3303788528/view
■Downside of the Human Rights-Based Approach to Disability in Development
■座談会「視覚障害者が高等教育機関で学ぶ スーダンと日本の経験を語る」(2007年8月9日)
■座談会「大学における視覚障害者支援の現状と課題 スーダンで今求められていること」(2008年6月21日)
【Related Sites】
○スーダン障害者教育支援の会 http://capeds.org
○アフリカNOW 78号 特集:アフリカ障害者の10年〜アフリカの障害者の取り組みは今
2007年10月20日発行 一部500円(送料実費) 必要な方はAJF事務局こちらへ
内容 ○アフリカNOW第83号 特集 アフリカにおける民主化の課題

* アフリカにおける平和の定着と民主化の課題 武内進一
* ケニア:2007年選挙後暴力を裁く特別法廷の設置 永岡宏昌
* 【資料】ケニア選挙後暴力究明委員会報告(要旨)

アフリカの現場から−ガーナにおける障害者の社会参加促進活動 南口美佳

* 「POP AFRICA アフリカの今にのる?!」参加して考えたこと  茂住衛
* 【映画紹介】エンタングル・イン・トーキョー パート1:罪の報酬  川田薫

○アフリカNOW第85号 特集 在日アフリカ人・コミュニティと共に生きる
頒価500円(+送料) 必要な方はAJF事務局(info@ajf.gr.jp)に連絡下さい

特集1 在日アフリカ人・コミュニティと共に生きる
小島美佐さんに聞く 在日アフリカ人ファミリーとして誇りを持って生きていくために
在日アフリカ人コミュニティへのHIV/AIDS予防啓発活動に取り組んで 川田薫
特集2 アフリカの障害者と障害者運動の現状
The situation of disabled people in Zimbabwe by Alexander M. Phiri
The situation of youth with disabilities in Uganda by Aggrey Olweny
アフリカの現場から:ガーナ 小中学校における性教育とエイズ予防啓発 宮本佐知子
書評:小倉充夫著「南部アフリカ社会の百年」 近藤帝
ひとつの結び目として・活動日誌 AJF事務局

○障害と開発 途上国の障害当事者と社会
森壮也編 アジア経済研究所



○『アジア経済 Vol.49, No.2』 「貧困のミクロ経済分析−貧困の罠を用いた文献理解」
伊藤成朗 ¥1,050 B5判 平均104頁 2008年2月



○アジア経済研究所叢書4 貧困削減戦略再考
- - 生計向上アプローチの可能性 - -

山形辰史編 ¥4,620円(本体 4,400円 + 税5%) A5判 280頁 2008年3月27日 [amazon]



○アフリカと政治 紛争と貧困とジェンダー

戸田真紀子著 御茶の水書房 2400円+税 A5判 212p

天理大学の戸田さんが、新著「アフリカと政治 紛争と貧困とジェンダー」を送ってくれました。

序章 アフリカを勉強する10の理由
第1部 アフリカの「民族紛争」の神話と現実
 第1章 アフリカの「民族」とは何か
 第2章 アフリカの民族紛争の「神話」
 第3章 突出する紛争犠牲者
 第4章 選挙民主主義が紛争を生み出す矛盾
 第5章 ナイジェリアの宗教紛争
第2部 ジェンダーから見るアフリカ
 第6章 アフリカの女性と「人間の安全保障」
 第7章 女性だけが背負う重荷
終章 立ち上がる草の根の人々とその声


Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa




山田肖子編著 岩波書店 ジュニア新書 245p 2008年3月

○アフリカのろう者と手話の歴史 - A・J・フォスターの「王国」を訪ねて
亀井伸孝著 明石書店 A5判 254p 2006年12月

○亀井伸孝(2009)「第5章 言語と身体の違いを超えて関係を構築する−アフリカ のろう者コミュニティにて−」
箕浦康子編著『フィールドワークの技法と実際II 分析・解釈編』ミネルヴァ書房所収

○亀井伸孝(2009)「第17章 アメリカ手話とフランス語の接触が生んだ手話言語−フランス語圏西・中部アフリカ−」
梶茂樹・砂野幸稔編著『アフリカのことばと社会 多言語状況を生きると言うこと』三元社所収

亀井伸孝著  岩波書店 2009年6月19日  日本語  819円 (税込み)  新書判/縦組/240ページ ISBN978-4-00-500630-4 C0236

○「理解と進歩のためのアフリカ言語学: 第6回世界アフリカ言語学会議(WOCAL 6)参加報告」
 『アフリカ研究』(日本アフリカ学会): 45-47.

亀井伸孝・米田信子著 2009


13, 626 pupils are visually impaired -Commissioner

National Mirror
MURITALA AYINLA July 1, 2013 No Comments ≫

17, 572 screened in one year

At least 13, 626 pupils in Lagos State suffer from one eye problem or the other even as the state government has stepped up plan to mitigate cases of child preventive blindness and address issues of refractive error.

According the state government, out of the 17, 572 pupils screened across the state through its blindness prevention programme, over 13, 000 pupils have poor vision.

This, the state government said, could increase the poor academic performance of the pupils, if their eye problems are not timely addressed.

State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, made this disclosure while briefing journalists on the efforts of the state government to address the growing rate of children with visual impairment.

He said a total of 1, 304 teachers had been trained on eye screening while about 501 schools in the state had been equipped with vision screening kits to carry out eye screening programmes for the pupils.

He said: “Poor vision and eye health significantly affect the capacity of children to learn and succeed academically. Not seeing clearly means being less able to learn as fast or as well as children with good vision leading to lower marks, demoralisation, social and emotional problems frequently accompany educational problem.”

He added that the initiative recorded success as it has reached out to over 65, 587 pupils, adding that the scope of the programme had also been extended to include the training of teachers and the installation of vision corridor in all the schools.

To mitigate the problem, the commissioner said corrective eye glasses had been given to those whose eye problems could be checked with corrective glasses.

“The methodology we have adopted to reduce childhood blindness include: training of two teachers in each school; installation of vision corridor in each school complex; distribution of information education communication materials; referral of pupils with red eye or eye emergency condition to the nearest public secondary eye clinic within the catchment areas,” he added.



Tanzania: IMF Supports Disabled Children

Tanzania: Dar es Salaam in Lock-Down for Obama
International Organisations
Gambia: UNAIDS to Stop Operations in the Gambia
Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa Continues Steady...

Bagamoyo - THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has donated 10,000 US dollars (about 16m/-) as a joint support for various programmes carried out by Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania and Tanzania Resource and Assessment Centre for Children with disabilities (TRACED).

The IMF Resident Representative, Mr Thomas Bounsgaard believes that the donation will help the said non governmental organizations to implement their programmes of awareness seminars, training to support parents and guardians of children with disabilities.

"We hope that the fund will be used to buy teaching and learning materials as well as construction of two classrooms for Frora centre and Inclusive Day care centre," said the IMF representative during a short handover ceremony in Bagamoyo over the weekend.

Mr Bounsgaard noted that part of the funds will be used to support Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School in Ilala Municipality, a school for children with disabilities supported by the Sri Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania (SSST).

"I do encourage you to focus on implementing the project with the intention to delivering result so that you can continue to make a difference to the lives of so many. "But keep in mind those financial resources as scarce so you must be very prudent and cautious in ensuring that all money spent really benefits the selected beneficiaries," he said.

He added that IMF was looking forward to see the concrete results of the support that the International Institution civics programme is providing to TRACED and SSST to help children born with disabilities.

The chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania, Brother Nathumal Sajnani said his organization had rebuilt and renovated Uhuru Mchanganyiko Primary School by providing new furniture at between 20 and 25m/-.

Tanzania Resource and Assessment Centre for Children with disabilities (TRACED) is a non - governmental organization established by the parents of children with disabilities and professionals in the field of education, health and community development.



Rwanda: Disabled People to Be Categorized

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For people with disabilities who require specialized equipment such as prosthesis, wheelchairs, crutches, obtaining it is a real headache since it is expensive and most of them use the public health insurance (mutuelle) which does not cover such tools. Yet the National Council of Persons with Disabilities in collaboration with the ministry of health is now setting up mechanisms to come to their aid.

Wensislas Nsabikunze has been disabled since childhood, and requires leg frames and two crutches to walk. The frames cost Frw 270,000, and he says that in case the current ones get damages he wouldn't be able to afford a replacement.

"Even if I am not poor, it is very difficult to get that sum of money. Yet, if I don't have these tools I wouldn't be able to walk. It would be better if the public health insurance covers this", Nsabikunze says.

Jacques Mugisha, who is blind, had the chance to receive a white cane from Minisante's disabled persons' education program. If that weren't the case, he would have to live without this vital aid. "In the past, mutuelle covered such equipment, but it stopped. You ask assistance from the ministry, but only a lucky few get it," he explains.

Gastone Rusiha, the president of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) explains that it became impossible for the health insurance to cover such items. "For example, if you would have ten disabled people in one sector who need things like prosthesis, it would require the total contribution of mutuelle there," he explains.

However, Rusiha remarks that durable measures are being taken to solve the problem. The measures include a tariff revision where the prices for prosthesis and similar equipment have been harmonized in both private and public business so that the price can be reduced. There has also been a reduction of taxes, and soon such aids will be imported free of charge.

In the same context, the NCPD is also planning to categorize disabled people according to the severity of their condition and economic status, and for those in the first category prosthesis will be covered by public health insurance.

The PCPD president explains that this categorization will be conducted with the assistance of specialized doctors in order to make sure that it reflects the realities of the disabled people's degree of disabilities and economic status. Rusiha remarks that those in the first category will not only get support to obtain equipment, but also get other privileges which they are entitled to by law.

"For instance, they are allowed to travel in public transport like Onatracom for free, but that is currently not possible because they have no document to show," he says.

Rusiha says that the exercise will start with the new fiscal year and should be completed within 12 months.



Gambia: Disabled Man Grateful to Yagana World Foundation

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A visually impaired 33-year-old man has expressed his gratitude to the Yagana World Foundation - a charitable organization based in Holland - for assisting him with a special walking stick for the blind.

According to Mamud Saine, who lives in Latrikunda Sabiji, the new stick helps him walk alone without any person's support.

Speaking in an interview with this reporter at his residence, Mr Saine pointed out that the support from Yagana World Foundation has changed his life.

"The foundation has been so supportive of me since I started suffering from this blindness sometime late in 2009; they have come to my aid several times," he said.

"In November 2012 the foundation took me to the hospital to scan my brain to see weather my eyes can be seeing like a normal person and they paid a lot of money for that scanning; unfortunately the result proved that my eyes are no longer able to function correctly as I am completely blind."

Since then, Saine disclosed, in all of their trips to The Gambia, the foundation members usually bring something for him, and even plan to assist him more.

"Recently I was taken by them to the Gambia Organization of the Visually Impaired (GOVI) to offer me some skills training at the school. Now I am appealing to the main sponsor, Mr Derek Kent of Power Flower NCC based in Holland, to assist me to shape my life further," he said.



Bechem School for the deaf appeals for assistance

News Date: 2nd July 2013

Ms Veronica Ayeh, Headmistress of the Bechem School for the Deaf, at the weekend appealed to individuals, philanthropists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to come to the aid of educational institution.

He said the school, which had 461 students, made up of 289 boys and 180 girls, including the visually impaired, urgently needed boy's dormitory, classroom block and teaching and learning materials.

Ms Ayeh made the appeal when the Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG)Team of the Entrepreneur Action in Us (ENACTUS), a student group, presented some items to the school at Bechem.

This is to enable 210 of students, who were trained by the team in the production of habiscus drink to start producing the drink.

Ms Ayeh explained that government subvention was not enough for the running of the school as student enrolment continued to increase.

She appealed to the public to assist the school with rice, cooking oil, maize and clothing.

Mr Kennedy Kwasi Amenu, President of the team, said the group was linking up with both local and international NGOs to solicit assistance towards the upkeep of the students. Source: GNA



Security officer remanded for defilement

Ghana Business News

Security officer remanded for defilement

Page last updated at Wednesday, July 3, 2013 17:17 PM // Leave Your Comment

A Sunyani Magistrate’s Court has remanded a 44-year-old private security officer, Kwame Joseph, into prison custody for allegedly defiling a 14-year-old junior high school deaf and dumb pupil at Odumase near Sunyani.

The plea of the accused was not taken and would re-appear on Thursday, July 4.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Christopher Tawiah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Police Public Relations Officer, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani on Wednesday.

He said the accused was a private security officer at a filling station at Odumase while the victim lived nearby.

ASP Tawiah said on May 26, this year, the accused proposed to the victim, took her home and defiled her after which the accused gave her three Ghana cedis.

He said the accused defiled the victim again and offered her three Ghana cedis.

After sometime the victim fell sick and during interrogation she informed her parents that the accused had defiled her on several occasions.

ASP Tawiah said the accused was confronted and he admitted the offence adding that the parents of the victim demanded 150 Ghana cedis from the accused to send the victim to hospital but he could not afford and the matter was reported to the police.

He said a medical form was issued to the victim to attend hospital and the accused was arrested and charged with the offence after investigations.

Source: GNA

- See more at: http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2013/07/03/security-officer-remanded-for-defilement/#sthash.sljOaWeN.dpuf





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Ghana: Sorry Plight of Mampong School for the Deaf

10 JULY 2013


The Mampong-Akuapim Demonstration School for the Deaf is in dire straits.

Housed in rented premises for the past 35 years, a new Pharaoh has risen, who is apparently bent on driving it out of town. The successors to the original benevolent landlord, the new kids on the block, are insisting on a monthly rent of GHsh.3,000.

"The amount charged as rent used to be yearly, but due to the demise of the landlord, the new owners are demanding a monthly fee, which is way beyond our means," bemoaned Headmaster Nathan Pecku.

However, the old rent, which the Headmaster said was within the school's means, is several months, if not years, in arrears due to the Ministry of Education's habitual late release of budgeted funds, such that the accumulated arrears had assumed a troubling life of its own.

Following the disputed new rent, the issue has been referred to the Rent Control Office at Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, for determination.

But money is not the Mampong School for the Deaf's only problem.

Designated a secondary/technical institution, the school is said to be squeezed into space just about the size of a middle school compound. And this is an international school with students from five other countries - Nigeria, Togo, La Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

And its Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Department does not have a single, REPEAT, a single computer, and yet, the length and breadth of Ghana was awash with free laptop computers in the last quarter of 2012.

The Chronicle is shocked that this age and time, a government secondary/ technical school, and one for the deaf at that, is housed in rented premises. How moribund can the Ministry of Education be? Given the state's record of releasing subvention in arrears, the situation is a sure recipe for avoidable harassment of the Headmaster.

We are, therefore, not surprised that those reaping from where they haven't sown would demand three-fifths of an MP's four years rent allowance as monthly rent.

In the view of The Chronicle, the way out would be outright confiscation of the land on which the Mampong School for the Deaf is sited, with full compensation to the landlord's successors. It would be cheaper in the long run, as the next rent review may well ask for GHsh.5,000. Acquisition would also free the Headmaster from his current rent headaches.

In the run-up to Election 2012, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) made a song and dance of distributing free laptops to secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. Where are those penciled down for the Mampong School for the Deaf? The person who collected Mampong's share, but failed to deliver them, should be fished out this minute!

Of course, it is also quite possible that the Mampong deaf students were forgotten completely in the allocation and distribution of the free-state sponsored laptops. It is a common human failing for the able-bodied to forget the disabled. And why not? Self-conceit as to one's superiority in relation to another less fortunate is a lamentable African trait.

In the event that the Mampong deaf students were truly forgotten in the scramble for the laptops, The Chronicle calls on President John Dramani Mahama to personally ensure that their allocation is delivered to them, today.

They fall within the catchment group, and should not be discriminated against...



Africa: Treaty Eases Access to Books for the Visually Impaired


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Marrakesh - An international treaty that ensures that visually impaired people will have easier access to books has been unanimously adopted by member states of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The treaty was approved by representatives from WIPO's 186 member states at a conference held in Marrakesh, Morocco, last month (17-28 June), and they expect it to enter into force in around three months.

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled aims to improve access to published works for the more than 300 million blind and visually impaired people around the world by overcoming copyright restrictions.

Fewer than 60 countries currently have copyright laws that make special provisions for such things as Braille, large print or audio versions of texts.

According to Article 3, the treaty includes every individual "who is blind, has a visual impairment or a perceptual or reading disability or is unable, through physical disability, to hold or manipulate a book or to focus or move the eyes to the extent that would be normally acceptable for reading". The WHO says that 90 per cent of visually impaired people live in developing countries.

Mustapha Khalfi, Morocco's communication minister, tells SciDev.Net that the treaty guarantees the right to reproduce, distribute and translate works without obtaining a licence from the author. He says the treaty marks a new phase of limitations and exceptions to intellectual property rights and copyright laws that will hugely benefit visually impaired people.

"Less than five per cent of the nearly one million books published worldwide [each year] are made available [in formats accessible] to visually impaired persons," he says.

WIPO director-general Francis Gurry says: "The biggest challenge is in setting up a system that ensures easy access and exchange of publications, while providing publishers and authors with guarantees that the system will not subject their work to illegal exploitation".

During the conference's closing session, Marianne Diamond, president of the World Blind Union, which represents the world's blind and partially sighted people, heralded the treaty as a "historic event for blind persons".

Jayed weld Abdin, a representative of Yemen's Ministry of Culture, said this is primarily a humanitarian treaty that "is not merely a means of ensuring the right of blind persons to access knowledge and learning, but also contributes indirectly to the fight against poverty and the creation of dignified living conditions".

Fatima Al-Zahra Taifor, a visually impaired professor and trainer at the Training Centre for Primary Education Teachers in Meknes, Morocco, said: "The treaty is a step towards freedom and independence with regards to accessing ... books in a way that will help us read without relying on others".



Tanzania: Special Disabled Education Scheme Now in the Offing


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Kibaha - THE government is planning to introduce a policy whereby all teachers' colleges will enhance special education for disabled, which is aimed at implementing inclusive education programme.

Addressing residents in Kibaha, Coast Region on Thursday, Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Philipo Mulugo, said the move is aimed at increasing disabled enrolment.

He was speaking during the launch of Modeling Inclusive Education (MIE) Project to be carried out in three districts of Kibaha, Mkuranga and Kisarawe.

The five-year project is carried jointly by the government and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Action on Disability and Development (ADD) International. Mr Mulugo urged local government leaders and education officials to conduct frequent census to get a number of disabled children to every household so that no one should miss out the education opportunity.

It's widely acknowledged that only 3-5% of disabled children in Tanzania go to school - a fact that had already resulted in the National Strategy in Inclusive Education, which was initiated in 2009.

According to a study which was conducted by Mr Cosmas Mnyanyi, a consultant from Open University of Tanzania (OUT), the few who have made it into school face a wide range of challenges including a lack of assistive devices such as braille machines for the visually impaired, hearing aids and ramps and access points for children using wheel chairs.

"There are very few teachers who have qualifications and understanding of disability issues, a shortage of data on types of disability, a scarcity of workshops where crafts and trades can be taught, as well as issues facing all children such as a shortage of books and classroom space," said Mr Mnyanyi .

ADD International, is one of the organisations that commissioned the report, its country director, Sixbert Mzee, said the findings form the first step in a five year plan to increase greater access to schools and improve educational performance and achievements.

"As a result of this report, the realities of being a child with disability are there for all of us to see. Together with other campaigners and supporters we have to ensure that we work even harder to bring down barriers first in Coastal Region, and then across Tanzania," he said.

ADD International Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Tim Wainwright, said the programme focuses on transforming the education system to provide the disabled children with friendly environment.



Uganda: That Quinine Injection Could Leave You Disabled


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Carol Nakerebwe's biggest wish in life is to walk without pain and barriers like other children she sees at school. However, a quinine injection she received for malaria at two years caused more harm than good.

Her mother, a resident of Kalangala islands, says she took Nakerebwe to a nearby clinic at night and the nurse on duty injected her with quinine in her buttocks. In the morning, she could hardly stand.

She started to walk with one side of the foot and this caused severe pain in her ankle, hip joint and back, giving her sleepless nights. This forced her mother, who requested anonymity, to try another hospital in Masaka.

Nakerebwe was operated upon and given an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) - braces, usually plastic, encompassing the ankle joint and all or part of the foot - but did not use it as it was too tight. Her mother, therefore, discontinued use and her daughter's foot remained with the disability.

Her daughter has lived with the disability for more than 10 years.

"At school, pupils would call me kolobba (derogatory term for people with impaired limbs) whenever I spilt things on myself due to my bent walking posture," she says.

This discrimination, isolation and loneliness left her feeling sad. Her future seemed bleak until a few months ago when she was identified by Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU), which referred her to hospital for surgery.

"We had completely given up on treating her because we had tried and failed, and we did not know that there were doctors who could handle such cases," her mother says.

Dr Michael Mukasa, an orthopaedic surgeon at CoRSU, says Nakerebwe was diagnosed with post -injection paralysis (PIP).

The dangers of poor quinine administration:

Like Nakerebwe, quinine can cause paralysis if accidentally injected into the sciatic nerve. The nerve is a delicate structure that controls the movement and sensation in the lower limbs.

When the injection is improperly administered in the buttocks area, it can damage the sciatic nerve, and in children whose muscular layer is rather thin, the nerve can be injured by the needle itself or by the toxic action of the drug.

"The paralysis leads to impaired walking and running. Because of the impaired nerve supply to muscles and inactivity, there is wasting (thinning), stiffness of joints, chronic ulcers and clubfeet," Mukasa explains.

Apart from PIP, Dr Antonio Loro, an orthopaedic surgeon at CoRSU, says intra-muscular abscesses (pus collecting in the muscle) are another proven consequence of quinine administration.

Quinine is well-absorbed after oral or intramuscular administration, peak levels usually reach within four hours. It does so more rapidly if the intra-muscular injections are diluted.

However, when injections are repeatedly given in the buttocks, they can lead to muscular fibres to be replaced by scar tissue. This can prevent the child from sitting, squatting and bending knees comfortably. This condition is medically known as muscle fibrosis.

Mukasa says one of the early warning signs of PIP is excessive pain at the injection site. Since the beginning of the year, 94 cases of people diagnosed with PIP have been seen at CoRSU.

Proper usage of quinine

Below, Mukasa gives tips on quinine's proper usage:

Reduction of use of unnecessary injections. It is important that the first line of treatment be given in tablet form.

Injections should only be given when the patient is severely ill and cannot swallow or where drugs are only available in injectable formulations.

Only experienced medical personnel should be allowed to administer intramuscular injections.

Surgery sets Nakerebwe free:

Nakerebwe was operated upon and 10 months after the surgery, the back pain has ceased and she has rejoined school. She can also do the things that were alien to her in the past, like wearing shoes and doing house chores.

"For my daughter being able to walk normally is a dream come true and I am grateful to CoRSU for helping her," her mother said.

Nakerebwe's foot has not only healed but also straightened. Meanwhile, CoRSU has received arthroscopy equipment worth $67,632 [about Shs 175m] from the Embassy of Japan.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the examination and treatment of damage of the interior of a joint is performed using a very small camera at the end of a thin flexible tube.

According to Dr Paul Muwa at CoRSU, this machine can do all the arthroscopic examination of almost every joint in the human body but the more common are knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot and hip. The arthroscopic procedure evaluates many orthopaedic conditions including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, and reconstruction and trimming damaged cartilage.

The new machine was commissioned on July 8 by Japan's ambassador to Uganda, Kazuo Minagawa.

Additional reporting by Dorah Nampindi.



South Africa: Deaf Demand More Sign Language

16 JULY 2013 allAfrica

Sign Language is the primary language used by the deaf community in South Africa, yet to this day it is not officially recognized or well-integrated into everyday life.

The South African Constitution stipulates that all citizens are equal before the law and have a right to choose their own language and culture.

Lwandokazi Denti, a deaf teen, said: "Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms, and it's unfortunate that we [deaf people] don't enjoy the same benefits that hearing people enjoy when it comes to accessing television programmes."

Matlapulana Ragoasha, a communications manager from e.tv, said, "e.tv supported and continues to support people with hearing disabilities in a significant way over the past years. We have had the pleasure of engaging four interpreters across our various news bulletins. Our Sign Language interpreter can translate multiple languages into Sign Language. We always ensure that we make special events and addresses accessible to those with hearing disabilities."

Daily TV broadcasts in Sign Language give today's South African Sign Language its national cohesion and unity.

Lithemba Twalo, a deaf auxiliary worker from the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA), said, "South African broadcasters (SABC and e.tv) have improved in terms of accommodating the deaf by putting subtitles on their news and soapies but fail to accommodate us when its time for movies."

According to the site Deafness South Africa, South Africa is one of the brightest spots for deaf culture on the African continent.

DeafSA began operating in 1929. South Africa currently has 47 schools that cater to the deaf.

Thabo Mongoato, a camera operator who just shot a documentary about deaf education, said, "It's unfortunate that deaf people are marginalised, and honestly they are not provided for. They are only provided for in the news, where every now and again there's an insert of someone signing. SABC's DeafTV is one programme that I can say caters to the deaf, but even that is not enough."

The SABC did not answer telephone calls or emails requesting comment.

According to the National Institution for the Deaf (NID), Sign Language is the fifth most-used language in the country. Because it is so popular, NID is advocating for Sign Language to be recognised as one of South Africa's official languages.

"Being deaf is not a communication barrier," Mongoato added. "But stigma and arrogance are."



US citizens supply disability aids to Ghana

Voice Ghana Products

Voice of the People with Disability Ghana (VOICE-Ghana), a disability rights advocacy group based in Ho, has taken delivery of a 20-foot shipping container, loaded with disability support materials for distribution to schools and disability organisations.

The materials estimated at cost of $100,000.00 was collected based on appeals made across the US by, Rae Tyler, onetime an Exchange Student of Mawuli Senior Secondary School in Ho.

Ms Tyler from Massachusetts, USA, works as a Braille transcriber.

The package includes 35 boxes of Braille and large print books and educational materials, 155 pairs of crutches, 70 walkers, 15 wheelchairs and other mobility equipment.

Some of the titles in Braille volumes are Oliver Twist, Gulliver's Travels and David Copperfield.

Mr Francis Asong, Director of VOICE-GHANA made this known to Ghana News Agency in Ho.

He said items including needle threaders, Braille rulers and erasers would be distributed to the Mawuli Braille Resource Centre, Ho, the Visually Impaired Unit and Adidome Senior High School- Adidome, in the Volta Region.

He said the New Horizon School for the Blind, Ho, Ghana Blind Union, Ho, Ghana Blind Union, Kpedze, the Special Needs Unit of the Anglican Primary School, Ho, and some persons with disabilities in the region at Jasikan and Nkwanta are among the recipients.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency's Funded Transportation Programme provided door-to-port transportation of the donated items and also funded shipment to Ghana.

Mr Asong said collaboration between Miss Tyler and VOICE-GHANA would contribute to the reduction of the stigma surrounding persons with disabilities, increase social, economic and educational opportunities, and foster inclusive education for People With Disabilities.

Mr Asong said: “Miss Tyler shall continue to send Braille materials and mobility equipment to VOICE-GHANA for donation to other schools for the blind and persons with disabilities in the country.”

He expressed regret about the slow response of some state institutions to help clear the goods from the port at a discount.



Safe Love Club' for Zambia hearing impaired

Aljazeera.com (blog)

Alarmed by the number of deaf students contracting HIV/AIDS, outreach programme moves to help those at risk.

Last modified: 17 Jul 2013 17:40

Azad Essa

Lusaka, Zambia - In the Minali township of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, some 20 pupils join together at a local high school to talk about sex, relationships and HIV/AIDS.

As part of a campaign called the "Safe Love Club", around 1,500 people between the ages of 18-49 meet at least once a week across the city to discuss the virus that has - to a large extent - devastated the social fabric of this country.

But the session we've dropped in to listen to is a little different.

It is a special class for the deaf. Sessions are designed to include people with disabilities who have been mostly left out of the HIV/AIDS policy, education and awareness efforts in the country.

Twice a week, students come and through the help of a translator and facilitator, share stories and exchange information about the virus. Crucially, it is a space that opens up a conversation on the particular social circumstances that lead to increased vulnerability.

In Zambia, the key drivers of HIV/AIDS include concurrent partners, low male circumcision and low condom use.

The students, many in their mid-twenties, come with stories of abuse, and marginalisation.

Ben Miti, executive director of the Latkings Outreach programme, one of the partners of the initiative, tells us that in many ways these pupils are more vulnerable than others.

Zambia is home to an estimated 16,000 people with hearing disabilities, including those with partial or absolute hearing disability.

With most awareness efforts concentrated on radio and television, not only are they left out of the conversation, their access to health care is also hampered by high costs.

Crucially, it often results in a compromise of confidentiality as unqualified interpreters intervene during traumatic pre- or post- counselling, or during diagnosis.

It is remarkable, that as HIV/AIDS enters its fourth decade in the popular imagination as a devastating virus, fraught with issues of stigma and shame, how an entire segment of a population living in the midst of an epidemic can still suffer abject neglect. That we can learn anything more about the web of discrimination, espoused by a complex social milieu, is even more astounding.

Even organisers here admit that while the Safe Love clubs started in 2011, the classes for the deaf began just two months ago.

In fact, it was only in 2011 that the first set of counsellors, 21 in total, were trained to specifically help the deaf in HIV AIDS related counselling in Zambia.

"We conducted [an] HIV test in the area a few months back and when we found that 49 out of the 127 deaf students tested were HIV positive, we knew we had to intervene," Miti said.

And though the facilitator Humphrey Chileshe leads the class like a tele-evangelist, thrilling and teaching all at once, it is here that one gets a sense that despite the gains and improvements in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, getting people to talk about it is just one part of the dilemma. Including everyone in the conversation around HIV AIDS is another problem altogether.

Al Jazeera's Azad Essa is currently reporting on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria in Zambia as part of a Global Health fellowship with the International Reporting Project. He will be focusing on the recent gains by Zambia in trying to alleviate the impact of three of the most devastating diseases to hit Sub Saharan Africa.



Nigeria Signs Copyright Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons

17 JULY 2013

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A Nigerian delegation has joined other International Negotiators at a Diplomatic Conference convened by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to adopt a Treaty to facilitate access to published works for Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities.

In a statement signed by its Director General, Ijeoma Egbunike, the Treaty was a culmination of efforts that commenced since 2009 in WIPO to redress the book famine that excluded over 300 million Beneficiary Persons from access to literary and artistic works, 90% of which live in developing countries and of these, 27million in Africa.

The Marrakesh Treaty was said to be a landmark achievement as it symbolizes the first ever Copyright Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Beneficiary Persons, since the adoption of the first multilateral international Copyright Instrument (Berne Convention) in 1886.

After more than a week of intense debate, the Treaty adopted a real triumph of negotiation for the Nigerian delegation that successfully balanced various delicate issues such as interests of Copyright owners, Beneficiary Persons and the Sovereignty of the nation as well as harmonizing Copyright international best practices.

Director-General of WIPO, Francis Gurry described the treaty as a victory for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled, including the multilateral system, adding "with this treaty, the international community has demonstrated the capacity to tackle specific problems, and to agree a consensus solution. This is a balanced treaty, and represents a very good arbitration of the diverse interests of the various stakeholders."

Head of the Nigerian delegation to the Conference, Mr. Afam Ezekude, who is also the Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), pointed out that the Treaty was a culmination of efforts that commenced 2009 in WIPO to redress the book famine that excluded over 300 million Beneficiary Persons from access to literary and artistic works, 90% of which live in developing countries and of these, 27million in Africa.

The event, which was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and chaired by the nation's Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson, H.E. Mr. Mustapha Khalfi, would serve in bridging the literary access to knowledge and capacity gap that exist between Beneficiary Persons in the developed and developing Economies stressing that the Marrakesh Treaty is "a Copyright Treaty, a human rights Treaty, and a humane Treaty".



Blind and Deaf and Dumb Schools barricade Wilkinson Road

Sierra Express Media

Blind and Deaf and Dumb Schools barricade Wilkinson Road thumbnail

By: SEM on July 17, 2013.

Hell broke loose on 15th July when pupils of the Milton Margai School for the Blind together with the School for the Deaf and Dumb stormed and barricaded the Wilkinson Road with desks and chairs preventing vehicular traffic in the morning hours.

The physically challenged pupils were demanding a speed bump and a sign post signal to be instituted on the road opposite the confines of both schools. They complained of the frequency at which pupils of their schools are being knocked down by speeding vehicles. The past Saturday, two pupils were knocked down by a vehicle while they were on their way to sit to an examination.

A teacher of the Blind School (name withheld) told me that both schools have made untiring calls on the Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA) and other concerned parties to construct a sleeping police in front of their premises to avert accidents involving the handicapped.

Another senior member of the Deaf and Dumb school intimated to this press that the contractor of the road has still not replaced the gate of their school compound. He bemoaned that several letters have been sent to the SLRA but no action has been taken.

“Our pupils are vulnerable, some of them are deaf and can’t hear the sound of speeding vehicles or reckless drivers, the children are becoming victims on a daily basis. This is unfair! Our Government must act now,” the teacher wept.

The SLRA could not respond on these issues relating to the call of these children as we go to press.



Africa: Focus On Disability - Delivering Equal Access to ICTs

BY SUE COE, 18 JULY 2013

An Indian technology firm, BarrierBreak, is adapting Western-designed technology that magnifies and reads aloud documents to assist visually impaired people, it was reported.

A Microsoft India spokeswoman said in the article that anti-discrimination laws are a key reason why disability-accessible products are available in developed countries. But this fact increasingly applies to developing countries too.

The key factor driving this change is Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006. It states that all governments that have ratified the convention will "take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others ... [to] information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems".

Furthermore, governments should "promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet ... and promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost". [1]

So far, 132 countries have ratified the convention - approximately two-thirds of which are developing nations. Thus anti-discrimination issues are now applicable to numerous developing countries.

Many of these are working to embed the convention's articles into national legislation and policies. In 2011, Sierra Leone became an African pioneer when its government passed the Persons with Disability Act.

This outlines specific rights for full access by disabled people to the same services and information, including education, health and employment, as non-disabled people. The Cambodian government passed the Disability Bill in 2009, in anticipation of it ratifying the convention, which it did last year.

However, the next challenge is to implement this raft of ratifications and anti-discrimination laws effectively. The main reason often cited for a lack of implementation is inadequate resource allocation. But this is generally linked to insufficient political will.

Huge energy and effort have been exerted by civil society in particular to get convention ratifications and follow-on national laws onto the statute books. Disability movements around the world have often been behind the push towards ratification - and umbrella bodies such as the International Disability Alliance have helped coordinate and document their progress.

Disability movements are continuing to mobilise in many countries to lobby their governments on this - the process of complying with the convention offers opportunities to continue to press governments to move beyond legal commitments to action.

But the lack of locally adapted technology also hinders implementation, as shown by the BarrierBreak example: although the screen-reader technology includes 30 languages, none of them are native to India.

As new technologies come to market, they will increasingly need to ensure their full compliance with local disability accessibility laws.

Sue Coe has worked in international development for 25 years across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Now a development and disability inclusion consultant, she previously worked for World Vision, Practical Action (formerly ITDG), VSO and Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID). Coe can be contacted at suecoe2603@gmail.com.


[1] UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006)



Ghana: Deputy Gender Minister Addresses UN Session On Disability

18 JULY 2013

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Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

A young woman disabled by polio, her t-shirt reads: 'Disability is NOT inability'. Freetown, Sierra Leone.
To enhance the rights of persons with disabilities, Ghana has stressed the need to address the most significant bottlenecks or challenges in achieving their widespread inclusion in society.

According to the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Benita Okity-Duah, this was because many African countries like Ghana had a very strong cultural bias against disability. The bias system is deeply rooted in the belief system whereby disability is associated with many negative connotations. The Deputy Minister was addressing the Sixth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, yesterday.

At the three-day meeting attended by high government officials, physically challenged persons and NGOs, the States Parties are taking a critical look at the implementation of the Convention, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 16/106 on December 13, 2006 and came into force upon its ratification on May 3, 2008.

Under the theme "Ensuring adequate standard of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities", it will specifically discuss the economic empowerment through inclusive social protection and poverty reduction strategies, disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes and community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society.

To address existing challenges, Mrs. Okity-Duah said Ghana had found it useful to adopt a new Framework for Action, which offers greater clarification to the origin, nature and relationships of the barriers encountered by persons with disability in Ghana.

Recognizing that the acceptance of the individual with disability is a challenge at the family and society level, she also noted that the lack of support had led to the need to focus on societal beliefs and the home.

"The Government of Ghana seeks to address this situation through public education on risk factors for disability, initiating Belief-Change programmes where needed, as well as arranging for family support for the vulnerable" the Deputy Minister said.

Recounting policy-measures initiated to improve the rights of persons with disabilities, Mrs. Okity-Duah said apart from ratifying the UN Convention, Ghana had passed the Disability Act, established a National Council of Persons with Disability, and structured key-institutions to include more inclusive and disability-friendly society.

Others include dialogue to Mainstream Strategy with the National Development Planning Commission, to achieve the Disability-Inclusive Development at all levels.

She mentioned the implementation of the Affirmative Action, which gives a percentage of the District Assemblies Common Fund as grants for Persons with Disability, skills training, business ventures and addressing specific advocacy needs identified in the community as other policies being implemented.

Additionally, the Family Support Scheme, which provides cash transfer payments and other benefits such as Health Insurance for the poorest households, which has a representation of disabled people.

A further example of Ghana's efforts to promote greater inclusion was a pilot programme to train 5,000 persons with disability in Information Communication Technology to help facilitate their empowerment and inclusion, the Deputy Minister mentioned.

Ghana's delegation, led by Mrs. Okity-Duah, includes Madam Gertrude Oforiwa Fofoame, Grace Antwi-Atsu and Mr. Max Vardon, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Persons with Disability.

Side-events listed include a Civil Society Forum, discussions on Measuring Disability, Mental Disabilities, A Mental Health Perspectives, Voices of Youth with Disabilities from the Global South, Challenges of Toilet and Sanitary Standards in Emergencies, Strategies for Access to Education for Children, Social Protection and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Young People with Disabilities: the case of China, among others.

Source: ISD (Harry Reynolds, New York)

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Disabled persons get cash, mobility gadgets

Ghana Business News-2013/07/19
Page last updated at Saturday, July 20, 2013 6:06 AM //

cediThe Afadzato South District Assembly and Always Praising the Father Ministry, a faith-based organisation at Tema, have supported disabled persons in the district with cash and mobility gadgets.

The Assembly shared GHsh.20,000 being part of the Disability Fund from its share of the District Assembly’s Common Fund to the disabled persons to help them to establish themselves, whilst the organisation provided mobility gadgets worth GHsh.40,000 to ease the movement of the disables.

According to Ms Delphia Pappoe, District Social Development Officer, there were about 5,000 disabled persons in the Afadzato South District and to make the money substantial for them, they had been divided into groups and the sharing of the money was being done in batches.

Reverend Jewel Andam, the leader of the Ministry, said the procurement and donation of the gadgets was in fulfillment of the social responsibility of the Ministry and appealed to the beneficiaries to take good care of them to enable them to last longer.

Mrs Angela Oforiwa Tay, the District Chief Executive, urged the disabled persons to invest the money into profitable ventures to generate some profit for them.

She cautioned them against indulging in unproductive activities such as excessive drinking of alcohol, smoking and drug abuse, which would drain their resources and endanger their lives.

The DCE thanked the Ministry for its support to the disabled community.

Source: GNA

- See more at: http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2013/07/20/disabled-persons-get-cash-mobility-gadgets/#sthash.2K2Jvm6J.dpuf



Liberia: Disability Inclusive Transport Sector Talks Climax Today

19 JULY 2013

A five-day consultation aimed at increasing persons with disabilities access to transport/roads infrastructures ends today in Monrovia.

The consultation which is being held among persons with disabilities and disability service providers is placing emphasis on the review of four draft policy documents which are tailored at improving transport/roads infrastructures in Liberia and 32 persons representing 25 Disabled People Organizations and 7 service disability service providers are participating.

Supported within the operational framework of the Capacity Development in the Transport/Roads Sector Program of the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, the consultations will seek to integrate the perspectives of persons with disabilities into the draft documents.

The documents include, the Contractors Classification and Certification System which seeks to maximize economy and efficiency in public works procurement and obtain the best value for public expenditures for transport and social infrastructure by pre-qualifying construction contractors according to best practices, the draft Road Fund Administration and Road Authority Act which is also being review at the consultations, seeks to establish a Road Authority to manage road user charging system as proposed in the draft act.

The SME-Development which is another document under review in the five days consultations currently underway at the Gender Ministry in Monrovia, will also define all works specifications to handle by Liberian small business construction contractors.

Delivering the opening statement at the start of the consultations on Monday, the President of the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled, NUOD, indicated that the disabled community has always been marginalized in the transport sector as well as all other sectors of the Liberian society, noting that the consultations present a unique opportunity for stakeholders to address the constraints persons with disabilities face in accessing transport and roads infrastructures.

Also making the opening presentation on GIZ's capacity development in the transport sector project, Mr. Delino Bryant, GIZ's Policy and Implementation Officer, rationalized that the concerns of persons with disabilities have been approached with either charity or goodwill, noting that although there is global progress for equal recognition; many countries, including Liberia, are yet to respond and the general welfare the disabled population.

"Amongst the critical challenges confronting the generality of persons with disabilities in Liberia is the issue of 'Access' and Liberia is currently endeavoring to promulgate a number of key policies and programs within the transport/roads sector" Bryant told participants.

Mr. Bryant said the need for public roads/transport facilities to ensure disability access and inclusion is evident as Liberia cannot be developed in the absence of disability inclusion.

"It is hoped that this consultation will engender discussions on the design and construction and management of our freeways, jajor roads, bridges, roadside rest areas, traffic signs, and speed zones and culminate into actions to both inform and support the passage of an act that assures access to all," Bryant stated.

Additionally, the GIZ transport specialist stressed that the consultation should stimulate participants to increase their advocacy to ensure that public policy makers are aware of their needs for greater national level inclusion at policy and implementation levels.

The consultations are organized by the National Union of the Disabled.



Minister Addresses UN Session On Disability

To enhance the rights of persons with disabilities, Ghana has stressed the need to address the most significant bottlenecks or challenges in achieving their widespread inclusion in society.

According to the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Benita Okity-Duah, this was because many African countries like Ghana had a very strong cultural bias against disability. The bias system is deeply rooted in the belief system whereby disability is associated with many negative connotations.

The Deputy Minister was addressing the Sixth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, yesterday.

At the three-day meeting attended by high government officials, physically challenged persons and NGOs, the States Parties are taking a critical look at the implementation of the Convention, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 16/106 on December 13, 2006 and came into force upon its ratification on May 3, 2008.

Under the theme “Ensuring adequate standard of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities”, it will specifically discuss the economic empowerment through inclusive social protection and poverty reduction strategies, disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes and community-based rehabilitation and habilitation for inclusive society.

To address existing challenges, Mrs. Okity-Duah said Ghana had found it useful to adopt a new Framework for Action, which offers greater clarification to the origin, nature and relationships of the barriers encountered by persons with disability in Ghana.

Recognizing that the acceptance of the individual with disability is a challenge at the family and society level, she also noted that the lack of support had led to the need to focus on societal beliefs and the home.

“The Government of Ghana seeks to address this situation through public education on risk factors for disability, initiating Belief-Change programmes where needed, as well as arranging for family support for the vulnerable” the Deputy Minister said.

Recounting policy-measures initiated to improve the rights of persons with disabilities, Mrs. Okity-Duah said apart from ratifying the UN Convention, Ghana had passed the Disability Act, established a National Council of Persons with Disability, and structured key-institutions to include more inclusive and disability-friendly society.

Others include dialogue to Mainstream Strategy with the National Development Planning Commission, to achieve the Disability-Inclusive Development at all levels.

She mentioned the implementation of the Affirmative Action, which gives a percentage of the District Assemblies Common Fund as grants for Persons with Disability, skills training, business ventures and addressing specific advocacy needs identified in the community as other policies being implemented.

Additionally, the Family Support Scheme, which provides cash transfer payments and other benefits such as Health Insurance for the poorest households, which has a representation of disabled people.

A further example of Ghana’s efforts to promote greater inclusion was a pilot programme to train 5,000 persons with disability in Information Communication Technology to help facilitate their empowerment and inclusion, the Deputy Minister mentioned.

Ghana’s delegation, led by Mrs. Okity-Duah, includes Madam Gertrude Oforiwa Fofoame, Grace Antwi-Atsu and Mr. Max Vardon, Executive Secretary of the National Council of Persons with Disability.

Side-events listed include a Civil Society Forum, discussions on Measuring Disability, Mental Disabilities, A Mental Health Perspectives, Voices of Youth with Disabilities from the Global South, Challenges of Toilet and Sanitary Standards in Emergencies, Strategies for Access to Education for Children, Social Protection and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Young People with Disabilities: the case of China, among others.

Source: ISD (Harry Reynolds, New York)



Sierra Leone: No Access to Justice for Hearing-Impaired


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While giving an overview of a survey undertaken by Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment (INCLUDE) titled 'Access to the Justice System for the Hearing Impaired', lead consultant and disability advocate,Kabbakeh Noah, said there is no mechanism for access to justice for hearing-impaired persons in both the Western Area and the provinces.

Noah said the survey was aimed at highlighting and raising awareness on some of the challenges and barriers in accessing justice for the hearing-impaired and to urge government and other agencies to address them promptly.

He disclosed that INCLUDE recently organized a training for police officers and other court personnel so as to draw their attention to the use of sign language in both the police stations and the law court in order to enhance access to justice for hearing-impaired persons.

Noah urged for the inclusion of sign language in the police training curriculum as well as in the teacher training colleges' curriculum so as to expand knowledge in the use of sign language.

Giving a detailed background of INCLUDE, Executive Director MelroseKotay said the organization is a major advocate on disability issues in Sierra Leone and has held and facilitated numerous meetings and workshops to promote awareness around the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.

"INCLUDE was a key player in the drafting of the Disability Bill, which led to the enactment of the first legislation for persons with disabilities in the country and which also brought about the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability," she said.

Madam Kotayaddedthat 80% of targeted court respondents in the survey confirmed that their staff were not trained in sign language and that 13% admitted that cases were dismissed due to communication barrier.



Sign language of the times

Zee News

Sign language of the times

Sign language recognition and translation with Kinect cMicrosoft Research

Researchers from Microsoft Asia have collaborated with colleagues from the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in order to turn the Kinect for Windows motion sensing device into a sign language translator.

The system can already recognize most American Sign Language gestures and convert them into text and vice versa -- meaning that words typed into the system can be converted, in real time, into sign language, performed by an avatar displayed on a screen.

And although currently focused on American Sign Language, a couple of simple tweaks would enable the system to recognize that of other countries.

But this is just the start. The project's leaders hope that the technology will one day enable those who are hard of hearing to interact with computers and other devices using their native language, in the same way that many consumers take Google Now or Apple's Siri voice-activated assistance for granted.

"We believe that IT should be used to improve daily life for all persons,"
says Guobin Wu, a research program manager from Microsoft Research Asia. "While it is still a research project, we ultimately hope this work can provide a daily interaction tool to bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf and hard of hearing in the near future."

- Relaxnews



Uganda: Ecobank Supports the Deaf

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The deaf and dumb are to benefit from seed capital from the Ecobank foundation, the bank has announced in a press statement.

"Over a period of three years, the Ecobank Foundation will give more than Shs 45 million for this cause. The deaf and dumb adults all over the country can pick the application forms from any of Ecobank's branches countrywide and return them before July 26, 2013," reads the statement.

Speaking during the announcement of the seed-capital fund, Michael Monari, the managing director Ecobank Uganda, highlighted the need for the youth to exploit the various opportunities in the country to start and run businesses.

"The deaf and dumb adults can run successful businesses if given support. As Ecobank, we believe in brilliant ideas, ingenuity and hard work. The deaf and dumb adults who will win these funds must demonstrate these values and have self-belief despite their circumstances," Monari said.

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Nigeria: Keshi Donates Boots to Deaf and Dumb National Team

22 JULY 2013

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Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi on Saturday extended a hand of fellowship to the National Deaf and Dumb team which is currently preparing for a tourney abroad with the donation of a hefty set of boots and shin guards to the team.

The donation was made after the national team's training session at the FIFA Goal Project site, where the other team has also been training daily, sometimes keeping the national team to wait on them to resume training.

Keshi said the donation was to encourage the team to excel at the forthcoming tournament as he has been very impressed with the way and manner the team has been going about their preparation for their tournament.

Coach Peter, who received the donation on behalf of the team, thanked the national team coach for the gesture and promised that the team will do its best to give a good account of itself at the tourney that it was heading for outside the country. Efforts to get details of the team's trip abroad and their schedule were not successful as Coach Peter, who is also a special sports coach did not reply to enquiries about the team's movement.



Keshi Donates Boots To Deaf And Dumb National Team

Leadership Newspapers-2013/07/21

Keshi Donates Boots To Deaf And Dumb National Team By: Agency Report on July 22, 2013 - 6:13am

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi on Saturday extended a hand of fellowship to the National Deaf and Dumb team which is currently preparing for a tourney abroad with the donation of a hefty set of boots and shin guards to the team.

The donation was made after the national team’s training session at the FIFA Goal Project site, where the other team has also been training daily, sometimes keeping the national team to wait on them to resume training.

Keshi said the donation was to encourage the team to excel at the forthcoming tournament as he has been very impressed with the way and manner the team has been going about their preparation for their tournament.

Coach Peter, who received the donation on behalf of the team, thanked the national team coach for the gesture and promised that the team will do its best to give a good account of itself at the tourney that it was heading for outside the country. Efforts to get details of the team’s trip abroad and their schedule were not successful as Coach Peter, who is also a special sports coach did not reply to enquiries about the team’s movement.



Planning Committee donates to the deaf


The Planning Committee of the first anniversary of the late President John Evans Atta Mills, in conjunction with the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council (VRCC), have donated assorted food items to the Volta School for the Deaf at a brief ceremony at Hohoe on Sunday.

The items include bags of rice, loaves of bread, bags of maize, cartons of milk, gallons of cooking oil, bags of sugar and toiletries.

Mr Francis K. Ganyaglo, Deputy Volta Regional Minister, said the gesture was in line with the first anniversary of the late President Mills.

He said it was also in commemoration of the late President Mills’ 69th birthday, which, in his life time, was heralded by reaching out to the underprivileged in the society.

Mr Ganyaglo said the Anniversary Planning Committee and the VRCC deemed it fit to replicate this generosity even in his absence to depict some of his revered legacies for all to emulate.

He urged all and sundry to celebrate the life of the late President Mills as the country marked the first anniversary of his demise and to show affection to ones neighbour.

The deputy regional minister said the government would build more special schools in the country, and appealed to special-needs teachers to guide and make special students useful citizens for the country.

The Reverend Sister Emmanuella Ofosu, Assistant Headmistress of the School, thanked the two institutions for their gesture, which she described as “going a long way to ameliorate some of the challenges of the institution.”

She pledged to use the donation for its intended purpose.



Rwanda: Visually-Impaired Persons Demand Inclusion in Development


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People living with visual impairment can be assisted to achieve self-reliance instead of living dependent lives, the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) has said.

"There is wrong society's perception that the blind do not deserve opportunities or assistance offered to other people engaged in income generating projects," said Rachel Musabyimana, RUB communication and advocacy officer.

"Local leaders should include people living with disability in their development planning."

Musabyimana was speaking, last week, in Kigali during a meeting with local leaders at sector level from areas where the cooperatives of the disabled people operate.

"It has been proved that many blind people have achieved personal economic development through agriculture. Some have generated income through cultivating groundnuts, cassava and maize and the same is seen in their livestock projects," Musabyimana said.

Obed Rugerero, from Musenyi Sector, Bugesera District, blamed local leaders, especially at Cell level, for not involving the blind in government poverty eradication programmes such as Vision 2020 Umurenge and Girinka.

Come out:

However, the in- charge of social affairs in Musenyi Sector, Joyce Murebwayire, who attended the meeting, blamed some people with disability for not identifying themselves to local leaders, saying it is not possible for the leaders to help people they do not know.

The families of the disabled are to blame when they keep the disabled at home without informing local leaders, she added.

Eugene Twizeyimana, who represented the National Union of Disabilities' Organisations of Rwanda, said disabled persons should not take anything done for them as a favour, saying it's their right.

Musabyimana said RUB has since 2009 financed small income generating projects of 26 agricultural cooperatives of people with disability throughout the country with a total loan of Rwf10 million.

"We must encourage the culture of self-reliance among the blind," Musabyimana said.



Gambia: Beakanyang, RSOD to Involve Disabled Women in Climate Change Mitigation


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'Beakanyang Kafo', a registered community-based organisation and the Rural Support Organisation for the Disabled (RSOD) recently held discussions in Basse, Upper River Region (URR), to devise ways and means of how to involve disabled women in climate change mitigation process in the country.

'Beakanyang Kafo' is an organisation operating in the village of Barrow Kunda in Wuli West District of Upper River Region. It was founded in September 2001, with the aim to improving the livelihood of the people of Barrow Kunda and its satelite villages. Beakanyang's key areas of intervention are education, health, agriculture and sports.

The organisation is now becoming a house-hold name in The Gambia, particularly in the URR. It maintains its main office in Barrow Kunda village in Wuli, and has a chapter in the Greater Banjul Area, known as Beakanyang Kombo Chapter, with a membership of over 200.

The project coordinator of Beakanyang, Nfamara Jawneh, explained that the two NGOs are out to ensure a greater participation of marginalised voices in climate change mitigation processes. He said that even though climate change disproportionately impact on disabled people especially women, the presence of disabled people in climate change discussions is very low.

"We decided to meet with RSOD, the only URR-based NGO working with persons with disabilities in the region to see how best we can involve disabled women into climate change mitigation process in our future projects," he remarked.

Jawneh further stated that RSOD as an NGO dealing with persons with disabilities for many years will be a great asset in the implementation of the climate change project. The project coordinator of Beakanyang also thanked them for their willingness to partner with his organisation in empowering vulnerable rural women.



Uganda: Troubles Women With Disabilities Encounter to Control Birth


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Many times, persons with disabilities have been treated like outcasts in hospitals. This has led to thousands of women with disabilities failing to access reproductive health services, which has resulted in many unplanned pregnancies.

Mpayo kuka sente sebbo (please give me some money, sir), she begs. She looks depressed. I pull out sh1,000 and place it in her tin. Her gratitude is intense as she cannot stop appreciating the kind gesture.

A few moments later, I hear a baby crying. A quick glance at my acquaintance's left reveals two children. She says they are hungry. I ask who their parents are. My acquaintance murmurs that the children are hers.

Where is their father?

"Each child has their own father," she explains that the father of her first born promised to look after her and even employ her as an attendant in his shop. However, when she became pregnant, he abandoned her and has never provided for his child to date.

My acquaintance says she swore never to get intimately involved with any other man. However, she broke that resolution shortly and fell for another man. She became pregnant again and he too abandoned her.

"Life is hard, but they are my children. I know they will help me in future," she whispers even before I ask how she is managing motherhood.

See, my acquaintance is crippled. Her legs are deformed. She earns her living by begging from the public near one of the taxi parks in Kampala.

So how did she give birth?

"I delivered my children from my home, in a small makeshift shack with the help of my neighbour. I did not go to hospital because I was afraid the midwives would treat me harshly because of my disability."

For emphasis, she adds:"I have friends who complain of how they are treated like outcasts in hospitals. We disabled women need attention and patience because our bones are weak compared to those of normal women," she explains.

Concerned about getting another unintended pregnancy, I ask her whether she is aware of contraceptives.

Her reply? "I have never heard of such a thing."

My acquaintance is one of the thousands of women with disabilities, who do not access reproductive health services, which has led to many unplanned pregnancies. The increase of unplanned pregnancies has led to population explosion.

Uganda recently joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Population Day, whose theme was: "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services." With the world population at seven billion, the alarming rate at which it is increasing has been blamed on women, who do not access reproductive health services. However, one question that is usually unanswered is; what is the fate of persons with disabilities?

According to the World Disability Report (World Bank and WHO, 2011) about 15% of the world's population live with a disability. Eighty percent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, most without social systems to support them. In addition, about 10% of the world's population, 650 million people have a disability and their sexual and reproductive health is often neglected.

According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2005/2006, 7.2% of the population or 2.5 million people live with disabilities.

The Uganda Demographic and Household Surveys (UDHS) of 2006 and 2011 put the numbers at 7% and 16% respectively.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics reveals that persons with disabilities make up to approximately 10% of the total population in Uganda.

WHO also estimates that globally, people with disabilities constitute 10 % of any given population and the World Bank and DFID estimate that this is higher in post-conflict countries.

Jackson Chekweko, the executive director Reproductive Health Uganda, says women with disabilities have the same reproductive health needs as other women; however, they often face barriers to access reproductive health services.

"The barriers are due to the ignorance of the society, including healthcare providers, who are not trained to handle persons with disability. Their burdens are leading to negative impacts of physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, persons with disabilities, which make them often face stigma, discrimination and violence," he adds.


Madada says persons with disabilities, especially children, are deprived of opportunities in all aspects of life, including access to essential services such as health and education. In particular, their reproductive rights denied.

People who are blind, deaf or have cognitive impairments find that information on sexual and reproductive health is often inaccessible to them.

Many disabled persons are not informed about reproductive health due to lack of physical access, disability-related technical and human support, stigma and discrimination.

Their Rights

Minister of state for elderly and disabled Sulaiman Madada says there are many programmes to cater for persons with disabilities, especially on their reproductive health.

"They also have a right to learn about sexuality and the responsibilities that go along with discovering and experiencing their own sexuality.They have to know how to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections," Madada explains.

According to the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities State Parties need to "provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population based public health programmes."

Government plans

Madada says his ministry has many programmes that include training the health workers on how to handle women with disabilities.

"Some health workers mistreat them when they visit health centres when they are pregnant accusing them why they became pregnant yet they are also human and have the same right. However, with the new amendment by Parliament to improve services that cater for disabled persons, we hope the conditions will improve," Madada says.

What next: Policies to enable women with disabilities access reproductive health services

Jackson Chekweko, the executive director Reproductive Health Uganda, says Disability Perspective in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies and Programmes are supposed to cater for the needs of persons, especially women with disabilities. These include sexual and reproductive health policies, strategies, programmes, projects, training, statistics and publications.

Many programmes are established to cater for the disabled, but they are not included in the decision making process.

He adds that government should offer special training for sexual and reproductive health service providers on disability-related issues. This will enable service providers have enough information on how to handle persons with disabilities.

Information about sexual and reproductive health information and services should be available and accessible to persons with disabilities and their families.

The health services should be physically, psychologically, economically and socially accessible to everyone.

More peer educators on sexual and reproductive health for persons with disabilities are needed including training persons with disabilities to become peer educators on sexual and reproductive health for other persons with disabilities.

Additional information is from the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (A/RE S/48/ 96) (1993) Rule 9.

Family life and personal integrity Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 1 defines "Persons with disabilities as those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others".

Uganda Kala Azar - a Menace in Cattle-Rustling Communities It is a beautiful sunny day in Amudat district, but in Lokubal's family, all is not well. The 42-year-old just succumbed … see more ≫



Tanzania: Education Only Suitable Gift for Child's Future


SOME 34 secondary school students in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region were forced to suspend their studies, while two pupils failed to sit Standard Seven national examinations due to pregnancy in the last academic year.

According to Bagamoyo District Commissioner, Mr Ahmed Kipozi, early marriage, child labour, orphans and poor learning environment are some of the challenges that deny the children access to their basic rights.

"All these challenges require us to harness our power to resolve them, and if we do that, we implement in practice the Vision 2025 and the Millennium Development Goals," said the district commissioner.

Mr Kipozi appealed to every household, neighborhood, village, NGO, and district to see the need to prioritize the protection of children's rights in the development plans. On the fundamental rights of the child he noted on the right to live and to be protected as first and foremost.

He emphasized that the fundamental of the rights aim at ensuring that all children have their basic needs, insisting that when they have basic needs, the problem of traditional harmful practices would be eliminated. Mr Kipozi was speaking in Bagamoyo on the occasion to mark the Day of the African Child 2013.

The theme was "Eliminating Harmful Social and Cultural Practices Affecting Children: Our Collective Responsibility". The purpose of the event is to draw attention to the need of eliminating harmful social and cultural practices affecting children. He said to mark the Day of the African Child on 16th of June every year was in honor of black South African children of Soweto who were shot dead by police officers of the apartheid regime in 1976, while on a protest march against poor quality education, which was different from what the Whites enjoyed.

The DC noted that in this century of Science and Technology, education is the right heritage to prepare the child for a better integration with the surrounding environment. He appealed to everybody in the district to be accountable and make a contribution to the development programmes in their villages especially those concerning children living in a dangerous environment, insisting that by doing so they would be preparing for them a better future.

Mr Kipozi also advised the public in general including traditional and religious leaders to sit together and analyse harmful practices which stall development and focus on eliminating those practices. Speaking on behalf of children, Bagamoyo Youth Council Chairman, Tariji Athuman said in order for children to attain their goals they must develop and improve their talents in various fields.

He urged the government, including public institutions, NGOs and motivated people to cooperate and help children living in high-risk environment. According to the Population and Housing Census, in 2002 Bagamoyo district has a total of 228,969 people, out of whom 110,430 are children.

In a statement, Bagamoyo District Executive Director (DED) Mr Samwel Sarianga says that in the year 2012/13, the area which is made up of 22 wards with 91 villages in all 38 streets, had successfully conducted a census of children with disabilities, sponsored by UNICEF.

Mr Sarianga said the exercise showed that the area has a total of 1132 children with disabilities, out of whom 658 were boys and 474 girls. 51 girls are studying in secondary schools as well as 17 boys. Also, there are 209 pupils attending primary school. Lack of awareness on how to help children living in highrisk environment, with no village development plans are the biggest challenges.

He noted that low perception of some parents/guardians who failed to fulfill their responsibilities, child abandonment, and marriage conflicts have resulted in child abuse. In a bid to counter the challenges, Bagamoyo District Council plans to use women and children desks in ward level in order to encourage, supervise, make follow ups and evaluate the availability of child rights.

The District Council also plans to continue providing education on the child law No.21 of 2009 and encourage full supervision and implementation of the law in relevant organs, also incorporate children's agenda in integrated development planning from grassroots to national level. Sharing his fortune on the African Child Day occasion, the Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania, Nathumal Sajnani donated sandals to 340 children with disabilities worth 340,000/-.

Mr Sajnani who is also Chairman of Bora Industries Limited said his company employed two disabled youths from Yombo Vocational Training Centre, a deaf and a physically handicapped, in one of his departments. The results of a pioneering survey led by the Government of Tanzania released on 9 August 2011 revealed an urgent need to address violence against children across all sectors and in settings where children spend most of their time, particularly in their homes, communities, and schools.

"I am so pleased that Tanzania is taking the initiative of confronting this painful problem," said the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro at the launch. "Children make up half of the population here. They are our greatest national treasure."

The 2009 Tanzania Violence Against Children Survey (TVACS), funded by UNICEF and carried out by Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Science in collaboration with the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, finds that nearly three out of every ten girls and one out of every seven boys in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar reported that they had experienced sexual violence.

The celebration of the African Child Day in Bagamoyo district this year was organized by Tanzania Resource and Assessment Centre for Children with disabilities (TRACED), a non-governmental organization established by the parents of children with disabilities and professionals in the field of education, health and community development.



Zambia: Love Games try to help raise awareness of HIV in Zambia


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Lusaka - At the Munali Secondary School in Lusaka, an unusual youth club is under way. All eyes are on Humphrey Chileshe, a facilitator who uses sign language to lead an open and frank discussion on topics that are usually taboo here in Zambia, such as promiscuity, abuse, HIV and contraception.

For the young people in the group, most of whom are deaf and are not reached by other HIV prevention campaigns, the session provides a welcome opportunity to gain knowledge and share experiences.

This 'Safe Love' club is part of a wider campaign, run by a USAID-funded programme called Communications Support for Health (CSH), which centres on a popular TV drama called Love Games.

As Zambians around the country tune in to episode one of the second series tonight, the hope is that they will get more than pure diversion from a storyline packed with sex and scandal.

Love Games is an 'edutainment' show that uses a juicy plot and high production values as a conduit for health promotion and, in particular, behavioural change around sexual relationships in young people for whom HIV is a daily reality.

Launched in January, the show is scripted around the key drivers of HIV in Zambia: concurrent sexual partners, low condom use and mother-to- child transmission. The second series will also touch on the topical issue of voluntary male circumcision.

The plot focuses on five couples living in the Zambian capital Lusaka, where HIV prevalence is over 20 per cent, compared with the national average of 14.3 per cent.

Florence Mulenga, capacity building director at CSH, says the messages in the programme have been carefully selected following scientific research into drivers of behaviour change.

Love Games actor Pastor Kangwa Chileshe says the show addresses personal risk perception in the younger population. "People know about HIV now, but there is a disconnect between that and their own behaviours," he says.

To this end, social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube are also being used to provide a platform for young people to discuss the issues covered in each episode. Safe Love clubs like the one in Munali also run on a weekly basis across the country.

Does the edutainment approach work?

So far, the show is proving popular despite regular blackouts in poorer neighbourhoods.

Broadcaster ZNBC does not have official viewing figures, but Rosanna Price-Nyendwa of CHAMP Zambia, which runs a free confidential hotline to deal with sexual health questions and which is advertised alongside the show, says call numbers spike dramatically around the time that Love Games is on air.

"We see a direct correlation between Love Games episodes and call numbers increasing, and we see a direct correlation to the questions our counsellors are asked," she says. "It is having an impact."

Yet despite these successes, funding for CSH ends in 2014 and, like many externally funded programmes in the region, questions still remain over who will take over the expensive campaign when the money dries up.

See below for an episode of Love Games:

Catherine de Lange is in Zambia covering global health issues as an International Reporting Project new media fellow.



Teachers Making A Difference

New Vision
Publish Date: Jul 24, 2013

Despite her disability, she lifted unprivileged girls out of poverty

By Charles Kakamwa

She was struck by polio as a child, leaving her crippled at a tender age of four months. Coming from a polygamous family worsened Harriet Kawuma’s upbringing, especially in a rural and poverty-stricken village.

However, Kawuma used the odds against her to spring up success by lending to the unprivileged. This explains the birth of Tubalera Kawuma Vocational Centre in Jinja municipality.

She started with 13 students in a ramshackled building, but the centre, has, in the last few years, churned out 500 skilled and enterprising students.

She faced discrimination right from her family members up to the community, but managed to grow into a pillar for others.

“I grew up in a polygamous family and experienced what it means to live with bad stepmothers. As I was growing up, I saw challenges girls underwent, including deprivation of social and economic opportunities on account of being a girl-child or disabled,” Kawuma, the director and founder of Tubalera Kawuma Vocational Centre, says.

The 52-year-old woman and mother of two, says her situation ignited her resolve to initiate a project that would contribute towards the improvement of girls in society through imparting knowledge and skills.

Kawuma, the woman behind the institute

She started as an instructor at the Government-owned Mpumudde Rehabilitation Centre in Jinja municipality, where she was posted as a tailoring trainer by the Ministry of Gender, upon her graduation from Kireka Rehabilitation Centre in 1991.

While at Mpumudde, she became the head of the tailoring section and at one time served as the centre’s caretaker director for three years.

Though the centre provided her the opportunity, she had always desired to empower vulnerable girls by equipping them with vocational skills.

“I wanted to run my own vocational institute, where I would have authority to admit and train as many girls as I wished.

Armed with experience as a trainer and administrator, together with three volunteers as instructors, Kawuma opened Tubalera Kawuma Vocational Centre in February 1997 in a rented old house in Mpumudde division.

“We started with 13 students, but only five completed the two-year course. It was challenging. I almost gave up, but I persevered amid hardships,” she said.

In 2002, Kawuma got her miracle. One day, while at the institute, one of her friends came to visit her together with a white man, Johan Bonik from Holland. He was impressed by the project though saddened by the pathetic condition under which it was being operated.

Bonik pledged to renovate the building and eight months after his return to Holland, he sent sh30m to Kawuma.

Kawuma immediately bought iron sheets to renovate a leaking classroom, but the offer instead caused her eviction from the rented premises.

“The landlord misinterpreted the kind gesture. He accused me of plotting to grab his property and ordered me out of the premises,” she says.

Left with no option, Kawuma used the funds to buy a plot of land on Kamuli Road, Mpumudde division in Jinja district, where the institute stands today.

She used part of the money to set up the first building, part of which serves as an office and the other as a girls’ hostel. Students occupied it before its completion in 2004. Through Fr. Gerald Picavet of Jinja Diocese, Bonik again sent sh130m for further improvement and expansion of the infrastructure at the institute.

>From five students at the first graduation ceremony in 1998, the institute passed out a total of 68 girls at its latest (15th) graduation ceremony in 2012. It currently has a total of 150 students and 16 staff.

Since its inception in 1997, over 500 girls have graduated from the institute, with certificates in tailoring, nursery teaching, catering, guidance and counselling, hairdressing and computer education.

Aware of the plight of people with disabilities, Kawuma gives priority to girls with disabilities, who pay half of the tuition at the institute.

Whereas the minimum requirement for admission to the school is a primary leaving education recommendation, people with disabilities do not need any transcript to join any training course.

This, Kawuma says, is meant to encourage more disabled girls to seek education to better their lives.

She also solicits support from well-wishers and corporate organisations and gives out kits such as sewing machines to students, upon their graduation. This is to enable them initiate income-generating projects.

Kawuma says her goal is to mould girls into responsible mothers that can contribute to nationbuilding.

Jennifer Ochaya, a tailoring instructor at the institute, describes Kawuma as her mentor and passionate about improving the status of women.

“She taught me tailoring in the early 1990s. When she started this school, she called me to teach and we have shaped hundreds of poor girls into self-sustaining individuals,” Ochaya says.

Sarah Nagama a former student at the institute, describes Kawuma as a disciplinarian, who gives no room for immoral behaviour amongst students.

“She is strict. Once students enter the school compound, they cannot move out without her permission,” Nagama, now a teacher at mother Sanyu Memorial Primary School in Nazigo, says.She adds that training at the institute is done through a hands-on approach.



Sierra Leone: DIFSIL Provides Succour to Grafton Disabled Persons


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In a bid to promote self-reliance among disabled persons, the Disabled International Foundation Sierra Leone (DIFSIL) has donated seedlings and gara tie-dying materials to disabled people in Grafton, with a view to providing them with basic tools and skills for sustainable livelihoods.

According to the Executive Director of DIFSIL, Madam Imambay Kadie Kamara, the organization is not only an advocacy group but also engages in farming as a way of creating a platform for the disabled to engage in farming rather than begging on the streets.

Ms. Kamara maintained that disabled people should be involved in viable activities that will keep them busy as "disability is not inability", noting that it is the main reason why DIFSIL has spent huge sums of money to purchase seedlings and other items for this vulnerable group in society.

Madam Kamara said: "I always have the disabled people at heart; I am finding ways and means to provide the necessary support they need," adding that, "As an organization, we are very much concerned about their welfare and always want them to be fully engaged."

She said her organization is working very hard to ensure that the disabled are actively involved in farming and other chores, with a view to creating employment for them, so that they can in turn generate income for themselves. She encouraged the beneficiaries to make good use of the seedlings and gara tie-dying equipment.

"As somebody with a lot of passion for disabled people, I always cry when I see them begging and it pains me so much. That is why I've tried my best to provide some materials not only for them to get a source of income but also as a way to train their counterparts in soap-making and garatie-dying as that will always keep them busy," she said.



Deaflympics: Nigerian Deaf Stars Set To Redeem Image

P.M. News-2013/07/24
Published on July 24, 2013 by pmnews

After the poor performance of Team Nigeria at the last 2012 Olympics Games in London, the country will have another opportunity to take part in the Deaflympic Games which will be officially declared open by the organizers on 26 Friday, 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Barely 48 hours to the Games, team Nigeria have arrived the city of Sofia with 56 athletes featuring in three sports such as Football, Table Tennis and Athletics.

Nigeria was place 37th position in the last last Deaflympic Games held in China Taipei in 2009 with two silvers.

As this year’s draw nearer, expectations are high as Team Nigeria are expected to surpass their previous performance in China Taipei.

Speaking before Team Nigeria’s departure, president of Nigeria Deaf Sports Federation NDSF, Alhaji Usman Nahuche assured that the contingent would return with not less than 10 medals.

“The contingent has undergone intensive training under the tutelage of Coach Olawaye Akinremi for complete one month, I can assure Nigerians without fear that the boys and girls in their respective events will win medals,” Nahuche said.

Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Gbenga Elegbeleye on behalf of the Chairman of the Commission and Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi, lauded the NDSF president for his confidence and promised to support the team morally and financially in order to make the country proud in Bulgaria.

Elegbeleye implored the contingent to be good ambassadors of the country by obeying the rules of the games as well as the laws of the land throughout the two weeks event.

Head coach of Deaf Football Eagles, Kamiludeen Oladimeji Banjo expressed confidence in the ability of his team. He disclosed that the team have played many friendly matches which really helped him to select the players on merit and current performance.

He boasted that with the support given by National Sports Commission and well meaning Nigerians, his team are ready to give their best throughout the game.

“I am happy that the team are in high spirits and they are ready to do the country proud for the support we got from the Sports Ministry.I want to use this medium to thank Sports Ministry and sports loving Nigerians for their support given to the team during our training in Abuja,” he said.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf ICSD have confirmed the sports that will feature in the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics, and they are Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cycling, Football, Handball, Judo, Karate, Orienteering, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball and Wrestling.

To qualify for the Deaflympics, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their “better ear”. Hearing aids, cochlear implants etc. are not allowed to be used, in order to place all athletes on the same level, as the communication between athletes and trainers or team-mates is prevented during the competition.

The use of sign language is allowed, as it can be used by everybody, provided they can see, and it constitutes the language of the community of the deaf people, which most athletes prefer.

Sunday Akintoye



BDF donation stimulates disabled businesses

Mmegi Online

SEROWE: People living with disabilities in Serowe have been given new hope after a P10,000 donation from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) revived their collapsed businesses.

Under the aegis of the Serowe Association for the Disabled (SAfD), a number of people living with disabilities in the village have benefited from the donation to earn a living. The SAfD is a NGO located at the Centre for the Disabled along the road leading to the Roman Catholic Church.

It has more than 200 registered members, most of them with vocational training qualifications. One of them is 50-year old dressmaker, Esther Ranna.She was born with a deformed foot but this did not deter her from doing what she likes most - sewing. After finishing a textile course at a brigade she visited the Centre for the Disabled for advice on how to start a business and motivation on how to boost her confidence as a person living with a disability.

She now uses one of the rooms at the centre for her dressmaking business. Ranna's business had collapsed and was rescued by the funds she got from BDF. With the BDF funds, she bought material for school uniforms. She intends to start sewing and put a table at the bus rank for people to see and buy her products since the location of the centre is isolated for business.

"Our location is outside the mall and that is not so good for us since some people do not even know where we are located," said the soft-spoken Ranna. She is grateful to BDF for giving her a new lease of life and hope for a brighter future. With the money she makes from her business, she supports her two children.

But her colleague, Ogomoditse Keabonye, has no such worries. She has been mentally challenged since 1983 when she gave birth to her second child. Now all her children are working and she has been healed after taking medication but this has not prevented her from fending for herself at the Centre for the Disabled.

Keabonye went to the Serowe Brigade where she learned how to repair shoes, a business she is currently running.She said the only challenge she faces is people who give her their shoes for repair and never come back to collect them.Her children have repeatedly advised her to close down the business, but she always brushes them aside because it is the only place where she exercises. She said the medication she takes makes her sick sometimes and makes her muscles stiff. So using the shoe hammer helps her relax.

Her business had collapsed before the BDF donation and she was so frustrated because she did not know what she was going to do to revive it. That also made her think of her late mother who was her support system. But the BDF ended all the frustrations and gave her a reason to smile. Keabonye advised people to give love and support to mentally challenged people and give them hope for a better future.

Gaoduelwe Shununu, another disabled trader at the centre, runs a leatherwork business and shoe repair. The 60-year old was born with a leg disability. He makes shoes, belts, key-holders and leather products. He has already taught a lot of people how to do leatherworks.



Malawi: Visually Impaired Islanders Appeal for Inclusion in Civic Education Committee


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People with impaired vision in Likoma District have asked National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) to include them in civic education committees in the run up to the forthcoming tripartite elections scheduled for May 20, 2014.

The plea was made Wednesday during a voter registration awareness workshop which targeted the visually impaired, at Likoma and Chizumulo islands, who due to their condition feel left out in exercising their right to vote during the polls.

"We wonder why we are not included in these committees while our counterparts, those with other disabilities, are well included in the committees," said one participant, Dorothy Chiunda.

NICE's Likoma District Coordinator, Patrick Chikoti, acknowledged the concern and promised the participants that as an organization they would look into the matter.

"As NICE all we can say is point taken and that we will duly look into the matter," he said.

Another participant asked NICE what procedures they had put in place to ensure all the 40 visually challenged voters in Likoma register and vote considering the problem of distance.

To this, Chikoti explained that there are different polling centres around the district and that the people should go to their nearest polling centre.

"We have a number of centres and I am sure there should be one or two centres that should be close to you," he said.

The workshop attracted 18 participants including associate members who guide the visually impaired persons walk around and help them understand written material.

Speaking at the close of the one-day workshop, Regional Civic Education Officer for the North, Enock Chinkhuntha said as NICE they recognize the right of every Malawian including the physically challenged to participate in the electoral process.

"Every Malawian has the right to register and take part in the forthcoming polls. And since this is the first ever tripartite elections to be conducted in the country, we feel deliberate awareness campaigns like this one are very vital," Chinkhuntha said.

Also in attendance at the workshop were Likoma District Elections Officer, Patrick Mhone and Assistant District Civic Education Officer for NICE, Chimwemwe Chauwa.

In the forthcoming polls, Malawi will vote for Councilors, Members of Parliament (MPs) and President.

In the past there have been a number of outcries by the minorities as to why they are not included and involved in matters affecting them.



Africa: Kenyan Doctor Receives Peace Corps Association's Highest Honor

25 JULY 2013

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Photo: Peace Corps

The 2013 winner of the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award ? Dr. Mohamud Said of Kenya ? flanked, left to right, by NPCA President Glen Blumhorst, Dr. Russell Morgan (Said’s Peace Corps teacher), and Sen. Harris Wofford, for whom the award is named.
Dr. Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said is the 2013 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award winner. The award is the National Peace Corps Association's highest honor, given to Said in recognition for his contributions to peace in Kenya. In addition to practicing medicine in the country, Said is a former president of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims - the first African to hold that position.

Said rose through the Kenya Red Cross Society to become president of the organization and oversaw the world's largest refugee camp in neighboring Somalia. He is lifelong member of the Kenya Medical Association and founded the KMA Human Rights Committee.

Said also works as a coordinator for the Africa and Middle East Reconstructive Surgical Camps for Fundacion Pedro Cavadas, headquartered in Spain. Said's team has performed reconstructive surgery on children and adults from eight African countries. Also active in education, Said serves as chairman of Bungoma Muslim Secondary School and is a board member of the Mumias Vocational Secondary School for Deaf Girls, where he has helped secure Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy support.

Dr. Said sat down with Julie Strupp of AllAfrica in Washington, DC, to talk about his work and the Global Citizen award.

What inspired you to go into medicine, as opposed to other careers?

I come from northern Kenya, which was a closed and remote frontier during the colonial era. I was the first person from my district to go to medical school. It was in my heart from the beginning to assist people, and medicine is the best way to reach out to everybody.

How did you get involved in human rights work?

Around 1991 there was a lot of advocacy for democracy and there was suppression by the government, and so many people were beaten, detained, tortured or even killed. A group of lawyers and doctors came together and formed the Independent Medical Legal Unit Kenya to treat victims and give them free legal service. And for those who died in custody we gave them free post mortems. We could not register an NGO of that kind at that time, so we used the professional association in the town we were in. I have been a member of the medical association and a chairman of the chapter in the area I was. So we created a human rights committee, which I chaired.

Through that committee we were able to go around the country educating lawyers and doctors on medical-legal aspects, such as how to document torture cases. What was happening was that sometimes people were shot, and the medical-legal reports showed the point of entry of the bullet and the exit, so you would conclude that the person had been shot while running away, yet the police would claim that they shot in self-defense.

Through that organization we joined the African Network of Rehabilitation Centers. Then in 2006 I was elected to represent Africa on the board of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) based in Copenhagen. In 2009, I was the first African to be elected president of IRCT in the organization's 25-year history. The organization has 150 centers in 75 countries.

Through this bigger network we are able to train internationally on the Istanbul Protocol http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/issues/torture/international-tort ure.html and on the use of forensic documentation to fight against torture, because once you report correctly and when you go to the court it stands because you have evidence. Last year I was here in Washington for a workshop for forensic experts from all over the world held in partnership with the School of Law, American University. Throughout our centers we have been assisting over 100,000 torture victims. We give counseling, medical treatment and legal advice.

You also do reconstructive surgery with the Pedro Cavadas Foundation. Is there a big need for reconstructive surgery in Kenya?

Dr. Pedro Cavadas is a good friend of mine. He is a leading transplant surgeon in the world. We have been holding reconstructive surgical camps in Kenya for people with deformities, injuries through gunshot wounds, congenital malformations from Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan. I take cases with tumors and other complicated ones to Valencia, Spain, for specialized treatment.

Through the foundation, we decided to put up a prosthetics center and early this year I got some equipment from Spain. Last year when I took the patients I took one of the Red Cross volunteers who was trained as a technician and we managed to do the first prosthesis three weeks ago. We fitted the leg of a nine-year-old boy. As he was getting out of the car after the prosthesis, his father ran towards him crying. Humanitarian work gives you the pleasure of assisting people.

I am also the president of the Kenya Red Cross Society. We are in charge of one of the largest refugee camps in the world, holding over 600,000 refugees.

What are some of the challenges you face in running that camp, Dadaab?

It is not far from the Somali border and because of the war there is an influx of refugees. Some of the refugees come with a lot of ammunition and grenades. The security is not so tight, but we have managed to build a hospital and there is water and sanitation. There are a lot of challenges but we are managing.

What inspired your involvement with girls' education?

There is a girls' school, St. Angela Vocational Secondary School for Deaf Girls in Mumias, which is one of the first of its kind in sub- Saharan Africa. We are involved with that to make sure the deaf girl child is not left behind because what happens is that usually the disabled are the last to get education.

Besides that, in the arid and semi-arid areas in northern Kenya, parents marry off their daughters once they are 13 years old to get the dowry.

As we go around with the prosthetic camps, we hear that a certain girl has passed primary school and can be admitted into a good secondary school and we pay her school fees. We also pick a few boys. About 30 students are in high school, some are going through college, and five have already graduated from college.

Are there any human rights issues going on in Kenya right now that your center is addressing?

Our center continually works on human rights issues. There is a lot of human rights abuse still going on, but it has reduced with the new constitution, which has allowed accountability. Torture was not accounted for in the previous constitution, so if someone was tortured the case would be heard as an assault case.

Police reform has been very slow. We have managed to improve the situation in the prisons, because now we are collaborating and they allow us in to hold medical camps and educate prison officers on international guidelines and principles.

Recent floods in Kenya displaced a lot of people. How did the government respond to that, and what is the Kenya Red Cross doing?

Arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya experience alternating drought and floods. Government action was slow. The Red Cross volunteers were the first to arrive at the affected areas. We hired helicopters to pick people up, put up camps and ensured we had medical teams on the ground with necessary equipment.

We had the Kenyans for Kenya Program, through which Kenyan citizens and corporations raised one billion Kenya shillings (U.S.$11.4 million). The donations were used first to attend to the elderly and children. The remainder was used to build greenhouses, deep wells for irrigation, and dams to store water. Some of those areas became green islands and produced so much that we advised them to create cooperatives and sell their surplus. In some areas we gave out seed like maize, and the product was 18-20 bags per acre, which if stored well, can be used for two years.



Kaberamaido’s deaf, dumb couple love each other to death

New Vision-2013/07/25
Publish Date: Jul 25, 2013
By Godfrey Ojore

Hundreds thronged St. Paul Catholic Church, Ochero Mission in Kaberamaido to witness the first wedding in the district involving a deaf and dumb couple. The couple took their vows before the Bishop of Soroti diocese the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Obbo.

Albert Enganyu and Jane Alwayo, hail from Awimon village Kayalam parish, Ochero sub-county. Ochero sub-county LC3 chairman Deogratius Ebayu was the best man and his wife Christine was maid of honour.
Loud cheers filled the air from excited Christians as the couple answered to the bishop through an interpreter. The parish priest Fr. Edmond Okela has mastered talking with the couple for nine years. “
Though the congregation did not hear them pronounce their vows, they have done it well,” Okela said.

Obbo explained: “It’s the first time for me to wed a couple of this kind since my consecration. They have expressed their love before God even when they are unable talk or hear,” From the onset to the end, the couple wore broad smiles on their faces. They also clapped during the time of praise and worship as if they were hearing the tunes.

After wearing their rings, the couple hugged as the congregation clapped and those with cameras took several shots. The mass wedding attracted 18 other couples but Enganyu and Alwayo stole the show.

Obbo said their decision to wed should be emulated by other people with disabilities. He also challenged those without any form of disability to wed in church. “If you have stayed with your wife for 10 years, why give hope to that person for all those years without committing yourself? Obbo asked.

How they met
Enganyu met Alwayo through his aunt in 1997. Enganyu’s cousin played the part of go-between and in a period of three days the pair was in love. “I accepted him because he was a nice person. He had the qualities that I was looking for in a man,” Alwayo said through an interpreter.
Enganyu did not want to waste any more time at his aunt’s home and thought of taking his wife to his mother in Kaberamido district. “I gave her money to give to her mother before we left. My mother was excited when I introduced my sweetheart,” Enganyu said. Since then the couple has not looked back.
The most interesting thing about this couple is that when they have any misunderstandings they do not run to church leaders. Alwayo says she loves him so much that she would fight any woman that would attempt to interfere with their marriage. Enganyu gave two cows and five goats as bride price. The couple has five children.

Luckily, none of them were born with disabilities. The couple’s livelihood Enganyu is a businessman dealing in fish at Ochero market. It is through this business that he is able to look after his family. He also engages in agriculture together with his wife. His mother, Abigairi Acengo, says Enganyu’s disability started when he was about four years old. And she suspects that it was from measles. “Since then he has not been able to speak or hear,” Acengo says.
The story is not any different from Alwayo’s, who also became deaf and dumb at around the same age. Sadly, the couple did not get any education since their parents were unable to enroll them into institutions for the special needs persons. But impressively, perhaps due to the demands of his business, Enganyu is able to write his name and even use a calculator.

His elder brother, Sylaus Edunyu, admits that Enganyu looked bright from childhood. “He used to enter my class in primary when he was still young until he stopped. He looked a bright boy but that problem blocked him,” Edunyu said. Enganyu is the second last born in a family of six. All the rest of his brothers are well with no form of disability.
However the first born of his elder brother has also given birth to a deaf and dump girl who is now in senior four. “She was well but she suffered measles and in a short time she became deaf and dumb. We tried treating her in various hospitals but in vain,” Tom Obura said.

This couple did not get chance of education since their parents were unable to take them to the schools of the deaf however Enganyu is able to write his name and even use a calculator.

The couple told New Vision through an interpreter that their wedding was a dream come true after their first plan flopped 10 years ago when the LRA killed Father Lawrence Oyuru, the then parish organising the wedding.



Ghana’s Disability Act: The State must set the pace

Ghana Business News-2013/07/26

Page last updated at Friday, July 26, 2013 17:17 PM

The gorge between the promises, policy statements on one hand and the situation on the ground is perhaps the most explicit indicator of the state’s attitude to the interest of the disabled population.

This state of affairs goes beyond the declarations at official functions, political party rallies and in party manifestoes.

This is the story, crisp and vivid but mind boggling and heartbreaking.

On July 19, the Institute for Democratic Governance, a think tank, organised a National Summit at the Banquet Hall, State House, Accra on the theme: “Justice, peace, and reforms will strengthen Ghana.”

It was indeed a very important event. All categories of persons in Ghana including persons with disability (PWDs) were invited.

Off course PWDs passed through their various gaits. Some arrived, using wheelchairs and crutches and other aids only to be confronted with a looming challenge.

The problem was the superstructure, which is the Banquet Hall.

Mr Francis Asong, Director of Voice Ghana, a disability advocacy and capacity building organisation, headquartered in Ho, Volta Region arrived at the event grounds with his crutches.

He told the Ghana News Agency that he had to climb 38 steps, inching backwards, to the touted public facility for the state.

As he laboured up on the steps backwards, while others floated past, Mr Asong said: “I felt as if I was reliving the experience of my ancestors under, the wicked despot Agorkorli of Notsie.”

The Ewes of present day Ghana were said to have broken out of the bondage of the headstrong chief, Agorkorli at Nortsie in present day Togo, walking backwards for a while to confuse pursuers.

Mr Asong’s experience again brings into focus the issue of how people with disabilities are faring in the light of a supposed new era enabled by the Disability Act.

Parliament enacted the Persons with Disability Act 2006, (Act 715), which stipulated that within the period of 10 years of passing of the law that is by 2016 those who provide services at public places must make it easy for PWDs by providing appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by them.

Section 6 of the Act, stipulates that “the owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a Person with Disability.

Section 7 of the Act also stipulates that “a person who provides service to the public shall put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a Person with Disability”.

Section 39 under the Miscellaneous Provisions of the Act indicates that “a person or institution which organises a national, regional or district activity, shall as far as practicable ensure that facilities are made available for the participation in the activity by persons with disability”.

Mr Asong and Mr Kofi Tenasu Gbedemah, Executive Director of Institute for Information and Development, also a social protection NGO, also based in Ho, said in a joint statement that they find it very sad that seven years into the passage of the PWD Act, the state has not found it necessary to implement the law.

“What would the state expect from other sections of society that should also provide those facilities to people with disability? Can the state hold them accountable for not making their facilities accessible to and available for use by persons with disability,” the two quizzed?

They added: “We think our members of parliament who enacted this law must sit-up… and start the discussion for making public buildings in Ghana accessible to all including persons with disabilities by 2016.”

The implementation of the Disability Act is linked to the total development of the country and so the commitment must therefore go beyond platform statements on some special days such as that by Dr Henry Seidu Daanaa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, on the last Disability Day activities.

He appealed to stakeholders to continue exploring and working to find solutions to challenges that PWDs face.

Indeed government must show commitment by providing the budget to pursue programmes and projects to facilitate the process.

By Sepenyo Dzokoto Source: GNA

- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/645421-kaberamaido-s-deaf-dumb-couple-love-each-other-to-death.html



Zambia: Disability and HIV/Aids


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THIS week we continue with disability and HIV/AIDS hoping that gaps identified in terms of the provision of social services to persons with disabilities will be addressed.

It is a fact that persons with a disabilities have equal to or greater vulnerability than all known risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) because they are as sexually active as those without a disability and rates of homosexuality and bisexuality are comparable to the general population.

Women and children with a disability are more likely than others to be victims of violence or rape, yet they are less likely to obtain police interventions, legal protection or prophylactic care.

The situation on the ground is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to HIVAIDS information, education and prevention services and there is a need to bridge this gap.

Society does not believe that persons with disabilities are sexually active and because of this they are frequently turned away from testing or treatment services in our clinics due to false assumptions about persons with disabilities not being at risk of contracting HIV or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Once infected, any one with a disability is likely to have reduced support due to factors such as limited access to healthcare, poor nutrition, social isolation and low levels of income and assets.

As we mentioned last week, there is a link between disability and HIV/AIDS which mostly causes temporary or permanent disability, particularly when people do not have access to appropriate healthcare and antiretroviral medication.

It's time that society thought outside the box and accepted that persons with disabilities have no access to accurate information about HIV/AIDS in an appropriate format such as Braille or plain language in health centres, clinics and other locations that are physically inaccessible which inhibit access to HIV/AIDS information and treatment for disabled people in this country.

Despite the fact that the field of HIV/AIDS and disability is rapidly growing worldwide, there is little attention to include persons with disabilities in this fight.

In addition, majority of HIV/AIDS Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have no specific information targeting persons with disabilities and on how best their activities can benefit the disabled community.

The truth is that it is possible for civil society in Zambia to include the plight of persons with disabilities and possibilities have shown that it is possible to successfully include disabled people in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

The inclusion of persons with disabilities is the best practical approach in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes which should start with identifying the number of persons with disabilities within the local community or clinic and, secondly, gather information through meetings with local people and facilities for inclusive information sharing which must include the following:

- Ensure billboards, posters, brochures or other information relating to HIV/AIDS depict people with disabilities as part of the general population

- Ensure programme staff are aware of HIV/AIDS incidence and risk factors for people with disabilities

- Work with organisations involved in awareness raising and information on HIV/AIDS risk factors for persons with a disability

- Collaborate with the Church and other key stakeholders.

The above efforts will only work if participation of persons with disabilities is placed on the centre stage of this process that advocates for the inclusion of persons with a disabilities into all HIV/AIDS activities, and championed by disabled people themselves and ensure these are able to contribute to and participate in information and training activities aimed at creating a strong and united voice.

Creating a strong voice will bring persons with disabilities together and allow their participation in information sharing at every level and address issues affecting them.

Full participation of disabled people will easily effectively allow implement HIV/AIDS disability strategies for integrating health and disability issues at community level and social equality which answer to the rights of persons with disabilities in Zambia.

Stakeholders in HIV/AIDS such as the civil society organisations must include best approaches and actions and be on the centre stage of advocacy.

There is a need to engage disabled people in addressing disability and HIV/AIDS if the discriminatory approach to information provision to persons with disabilities is to be addressed once and for all.

I strongly believe that information gaps can be resolved through consultations and other community meetings called for this purpose and ensure that the preferred communication mode for an individual with a disability is acceptable.

Note that not all people who are blind will have been taught Braille. Likewise, not all individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing will have sign language skills.

That in such meetings alternative communication options, including large print, Braille, pictorial, audio and sign language based on individual requirements should be a must and this can be done through consultations.

An estimated 650 million people, or 10 per cent of the world's population, have a disability. Although people with disabilities are found within the populations at higher risk of exposure to HIV, not much attention has been paid to the relationship between HIV and disability.

For this reason, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) have collaborated on a policy brief that explores the links between HIV and disability and makes recommendations for policy change.

This policy brief discusses the actions needed to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in the HIV response and ensure they have access to HIV services which are both tailored to their diverse needs and are equal to the services available to others in the community.

Evidence shows that people with disabilities are at the same or greater risk of HIV infection as non-disabled people.

Due to insufficient access to appropriate HIV prevention and support services, persons with disabilities may engage in behaviours which place them at risk of HIV infection, such as unprotected heterosexual or male-to-male sex (including in the context of sex work) and injecting drugs.

The policy brief states that a large percentage of persons with disabilities experience sexual assault or abuse during their lifetime, with women and girls, persons with intellectual impairments and those in specialised institutions, schools or hospitals being at particularly high risk.

There is also evidence that in some cultures, persons with disabilities are raped in the belief that this will "cure" an HIV-positive individual.

Persons with disabilities may not benefit fully from HIV and related sexual and reproductive health services because services offered at clinics, hospitals and in other locations may be physically inaccessible, lack sign language facilities or fail to provide information in alternative formats such as Braille, audio or plain language.

Also, service providers may lack knowledge about disability issues, or have misinformed or stigmatising attitudes towards persons with disabilities.

As stated in the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons with disabilities have the right to participate in decisions which affect their lives, and should be fully involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of HIV policies and programmes.

This is the best way of ensuring these policies and programmes are responsive to their needs.

The policy brief on disability and HIV calls for HIV services to be inclusive of persons with disabilities. It makes recommendations to governments, civil society and international agencies to eliminate physical, information and communication, economic and attitudinal barriers not only to increased access to HIV programmes, but to assist people in accessing broader health and social services.

(The author is regional disability policy analyst for SADC and inclusive development advisor for Centre for Disability Development Research, Law and Policy, Johannesburg.

For contribution, comments and suggestions please contact us on the following addresses:

CDDRLP South Africa Project Office, P.O. BOX 1981 New Castle, 2940 South Africa

Tell: +27343127894 Fax: +27343127894 Mobile: +27733453663

E-mail: cm@cddrlp.net Website: www.cddrlp.net +260966-755461

CDDRLP Zambia P.O.BOX 34490 Lusaka, Zambia)



Local NGO Calls For Sign Language in Teacher Training & Police

Sierra Express Media
By: SEM Contributor on July 28, 2013.

A local non - governmental organization known as Initiative for Changing Lives for Ultimate Disability Empowerment (INCLUDE) has called on the government of Sierra Leone to ensure that the police training school and all teacher’s training colleges to incorporate sign language in their respective teaching curriculum, so that persons with hearing impairment can access the justice system of the country.

According to the CEO of INCLUDE Mrs. Melrose Cotay said her organization is working alongside people with disabilities and other vulnerable and marginalized population in the western area.

Mrs. Cotay made the call at a press conference held at the organization secretariat No.4 Pademba Road in Freetown on the 18 July to brief the press about a survey the organization conducted on ‘Access to the Justice System for the hearing impaired’.

She noted that the project was funded by ENCISS.

Giving an overview of the survey project Mr. Kabbakeh Noah said the survey was conducted in February 2013 targeting 4 police stations and 6 courts in the Western Area. He told media practitioners that the rapid appraisal methodology was utilized in data collection and three different questionnaires were administered targeting the following respondents 1 Hearing impaired persons, 2 Police personnel dealing with crimes and 3, Court personnel working in the courts. He said the aim of the survey is to highlight the communication barriers that militate against persons with disabilities in accessing justice.

Mr. Noah said they has done several outreach programmes and revealed that there is absolutely no access to justice for hearing impaired people in the police stations and judiciary system as a whole, and therefore called on the police, teacher’s training colleges and the management of the SLBC to incorporate programmes for this category of people in our society.

He said 6 radio discussion programmes on the use of sign language on thematic issues and one week training for 15 court and police personnel was conduct.

The CEO of INCLUDE Mrs. Melrose Cotay said INCLUDE is a major advocacy organization on disability issues in the country and has held and facilitated numerous meetings and workshops to promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of PWDs.

Mrs. Cotay said her organization aims to promote legal reforms to guarantee increased access to the justice system for hearing impaired persons.

She disclosed that a 9 man committee on the use of sign language communication has been formed.

By Alhaji Saidu Kamara



Nigeria: Abia Sanitation Court Jais Three for Contempt

28 JULY 2013

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An Abia Mobile Sanitation Court in Aba on Saturday sentenced three persons for contempt.

One of the offenders, Samuel Okorie, a driver, of 203 Ohanku Road, Aba, who claimed to be deaf and dumb, was jailed one week or to pay N10,000 fine.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okorie had refused to answer questions from the court, which sat at Alaoji in Ugwunagbor Local Government Area.

The Senior Magistrate, Dr Diamond Olewengwa, had asked the convict where he lived and rather than respond, he gesticulated like a deaf and dumb person.

The magistrate said: "You do not hear or speak", and Okorie nodded his head in affirmation.

Olewengwa said: "Wait, you will hear and speak now when I finish;" signed a committal form for Okorie and read the sentence to him.

When the court sentenced him, Okorie asked: "What did I do that my sentence should vary from those of other sanitation offenders?"

Immediately, the policeman handcuffed him with others for movement to Aba Prison.

The court also jailed Chinedu Ikeaja, a mechanic, two weeks or N20,000 fine for contempt.

Ikeaja, who was arrested on his way to fetch water from a borehole at 7.55 a.m by health workers, said that he had cleaned his workshop at Alaoji and was going to fetch water before his arrest.

After getting his name and address, the magistrate fined Ikeaji N1,000 for contravening the sanitation law but he protested and started to disturb the court.

After refusing to heed warnings not to disturb the court, the magistrate signed a committal form for Ikeaja and sentenced him to two weeks in jail or N20,000 fine.

The magistrate asked the convict to return to his court at Aba -na-Ohazu on Aug. 9 to enable him to know if he had been purged of his contempt and for a review or otherwise of the sentence.

The court also jailed a woman, Felicia Ikechukwu of Oyigbo, Rivers, two days or N10,000 fine for contempt.

The magistrate had fined Ikechukwu N2,000 and awarded N1,000 cost but she protested and refused to pay on the ground that she had no money.

When an elderly woman, who claimed to be Ikechukwu's mother pleaded with the court, the fine was reduced to N1,000, yet she refused to pay.

The court asked her to keep her car keys with the court bailiff if she wanted to go; she refused and instead fought the magistrate's police orderly who asked her not to go without keeping the keys.

The woman's attitude angered the magistrate, who called her back to the court, signed her contempt form and sentenced her to jail for two days.

He said that he fined the woman N10,000 or two days in prison to serve as a deterrent to others who would disrespect the court.

Olewengwa asked Ikechukwu to return to the court on July 30 for him to ascertain if she had purged herself of her contempt act.

Other people in the woman's car paid her fine. (NAN)

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Liberia: Lebanese Community Identifies With Physically Challenged

29 JULY 2013

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The President of the World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), business executive Ezzat Eid, with an array of officials of the union and scores of Lebanese business tycoons successfully participated in Liberia's 166th Independence Day Celebrations in Tubmanburg, Bomi County where they identified with some less fortunate Liberian citizens during that historic event.

The WLCU during the July 26, 2013 Independence Day observance in Tubmanbury, Bomi County passionately donated several assorted items to about 24 blind citizens, members of the school for the blind (blind and deaf). The items included scratch cards, one laptop and sewing machines during a trade fair graced by several dignitaries and members of the Lebanese business community, Liberian Government officials, amongst others.

The WLCU accordingly, offered to issue about 15 of the 24 blind persons of the School for the Blind; dozens of scratch cards which, upon marketing, would help toward making them self-empowered in society as well as to withstand future challenges, noted Mr. Marouf Mansour, Secretary General of WLCU.

Also at the occasion, the President and officials of the WLCU presented some Perkins Broilers as well as portable broilers alongside vests/jackets and brail typewriter for use by members of the School for the Blind.

Mansour said the 15 members of the School for the Blind selected, are expected to benefit under the "I am Moving Forward-Buy Your Phone Scratch Card".

Further, the WLCU gave about 25 tables to some market women to enable them sell their goods/services in Bomi County, Tubmaburg and contribute to the growth and development of Liberia.

At the program, the WLCU served its guests, including the Blind and Deaf inhabitants with a sumptuous lunch as they all celebrated the 166th Independence Day Celebration of the Republic of Liberia along with sighted brothers and sisters in grand style.

Appreciating the WLCU goodwill gesture, the blind and deaf of the School for the Blind/deaf thanked the President of the Union and corps of officials for identifying with their plights in society, which according to them, has made them to be part of society despite public discrimination in the country.

He also called on the Government of Liberia to take the plight of the physically challenged more serious in terms of the provision of subsidy to the institution.

Meanwhile, the World Lebanese Cultural Union through its leadership has promised to remain a true partner-in-progress towards the growth and economic development of post-conflict-Liberia.



Kenya-Tanzania: Trafficking handicapped children and the economy of misery

The Africa Report
Posted on Monday, 29 July 2013 17:22

Trafficking syndicates operating between Kenya and Tanzania are actively involved in the trade of handicapped children.

Used in Nairobi's lucrative 'begging industry', Tanzanian children are transported through major bus routes, such as the Tanzania Namanga route, to Kenya's capital Nairobi. The journey can take up to nine hours.

Once inside the borders, bribes must be paid, to Kenyan immigration officers and both Tanzania and Kenya revenue authority officers, to allow them pass without the temporary East African passport.

Once in Nairobi, groups of children are stashed in rented or empty homes, and are transported to strategic locations early each morning by handlers posing as relatives.

Wait and see others who are being returned. It is a business just like any other, this kids are money making machines

Able to earn as much as 3000 shillings ($35) daily, handicapped toddlers and teens are left in the scorching sun until the evening, when they assemble to a central place to be picked and returned to their host.

Some cannot move due to severity of their disability prompting their host to go carrying them around. The host hires watchmen to watch over them to avoid them revealing their identity to curious passersby.

Reuben, aged 15 from Tanzania, has struggled with crippled limbs from an early age. He is one of the many children trafficked to Nairobi. Together with other disabled children, Reuben's job is to earn as much money as possible for his handlers, whom he calls his 'seniors'.

"I make a lot of money for my host, and I know they are very happy with me," he told us.

"When I came to Kenya they promised me better life. I was told that in Kenya there are programs to help people like me."

Reuben spoke about the promise of a new wheelchair and financial aid to better his life. "Till today, that has not happened. All I do now is to sit here waiting for somebody to drop me a coin to give to my senior," he said.

At an early age, Reuben lost his mother, after she abandoned him due to his disability. In Africa, mothers are usually stigmatised when they give birth to disabled children.

As a child with disability, Reuben was left alone at a tender age to fend for himself. He said that life in Tanzania for disabled people was difficult due to discrimination and neglect. In Nairobi, he said, the generosity of Kenyans transformed his disability into an asset.

Reuben's day begins at 5am. Every day his seniors take him to scouted locations while it is early and dark to avoid raising suspicions. Valuable paper money would be hidden in his jacket while coins would remain in the can.

"My bosses carry and keep all the cash. I get free food and shelter. That is what matters to me," said Reuben.

Tailing Traffickers

The money collected by disabled and handicapped children such as Reuben would be handed over each day to their handlers. While children like Reuben are watched from a distance, toddlers are often 'rented' from brokers by women who pose as mothers.

After days of watching street mothers earning an income from disabled children, Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) trailed one 'mother' carrying a disabled child as she emerged from Kariobangi South estate, on the outskirts of Nairobi.

The fake mother boarded the public transport van to Githurai estate, some 30km away.

Upon reaching her destination, she sat near the bus stop where commuters gathered, placing the child on the ground. After a few hours, the scorching sun had an effect on the child, who was given no water/food. Fortunately, one well wisher handed him food instead of money.

Sympathisers dropped money near the child. The mother waited for them to leave before picking it up and stashing it a small cloth beneath her chest.

Asked about the child, the fake mother claimed she was not able to take care of him without begging. "He is my child," she claimed. But neighbors said otherwise. They confirmed that the child was hired.

Later that day, the "mother" boarded a vehicle back to Kariobangi, returning the child to the guardian.

According to a vegetable vendor nearby, the guardian was housing about ten physically challenged children - each rented out for Sh500 (about $6) to any client in the area.

Those who are not lucky to be rented are picked up by a taxi driver and driven to Nairobi town where they are dropped off at vantage points, in streets like Tom Mboya, Moi Avenue and Luthuli Avenue, at the capital city Nairobi.

"Wait and see others who are being returned. It is a business just like any other, this kids are money making machines," said the vendor.

Money from misery

Reuben does not talk easily. Referring to his 'foster' parents, he said, "They watch the money that I make and are present all the time. I cannot fool them."

As he spoke, his handler kept a watchful eye at a car park about 10 meters away, curious of the ongoing conversation with Reuben.

Kariobangi estate was to reveal the faces behind these children. Inside a two roomed house, seated on the floor carpet , the trafficked children chatted happily.

Their 'handler', Abed Musoma - a Tanzanian national - lives with his Kenyan wife whose role is to cook for the physically challenged children.

Abed, who said he arrived in Kenya two years ago, confirmed that he had brought the children from Tanzania, allegedly with the intention of helping them.

Claiming they were homeless, he stated that the money he earned would be used to build a house for them when he takes back to Tanzania. But Musoma was careful not to mention how much he earned from the children daily.

The children see the experience differently. "They could even kill you, we are told they are well connected with the city council police and some senior people in the Kenyan government," said Reuben.

Radoslav Malinowski, the director of Awareness against Human Trafficking, an NGO seeking to counter the phenomenon in Kenya argues that trafficking is forced labour. It is "the worst exploitation after organ removal," he said.

"You can see them begging and the big guys taking all the money by the end of the day. Only two cases of trafficking were prosecuted last year ... and these prosecutions failed to progress. Hundreds of other cases remain pending in the police files," said Malinowski.

According to Malinowski, unemployment is the major driving force sustaining the begging industry - estimated at 41 percent by the Kenya national bureau of statistics.

"The cartels are well connected internationally," says Malinowski, "and the police usually limit our work so it becomes very difficult to counter the criminals.

"We get at least 12 cases per week," he added.

Bribes paid to City Council police are one way to ascertain the release of arrested disabled children. While non-disabled children are sometimes able to flee police crackdowns on hawkers and beggars, handicapped and disabled children are released by virtue of bribes to the city council officers, to avoid prosecution.

"The officers take all the money we have collected, then they release us",
says one disabled child.

Police, however, deny any allegations of collection bribes to avoid being reprimanded.

Back to one

"At least I can get food and shelter, something that was not possible in Tanzania," said one child. "But this job comes with frustrations because I cannot access the money I beg for physically. My superiors go away with it after guarding me for the whole day," he said.

It is estimated that there are about 200,000 reported cases of human tracking cases but the figure could be higher since many go unreported and unrecorded.

There is also corruption since the traffickers are internationally and locally connected.

The Kenya police figures only show 150,000 cases but most of them are trans-border, where illegal immigrants pass through Kenya to other countries.

The East African community has since January this year been taking strict measures on trafficking and vetting every immigrant on border points.

"It seems to be working but it is not 100 percent effective," says a policeman who opted to remain anonymous.

"Even if we remove the beggars from the street, they always return," he added.

The author, Eudias Kigai, is a member of FAIR - Forum for African Investigative Reporters.



Okaikoi calls for speedy passage of LI on disability

Andrew Okaikoi

The Chairman of Ghana National Council on People with Disability (GNCWD), Mr. Andrew Okaikoi, has called on Parliament to pass the Legislative Instrument (LI) that makes it mandatory for property owners to make provisions for people with disability in the country.

According to him, the delays in the passage of the L.I have given the impetuous for estate developers not to make provision for people with disability when constructing their properties across the country.

Mr. Okaikoi made this call at the donation of the state-of?the-art blind canes by a British Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) called Disables Equipment Overseas (DESO) to some hundreds of people with disability at Accra.

He said: “we are into five years of the ten years moratorium and nothing seems to be done because of the delays in the passage of the L.I, on making the provision of disability friendly facilities to the high rise buildings springing up in the city. "

He appealed to Parliament to accelerate the passage of the L.I to enable people with Disability to breathe a sigh of relieve when accessing such high rise buildings in the city.

He said very soon, the ten years moratorium will expire, and people with disability will still battle with the difficulties in accessing public buildings and schools across the country.

He was of the view that, Accra very soon will join cities like New York in the United States of America (USA) where the buildings of high rise edifices are for the beautification of the city.

On her part, Madam Mavis Hyde, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Disability Equipment Overseas said the state-Of?the-art blind cane is a highly sophisticated cane that directs users.

She said the cane has the capacity to direct users and prevent them from falling into drainages.

The cane, she said, has a beeping sound that alerts users when they are heading towards drainages and open holes.

She was quick to add that the cane is locally made and very affordable and helpful to all blind persons in the country.



Zimbabwe: Miss Deaf Shines in Czech Republic


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Reigning Miss Deaf Zimbabwe Kudakwashe Mapeture, who represented Zimbabwe at the Miss and Mr Deaf World Pageant that took place in the Czech Republic capital, Prague on July 13, managed to raise the Zimbabwean flag high. The Norton-based model did not win the coveted title, but managed to make it to the top 10 finalists. Mapeture (21) was born with a speech and hearing impairment.

The annual event saw 41 contestants drawn from across the world and six African countries represented by hearing-impaired beauty queens.

Mapeture said even though she didn't make it in the top five she was elated and still regards herself as a winner.

"Having many countries there, I couldn't believe it when I was selected in the top 10 finals and with this pageant it's not all about being a winner, but it's also a journey towards achieving one's dreams and aspirations," said Mapeture.

Mapeture also said she has now learnt to take her condition as a "blessing from God" and urged other speech and hearing impaired people to be proud of themselves and not to look down upon themselves.

"It doesn't matter that you are deaf or dumb, come out and showcase your talent as deaf youth, come let's unite together and support each other in this pageant," said Mapeture. The model was accompanied by Madeline Yohane, the organiser for the Miss and Mr Deaf Zimbabwe.

Yohane, who described the event as well organised, said she was impressed as Matepure managed to get into the finals and lifted the Zimbabwean flag high.

Yohane said she invests her time and passion with deaf people because of her love for deaf people.

"When the community thinks about beauty they choose to associate it with able-bodied individuals who have what it takes to stand in the crowd, but everyone has a unique form of beauty regardless of their physical capabilities," said Yohane.

In the same event, Yohane was registered and given a certificate for being the organiser for the Miss and Mr Deaf World in Zimbabwe from 2013 to 2020 signed by Mr Josef Uhlir, who is the organiser and president of the Miss and Mr Deaf World and Miss and Mr Deaf Europe. This means she can now officially send annually elected Miss and Mr Deaf World to the annual event.

Yohane said she was humbled by such an honour and said for the first time they were going to organise Mr Deaf which will be held at the same time with Miss Deaf Zimbabwe sometime this year.

The theme for the pageant is "Fearfully and wonderfully made" taken from the Psalm 139 vs 14.



Nigeria adopts WIPO’s Copyright Treaty for visually impaired persons

The Guardian Nigeria-

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A NIGERIAN delegation on June 27, 2013, joined other International Negotiators at a Diplomatic Conference convened by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to adopt a Treaty to facilitate access to published works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (Beneficiary Persons).

The Treaty-making event was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and chaired by the nation’s Minister of Communications and Government Spokesperson, H.E. Mr. Mustapha Khalfi.

The Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) Mr. Afam Ezekude, who was head of the Nigerian delegation to the Conference held at Marrakesh, Morocco, from June 17 to June 28, 2013, said in a document released in Abuja, that the Treaty as adopted symbolises the first ever Copyright Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled Persons.

He added that it is also a culmination of efforts that commenced 2009 in WIPO to redress the book famine that excluded over 300 million beneficiary persons from access to literary and artistic works, 90 per cent of which live in developing countries and of these, 27 million in Africa.

Mr. Ezekude noted that the Marrakesh Treaty is a landmark achievement as it symbolises the first ever Copyright Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Beneficiary Persons, since the adoption of the first multilateral international Copyright Instrument (Berne Convention) in 1886, more than 227 years ago.

He further stated that the Treaty, adopted after more than a week of intense debate, is a real triumph of negotiation for the Nigerian delegation that successfully balanced various delicate issues such as interests of Copyright owners, Beneficiary Persons and the Sovereignty of the nation, as well as harmonising Copyright international best practices.

Other benefits of the Treaty as highlighted in the document include:

- The Treaty enshrines a more egalitarian system that will facilitate fuller access to published works and audio text for Beneficiary Persons, as well as others;

- Enhance their inclusion and participation in culture, society, literature, research, education, economy and knowledge systems of the world;

- The Treaty establishes basic standards that provide an enabling framework for addressing the full spectrum of the declared aspiration of visually Impaired persons;

- Contracting parties of the Treaty may adopt domestic law provisions that permit the reproduction, translation, distribution and making available works in accessible format copies through Exceptions and Limitations to the rights of copyright owners;

- The Treaty also permits cross border exchanges and direct distribution between authorised entities and beneficiary persons;

- Other aspects of the Treaty indicate that it does not prescribe to governments as national governments are at liberty to determine what exception and limitations are permitted to implement the Treaty in accordance with their national laws, practices and systems in consonant with international copyright laws;


- The Treaty is also designed to provide assurances to authors and publishers that the system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.

Mr. Ezekude explained that the Treaty will be useful in bridging the literary access to knowledge and capacity gap that exists between Beneficiary Persons in the developed and developing economies, stressing that the Marrakesh Treaty is “a Copyright Treaty, a human rights Treaty, and a humane Treaty”.

He gave assurance of Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring the swift ratification and effective implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty.

Director-General of WIPO, Francis Gurry, in his declaration, stated that “This treaty is a victory for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled, but also for the multilateral system. With this treaty, the international community has demonstrated the capacity to tackle specific problems, and to agree a consensus solution. This is a balanced treaty, and represents a very good arbitration of the diverse interests of the various stakeholders.”

President of the World Blind Union, Mrs. Maryanne Diamond, while thanking stakeholders for their different roles in seeing to fruition the adoption of the Treaty, stated that “you gave us a Treaty, better still, you gave us a good Treaty, one that will change the lives of millions of people...” Popular Visually Impaired legend, Steven Wonder, who performed during the closing ceremony of the conference, commended the momentous adoption of the Treaty, opining that the very act has “taught many governments and peoples that business and good can be done at the same time”. He also called for swift ratification of the Treaty.

The event had over 600 delegates from 160 countries including an expert Nigerian Delegation, and 60 inter-governmental and non- governmental organisations.

NCC secures 40 piracy convictions

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has secured 40 convictions against different copyright offenders between January 2011 and June 2013. The pirates were sentenced to various terms, including imprisonment, in some instances, without the option of fine.

Director General, NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, who disclosed this in a report at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja yesterday, revealed that the Commission secured three convictions against pirates in 2011, 26 in 2012 and 11 between January and June, 2013.

Also, the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, convicted and sentenced three pirates to various jail terms, including imprisonment, in some instances, without the option of fine for the infringement of the book: The Accidental Public Servant, written by Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.

Justice Idris of the Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, on May 6, 2013, in charge No: FHC/L/159C/13 sentenced Nwoke Israel to one year imprisonment, without option of fine, on a two-count charge of having in possession and selling pirated copies of the book.

Justice Yunusa also of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, on May 10, 2013, in Charge No. FHC/L/158C/13 sentenced another book pirate, Ifeanyichukwu Nweke, to six months imprisonment with an option of N1,000.00 (one thousand naira) fine for each count on a similar two-count charge of infringing the same book.

Similarly, on a two-count charge of having in possession and selling pirated copies of the book, Justice Saidu of the same court, on May 22, 2013, sentenced Akamu Chibueze to three months’ imprisonment, in charge No: FHC/L/149C/13, for both counts without any option of fine to run concurrently.

The convictions were sequel to anti-piracy operations carried out by operatives of the Commission in major outlets in Lagos, following complaints earlier received from the right owner.



Deaf athletes yearn for more tourneys in Lagos

The Guardian Nigeria

ACTING Chairman of Lagos State Deaf Sports Association, Samuel Ikpea has called on corporate bodies, sports philanthropists and government to sponsor more deaf competitions.

Ikpea said this at the Lagos State Deaf Schools Athletic Competition which was held last weekend at Agege Stadium, Lagos.
The competition was facilitated by the Lagos State Ministry of Sports, Youth and Social Development and the Office of Grassroots Sports Development.

Ikpea said he was impressed with the performance of deaf athletes, adding that the time has come for the athletes to enjoy regular competitions. He disclosed that the association discovered a good number of athletes during the two days event.

“I am impressed with the performance of all these deaf athletes. They really showed that they have potentials and I believe that if there are more competitions for them, Nigeria stands a good chance of excelling in future international deaf competitions. There are many talents abound here and it is the responsibility of our coaches to nurture them to stardom,” he said.

Ikpea said the performance of deaf athletes at the last National Sports Festival held in Lagos showed that the association is committed to promote the deaf sports at the grassroots level in Lagos.



Atta Mills Anniversary Committee Supports Special Schools

Jul 2013

Two special schools have received funds generated from the inter-denominational thanksgiving service held at the Robert Mensah Sports Stadium last Sunday to climax the first anniversary of the death of President Atta Mills.

The beneficiary schools are the Blind Unit of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and the Unit for Special Needs Children at Aboom.

They each received an amount of GH?3,790.00 from the Atta Mills Anniversary Committee to support their activities.

The total amount generated from the offering was estimated at GH?7,484.

Mr Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Chairman of the Anniversary Committee, at separate ceremonies at the schools, said while alive, was the practice of the late President to donate to people with special needs hence the donation to the schools.

Madam Barbara Ennin, the Headmistress of Cape Coast School for the Deaf, expressed delight at the gesture saying the donation will be used to complete an on-going project for the Blind Unit of the school which currently has 34 students aged between eight and 20 years.

She said the facilities at the school were inadequate whilst the road network was very poor, making movement for the blind very dangerous and appealed for assistance for the construction of the road.

At Aboom, Mrs Mary Osei-Kuffo, the Headmistress of the Special Needs Children School, also appealed to Government to provide facilities, logistics and the needed infrastructure to enable the school which is the only one in the Region, expand.

The school, which has 70 pupils with many of them with autism and cerebral palsy, is housed in a two classroom block.

Mr Totobi Quakyi was accompanied by Mr Kofi Nyantakyi, spokesperson of the Committee, and Mr Frank Bo-Amissah, a member.

Source: GNA



Noise, not age is the leading cause of hearing loss

Vibe Ghana-
Jul 31st, 2013

We live in a noisy world and it seems to be getting worse every year. Unless you protect your ears, sooner than later it may be you having a difficult time hearing. Approximately one-third of people over age 65 are affected by disabling hearing loss. It can be sudden or gradual depending on the cause of the loss.

Hearing loss can be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one or both of the ears and can lead to difficulty in hearing conversational speech and sounds. Men are more likely to experience hearing loss than women and half of all cases are preventable.

We are born with a fixed number of hair cells; once they die, they cannot be replaced. Usually, sensitivity to high-frequency sounds is the first to go and followed by an inability to hear the frequencies of speech.

‘Hard of hearing’ refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They can often communicate through spoken language but can benefit from hearing aids, captioning and assistive listening devices.

‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound hearing loss. People in this classification often uses sign language and is generally reserved for very little or no hearing at all.

Hearing loss can be present or acquired soon after birth from a variety of reasons such as a lack of oxygen at the time of birth, low birth weight and severe jaundice. Children can also acquire hearing loss if the mother has rubella, syphilis or infections during pregnancy. Infectious diseases such as meningitis, measles and mumps can lead to hearing loss, mostly in childhood, but also later in life.

Chronic ear infections are the leading cause of hearing loss in children. In certain cases this condition can also lead to serious, life- threatening complications, such as brain abscesses or meningitis.

Acquired hearing loss is often associated with excessive noise and repeat exposure to portable music devices, hair dryers, sirens, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners, car alarms and countless other sources. Ear protection is a must for people who shoot guns as well as those who ride motorcycles or use any type of machinery or power tools.

Even toys meant for young children can generate ear-damaging levels of noise. Some toy sirens and squeaky rubber toys have been reported to emit sounds as loud as a lawn mower. Potential hazards include cap guns, talking dolls, vehicles with horns and sirens and musical instruments.

But even noisier than many of these is the maximum output of some portable music players. A national study found that among users of portable music devices, 35 per cent of adults and up to 59 per cent of teenagers reported listening at loud volumes.

They often exceed occupational safety levels and produce sound levels in the ear on a par with that of a jet taking off. If you listen to music with ear buds or headphones at levels that block out normal discourse, you are in effect dealing lethal blows to the hair cells in your ears, explains Dr Michael D. Seidman, director of otolaryngology at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

Impacts of hearing loss

The most profound impact of hearing loss in children is the delay of spoken language. It is known to impact one’s interpersonal communication and the development of other social skills. Hearing loss and conditions such as chronic ear infections also have significant adverse effects on academic performance.

Limited access to certain services and exclusion from communication with others can have a significant impact on one’s every day life such as being lonely, isolated and feelings of depression. In many countries, many children with hearing loss or deafness rarely receive any schooling and are often discriminated against.

Adults with hearing loss have a much higher unemployment rates, job turnover and also experience discrimination. Of the employed, a higher percentage of people with hearing loss are in the lower grades of employment compared with the general workforce.

Types of hearing loss

One form of hearing loss is presbycusis and can come on gradually as a person ages. Presbycusis most commonly affects people over 50 and continual deterioration occurs slowly over time. People with this type of hearing loss may find it hard to have a conversation with friends and family. It’s also common for individuals to have difficulty understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms.

Presbycusis occurs due to physical changes within the inner, middle or outer ear. These structures can be damaged by a variety of causes including infection, injury, loud noise and chronic conditions such as high blood pressure.

In age-related hearing loss, the ageing population can put themselves in harms way. Hearing loss can impact one’s ability to drive a vehicle safely and they often experience more everyday accidents, falls and injuries. Hearing loss can be sometimes confused with dementia. People who are hearing impaired often appear to be confused, unresponsive and uncooperative as they don’t hear what one is saying.

A ringing or buzzing in the ears characterizes tinnitus, another common symptom in older people. It often comes and goes and can be heard in one or both ears. Tinnitus can also be due to the use of ototoxic medications. These include medicines that are used to treat serious infections, heart disease and cancer. Misuse of anti-malarial drugs can also lead to tinnitus and irreversible hearing loss.

The antibiotics that cause the most tinnitus include polymyxin B, erythromycin, vancomycin and neomycin. Water pills or diuretics, aspirin, malaria medications and the use of antidepressants may make the symptoms worse as well.

Generally, the higher the dose of these medications, the worse tinnitus becomes. Often the unwanted noise disappears when you stop using these drugs.

It’s common for people to not want to admit they have hearing problems. Ageing people who can’t hear can become depressed and withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed. Hearing is a luxury that a lot of us take for granted, it’s important to take preventative steps before you lose your hearing.

Dr Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.



Bright Nkhata’s daughter speaks on father’s legacy

There is always insurmountable pressure exerted on the shoulders of the child of a legend. Especially were people feel the legend had unfinished business which ought to be completed by their offspring. Bright Nkhata’s daughter Agnes may have been a toddler when her legendary father passed on to the day 14 years ago, but she recognizes the huge task that her father left in his wake.

Bright Nkhata, lead singer for Kalimba and later Makasu, was one of the finest musicians to emerge from Malawi.

Fourteen years after his death, there is yet a musician to match that sultry voice behind anthemic hits such as ‘Sometimes I Wonder’, the hit single that went into many charts in many radio station even reaching top 5 on BBC Africa Channel.

Agness Nkhata
Agness Nkhata and kate Bright Nkhata

In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on her recent Malawian sojourn this week, the US-based DJ and artist says although she has been away from Malawi for 20 years, she has never forgotten who she is.

“My father’s influence is a big part of my life. The impression I get about his legacy grows and changes every time I meet someone who knows him and fills me with stories of watching him, the live wire, in action; when I hear how his music influenced a life, when I listen to his music. Before I realised how famous he is here in Malawi, he was always a star to me. His legacy, Makasu’s legacy, I believe, is one to be preserved and cherished because of the positive messages in the music, the stories that represent Malawi life and the ‘reggae magic’!;
Honestly, I feel a desire to honour his legacy more, deeper and publically, I welcome any one who is willing to join hands with me in this,” she said, adding that she is not trying to relive her famous father’s legacy.

“Can a ‘legend’s’ legacy be relived? I don`t think so but I can carry it forward. Growing up my mother encouraged me to sing but I didn`t have such a passion for it. I have picked up many instruments such as guitar, violin and keyboard although honestly have not pursued singing as a profession but I don`t count it out! I have sung background vocals for a few artist friends in the US. Music is indeed a big part of my life in many ways. First, personally I love music like Bob Marley said ;
when it hits you feel no pain;. Secondly, I support artists/the arts in my project called Roots in the City in which we showcase local (Dallas, Texas, USA), African and Caribbean artists of all ages in song, dance and spoken word poetry.”
Agnes is the coordinator and host partnering with Dallas-based Trendsetter Entertainment - Anthony Jade and Entertainment which promotes positive and uplifting music, infusing the arts with community service, development and awareness.

“During one session of Roots in the City we played Makasu at each intermission, I introduced his music to Dallas Texas that day. I wish to implement this project in Malawi as well. Lastly, I am a lady DJ by the name of DJ Queen Agnes, The Soul Selektress, specialising in African and Reggae music. I definitely play Makasus, especially at Malawian functions.”Agnes is in Malawi to visit her father’s relatives in Kasungu and her mother’s people in Mzimba.

“This is my first trip to Malawi as an adult. I have visited three times as a child. I prayed about this trip for years and the purpose was/is to reconnect with my family both mother’s (Embangweni, Mzimba) and father’s (Mthuthama, Kasungu ) side, volunteer at the Crisis Nursery in Lilongwe, assist in renovations to my agogo Winston Zimba’s school in Embangweni, Timalechi Nursery School, volunteer at the Embangweni school for the deaf and lastly dive into Malawian life, culture and traditions. I can say by the grace of the most high, I have successfully accomplished all of those desires. This is a trip of a lifetime as I am talking to you from my father’s home village,” she said, citing that the lessons from the trip are enormous.



Enugu Govt Approves N171m For Special Centre For The Deaf

Leadership Newspapers-2013/08/01
By: Agency Report on August 1, 2013 - 12:23pm

The Enugu State Executive Council has approved more than N171 million for the construction of a special education centre for the deaf and dumb in Oji River Local Government Area.

Mr Chuks Ugwoke, the state’s Commissioner for Information, said this at the end of the Executive Council meeting in Enugu on Wednesday.

He said that the project was in line with governments’ commitment toward improving qualitative education.

Ugwoke said that the money would cover the construction of two hostel blocks, five classrooms, one two-bedroom staff quarters, sickbay, perimeter fence as well as the renovation of the school library.

According to him, the project, when completed, will give the students a sense of belonging.

``The Enugu State Executive Council today gave approval for the construction of new buildings, perimeter fence and other renovation works at the special education centre, Oji River.

``This is in keeping with the desire of this government toward making qualitative education available and accessible to our people.

"And to provide a conducive learning environment for the students, staff of the school and security for the students,’’ he said.

The commissioner said the council had also approved the electrification of the state’s amusement and cultural park, located at Udi Local Government Area.

He noted that the electrification, to be done by the state rural electrification board, would cost N111 million.

Ugwoke explained that the park, when completed, would boost culture and tourism in the state and the country at large. (NAN)

- See more at: http://leadership.ng/news/010813/enugu-govt-approves-n171m-special-centre-deaf#sthash.zBK5fQhc.dpuf



Angola: Education Wants More Disabled Children in School System By 2014

3 AUGUST 2013

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Luanda - The Ministry of Education (MED) intends to control over 27,000 children with special needs in the education system in 2014, said Saturday in Luanda the Director General of the National Institute for Special Education, Jorge Pedro.

The official who was speaking to Angop, said that since 2011 the MED has a project to transform schools into centers of research as a way to resize the schools or make them suitable to the present moment.

Resizing of special schools into resource centers, according to the source, has allowed the inclusion of more students in the system, which currently controls 23.193.

"The special schools have limited spaces and could not cater for all. However, the special education must meet the child and not contrary, "he said.

The Ministry of Education is also working so that some schools which do not enjoy the special status join the resizing project and support special education.

According to him, the Education Ministry has a project with Brazil since 2010, providing for the training of teachers, called "School for All".

The project is meant to create multifunctional rooms, which are not only in special schools, but also in general education.

At this time, the official stressed the parties are negotiating a second phase of training with Brazil.

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Zambia: Ensuring Access to ICTs for Disabled


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EQUALITY and non-discrimination constitute a basic and general principle relating to the protection of human rights of all persons.

It is an indivisible part of international human rights law, binding on all member states of the United Nations, founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Despite this fact, discrimination of persons with disabilities remains a daily reality in most countries that are members of the United Nations and have signed the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which range from more visible forms such as segregated education and denial of employment opportunities to more acts of discrimination against disabled citizens such as imposition of physical, psychological and social barriers resulting in social exclusion of persons with disabilities.

Over the past 10 years, protecting the rights of disabled people all over the world has been placed number one priority and objective by promoting new disability legislation more especially in countries which are signatory to the international treaty both in specific policy fields and under a global approach of treating disability as a human rights issue.

For Africa, the African Union (AU) is repositioning the disability forum in a more comprehensive African legislation that will prohibit all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability and provide effective and dissuasive remedies to discrimination within member states and ensure that African rehabilitation institutions become effective in addressing disability matters.

The focus is more on information provision to society, which is an eye opener, but also looks at potential new barriers for the social inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Considering the fact that we are in a world of information and communication technologies (ICTs), persons with disabilities should be part of new development. As the world is offering these new opportunities to everyone, it is more significant for persons with disabilities, as they use technological assistance for daily activities to a higher extent than people in general.

With technological equipment adapted to the abilities of everyone, disabled end-users would be able to participate in all aspects of social life on more equal terms than ever before.

It is vital for persons with disabilities to benefit, on an equal basis, from rapid development of ICTs to enter an inclusive and barrier-free Information Society.

For many people with disabilities, the complexity of accessibility and usability of many ICT products and services is a major barrier to inclusion, preventing them from enjoying the facilities on equal footing with non-disabled people. As ICTs move to the next level of development, the following need to be improved:

- People with sensory disabilities are often prevented from watching television due to lack of accessibility features, such as subtitling, signing or audio-description.

- Websites are most of the time inaccessible for people with visual disabilities, as they do not respect the Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines.

- Telephony, either fixed or mobile, is only partially accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Mobile real-time text telephony remains a dream for the future.

- Emergency services are frequently inaccessible to people with sensory disabilities.

-Assistive technologies, which are used by disabled people to access ICT products and services, are often not interoperable with software used in these products and services.

In trying to create inclusive society, many European countries have developed soft-power instruments with regard to the accessibility of ICTs but this has not led to significant progress, and creation of an inclusive Information Society is far from being achieved despite the following strategies and resolution:

- The 2000 Lisbon Strategy states that ICTs play not only a predominant role for more growth and jobs, but also contribute, if designed for all, towards a more inclusive society.

- The Council Resolution of March 20, 2002 on the e-Europe Action Plan 2002: accessibility of public websites and their content

- The Council Resolution on February 6, 2003 "e-accessibility" - improving the access of people with disabilities to the knowledge-based society

- The 2006 the Riga Ministerial Declaration unanimously approved

- The 2005 EC Communication on e-accessibility

- In 2006, e-accessibility became part of the inclusion pillar of the "i2010 - A European Information Society for growth and employment" initiative which aims to address the main challenges and developments in the Information Society and media sectors up to 2010

- The 2007 e-inclusion Communication sets the need of a horizontal approach for an accessible Information Society which opens the way to future legislation on e-accessibility.

Besides, future EU legislation will have to be compliant with the provisions contained in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, signed by the 27 EU member states and the European Community. E-accessibility is defined by Article 9.

Article 21 states the freedom of expression and opinion, which includes the "freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas" with appropriate ICT means.

Then Article 30 provides that a cultural and recreational activity, which includes cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport should also be accessible on an equal basis with others. This includes provisions of information for television and films in an accessible format.

If this works at EU level the possibility is that the African Union will draw lessons and strategies to achieve a fully inclusive Information Society and a better accessibility of ICT products and services by persons with disabilities, focusing simultaneously on various key fields to protect disabled people from the so-called "digital divide" which include web accessibility, television, electronic communication and equipment services.

The aim of the ICTs should be advocating and communicating inclusion and equality in terms of information sharing and technological development with essential tools to increase the impact and effectiveness of their advocacy and communication.

The ICT provides persons with disabilities with a clearer idea of what constitutes advocacy and how to design and implement an influential advocacy campaign on issues affecting them.

It's encouraging to see that many countries, Zambia included, are working on domesticating the convention into national legislation and policies but in 2011, Sierra Leone became Africa's pioneer when its government passed the Persons with Disability Act.

This outlines specific rights for full access by persons with disabilities to have same services and information, including education, health and information technology, as non-disabled people, and many other countries followed. It is hoped that by 2016 the issue of disability challenge may be addressed.

However, the next challenge is to implement the ratified conventions and anti-discrimination laws effectively in most countries.

The main reason often cited for a lack of implementation is inadequate resource allocation by governments and generally linked to insufficient political will.

Huge energy and effort have been exerted by civil society in particular to get convention ratifications and follow-on national laws onto the statute books. Disability movements around the world have often been behind the push towards ratification -- and umbrella bodies such as the International Disability Alliance have helped coordinate and document their progress.

Disability movements are continuing to mobilise in many countries to lobby their governments on this -- the process of complying with the convention offers opportunities to continue to press governments to move beyond legal commitments to action.

But the lack of locally adapted technology also hinders implementation. It is critical that locally designed technology is developed and made available to persons with disabilities.

-For your stories and letters please send to us on P.O. Box 34490 Lusaka, Zambia or use our South African address Project Office, P.O. Box 1981 New Castle, 2940 South Africa.

-The author is regional disability policy analyst for SADC and inclusive development advisor for Centre for Disability Development Research, Law and Policy, Johannesburg.

E-mail: cm@cddrlp.net Website: www.cddrlp.net

Tell:+27343127894 Fax: +27343127894 Mobile: +27733453663



Health personnel undergoes sign language training

News Date: 3rd August 2013

The Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) has started a six-month training programme for health personnel to mitigate challenges facing them in delivering quality healthcare to hearing-impaired persons.

Mr James M. Sambian, Executive Director of GNAD, said at the start of the training on Friday that the aim was to mainstream sign language services into the healthcare delivery system.

He said the training would give the personnel knowledge and skills to communicate with deaf persons.

Mr Sambian said the project, which is a pilot one, is being sponsored by STAR-Ghana, and is being implemented at the Ridge Regional Hospital in Accra, and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

Mrs Victoria Kwao, participant, told the Ghana News Agency that the training would go a long way to solve problems of wrong interpretation and guarantee quality services to deaf persons.

She called for the extension of the training to all health personnel in medical facilities, adding, "The training is very interesting it is going to help us a lot. It should form part of studies at nursing training and medical schools."

In March GNAD also appealed to the government to recognize Ghana Sign Language as official language for the deaf and make provision for the employment of sign language interpreters in healthcare centres.

There are approximately 110,000 deaf persons in Ghana, according to the 2010 population and housing census.
Source: GNA



Uganda: UNICEF Report Urges On Disabled Children


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Children with disabilities (CWDs) worldwide can not afford opportunities like education, health, right to participate and play enjoyed by their normal peers, the State of the World's Children Report 2013 has found.

The report, which is dedicated to inclusion of CWDs, states that, while many reports begin with statistics that highlight a problem, children with disabilities are not a problem.

"Is there a child who does not dream of being counted and having his or her gifts and talents recognised? No. All children have hopes and dreams, including children with disabilities. All children deserve a fair chance to make their dreams real," Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake says in the report.

It affirms that if given an opportunity to flourish, children with disabilities have the potential to lead fulfilling lives and to contribute to the social, cultural and economic vitality of their communities. Yet surviving and thriving can be especially difficult for CWDs. They are at a greater risk of being poor than their peers without disabilities.

The 154-page report notes that even where children share the same disadvantages - say poverty - CWDs confront additional challenges as a result of their impairments. While children living in poverty are among the least likely to enjoy the benefits of education and health care, children who live in poverty and are disabled are even less likely to attend their local school or clinic.

The report states that while CWDs suffer exclusion in society, girls and young women with disabilities suffer double disability. Girls are less likely than boys to receive care or food and are excluded from family activities or going to school or finding employment because of the traditional gender roles and barriers.

"When they talk about inclusion, some of the schools in Uganda are not accessible to children with disabilities. They don't even have enough schools to cater for these children," said Edson Ngirabakunzi, the executive director of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda, while commenting on the report.

"There are still gaps...Teachers trained in special needs education are still inadequate in almost all the schools. Scholastic materials are not disability-friendly to blind children who need brail."



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When I met Diane Hirwa and Prince Nahimana, I realized for the first time the meaning of the saying 'where there is a will, there is a way.'

Nahimana and Hirwa are siblings and painters. They are also both deaf.

Standing in their stall at the Expo, Nahimana is selling paintings that he and his sister have made. The stand attracted many customers, as well as people eager to hear their story.

The artists' parents sponsored their children's education, believing in their ability to succeed in life despite the Rwandan tendency to disregard the potential of the disabled.

The siblings' interaction with customers is special; for those who do not know sign language, Hirwa and Nahimana use writing to communicate.

Although they are both Rwandans, they are better at English than Kinyarwanda since, they say, the education for the deaf in Rwanda lags behind that in Uganda, where they completed their higher education.

Hirwa and Nahimana went to primary school at Butare Deaf School. Upon completion of primary school, Hirwa studied in Kampala where she spent four years at Wakisso Secondary School for the Deaf. In 2010, she left the school and moved to Entebbe School for Art and Design, where she got her diploma.

Asked about how his parents overcame the feeling of most of Rwandan people towards children born with disability, Nahimana wrote down in my handbook, "Our parents are well educated, not like ones who discriminate those who are born with disabilities; being deaf doesn't mean you are inept. We are talented like so many others and we have to develop these talents."

Although Nahimana is still a student at Kyambogo University School in Art and Industrial design, he can still interact with customers and offer what they need through writing and gestures.

After completion of her studies, Hirwa began painting cloths using colored powders, drawing and painting images of different high level personalities and making jewels, most of them sold at prices ranging between Frw 5,000 to 15,000 each. The fabrics she makes are not different from those produced by the textile industry but hers are hand-made.

Although these painters have a big number of customers, they express concern over the lack of sign interpreters in their business. "Mainly, we face a challenge of missing sign language interpreters. You can see, I have to write everything on paper and it takes much time", Nahimana wrote in my notebook in reply to my question.

They are still receiving some help from their parents but are dreaming of expanding their business, and have already begun the process of looking for a bank loan.

On the bright side, Nahimana wrote that the ministry of commerce has promised to help them secure a place to practice their business. In the one month that Diane Hirwa has been out of school, she has started making some money from their business.

Disabled people have been for long considered as unable to succeed in life. Disabled children are not given primary education; some are even rejected by their parents and the society in general. However, people are now beginning to abandon such misguided opinions, thanks largely to the successes of people like Hirwa and Nahimana.



How we care for highly disabled pensioners

Zambia Daily Mail-

August 6, 2013


WHEN a worker‘s injuries are static, or he is unable to return to work, his disability will be assessed. If he has suffered permanent disablement he will be entitled to either a lump sum payment if the degree of disablement is below 10 percent, or a pension for life if the degree of disablement is above 10 percent.

This is how compensation for occupational accidents and diseases is normally treated in the event of workers contracting diseases or injuries in the course of work. And so far there are over 17,000 beneficiaries under the Workers’ Compensation Scheme who are drawing various forms of compensation as a result of occupational accidents and diseases.

The monetary values of disability pensions albeit meagre in some cases are largely dependent on the degrees of disablement and of course other factors such as age, salary and compensable earnings as provided for under the Workers’ Compensation Act No. 10 of 1999 of the Laws of Zambia.

In today’s article our focus is on the form of compensation granted to those workers who suffer permanent disability and as a result are bedridden. My readers may wish to know that we have 72 cases of bedridden or in our terms paraplegic pensioners who are unable to lead lives without the help of another person following an occupational accident.

These people are excluded from participation in social, economic and even political activities as a result of severe disability, they are not even able to draw their monthly pension. Now if they are not even able to draw monthly pension, how then do we serve these people; you might want to know.

We provide airbag mattresses to mitigate against the onset of pressure sores. In an event that pressure sores have already set in these mattresses help in treatment of pressure sores which result from permanent confinement to a bed. These mattresses are not locally available and are imported at a high cost from South Africa. We also endeavour to rehabilitate bedridden pensioners by providing nursing care services and physiotherapy treatment to enhance their well-being as much as possible. We collaborate with various public and private health institutions in the provision of nursing care and physiotherapy services. In addition, WCFCB provides various surgical items which include items such as catheters, urinal bags, adult diapers and many other items.

In order to provide effective and efficient health care services to these clients, WCFCB has established a dedicated rehabilitation unit which includes staff members and a registered nurse among others. Our Rehabilitation Counsellor Rodgers Chishimba has confirmed progress being made by some of our clients who after receiving these services have developed sensation in their upper limbs and are now able to independently perform basic functions of life. To further enhance their independent living, WCFCB provides motorised wheelchairs. These motorised wheelchairs have superior functions that enable our beneficiaries to move about at the press of a button. They also enable them to recline and elevate their seating positions easily. These motorised wheelchairs are equally imported at a high cost to WCFCB from Asia and South Africa.

Our rehabilitation unit also provides post-accident counselling services to these bedridden and other pensioners to help them adjust to their acquired disabilities and explore other options available for their reintegration into social and economic activities. In order to encourage family members to participate in the care of bedridden pensioners, WCFCB pays a monthly allowance of K800 to any person taking care of a bedridden pensioner. This allowance called Constant Attendant Allowance and the value added nursing care and physiotherapy services form part of the compensation package awarded to highly disabled workers.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these services and it is the intention of this article to bring out information on some of these services in order that readers can appreciate the full scope and extent of compensation. In light of harsh judgements passed by sections of society on the services rendered by WCFCB, we feel sharing of information will help create a deeper understanding of the services provided by our institution. My readers may wish to appreciate that the services discussed in today’s article and others yet to come, are intended to enhance the well-being of our clients and promote their return to product lives. These services demonstrate our commitment to provide opportunities for our disabled clients to escape poverty and destitution that may set in the post-accident era. These services are provided in addition to the traditional monthly disability pension awarded to pensioners assessed above 10 percent disability rate.

In concluding, I say thank you to my colleague Rodgers Chishimba who took time to co-author this article whilst taking part in the exhibition at the just-ended Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka. This is the team spirit that we are building and I remain hopeful that through collective effort we shall deliver the services required of us by the society we serve.

For more details contact:
Maybin Nkholomba, public relations manager
At Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board
Tel: 0212621283



Africa: Greetings Sent to World's Hearing-Impaired Children

6 AUGUST 2013

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In a visit arranged by Bishop Moses Masamba Nthuka of the Diocese of Mbeere, students at St Luke's School welcomed the director of the Anglican Alliance, Sally Keeble, and introduced her to their work.

Bishop Moses commended the work of the teachers and the value of their service, as they educate and pastor children at the only school for the deaf in the country. In this video, Ephantus Murimi, in year eight at the school, uses Kenyan Sign Language to thank the Bishop for bringing visitors to the school. He also introduces himself and shows us his sign name, before talking about his favourite subjects to study.

Hannah Wambui, who is in the year below Ephantus, sends greetings to all of the deaf children around the world and introduces herself and the subjects she enjoys at school.

Alliance relief work is currently looking at the difficulties faced by people with disabilities in humanitarian disasters and the ways in which the Church can provide support. St Luke's school is providing inclusive education and equal opportunities for the children, and are an encouraging example of the valuable ways that the Church can support their community.

Some of the children attend St Luke's School due to hearing impairments caused by a reaction to anti-malarial treatment. Quinine has been medically used to treat malaria, but can cause deafness if administered incorrectly.

The school still has an urgent need for mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and the Bishop is calling for support from the Communion to help provide this practical solution. Bishop Moses can be contacted at bishopmbeere@gmail.com - please help the Church to reach out!



Pick ‘n’Pay: Equal oppotunity employer

Zambia Daily Mail-
August 8, 2013Charles Shula and Grace Mukungwa.

Charles Shula and Grace Mukungwa.


WHEN South African supermarket chain store, Pick n Pay opened its first branch in Zambia in July, 2010, general manager Andy Roberts thought it in good spirit to hire anyone who could work. This was in line with the company’s core value as an equal opportunity employer.

He had in mind persons with disabilities who are sometimes side-lined in job selection due to their different disabilities.

Despite the Zambian society having evolved over the years, the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in earning a decent living remain. A random walk down the streets of Lusaka can confirm this.

What’s more, the town is also considered disability unfriendly for people that are physically challenged. Lusaka’s civic centre for instance, has no access ramp to enable the physically disabled easy entry into an institution built in service of the public.

For Pick n Pay, incorporating persons with disabilities into their workforce meant partnering with associations for the disabled in Zambia to recruit individuals based on their general qualifications regardless of their physical disability.

The policy has turned out well so far and according to Pick n Pay head of human resources Zambia, Joe Nkhuwa, as the company expands its presence, it would like to work towards having the physically impaired represent 10 percent of its workforce.

Mr Nkhuwa says the strategy has turned out well seeing people who are hearing impaired prove to be very hard working in the store as they do not fall prey to the occasional idle chatter like their colleagues with the ability to hear and speak.

“They are also in the habit of working extra hard to get noticed and to prove the point that they can work as well as anyone else if given a chance,” Mr Nkhuwa explained.

Grace Mukungwa, is one of the beneficiaries under this policy. She is hearing impaired and only went as far as Grade Nine with her education, but she has been working at Pick n Pay, Levy Junction Mall in Lusaka for close to two years as a full-time packer.

To make her impairment known to Pick n Pay customers, she wears a name tag carrying the line: “I am hearing impaired.”
Grace says she enjoys her job as a packer as it gives her something to do beyond the confines of her home. Though some may term her job simple, she works well with her workmates and is at ease with her work as she hardly communicates directly with the store’s customers.

To make work easier for her and her fellow hearing impaired colleagues, Pick n Pay management organised some basic training in sign language for some of the store’s staff to help with communication inside the store.

Mr Nkhuwa shared that the company is still arranging sign language training for its staff, including its management team.

Charles Shula works in the fruit and vegetables section of Pick and Pay. He has been at the job for over a year and is grateful for the opportunity accorded him to work even though he only has one arm. He lost the other in a road traffic accident 14 years ago.

Prior to his employment at Pick n Pay, Charles was running a small grocery business in Kanyama where he is also a resident.

Since starting work at Pick n Pay, Charles’ business has gone down as he only has a young man running it on his behalf. Charles needed a paying job to sustain himself adequately.

He says his job not only makes him feel good, but he considers himself an equal member of society through it.

He is glad that his employers finally looked beyond his physical disability and considered him qualified enough to perform his work even though he is without one arm.

“It has taken a long time for me to be accepted in employment,” Charles said. “People would always look at me and wonder what I could do but it is good that Pick n Pay’s policy accommodates us.”
Charles criticised people who chose to look at the physically impaired out of pity rather than giving them the same treatment as those without physical disability.

“If all companies can have that spirit of giving us a chance to be employed, it would lessen the number of disabled persons on the street, ” he says.

Charles advises that the Pick n Pay initiative should not be left to private companies alone, as government needs to come on board and help create opportunities for citizens, whether physically disabled or not.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol was adopted on December 13, 2006 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The Convention is the first human rights treaty of the 21st century and the first human rights convention to be opened for signature by regional integration organisations. This came after decades of work by the UN to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities.

As the UN convention states, disability resides in the society, not in a person and in their own small way, Charles and Grace are helping to prove this with the help of their employer.



Africa: UN - Disaster Policy to Get Input From Disabled People


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The UN is surveying people with disabilities to find out how they cope during disasters, and to help include disability in the post-2015 development agenda on disaster risk reduction.

The survey, launched last week (29 July) by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and said to be a world first, covers the types of hazards and risks that disabled people are exposed to in disaster zones, and personal and national plans for action and risk reduction.

The results will be announced on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (13 October), which this year has disability as its theme.

"The survey is open to anyone who would like to take it up. We are hoping for responses from across the globe," Denis McClean, spokesperson for UNISDR, tells SciDev.Net.

"Our regional offices are in contact with groups representing disabled people and encouraging them to use it."

He adds that the survey has the support of UN Enable, WHO, Unicef (UN Children's Fund), the Disability-inclusive Network for Asia and the Pacific, the Gender and Disaster Network, and the Huairou Commission - a global coalition that aims to empower grassroots women's organizations.

"It's too early to say what the take-up will be but we are optimistic that it will garner several hundred responses and provide input on the disabled for the post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework, which will succeed the Hyogo Framework for Action," McClean says.

Philipp Danao, coordinator of disaster risk reduction at Malteser International, a relief agency, says it is circulating the survey in Myanmar in the Burmese language.

"This survey is a collective first step to establish databases for evidence-based and science-based ways to better address gaps on vulnerability of persons living with disabilities and, more importantly, recognise their capacities during disasters, which can be translated into action-focused policies," Danao says.

But Ahmed Fathy Alsaka, a physically disabled student at Technical Industrial Institute in Egypt, tells SciDev.Net that "so far this UN survey is just a paper exercise".

"Let's wait and see how the outcome of such a survey will be translated on the ground to benefit people with a disability in developing countries," he comments.

And Dewald van Niekerk, director of the African Centre for Disaster Studies at North-West University in South Africa, is also cautious.

"Its results may be used as a starting point for policy discussions and a platform for future research," Niekerk tells SciDev.Net.

He says the survey has limitations and should not be used as the only evidence for policy decisions.

"As it is dealing with disabled people the potential for response error is high. Will people with mental difficulties be able to accurately answer this survey? The language the questions are phrased in is much too academic and formal. This may introduce bias," he says.

According to Niekerk, a single quantitative survey cannot capture the diversity of people's environments and type of disability.

"Each person's disability is unique and will require unique preparedness and response behaviours. Using this survey to make recommendations for effective coping strategies for large numbers of people with disabilities will inevitably miss context-specific factors," he says.

"These concerns call for supplementary qualitative research on context which will capture the influence of individual and environmental factors on coping strategies, and which will be invaluable to effective policy development," Niekerk concludes.

McClean responded to the criticisms by calling for a broad backing to ensure the survey delivers "good quality information" and that it "gets the message across that people living with disabilities need to be a part of the planning process".

"The survey will only be as good as the response that it elicits from people living with disability," he says.

"It's always better to light a candle than to curse the dark," McClean adds. "We know that people living with disabilities are disproportionately affected by disasters. We hope this survey will go some way towards telling us why this is so and start a conversation. Academics and researchers are welcome to follow on from it. It's surprising that nothing like this has been attempted before."

Link to 2013 Survey on Living with Disabilities and Disasters



Zambia: Economic Independence Eludes Zambia's Disabled


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It's been a year since the government of Zambia passed the Persons with Disabilities Act 2012 (PDB), and advocates for the severely disabled say the key issue of economic independence remains unaddressed.

"The act has made far reaching resolutions about the employment of person with disabilities," says Elijah Ngwale, executive director of the Zambia Disability HIV/AIDS Human Rights Program in Lusaka. "But the act has not yet been implemented. The national employment strategy has not been implemented. So persons with disabilities are employed haphazardly and in an unpredictable manner."

Ngwale, who is blind, says he left the country's civil service after a dispute with his superiors in 1996. Since then, he and his wife, who is also blind, have been living off the incomes of their children and odd jobs commissioned by NGOs. He joins an estimated 15 per cent of Zambia's population who are disabled and face significant challenges in finding jobs in the formal sector.

"The policies are only on paper," says Mukuma Chikwata, president of Zambia National Association of the Deaf (ZNAD), who speaks in sign language through an interpreter. "It's only lip service."

Last year's PDB was a legal upgrade to a piece of legislation from 1996. The act, promised by the Patriotic Front in the run up to the 2011 elections, was intended to enhance compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Disabled, which Zambia signed and ratified in 2010. The act continues the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) and the National Trust Fund for Persons with Disabilities (NTFPD). It also promises to infuse national policies and strategies with disability angles.

But despite decades of legislation and bureaucracy, most disabled people are still shunted into the country's informal sector, where they earn piffling wages for endless work. According to Chikwata, deaf people in the informal sector might earn KW50 a month, far below any tiers of the country's minimum wage system. The rural deaf may work as fishmongers or shepherds, while those in urban environments hock vegetables, work as independent carpenters, or clean houses. Most of their income goes to daily transportation and food, and their families provide the rest.

The NTFPD is supposed to act as a sort of development bank, loaning money to disabled people for small business strategies. But ZAPD Director Felix Silwimba came out in The Daily Mail this month expressing disappointment over the amount and value of loans the fund has been dispersing.

"They give us loans of KW500," adds Ngwale, "and this is very little. If you give the loan to someone who is blind, what is going to happen is they will use it for their foodstuffs. It's very meagre indeed."

While Ngwale and some members of the ZAPD have the benefit of university educations, many others do not. Government-sponsored training and education programs are sparse, and its families who often decide whether or not a disabled child will get the education needed to enter the formal sector. While government officials like Vice President Guy Scott do publicly encourage business to hire qualified people with disabilities, the fact remains that many disabled people are blocked from attaining basic qualifications early in life.

"The parents stigmatize the deaf," says ZNAD Executive Director James Kapembwa, who also speaks through an interpreter. "They say spending money on a deaf child? They say what is the benefit of that? They don't support the deaf child in school. They support the able-bodied."

One clear avenue of employment for all disabled people, says former ZNAD executive director Samson Mwale, is the disability bureaucracy itself. Under the auspices of the PDB, government has appointed focal point people throughout the country. But, says Mwale, they are all able-bodied.

"They do not know about our welfare or what we need," he adds. "Now that we propose to government that we should be the focal point people, the situation has become difficult."

Paul Carlucci is a Lusaka-based freelance journalist. He contributes often to Think Africa Press and is the author of The Secret Life of Fission, out this fall through Canada's Oberon Press. Follow him on twitter @paulcarlucci



Making media available to deaf children in Zambia and worldwide

SOS Children-2013/08/12
Aug 12, 2013 09:54 AM

Making media available to deaf children in Zambia and worldwide

Around 14% of the adult population in Zambia are HIV positive and high-profile media campaigns act to raise awareness about how people can protect themselves.

National campaigns include a TV programme called Love Games, which focuses on relationships and raising awareness about sexual matters. There are also radio programmes and community-based campaigns. But such high-profile campaigns still manage to miss certain vulnerable sections of the population, including people with disabilities. A notable example is deaf people, who are entirely cut off from radio and TV messages. Therefore it’s common for deaf youngsters in Zambia to be ignorant about HIV/AIDS and how to avoid becoming infected.
In Zambia, as in many other developing countries, there is currently no programming designed specifically for deaf people. In its recent report on children with disabilities, the UN child agency (UNICEF) highlighted this problem through a perspective written by a deaf youth activist. In his article, Krishneer Sen, from Fiji, urged countries to “make media more accessible to deaf children by captioning or interpreting television programmes”. This is one vital way to ensure youngsters with hearing problems are not isolated from key communications.

A recent article in the Guardian shows how one initiative in Zambia is working to overcome this problem and ensure deaf children are included in sex education. As part of the national campaign against HIV/AIDS, nearly 300 Safe Love clubs have been set up across the country for youngsters to discuss sexual issues. To reach hearing-impaired youngsters, Safe Love clubs are now being created specifically for the deaf. The first was formed at a high school in Lusaka, where health workers were extremely concerned to find levels of HIV were already high among deaf students.
Speaking to the Guardian, a director of the outreach programme which is one of the partners of the initiative, explains that many young Zambians have “completely missed out on the conventional messages about safe sex....even at health rallies, [where] people use megaphones to give their messages.”

Two Safe Love clubs are now running for young deaf people. One club member is Amos, who lost his hearing after contracting meningitis as a child. He believes that membership of the club has changed his life. Before joining, he was not fully aware about HIV and its dangers. Now he understands what constitutes risky behaviour and says he has “learnt many lessons” about relationships and most importantly, how to stay safe.



Inmates of Kumasi Children's home share facility with mentally disabled children

From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com Published On: August 14, 2013, 13:32 GMT

Due to lack of accommodation, the inmates of the Kumasi children's home face many challenges to the extent that the mentally handicapped children share the same facilities with the sane ones.

The home was built to cater for babies and toddlers but currently it houses teenagers as well. The government provides GHsh.300 quarterly as subvention to the home, which is not enough for even a week.

Feeding and medical bills rely on inconsistent donor support. The home is overcrowded since it is housing normal, physically and mentally disabled children.

Madam Victoria Asunya, one of the managers of the Home told Luv FM the one of the inmates - a mentally retarded child - is violent hence, a threat to the others.
According to Madam Asunya, one child recently suffered serious head injuries after the mentally retarded boy repeatedly hit his head with a louver blade he broke from the window. He has also destroyed the wire mesh at the windows as well as defaced the walls, by smearing his excreta on it.

She said Managers of the Home took the mentally handicapped boy and another child with the same condition to the psychiatric hospital at Pantang in Accra but the hospital rejected the children saying they would not be able to feed the them.



Kenya: Disabled Ex-Soldier Demands Sh22 Million Dues


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FOR the last 16 years, Isaiah Owuor Ochanda has been fighting to get justice which continues to elude him to this day. Ochanda, a soldier with the Kenya Army, fell down and got hurt on May 20, 1987 while training the Kenya wrestling team for the All Africa Games which were held a few months later. He suffered neck injuries and dislocated his spinal cord leaving him paralysed. While at the Forces Memorial Hospital, Ochanda was advised to seek specialised medical attention in Britain.

But when he submitted the doctor's note to his employer, he was asked to provide them with the details of the UK hospital where he was to go for further treatment so that the military could contact the hospital to get an estimate of the costs of his treatment.

Ochanda presented the information requested by his employer and continued receiving the treatment available at the Forces Memorial Hospital in the hope that he would eventually go abroad for the prescribed treatment.

However, in 1995, Ochanda said he was discharged from the army on medical grounds. He was not formally presented with the discharge orders as stipulated in the military rules and regulations. At the time of his discharge, Ochanda was 55 years old. Ochanda sued the department of defence for negligence and illegally discharging him from the service without paying his dues.

The former soldier now wants the Attorney General to be committed to civil jail for not less than 30 days for withholding payment of Sh22 million he was awarded by court as compensation.

Ochanda first sued the government in 1996 seeking compensation for the loss he suffered. He also sought payment of his dues after he was discharged from work on medical grounds. On March 2, 2011, the court awarded him Sh19 million as compensation which has now accrued to Sh22 million.

Justice Kalpana Rawal said Ochanda's former employer had assumed responsibility by treating Ochanda in its hospital and therefore it should continue giving him medical support.

State counsel Allan Kamau opposed the application to commit the AG to jail saying Ochanda did not serve the government legal advisor with the order in person.

Kamau says the order which was served on state law office did not have penal notice which tells a party the consequences of disobeying court order.

Ochanda's lawyer Njugi B G disagrees with AG's argument saying that there is no requirement for personal service. The court will give its ruling on October 9.



Inmates of Kumasi Children's home share facility with mentally disabled children


Due to lack of accommodation, the inmates of the Kumasi children's home face many challenges to the extent that the mentally handicapped children share the same facilities with the sane ones.

The home was built to cater for babies and toddlers but currently it houses teenagers as well. The government provides GHsh.300 quarterly as subvention to the home, which is not enough for even a week.

Feeding and medical bills rely on inconsistent donor support. The home is overcrowded since it is housing normal, physically and mentally disabled children.

Madam Victoria Asunya, one of the managers of the Home told Luv FM the one of the inmates - a mentally retarded child - is violent hence, a threat to the others.

According to Madam Asunya, one child recently suffered serious head injuries after the mentally retarded boy repeatedly hit his head with a louver blade he broke from the window. He has also destroyed the wire mesh at the windows as well as defaced the walls, by smearing his excreta on it.

She said Managers of the Home took the mentally handicapped boy and another child with the same condition to the psychiatric hospital at Pantang in Accra but the hospital rejected the children saying they would not be able to feed the them.



Lwini Foundation donates means of locomotion to disabled people


Mbanza Kongo - About thirty disabled persons who reside in Mbanza Kongo Municipality, northern Zaire Province, last Wednesday here benefited from a donation of locomotion means made by the Lwini Foundation in the ambit of the project dubbed “Hope, Mobility and Liberty Project”.
The donation includes 50 wheelchairs, 20 manual tricycles, 150 crutches and 30 walking frames.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the vice governor of Zaire Province for social and political matters, Rogerio Eduardo Zabila, commended the Lwini Foundation initiatiative, emphasising that this move symbolises the concern and love for others shown by Lwini.

On her turn, the Lwini Foundation trustee, Ana Monteiro, guaranteed that these initiatives will continue to take place throughout the country.



Gambia drops charges against disabled beggars

The Gambia Journal
President Yahya Jammeh

Police prosecutors in the Gambia have withdrew all criminal charges against six disabled men, who were arrested for begging in the capital, Banjul.

Momodou Saidy, Alieu Jawo, Mamadi Touray, Salifu Touray, Musa Mbye and Lamin Bojang were arrested and detained last month by the police. The five wheelchair users and one visually impaired man were accused of causing common nuisance after they were found loitering and begging in the streets of Banjul.

Police prosecutor, Corporal Camara, said the state have decided to drop the charges against the disabled men after realising the impact the case would have on their lives.

The Gambia is among the poorest countries in Africa with over 50 per cent of the population living on less than one US Dollar a day. In recent years, the price of basic commodities has skyrocketed above the reach of many people who now turn to street begging to feed their extended families.

Not happy with the increasing number of beggars in the country’s capital, the government of President Yahya Jammeh in April enacted a law which makes begging a criminal offence punishable to a substantial fine of D25, 000 or five years imprisonment or both.

Written by PK Jarju



Zimbabwe: U.S. Grants Help Deaf Achieve Independence in Zimbabwe

27 AUGUST 2013

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With the support of U.S. grants through the United States African Development Foundation, a 2,000-member organization run by people with disabilities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, is helping its members improve their lives.

Innovation and resilience are at the core of the Association of the Deaf (ASSOD), a 2,000-member organization run by people with disabilities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. And ASSOD is using these qualities -- with the support of U.S. grants through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) -- to help its members improve their lives.

To combat overt employment discrimination against the deaf and hard of hearing, ASSOD established a welding business to provide competitive job opportunities for its members. Local schools and businesses buy products that ASSOD members construct, including school chairs, tables, gates, windows and fireplace stoves, USADF reported August 27. Above, ASSOD members display their finished products in Bulawayo.

USADF first awarded ASSOD a capacity-building grant of $97,000 in 2012 to strengthen operations and management and financial controls, explore potential markets and produce a five-year business plan. Exceeding expectations, ASSOD reached 115 percent of its target sales in the capacity-building phase, which convinced USADF to increase funding in March 2013.

With the $250,000 USADF expansion grant, ASSOD plans to implement a revolving loan program that will make it possible for deaf and hard of hearing members to start their own businesses. The organization also plans to continue expanding the welding business by marketing to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and consumers from manufacturing, construction, disability, health, mining and education sectors across Zimbabwe.

USADF is a U.S. government-funded corporation that supports African- designed and African-driven solutions to grass-roots economic problems on the continent. Its support for ASSOD reflects its commitment to improving economic development for Africa's most marginalized communities, including people with disabilities. Since 2008, USADF has awarded nearly $5 million to a portfolio of 39 grants benefiting people with disabilities.



Deaf students to represent Botswana in SA

Mmegi Online-2013/08/28

The Botswana Association of the Deaf (BOAD) in partnership with South Africa (SA) Deaf TV has selected eight deaf students from various institutions to represent the country at the filming of the Zwakala Deaf Schools Competition, which will be held at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa

The competition, slated for October 25th, will give the talented students an opportunity to showcase their talent to the world. The filming and competition auditions were held at the Tlokweng community hall last week.BOAD executive director Shirley Keoagile said five schools of the deaf in Botswana were expected to take part in this first ever project but some schools were not able to make it due to transport problems.She said the project sets out to promote deaf talent regionally and internationally."For now we have two schools participating, Ramotswa Centre for the Deaf and Ramotswa Secondary School. We also have people from BOAD who are all here to showcase their talent," she said.

Present at the auditions was DTV presenter Candice Morgan. She told Mmegi that the project would ensure that deaf people are heard all over the world."We have already gone to Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana and we are going to Mozambique and Zambia after this," she said. Morgan said the ajudication was based on story telling (for ages 5-10 years and 11-15 years), special talent (dancing, singing a song, miming, clowning or gymnastics) and group drama. After the students displayed their various talents, five - Larona Kabley,Ithuteng Segau, Bonang Moremi, Candy Motlapeng and Karium Jakalase - were chosen from the drama category.

All the students are from Ramotswa Junior School Special Unit, and they are aged 12-15 years. Another talent that impressed the judges with his Michael Jackson moves was 13-year-old Ockenden Makubate.Ramotswa Primary Centre for Deaf Education's 12-years-old Kabo Magetse also captivated the judging panel with his stoty-telling skills.



Tanzania: The Deaf Underscore Inclusion of Their Rights in New Constitution


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Zanzibar - MEMBERS of the Zanzibar association for the deaf have appealed to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to ensure that their inclusion and recognition in the coming new constitution is given top priority.

"There have been calls to have clauses in the new constitution to protect people with disabilities, but it is better to cite different forms of disability including deaf and their rights," said members of the association when giving views on what should be included in the constitution.

Members of the association formerly known as 'Chama cha Viziwi Zanzibar' (CHAVIZA) said the current constitution draft has no clauses which protects the deaf, "we need our rights guaranteed in the constitution."

In the constitution forum held at Rahaleo vocational training centre in the municipality, CHAVIZA members emphasized that major improvements were required to be made before the final draft was written.

The CHAVIZA Secretary, Mr Muhammad Haji, said; "we managed to raise awareness among the deaf group about the importance of giving their views for the new constitution.

Thank God, they have participated well." Haji said that some of the rights they need include having sign language interpreters in key areas such as at hospitals and schools to enable them enjoy and access the services.

Ms Jide Khamis Saleh, a member of CHAVIZA said that the deaf have had difficulties in accessing information about the constitution because the CRC and the government failed to have sign language interpreters in public forums.

She observed that many deaf people could not participate in the constitution review process because of lack of sign language interpreters.



Nigeria: Enitan-Oshodi Plans Big for Paralympics, Deaf Table Tennis

30 AUGUST 2013

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The President of the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Enitan-Oshodi, has said that special athletes would be considered for inclusion in future events to be organised by the federation.

Speaking at the ongoing Lagos International Table Tennis Classics at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Enitan-Oshodi said that the special athletes would be part of the federation's plans.

According to him, the ongoing competition was hurriedly put together but that future efforts will take cognisance of the physically challenged when the time is ripe.

"Well, you know for me, I have been a great supporter of, especially in table tennis, the deaf table tennis and special Paralympics table tennis.

"But, you know the honest truth is that this tournament has been put together so quickly and so we had to shrink it.

"And we hope to grow it in future, Paralympics table tennis and d eaf table tennis are all part of the federation's work and we will be doing that in going forward.

"But of course, you also have to realise that for Paralympics table tennis, sometimes, we have not been doing it in Nigeria, but we need to be doing it.

"They need some special tables, the tables they really should be using are different, so we will start looking at bringing in those tables for them.

"And you know boosting their own tournament or alongside the tournament for the able-bodied as well.

"So, there is a lot, there is a massive amount of work still to be done, but we are very confident that going forward, with the support we have been receiving, we will address this issue as we go along."

Enitan-Oshodi, however, said he hoped that the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) would include the Lagos International Table Tennis Classics in its 2014 calendar.

He said he was confident they would be able to stage the competition next year.

"We hope it will be part of ATTF/ITTF calendar and we will be looking for them to sanction this tournament in the coming years," he said.



Nigeria: 13-Year Old Visually Impaired Author Calls for Quality Education

30 AUGUST 2013

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Abuja - Miss Adeife Adeniran, a visually impaired Nigerian student in South Africa and author, has urged the Federal Government to provide quality education for people living with disabilities.

Adeniran, in Abuja on Friday, said that adequate training and quality education were crucial to the lives of people living with disabilities.

She said that with quality education, the disabled would actualise their potential and contribute meaningfully to the society's development.

"It is our right to get quality education. We don't need pity from the people; we need the opportunities and necessary assistance.

"My parents gave me the needed attention, education, love, care and these got me to where I am today.

"In South Africa, we have the Ministry for Women, Children and People Living with Disabilities, the country had attention for these classes of people to enable them meet their needs.

"In Nigeria, because the Ministry of Women Affairs is not named like that of South Africa, that is why much attention is not being given to the disabled", she said.

Adeniran, therefore, called on the Nigerian government to rename the women affairs ministry like that of South Africa to enable it to serve the people concerned effectively.

Adeniran, 13, who said she became blind when she was five years old, added that she had no regrets over her fate adding that her effort had brought glory to Nigeria.

She advised parents not to discriminate against their challenged children but love them equally.

She reminded parents that "if you don't give love and care to your disabled children at home, they will seek that love outside and it can expose them to evil and corruption."

Adeniran said parents should not be ashamed of having children with disability, adding that "God loves them; therefore, you must love them too.

"If you reject them and make them feel unwanted, God will not be happy with you.

"God that gave them to you will provide you with the means of taking care of them.

"Introduce them to your friends and colleagues just as you do other children. You never know who God will use to lift your family."

She said that being disabled had conferred some qualities on those in that reality of life as they could easily say the bitter truth."

She, however, advised the disabled to be hard working with a view to making their parents and the nation proud.

On her book titled: "Can you imagine", she said it was aimed at telling the people that "there is ability in disability", among others.



Zimbabwe: Schools of the Disabled Exhibit at Agric Show


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A NUMBER of schools enrolling children with disabilities are exhibiting at the Harare Agricultural Show where they are showcasing the children's skills and talents in various forms of arts and learning experiences. Speaking at their exhibition stand on Wednesday, ZimCare Trust administrator Mr Farai Chiwonga said children with disabilities who have been taught weaving and pottery have found life easy for them as they are able to earn some income.

"We are trying to make our children to be more resourceful and this has helped a lot of children as they have been able to do self-sustaining jobs after we trained them," he said.

"Various institutions will display their profiles with attendants at hand to explain to the people how they work with children with disabilities. Some institutions like Danhiko, Munashe Special School, ZimCare Schools and Emerald Hill are showcasing what the children do in visual arts."

The Disability Living Conditions Survey published in 2003 stated that 29 percent of children with disability (34 percent female and 22 percent male) never attended school, in comparison with 10 percent of non-disabled children (12 percent female and eight percent male).

Efforts to revive dedicated services for children living with disabilities include a national cash transfer programme benefiting more than 30 000 of the poorest and most vulnerable families, 60 percent of which include people with disabilities.

The schools enrolling children with disabilities like Copota School of the Blind in Masvingo offer practical lessons for the children in hand crafts that can sold on both local and international markets.

When they leave school, such pupils are able to establish their own workshops if they receive enough funding.



Tanzania: People Living With Disability Want Equal Services At All Hospitals


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ROLLING her round, shouting eyes, Neema Abbas looks at the 'benching' clients who await services from her without a murmur.

They do so with minimum movement then move into Neema's service room one by one. No client can respond if a name were called out but, Neema, as she awaits them, uses sign language to invite each to the service room. It takes about 5 minutes for any of them to get in before they move out to leave space for the next.

Neema is 36 years and in her life, she has learnt that putting one's passion to something usually moves life forward quite more meaningfully than a few months ago when she stayed at home doing nothing. She was a Person Living with Disability and many community systems seemed not to have a place for her.

Initially, she says, for example, many deaf people were coming here for counselling or test for HIV, at the Ngamiani health centre, some 400km from the capital, Dar es Salaam, to access the services but could not be catered for.

And so they could walk away unattended to. It was until Nema joined this particular health centre last year after a short training with Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), a local non-governmental organisation.

It was here that she got the ABC's on how to help People Living with Disabilities access services. Largely, the issue was 'communication'. Speaking through a sign language interpreter on the times I visited her, Neema said that the starting was really difficult.

"I had to get used to my clients because I cater for both the normal ones and PLDs but it is now a smooth relationship. Working with PLD clients was a new phenomenon. How could I communicate to them clearly?" she asks. It was a challenge she had to overcome, because in dealing with people's health, nothing had to be left to chance.

Life, generally, was not easy for Neema before she got work to do and give her services to those accessing the health centre. To date, "I attend to the deaf and I do not have many challenges as we can communicate perfectly.

Communicating with the hearing public is very difficult. It is also very difficult for two deaf people to talk intimately". According to her, most Government institutions, especially in hospitals, shops and hotels and police stations do not have experts in sign language, making it very difficult for the deaf, physically and visually impaired to access services.

"I find it demeaning that every time a deaf person has to go to hospital, he or she must be accompanied by an interpreter. Communicating your health needs is very difficult through another person," she says. Neema's story is an inspiration in a country where about 5million people live with a disability.

They are distributed as: physically handicapped 28 per cent, blind 27per cent, deaf 20 per cent, mentally handicapped 8 per cent, multiple handicap 4per cent and other disabilities 13 per cent. This is not lower than the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates which note that one person in every ten or 677million people across the globe, live with a disability.

Tanzania's number of PWDS is growing because of accidents, malaria, meningitis, malnutrition and other reasons. Yet, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, until recently, the impact of the AIDS pandemic upon PLDs has received little attention.

"In the absence, it has commonly and incorrectly been assumed that people with disabilities are less vulnerable to HIV infection because they are unlikely to be sexually active or engaging in high risk behaviours," it notes. Yet, increasingly, there has been a growing body of literature which indicates that these assumptions are far from true.

It adds: "That people with disabilities face and share all the known sorts of vulnerabilities in HIV and AIDS and are at equal or increased risk of infection." In Tanzania, it is estimated that about 5 million people live with a disability, half of whom are children.

If this was a country, it would be half of Rwanda's population living with a disability and having no or little knowledge on HIV, testing or counselling services.

Access to HIV information, testing and treatment for was raised for the first time as a central theme at the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa), held earlier last month in Addis Abba, Ethiopia.

It is here that delegates voiced that PLDs are the world's largest minority group but a substantial number within the Aids community are yet to recognise them as vulnerable. And while a 2004 World Bank study showed that almost all known risk factors for HIV and Aids are increased for people with disabilities, seven years later, the ministry still raises concern that little is known about their needs and even less about those who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS. It notes that reaching them with education and healthcare services is a challenge as resources are scarce since they often need special services for information and other interventions. But disability must be mainstreamed into strategies and budgets," she says. On this day, a client I meet at the centre waiting to be served by Neema,-is Mariam Amina, who is deaf.

She says they initially experienced first-hand the difficulties in accessing services by the deaf. In the course of the interview conducted in Neema's service room, it took a few seconds for her to figure out what their deaf clients needed, though others had to use the interpreter. "Because of such problems the deaf tend to stay away from hospitals.

The deaf are very self-conscious as they draw attention every time they express themselves," she says. She works with PLDs but she says their numbers are yet to increase because many PLDs don't access VCT services since they are hidden in homes by their relatives.

"They have been coming but I expect more in their numbers to come and take tests," she adds. When she began VCT services at Ngamiani, in Tanga Region-some 400 km from Dar es Salaam, to serve PLDs, many among her clients were people with physical disabilities and the deaf. Not far from Neema's centre is Tanga regional hospital.

Nursing Officer Pascal Kanyinyi at the region's biggest hospital, tells a story of how she has made a shift from handling only able bodied clients to expand services to more communities of PLDs. Her earlier practice was characterised with difficulties when attending to PLDs due to communication problems.

"Well, even the few who used to come could hardly get assistance from us," she says. But that soon came to pass when she last year did a short training on how to attend to PLDs. Since then, this 42 year old nurse has attended to growing numbers of PLDs, though still at a slow pace.

Reason? "These tend to be isolated and shunned, hidden in their communities. No one drops by to see how they are, to offer to help them in the fields, or to take them to the doctor. It's as if they're invisible."

She adds: "That is changing and the PLDs only need to be informed wherever they are that we can now communicate with them easily and offer them service."

In keeping with her goal of offering assistance to people with disabilities to make them feel comfortable with the regional hospital's services, she asks that more nurses go through the training so that PLDs don't miss services in her absence.

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Uganda: Report - City Buildings Inaccessible to Disabled


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Architect Phyllis Kwesiga looked at 27 buildings and facilities in the city and found that PWDs had trouble accessing these structures.

The report, Assessment of Kampala's state on Physical Accessibility, found that most structures in the central business district had "narrow stairs, poorly designed ramps, inadequate lighting inside the buildings, slippery ceramic tiles and no signage. Those that had lifts did not have speaking assistants in them to assist the blind."

Some of the street pavements are also inaccessible to wheelchair-bound road users. The report was presented to members of the Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) at Grand Imperial hotel in Kampala last week.

The UNAPD executive pledged to use it to pressure Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to ensure that property developers and constructors adhere to international best practices in building accessible structures. Notable among these practices are regulations Part IV of the PWDs Act 2006, the National Policy on Disability 2006 and Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs (2008), which was ratified by Uganda.

Kwesiga explained that builders could make adjustments to buildings to support PWDs, like lowering buttons on lifts, establishing tactile markings with contracted colours to support the blind, installing iron bars in toilets to support those with physical disability and avoiding slippery ceramic tiles.

"People should know that this can be done within a short period of time to make all facilities accessible not only to PWDs, but all people in the country," she said.

Accessibility challenges:

Kwesiga's team was reportedly barred from Kampala Central police station (CPS), New Vision, Buganda road primary school, Stanbic bank main branch, Mulago hospital and the KCCA toilets near the Constitution Square.

But they visited places such as the new Wandegeya and Nakasero markets, Namirembe and Lubaga cathedrals, the Makerere University main Library, Parliament, and the Old Kampala and Kibuli mosques, among others.

Even at the venue where the report was presented, PWDs had to struggle to access the main hall.

"This temporary ramp is only put when they know we are having some meetings at the premises yet space where a ramp can be constructed is available," Hellen Asamo, MP representing PWDs in eastern Uganda said, after struggling with her two helping sticks to enter the Grand Imperial hotel.

Kwesiga said they were waiting for the hotel manager to report to his office and discuss the matter with him but by the time the workshop ended, there was still no word from management. UNAPD Chair Arthur Blick Sr said although Uganda had a disability-friendly legal framework which guaranteed the rights of PWDs, implementation was wanting.

"This contributes a lot towards unemployment, injustice, discrimination, low levels of literacy, exclusion, isolation, inadequate involvement in community activities by PWDs," Blick said

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Zambia: Inclusive Education for Deaf Children


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THIS week I have decided to write about the issue of "inclusion" of pupils or students who are deaf. It's important to understand that inclusion differs from "mainstreaming" in that it (mainstreaming) may refer to a variety of degrees of contact with hearing students, whereas in inclusion, the student who is deaf is actually placed in a classroom with hearing students.

Inclusion may involve an assortment of services, including interpreters, note takers, teacher aides, teachers of students who are deaf, and consultants, but these services are provided within the context of the regular classroom.

Before 1975, although there had been attempts to educate students who were deaf in regular schools, about 80 per cent of students who were deaf in the US were being served in special schools (Cohen, 1995).

This changed with the passing that year of PL 94-142, the "Education of All Handicapped Children" Act which called for all children to be educated appropriately in the "least restrictive environment" (LRE).

This meant to the greatest extent possible being with their "non-handicapped" peers.

Although the law resulted in some students who were deaf being educated in the regular classroom, many with hearing losses were put in self-contained classrooms or resource rooms within regular schools and had contact with hearing students only during non-academic activities.

In 1995, more than 60 per cent of students who were deaf were educated in the regular public schools (Cohen, 1995), although it is not clear how many were being served in a true "inclusion" model.

Inclusion emerged from the Regular Education Initiative (REI) of the 1970s and 1980s and the modification of PL 94-142, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990. The application of inclusion to the student who is deaf has been a source of ongoing debate, particularly as to how to interpret "least restrictive environment."

Two general positions have emerged from the debate on inclusion. One position is that all students with disabilities have the right to go to school with their non-disabled peers. The other position is usually labelled "full inclusion" and is stronger in its position that all students with disabilities should go to regular schools.

The first position is consistent with a range of placements which emerged from PL 94-142 and IDEA, while the latter position is generally consistent with the eradication of all "special education,"

including the closing of special schools for students who are deaf.

Should parents wish their deaf child to be in an inclusion programme, they would indicate their preference during discussions with their school district and/or special education intermediate unit concerning their child's recommended assignment and individualised education programme (IEP).

Some school districts or intermediate units may indicate that an inclusion option is not available for deaf children in their area or that inclusion is not appropriate for that parent's deaf child.

Nothing in existing laws supports excluding children who are deaf from an inclusion placement.

On the other hand, the absence of such regulations does not mean that inclusion is appropriate for all children with hearing losses.

Parents should make a decision based on an informed consideration of all options and discussions with various educational professionals.

If the Local Education Agency (LEA) does not agree to an inclusion placement and parents continue to believe that inclusion is right for their deaf child, they have a right to due process to challenge the LEA's decision.

The LEA may recommend inclusion, even though the parents do not think this is appropriate. Once again, if the parties involved cannot reach agreement, the decision for placement would go to due process and educating deaf students though inclusion has the following benefit:

Opportunity for the student who is deaf to live at home and those students who are deaf who attend a special school that is beyond commuting distance must live at the school during the week.

Students in an inclusion placement in their local school are able to be with their families during the week.

Opportunity for communication with the hearing world in an inclusion setting helps students who are deaf to better develop their ability to communicate with hearing people, leading to skills they will need in later years.

It increases the opportunity for learning the standards of the hearing world that students who are deaf and attend schools for children who hear may be able to master the norms of hearing society better than those who are immersed in the culture of a special school for students who are deaf.

Much as inclusive education provides an opportunity for deaf students, it's critical to look at some limitation of inclusion which are potential for isolation from teachers, peers and other members of the community.

Inclusive environments may not comprise individuals adept at communicating in deaf individuals' preferred language and mode of communication but it's good to note that opportunities for direct instruction are limited.

Inclusion of deaf individuals often means receiving translated or transliterated messages through an interpreter or transliterated.

Opportunities for direct and independent interaction and communication with peers and the professional support staff are limited.

Deaf individuals may constantly require an interpreter to communicate effectively with peers and professionals. School counselors, medical personnel and administrators often are not able to communicate directly with a student who is deaf, which limits their access to support services that are readily available to other students.

The first question a parent, professional or other individual needs to ask when considering inclusion for a deaf child is whether this environment will provide the intellectual, social and emotional development the student who is deaf needs and to which he or she is entitled?

To answer this important and multifaceted question adequately, several other related questions need to be addressed, including: What is the individual's hearing level and ability to use residual hearing? What is the individual's preferred mode of communication, and is it practiced in the environment?

Will the individual have access to captioning services, note takers, hearing aid services and the use of other assistive devices?

What is the individual's academic level? What is the level of direct communication that will occur in the environment between the individual, teacher(s) and peers?

Will the individual's language abilities and needs be adequately addressed?

Is there a sufficient number of other children who are deaf of similar age and level with which the individual can socialise?

Is the school staffed by certified and qualified personnel who are trained to work with the student who is deaf?

Does the school provide a full range of assessment instruments and techniques designed for use with students who are deaf?

Are there personnel trained to conduct such assessments in the individual's preferred language and mode of communication?

What level of access will the individual have to curricular and extracurricular offerings?

Will there be deaf role models in the environment? Are there any teachers or administrators in the environment who are hard of hearing or deaf who may serve as role models?

The most important issues, when contemplating inclusion for a deaf individual, are related to language and communication. At the very least an individualised education programme (IEP) for a child who is deaf must consider the provision of the Education Act in Zambia and other education policies.

It is wrong for an association of the deaf or of the disabled to presume that inclusion is appropriate for a child who is deaf without incorporating the above issues in its Education Act or policies.

Likewise the Government cannot presume that a deaf child belongs in a centre or residential school for deaf children only when the world is busy promoting society for all.

For your letters please send them to: P.O. Box 34490 Lusaka, Zambia or use our South African Address.

The author is regional disability policy analyst for SADC and inclusive development advisor for Centre for Disability Development Research, Law and Policy, Johannesburg.



Sierra Leone's Polio Disabled Battle Adversity


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Freetown - Sierra Leone's civil war famously left tens of thousands maimed, including many whose limbs were amputated. But while war victims received some help, those with other disabilities struggle to survive.

Disabled Sierra Leoneans face difficulty obtaining adequate healthcare, education and jobs, which are already hard to come by in the country.

While there are no data available, polio survivors are believed to account for a significant proportion of Sierra Leone's disabled. Many came to Freetown during or after the war, in search of safety, shelter and employment. Few now have jobs, and most resort to begging. Many have trouble finding a place to sleep.

At a government-owned building in downtown Freetown, more than 200 polio survivors live with their families in small spaces divided by cardboard walls. The building is overcrowded, with just a few toilets and a small washing area, and with families growing, it will soon become untenable.

The community is run by the Handicapped Youth Development Organisation (HYDO), a group whose members are disabled.

HYDO plans to develop a plot of land it bought in Waterloo on the outskirts of Freetown for disabled people to work, farm and live. But with few means of income, the community faces an uphill battle.



Livingstone council, RDA to ensure disabled access new roads

Zambia Daily Mail- September 3, 2013

>From CHOMBA MUSIKA in Livingstone

THE Livingstone City Council (LCC) says it has engaged the Road Development Agency (RDA) to ensure the newly upgraded roads in the tourism capital are accessible to the disabled.

The Germany Development Co-operation (GIZ) and some civil society organisations recently raised concern about the non-accessibility of the newly upgraded roads to the disabled.

As part of preparations for the hosting of the just-ended United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly, Government upgraded over 50 kilometres of township and city centre roads in the tourist capital.

But Southern Province GIZ advisor Anica Niepraschk is concerned that some of the upgraded roads do not have ramps, which makes it difficult for the disabled, especially those on wheelchairs, to access them.

The council says it is aware that some parts of the upgraded roads are not accessible to the disabled and that it has since informed the RDA over the matter.

Council assistant public relations officer Harriet Chimuka said the council is aware that islands on the Musi-oa-Tunya road are not accessible to the disabled, a situation which needs to be corrected.

“We’re aware that pedestrian crossings that are near the highlands [pavements between the roads] on the Musi-oa-Tunya road need openings so that someone on a wheelchair can easily pass.

“We’ve been communicating with the RDA’s regional director so that they can look into the designs of the roads,” Ms Chimuka said.

She said the local authority respects the rights of the disabled and has put measures in place to ensure the new market and international bus terminal, which are under construction, are accessible to the disabled.

“The Disability Act provides that all buildings be accessible to the disabled…Our three newly-constructed public lavatories are all accessible to the disabled, and we urge the public to ensure that their structures are in tandem with the Disability Act,” Ms Chimuka said.



Kenya: Mother to Serve Six Years in Prison for Killing Son


A mother has been sentenced to six years in jail for killing her deaf and dumb son. Alice Njoki, 27, denied killing five-year-old Peter Mugo. However, evidence presented in court showed that she killed the boy to save her marriage.

The court was told that when Njoki got married to David Njoroge, she did not tell him she had a child out of wedlock. When her husband found out about one year into the marriage, they began quarreling frequently. In his judgement, Justice Nicholas Ombija said Njoki decided to kill the child, who was staying with her mother, "to stabilise her marriage".

Njoki's siblings, who testified in court, said she went home when their mother was away and picked up the child. The body was discovered in a pit latrine a few days later. The villagers suspected Njoki of murder and stormed her house. They beat her and she confessed killing the child. She sustained a broken leg and other injuries during the beating. Njoki's husband went and reported the incident to a police station in Tigoni.

She was later taken to a health centre in Tigoni before being transferred to Kiambu District Hospital where she was admitted for two weeks. Njoki pleaded with the court for leniency saying she has learnt her lesson behind bars. She has been in prison for about four years. Njoki said she was young then and was not in her right senses when she committed the offence. Njoki and Njoroge have one daughter.



Namibia: Nasilowski Hopes for Disability Sport Growth


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GIDEON 'The Amphibian Namibian' Nasilowski hopes the four leading African marks that Namibia set at the recent IPC Swimming Championships in Montreal will inspire aspiring disability sport athletes across the continent.

Nasilowski and compatriot Karlien Koleman each established two new marks in their respective disciplines at the premier Paralympic swimming event. Koleman has been credited with the best 50m and 100m freestyle African ranking times in the S6 woman's classification, while she is placed at No.34 in the world. Her times of two minutes and 19,5 seconds in the 100m event and 58,17 seconds in the 50m also rank as national records.

Nasilowski's exploits earned him the African ranking of one minute and 38,53 seconds in the S3 men's 50m breaststroke and the S3 100m freestyle race, in which he clocked three minutes and 14,89 seconds. He currently ranks 16th in the world. "We set these records for Africa with the hope that this could inspire other developing African countries to see that everything is possible. They can also be at the World Championships and that through sport, people with disabilities can find meaning," said Nasilowski, the country's flag-bearer in Montreal.

"The biggest disappointment was that we were disqualified in our first events but for me this was one of the best things that happened because this [participation] excited the nation. It created awareness and people were actually curious on how we were disqualified and people were asking questions even about classification as I was first wrongly classified," he added. "The Namibian people were so involved and excited there were times that I believed they would jump [on] a plane and come to Montreal to fight for us. Thanks Namibia, the support made us feel loved."

Nasilowski believes that achievements by Namibia's Parathletes at major competitions in recent times have aided their cause for more support from the nation.

Last year Johanna Benson won gold and silver medals at the London Paralympic Games, while she also won two bronze medals at the IPC Athletics World Championships in July. Seasoned compatriot Ananias Shikongo also made the podium, as he won silver and bronze. The country had even more to rave about when novice runner Johannes Nambala won gold and silver at the same event, cementing Namibians' growing reputation of being strong competitors.

"Everybody now knows that we have serious paralympic sports men and women," said Nasilowski. "We will now start over. Work even harder, recommit and re-qualify for the next World Championships in 2015 and Olympics in 2016 to again hold the Namibian flag high. We have much more experience and in the near future Namibia will be a force to be reckoned with."

The country's disability sport, which hosts its annual awards next week, owes much of its rapid growth to various backers who have pledged their commitment to their programmes.

The following sponsors contributed to the paralympic swimmers World Championships campaign: FNB Namibia, Nampower, Jerry Tobias, Karen Munting Architects, Radio Wave, The Namibian, Murray & Roberts, Joseph & Snyman, WCE, Oryx Properties, Maerua Mall, Welwitschia Travel, Fruit & Veg, Louise Peens, Coca Cola Namibia, Virgin Active, Julian Pretorius, M +Z Motors and the Namibia Sports Commission.



Namibia: Row Over Disability Grants


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Nankudu - The community at Nankudu District Hospital is unhappy with the criteria used to qualify for a disability grant, charging that some forms of disabilities are being sidelined.

The disgruntled community says people with certain disabilities are being discriminated against by the criteria used in the selection process resulting in deserving individuals being overlooked.

These revelations surfaced a fortnight ago at the district hospital, some 100 kilometers west of Rundu, when New Era interviewed Susana Kaveto, 50, at the hospital. She cannot make use of her right leg due an unknown medical condition. She said she suffered an infection on her right leg when she was 10 years old, which subsequently led to her leg being deformed.

"As you can see, my right leg is even shorter than the left one. I cannot put too much pressure on the leg because it starts paining when I stand for long," lamented Kaveto.

Doctors at the hospital allegedly refuse to sign her medical report, which would have enabled her to receive a disability grant from the state, because her condition is not listed on the types of disabilities that qualify patients for a state grant.

Although the social workers at the hospital recommended that Kaveto receive a disability grant, Kaveto said the doctors refused to sign her form that she needs to present to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare for processing to receive the monthly grant. She does not understand why she cannot be approved to receive a state grant if doctors at Nankudu and Rundu hospitals confirmed her leg is deformed.

"This problem started when I was 10 years old, but I am not receiving any grants. My leg really hurts whenever I walk, meaning I cannot do any household work. Sometimes I try to work in the field, but I cannot stand for long," said Kaveto. She currently lives with her six children and nine grandchildren.

Disabled Namibians are by virtue of the constitution entitled to receive a monthly state disability grant of N$850. Doctors at the hospital said they merely follow the guidelines as stipulated by the ministerial policy on the criteria that patients should meet before receiving financial assistance.

Nkurenkuru Town Councillor, Damian Nakambare, who is also the community liaison officer for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare at Nkurenkuru, accused doctors of failing to use their common sense to help the patient.

"If any part of your body is deformed, whether by an injury or by birth, you qualify for a state grant. Doctors cannot tell us that certain disability conditions are not stipulated in the guideline booklet - where is the common sense in all of this," fumed Nakambare.

"How can doctors ignore the recommendation of a social worker - do they think social workers are employed for fun?" queried Nakambare. He urged the Ministry of Health and Social Services to amend the selection criteria so that no disabled Namibian is excluded.

"It is really high time some laws and policies are amended to benefit our people because most of the laws we are using are outdated. Till when do we want to keep on using the laws of the 'boers' that are disadvantaging our people," he charged.

"If they do not change the guidelines, then the ministry should set up a committee which can independently evaluate patients who are suffering from conditions that are not indicated on the ministerial criteria which disabled people must meet," he said.

He also called on the health ministry to start conducting mobilisation campaigns on disability grants to disseminate information to the public and at the same time to solicit input to see how laws can be amended to benefit the community.

"It is high time the ministry starts educating foreign medical practitioners about Namibian laws and policies. Some of these

guys come here not knowing how things work, because some countries do not offer state grants to their citizens," he said.

An advisor on the Regional Committee for Disabled Persons, Felix Kudumo Haipara, urged the hospital management to reconsider their stance and rather to assist Kaveto.

"As you can see for yourself this lady is disabled and she cannot do any work to sustain herself. How can the doctors say her leg must first be amputated before she can qualify for a grant," asked Haipara





日本プロセス様からご寄付を頂きました。JCCPは、現在ケニアで行っているコミュニティ平和構築事業の一環として、手話訓練事業を行いました。 日本プロセス様からのご支援に感謝を申し上げます。










選抜された20名の男女がのべ10日間、合計80時間の集中研修に参加し、基礎レベルの手話を習得しました。研修参加者は、聴覚障碍児の親8名と現地カウンセラー12名です。手話研修の技術面を監修した現地団体Deaf empowerment Kenya(以下、DEK)によると、研修参加者20名は、研修後に聴覚障碍児らと手話で、平均80%程度は意思疎通ができるようになりました。今回の研修で手話を取得した12名の現地カウンセラーは、マザレ地区における聴覚障碍児への支援にとって欠かせない重要な人材へと成長しました。










サラとステファン:聴覚障碍と心理ストレスを乗り越えて ? ともに手話を学ぶ母子










フローレンスとブライアン:最高の贈り物 - 母と子をつなぐ手話










Tunisia: First Regional Conference of Arab Deaf-and-Dumb Starts in Tunis


Cape Verde/Tunisia: Cape Verde Shock Tunisia...

Tunis - Interim Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said, on Friday, that the government has started developing "a strategy for the protection of persons with disabilities," in association with the European Union.

Chairing the opening of the First Regional Conference of the Arab Deaf-and-Dumb held in Tunis from September 6-7, he said that this strategy includes several programmes, with the participation of the civil society and organisations operating in the promotion of people with disabilities.

Larayedh stressed that the implementation of this strategy requires the revision of the national legislative system and its compliance with international laws. These provisions should be enshrined in the new Constitution, he stressed.

Among the priorities of this strategy, he said, setting up five-year plans for the employment of national skills, the improvement of services in mentoring and training centres, in addition to the integration of the disabled in educational establishments.

The rate of people with disabilities in Tunisia reached 6%. Tunisia has 300 mentoring and training centres for the disabled and 143 buses made available for 17,000 students with disabilities.

A programme of hiring 500 disabled persons in the public service has been set up between 2012 and 2013," the PM added.

The First Regional Congress of the Arab Deaf-and-Dumb is held by the European Disability Forum, in partnership with the Arab Organisation of Disabled People.

The Conference includes five sessions focusing around the rights of the deaf-and-dumb in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, communication tools between the deaf, the education fields, the difficulties of integrating the deaf in society and the role of the deaf-and-dumb in media.

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Namibia: Equality for Deaf People


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It is again that time of the year when deaf people around the world gather together to celebrate International Week of the Deaf. Just like the rest of the world, Namibia celebrates the week by creating awareness in the general public about the unique impairment deaf people have to deal with.

This year's theme according to the World Federation of the Deaf focuses on equality for deaf people, amongst deaf people and promoted by deaf people.

As a way of recognising and promoting linguistic, artistic, social, political and cultural contributions and accomplishments by the deaf, the Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments of Namibia (CLaSH) will be screening a series of films about deafness, deaf culture and sign language at the Goethe Centre. In an interview with the Economist, Head of the Centre for Communication and Deaf Studies, Lizette Beukes said the awareness campaign will run for the whole month across the world, however, most local events such as the film screening will take place during the second week of September.

"The films are classic feature films with deaf actors playing lead roles. They are scheduled to run from Monday 09 September to Friday 13 September at the Goethe Centre for a charge of N$10," she said.

Beukes said the centre plans to go to both print and electronic media houses to create awareness among the public. The topics will range from how to take care of your ears to signs of hearing loss.With regard to this year's theme CLaSH invites current, past and future parents of deaf children to a meeting at the pre-school on Saturday, 14 September.

"They will hear the life stories of deaf adults and then do some group work discussing what they themselves could do to help and support their deaf children," said Heide Beinhauer of CLaSH. By doing so, this campaign looks towards the future with a clear vision with renewed energies for creating positive change in local communities worldwide. Also during Deaf Awareness Week with a generous sponsorship from Standard Bank, CLaSH will launch the new calendar for 2014. The event takes place on Tuesday, 10 September at 10h00 at the Theatre School.



Nigeria: My Encounter With Abuja's 'Proxy Beggars'


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Nyanya Bus Park in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) where passengers board the mass transit buses heading for Area One and Julius Berger has become a beggars' paradise.

Beggars with different forms of physical challenges flood the buses in a dare-devil competition to outwit one another. These beggars include the deaf and dumb, the crippled and blind. But strangely, some of them do not show any signs of disability at all.

My first experience with them was when a blind beggar entered the mass transit bus from the Nyanya Park. I was happy that he looked neat and wondered why his family members or those taking care of him would let him beg. Watching carefully, I discovered that every time he entered the bus, different men whom I assume are either family members or friends, guide him. This made me pause and recall two blind men that I have known in my life time. The first was my English Literature teacher in secondary school. He was blind and yet had a vast knowledge of the subject he taught us and thus made an excellent teacher. To wrap it up, he had a beautiful wife who picked him up from work daily. They did not have a car and I recall seeing them hold hands as they walked to take a taxi. The second was a blind beggar a colleague of mine and I recently interviewed in Maraba. This man is an enterprising tailor and has even succeeded in building a house for his family.

Another experience was the day a teenager entered the bus begging. Now this young man had no apparent deformity at all and appeared to be begging on behalf of someone else who apparently was outside the bus. There was a barrage of grumbling among passengers, until someone asked him: "why are you begging?" and he replied that he was begging on behalf of his mother. Passengers threw comments like: "how can a young man like this beg when he should be working hard to take care of his mother?" Another passenger said to the boy, "You had better go and work so you can take care of your mother."

Yet another day, a boy of about eight years of age entered the mass transit bus at the Nyanya Park, chanting: "help my sister and God will bless you and your business." Meanwhile, outside the bus the so-called sister sang a song in tune to the jingling of a musical instrument which she played. Again, this caused a string of comments from passengers, who felt that the boy should be doing something better with his time, such as attending school or engaging himself in any handcraft.

The most recent experience I had was when a fortyish crippled man with crutches came into the bus. A passenger sitting next to me lamented on how the man could make use of his upper body to achieve a lot. We both discussed and I told him the story of a girl recently published in the newspaper that had been bedridden for years. However, instead of wallowing in self pity she used her time to develop her artistic skill. "Surely, she would be able to make some money with her drawings or paintings," I told him.

Now this whole episode got me thinking: A good number of disabled, able and the one I classify as 'partially able beggars' have turned begging into a full time job in Abuja and probably never make time to develop a skill to help them fend for themselves. It is mere logic that when a human being takes so much time doing a particular thing, he or she could become so attached to the act that it becomes the only option.

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Tanzania: Disabled Persons Call for Bunge Representation


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Arusha - DISABLED persons in Arusha Region, who held a meeting in the city recently, have called for the establishment of special seat to represent them in the Parliament.

As far as they are concerned, they would have also liked to campaign and get elected like any other politician, but were being stigmatized by some cultures in the country that believe it was bad omen to choose a disabled person to lead or preside over anything.

Speaking in Arusha, over the weekend, they stated that the draft for the new constitution must include a section which calls for their special representation at the National Assembly adding that it was the only way that their grievances could be taken more seriously.

The Executive Director for Human Rights and Economic Development for Disabled Persons (HREDP), Mr David Nyendo, said here that the call for parliamentary representation was unanimously agreed by all respondents in Arusha-Urban, Arusha-Rural and Meru districts.

Apparently, while other parliament buildings in various countries have specially allocated seats for disabled people, in Tanzania that is never the case and despite their various handicaps, the disabled people in the country must either campaign in respective constitutions or be left out altogether.

"Being physically challenged to us is not necessarily a problem, but it becomes a 'disability' when the society sidelines you because of how you are," stated Mr Nyendo, pointing out that in some societies, children who are born with physical or mental disabilities used to be killed or taken out into the wilderness and left to die on their own.

Due to that therefore, the only way their group could secure representation in Parliament was through specially allocated slots in the National Assembly.

He lauded President Kikwete's move a few years ago when he appointed a lady with albinism as special seats MP.

Also, the General Secretary for the Arusha Chapter of the Association for Disabled Persons Tanzania Arusha Region, Eunice Urassa called for free provision of health services and education to the disabled people and while at that, urban transportation should also place some considerations to them as well.

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Gambia: Members of Association of Physically Disabled Recite Quran for Sponsors


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The Gambia Association of the Physically Disabled (GAPD) on 5 September held a recitation of the Holy Quran in appreciation of all institutions and individuals who supported them in making the fundraising gala dinner a success.

Held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi some time ago, the dinner was meant to raise funds for the establishment of a chalk manufacturing project in The Gambia, which is expected to create jobs for the disabled in the country.

The recitation, held at the "Old Central Mosque" at Independence Drive in Banjul, attracted eminent Islamic scholars in the capital.

They prayed for the success of those who stood behind the fundraising event, saying God would shower His blessings upon them and their businesses.

The association's secretary general Jebel Ceesay told The Pointthat even though they wroteappreciation letters to all those who stood behind them, they still felt the need to turn to Allah for more blessings.

Mr Ceesay further revealed that some countries in the sub-region are engaged in chalk production projects being managed by disabled persons, adding that during his recent visit to Ghana, he saw such kinds of factories changing the lives of disabled people in that country, a model of which he wants to see in The Gambia.

In his appreciation on behalf of the association, he also thanked President Yahya Jammeh for his full support and encouragement to them, saying the Gambian leader was also their Chief Patron.

Gamtel/Gamcel, NAWEC, PURA, GTBoard and GNIC were among the institutions that sponsored the GAPD dinner.



Kenya: Disabled Call for Education


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THE disabled community in Kwale county has asked the county government to address their educational challenges. The disabled want to get quality education, saying it is their constitutional right.

Nominated county representative Fatuma Kadzo, who represents the disabled in the county, said improving access to education to the disabled will foster develpment.

She was speaking at Tiribe Primary School in Kwale on Saturday during a prize giving day for 2012 candidates who performed well in the national exam. Kadzo observed that disabled people in the area have been sidelined in education issues.

"The poverty facing disabled people in this county it is not because they cannot do away with it but because they have been denied their right to education by the governments. It is our hope through positive engagement with the county government that the issue will be addressed once and for all," she remarked.

She said it is disappointing that there has not been a single disabled pupil in the county who has been rewarded for performing well in KCPE exams even though they sat for the national exam with their colleagues.

"We are saying they have a right to education. They should be given priority because they are physically challenged as opposed to their colleagues," she added.

The county representative however urged parents living with disabled children to take them to school so that they can be educated. She said once they get education even though they are physically challenged they can be productive people in the community in terms of developments.

"I am a living testimony as everyone can see being physically challenged did not hinder me from being a county representative. So parents with disabled children it is your time to take them to school," she noted.

- Asian Tribune -



Ohengwena literacy on the up

New Era

Development Education National Ohangwena 9 hours ago

EENHANA - The literacy rate in the Ohangwena Region has reached 86 percent compared to the overall literacy rate of 89 percent nationally.

Over 3 400 people have enrolled in literacy programmes being offered by the Department of Lifelong Learning in the Ministry of Education since the establishment of the National Literacy Programme in 1992. Speaking at the National Adult Learners’ Week and International Literacy Day at Oshela Secondary School at Okongo in the Ohangwena Region last Thursday, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Petrus Iilonga, said Namibia should take stock and measure the distance it has walked on the road of serving its people with adult education. He noted that literacy is essential for eradicating poverty and reducing child mortality and therefore all government departments should mobilize people, including their own staff members who qualify to enter adult literacy classes. “Adult literacy contributes to human values needed to bring about change and to guide development towards building a totally literate society in order to create prosperity and improved livelihoods for all Namibians,” he said.

The theme for this year’s event was Literacy for Engaging Livelihood Opportunities in Namibia, while the international theme was ? Literacy for the 21st Century.

Iilonga said according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census the Ohangwena Region has achieved an 86 percent literacy rate compared to the nationwide literacy rate of 89 percent. The Ohangwena Region has many adult learners participating in the national literacy programme numbering 2 699 learners, while a total of 699 are participating in the Adult Upper Primary Education (AUPE) programme.

Apart from that the region boasts eight centres that provide literacy classes to the San and other less privileged communities, two centres for the deaf and one for the visually impaired and three other centres aimed at promoting workplace literacy. “There are 281 Nampol officers who are also in this progamme enrolled for Adult Upper Primary Education in 11 centres. This is a notable progress which will go a long way in the pursuit of inclusive and equitable economic growth for poverty eradication and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said Iilonga.

The Deputy Minister of Defence also expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Education, which has just won the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy. “The scooping of this award … of this international prize does not only show that the country is moving in the right direction but it also points out clearly that the leadership of this country is steering adult education in the right direction,” said the deputy defence minister.

According to him the government is in the process of extending the provision of adult upper primary education, adult skills development for self- employment and community learning and would soon offer a bridging course as well. “This will be a one year bridging course and will combine the basic competences of grades 8 and 9. The idea is for the AUPE graduates and grades 8 and 9 dropouts to seize the opportunity to continue with their education so that they can qualify to enroll in Grade 10 with Namcol. All these programmes are aimed at enlarging livelihood opportunities in Namibia, while contributing to the realization of Vision 2030,” he said.

Martha David (44), from the village of Enghandja and a beneficiary of the adult education programme said she joined the programme in 1998 and was unable to read and write before that, but she is now the secretary of the village.

“I could not write my name before, but since l graduated with my AUPE certificate, l can tell the nurse or doctor at the hospital what type of medication I need. I am therefore encouraging my fellow colleagues from various villages in Namibia to embrace this adult education programme,” she said. It is on record that the Ohangwena Region has produced a number of successful individuals who went through the adult literacy programme and many of them are even furthering their studies at institutions of higher learning such as Unam and the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN), while others have been promoted in their workplaces because of their newly acquired knowledge, skills and abilities.

However, despite the noteworthy achievements, adult literacy has been misunderstood for many years by being regarded as inferior to other avenues of obtaining an education. The event to mark the National Adult Learners’ Week and International Literacy Day was attended by councillors, government officials, teachers and members of the public, including the San.



Kenya: Uasin Gishu Raises Funds for Disabled Kids

Kenya: Uasin Gishu Raises Funds for Disabled Kids

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Human Rights
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UASIN GISHU Governor Jackson Mandago has asked parents not to hide children with physical disabilities.

He spoke while launching St Lukes Orthopaedic and Trauma Hospital's "joint and bone walk" campaign at the weekend, aimed at raising money to treat children with club feet.

Mandago said it is illegal to hide such children as it denies them their rights and urged parents to bring out the children to enable them receive medical attention.

"I am happy that this campaign is aimed at bettering lives of children in this county and I applaud you for extending this to the public," Mandago said.

He said parents should not fear stigmatisation for exposing children with disabilities. "You are denying them a chance to mingle with their peers and discover their talents. How long will you hide them? " he said.

The hospital's public relations officer Albert Burgei said they are targeting to raise about Sh12 million to correct deformities and urged parents to bring out their children to enable them benefit from the money.

St Lukes is the only hospital which specialises in bone related diseases and has identified some of the children who will benefit from the funds.

"The condition is persistent amongst the children and the campaign is aimed at treating the children from Rift valley," Burgei said.

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Nigeria: The Disabled - A Powerful Untapped Resource


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I was discussing with a friend who lives in China and has decided to relocate to Nigeria, and has been upgrading his businesses in Nigeria in readiness for his relocation.

He complained bitterly about the dearth of skilled manpower, and I asked him if he had tried to source for skilled labour from the disabled, he said no and I told him to read my article on the benefits of employing the disabled published on this column. Months later he confessed to me that it was an eye opener, hence I decided to serve you the article once more, enjoy it.

Every employer wants to employ the best hands to help achieve organizational goals, but not all of them know how to source for the best hands.

However,enormous benefits can accrue, directly or indirectly to an organization by employing people with disability.

Disabled people are unlikely to be employed as non-disabled people, and this is simply not because they are all lazy benefit scroungers, but due to certain myths or misconceptions preventing people with disabilities in the workforce. For example, the perceived cost of employing a person with a disability; in terms of possible workplace adjustments, the perceived impact on their compensation and sick leave, the belief that people with disability will take up too much time to manage, the fear of other people in the workplace doing or saying the wrong thing, etc.

"The difference people find when they send in a 'straight', CV compared to when they declare a disability is quite significant. This level of prejudice is damaging to disabled applicants, but also damaging to employers, who may be missing out on the best talent" (From an online source).

To be employed means a great deal to the disabled, not just for the financial remuneration, but also for a deep sense of self-worth, dignity and independence.

As mentioned earlier, there are huge benefits that can accrue to an employer and an organization by employing persons with disabilities. And this is apart from the code of moral ethics.

Research findings have shown that disabled employees are on the average, at least as productive as their non-disabled colleagues. People with disability bring to the work place, a diverse range of skills and abilities and a new and valuable perspective to work issues. They are; reliable and trustworthy, have good work ethic, passionate, have a positive attitude towards life and work, have a can-do spirit, and are willing to go the extra mile.

Employing disabled people can open up new opportunities and improve market share. Good customer service requires people to think creatively about the needs of all their customers. Those with direct experience of living with a disability provide an invaluable perspective. This could be in the front line as customer service staff, signaling to clients that disabled people are welcome and that their needs will be met.

People with disability are a resource of abilities, and a pool of willpower -- they are real economical and social actors, they stimulate a wide range of interest, and bring to the table their experiences and approach to problem solving, which if effectively managed will improve productivity.

And what about the business angle; employing disabled people makes good business sense, the benefits of which includes:attracting and retaining the best of the talent pool, including latent talent, improving customer service, strengthening workplace morale and productivity, being a good corporate citizen, complying with legislative requirements and meeting international standards.

The truth is, to possess a competitive and effective workplace, employers need to ensure they recruit the best person for the job while retaining and developing them. That being said, emphasis should be placed on the disabled worker's skills and not their disability. If a section of people are excluded from the job market for reasons that do not relate to their ability to do the job, workplaces will inevitably miss out on skills, talent and energy.

Learning to respond creatively to life's challenges means many disabled people develop good problem-solving skills, flexible and innovative ways of approaching issues. Yet, despite these positive qualities and work records at the disposal of prospective employers, the percentage of disabled people in the workforce is still largely insignificant, this and the perception that the disabled people in the country, aged between 20-50 years have the highest unemployment rate of any population group in Nigeria.These untapped talents could help grow our Gross Domestic Products (GDP).



Tanzania: Disabled Organisation Sends Plea to Media


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DISABLED Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development (DOLASED) has urged the media to consider helping people who live with disability in providing them with right information.

DOLASED Executive Director, Mr Gidion Mandesi made the remarks in Dar es Salaam yesterday when introducing a project aimed at dealing with providing legal services, motivating and training disabled people on their rights in the country.

He said that the project is aimed at protecting rights of the disabled and other people by making sure that such vulnerable groups are assisted for their social- economic development.

Mr Mandesi said that some sections of the media have not considered sign language and other symbols in reporting their information in order to give disabled their rights to get an information like other people in the country.

"We expect that this project will help many disabled in the country to know their rights and how they should take action against people who violate their rights" Mr Mandesi explained.



Egypt: Constituent Assembly Discusses Rights of Disabled Persons


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The constituent assembly entrusted with amending Egypt's constitution is currently discussing articles pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities and prisoners, a member of the assembly said in a statement to the state-owned news agency.

In Monday's session, the assembly discussed the drafting of an article that regulates providing disabled prisoners with legal assistance prior to investigations with them.

"In case a prisoner was deaf and mute, a sign language expert should be brought in and be present throughout the legal procedures," Salah Abdullah, Assembly member, pointed.

The National Council on Disability Affairs has voiced its criticism of the first draft of the constitutional amendments, issued by the experts committee in August, for not addressing the rights of disabled persons.







Tanzania: Disabled Children Need Protection


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Zanzibar - CHILDREN with disabilities are still thought to suffer more abuse than their non-disabled peers, Mr Abdallah Hamdu Juma, head of the "child protection and gender police desk" in South Unguja said.

Mr Juma, responsible for handling abuse cases in South and Central districts of Unguja - Zanzibar, said at a workshop to evaluate measures used in the fight against abuse that children with disabilities are victims of abuse. "Perpetrators are now targeting deaf and dumb children and also children with mental disorders.

These vulnerable children are targeted just because they cannot express themselves and give testimony," said Mr Juma, a police officer. He said that currently his desk has a number of rape cases involving children with disabilities and that it has been difficult to collect evidence so that perpetrators are charged and sentenced.

Mr Hamdu appealed to parents to be close to their children to minimize risks of being abused. "It is high time we (police, activists, psychiatrists, and lawyers) think of a formula to help children who are abused," Mr Hamdu suggested at the workshop organized by the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA).

Meanwhile abused children and women in South Unguja islands will soon have access to centres where they can get information and proper advice on how to react to escalating abuse cases in Zanzibar.

"We are disturbed with ongoing abuse of children and women, and yet the victims do not have proper centres to get information and advice including counselling. Establishing the centres will help the victims," said Ms Asha Abdi, Advocacy officer- TAMWA.

She said that the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) has donated Shs 5m/- to gender activists in South Unguja, aiming at supporting the establishment of the centres, which would also help campaigners in fighting abuse.

"The Money is to be used for establishing centres for information and advises on abuse for proper cases proceedings," Asha said after the end of the one-day gender activists' sensitization workshop held at TAMWA offices in Tungu area.

Both ZAFELA's workshop and the donation by TAMWA are part of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) project aiming at protecting the rights of children and women.




Times of Swaziland-2013/09/16
17/09/2013 02:18:00

MBABANE - Swaziland is among the countries that will participate in the Zwakala Deaf Awards.

The event is scheduled for October 25 at the University of Johannesburg Arts Centre in Johannesburg, starting at 6pm.

Eight pupils from the School for the Deaf will be competing with their counterparts from six other African countries, including South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Head teacher at the School for the Deaf Simangele Magagula said they were waiting on the Ministry of Education to grant the school permission to participate after they received an invite from Zwakala.

“Zwakala has indicated that they need eight children to take part in this event with two teachers accompanying them. We are awaiting permission from the Ministry of Education and after that it will be all systems go. We are grateful for the invite and look forward to the awards,” Magagula said.

Drama She noted that five children would be doing drama, one for storytelling and the others for other categories.

Magagula said the pupils were given an opportunity to showcase their talents through arts and this year would be the first in the history of the awards that the audience would get to experience the performances of the top deaf pupils.

Dtv, which is a South Africa’s deaf channel, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the Department of Arts and Culture in that country decided that the awards would have four categories this year. Zwakala, which means ‘be heard’, was created by the deaf for the deaf.

They serve as a tool to create awareness of this silent minority that is cut off from the hearing world due to prejudice, lack of tolerance and understanding. Judges for the event include Ayesha Ramjugernath, a sign language tutor and John Meletse from Wits University.



People with disabilities sidelined in global HIV and AIDS fund intervention - once again

The Kubatana
September 25, 2013

Godfrey Majonga, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH)

As has become the norm in mainstream national interventions, disability has been sidelined once again in the Global fund 2014 -2016 round to combat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, cementing a disability-exclusion trend that started in 2002 with the inception of the Global Fund intervention in Zimbabwe.

The Executive Director of the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, (NASCOH), Farai Mukuta, says that despite NASCOH winning the Auxillia Chimusoro award in 2007 for advocating for HIV and AIDS as an issue of real concern among people with disabilities (PWDs), the prevailing view in society is that PWDs are not sexually active and do not warrant inclusion in HIV and AIDS interventions. Consequently, there have been no there have been no deliberate efforts to address the issue of AIDS among people with disabilities and to incorporate them within the rubric of the national response.

“There is an erroneous assumption in society that people with disabilities are not sexually active. On the contrary, people with disabilities are just as sexually active as the rest of the society and the lack of provision of HIV and AIDS information in disability-friendly formats makes them even more vulnerable to the pandemic. It is unfortunate that they continue to be systematically excluded in national HIV and AIDS interventions,” he said. .

A Disability and HIV and AIDS situation analysis commissioned by NASCOH in 2003 revealed that people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to AIDS due to their low literacy levels, little access to health care, high vulnerability to sexual abuse, lack of information on AIDS especially for the visually impaired and hearing impaired, and consequent lack of inclusion in AIDS intervention programmes. Stigma, fear and ignorance results in the majority of PWDs refraining from accessing available services such as VTC, Antiretroviral therapy, home based care and counseling. Such is the impact of stigma, discrimination and social exclusion among people with disabilities that those who contract HIV go to extra lengths to hide their status, for fear of compounding this stigma, discrimination and social exclusion. The peculiar situation of people with disabilities calls for urgent, target-specific interventions aimed at mitigating the impact of AIDS in the disability sector.

Just as people with disabilities are a forgotten and invisible group in society, they are also forgotten in planning for HIV/AIDS programmes. In the majority of cases, people have found it convenient to wink at the issue of AIDS among people with disabilities, to find solace in the erroneous assumption that PWDs do not engage in sexual activity, or to just regard the problem as inconsequential. The reality, however, is that disabled people are just as sexually active as the rest of the society and are even more at risk of infection because of the obvious barriers that they encounter in accessing vital information on HIV/AIDS, not to mention access to health care. In addition to the attendant factors that have been documented by research as heightening or ameliorating the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in any society, on a general level, the prevalence of AIDS among people with disabilities is further compounded by the following special considerations, again documented by research:

Hearing and visually impaired people registered lower scores on the HIV/AIDS Knowledge Index than hearing people, thus indicating low levels of awareness of AIDS issues.
The incidence of alcohol abuse within the hearing impaired community is estimated to be at 35% compared to 12-14% incidence among the general population.
It is estimated that 1 in 7 hearing-impaired persons has substance abuse problems, compared with 1 in 10 in the hearing population. People with serious mental illnesses have a lower level of self-efficacy where taking protective measures is concerned. This observation obtains even where knowledge and awareness of AIDS issues is present.
People with learning disabilities have difficulties in negotiating safe sex. Incidences of homosexuality are also noticeably higher among this group
A strong connection between increased risk taking behaviour and risk of contracting HIV has been documented among adolescents hospitalised for emotional behaviour.
Compliance and adherence to TB medication is very low for the mentally ill, and homeless.
Access to information and treatment, and issues of social status has been noted to be issues of real concern for women with disabilities.
Although the issue of HIV and AIDS has been addressed comprehensively in the wider society in Zimbabwe, as evidenced by the reported fall of the country’s HIV and AIDS prevalence rate from 26% in 2000, 18.1% in 2005, and 15% in 2011, this success story does not, regrettably, include people with disabilities (PWDs), who have been systematically sidelined from all HIV and AIDS intervention programmes in the country, on the erroneous assumption that they are not sexually active. AIDS constitutes nature’s greatest threat to mankind, and any intervention that fails into account a sizeable proportion of the country’s population (1 950 000 people or 15% of Zimbabwe’s total), is ineffectual and falls short of the mark. Fundamentally, it can be likened to pouring water into a bucket riddled with holes at the bottom, as it ignores the potentially devastating effects occasioned by the crucial dynamics of sexual interaction between PWDs and the able bodied populace and among PWDs themselves.

The social exclusion of PWDs is not limited to the HIV and AIDS arena, but extends to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Although the MDGs are an international blueprint for development that hold a lot of scope for committing governments to “making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want”, disability is not mentioned in any of the 8 MDGs, the 18 targets set for achieving these goals and the 48 indicators for measuring the achievement of these targets, effectively leaving out people with disabilities out of the development loop. By excluding a large part of society, the MDGs have ensured that PWDs are mostly unable to benefit from the achievements made in attaining the MDGs, including in the area of HIV and AIDS impact mitigation.



Sierra Leone: Deaf and Dumb Demand to Be Treated Equally


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People with disabilities, including the deaf and dumb, should be treated equally like the rest of society, said Thomas S. Kembay. He told Concord Times in n exclusive interview that people with hearing impairment have united under the slogan: "Equality for deaf people" because they have been ostracised by society for so long.

He highlighted a number of discriminating practices perpetrated against them by society, including state institutions. He singled out the implementation of the road safety campaign by the Sierra Leone Roads Transport Authority, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, for criticism, in that the sensitization failed to take into cognisance the special needs of the deaf and dumb.

Kembey revealed the deaf team will be playing an international football match with their Liberian counterparts this Saturday at the National Stadium, in a bid consolidate bilateral ties between both countries. He appealed for governmental and non-governmental support in attaining their strategic goal.



Gambia: Gadhoh Defeats Access Bank in Global Deaf Week Commemoration


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The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) at the weekend celebrated global Deaf Week through a 2-0 defeat over Access Bank Gambia Limited during a friendly football clash held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.

Saikou Ceesay of GADHOH paved the first goal at the 55th minute of the game which was later doubled and sealed by Sulayman Jaiteh at the 70th minute.

The game, which was in commemoration of the World Deaf Week, brought a convergence of officials of both the deaf association and Access Bank meant to bring awareness and strong bond among deaf people in The Gambia.

Speaking to The Point, the MD/CEO of Access Bank, Dapo Fajemirokun said it is part of their corporate social responsibility to partner with the deaf association to jointly commemorate the Deaf Week occasion.

The Access Bank CEO further pointed out that the commemoration was also out to bring awareness to both the local and global community.

"It is meant for the deaf people to advocate for their rights and share their weaknesses and strengths and opportunities," says Amadou Touray, honorary life president of GADHOH.

Mr Touray, who said the government has signed UN convention on the rights of the disabled, also urged people to give support to disabled people.

He further expressed disappointment over the poor attitude of people towards the disabled, whilst appealing to the general public to support people with disabilities and alleviate their plight by also giving them jobs at various institutions and departments and creating opportunities for them to study.

Mr Touray further thanked Access Bank for their immense support towards facilitating and realizing the event.

NISA to take part in sub-regional competition in Senegal

The National Inter-departmental Sports Association (NISA), a body comprising major establishments in the country, is gearing up for a three-day sub-regional multi-disciplinary sports competition to be held in Dakar, Senegal, from 25 to 27 October 2013.

Speaking to The Point, Sulayman Badgie (Uncle Saul), Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the association, said NISA is invited by their Senegalese counterpart who are organising the competition.

"This all came about as a result of NISA's executive's tireless efforts in promoting the agenda and mission of the association, which is now getting known internationally," he said.

According to him, preparations are in high gear, adding that they have written to about 32 working departments and companies. "We are now waiting for their response and on the 10th of October is the deadline. There is a target, so it is going to be 'first come first serve."

According to PRO Badgie, the competition is very important to NISA, in the sense that in the past it was only The Gambia and Senegal but now Mali, Nigeria, and Guinea are also coming onboard.

"There will be competition in three different sporting disciplines - swimming, athletics and fencing," he said.

As to how financially strong is NISA to participate in the competition, he said NISA is very weak when it comes to finance, thus calling for support from the general public.

"We are demanding D5,000 from each participant that will cover transport, feeding and accommodation among other minor expenses during the stay. We are making it affordable for those wishing to take part," he said.

PRO Badgie said the competition will also enhance sub-regional integration through sports.

He finally expressed hope that institutions, departments, and companies will respond positively.

In another development, NISA is organising a day female volleyball tournament on Saturday, 28 September at the Churchill's Town Fire Service ground.

Among the departments and institutions to take part, according to the association's PRO, are Gamtel/Gamcel, Gambia Armed Forces, Gambia Fire and Rescue Services, Gambia Police Force, Gambia Prison Service, National Drug Enforcement Agency, University of The Gambia, Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, and Gambia Radio and Television Services.

He also said NISA has been organising the tournament in the past years successfully, although excluding volleyball, thus describing the tournament as very important for the executive of NISA.



South Sudan: 'Do Not Discriminated Against the Physically Disabled' - Labour Undersecretary Urges


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Juba - The government has assured the physically disabled persons in the country that they will not be discriminated against in terms of employment. The Undersecretary for Labour in the national Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Madam Hellen Achiro Lotara, said the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.

Madam Hellen further said that the Labour Bill which is currently before the National Legislative Assembly has a section which provides for equal employment opportunities for all. Madam Hellen said that when enacted, the Labour Bill would facilitate the participation of the disabled in nation building, legislative organs and access to employment opportunities.

She disclosed that the Government of South Sudan had also ratified the International Labour Organisation's Equal Remuneration Convention and the Discrimination in Employment and Occupation Convention, adding that the former guarantees equal pay for equal work while the latter prohibits discrimination in employment.

The Undersecretary was speaking in her office when she received a delegation from the Central Equatoria Chapter of the Union of the Physically Disabled in South Sudan.

Speaking on behalf of the union, Mr Sebut Khablu Ebibon, who also the union's chairperson said there was discrimination towards people with disability in employment especially in the private sector.

Ebibon cited a provision in most private sector vacancy advertisements to the effect that applicants must be physically fit, adding that this automatically knocks out would be applicants with disabilities. He said, 15 per cent of the national population consisted of people with disability, Ebibon recommended that 2 per cent of all employment opportunities should be set aside for people with disability.


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