Botswana: Batshu Aware of Society for the Deaf Dispute
Botswana: Swailaman Releases Debut Album
Botswana: Munjangi Has Case to Answer
Botswana: BancAbc Registers Financial Loss
Botswana: WUC Implements Water Tariffs
South Africa: Can Vavi Seize the Working Clas...
South Africa: Free State Protest for Communit...
Zimbabwe: ZCTU Warns Meikles Over Retrenchments
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Gaborone - Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Edwin Batshu says he is aware that 13 employees of the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown lodged a dispute of failure to pay overtime at the Francistown district labour office on June 10 last year.
Answering a question in Parliament, he said the dispute was mediated on August 22 and September 24 last year.
Minister Batshu said since the matter was not resolved, a certificate of failure to reach a settlement was issued by the mediator on September 24, in terms of section 8(11) of the Trade Disputes Act, Cap.48:02.
Furthermore, he said the complaints thereafter registered their case at the Francistown Industrial Court (case No. IC 335/14) On October 7 and was scheduled to be heard on May 12-13 this year.
Mr Batshu said on October 21 last year, the same 13 employees lodged another dispute on unfair termination, severance benefit and leave pay at the district labour office, and the dispute was mediated on December 2 but was also not resolved.
"A certificate of failure to reach a settlement was issued on January 21 to allow either party to refer the matter to the Industrial Court in terms of Section 8(10) of the Trade Disputes Act, Cap.48:02 if they so wished, I can confirm that to this date the matter has not yet been registered with the industrial court," he said.
Minister Batshu further said a labour inspection was conducted at the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown on May 30, last year, and the inspection revealed non-compliance in the areas of overtime payment, workers compensation and public holidays.
He said the department of labour and social security consequently advised the board of the centre to comply.
"I am informed that while in the process of complying, the employees refused to work overtime and this resulted in their dismissal, but a follow up labour inspection will be conducted at the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown within the next two weeks," he said.
Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Mr Wynter Mmolotsi had wanted the minister to state if he was aware of the mass dismissal of employees of the Botswana Society for the Deaf in Francistown and whether he was privy to details leading to their dismissal, and when he would consider sending an inspection team to the centre to investigate allegations of issues of abuse of workers and of constructive dismissal.
Source : BOPA
Somalia: Simha Condemns the Arrest of Visual Impaired Radio Journalist
SIMHA CONDEMNS THE ARREST OF VISUAL IMPAIRED RADIO JOURNALIST
Wednesday, 1st-April- 2015.
Somali Independent Media Houses Association strongly condemns the move by Somali security forces to detain visual impaired radio Journalist.
Abdulfatah Kalgaal who is a well-known visual impaired radio journalist in Mogadishu was arrested on Tuesday from his house in Wadajir district.
According to security forces he was arrested as a suspect after the killing of government soldier who is his neighbor at Mogadishu, Wadajir district home.
Abdulfatah works for local station Gobjog radio station as a reporter and is currently held at criminal investigation headquarters in Mogadishu for the second day.
SIMHA Chairman Hassan Ali Gesey has called for the immediate release of the journalist.
"It is unacceptable to witness the continuous harassment of Journalists by authority's day in day out," he said.
"Abdulfatah is innocent and should be released from detention immediately," he added.
Radio Dalsan reporter Mohamed Dek Osman Ali was also detained for six hours but later released.
Botswana: Help Develop the Hearing Impaired - Khame
By Bonang Masolotate
Ramotswa - The research monitoring and evaluation officer in the Office of the President under the disability office, Mr Phindi Khame says the population of people with hearing problems cannot develop on its own.
Mr Khame said this at the Botswana Society for the Deaf stakeholders sign language training workshop in Ramotswa on March 30.
"But only when we begin to involve them, recognise them and cater for their needs in the society just like we do for languages, that would be the beginning of a fruitful relationship," he added.
He said it was a disheartening reality to note that people with hearing impairment struggled on a daily basis in various public service departments. Mr Khame said extreme communication breakdown deterred the deaf community from getting satisfactory services.
Hence, he said the workshop was a positive stride on the part of Botswana Society for the Deaf to improve on the language barrier. He commended Botswana Society for the Deaf for the remarkable job they are doing with regard to representing and advocating for the right of the people with hearing impermanent.
He said Botswana Society for the Deaf is indeed a partner in the development in provision of services to the people with hearing impairment.
Another speaker, Botswana Society for the Deaf executive director, Ms Orapeleng Mokgosi said they are concerned about the high number of people with hearing impairment yet there are little efforts to raise sign language awareness.
Hence, she said they decided that it was important that they convene a stakeholder's sign language training workshop with an intention to break the language barrier.
Further, she noted that the society is putting an unnecessary strain on people with hearing impairment by failing to communicate with them.
She said there is nothing that those with hearing impairment can do other than using the sign language, hence the need for mainstreaming sign language.
Kgosi Mosadi said there is need to mainstream sign language to break communication barriers with people with hearing impairment.
Nonetheless, she noted that government has laid a foundation through capacitating Ramotswa Center for the Deaf Primary School and other schools which admit people with hearing impairment.
Source : BOPA
Liberia: LNOC Boss Commends SG Over Efficiency Despite 'Disability'AllAfrica.com-
By Leroy M. Sonpon, III
The Secretary General of the Liberia National Olympics Committee (LNOC), has been described as the "Integral backbone and key" to the promotion and development of sports in the country.
Mr. Joseph F. Willie, popularly known as Bob Willie, despite his disability, remains the brain behind the LNOC, according to president Philipbert S. Browne said.
"Up to present, Bob Willie remains the secretary general of the LNOC, whose efficiency on the job has not been deterred by his physical disability," the LNOC boss opined.
Browne said Bob Willie came into prominence as a sports administrator and as president of the Inter-School Sports Administration (ISSA). At the time, Browne was a director of sports for one of the schools that took part in the ISSA's League.
Later, Browne became vice president of Liberia Basketball Federation (LBF) and then its president - and Willie, being then president of the ISSA was automatically a member of the Executive Committee.
And by virtue of their positions at the LBF and ISSA both men were executive members of the LNOC.
Bob Willie was the secretary and Browne was vice president for operations.
Then came a period when the LNOC was mired in confusion in which Willie served as the mediator, with the case finally settled with support with Olympic officials in Switzerland.
In 2005, Browne was elected president and Willie got the secretary general's post.
Six years later, after building a vibrant, peaceable and answerable LNOC, Mr. Willie suffered from diabetes and one of his legs had to be amputated.
"Unfortunately, as the LNOC began to master its trade, calamity struck which almost brought the Liberian Olympic movement to its knees," Browne said.
During the 2012 London Olympic Games, Willie was treated in an advanced hospital and after a month returned home in excellent health.
Having fully recovered, Willie traveled to Ghana and got a prosthetic leg.
"Bob returned home with his new leg and started to take steps. It was good seeing my Secretary General walking again, but apparently that was just the beginning of his trouble," Mr. Browne noted.
Browne said: "That old devil wouldn't leave Bob alone, putting him through hell to curse God and die, but that wouldn't be the case.
"His faith as a Deacon at an Assembly of God Church was steadfast and would take whatever Satan would throw his ways."
Few days after Bob got his prosthetic leg; his second foot had gone bad and was amputated.
"I rushed to the hospital the next morning, but the surgery had been completed successfully- this time I made a complete fool of myself because I looked at Bob Willie and cried bitterly."
Deaf Association Tasks Buhari On Campaign Promises
BY VICTOR OKEKE
Apr 8, 2015 | 0 Comments
The Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) wants the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari to honour his campaign promise to create a commission that will protect the rights of people with disabilities.
The NNAD national president, Alhaji Dagbo Sulaiman Saka in a statement congratulated Buhari on his victory, saying the victory was timely as it came at a time when so many Nigerians were yearning for change.
He said “we want to trust that the President-elect will honour his electoral promises, especially the pledge to urgently assent the National Disability Bill into law and create a commission to protect the rights of people with disabilities.”
Saka added that NNAD was confident the president-elect would, in accordance with party’s manifesto, establish six centres of excellence for special education while also putting policies in place that would make houses and public buildings accessible to people living with disabilities.
While assuring the General Buhari of the group’s support, Saka applauded the president-elect’s determination to form an inclusive government comprising the best brains.
“The deaf Nigerians are not short of talented and highly qualified persons, and we sincerely appeal for consideration for the appointment of some of our best to contribute their quota towards ensuring success of the in-coming administration,” he said.
DISABLED PEOPLE APPEAL TO ELLEN
The New Dawn Liberia
Published: Wednesday, 08 April 2015 00:30
Members of the disabled community in Liberia have advanced several appeals to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at a general assembly held in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia, seeking clear and direct budgetary appropriation for the National Disabled Union, among others.
Appealing to President Sirleaf yesterday at the commencement of the Disabled Union’s Annual General Assembly held at the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church in Sinkor, Rev. Fallah Boimah, Sr. said, funding continues to be a major challenge for the union.
The head of the disabled union said subsidy provided by government cannot underwrite rental and operational cost of the organization, describing the financial situation facing them as “precarious.”
He suggested that just as there is a clear budgetary line for the Federation of Liberia Youth or FLY within the budget of the line ministry, same should be the case with the budget of the National Commission on the Disabled because the organization for the disabled here was potent enough to discharge its duties.
Having earlier commended the Sirleaf-led government for its recognition and support to the disabled community, Rev. Boima urged that more steps be taken in terms of inclusion of persons with disability, capacity development and the creation of opportunities for the organization to be strong and self-sufficient.
In concluding, he pleaded with President Sirleaf to appoint to the National Commission on Disabled, three persons from the disabled organization whose names he said were since 2014 sent to the office of Vice President Joseph Boakai for nomination to the commission for appointment.
By Winston W. Parley
In response to the appeals, President Sirleaf, who attended the assembly, assured the National Union of the Disabled Organization that she would look into the issues they placed before her when she gets back [to office].
The Liberian leader pledged her government’s unbending determination to work with the Disabled Organization to achieve goals that will come out of the general assembly.
President Sirleaf says her administration remains strong to adopt open government that fosters mainstreaming of persons with disabilities to the political and development agenda of the country.
She told the disabled community that her leadership recognizes that “we are one people” entitled to equal rights and opportunities, pledging further that her administration will continue to support them.
Focus on Disability: The next hurdle for Ebola survivors
SciDev.Net (blog)-Copyright: Espen Rasmussen/Panos
This ‘post-Ebola Syndrome’ seems to include sight and hearing loss
The scale of the epidemic is a chance to improve our limited understanding
Ebola continues to dominate the headlines, with reports of a resurgence last week in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Since the start of the West Africa epidemic, more than 24,000 people have been infected with the virus, and approximately half have survived. As the epidemic eventually subsides, attention will turn to the survivors and what the long-term implications are for them.
The immediate aftermath is grim. Ebola survivors return home from treatment centres weakened from the disease, often to find that many family members have died. Their possessions may have been burnt in an effort to stop the disease, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And they often face stigma and isolation.
“Very little is known about Ebola’s long-term health impact on survivors. The scale of the current epidemic is a unique opportunity to learn more about this disease.”
It now appears that many survivors are also left with longer-term complications of the disease, including disabilities, that some doctors call post-Ebola Syndrome. Survivors are coming to clinics with uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease that can cause blindness.  Hearing loss also appears common, affecting 15 to 30 per cent of survivors. Medics are seeing survivors with pain and fatigue, and men complaining about impotence. Unsurprisingly, some also report psychological problems ranging from depression to memory loss and anxiety attacks.
Very little is known about Ebola’s long-term health impact on survivors. Most previous outbreaks have been too small to shed light on this question, and so most information comes from anecdotal evidence or small studies. The scale of the current epidemic is a unique opportunity to learn more about this disease.
Studies where survivors are systematically screened for disabilities and compared with people unaffected by Ebola would help to work out which conditions are associated with the disease, how common they are and how long symptoms last. It would also help to work out whether disabilities are because of Ebola itself, from any treatments or even from the disinfectants used as a precaution.
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At least some of the symptoms, such as those of uveitis eye disease, seem to arise from autoimmune reactions where the body starts to attack itself. Therefore, having a better understanding could point to options for treatment and prevention, for instance through steroids or other drugs to control autoimmune reactions. Going by initial estimates for the prevalence of hearing loss, some conditions may be so common as to warrant screening everyone systematically.
This brings me to another benefit of such studies: very few disability services are currently available in many of the areas affected by the epidemic. They will have to be built up, whether for prevention of disabling conditions, screening, treatment or rehabilitation. Research into the long-term impact of Ebola will help make the case for such care, secure funds and plan which services are needed the most.
Hannah Kuper is codirector of the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. The centre is on Twitter as @ICED_LSHTM, and Kuper can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
 Majid Moshirfar and others What we know about ocular manifestations of Ebola (Clinical Ophthalmology, November 2014)
First Lady Advocates For Equally Treatment Of Persons With Disability
NewsApr 9, 2015 0
The First Lady, Lordina Mahama has made a strong case for Persons with disability to be factored in every business set up. She said Persons with disability have been relegated to the background for far too long, especially by employers who doubt their capabilities, a situation, she said, is not supposed to be so.
First Lady greeting some of the disables in BerekumThe First Lady was speaking at Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region when she presented wheel chairs both automatic and manual, carts, white canes, pomade for albinos and working kits for 280 persons with disability who have graduated from a six months training course in ICT. The training in ICT was done by RLG Communications. The ceremony was to pass out 280 persons with disability across the region by the Government’s collaboration with Rlg communications Group which forms part of Government’s initiative of training 5000 persons with disability across the country. Graduants were also given working kits by the First Lady supported by the Head of RLG institute in Berekum, Kwaku Nsiah.
Persons living with disability have for long time expressed their right to participate fully in society on equal terms as everyone else. Unfortunately, misconception and discrimination has continued to be a bar and kept them from realising their full potential. But the Lordina Founfation which is there to help the underprivileged in the country will see to it that Persons with disability get the opportunity to realise their full potential. This the foundation will do by continuing to provide the necessary support in all spheres to equip them. The First Lady said the help in the form of working kits will cater for them and break barriers of education and training which often limit their job opportunities leading to poverty and social exclusion in accessing basic social amenities.
She also asked employers to make room for the disabled as they are endowed with great knowledge to impart onto others and businesses.
She also made a passionate appeal to stakeholders such parents, Teachers, Religious bodies, corporate organisations, NGO’s to continue to perform their social responsibilities to enhance the quality of life for persons with disability in the society.
The MCE for Berekum Akwasi Opoku Yiadom expressed appreciation to the First Lady for the kind gesture. He said over the years Government has supported the persons with disability in the area and passing out of the graduands attest to this fact. He mentioned that the Assembly has achieved a lot through internally generated funds .These include water supply where he stated that Chinese Engineers are already in town to start the project. Also nurses quarters, Chips compound and some feeder roads have also been constructed through this fund.
Liberia: DEA Agents Kill Disabled Man?
Report reaching The NewDawn reveals that a 30-year-old physically challenged man has died, days after allegedly being mercilessly flogged by a team of Action Agents of Liberia's Drugs Enforcement Agency or DEA led by a commander in River Gee County.
Well-placed security officials say they are not disclosing the name of the victim right now as well as the suspected DEA officers allegedly involved because investigation is ongoing into claims that the officers on last Saturday, April 4, 2015 allegedly flogged the victim before he allegedly died on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.
The NewDawn's source in the county says some of the suspected DEA agents and their commander are being held under "protective custody" in Fish Town, the capital of River Gee County, pending the return of a joint security task force team that is expected today to visit a town in Tienpo District where the incident reportedly occurred.
When contacted via mobile phone Wednesday, the Chair of the Joint Security Task Force and County Attorney for River Gee, Atty. Wesseh A. Wesseh, confirmed that there is ongoing investigation involving DEA agents over the alleged death of a physically challenge man of the Bassa tribe.
Atty. Wesseh detailed that last Saturday; a team of DEA agents led by a commander went to Dartorken town, Tienpo District without a search warrant, and allegedly flogged a physically challenged man.
He said the victim was observed to have sustained bruises, and later died on Tuesday, April 7. As a result of the incident, Atty. Wesseh told this paper that a joint security team led by the Liberia National Police or LNP responded to the incident scene in Dartorken.
He additionally said a "corroner jury" was immediately constituted to establish whether there was foul play or whether the alleged flogging was the cause of the victim's death.
Atty. Wesseh explained that the corroner jury has so far reported that they observed that the victim had bruises or cuts all over his body; blood oozing from his nose; foam from his mouth and nose and blood on his head, saying, "The jury determined that there was foul play."
However, he told this paper that the jury team was unable to interview people on the crime scene because the area was hostile, and protests were ongoing.
As such, the County Attorney added that he will be heading a joint security team today, Thursday, April 9, 2015 to the crime scene to do in -depth investigation with other friendly citizens in the area of the incident.
A follow-up with the DEA Director Mr. Anthony Suah failed, as his phone rang endlessly in addition to text message sent him concerning the reported incident from River Gee.
Visually-impaired WASSCE candidates protest - No braille at exams
Visually impaired candidates writing this year’s May/June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have appealed to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to level the playing field for all candidates, irrespective of their conditions.
They pointed out that the two papers they had written so far revealed that some of the questions were not in braille and they had to wait for a resource person to get a copy of the question paper to read out to them before they could continue.
Un-braille question papers
Speaking at the Okuapeman Senior High School (SHS) at Akropong, the candidates said, for instance, that during the Social Studies paper, there were no braille questions from numbers 25 to 33, while in the Literature-in-English paper, questions 31 to 36 were not in braille.
“Fortunately for us, those questions that did not appear were very simple and had it not been the resource person who intervened, we would have lost those marks.
“As students, we would like to use this forum to urge WAEC that if it is dealing with us as an examination body, it should deal with all candidates and not discriminate in the course of its duties,” one of the students told the Daily Graphic.
They recommended to WAEC to contact the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) for “qualified personnel to handle our papers”.
Plight of past candidates
They recalled how their seniors had been unfairly treated, citing, for instance, that when the 2014 WASSCE results were released, some of the best candidates in the school scored E8s and F9s, “but when they called for re-marking, they had A1s”.
The candidates said it was clear that WAEC did not mark the papers before awarding the marks, stressing that this year “we are not going to tolerate that because we know what we are doing and we believe in ourselves”.
In a related development, the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) has expressed concern over the way WAEC was handling visually impaired candidates who are writing the WASSCE.
The union disclosed that over the years, WAEC had failed to provide the appropriate answer booklets, even though the candidates paid examination fees just like their sighted mates who were given answer booklets.
Blind Science candidates
The Executive Director of the GBU, Dr Peter Obeng-Asamoa, said, for instance, that eight visually impaired Integrated Science students who registered for the WASSCE would have to wait for the November/December examination because WAEC failed to provide them braille question papers.
He said five of the affected students are from the Adidome SHS, while the remaining three are from the Mawuli SHS, both in the Volta Region, saying they had developed the interest in the sciences following a STAR- Ghana intervention.
The blind are special
“The GBU wishes to remind WAEC that these are special persons and, therefore, must be given special attention. We are concerned not because we doubt the ability of WAEC to govern the examination situation properly but because there have been too many disturbing experiences in the past.
“The GBU wishes to petition WAEC to ensure that this year all examination procedures, especially the provision of braille question papers and timely and accurate release of results, are handled with the seriousness they require,” he added.
However, WAEC explained that its attention was yet to be drawn to the concerns, saying if they turned out to be true, it would “apply clemency to the affected candidates to ensure that they are not disadvantaged”.
The Principal Public Affairs Officer of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said investigations would be conducted and if the report turned out to be true, the necessary action would be taken, adding that the supervisor at the examination centre would have to submit a report on the issue.
On the Integrated Science candidates, she explained that in the past the visually impaired did not write Integrated Science and Mathematics, “ and that has been the trend, but this year we were informed that visually impaired candidates would be writing but I believe there were some lapses somewhere on the part of WAEC”.
“So we duly apologise to the candidates and are arranging for them to write the papers in November/December,” she said.
Touching on the number of visually impaired Science candidates, Mrs Teye -Cudjoe said as far as WAEC was concerned, it was aware of three such candidates at the Adidome SHS and not Mawuli SHS.
Concerning large-screen printing of examination papers, she explained that the important thing was for the schools with such candidates to report to WAEC to enable it to prepare adequately for them.
Kenya: Disabled Rights' Board
Kenya: Disabled Rights' Board
By Pili Chimerah Mombasa has formed a board to cater for the rights and privileges of persons with disability.
Youth executive Mohamed Abbas on Thursday said the disabled have been sidelined for a long time.
"The board will ensure equal rights to education, employment and participation in governance," he said.
Abbas was speaking during the launch of the board at the governor's office.
Mombasa is the first county to form such a board.
Abbas said the board will work with ministries to ensure all public facilities are disability-friendly.
Malawi deaf couple weds in style | Malawi Nyasa Times
April 12, 2015
Zawadi Chilunga -Nyasa Times
A hearing impaired couple on Saturday tied knots amid cheers from both families during a colorful wedding ceremony at Lilongwe’s Mtima Moyera Catholic Parish.
The couple at a wedding reception after saying ' I do'
"Couple ties the knot against all odds"
Middle aged Misozi Mwambo and his wife Lydia attracted applause from both family and church members as they smooched to signify their unity.
Neither the bride nor the bridegroom could hear what the priest was saying, but that made no difference.
The couple have all MSCE certificates and the husband works at Central Poultry in the capital. They both share a humble background.
But the couple has now overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their lives to claim their right to happiness.
We need disability friendly houses: TPTTP
The New Age Online
Apr 13 2015 3:30PM
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has launched a five-days long programme of Taking Parliament to the People (TPTTP) in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape on Monday.
The programme, initiated in 2002, is set to give ordinary South Africans the opportunity to engage their chosen public electives on issues affecting them.
This years it will run under the theme 20 Years of a Democratic Parliament.
“This week also sees the start of presentations to Parliamentary Committees from departments on their annual performance plans, strategic plans and budgets,” the NCOP said.
The TPTTP programme wil end on Friday with an address of the plenary sitting of the NCOP by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Liberia: Union of Disabled Fiscally Strapped
By William Q. Harmon
The president of the National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD), Rev. Fallah S. Cymbianoh, says the major challenge facing the union is funding and disclosed that the organization does not have a stable source of funding to support its activities.
Subsidies provided by government through the National Commission on Disabilities cannot even cover the monthly rent of the Union's office and presently, "we are facing eviction," Rev. Cymbianoh announced in his address at the opening of the two-day National General Assembly of NUOD in Monrovia last Tuesday.
The Assembly officially opened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, brought together delegates from all fifteen counties under the theme, "Getting to Zero New Ebola, Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities and Post-Ebola Recovery Plan."
"To put it more bluntly Madam President, the Union is in a precarious financial situation," said Cymbianoh, emphasizing the need to have at least 30 percent of the budget of the National Commission on Disabilities allocated to the Union to match its rising challenges.
Rev. Cymbianoh praised the European Union for its assistance since 2012 through a project that covered its rental obligations over the last few years but which has now expired.
While commending the President for reconstituting the National Commission on Disabilities and its role in directing the affairs of persons with disabilities, Cymbianoh appealed to her to appoint NCD's leadership from a shortlist already provided to her through the office of Vice President Joseph Boakai.
In her address, President Sirleaf assured members of NUOD that irrespective of their physical conditions they are part of the Liberian nation as one people and deserve equal opportunities, pledging that her administration remains committed to support Liberians with disabilities in the government's development agenda.
Her administration will not allow disability to be a disadvantage to their participation in the collective development of the country President Sirleaf said and promised to work along with NUOD in achieving the goals and agenda which emerged out of the Assembly.
The General Assembly also brought together various disabled people's organizations from all 15 counties. They meet in March of each year. During the conference held at the Mildred Page Hall of the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church, all chapters reported to the NUOD, which also makes a formal report of its activities for the past year.
Also during this Assembly, a new corps of officers was expected to be elected to run the affairs of the NUOD for a four-year term.
DRF School Journalists On Disability Issues
NewsApr 15, 2015 0
The Disability Right Fund (DRF) has taken a section of Ghanaian journalists from both state-run and private media through series of topics on disability, to help them better support disability activism in the country.
wpid-disability.jpgThe exercise formed part of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled joint efforts with the DRF, a US-based disability right organisation and advocacy,commitment, to build the capacity of the Media Caucus on Disability - Ghana.
Mr Medi Ssengooba, Programme Officer for DRF Africa, guided the participants through topics such as‘what constitutes disability, interviewing persons with disabilities (PWDs), key terminologies used in disability and rudiments of the Ghana’s Disability Act, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.’
He noted that it was imperative journalists gained deeper understanding of conditions of disability and the environment in which PWDs live, since the two, were fundamental for improved reporting to ensure inclusive society where PWDs access quality healthcare, education and contribute meaningfully to economic growth.
He explained that people who were impaired in some form would only become disabled when built-in barriers in the environment prevented them from performing activities, accessing facilities or enjoying their rights.
The programme officer, who is also a lawyer, said it was wrong for one to say“disabled people or person” saying that the emphasis should be on the person and not the disability, adding that it ought to be “ person with disability or person with hearing disability,” for example.
Mr Ssengooba also advised journalists to cultivate the habit and interest in churning out stories about PWDs who have succeeded in life, like Dr Henry Seidu Daannaa, Minister of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, and are contributing immensely to society in spite of the numerous barriers or odds facing them.
“I don’t see motivational stories about persons with disabilities, such stories are more inspirational, they give people courage to work hard, and I think we need to get to that thing of positive journalism,” he said.
Mrs Rita Kyeremaa Kusi, Executive Director of GFD, appealed to journalists to support the worthy course of PWDs, advocating an inclusive society through comprehensive and fair reportage.
She noted that discrimination and stigmatization were rife in society, and urged the media to work towards educating the public to minimize the acts.
The journalists, from the Ghana News Agency, GBC Radio, Public Agenda, Radio XYZ, Hot FM, Asempa FM, H4P and The Ghanaian Times, expressed gratitude to the organiszers of the training, saying,“it is an eye opener.”
The Media Caucus on Disability - Ghana is a group of journalists in the country committed to researching and reporting on disability issues, highlighting on policy gaps and courting appropriate government interventions to ensure just, fair and inclusive society.
My stay at the South African hotel with 25 per cent deaf employees
The Observer (blog)-
Written by Andrew Kaggwa
Last Updated: 15 April 2015
Mathew Nomvalo one of the deaf employees gestures
He gently smiles when we arrive and says something, probably in Xhosa. With my black Cranes jersey screaming ‘Uganda’, I wonder why he chose to communicate in a language he was sure I would not understand.
I present my hand for a handshake and with a beaming, sincere smile, he warmly grasps it. He takes my luggage and we go on to the reception but I love talking, so I keep yapping lots of things; how we had an awesome journey, how I knew much about South Africa and how I was already deep in love with their hotel…yeah, I really talk too much.
Most of the times it is the only way I entice people to buy me free stuff or give me discounts. The fella is, however, not talking to me. In the elevator, now tired of pleasing his soul, I quietly imagined he, like most South Africans I had talked to, thought that Museveni’s little party paradise was located in northern Africa. These people!
On reaching my room, he gets my bags inside and again says a couple of things - this time round, they are clearer but still unintelligible. Then it dawns on me, he is trying to tell me he is deaf. It is even engraved on his shirt; how had I missed that!
Come to think about it; he has been trying to talk to me using sign language, but in my self-absorbed persona, I thought something was terribly wrong with his hands! I had assumed this was a hospitality business dealing with many people, so contemporary talking was a necessity. Well, I was dead wrong.
If Ugandan activists want to understand how to truly push the “disability is not inability” envelope, they need to visit Park Inn by Radisson, in Cape Town. The bellboy at my service, Mathews Nomvalo, is deaf but will make new guests feel welcome every time the Park Inn doors open.
The inn that opened its doors to the public at the end of last December, has not given Nomvalo alone this chance, but to 26 other deaf people. The deaf make up 25 per cent of the 105 employees that work here.
Their objective is to have 30 per cent deaf employees, which, according to publications such as SABC, Times Live and Think Stories, makes Park Inn the leading employer of deaf people in the world. What makes Park Inn special is the fact that these deaf employees are spread throughout the departments and not limited to being gardeners, janitors, cleaners and other lower ranks; they compete fairly for jobs across the board.
According to Richard Mexson, the inn’s sales manager, they have deaf employees in finance, transport, front desk and room service, among other departments. On a good day, you will find Nomvalo waiting to usher in guests and on others you will find the likes of Andrew.
However, employing the deaf at Park Inn is no surprise; the inn stands on ground that used to house the Deaf SA offices - an association of deaf societies in the country. After the business was completed, the managers along with Deaf SA thought it wise to let the deaf share the same opportunities as their able-bodied counterparts.
In fact, even a certain percentage of the profits go to Deaf SA. During my stay last month - I was in Cape Town for the annual jazz festival - the inn hosted an egg-painting challenge involving at least 40 deaf children from different schools around Cape Town.
An employee at Park Inn with two of the deaf kids
The deaf staff came in handy as they swiftly helped the children with many needs the other staff could not handle. But this has not come easy; the hearing staff had to be trained on how to work with the deaf, as well as training the deaf on how to use easily understandable sign language with the guests.
“None of our deaf staff had worked in the hotel business before and some had not even worked at all,” Mexson says.
Using a mixture of sign language and writing, Nomvalo tells me he was trained for three months. Because they have deaf staff and anticipated deaf clients, Mexson says, there are plans to send their hearing team on a sign language course.
To ensure that the project runs smoothly, Mexson says they have hired an interpreter who helps in seeing that the deaf and hearing staffs get along; even the key packs for guests have a basic sign language guide at the back.
Before joining Park Inn, Nomvalo was a teaching assistant at a school for children with impaired hearing. He took the job at Park Inn because he indeed loved dealing with and encouraging other people to learn.
He considers himself lucky that he has a job even with his disability, especially given the level of unemployment in the country, even for people without disabilities. Park Inn’s credit clerk Elzabe Van der Walt, for example, says she had to struggle for three years to find a job.
“In Cape Town you can’t easily find a job when you’re deaf; it is really challenging,” says my tour guide Mario Jacobs.
It is not surprising that to hire the 27 employees, they had interviewed more than 150 deaf candidates. To get the clientele’s heavy demands, though, the deaf team puts in extra effort; they are observant and try to read lips, body language or ask you to write things down if they are not sure of the order.
Nomvalo says they have had some challenges but have turned them around by involving the clientele.
“Some people can be impatient and speak so fast, making it hard to read their lips,” he notes.
In an interview with SABC TV, the hotel’s supervisor in charge of meetings and events, Dale Holmes, also one of the deaf staff, says communication is vital; so, regardless of how some clients become impatient, he asks until he is sure he has got what they are saying perfectly.
“It is very difficult without hearing aids; so, we try to do written communication, but for me I have hearing aid and I also train myself to try and speak clearly so to greet them and when guests see my ‘I am deaf’ badge, they are very accommodating and their attitudes gradually change.”
However, on an emotional note, Dale notes, “We lost our voices. We don’t even know what we sound like. We feel lost in the hearing world. So, we really want to teach our hearing colleagues a bit of sign language. We will catch up with [one another].”
In fact, when you show up, Park Inn is an ordinary hotel, but when you meet the deaf staff, your experience changes; one of the guests joked that they are efficient since they won’t easily gossip about guests the way staff that hear do.
Mexson notes that hiring the deaf has come with dividends; for instance, they have had a number of disabled travellers picking them over many other residential hotels in Cape Town. One of the Ugandan guests at the hotel notes that what Park Inn is doing is not only a challenge to South African hotels and other employers, but even those around Africa.
“When you think about it, many of these people can’t be employed in Uganda, yet they are doing a good job,” she says.
According to Mexson, the biggest lesson from all this has been not to judge a book by its cover and encourages people to dream on regardless of their disabilities.
“Nothing should hold people back; they should not sit back and resign just because they are deaf.” In fact, two days before our arrival, Mexson notes, one of the deaf staff had been promoted. Beautiful Cape Town may have its breathtaking sites such as Table Mountain, the passage to Robben Island and the amazing city, but on this trip what truly blew me away was the hotel I found myself staying at.
Kenya: Advice to Parents With Disabled Kids
By Jane Mugambi
PARENTS of children living with disability in Kajiado county have been asked to take their children for checkups.
Kajiado North head of education resource assessment services Karanja Mbugua said many parents do not know how to handle children with special needs because they have not taken them for assessment.
He was speaking on Monday at New Life Mission in Kajiado during a seminar for parents with disabled children.
"The challenge is alarming and there is a need for sensitisation programmes to create awareness," Mbugua said.
He said there are more than 2,400 special needs children in Kajiado North sub county.
Malawi: Lack of Awareness Increasing Disability Rights Abuses
GovernanceHuman RightsMalawiSouthern Africa
By Jabulani Kamngoya
Lilongwe - Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Edith Mkawa has said lack of public awareness among the public is increasing the abuse of disability rights.
She said many Malawians are not aware of the Disability Act and rights of people with disabilities saying concerted communication efforts would help increase awareness and reduce misconceptions on disability.
Mkawa said this at a stakeholders meeting on development of a disability communications strategy on Tuesday.
She said the current spate of abuses including that on people with albinism is fueled by lack of knowledge and awareness which she says would be overturned with proper communication.
"People have wrong beliefs about disabilities and now we need more correct information and increased publicity. Now we need everyone to know the rights of people with disabilities and how the general public should act towards people with disabilities.
"Change is necessary and the communications strategy will assist general public and decision makers to have correct information and act to ensure that people with disabilities have access to information and enjoy all human rights," said Mkawa.
Mkawa said the country already has laws underguiding disability and what remained was participation of all Malawians to safeguard the rights.
"At the local level the government enacted the Disability Act to facilitate promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities in the country. However, dissemination of these rights instruments has been a challenge.
"It is in line with this that the Department of Disability and Elderly Affairs started developing the Disability Communications Strategy to ensure well coordinated dissemination efforts of disability information and documentation. However due to financial constraints the process was not completed," she said.
She added, "For the public to be knowledgeable on disability information and documentation there is need for coordinated efforts and identification of communication methods among stakeholders in the sector. We are aware that effective communication is dependent on the availability of information and the way it is presented. As such, the department found it necessary to form a basis for successful and well coordinated awareness efforts."
Godfrey Banda a representative from Disability Youth Network from Blantyre said the general public and authorities should work together to support people with disabilities. He cited limited access to education among youths with disabilities as a major challenge.
The Department of Disability and Elderly affairs organized the meeting of stakeholders in disability to solicit information on developing the disability communications strategy. The communication strategy development has been funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Department of Disability has partnered with the Department of Information to work on the strategy.
Deaf staff get Balalaika hotel cooking
Mail & Guardian Online
17 APR 2015 00:00 THALIA HOLMES
The Balalaika hotel in Johannesburg is breaking new ground, focusing on opportunities for hearing-impaired workers.
Simamkele Twani, one of the deaf trainees at the Balalaika. (Gustav Butlex, M&G)
The area around the Balalaika hotel in Johannesburg’s bustling commercial capital of Sandton is so built up that no street parking is available. Metered taxies, buses and pedestrians crowd the road. Valets whisk guests’ cars away past the JSE in the direction of the colossal Sandton City shopping centre to a designated parkade. It’s difficult to imagine the hotel in its original state: as a countryside tea garden in an area that “reeked more of manure than mink”.
“The Balalaika was the first original business and building in Sandton,” said Karen Peters, the hotel’s marketing manager.
The hotel served as a stopover between Johannesburg and Pretoria before anything like Sandton existed.
The hotel’s founders proved prescient. Today, all the big names in the industry have rushed to establish themselves in the area.
In the same pioneering spirit, the Balalaika has established another first: four of this year’s 10 trainees going through its four-year hotelier course are deaf. The programme, which trains them in professional cookery and hotel management, has seen staff members making changes to the usual way of doing things.
“We needed to look at dynamics in the hospitality industry,” said Nancy Gaylard, the hotel’s training manager.
She put out feelers to determine the viability of a deaf programme and contacted Stephen Billingham, the owner of the HTA School of Culinary Art and president of the South African Chefs Association.
“Nancy asked me whether I thought it would work to upskill deaf people in professional cookery. I said the answer is yes,” Billingham said.
But there might be some limits to how a far a deaf person could progress in the kitchen, he acknowledged. “At the senior levels, communication, like calling out orders, becomes important. Then things like industrial relations also come into play. That might prove difficult. But this would be a sound opportunity for people to have a job, draw a stable salary and pay tax,” he said.
Gaylard spent the next 18 months in meeting after meeting, mapping out a training plan and forming partnerships with educational institutions. By the end of it, the Balalaika had set up an agreement to find suitable candidates from St Vincent School for the Deaf to join its training programme. HTA agreed to partner with the hotel to provide training for deaf trainees interested in professional cookery. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) agreed to take on a candidate who wished to qualify for hotel management.
The trainees began with a weekly experiential session at the hotel. Several months later, deaf and hearing trainees started the full-time training course together.
“We thought, ‘Why can’t we do this for deaf learners? What’s the hurdle?’ Well, it’s more than you think,” Gaylard said.
The programme involves an initial rotation of 12 months, during which the trainees spend a month in each department. This is followed by three years of specialisation in the trainee’s chosen field. This means the deaf trainees interact with almost every area of the hotel and mentors in each need to be able to communicate with them.
“You can’t just hire them and stick them in a corner. You have to learn the language,” Gaylard said.
The Balalaika hotel’s training manager, Nancy Gaylard, set up the programme for the trainees. (Gustav Butlex, M&G)
The Balalaika has sent 16 staff members on a 10-week South African Sign Language (SASL) course. More are scheduled for training in the coming months.
“I want at least half the hotel’s staff complement to be signing by the end of the year,” she said.
In the hotel kitchen, Nelisiwa Motaung (21), Goodness Wellem (20) and Simamkele Twani (22) wear white chef’s uniforms. The three are scattered around the kitchen, washing and chopping in preparation for a conference lunch and the next morning’s breakfast.
A senior hearing member of the kitchen staff gestures at Twani, instructing him what to do next. She doesn’t know sign language, but Twani nods and goes about his task.
“I want to be a chef. It’s my favourite thing to do,” he signed. “My heart is there for cooking.”
Twani has a mother and two siblings but he is the only deaf person in his family. Born in the Western Cape, his mother sent him to a normal school but his world was one of silence and con-fusion. “It was very difficult,” he said.
Later, his family moved to Johannes-burg and, when he was 10, Twani began to attend St Vincent and learnt SASL. It was then that his life “began”. He matriculated and spent some time working at the school’s tuck shop before being chosen for the programme at the Balalaika.
He and his colleagues have spent the past eight months at the hotel and are relishing the experience.
“I enjoy working here,” said Twani. “The opportunities for deaf and hearing are the same in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s difficult. But it makes it easier working with people who can sign. They explain and show how the work is done.”
Twani competed against other chefs in the kitchen for a chance to represent the hotel in the Cape Legend Inter Hotel Challenge, a prestigious national cooking competition. He won a spot on a team of three and is now preparing for the event, where the main dish will consist of his favourite meat - pork. The team will use sign language to communicate.
One of his teammates, Jurie van Heusden (21), said it was initially difficult to communicate. “But now it’s easier since I have done the course.
“[But] there are some words that don’t have a sign, so we make them up,” Van Heusden said. “There’s no sign for curry, so we say ‘Indian hot food’.”
The hotel’s executive chef, Jacques Etsebeth, was initially sceptical about the programme. “Originally, I wasn’t too keen on the whole idea. I thought it was going to be far too difficult,” he said. “But Nancy guided me and showed me. It was actually damn easy.”
The experience had been amazing, he said. “They work hard, they’re eager to learn and, funnily enough, they’re actually very easy to communicate with. I find it extremely easy to work with them.”
About 4.5% of South Africans are considered either deaf or have a hearing disability (roughly 500 000 deaf and 1.5-million with a hearing disability, according to the most recent census). Deaf unemployment levels are estimated to be about 70%.
This abysmally high rate of joblessness is one of the reasons that UJ agreed to take on Poonam Kanjee (19), the Balalaika’s fourth deaf trainee, for one of its hotel management courses. She is the first deaf student at the university to attend lectures using SASL and an interpreter.
“Our main aim is to create more access for students with disabilities,” said Maria Ramaahlo, a psychologist in UJ’s office for people with disabilities.
Kanjee would require a level-two interpreter for each of her lectures and a data capturer to take notes during class.
“I think, as with any institution, the main difficulty in getting this right was funding,” she said. “However, thanks to the dedication of our team leader and management, who is very supportive, we managed to get funds through the university.”
Every night Kanjee rewrites the notes that the data capturer has taken. During lectures, she asks questions through her interpreter. Despite the difficulties, she passed her first exams with flying colours.
“It feels good. I have had a lot of support and help. The hearing people helped me when they found out I was deaf. They made friends with me and I helped them to sign.”
Ramaahlo said Kanjee’s success would open up the way for other deaf students at UJ.
“The successful implementation of this project has allowed us to indicate to management how to support deaf students in the future,” she said. “It almost creates a precedent of sorts.”
Kanjee has just finished her rotation in the hotel’s bookings and reservations department. Monday was her first day on the front desk. She will begin by shadowing a senior staff member, but will still be expected to help customers. She has already had her first challenge, dealing with a guest who asked her to make a phone call. They handled it by writing back and forth.
Next month, she’ll be working in the restaurant, taking guests’ orders and serving food.
“I’m very nervous. How will I communicate with the guests if I don’t know what they are ordering? It’s difficult when not everyone is deaf.”
Gaylard will need to gear the department up for Kanjee’s arrival, ensuring that the staff are versed in SASL and that there are ways in which she can fulfil her tasks.
Kanjee said every day brought new challenges. “Sometimes I feel nervous, communicating with guests. I don’t want to make them angry because I am slow and deaf.”
So far, though, the hotel management has had no negative feedback from guests. Gaylard recalled a time when guests lined up to be served eggs by Kanjee at breakfast, even though a hearing server wasn’t busy at the time. The hotel plans to offer guests a free app providing them with basic signs to communicate with deaf staff.
“It takes commitment. It’s not easy. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job.”
But Gaylard has been impressed by how everyone involved has accepted the challenge.
“So far, nobody that I have approached has said no. They have all said ‘how’?”
Jobs for the deaf
Kanjee feels most employers need to open more doors for deaf people in the workplace.
“I have a job here but other deaf people struggle to find a job. When someone writes that they are deaf on their CV, the employer puts the CV aside and won’t even do an interview,” she said. “There’s no support. It’s very little.”
Ingrid Parkin, the principal of St Vincent, agrees that business isn’t doing enough. “Employers don’t realise how deaf people contribute to businesses in a positive way, in that they are focused, hardworking and really appreciate opportunities to better themselves and contribute to the economy,” she said.
Gaylard has thrown down the gauntlet to other hotels in Sandton by building up the own deaf training programmes. And HTA, which now has a lecturer and facilities manager who are trained in sign language, hopes to expand the programme to other kitchens.
Parkin and Ramaahlo advocate collaboration between employers and educational institutions as a way to train and employ deaf people.
“Communication [for the deaf in the workplace] is always a challenge. However, this is not insurmountable,” Parkin said.
“Asking your employee what they require will help make the work environment accessible,” Ramaahlo said. “Employers need to have the mindset that deaf people can work in any environment that is supportive.”
Disability is not inability - Stonebwoy
The 2015 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) Artiste of the Year Stonebwoy born Livingstone Etse Satekla has disclosed that disability should never be a hindrance to stop one from achieving his or her dream.
With disappointment, Stonebwoy reminisces how people with disability are badly treated and neglected in the country.
According to the “Baafira” hit maker, the rights of persons with disability are not well enforced in Ghana thus making it difficult for the disabled to mingle with people.
He said that though he is physically challenged with his leg, that situation did not stop him from achieving his dream in life.
He made this known in an interview with Peace FM’s Akwasi Aboagye on Peace Entertainment Review pointing out his excitement about his victory over the weekend at the 2015 VGMA.
“Ever since I had an accident at the Tema Motorway, my leg had never been perfect. But I said to myself I will make it no matter the situation”, he stated.
Reggae Dancehall Artiste of the year at the 2015 VGMA added that he believes persistence and hard work can help him make it to the top.
Stonebwoy, who was adjudged the Vodafone Ghana Music Award (VGMA) Artiste of the Year 2015, competed for the prestigious award with other great musicians in Ghana including Sarkodie, Daddy Lumba, Edem and E.L. to climax a good year in his music career.
Foundation to construct disability education academy
Richoff Disability Sports and Educational Foundation, a disability club has acquired a 40-acre land for the construction of an ultra modern disability sports and education academy.
The land was acquired from Nana Ekaw Beisi II, Chief of Dominase Komenda, in the Central Region.
When the construction project is completed, the academy would provide educational support and skills training for persons with disability and orphans.
Mr Richard Offei, President of the Foundation, told newsmen at Accra Sports Stadium after a musical fund raising ceremony, that “this centre would provide opportunities for the disabled people though sports, education, training, employment and recreation”.
"It will also create a national platform for persons with disability and orphans to come together around sports, and also improve their social and economic status."|
Mr Offei, a former player of Liberty Professionals Football Club, said he suffered amputation after a tragic motor accident, after which he was neglected by his family and the society.
He said he consequently had to live on alms in the street.
However, determined to lead a more decent life, he joined the Ghana Amputee National Team and became the captain, which led him to various countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, UK, France and Turkey and Argentina, and won the first Amputee African Cup.
"After retiring from the amputee team, I decided to come the aid of the disabled," Mr Offei said, explaining that his decision was based on the fact that most of the disabled are vulnerable and have limited access to education, skill training, good health care, transportation and employment.
Some of the personalities at the show were the Ghana Football Authority boss Mr Kwasi Nyantakyi; music icons including Gyedu Blay Ambolley, A B Crentsil and Amakye Dede.
Mr Nyantakyi announced that a big launch of the musical programme would take place on April 30, and appealed to all to show interest.
Diana Lungu: Inspiring yet deaf
Zambia Daily Mail-
Posted in Fashion and Beauty, Life and Style on April 18, 2015 by Online Editor
DIANA Miss Deaf
FASHION TRENDS with ANGELA CHISHIMBA
THIS week, I am inspired as I write on a 20-year-old grade 11 pupil Diana Lungu, who has been, nominated to represent Zambia at the Miss Deaf pageant to be held on May 9, 2015, in South Africa.
Ms Lungu was discovered on the Zambia Fashion Week catwalk in 2012.
She is creative and also a member of the deaf choir of Livingstone.
Her dream is to grace the international catwalk.
Ms Lungu is confident of coming home with the crown.
The pageant will consist of among others an evening dress category, traditional and a creative segment where contestants show their various skills and talent through song, dance and drama.
Diana will be dressed by renowned Zambian fashion designer, Charity Nyirongo of Mo Creations.
All 15 SADC countries will be represented this year to also include Uganda.
Miss Deaf Africa pageant is a continental event that highlights the cultural diversity, beauty and potential of young deaf women across the African continent. The pageant advocates for equality of the deaf and indirectly solicits governments’ supports for the needs of the deaf in their respective countries.
The event was founded by Maria Sivertsen who organised the first event in Cape Town in 2012. The second peagent was held in Sandton, Johannesburg. This year’s event will be held in Hectospruit in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
The Miss Deaf Africa has appointed fashion icon Karen Nakawala as its Zambia ambassador.
Miss Nakawala was appointed because of her passion and work with the deaf which she is doing through the We Care campaign whose aim is to offer mentorship programmes for the deaf girls in Zambia.
Have a blessed weekend and ensure you keep warm.
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Disabled Somali trader aims to help injured countrymen
Bienne Huisman, City Press
Cape Town - Abdikader Shukri was left paralysed after two men shot him outside his grocery shop in Gugulethu during a spate of xenophobia attacks three years ago. But Shukri considers himself lucky, City Press reports.
The 32-year-old Somali has cousins and friends who supported him throughout the ordeal that saw him hospitalised for two months - and now he wants to help fellow Somali victims of violence in South Africa.
Shukri founded the “Somalia Disabilities Board Cape Town SA” 10 months ago. Today, it has 27 members around the country and provides rehabilitation and counselling services. He also hopes to raise money to educate disabled Somali people in work that is less physically demanding than manning shop counters.
“As humanity, we normally focus on the number of people who died [in an incident]. But what about those left disabled, who are alive but whose lives have changed so much,” he asked during a recent interview with City Press at the Vangate Mall in Athlone.
He was accompanied by his friend Mohammed Warsame, whose wife was also paralysed when she was beaten at her shop in Philippi in 2011. She was pregnant at the time but, miraculously, their baby was born healthy.
Shukri’s cousin Saede Omar also came along, and pushed his wheelchair.
Shukri is soft-spoken, his speech laced with smiles. Occasionally he stutters. His T-shirt is a souvenir from a recent wheelchair race.
Shukri has official refugee status, which qualifies him for a monthly disability grant of R1 350.
“I’m so lucky to have people who care about me. For five months my cousins drove me to the rehab centre, where I swam and did exercises, enabling me to sit again,” he says.
It was at the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre that Shukri first offered his services as a translator and life coach to fellow Somali shopowners injured during attacks.
“Some of the people from Somalia. They don’t speak English and they don’t have the education to understand what has happened to their bodies; why their legs aren’t working. So I explain to them. The people at the centre started to call me to explain.”
Right now he is counselling three Somalis who are being treated for spinal injuries at the centre. The one man was attacked in Kayamandi near Stellenbosch, another in Milnerton, and a woman, who was robbed and beaten at her store in Hermanus.
“When these people were discharged from the public hospitals there was just no support for them. So I’m coordinating that,” he says.
Shukri also interacts with disabled Somalis on social media. The board has an active Facebook page where he shares medical research and, in the past week, news of unfolding xenophobic attacks.
Shukri and his injured countrymen have been victims of random acts of crime rather than organised xenophobic attacks.
When asked about the violence that erupted in KwaZulu-Natal, the three men shake their heads.
“There is this constant fear that hangs over our heads; you just never know when the attacks could start or spread,” says Shukri.
Nevertheless, his life quality here is still better than it would be back home in Somalia, which has been devastated by civil war since 1991.
Thousands of Somalis have emigrated to South Africa, establishing themselves in the retail sector, selling snacks, soft drinks and clothing. About 20 000 Somalis were displaced in the Western Cape during xenophobic riots in 2008.
Angola: Disabled Athletics Team in Search of Competitiveness
Luanda - Angolan disabled athletics team start Thursday to participate in Open Brazil-Caixa Lotarias, in Sao Paulo city, aimed at providing team with competitiveness.
The assurance came from the national coach of the team, whose the average age stands at 20 years old, Jose Manuel.
Jose Manuel, who was speaking to Angop Monday before departure to the venue of the event, said that he hoped the young athletes achieve results that enabled them to qualify for 2016 Paralympic Games.
The coach, who is also the coordinator of disabled athletics in the country, explained that part of the athletes of the team are among the more than 30 young people cataloged by CPA aimed at reaching high levels in 2020 and 2024 Paralympic Games.
After good results in 2014 during the games of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) in Luanda, the African Games in Zimbabwe and last March at the meeting of Tunis, now the team wants to achieve medals in Sao Paulo, he said.
The coach stressed that the most important is to improve the results and get used to the high level sport.
DailyNews Online Edition - ‘Develop sign language to improve deaf people’s lives’Daily News- Published on Thursday, 23 April 2015 00:53
Written by FATMA ABDU
TANZANIA Association for the Deaf has asked the government and various institutions to prepare sustainable strategies and programmes in order to develop sign language, with the aim of removing communication barriers for the hearing impaired in the country.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Researcher in Tanzanian Sign Language, Prof Henry Muzale said that among strategies is teaching sign language as a subject in schools including those for the deaf and to help improve their living standards.
“We ask the government to prepare specific strategies and programmes to develop sign language for Tanzania in order to remove communication barriers and other problems for the deaf in the country,” he said, adding that by teaching sign language as a subject in schools, it helps to increase translators in the country.
He noted that deaf people are more likely to have income below poverty datum line and have no assets to cushion themselves against shocks; they are more vulnerable socially and economically.
Prof Muzale advised all Tanzanians to promote and develop sign language to improve living standards for the deaf in the country.
“We want to see the community recognising, accepting and co-operating with the deaf and ensure that they are not afflicted by poverty, injustice, segregation and any kind of discrimination,’ he explained.
Prof Muzale elaborated that by preparing programmes and strategies, society establishes a deaf community with better living standards, that build its capacity, is self-determining, has self-confidence, values and develops itself and participates fully, through Tanzanian Sign Language, in all development activities, economically and socially in co-operation with the government and various institutions.
Tanzania Association for the Deaf popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym ‘CHAVITA’ (CHAMA CHA VIZIWI TANZANIA) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), dedicated for advancement of deaf people in the country. CHAVITA was established to address problems experienced by deaf people in the country and improve their lives.
Groups task President-elect on anti-corruption war, disability bill
The Guardian Nigeria-
By Chuks Collins (Awka) and Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos) on April 24, 2015
THE leader of the Nnewi Importers Association, Pastor Longinus Chukwuma, has insisted that the incoming administration under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari could only record success in its much-vaunted readiness to fight corruption in all spheres of Nigerian life if it would not mind sacred cows and make it a total war.
Chukwuma, who stated this yesterday in Nnewi while addressing journalists on other expectations of importers from Buhari’s administration, said in order to restore the dignity of Nigeria and sanity within the system, the fight against corruption should be total irrespective of party affiliation, social status, ethnic of origin or religious bias.
The leader of the association, who stated that most Nigerians were known to be smart and were always ready to circumvent any given policy unfavourable to them, advised that measures marshalled out by Gen. Buhari’s administration to fight corruption should be stringently followed to achieve the desired objective.
He said that there was need for balanced federal appointments to reflect the federal character, adding that the in-coming President should see the entire Nigeria as his constituency irrespective of ethnic or religious background.
Besides, the Nigeria National Persons With Disabilities Multipurpose Co- operative Society has urged the President-elect to sign the disability bill into law immediately he assumes office in order to make life more meaningful to the physically-challenged people in the country.
In a congratulatory message to Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, signed by its Founder/National President, Taiye Titus Oloye, the group said it has no doubt that Buhari will lead Nigeria to the promised land.
The group, which expressed optimism that the much-awaited change has come, noting that it is their belief that the in-coming administration would prioritise the issues of anti-corruption, injustice and move the country forward, said: “We are congratulating you and your deputy over this well-deserved electoral victory. We pray the Almighty God to continue to guide, lead and protect you and give you the spirit of wisdom and ability to deliver your promises and take the country to greater height. Gen. Buhari, you are God’s choice to serve our father’ s land.”
On the outcome of the presidential election, the importers’ leader said: “The will of the people is the will of God. One person must be a winner. We are not after who wins the election. We are more interested in the peace of the nation.
“We doff our cap for Jonathan. Indeed, he is the hero of Africa and what he did by congratulating the President-elect, Gen. Buhari, is not in the blood of the blackman. He saved so many lives and property by that singular act. He really did what he has always preached, that no personal ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
He advised lawyers handling various petitions at the elections petition tribunals not to delay in trashing out petitions before them in order to save time, cost and quell anxiety as he called for fair-hearing.
He said the President-elect was expected not to abandon good projects initiated by President Jonathan, adding that Buhari should consolidate on the gains of the out-going administration and improve on them, including the power sector.
He appealed to Buhari to implement to the letter the reports of the National Conference, which he said, should not be seen as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressives Congress (APC) document but one that concerned all Nigerians.
Malawi: Disability Body Claims Government 'Too Weak' On Support
By Happy Soko
The Malawi Against Physical Disability (MAP) on Friday commemorated the life of people who have become disabled due HIV and AIDs in Blantyre at Kachere Rehabilitation Centre.
MAP Physiotherapist Bester Kamakanda said people with HIV and AIDs and the same time are disabled face big challenges. He cited an increase of disabled people is due to abandoning of treating.
Kamakanda advised taking medication dairy will make people living with HIV and AIDs to have a prolonged life.
"The number of people who have been disabled due to HIV and AIDs is increasing. Those on treatment are advised not to miss the dosage," urged Kamakanda.
Meanwhile, MAP has lamented poor government support and patronage offered to the department. A situation that leads to poor service delivery.
MAP Country Operation Manager Alex Mzikambani said the department is facing a huge setback. He bemoaned the support it is receiving saying it is not meeting the needed capacity.
Kachere is the only Rehabilitation Centre running as of now. Other Centre like Zomba, Lilongwe and Rumphi have been closed down due to lack of funds.
He lamented the closure of other centres to have caused scramble for resources at Kachere.
" When it comes to solving problems like the ones we have here, I can say we are not getting enough support. The department is big with many operational areas. The outreach services have been stopped in regional offices like Rumphi, Zomba and Lilongwe due to lack of funds.
Now people from Nsanje to Chitipa come to access services at Kachere which is the only centre running,"
" Devices like wheelchairs and crutches are no longer manufactured." Mzikambani Stated.
Meanwhile, the department has appealed for financial support from the government and donor partners.
The function which is second to happen showcased patients who have acquired disability due to AIDS.
Ministry Of Health In NBG Support Polio Disabled Union Vocational Centre
The state Minister of Health in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Hon. Tong Deng Anei has revealed his ministerial ambitions to support the Polio Disabled Union Vocational Centre’s growth and independence by buying them wheel chairs which are locally made by the same group.
28 April 2015
By Agoth Abraham
AWEIL, April 28, 2015[Gurtong] - In his handing over remarks made at the Polio Disabled Group Union’s centre [PDGU] at Malou-aweer on Monday while distributing the brand new made wheel chairs to the polio victims, the minister reiterated their commitment in supporting the disabled saying they are part of the community and that it is always in his mind to share with them the little resources his ministry mobilize for them.
“We are today witnessing the distribution of 22 brand new, fixed and assembled bicycles which were made ready by the group you can see here in this vocational centre. We working hand in hand with other donors especially international humanitarian organizations operating in the state to look into their problems of making their lives easy as you can see here at what they did by themselves,” said the minister.
Each bicycle costs 300 USD which is paid directly to the groups after fixing a good number of bicycles which are witnessed and distributed to the beneficiaries among the group.
Under the theme ‘Disability is NOT Inability’ the group of disabled in Northern Bahr el Ghazal whose ability to perform other slight work duties like any other ordinary citizen does, have been performing their talent shows so rapidly where they luckily got external intervention for financial aiding to develop and expand their projects.
Moses Kiir, the Union’s Secretary encouraged his colleagues who feel are unable to perform normal light duties urging them to join hands together with them in doing equal workloads.
"I know the disabled are regarded as unable people but this not the case. As you can see now it goes to show that the disabled people as termed have abilities to perform duties like any other in the community." Moses expressed.
"In addition to our abilities, the disabled have abilities to participate in those activities like for example when it comes to sports, most of the disabled can perform sports activities while on their wheel chairs." He added.
GEMS Development Foundation is an international NGO working in partnership with NBG ministry to support disabled group as well as helping build capacity of medical personnel within the ministry.
Kenya: Pokot County Asked to Report Cases of Disability
West Pokot county residents have been urged to report families hiding children with disability.
It has been established that many disabled people are not allowed to be seen in public because of culture and traditions.
Rehab Mission coordinator Tom Mulati said 50 per cent of people living with disability in the county have not been reached.
"We urge residents to expose those who have been hidden for them to get help. Many are taken as a bad omen in the society while others are being ignored," he said.
Mulati was speaking yesterday in Kapenguria during a ceremony for Clement Musto, a child who successfully underwent a corrective surgery after in AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital.
Concerns Raised Over Ghana Disability Act Gaps
NewsApr 30, 2015 0
Professor Nii-Adziri Wellington, professor of Architecture and Heritage on Wednesday raised concerns over gaps in Ghana’s disability act and urged government to revise it now to conform to international standards and ensure inclusiveness in society.
DisabledHe said persons with disability, particularly autistic persons, face a lot of barriers in the society which calls for a law to comprehensively protect them and address their social and economic needs.
Prof Wellington made the call during an inaugural lecture organised by Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS) on the theme: “Architecture for autism - a technical response with mind and heart to a dire human need”.
The lecturer outlined how the topic evolved following a family request for a design of a special residential facility to manage and take care of a young adult member of a family with an extreme condition of an autism spectrum disorders.
He said the condition that characterises the member is found to be a harrowing experience and there is a manifestation of multifaceted forms of disabilities.
The disabilities ranged from the medically induced seizures and self- destructive tendencies to hyper-sensitivity to physically environmental sensory inputs.
Prof Wellington said though there is no statistics about the condition of autism in the country, there are about five centres located in Accra, while the situation is also said to be prevalent among males.
Autism spectrum disorders are characterised by social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors.
However, symptoms and their severity vary widely, according to medical experts.
Prof Wellington said the symptoms are very important to allow architects to develop and design the right buildings to manage the condition of autistic persons.
He called on the government to press on the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to abide by building regulations and put up structures that would respond to the needs of persons with disability.
Prof Akilkpa Sawyer, President of GAAS described the lecture as stimulating, saying the presentation demonstrated that architecture goes beyond design and building.
He said it meant the application of science and technology to improve the living environment of human conditions.
Including Persons Living With Disability In The Scheme Of Things
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Apr 30, 2015 10:59 am | 0 Comments
A News Analysis by Femi Ogunshola, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Mr Austin Onwuamaegbu, President, Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria, has observed that public attitude to persons living with disability is worrisome.
He spoke in Abuja recently at Disability Empowerment Summit, observing that persons living with disability suffered alienation and discrimination due to lack of awareness.
He said that he was disturbed as a person living with disability in a community that failed to include him in the scheme of things.
“Since I grew up with disability, it is not encouraging when it comes to public attitude, acceptance and sensitivity to the plight of people living with various disabilities.
“It reminds me of my childhood when a casual walk with braces and crutches across my neighborhood invited curious onlookers and noisy name -callers.
“I realised that the name calling had to do with how I looked and walked and I started feeling different.
“I was treated differently from outside, I turned away from the world around me and confined my life to myself,’’ he said.
Onwuamaegbu observed further that a lot of children with disabilities and their parents were living a life of despair and isolation.
He noted that parents of such children would prefer to stay at home with the kids than to participate in social events and gatherings.
According to him, the social stigma on people living with disability adversely affected their inclusion in most events in communities.
He said this attitude, perhaps, could be the reason why some parents, whose children lived with disabilities, would not disclose that their children had such challenges.
“To add to the challenges, people offer an abundance of sympathy and ask people living with disabilities embarrassing questions in public.
“We have a society where some children mock a child with disability; we don’t expect the same child to feel comfortable in such society,’’ he observed.
He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sign into law Persons with Disability Bill before handing over on May 29.
Sharing similar sentiments, Miss Eberedo Onyinyechi, a civil servant and person living with disability, said that various organisations had refused to offer her job before she was eventually employed.
“Even with a proof that I am a graduate, I am discriminated against, rejected and some of us are sexually harassed while some people call us nuisance in our efforts to secure jobs,’’ she said.
Onyinyechi observed that a society without provisions to accommodate persons living with disability was not complete.
She noted that Nigeria ought to be a place where every citizen could enjoy equal opportunities, alleging that legislations had failed to guarantee active inclusion of persons with disability in the socio- economic and political events.
She, therefore, insisted that persons with disabilities should be empowered by removing certain barriers which could frustrate them.
She also called on Nigerians to give employments to persons with disability, pleading that a person with disability ought not to get a job out of pity but for what she or he could offer.
“A society that is all inclusive should provide means of movement to various work places for people living with disabilities such as vehicles and elevators.
According to her, it is glaring that persons with disability are being discriminated against as most of the buses and cars available for transport services in most cities were not designed to accommodate them.
“Likewise, toilets at work places should be designed to suit this group of persons with disabilities,’’ she said.
Onyinyechi called for signing into law of the Persons with Disability Bill to guarantee the rights of the people living with disabilities.
“Laws are meant to protect and greater protection must, therefore, be given to persons with disability to defend themselves in the society,’’ she insisted.
She also suggested a law that would strengthen punishment for sexual abuse against persons with disability.
Another person living with disability, simply identified as Grace, said that although she was a graduate with a good result, she had not got job because of her condition.
“I have gone to places, including private organisations and government agencies and ministries; no one wants to employ me because they see me as a burden,’’ she alleged.
She said that in some places where she got the privilege of working, the greatest barrier was climbing the steer case because there was no provision for persons with disability to move to offices assigned to them.
In his view, Mr Donald Uranka, Executive Director, Potters Gallery Initiative, Abuja, opined that inclusion of persons with disability should begin with their welfare through proper legislation that will guarantee their rights.
He said that the United Nations put the number of persons with disability at 22.5 million in Nigeria; more than the population of some sovereign countries in Africa.
He insisted that proper legislation on issues relating to persons with disability would help to aid their rights of participation in developments.
He called on the government to give persons with disability equal opportunities to contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
According to him, the government must review the cases of persons with disability while persons living with disability should also change their thinking about their challenges.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Nigeria: Hearing Impaired Adolescents Excluded From Sexual Health Education
By Chibuike Alagboso
Around 14 per cent of adolescents in Nigeria are hearing impaired, yet their specific sexual and reproductive health needs as young people with a disability have long been ignored.
According to the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (2013), the average age for women at first sexual intercourse is 17.6 years and for men it is 21.1 years. In addition, 23 per cent of adolescent women age 15-19 are either pregnant with their first child or already mothers.
Clearly, there is a need for young people to be educated in sexual and reproductive health issues before they become sexually active. But most television programmes and radio jingles that deal with these issues are targeted at those who can hear. Young people who are hearing impaired face multiple vulnerabilities, and little is being done to ensure they receive and understand vital information to protect their sexual and reproductive health.
Hearing impaired young people more vulnerable
At the 3rd Family Planning Conference held in Abuja last year there was a consistent call for the Ministry of Health to collaborate with other Ministries such as Education and Women's Affairs who have already developed strategies for communicating with hearing impaired young people.
Such a collaboration of special educators and behavioral change experts could help produce essential materials suitable for these young people.
However, so far, nothing tangible has been recorded in this regard according to Mu'azu Muhammed, a health communication expert at Targeted States High Impact Project (Tship Nigeria) and founder of Generation Development Initiative Nigeria.
Ibe Okenwa, dean of School for the Deaf in Imo state, confirms that they have no special educational materials available for students to learn about sexual and reproductive health. "It would be a very welcome development if concerned authorities can make it possible," he says.
Okenwa added that peer educator trainers occasionally come to talk to students about sexual and reproductive health issues. But an interpreter has to be around for the students to understand the messages being shared and these opportunities are few and far between.
Providing learning materials designed specifically to help hearing impaired adolescents learn about sexual and reproductive health issues, such as preventing unwanted pregnancies and HIV, could make a huge difference in helping them make informed choices.
One such project in Vietnam has already shown its value, allowing hearing impaired adolescents to take the initiative in dealing with their sexual and reproductive health.
Individuals battle to change the status quo
Dr Emmanuel Asonye is the coordinator and founder of Fighting for the Vulnerable, an NGO that is focused on addressing the needs of hearing impaired people in Nigeria.
He says the hearing impaired can have trouble trusting people around them as they can't hear them speak, and another issue is that communicating using sign language is not possible when it is dark.
Last year, Dr Asonye organised an event where hearing impaired young people were trained in ballet and hip-hop and got an opportunity to present a cultural programme. He says: "A major challenge we faced was nonchalance and a lackluster attitude from most local agencies and organisations we approached for partnership and sponsorship."
Dr Asonye believes that alongside the right supporting materials, such creative activities could be a great way to engage hearing impaired adolescents in sexual and reproductive health education. But apart from the few dedicated people like Dr Asonye, there is no concerted effort to ensuring the welfare and development of these young people in Nigeria. Ministers and other decision makers seem to have quickly forgotten the discussions from the Family Planning Conference.
Addressing the unmet needs for sexual and reproductive health education for hearing impaired young people needs to be given priority not just at the community level but also at the national level. Developing appropriate learning materials is a small, but essential, part in the effort to help hearing impaired adolescents develop to their fullest potential, and it mustn't be overlooked.
Liberia: TDI Launches Health Education in Three Deaf Schools
Human RightsLiberiaWest Africa
By Edwin M. Fayia III
A non-governmental organization, Total Dignity Institute (TDI), at the weekend launched its health education pilot project for three deaf schools in Monrovia.
The pilot project targeted the Monrovia School of the Deaf, Free Pentecostal Global Mission School of the Deaf and the Hope School of the Deaf of the United Methodist Church.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Monrovia School of the Deaf on Old Road, Sinkor, TDI's team leader George Stewart called on the Liberian government and partners in education to consider a dynamic approach to the issues of deaf students in the country.
The TDI boss also lamented the neglect and abandonment demonstrated by the government and partners of deaf students during the Ebola crisis.
Awareness programs during the Ebola crisis were on radio, television and newspapers that had no effect on the deaf, Mr. Stewart observed.
"I am yet to know where and how messages placed on radio, newspapers and television ever impacted on deaf students and persons in our country when the Ebola virus was killing Liberians," Mr. Stewart wondered.
Most of the messages placed on radio and television throughout the Ebola crisis did not have any space for interpretation to the deaf through sign language, he lamented.
He disclosed that there are a little over 50,000 deaf persons in Liberia that need assistance in health, education and economic empowerment.
"The TDI is committed to work with marginalized people in our society," Mr. Stewart asserted.
The TDI official also explained that being deaf does not mean that they do not have the right to life, education, health and other benefits of society.
On the global statistics of deaf persons, Mr. Stewart intimated that a little over 360,000,000 people worldwide are in the category.
Earlier, the principal of the MSDD on the Old Road, Emmanuel Jacobson, thanked the TDI leadership for considering the school for its health education pilot project.
"It is our fervent prayer that our partners will continue to provide funding for the TDI programs," principal Jacobson pleaded.
In his launching statement, TDI's board chairman Maxwell Whea admonished the students to take advantage of the exercise.
Chairman Whea also urged other well-meaning Liberians and partners to render financial assistance to the TDI programs as the pilot phase comes to an end.
SA surgeon saves Nepalese woman from disability
Kathmandu - In a bid to save her own life, Shanti KC plunged from the first floor of her home in the village of Phutung when the 7.
8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal nearly ten days ago.
She lay writhing in pain before her husband pulled her to safety and, with two shattered heels, has lain in a Nepali Hospital since her home was destroyed.
Speaking to News24 through an interpreter, Shanti said that she had been gripped by fear when the walls in her home started to vibrate.
Shanti, who works as a clerk, then leapt from her balcony and plunged to the ground while her rural home collapsed in a plume of dust.
In a district hospital with a backlog of 100 surgery patients and with no money, the prospects of recovery seemed dire.
Part of that desperate 100, Shanti lay in her bed as Durban surgeon Leon Moodley conducted ward rounds as part of an outreach mission by South African aid organisation Gift of the Givers.
“When we first did our rounds, I met the patient and she told us when the earthquake started she feared for her life and started to run down the stairs, but they had already began cracking and then she jumped from her balcony and landed on her heels,” he said.
“She had a lot of pain at the time of the impact, but still decided that she needed to get up and scramble to safety and there after she was taken to a hospital.
” Moodley explained that she had shattered both her heels, any injury that could be debilitating if left untreated.
“She sustained fractures of both her heel bones, which were shattered into pieces, and she had a lot of swelling, so we decided to take her to theatre after she had been waiting for a number of days,” he said.
“The problem with the hospital that she was taken to was that it was a private hospital and she needed to pay for whatever services she got.
The Nepal government made a decree that all health services were free but this hospital had no funds available to buy the implants that she needed and they were waiting for that money,” Moodley added.
“We stumbled across this hospital and we decided to offer them the help of buying the implants and doing the procedures so that the patients didn't have to wait any longer and they didn't have to pay.
We took her into theatre and we operated on both her heels, putting in screws that basically fixed the fractures in place and put her in plaster casts thereafter,” he said.
Moodley added that the road to recovery remained long for Shanti.
“It is going to be a slow recovery for her, with her not able to walk for six to eight weeks, and she will have to be in a wheelchair for nearly two months until she is properly healed,” he said.
“The prognosis for Shanti is excellent now that we have fixed the problem, and if we hadn't she would’ve had severe deformities of both her ankles and she would have had serious difficulty in walking.
Now that we have intervened we have restored the ankle joint and it will heal in a good position and she will recover in a reasonable time.
” Moodley said he had a particular sentiment for Nepal, having started his career in the country studying medicine.
“I studied in Nepal and I spent six years of my life here as an undergraduate.
When I heard about the earthquake and was invited by Gift of the Givers, it was an opportunity to give back to a community that gave so much to me and I found it a perfect opportunity to help those in need,” he said.
Liberia/Ghana: Deaf Lone Star Prepares for Nations' Cup in Accra
By Leroy M. Sonpon, III
As lack of financial support has prevented the Female Lone Star to participate in an international tournament, another national team, the Deaf Lone Star has emerged.
According to the Deaf Football Federation it is to provide opportunity for people who are deaf to play football.
Its president Octavius Vorkpor said that the team if fully supported would ensure that deaf players are given another alternative to enhance their football career.
Mr. Vorkpor asserted that for too long some of their colleagues suffered marginalization in their quest to foster their careers.
Mr. Vorkpor was speaking over the weekend when the organization held a mini football tournament to create awareness and raise fund for their upcoming international competition.
The weekend football fiesta witnessed Paynesville All stars defeating the Deaf football team 4-3 in an entertaining match in the day's first encounter while the Power House of the Ministry of Youth and sports also crushed the deaf team in the late kick-off to at the Zubah Town sports pitch in Paynesville.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Henry Yonton, Labour Minister Neto Leigh and other key officials of government, graced the mini football rally.
The Deaf Lone Star is expected to depart Monrovia for Accra, Ghana in June to represent Liberia at the first deaf nation's Cup.
The tournament which should have been held in the early part of this year was pushed to June while the venue was also changed from Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Accra, Ghana.
The Deaf Nation's Cup will feature sixteen countries that will include Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Liberia.
Vorkpor said USD40, 000 have been budgeted for Deaf Lone Star's participation to register, lodging and tickets amongst others for the players.
He said Chief Patron President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has given the team USD5, 000 and NPA has provided USD3, 000 to support the campaign.
Angola: Over 80.000 Disabled People Get Assistance in Country
Luanda - At least 89,438 people with disabilities are under the direct care of the provincial governments, in the provinces of Uige, Huila and Luanda (with higher population density), with the largest number of beneficiaries, reaffirmed to ANGOP the national director for Social Integration of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Assistance and Social Reinsertion (Minars), Humberto Fernando Costa.
Speaking exclusively to ANGOP, regarding the situation of the disabled people, Humberto Fernando Costa stressed that the statistical data resulted from surveys conducted every four years by the sector and now works are being carried with provincial departments in order to gather information about it, and thus make them public.
At the time, the official stressed that under the compliance, by various public and private sectors of society, with the legislation such as the Law on Persons with Disabilities that the Executive approved, some associations were raised to the utilities category and receive State funds to develop actions for the disabled person.
The associations include Lwini Foundation, National Association of the Angolan Disabled Person (ANDA), Lardef and ANADEV.
DESOPADEC Donates 35 Tricycles To Disabled Persons In Delta
Kola Eke Ogiugo
May 6, 2015 11:16 am | 0 Comments
Thirty five tricycles popularly known as Keke-Napep were at the weekend distributed to disabled persons in Urhobo land by Chief Ominimini, on behalf of DESOPADEC and Chief (Dr.) Henry Ofa, the commissioner representing Urhobo nation on the Board of DESOPADEC.
Distributing the tricycles to the disabled persons at Ughelli, the headquarters of Delta Central District of Delta State, Chief Ominimini said, “The gifts are to aid those with disabilities to earn their daily breads as these Keke-napeps are meant to contribute to their daily income”.
Chief Ominimini, while handing over the keys and particulars of the tricycles on behalf of Governor Uduaghan and DESOPADEC, warned recipients against selling the tricycles and urged them to use them for commercial purposes in order to generate daily income for themselves and their association as a corporate body.
Disability issues - Gov’t must buck up
Mr Francis Asong, Executive Director of Voice-Ghana, a Disability Rights Think-Tank has urged governments to mainstream disability issues into national affairs.
He said so far, approaches appeared half-hearted, cosmetic, as protocols and laws regarding rights and interests of People with Disabilities (PWDs) were barely being followed through.
Mr Asong was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the sidelines of a workshop to train PWDs to contribute to policy planning processes at the local governance levels.
It was under the aegis of the Local Government Network (LOGNET) with support from the UNDP.
Mr Asong, who presented a paper on the Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), lamented that there was very little focus on the interests of PWD’s at all levels of planning.
“They (PWDs) are not involved, no inclusion, they think for us mainly,” he stated.
The LOGNET is a network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working on local governance issues.
Saaka Sayuti, the LOGNET National Coordinator said the project was for two years, covering 18 districts, selected from six regions in Ghana.
He said it (project) was seeking to empower PWDs and local level officials for inclusive decision making and advocacy on the Disability Law, enhance their capacities in planning and budgeting and the implementation of the UNCRPD.
Mr Sayuti said the clarion call of PWDs should be “you cannot do anything for and about us without involving us”.
He said there would also be a comprehensive research on the state of implementation of Article 28 of the UNCRPD.
Mr Sayuti said after the workshops, beneficiaries should have some knowledge on planning and budgeting to engage assemblies.
Mr Francis Asokwa Sarpong, the Principal Planning Officer, Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council, took the participants through training on district planning and budgeting.
He said it was important that Planners got to the people for projects that were relevant to their needs.
Zimbabwe: Disability Does Not Mean Inability
By Tawanda Marwizi
At seven years old Tambudzai Mabhiza lost her leg when she was struck down by a Kuwirirana bus in Gutu. At that young age she she could not accept the fate until she got serious counselling convincing her to concede and started her life after the mishap.
Even her mother became emotional to grasp the impact of her child's mobility until she was counselled knowing that she could do anything that able bodied people could do.
From there onwards she used crutches for the better part of her life.
As time went on she started realising that there was talent invested in her until she enrolled at Masvingo Teacher's College where she is now doing her third year.
At first there was resistance from the college staff when she chose music as her main subject at the college.
"They said in music people would dance and with my situation they found it difficult until I managed to convince them that being disabled does not mean inability," she said.
Speaking to The Herald Entertainment on the sidelines of the Chibuku Neshamwari traditional dance competition held in Chiredzi, Mabhiza's group Gango managed to sail through walking away with a $500 cash prize. Some minutes after the group went on stage people strategically positioned themselves to take her pictures as she showed her dancing proficiency. Narrating how she learnt how to dance, Mabhiza said she takes videos and studies them during her spare time at the hostels.
"I take videos of dances, study them and make imitations. That is how I learn and as I speak people are happy with me," he said.
She conceded that she cannot do some of the dances because of her situation. Some of the dances she can do well include chikita and mhande.
"There are some I cannot do but I really have to thank God that I am now able to dance a number of them," she said. At the same event she left her crutches and displayed dances much to the surprise of the guests and merrymakers.
"It's easy to balance when you are dancing but it needs a lot of practice. With the help of the group I have managed to do it," she said.
For Mabhiza it is good for the community to give the disabled chance to showcase their talent. "In my own view disability does not mean inability and in that regard the community should give us equal chances to show what we have," lamented Mabhiza.
She hopes to raise money and release her debut gospel album. Originally from Zvavahera in Gutu, she owns her dance troupe called Tambudzai Dancing group.
Sierra Leone: Disabled Group Triumphs Over Church in Land Dispute
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
A disabled organization in the Waterloo Rural District has won a court battle over a disputed land, with the losing party being the Lord Mission Ministry Church headed by Rev. Hassan Mansaray.
Justice Alusine Sesay of the Freetown High Court yesterday ruled against the evangelical church, thus upholding a previous decision by Magistrate Tommy Ganda of the Waterloo Magistrate Court.
The magistrate had ruled against the church and ordered that the portion of land at Four Mile in the Waterloo Rural District be returned to the disabled organization.
The Lord Mission Ministry Church claimed they had bought the said piece of land from the disabled organization and appealed that the decision of the lower court should be quashed.
However, the court dismissed that argument and thus ordered that the case be struck out with cost of Le1 million because their lawyers had filed within the period stated in the High Court Rules.
Augustine S. Marah Esq., counsel for the disabled group, had successfully argued that the plaintiff's application did not follow the right procedure of the High Court Rules and that what the latter was asking for has no legal basis.
Lesotho citizen crowned Miss Deaf Africa 2015
Posted by: APA Posted date : May 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm UTC 76 views In : Africa
Lesotho citizen, Tlhokomelo Sabole has won Miss Deaf Africa award at the recently held competitions in South Africa, reports said on Friday. Lesotho Minister of Sports and Recreation, Gender and Youth, Mathibeli Mokhothu said Sabole has made her family and the whole Basotho nation proud for being crowned as Miss Deaf Africa particularly because many countries in Africa took part in that competition.
He said Sabole has set a good precedent that, demonstrating that people with disability have ability to enter competitions and come out as winners.
"People with disability have talent too," said the Minister. "I am going to work hard to ensure that people with disability also take part in various sporting codes."
APA has discovered that Sabole would spend a month in California, United States of America where she would be discussing issues and challenges facing deaf people.
School Closings in Assiut Shut Out Disabled, Deaf and Blind Students
Tarek Abd El-Galil / 15 May 2015
The courtyard of the Deaf School inAssiut. (By Tarek Abd El-Galil)The courtyard of the Deaf School inAssiut. (By Tarek Abd El-Galil)
ASSIUT, EGYPT-Medhat Mahmoud Raslan’s commute from his rural village roughly 230 miles south of Cairo to his secondary school is long. First, he takes a tuktuk to a taxi station, where he finds a ride to Assiut. Then he catches a bus from the city square to complete his journey.
Raslan, who is blind, used to stay at the school’s dorms so he wouldn’t have to make the commute. But Raslan said he couldn’t do that this year due to school renovations.
“Because of the construction work at school, I preferred to stay at home to focus on studying,” said Raslan. “Exams are approaching and we have not yet finished the curricula.”
Raslan’s school is one among four public schools for blind, deaf and intellectually disabled students that have undergone maintenance and restoration since late last year, closing schools and making it difficult for students to learn. The closings were sudden, the students didn’t get any warning and don’t have any educational alternatives. Almost 1,500 students are affecting by the school closings, said Moetaz Abd Al-Naby, a representative of the Association of People with Disabilities, in Assiut.
Mustafa Abdel Fattah, director general of education buildings in the city, said the schools closed in the middle of the academic year for budgetary reasons and the terms of contracts with the companies involved. One school for the intellectually disabled will be closed until May, while renovations were completed in three other schools and students have since resumed their studies, said Abd Al-Fattah Abu Shama, the Minister of Education’s first secretary in Assiut.
But some students say that the reopened schools are only educating some of the students due to ongoing construction and limited space. At Raslan’s school, for example, only 38 students out of a total of 168 were attending school as of April.
The closings were rooted in Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s decision to introduce a plan in November intended to increase efficiency and upgrade safety standards in the city’s schools, according to an official in Assiut who spoke on condition of anonymity. Other closed institutions including a language school also deemed unsafe, and students there were moved elsewhere to study. Because schools for disabled students generally require dormitories, however, those students had no other option.
Construction at Al-Amal Technical Secondary School (By Tarek Abd El-Galil)
Construction at Al-Amal Technical Secondary School for Mute Girls in Assiut started last year before the fall semester ended, said a teacher who asked his name not be used, fearing punishment by authorities. As a result, students were forced to take their exams in the kitchen, he said.
Going into the second semester this year, classes for preparatory and secondary students were postponed for two weeks while primary-school students stayed home for a month, the teacher said.
The closings aren’t the only educational challenges that blind, deaf and intellectually disabled students face. Classes at institutions such as the Al-Amal Technical Secondary School for Mute Girls are overcrowded, the teacher said. There also aren’t enough staff members to care for the students, especially in the dorms.
Maha Magdy, an official in an association for the deaf and a sign- language translator, said the education offered at public schools for the deaf is worthless. Teachers are not qualified to teach students with special needs and most learn sign language from the students rather than the other way around. Students who come from poor families are often unable to pay for private lessons that could help compensate for educational quality.
Ahmed, a first-year student at Al-Noor School for the Blind who didn’t give his last name out of fear of retribution, said he only attended the first two weeks of the spring semester and that he learned nothing. Students were instructed to memorize answers to eight questions in every subject, and were told that an upcoming exam would ask students four of those questions, he said.
“How can I study my lessons like this?” he said, adding that the students at his school are given Braille machines that aren’t well maintained. “I worry that in the exam I might receive a machine that is not working properly and fail my exams,” he said.
Advocates for children with special needs are hopeful that the school renovations will be finished over the summer, but less hopeful that the poor quality of the education will be fixed anytime soon.
Egypt’s disabled seek fair representation in parliamentAl-Monitor-
CAIRO - Article 244 of Egypt's 2014 constitution grants disabled Egyptians the right to appropriate representation in the next parliament. This representation has been set by the People's Assembly Law - which was considered unconstitutional in March and is currently being amended - at eight seats, out of a total of 120 seats of the electoral list system, representing one-third of the total parliamentary seats.
However, the Egyptian movement to empower people with disabilities believes that this quota is not enough. Hassan al-Sibai, the movement’s coordinator, told Al-Monitor that the constitution allocated a quota for those with disabilities for one parliamentary cycle, which has led Egyptian parties and electoral coalitions to deal with this group of voters as if their election was pro forma aimed at completing the lists' numbers.
Sibai explained that none of the people with disabilities who are qualified to represent the disabled community and their problems in parliament were selected, and he considered this to be inappropriate treatment of the disabled by the Egyptian political parties and coalitions.
“Some parties had allied with a number of people with disabilities and then renounced their alliance with them. [The parties] instead allied with people with disabilities who could afford spending money on the electoral campaigns of the parties and coalitions, without considering their ability to represent the disabled and their causes in Egypt. The parties and coalitions also refused people with disabilities to field parliamentary elections as individual candidates outside the scope of the electoral list system. In addition, the parties and coalitions did not include the causes of people with disabilities in their electoral programs,” he said.
According to Sibai, one of the biggest problems facing the disabled in Egypt - which requires their integration into political life - is that they face marginalization and are prevented from having access to jobs, health care and proper education suitable for their circumstances, generating major economic problems. “The people [with disabilities] who were chosen by the parties in their electoral alliances, do not suffer from these [economic] problems, as they are rich,” he said.
Masralarabia website published a report Jan. 12 on the request of parties, such as the Confrontation Party, to obtain contributions of 200, 000 Egyptian pounds ($26,220) from the disabled in return for including them as candidates on the parties’ electoral lists.
On April 21, the Egyptian movement to empower people with disabilities announced in a statement its intention to field parliamentary elections with an independent list for the disabled called "We Love Egypt," given “the arbitrariness of political parties and coalitions in selecting persons with disabilities on their lists.”
Regarding the financing sources of We Love Egypt, Sibai said that the list will fund itself and the movement is not in need of extensive funding. He explained that the movement will not rely on advertisements but rather on a limited number of conferences in some areas to familiarize citizens with its electoral program, in addition to reaching out to the large base of disabled people in Egypt.
Karim al-Sayed, a professor of political science at Cairo University and a specialist in parliamentary affairs, told Al-Monitor that the Egyptian movement’s attempt to contest parliamentary elections with a list made up entirely of people with disabilities is a bold initiative that may contribute to a strong integration of people with disabilities in Egyptian political life.
According to the constitution, once disabled people are represented in one parliamentary cycle, they cannot run for another one, unless they succeed in pushing the parliament to issue a new law that guarantees people with disabilities a quota in other parliamentary cycles.
“The constitution approved a special one-time representation for the disabled, but did not prohibit the issuance of a law governing their representation for several parliamentary cycles. The disabled have the right to call for such a law in parliament after long years of marginalization," Sayed said.
Sayed does not expect We Love Egypt to achieve good results, especially in light of the closed-list system that allows only one list to win and does not allow the competing lists to obtain parliamentary seats proportional to the ratios of the votes they obtained, as was the case in the dissolved parliament of 2012.
Sibai, on the other hand, believes that We Love Egypt can achieve success in obtaining the 45 seats it is competing for, thanks to the support of 12-14 million disabled people in Egypt. According to the law, each electoral list should include eight disabled candidates for at least eight parliamentary seats; the law does not specify the maximum number of seats people with disabilities can occupy.
The exact number of the disabled in Egypt remains unknown, as estimates range between about 700,000 to 14 million. The Ministry of Social Solidarity estimated in its official statements based on nonpublic reports issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) that there were 700,000 disabled people in 2014. For his part, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi estimated in December 2014 on Al Kahera Wal Nas TV the number of disabled people at 2-3 million.
Several media websites referred to the World Health Organization (WHO) that currently estimates the number of disabled Egyptians ranging between 12 and 14 million. CAPMAS indicated in a 1996 report on the census of people with disabilities in Egypt - which the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) referred to as part of an event about disabled people held with the cooperation of ESCWA - that it is difficult to determine their numbers and that the census results were inaccurate.
In light of diverging estimates on the number of disabled people in Egypt, it is difficult to predict what We Love Egypt can achieve. If the estimates of 700,000 to 2-3 million are accurate, then it would be difficult for the list to achieve success. If the estimates of 12-14 million disabled people are accurate, the list might achieve good results if it manages to communicate with the majority of this group.
The WHO report indicated that out of the total number of disabled people in Egypt, there are about 3 million who are mentally disabled and 4 million children under the age of 18 - neither category is entitled to vote. If the WHO estimates are accurate, the total number of eligible voters with disabilities would be about 5 million at the very least.
It is possible that We Love Egypt would achieve good results if it manages to mobilize this large voting bloc in its favor. The total number of people in Egypt eligible to vote is estimated at 53 million, as per the presidential elections in May 2014, and there are nine coalitions competing for the seats allocated to the winners under the electoral list system.
Why visually impaired singer would like to see for 1-day
Published: 17.05.2015 Gbenga BadaPrinteMail
Visually impaired music producer and songwriter, Cobhams Asuquo would like to regain his sight for a singular purpose.
The award winning music producer revealed why he wishes to regain his sight for just one day in a recent chat with The Punch.
In his words, 'Yes, I would love to regain my sight even if it is for one day just to see my wife’s face. That is one of the things that would make her happy.'
However, his wife, Ojuolape, wish her hubby could regain his sight to see everyday things and most importantly her expressions when they gist.
In her words, 'No, I don’t and I have never wanted him to have his sight for the reason you mentioned. If I ever want him to have his sight, it is because I wish he can see more of everyday things. For instance, if I am narrating an incident to him or if there is something really nice I want to show him, at times like that I wish he could see. Because he is my gist partner, I often wish he can see the expression on my face when we are talking.'
Dwarf dancer who helps the deaf and dumb get justice
The Standard Digital News
BY WILLIS OKETCH Updated Sunday, May 17th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3 Share this story: William Omondi Omolo. [PHOTO: KELVIN KARANI/STANDARD]
William Omondi Omolo was preparing to join his colleagues at Generation Club in Mombasa where he works as an entertainer when he received a call from Inuka police station in Likoni. He was to report to the police station immediately.
“I was afraid the police were going to lock me up, but I knew I had committed no offence,” Omolo, a dancer with Ohangla musician Osogo Winyo, said.
Used to such calls from the police, Omondi hopped onto a motorcycle taxi and headed to the station, where he found an officer waiting for him.
He was swiftly ushered into the OCS’ office where the station commander introduced himself and thanked him for coming.
“He gave me a chair and asked for a girl, who was sitting a few metres from the report desk to be ushered in,” said Omolo, a dwarf.
His mission there, as he was soon to find out, was to help the police understand what the deaf and dumb girl had gone to complain about.
No one at the police station could understand what the 17-year-old girl was trying to say. But it took Omolo less than two minutes to figure out her ordeal - she had been defiled by two men she knew.
Shocked, the police officers asked Omolo to help them write a statement from the girl, who narrated her ordeal step by step.
They then requested him to ask the girl take them to where her alleged defilers lived. The following day, he accompanied the police and the girl to the suspects’ hideout.
“The suspects immediately took off when the girl singled them out, but the police gave chase and arrested one of them. The other was arrested later,” said Omolo. The suspects -- Ndoro Sammy Athman alias Kingwedo and Nzombo Bakari Kadenge alias Rajab -- were on Monday arraigned in a Mombasa magistrate’s court where they denied charges of defiling the girl at an approved school in Likoni.
They were remanded at Shimo La Tewa prison after Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Richard Odenyo denied them bail.
Read more at: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/thecounties/article/2000162477/dwarf-dancer-who-helps-the-deaf-and-dumb-get-justice
Nigeria: Video - Campaign for Medical Outreach to School for the Deaf
By Chibuike Alagboso
In Imo State, Nigeria, a local non-governmental organisation is campaigning for funds to take a free medical mission to a school for the deaf.
Recently I wrote about the exclusion of deaf adolescents in Nigeria from sexual health education, and the need for specially designed learning materials to help hearing impaired adolescents learn about sexual and reproductive health issues, such as preventing unwanted pregnancies and HIV.
Dr Emmanuel Asonye, founder of local organisation Save the Deaf and Endangered Languages Initiative (S-Deli), says: "We cannot tell you the level of stigmatisation that these students are vulnerable to, but what we can tell you is that these kids deserve more than what society has given them."
As a volunteer media advisor for S-Deli, I've helped create a campaign on the online fundraising website indiegogo, to help them raise funds to carry out a medical mission to the school. The plan is to carry out eye screening and treatments, sexual and reproductive health education, HIV counseling and testing.
From a pre-project assessment, I discovered that there have been various promises from the state government to provide the school with some of the basic things they need like electricity and security. But for years the students have spent their nights in darkness, and still do today.
Electricity is crucial because the students cannot communicate after dark unless they can see each other. Lack of light also affects their security, and there have been cases of sexual abuse and rape in the past.
For more details on the project and to make a donation, please visit the campaign page.
70% of deaf South Africans are unemployed, this hotel group hopes to change that
18 May, 11:08 AM
Park Inn by Radisson Newlands and Deaf SA hope to change the rates of deaf unemployment in SA by starting a new initiative that allows deaf people to work in their hotel. Watch.
Jennifer Sanasie is joined in studio by Brendon Hart of the Park Inn by Radisson Newlands and deaf employee Dale Holmes watch them tell us about the experience guests have while visiting the hotel that employs 28 deaf staff.
We find out how this hotel group is planing to grow this initiative and employ more staff from the hearing impaired community.
Cameroon promhandicam school disabled children integration
In Cameroon, a school helps to integrate disabled children into society
At a school in Yaounde where disabled children learn side-by-side with other pupils, eliminating discrimination is seen as a human rights imperative
School for disabled children in Yaounde
Promhandicam school in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde aims to support social integration by educating disabled children alongside those with no disabilities. Photograph: Juanjo Perez
Guardian Global development is supported by:
About this content
Marta Arias, Juanjo Perez in Yaounde
Tuesday 19 May 2015 07.00 BST Last modified on Tuesday 19 May 2015 09.22 BST
At dizzying speed, Julien sticks a hole-punch tool into a piece of paper, over and over. When the 12-year-old is done, the teacher gives the paper to another student and asks him to read it. Julien nods approvingly as the other boy reads aloud. It is exactly as he had written it, punching out the text in braille.
Julien, who is blind, and the other student, who is not, both share a classroom in the Promhandicam school in the Mimboman district of Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon.
The school opened in 1975 as part of a private philanthropy project set up by Daniel de Rouffignac, a retired French colonel. It has 120 pupils and aims to help disabled children participate fully in society, and to educate children who are blind or have impaired vision.
About half of the pupils have disabilities. Of these, many are blind, but there are others who have paralysis or learning disabilities, or have lost limbs. They study alongside children with no disabilities. Everyone learns to read braille.
Sophie Christiansen finds heartbreak and hope among Rwanda's disabled children
For the school’s manager, Father Sergio Janeselli, this integration is key.
“You see?” he says, pointing to the children playing together one breaktime. “One of the greatest things about this kind of education is that children just play with each other no matter if they are blind, disabled, or not.”
About 2 million of Cameroon’s 23-million strong population are disabled, according to Marta Imamura, a medical officer specialising in disability and rehabilitation at the World Health Organisation in Switzerland.
The UN’s children agency, Unicef, estimates that 23% of children aged between two and nine in Cameroon have at least one type of disability, and 65% of children acquired their disabilities through illnesses, such as polio, malaria, leprosy or measles.
The most recent World Report on Disability, published by the WHO in 2011, noted that “children with disabilities are less likely to start school than their peers without disabilities, and have lower rates of staying and being promoted in schools”.
About 80% of disabled people, including 150 million children, live in developing countries. The 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been ratified by 36 African countries. However, in countries grappling with hunger and poverty, stigma and discrimination - even by parents - often renders disabled children effectively invisible.
In poorer communities, this ostracisation can condemn children with mental or physical disabilities to a life in limbo, with no prospects for therapy and an increasing likelihood of being malnourished and otherwise neglected.
Current attitudes … reinforce the many barriers these children face, including discrimination, direct abuse and violence
Marta Imamura, World Health Organisation
“Current attitudes of rejection and neglect reinforce the many barriers these children face in daily life, including discrimination, direct abuse and violence,” says Imamura.
“There has actually not been very much research done in these areas,” says Lynn Cockburn, assistant professor in the department of occupational science and occupational therapy at the University of Toronto. “We are just beginning to really understand the extent and details of the situation.
“There are very few schools that can adequately accommodate children with visual and hearing impairments, or with significant learning disabilities. There are almost no assistive devices and technologies used in schools to allow for such accommodations,” she said.
In 2010, Cameroon’s ministry of social affairs introduced a law to protect and promote disabled children, but activists say implementation has been slow.
In Promhandicam the letter of the law - integrating disabled people into society - is brought to life. The school’s ethos is spelled out on a big poster: “In the classroom, we are all equal in rights and obligations”.
Class groups at the school are usually organised by age, as in any other institution, but there are some exceptions to meet specific requirements.
Landry, 15, sits with a group of five-year-olds. He, like them, is learning to write. But while they struggle to hold pens between their little fingers, Landry is learning how to write with his mouth because his arms are paralysed.
Monique Hendje, a teacher, is helping him. She scribbles letters on to a small blackboard and then Landry copies them on to paper, using a carpenter’s flat pencil.
As well as catering for children with physical challenges, such as Julien and Landry, Promhandicam also educates children with learning disabilities. Older children, who may no longer be able to benefit from academic teaching, are taught other skills.
“The 25 pupils in this class are not able to learn how to write or read any more, so we teach them how to become independent by doing some handicrafts that can be sold later,” says Rachel Bekono, a teacher.
School for disabled children in Yaounde Facebook Twitter Pinterest
A pupil at Promhandicam school in Yaounde’s Mimboman district. Photograph: Juanjo Perez
One of Promhandicam’s strengths is its ability to produce tailored learning materials for its diverse range of students.
Benjamin Mbelle, armed with patience and a noisy printing machine, copies every textbook into braille. This means every student can follow each class.
The school opened a rehabilitation centre in 2005 and there is also a small workshop. There, Joseph Amougou, who himself is disabled, works at the school making prostheses or adapting furniture to the pupils’ specific needs.
Next to his workbench there are broken tricycles and wheelchairs, and many kinds of artificial limbs, including Amougou’s own.
Amougou embodies Promhandicam’s devotion to integrating disabled people as fully as possible into society. Cockburn says this is a human rights issue.
“Attitudes can have an impact because children are not given opportunities to engage in everyday activities because parents and others don’t think they can … The charity model is still very prevalent, rather than a human rights model,” she says.
Amougou is well aware of the importance of his job.
“[This is] how we can prove that there are real options and that being disabled doesn’t mean being non-capable,” he says.
Almost half of the staff at this Cape Town hotel are deaf
The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Newlands is the first hotel to employ up to a third of staff who are deaf and who have no previous experience of working in a hotel.
Dale Holmes,Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Cape Town
Dale Holmes is one of the deaf workers at the Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Cape Town. ~ Hear Widex Dream true to life sound for yourselfSponsored by The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Cape Town is a beacon of hope for deaf people. It opened its doors in 2014 and is already praised for being the hotel with the highest complement of deaf employees in the world.
In South Africa there are 1.6 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people and 70% are unemployed. The Park Inn Radisson Hotel in Newlands has 93 employees and 28 are deaf. All of them have no experience of working in a hotel.
Read: SA to get sign language Bible
Director of sales and marketing Brendon Hart joined News24Live in studio to share some insight into the hotel.
Leading the way
"We are very proud to say, with approximately a third of our labour force, we are the number one deaf employer in the hotel space in South Africa."
He said the 122-bedroomed hotel is designed and built for accessibility for disabled people.
View: Miss Deaf SA over the last four years
The three-star hotel, said Hart, is also 40% owned by DeafSA, which has its offices on the first floor.
"We saw a great opportunity to get involved with the deaf staff and we saw an opportunity to also be a pioneer into the disable staff for hotels."
One of the hotel's deaf staff members, Dale Holmes, who is supervisor of meetings and events, was also in the News24Live studio.
A positive response
He pointed out that the hotel also employs an interpreter to ensure that communication is clear, adding that the response from clients has been very positive. "We have seen so many positive clients coming to our hotel," he said.
Holmes, who has been working at the hotel for nine months now, says he has met many different people who also speak different languages.
"It makes me feel proud because it says to me that they are accepting us as deaf people."
Watch the full three-part interview below to learn more:
Types of hearing loss
Hearing loss is normally divided into two categories: conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. One can also have a mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of the two.
People who cannot hear are usually described as being “hearing impaired”. This term includes different types of hearing loss, regardless of the nature, cause and extent.
Here is a closer look at the different terms and descriptions:
Deafness: a word describing a person who cannot use their hearing.
Hard of hearing: a person whose hearing is not within normal limits, but who can use the residue of their hearing (especially aided by hearing aids) to hear speech.
Deaf and dumb: a term used in the past. Nowadays it is inappropriate because all people with hearing loss can be taught to communicate.
Kenya: Nonini Records Song With Hearing Impaired Singer
By Elly Gitau
Rapper Nonini has hit the booth to record a collabo track with a hearing and speech impaired rapper. Describing how it all happened, Nonini says that the "mystery" project has really changed his perspective on life.
"I have done lots of projects in my life but this one really showed me a new perspective to life and it's a mystery to me how I connected with the project on so many different levels. So one Saturday I am chilling and I get a call from producer Bruce Odhiambo to come to his studio Johari Cleff. Once I got there he gave me a story of how a rapper came to the Youth Fund offices not to ask for money but request for an opportunity to get into the booth and realise his dream and passion of becoming a musician," he says.
He continues, "The rapper's name is called Lal Daggy and he described me as the best guy he would love to work with. Then Bruce broke the news that Lal Daggy had a hearing and speach impairment. So how was the song going to work? Apparently, Lal Daggy can feel the beat/metronome although he can't hear the sounds. So I had to be his voice in a song he had written in English which I had to take, consume and translate it in a genge manner without losing the meaning. Basically, I was just a vessel passing through Lal Daggy's message to the world. Never experienced anything like that. Humbled and thank both Bruce and Lal Daggy for giving me the opportunity!"
Gambia: Deaf Scorpions Solicit Help to Partake in Deaf World Cup Qualifiers
By Lamin Darboe
The Gambia National Deaf Scorpions are seeking support from the government, members of the private sector, donors, and philanthropists to support them to participate in the 2015 African Deaf Championship qualifiers set to run from 9 to 20 July 2015.
The Deaf World Cup is slated for 2016 in Italy.
In light of the upcoming event, the National Deaf Scorpions' authorities are preparing for their participation in the tournament but would need the assistance of their favorable and respectable stakeholder institutions, the government and individuals who could support them.
"Our hopes and expectations are especially on Gambia Football Federation (GFF), the Ministry of Youth and Sports through the National Sports Council, the Office of the President through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Gambia National Olympics Committee (GNOC)," a statement by deaf national team said, adding that officials of the team could be reached on (220) 77 28 0 92.
The Gambia Deaf Scorpions have been paired with host nation Cote d'Ivoire, Algeria and Libya in group A.
Diana shines at Miss Deaf Africa
Zambia Daily Mail
FASHION TRENDS with ANGELA CHISHIMBA
DESPITE five countries pulling out due to fear of xenophobic attacks that had hit South Africa, the Miss Deaf Africa (MDA) 2015 pageant went ahead with representatives from Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia.
Zambia was ably represented by a grade 11 student, Diana Lungu.
Contestants were in camp for a whole week before the pageant and visited several projects as part of the boot camp and a special needs school in Malelane.
The pageant which was held on May 9, 2015, in Hectorspruit near Nelspruit, was attended by the Mayor of Nkomazi, Mbombela provincial government officials, local community, as well as various representatives from the participating countries.
Well-known actor and television personality, Sello Maake ka-Ncube was one of the judges who also included the president of the Deaf Association of South Africa.
One of the pageant’s aims is to address the need for cohesion amongst African countries to have one voice in deaf advocacy and to highlight the plight of the deaf community across the continent.
Miss Lesotho, Thokomelo Sabole, was crowned the queen of 2015 Miss Deaf Africa Peagent, while Lefa Manamela (South Africa), who failed to finish reciting her poem, was first princess.
Melita Gilbert of Seychelles was crowned second princess while the the Miss personality title went to Kenewang Nfila of Botswana.
The crown eluded the crowd’s favourite Zambia’s Diana Lungu who chose a poem for the creative category titled “I am every woman”.
She, however, has been given a chance to represent Zambia at the Miss Deaf World 2016.
Although very shy, her artistic abilities were appreciated and received huge applause from the audience.
Diana has pledged to highlight the plight of the deaf in the community and wants to expose other deaf girls to such platforms.
Miss Deaf Africa director and founder Miss Nokthula Mbatha announced the appointment of the Miss Deaf Zambia ambassador, Karen Nakawala.
Zambia has never hosted the Miss Deaf pageant but with the appointment of the ambassador, the first pageant is slated for 2016.
Charity Nyirongo of Mo Creations dressed Diana.
I would like to wish Diana good luck as she represents the country at the Miss World Deaf Peagent.
Have a blessed weekend.
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A voice for those who cannot hear: Seychelles contestant clinches third prize at Miss Deaf Africa 2015
Seychelles News Agency
Seychelles and South Africa | May 23, 2015, Saturday @ 10:04 in Entertainment ≫ PEOPLE | By: Sharon Uranie and Sharon Meriton-Jean | Views: 820
Miss Deaf Africa's Second Princess Melita Gilbert (second from right) posing with the other winners. (Association of People with Hearing Impairment - APHI)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles’ contestant at this year’s Miss Deaf Africa clinched the 2nd Princess title at the end of the pageant held from May 4 to 9 in Hectospruit. in South Africa’s province of Mpumalanga.
Eighteen-year-old Melita Gilbert who hails from the Seychelles second most populated island of Praslin took part in the contest alongside contestants from other African countries namely Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia.
The pageant which had original been scheduled for September 2014 in Swaziland before being postponed to May this year saw Lesotho’s Tlhokomelo Sabole take home the prestigious Miss Deaf Africa title.
South Africa’s Lefa Manamela was crowned 1st princess while the Miss Personality title was awarded to Kenewang Nfila from Botswana.
Speaking through her interpreter Anita Gardner ,who is also the Chairperson of the Association of People with Hearing Impairment (APHI) in Seychelles, in an interview with SNA, Gilbert shared the experiences and excitement she felt during her recent trip to South Africa.
Defying the odds “I felt so happy to have won the second princess title,” she said noting that she had spotted a few girls she thought would win the event ahead of her including her newly found friend from Botswana.
“The only thing that surprised me was during question time...I was shocked when I saw all the other girls answering in writing while I do not know how to write….I attended school for people with disabilities and I did not learn how to write back then” she added.
But Gilbert defied all odds and answered her own question through sign language and managed to impress the jury enough to win the pageant’s third place. The contest also included the modelling and dancing component or the showcasing of other talents.
APHI’s chairperson Anita Gardner who was accompanying Gilbert to South Africa was the one who interpreted her answer to the judge’s question.
Gardner told SNA that her role in the organisation of Miss Deaf Africa is, in fact, to work with the contestants from every participating countries to help with communications in sign language.
“It is not easy because each country has its own sign language and you have to get to know the girls and learn a little bit about how they communicate and try to find a common ground.”
Highlighting the potential of girls with hearing impairment in Africa
The first Miss Africa was held in 2012. This is an initiative of Maria Sivertsen, who has been teaching deaf people for over twenty years with the aim of highlight the potential of young deaf women across in Africa.
Seychelles also took part in the first Miss Deaf Africa beauty pageant back in 2012 where the island nation’s contestant Monica Desir was also crowned second princess.
Gardner told SNA that compared to other participating countries, Seychelles does not have an annual pageant in order to field a contestant to the continental pageant but that they are instead chosen based on interest shown to take part.
“We have not organised a pageant since we first did in 2009 because we do not have enough girls…Every year we advertise and we look at girls who have the quality, the ability, to be able to participate. This year we had two but one is still at the University and we thought it's best that she continues with her studies and can participate next year.”
Melita Gilbert ready for her photo shoot in her swim wear at the Miss Deaf Africa 2015 beauty pageant in South Africa. (Association of People with Hearing Impairment - APHI) Photo License: CC-BY
Coming out of her shell
All does not stop here for the young beauty queen as she now has to prepare for the upcoming Miss Deaf World 2015, to be held in Prague from July 13 this year.
As of next week, preparations will be starting on a new choreography and new wardrobe for the contest.
Seychelles has taken part in two previous Miss Deaf World contest, in 2009 as well as in 2013 where Miss Deaf Africa’s second Princess Monica Desir came out 4th.
“It is not that different from other beauty pageants except for communicating where we use sign language…if not everything else is the same, they are coached to catwalk …..Each pageant has their own criteria Miss Deaf Africa does not allow the contestants to parade in swimwear, but they do have photo sessions in their swimwear which is judged by the jury”
During the interview with SNA, Gilbert stressed on the desire to see equal of opportunities given to people with hearing impairment and along that line she noted that she will form part of the delegation participating in the upcoming Indian Ocean Island Games to be held in Reunion island in August this year, where she will feature in the long jump category.
Making her mother proud
Gilbert’s mother, Rosie Rabat, who SNA met at her house at Cap Samy in the district of Baie Ste Anne on Praslin explained that she discovered that her daughter could not hear when she was only one-year-old.
“…From then on we only invented our own signs to communicate with her …,” said Rabat.
“When she decided to leave school at the age of 14, I did not object because she helped out at home….when she started to meet with other deaf people I was not happy but I encouraged her…she has changed so much,” added the mother of seven children.
Gilbert is her fourth child and she explained that since the age of three to thirteen years, she followed normal classes in school with other children in Baie Ste Anne primary school, one of the two districts on the island.
She said she is amazed to see what her daughter has achieved so far, including her ambitions to enrol on a training pedicure and manicure training course.
Nevertheless, she misses Gilbert who spends quite a lot of time on the main island of Mahe to work on her different projects.
“I’m used to having her around the house…helping out. But I see she is more confident now even with her sign language...sadly I am not used to it and cannot communicate back doing the same, but I hope she continues to do well and stays active.
10 years working towards giving more opportunities to people with hearing problem
In 2010, it was estimated that there are about 600 people with hearing impairment among the Seychellois population of around 90,000 people.
The Association of people with Hearing Impairment was set up in 2005 by its current chairman Anita Gardner who developed the passion while visiting a friend in Namibia who taught people with hearing impairment.
Gardner says a lot has been done to improve the lives of this group of people and allowing them to develop in all areas of life but adds that more still need to be done.
“We were supposed to finish developing the sign language used in Seychelles this year…but we are hoping that next year, we will validate all signs and then the last stage will be to produce a dictionary,” says Gardner.
A special class located at the Au Cap primary school on the eastern coast of the main Seychelles island of Mahe has also been functioning since 2010 where teachers and interpreters have been trained to use sign language to teach students with hearing impairment to read and write.
Watch a short video showing Miss Deaf Africa's 2nd Princess, Melita Gilbert expressing herself in sign language. (Association of People with Hearing Impairment - (APHI)
- See more at: http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/2978/A+voice+for+those+who+cannot+hear+Seychelles+contestant+clinches+third+prize+at+Miss+Deaf+Africa+#sthash.bq7Bk6kV.dpuf
Handicapped man rapes 3-year-old girl in toilet
Police later arrested the man
Published Monday, May 25, 2015
Girl identified the suspect (Shutterstock)
A handicapped man stalking a three-year-old girl waited for her brother to drop the child near her nursery in Egypt before carrying her to a nearby toilet and raping her.
The girl’s mother discovered the crime when she saw blood on her daughter’s clothes after she asked her to take them off and go to the bathroom.
Newspapers said police later arrested the man in the capital Cairo after the girl identified him as her rapist.
Zimbabweans Urged to Respect Disabled People's Rights
VOA Studio 7 for Zimbabwe-
People living with disabilities in Zimbabwe say the government must take measures to ensure their the respect of their social, economic and health rights, as like in many other countries, they are failing to cope under the current conditions.
A recent survey by the ministry of health, the national survey on disability and health, found that one in 13 Zimbabweans have some form of disability. The survey, aimed at producing evidence to guide national policies, strategies and action plans, also showed that 39% fail to proceed past grade 7, and only 18% reach form 4.
VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke to Masimba Kuchera, director of the Center for Disability and Development on the challenges faced by people with disabilities.
Kuchera said Zimbabwe has failed to adequately protect the rights of people living with disabilities and ensure their social welfare.
Nigeria: Government Hasn't Done Well for People With Disability - - Dr Yinka Akindayomi
By Funmi Ajumobi and Esther Onyegbula
Dr Yinka Akindayomi is the Director and founder of the Children's Developmental Centre (CDC), a Lagos-based facility that provides diagnostic assessments, treatment, vocational training, and other social services to more than 600 children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Akindayomi is the vice chairman Local Organising Committee of the first International Conference on Disabilities Lagos 2015 holding 22-26 June in Lagos.
In this interview, she speaks on the upcoming gathering of stakeholders, services providers, professionals in partnership with International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Development Disabilities (IASSIDD) to seek ways to possibly find lasting solutions to disability issues in Nigeria.
What is the conference all about?
The International Conference on Disabilities Lagos 2015 is a conference that is bringing international organisations, international associations for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Development Disabilities (IASSIDD) in partnership with local organisations, consultants, service provider to have a better understanding about how to best serve people with disabilities. The theme of the conference is, "Improving Access and Building Capacity". The conference is aimed at improving access and building capacity for people with disabilities. We are not just helping and supporting that population but we also are helping ourselves to add meaning and value for the Nigerian people.
What informed the theme of the conference?
I think we looked very deeply as to what we want to trade on the international platform and what we came up with is that the various sectors we have in Nigeria like health, education, social welfare and legislature should all come together to give people with disabilities better access within the sector for better progress.
Though, the main focus of this event is intellectual and mental disabilities, for Nigeria we have decided that it is about disabilities first. Thereafter we can sort ourselves out.
Is the conference coming because the government hasn't done enough for people living with disabilities?
So that we don't batter the outgoing government before the incoming government, the truth is that they haven't done enough for people with disability. I always tell people that if you don't look out for the most vulnerable in the society you are not looking after yourself either. We have to bring it down here and lay it on the table that we can actually do more. It is a great opportunity for the incoming government to pick up some of the things that we have said and advocated for.
What would be your agenda for the new government as regards persons with disabilities?
The great thing about this new government is that their manifesto has a whole section that deals with social change; this area captures the elderly and the most vulnerable as well as people with disabilities which is actually commendable because I haven't seen that in the manifesto of other political parties. However it goes beyond that, first of all you start with legislature because there is the disability act that has not been passed. Also we need to think about investment in the sector, the disability sector is actually a huge sector. If we don't invest in the sector and say there must be laws, policies and no fund to back it up, the laws and policies come to nothing because nobody cares. This time we want to see the new government invest in the sector, help motivate the rest of us and form what is called in business, Public, Private Partnership
Lagos state for me is a brilliant state because it is the only state in Nigeria that has a special people law. However if it is not back up with funding, it comes to nothing.
At the end of the conference what do you intend to achieve?
I think that at the end of the day the conference will begin to point the light as to where Nigeria has to be as concerning disability issues.
At the level of the United Nations which is global, have we ratified it? Have we signed the declaration, I don't know?
The other thing is that we need them to monitor what the government is doing, get ourselves organised as pressure groups to ensure that the government implement policies that impact positively on families with child or children with disability. It is of no use implementing laws and policies that no one feels the impact. I am not a political person and I am sure other people will take up some of these issues that I have raised but as a parent and a mother of a child with disability, I haven't seen any impact.
Are you in support of tax rebate for parents of children with disability?
Yes. I am in support and would advocate any system that can relieve the financial pressure of people living with disability. Although people would say because Nigeria is a corrupt country, it will be abused, but we have to try. If we say we can't do what is done for instance in the UK, if you have a child with disability, you get a certain amount of money to help you with that child, you will not only get the money in cash but you can also get it in kind. If your child needs respite care, diapers, or needs to access special schools, these things are made available to that family to reduce the pressure. But in Nigeria we have nothing; families with persons living with disabilities are really strong families, in spite of all the challenges and lack of facilities and struggle.
What effect will this have on people with disabilities?
This is the first one and it is going to be an annual thing. The conference makes provision for parents of children with disability; that is parents' forum, to enable them participate in the conference itself. Initially, just like everything counts, we are not going to feel that impact immediately. It is not like you see someone with disability and you give money to that person to sort out their issues.
But this conference has a long term effect; it is a project that will take time to also evolve because of the peculiarities of Nigeria. If we have the political will maybe it won't be five years. It might be a year, or two years. This is just a struggle that we shouldn't just think of the short term goal.
What are the makeup of the parents, are they elites, average or grassroots parents?
Again, I know that we would want the grass root parents to be involved, immediately. Sometimes it doesn't work like that. What we are looking at is getting the elites, middle class, business class parents, as many as possible. Sometimes if you have a conference and you bring parents who don't understand what you are talking about, how does that help them, then they become even more confused than they initially were; because most times these grassroots people are looking at the short term value benefit and what they can get from it now. Sometimes you try as much as you can to start with those families that can understand a little bit of what you are talking about because you want those particular family to key into what you are telling them. From there you begin to build up a strong parent-to-parent family support. From my experience, it is those elitist parents that influence the grassroots parents from the lower economic strata.
Tanzania: Moshi Deaf Children Get 271 Million/ - Assistance
By Deus Ngowi
Moshi - A TOTAL of 238 deaf children have been buoyed up by efforts of a local Non Governmental organisation (NGO), Childreach Tanzania that has committed 271m/- for a three-year Deaf Education and Development Programme (DEDP).
Presenting a plan of the first year activities to a stakeholders' session held here recently, The Childreach Project Officer for DEPD, Mr Goodluck Chanyika said the target is to reach out to 398 beneficiaries in Moshi District Council.
Mr Chanyika said the project initiates break of communication barriers through conducting sign language trainings to teachers, students and parents; work with government to advocate for deaf's rights and increase districts' budget allocation to deaf services.
It covers those aged between seven and 25 years in primary, secondary schools colleges and in societies. Working with Deaf Child Worldwide institution, Childreach trained ward education coordinators to suit in the programme so that they could identify the deaf and communicate with them as part of the education programme.
Schools involved in the project are Msandaka, Moshi Technical, Njiapanda and Gona Centre. Parents with deaf children have been supported to form groups that embark on sign language training and savings and credit societies to raise household incomes.
Mr Chanyika said in order to ensure deaf students who accomplish studies cope with life thereafter; Childreach meets and organises seminars with traders so that they receive graduates for internships.
The NGO has also supplied the two district councils with 195 sign language dictionaries, trained 243 normal pupils in sign language so that they could communicate with their fellows as well as act as interpreters for people from both sides.
Speaking at the session, Mr Epafras Mkenda who has a deaf child, urged the government to do more to identify and offer social services to the deaf, saying in Rombo District there are so many neglected in villages.
Ms Christina Mbwambo who is a special needs education teacher at Njiapanda Primary School in Moshi said the challenge is that there is no curriculum for the deaf, or enough quality working tools. She said mixing the deaf pupils with normal ones affects negatively the deaf who are supposed to undergo primary education for 10 years.
MMC Special Education Officer, Ms Joyce Sauwa called upon teachers to go for studies so that they master what is required of in special needs education.
She urged parents and guardians to take all deaf children to school as leaving them indoors impair them all the more.
Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon heads for Eldoret Rodgers Eshitemi Updated
The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration)
Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon heads for Eldoret Rodgers Eshitemi Updated
Monday, May 25th 2015 at 00:00 GMT +3 0
Deaflympics marathon champion Daniel Kiptum. [PHOTO:FILE]
The Second Edition of Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon will be held in Eldoret, Uasin Gichu County, on Sunday May 31, 2015.
According to Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK), the Safaricom-sponsored event will include 21km and 10km races for men’s and women’s categories.
The race will bring together deaf athletes from all counties in the country.
The flagging-off point will be Uasin Gishu County Government grounds, then the athletes will pass through High Court, Standard Bank, Nakumatt, Sirikwa Hotel and then to the finishing line at the newly refurbished Kipchoge Keino Stadium.
There will be a lot of prizes winners.
Money prizes will be awarded to the first three finishers in the categories.
The top 10 finishers will also not go home empty-handed as they will be rewarded as the rest get certificates of participation.
However, the amount of cash awards will be revealed prior to commencement of the race, according to DAAK Public Relations Officer Tom Okiki.
“The race is instrumental in scouting for emerging deaf marathoners at the grass-root level and prepare them for future international competitions,” Okiki told FeverPitch.
At the first World Deaf Athletics Championships in 2008, Izmir, Turkey, Kenya’s Daniel Kiptum won a gold medal after timing 2:28.45, while Peter Toroitich clinched bronze after clocking 2:37.18).
The Kenyan deaf athletes have continued to do well at international championships with Kiptum clinching gold (time 2:28.31) in Men’s marathon at 21st Summer Deaflympics, Taipei, Taiwan, in 2009.
He was followed by David Njeru who won silver after timing 2:35.59. See Also: BATTLE OF TITANS: Top stars for Eldoret meet as Kipchoge Stadium set to be opened At 22nd Summer Deaflympics 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria, Kiptum again clinched gold in 2:24.45.
Peter Toroitich took silver after timing 2:28.44).
Kiptum is now the world record holder of the Deaf Marathon following his impressive performance at Zurich-based hearing marathon in 2011, where he timed 2:11.31.
But it will not be a walk in the park for Kitum in Eldoret as Simon Cherono, who came second during the last year’s first ever Deaf Half Marathon in Kisumu, is ready to give him a run for his money.
To make the event more successful, organisers have called on corporate institutions to come on board and supplement Safaricom’s support.
TOPICS: SAFARICOM DEAF HALF MARATHON, ELDORET
Access to justice for disabled women
The Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe Trust has embarked on a new project aimed at preventing and responding to violence against girls and women with disabilities.
by Staff Reporter
Girls and women with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual, hearing or speech impairment, are often vulnerable to violent attacks and sexual abuse.
Entitled Access to Justice for Girls and Women with Disabilities, the project will run for three years until the end of 2017. Girls and women with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual, hearing or speech impairment, are often vulnerable to violent attacks and sexual abuse.
They often lack adequate information on how to respond to such attacks. They frequently find it difficult to access justice for a variety of reasons, including difficulties in making themselves understood. Police stations do not generally have officers who understand sign language, for instance.
Through this programme, the Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe Trust intends to provide girls and women with disabilities throughout the country with information and help them obtain justice in the event of their being attacked.
Such assistance may include the provision of sign language interpreters to assist the police or courts.
It may also include facilitating travel, where, for instance, it is difficult for them to travel to a police station, hospital or court or where the court requires a psychiatric assessment of a person with intellectual impairment, which currently can only be provided in Harare or Bulawayo.
Christabel Nyakanyanga, who is project officer for the Access to Justice for Girls and Women with Disabilities project, says about 80 percent of the cases of violence against women with disabilities reported to the trust involved sexual violence against girls or women with intellectual, hearing or speech impairment.
“These girls and women are particularly vulnerable because the perpetrators of this abuse think they can infringe on their rights and no-one will ever know,” she said, adding that often the abuse only came to light when the victim became pregnant or contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
She said some of the children who were sexually violated were babies or toddlers. In rural areas children were often abused on their way to school or when they had been sent outside the home to do chores. “For children with disabilities the incidence of such abuse is high, especially among those with hearing impairment, speech impairment or intellectual impairment, as they are perceived as not comprehending what the perpetrator has done,” she said. Elderly people hardly able to walk or with a visual impairment were often violated when they were left at home alone. Sometimes they failed to identify their attacker.
Some of the violence was due to cultural beliefs that sleeping with a person with a disability would result in the amassing of wealth or the healing of a particular illness, she said.
She said some of the barriers girls and women with disabilities faced in obtaining post-violence services and information included attitudinal barriers, communication barriers, physical inaccessibility of some places where services were offered, lack of information packaged in accessible formats and, in rural areas, long distances from their homes to service providers. There was also insufficient knowledge on the handling of survivors with disabilities among service providers such as those in the judiciary, police, health institutions and mainstream women’s organisations.
Nyakanyanga said the trust had collaborated with the Judicial Services Commission by providing disability expert services, such as the services of sign language interpreters and intellectual experts. In addition to assisting victims of violence or abuse obtain justice, the project includes awareness campaigns and sensitisation meetings within communities.
“The community at large is often unaware of the vulnerability of girls and women with disabilities and hence they are not protected,” she said.
The trust hopes the project will reach about 1 900 girls and women with disabilities in all the country’s provinces, excluding the metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.
About 900 of these girls and women are expected to be survivors of some form of violence. These will be helped to access justice and other necessary services.
Access to justice
Key project activities will include providing survivors of abuse with expert services and logistical support to enable them to access justice, as well as the training of girls and women with disabilities on issues surrounding gender-based violence. They also include raising awareness of the problem and the training of members of the police force and judiciary on disability issues, including sign language.
Education Communication materials such as braille and audio recordings will be used to communicate information on gender based violence to people unable to see and be adapted into acceptable formats for people with other types of disability.
The project is one of a number of projects run by Leonard Cheshire Zimbabwe Trust to assist children and adults with disabilities in various ways.
Other projects include the trust’s inclusive education programme, which facilitates the integration of children with disabilities into local schools, and livelihoods programme, which helps adults with disabilities obtain employment or start their own business projects.
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Eritrea: Schools for the Blind, the Deaf and Dawn Syndrome Stage Cultural Performances At Cinema Roma
Asmara - The Asmara-based Schools for the Blind, the Deaf and Dawn Syndrome have staged cultural performances at Cinema Roma in connection with the 24th Independence anniversary. Mr. Kahsai Gebrehiwet, Minister of Labor and Human Welfare, religious leaders, partners, parents and invited guests took part in the show.
The directors of the schools pointed out that the initiative attests to the Government commitment and that of the community in patronizing the disabled students.
Sierra Leone News: NEC develops policy for Persons With Disability in elections operations
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) recently in a workshop developed a NEC Disability Policy ( NECDiP) that is designed to ensure the right to election participation for Persons with Disabilities ( PWDs).
The NECDiP was developed 2015 and for effective an effective implementation of the NECDiP, the Commission has developed the NECDiP training manual as a key support resource that aims to increase disability awareness issues relating to electoral rights of PWDs.
The Training & Outreach Department in collaboration with the Department of Human Resource, Gender & Disability NEC have embarked on training of NEC district staff on the NECDiP that is facilitated by the Consultant Teddy Foday Musa.
The first phase of the dissemination of NEC Disability Policy training to District staff in the Western Area and Northern Region was conducted on 6-7 May, 2015 at the University of Makeni (Unimak). While the second phase for staff in the South & Eastern Regions was held in Bo from 21-22 May, 2015.
The objective of the Training of Trainers (TOT) on the NEC Disability Policy is geared towards providing NEC district staff nationwide the opportunity to be able to relate with PWDs in the conduct of electoral activities.
Wednesday May 26, 2015
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District Assemblies urged to collaborate with CSOs to address disability issues
NewsMay 27, 2015 0
Mr Charles Nyante, Programmes Coordinator of Voice Ghana, a disability rights and advocacy think tank, has appealed to District Assemblies to effectively collaborate with civil society to address disability issues in the country.
Francis Asong, Executive Director of Voice Ghana
He said the inability of some district assemblies to effectively work with civil society organisations to address problems of people living with disabilities, was compounding the problems and rights of disabled persons.
Mr Nyante made the appeal in Tamale on Tuesday at a round-table discussion aimed at petitioning the Local Government Ministry to direct all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, to mainstream the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPDs) into their future Medium-Term Development Planning (MTDP).
Voice Ghana organized the programme in partnership with the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition and Local Governance Network (LOGNET), with funding from the Disability Rights Fund of the United States.
Mr Nyante stated that the key components of Article 28 of the CRDP, which seeks adequate and appreciable standards of living and social protection for persons with disabilities, needed to be mainstreamed into the planning of Assemblies..
He said disability was a national issue that required an urgent attention as well as a holistic and comprehensive approach, and that Voice Ghana had developed alliances, and drawn support and proven competences from some key state institutions in the country.
He said Voice Ghana envisaged that by the end of the project, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development would support the campaign and engage all MMDAs in the country to mainstream key components of Article 28 of the CRPD into their development plans and budgets.
Mr Abdul-Karim Ibrahim Afa-zie, Northern Regional Representative of LOGNET, expressed concern about the safety of people with physical disabilities, especially the visually impaired, in terms of emergency, and called for a holistic approach towards addressing their problems.
Mampong School for the Deaf appeals for supportGhanaWeb-
The headmaster of the Mampong Demonstration School for the Deaf, Mr Solomon Busty Kwashie, has called for assistance to help revive the once vibrant school’s poultry farm that served as the school’s only source of Internally Generated Fund(IGF) for and supporting their activities.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency(GNA) , he said, the poultry farm had existed for the past 20 years and through the revenue generated , the school was able to build four staff bungalows.
However, in the past six years, the farm has been at the verge of collapse.
Mr Kwashie explained that when revamped the poultry project would supplement the protein intake of the students and also help to train them in poultry farming as their future vocation.
He indicated that said setting up the students in viable ventures on graduation was one of the major challenges because after completion of school, the students needed to establish their own businesses to utilize the skills they had acquired in the school.
Mr Kwashie, therefore, appealed to organizations and philanthropists to go to the aid of the school and also appealed for sewing machines, hair dryers and other needed equipment to support vocational training in the school .
He also appealed for the completion of an ongoing dormitory block to help ease the congestion at the existing dormitories and provide the opportunity for more students to be enrolled.
Disabled Union in Aweil blames government for hunger
AWEIL (29 May.)
The Northern Bahr el Ghazal Disabled Union has blamed the state goverement for hunger in the state and appealed to them to help the disabled.
Speaking on Thursday, the Union’s Chairman Moses Kiir Yum said that neither the government nor the aid organizations are doing enough to help the disabled. He said that he disabled are the people most affected by the current crisis.
Moses accused the government of not being serious about the hunger situation in the state. He pointed out that people with good legs can leave for Sudan where there is more supplies of food but those who are not able to walk like the disabled have nowhere to go.
Kenya: Cherono, Kiptum Top List as Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon Set for Eldoret This Weekend
By William Njuguna
Three-time deaflympics champion Simon Cherono will be among the star attractions at this weekend's Safaricom Deaf Half Marathon to be held in Eldoret.
Cherono, who bagged three gold medals at the World Championships in Sofia two years ago; winning the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m. Reigning marathon champion Daniel Kiptum and 200m world champion Beryl Achieng will also feature prominently during the event.
The half marathon will take place on Sunday alongside 10km for both men and women. More than 300 deaf athletes from different parts of the country are expected to participate in marathion as compared to 153 who took part last year.
Kiptum and Rebecca Matiko won the men and women's categories during the inaugural DAAK Half Marathon in 1:05:47:5 and 1:44:34:5 respectively.
The marathon, which will be flagged off by Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago at the County offices, will end at Kipchoge Stadium.
"Preparation for this event are going on well and we are glad the deaf athletes are gaining recognition in this country by providing them a platform to showcase their talent. The inaugural event held in Kisumu last year saw many athletes turn up and we are hoping this year will be even better. Our plan is to take the marathon in different parts of the country so that we give more deaf athletes a chance to participate," said DAAK public relations manager Tom Okiki.
He said: "We are also happy Uasin Gishu County is also supporting our course and this is good for us to be able to tap talent from the grass roots."
"We are proud to be associated with the Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya (DAAK) for the last 2 years. We have seen massive talent emerge and we believe with more support, the deaf athletes are capable and able to make Kenya proud both locally and internationally," said Erick Achola, the head of Safaricom marketing. In 2013, Kenya won a total 17 medals during the 22nd summer Deaflympics games held in Sofia, Bulgaria, finishing 8th position globally out of 72 countries.
Kenya: Disabled Get Donations in Kirinyaga
The National Fund for the Disabled of Kenya yesterday donated equipment worth over Sh1 million to 47 people living with disability in Kirinyaga county.
The items include farming implements, salon kits, white canes, carpentry tools, knitting machines and sewing machines.
Chief executive officer Ann Mugambi said this year the organisation will spend Sh40million to assist more than 2,500 people.
She said the programme is an initiative of the national government.
Mugambi said people living with disability in Kiambu, Muranga, and Nyeri counties have been reached.
Kirinyaga county commissioner Kutswa Olaka, who was the chief guest, urged NGOs and county governments to help.
He urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the donations.
Some people have misused and sold equipment, he said. Officials will follow up to ensure donations are used appropriately.
National Council to mark day of persons with disability
The National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPD) and the Ghana Federation for the Disabled would on June 23 commemorate the national day for persons with disability.
A statement from the NCPD said the commemoration of the day seeks to raise awareness about the sidelining of persons with disability in the national development agenda and to recognise institutions whose operations include persons with disability (PWDs)
The NCPD said the day would be marked with a seminar at the Conference Room of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association and with radio and television programmes to educate the public on issues concerning persons with disability.
The statement said the theme for this year’s celebration is: “ Accessibility to Transport and Health Services for Persons with Disability: A matter of Concern for All.”
Participants would include the ministries, departments and agencies, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations.
The celebration of the day is expected to increase appreciation of PWDs and institutions that champion their course, and to increase the inclusion of PWDs in the national development agenda.
Zimbabwe: Musician Pens Song for Handicapped Children
By Brenda Phiri
Upcoming gospel diva Margaret Mupungai-Gahadzikwa has released a song in tribute to the handicapped children of St Giles Special School based in Milton Park.
The track, "Sununguro", is featured on the singer's debut six-track album titled "Kudururwa Kwenyasha".
"I derive the inspiration to write my songs from real life situations and this is the gist in the song, 'Sununguro' in which I was pleading with the Lord to deliver His people who are in serious situations. These include the handicapped, the poor, the widowed and the orphaned," she said.
Gahadzikwa added that she walks the talk as she finds joy in her first-born child, Faith, who fell blind and became crippled on her right side when she was eight months old.
The Chitungwiza-based singer believes disability is not inability, and actually featured Faith on the track.
During the interview with The Herald Entertainment, Faith went through most of the songs by her mother without any glitches, proving how she had mastered the lyrics on the album.
"We have had talks with the authorities at St Giles as well as the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture so that we have a launch whereby the various stakeholders involved come together and talk on the issues affecting the children with handicaps," said.
Apart from the track "Sununguro", other songs like "Dzaingove Nyasha", "Handituke", Nherera Shinga", "Ndarota Hope" and "Dariro" address a wide range of issues affecting people like widows and orphans.
"I am also grateful to the support that I get from my church Grace Communion International as well as my husband Andrew and each time that he preaches, I get some inspiration to compose something new," said the mother.
Mai Gahadzikwa, who was born on December 1, 1976, started her professional music career in 1998 although she grew up in a family of singers.
"It is not an easy road in the music industry. At the moment, some of the challenges that I am facing include lack of musical instruments and proper marketing of my music," said the mother of two.
She added: "The future, though, looks bright and we are not looking back.
Airtel connects Kambui school for the deaf to Internet
Capital FM Kenya (press release) (blog)
By CORRESPONDENT | June 3, 2015
This is part of Airtel’s Internet for Schools Program that seeks to provide data connectivity to schools across the country/CFM NEWS
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 - Bharti Airtel, a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia has connected Kambui school for the deaf to the Internet for free.
The seamless and effective Internet connectivity to the school will enable students and teachers from the institution benefit from enormous educational information available online, allowing them to succeed in their education.
This is part of an ongoing Internet for Schools Program that seeks to provide data connectivity to learning institutions across the country in an effort to support Kenya’s education system.
Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said; “Our initiative as a company is to make Internet available and accessible to all, especially to students that are unable to afford the cost of access. As a way of development, we choose to invest in education through provision of free Internet services for both able and physically challenged students”.
El Youssefi noted that there is need to inculcate good values in students, therefore empowering teachers with information from the Internet, enables them to teach the children how to make good decisions and equip them with techniques on how to use the internet in a safe way.
John Thuku, the school’s headmaster expressed his gratitude to Airtel saying that, “The free Internet connectivity will assist our pupils and teachers in many ways ,they will be able to get enlightened with what is happening around the globe, as well as they will not feel left out since the world is in the digital era.”
Established 50 years ago by the PCEA, Kambui school for the deaf has grown and developed in many ways and now holds over 300 pupils aged between 5 - 23 years with classes ranging from pre-school, primary to secondary and vocational training that include carpentry and joinery, dress making, agriculture, and beauty therapy.
Disabled stopped from boarding flight to Tamale
Starr 103.5 FM-
Jun 07, 2015 at 8:27am
A physically challenged intern of SEND-Ghana was refused boarding on an Africa World Airlines (AWA) flight to Tamale on grounds that she is disabled.
The Mandela-Washington Fellow Ndifreke Andrews-Essien has been assigned to the Salaga office of SEND-Ghana but upon arrival in Ghana from Nigeria Tuesday, she got stranded at the Kotoka International Airport because the domestic airline said its rules and regulations do not permit them to take on board persons with disability, especially those who are wheel-chair bound.
The Nigerian got to Ghana on Tuesday, June 2 via Arik Air from Port Harcourt to Lagos.
SEND-Ghana purchased Africa World Airlines ticket for her to travel to Tamale where she will continue to Salaga.
To her surprise, she was denied the right to board the aircraft because she is physically challenged.
The chief executive officer of SEND-Ghana, Siapha Kamara, has described the decision as gross discrimination against persons with disability.
According to Kamara, domestic airlines must give real meaning to the Disability Act of Ghana and other internationally accepted aviation policies.
Kamara told Radio Ghana the action of the domestic airlines is a gross violation of the rights of the victim.
Suit It will be recalled that the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled (GSPD) has sued three domestic airlines Antrak Air, Starbow Airlines and Africa World Airlines for discriminating against persons with disabilities by way of refusing to sell flight tickets to them.
GSPD has also sued the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and wants the court, in their case, to restrain them from overlooking, and or refusing to ensure that the other respondents comply with Section 28 (1) of the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715).
Section 28 (1) of Act 715 states that: “The Civil Aviation Authority and any other authority responsible for the management of a port shall provide facilities that will aid the movement of a person with disability at the port.”
SUCCOUR: Al-Makura Takes Custody Of 6-year-old Disabled Boy
Jun 8, 2015 3:01 pm | 1 Comment
Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State yesterday took custody of a six-year-old physically challenged boy, Samaila Dantani, and promised to sponsor his education from primary to tertiary institution.
Al-Makura made the promise when he sighted the boy during an inspection of flood-prone areas along Jos road in Lafia.
Al-Makura said he would take full custody of the boy, who is from Ashangwa and presently taking refuge in Akurba area of Lafia because of the communal crisis that displaced his family a year ago.
The governor, who also donated a tricycle to Ismaila, said that the boy would be well catered for and given an opportunity to achieve his potentialities in life despite his physical challenge.
Shedding more light on the development, the special assistant to governor Al-Makura on media and publicity, Ahmed Tukur, said that the governor was moved by the plight of the little boy and decided to sponsor his education and keep him under his custody.
Disabled girls receive sh129m education grant
Publish Date: Jun 08, 2015
Many girls with disabilities are not lucky to have an education unlike others
By Andrew Ssenyonga
KAMPALA - Over 1500 girls with disabilities in Kampala are the beneficiaries of a sh129m grant aimed at promoting education and their livelihoods.
The grant that was delivered by Cheshire Services Uganda (CSU) will cater for their tuition, scholastic materials, sanitary material and transport.
Richard Mukaga, the head of programme at CSU, noted that the grant will also help in capacity-building and income-generating projects among the parents of the disabled girls.
“The component of parent capacity-building covers aspects of awareness- raising on disability, income-generation and education specifically focusing on the need to educate girls,” he explained.
The funds will be distributed to four urban divisions of Kampala through 17 groups of parents.
The three-year project is supporting a total of 1534 primary school children from low-income areas of Nakawa, Central, Rubaga and Kawempe divisions.
Mukaga explained that the donation would mainly focus on the most vulnerable girl children with disabilities whose parents have formed groups.
“The grants will be utilised to accelerate the ongoing projects that would help the parents sustain the girl child.”
Godfrey Sempaka, a parent from Rubaga division, said they trained for a period of three months on group dynamics, leadership, saving and business skills among others.
“I am going to improve my poultry farm, now that I have the skills and the money. This will help in supporting my child even after the departure of CSU,” he said.
On her part, Rehema Namusoke, 30, a single parent with two girls with disabilities, said the grant is timely because it will boost her shop and tailoring business.
“My girls are going to be supported at school yet my businesses are also boosted. I thank CSU for this initiative.”
Teddy Kasomoko, a parent from Nakawa, asked the government to also come up with the same intervention for the boy child.
“Like in my case I have three boys with disabilities. They can’t access education because it is expensive transporting them to school every day.
“Government should also come out and help us on these boys,” she appealed.
Nakawa Division deputy mayor Betty Tushabe said the objective of the grant is to improve incomes of parents of disabled girls through creation of employment and increased productivity.
She urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the donations.
“Some people have misused and sold equipment. Division officials will follow up to ensure donations are used appropriately.”
Disabled Opi steals show at graduation
Publish Date: Jun 09, 2015
Richard Onama Opi who graduated with a Diploma in art and design being carried by his brother Bosco Hamaza during the sixth graduation ceremony of Michelangelo College of Creative Arts and Design at Kisubi in Wakiso district. Photo/Francis Emorut
By Francis Emorut
Richard Onama Opi was the star of the day during the graduation ceremony of Michelangelo College of Creative Arts, Kisubi.
Opi, who was born without arms, graduated with a Diploma of art and design.
The 26- year-old gradaund can draw images of any sorts and make sculptures using his legs.
He was carried by his brother Bosco Hama drawing ululations from the guests. They dashed to congratulate him and give him money.
His name drew thunderous applause during the College's sixth graduation ceremony at Kisubi, Wakiso district.
Richard Onama Opi who graduated with a Diploma in art and design being carried by his brother Bosco Hamaza during the sixth graduation ceremony of Michelangelo College of Creative Arts and Design at Kisubi in Wakiso district. In purple scarf is the mother of Opi, Carolina Dropia. Photo/
Francis EmorutAs soon as Opi stepped forward the paparazzi swung into action taking the pictures of the graduand as family members carried him.
According to the administrator of the College, Sam Olinga, Opi has no match in his art work.
"He can draw anything using his legs and this has made us (the College) be proud of him," Olinga said.
Richard Onama Opi being congratulated by family members and his sponsors during the sixth graduation ceremony of Michelangelo College of Creative Arts and Design at Kisubi in Wakiso district. Photo/Francis EmorutOpi, who hails from Adjumani, is an orphan and first born of four children.
His mother, Carolina Dropia, was all smiles after her son's achievement.
"Opi was born without hands and I thought he would even die but here I am celebrating his achievements," Dropia told New Vision during the sidelines of the graduation ceremony.
Deaf graduands of Michelangelo College of Arts and Design during the College's sixth graduation ceremony at Kisubi in Wakiso. Photo/Francis Emorut"This is to prove to the world that disability is not inability," Opi said.
He was among 250 graduands that were awarded certificates and Diplomas in arts and design.
Among the graduands were the deaf who followed the proceedings through a sign language interpreter.
Brother Frederick Musaazi, the principal of the College, asked government to popularize the arts and design course countrywide to enable youth to create jobs for sustainability.
Musaazi also appealed to government to channel some grants to the College as it mostly caters for students with special needs and to grant it university status to attract more students across the country and internationally.
The chairman of the college, Edward Ddamulira advised the graduands to avoid becoming conmen and be faithful in their work.
"Don't cheat people who come to you for services but be faithful to them," Ddamulira said.
Grace Mbabazi, the acting director of tourisms, wildlife and antiquities who was a chief guest implored the graduands to avoid contracting HIV/ AIDS.
"You should be mindful of your health and be careful not to contracting the deadly disease which has no cure," Mbabazi said.
Botswana: Disability Cash Transfers Commence
Gaborone - The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has announced commencement of disability cash transfers to Batswana who require extensive special care.
A news release from the ministry stated that the aim of the monthly payments was to enhance the wellbeing of people living with disabilities and restore their dignity.
The money would also cushion families, especially care givers of people with severe disabilities, from the effects of poverty and enhance their social and economic inclusiveness.
Botswana citizens, who have a severe and profound disability that required extensive care needs, such as dependence on others for care and support, mobility needs, community integration and recreation, amongst other needs, qualify for this facility.
The release further stated that there would be a pre-requisite medical assessment to confirm the severity of the disability and the applicant's socio-economic status for confirmation that the intended beneficiary falls below the monthly income threshold of P300. Eligible persons will be provided with a cash transfer of P300 and a food basket.
In addition to receiving the monthly P300 cash transfer for people with disabilities, a child with severe and profound disability aged between zero (0) and eighteen (18) years will also be assisted with a food basket and other needs as per the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Programme.
Source : MLGD
ECM Partners with NCA in a Disability Rights Pilot project
The Maravi Post-
Created on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 13:07
Written by Prince Henderson
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) with financial support from the Atlas-alliansen of Norway through the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) has embarked on a three months pilot project on mainstreaming disability rights in the Human Rights and Theology project which will be implemented in the central region district of Mchinji.
Outlining the ECM project content at NCA’s Malawi office, ECM’s National Education Programmes Coordinator, Stephen Ndhlovu said the goal of the project is to contribute to the reduction of incidences of stigma and discrimination amongst people with disabilities in Mchinji district.
Ndhlovu said that people with disabilities face enumerable challenges citing access to education and health services as some of them. He said that the project aims to reduce such challenged by raising awareness on the rights of person with disabilities to different stakeholders, duty bearers and community leaders.
“In 2008 it was estimated that 4.18 percent of Malawi’s population consisted of People with Disabilities (PWDs). PWDs face enumerable challenges to access different services. For example, in education, in terms of enrolment and attendance, it is estimated that 35 percent of PWDs have never attended school compared to 18 percent among the non- disabled; hence school attendance among them is significantly lower compared to those household members without a disability,” He said
Ndhlovu said learners with disabilities also experience many challenges in accessing education which include: lack of specialist teachers, inadequate instructional materials and inhospitable learning environments as classes are too large coupled with inaccessible infrastructure.
According to Ndhlovu, it is against this background that ECM would like to raise awareness on disability rights through popularisation of laws promoting rights of PWDs, building the capacity of PWDs on rights and responsibilities and strengthening networking and advocacy initiatives aimed at demanding for better services for PWDs.
“Deliberate effort will be made to identify people with disabilities in order to target them with project interventions. This will be done in the Human Rights and Theology project targeted areas in Mchinji,” said Ndhlovu, adding that “School Management Committees, Parent Teacher Associations in selected schools in Mchinji will also be targeted in the project.
Head of Programmes at NCA, Esther Masika said a full project will be developed that will run for a longer period in many districts as long as this pilot phase is successful.
She said NCA expects that there will be an increased participation in society by people with disabilities and that they will be able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities through the project’s interventions.
Meanwhile, Programme Manager for Federation of Disability Organisation in Malawi (FEDOMA), Naomi Kalua has commended both ECM and NCA for mainstreaming disability issues in their existing programmes saying many organisations have been sidelining disability issues hence a call to them to emulate the initiative that ECM and NCA have embarked on.
Disability Is No Obstacle for Aid Worker
Voice of America-
Last updated on: June 11, 2015 7:58 AM
The ongoing fighting in South Sudan has created far reaching consequences in providing humanitarian assistance and support for people in need.
The international confederation of NGO’s Light For The World said for security reasons, it was forced to suspend mapping areas where the eye disease, trachoma is widespread. In addition, Bor Hospital was totally destroyed - including an eye care wing they had established there.
The NGO said it will continue to stick to its 2015 goal and promise to provide services to persons with disabilities who live in regions of the world with ongoing conflicts such as South Sudan.
Despite these difficult and harsh circumstances one Nigeria born woman leads the way to support people with disabilities in the country.
Toyin Janet Aderemi, is a program manager for Light For The World. She oversees rehabilitation services for hundreds of children and adults with disabilities in South Sudan.
She knows exactly what it is like to live with a disability. Aderemi was left unable to walk due to polio in her childhood. She said her mother carried her on her back until she was 15 years old because at the time she did not have a wheelchair.
However, her disability has not let that stop her from helping others, especially refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, IDP’s with disabilities in South Sudan. She said “each and every refugee is very valuable. But refugees with a disability have an extra hard time, they have more difficulties getting access to facilities. Therefore they need our extra support.”
Aderemi pointed out that “people with disabilities are usually marginalized in any population. And in times of conflict and war and even natural disasters, what we see is that even this situation of marginalization gets worse. And this is our reason for attending to the needs and the concerns of people with disabilities who are displaced in South Sudan right now.”
Programs center around the theme of disabilities inclusion.
“We focus on intervention that can ensure that people with disabilities are also being reached by any type of services in those temporary displaced peoples’ camps. Specifically our intervention focuses on what we call the community based rehabilitation approach,” said the program manager.
A community based rehabilitation trained expert works in the camps with the people, identifying children and adults with disabilities. They are then assessed based on their disability and given the proper form of rehabilitation.
“We also provide access devices like wheelchairs… to those that need it. And apart from that, after we see that children for example are stabilized, we link them to the schools that serve those IDP camps,” said Aderemi who added they also collaborate with other international NGO’s who work in the camps to help provide access devices for those that need them.
The Light For The World program manager said providing support for people with disabilities is challenging and the biggest challenge she faces is the lack of access to funding.
“Donors don’t see people with disabilities a priority in emergency situations, which is not supposed to be, because conflict and war itself increases the number of people with disabilities. We have people who sustain injuries, people who get amputated… but we see is that it is very difficult to access funds. Another challenge that we also see is that most of the mainstream NGO’s that work in the camps don’t have any knowledge of how to make their services accessible to those with disabilities,” explained Aderemi.
However, Aderemi highlighted that because of their training they are able to approach the other NGO’s and show them what they could do to make their services more accessible.
Aderemi says that fact that she is a woman with a disability, a polio survivor and uses a wheelchair is an advantage for her in her work,
“because when I talk to people for intervention they listen better because they know I also experience what it is and also I bring my experience on board as an intervention, for example if we need to modify some structures in the camp, I can say why don’t we do this, or it’s better that way.”
Namibia: Luderitz Marks Disability Day
Luderitz - Luderitz recently commemorated the National Disability Day in //Kharas Region in !Nami#nus Constituency under the theme "New Government, New Beginning for People with Disabilities".
More than 200 people with disabilities led by the Ministry of Defence Navy started the day with a march from Beira Market to Benguela Community Hall where the main event was celebrated.
The National Disability Day is an annual event to celebrate the achievements of the disability sector and people with disabilities, and to encourage communities to include people with disabilities in local activities.
Head of Department: Research and Development in the National Disability Council of Namibia Tjiueza Tjombumbi gave an overview of the disability day.
He said the National Disability Council of Namibia (NDCN) decided to annually host the National Disability Day on June 10.
He further recalled that it was on this day that Namibia's first prime minister, Hage Geingob, launched the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities in 1999.
Tjombumbi, together with the late Gerson Mutendere with the support of others in the disability fraternity, successfully organised that day. He said the contributions of Martin Tjivera, Elia Shapwa, John Uheka, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Tuulikki Nekundi, Nixon Munamava and many others at national level would never be forgotten.
Tjombumbi praised the national leaders who supported their cause. They made time to meet them and they did not put a middle person between people with disabilities and them, they met them in person and they fully understood the people with disabilities, he said.
People with disabilities comprise five per cent of Namibia's population, he stated
Tjombumbi urged people with disabilities to organise themselves in groups to talk with one voice, to seek for capacity building programmes, and to be active in their politics.
Speaking at the same occasion, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Responsible for the Physically Challenged People Alexia Manombe-Ncube stressed that people with disabilities have been viewed as objects of pity and charity but now they are claiming their rights and place in society.
Manombe-Ncube said people with disabilities should enjoy their human rights and they should be viewed as subjects and not objects, in fact locate problems outside people with disabilities and address the manner in which various economic and social processes accommodate the diversity.
She said if people with disabilities are given a chance and opportunities as well as the necessary assistance such as reasonable accommodation, they could become productive members of the society and reach high level of self-actualisation with higher self-esteem.
She was delighted that this day also reminded people with disabilities of the unity, strength, dedication and commitment required for all people with disabilities to stand and advocate for their own rights to human dignity, equal rights, equal opportunities and equal aspirations in society.
"Indeed we people with disabilities deserve to be embraced, cherished and acknowledged for our unique disabilities," she stressed.
Disabled Athlete and Olympic champion Johanna Benson and Warrant Officer Henry Coetzee from the Ministry of Defence were also there to celebrate the National Disability Day.
Namibia: Country Skimping On Disability Programmes
When attending a meeting last month with the deputy minister in the vice-president's office responsible for disability affairs, Alexia Manombe Ncube, it came to light that Namibia is very short on programmes to address the welfare of the disabled.
People with disabilities still seem to be taken for granted as being just in the background but they need to be viewed and treated equally just as others.
Long back many of our people were not vocal on the issue and many were in exile - and disability programmes were not regarded as much as well. However, since our independence countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uganda have influenced us to come up with and initiate disability programmes as they felt Namibia was really lagging behind in such programmes to better care for the disabled.
The press must also give more coverage of the circumstances in which the disabled live to encourage rehabilitation, social integration and promote equal employment opportunities for our fellow citizens living with disabilities.
Programmes are needed to purchase equipment and supplies for carpentry, sewing, welding and handicraft production and on using the equipment - to train women and men for the purpose of developing their skills into a sustainable livelihood.
The concerns of people with disabilities are typically overlooked in many countries and Namibia as a developing country is no exception. However, there appears to be the beginning of light at the end of the tunnel with the establishment of the new office for disability affairs in the vice-president's office.
However, there is a long way to go to understand the challenges such citizens face and society needs to better acknowledge their human rights and developmental needs, and help to make a change in their lives.
They must also help come up with programmes and strategies to address adequate development and proper interventions, which would lead to a better allocation of resources.
The ombudsman has a specific chapter on disabilities and has distributed guidelines on how to adapt particular protocols when it comes to disability affairs.
The office of disability affairs should also adapt the issue of health industrialization, peace and stability, productive and sustained natural resources, and regional and international cooperation.
A policy from 1997 states that our dignity must be respected together with the inabilities of people.
Our Golden Lady Johana Benson is a clear definition that even a disabled person can make a change in his or her own life and society.
Malawi Committed to Mainstream Disability Issues, Katopola Tells UN
By Nyasa Times Reporter
New York - Malawi government has reiterated its commitment to mainstream disability issues in its national development programmes and thus complying with the post-2015 development agenda.
Addressing the Eighth session of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), currently underway in New York, Senior Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Isaac Katopola said Malawi is committed to ensuring that the rights, needs and aspirations of all persons with disabilities are part and parcel of the national development agenda.
"Malawi through the Ministry responsible for disability is undertaking several initiatives in mainstreaming disability in its policies and programmes at all level", said Katopola.
He said the development of a National Disability Mainstreaming Strategy (NDMS) which aims to provide guidelines in the development of policies and programming on disability, is one of the steps government has taken to make sure disability issues are given a priority.
Katopola said government will be reviewing the 2006 National Policy on Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities to incorporate emerging issues, adding that the Malawi Disability Act, 2012 is a major milestone in ensuring the domestication of the UNCRPD by the Malawi Government.
The Disability Act makes provisions for, among others, the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities through the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disability.
The Malawi Constitution provides for persons with disabilities by recognizing their rights. Section 20(1) of the Constitution guarantees non-discrimination of persons with disabilities.
Further, the Constitution guarantees all Malawians their right to development and therefore to the enjoyment of economic, social, cultural and political development.
Section 30(1) in particular gives special consideration in the application of this right to women, children and persons with disabilities.
Despite these achievements Malawi has still challenges in the implementation of disability policies and programmes.
Said Katopola, "Recently, Malawi has experienced increased and gross human rights violation of persons with albinism. They are being abducted, killed and their remains being exhumed for body parts".
He however, went on to report that some measures are being carried out by government to address these atrocities.
"At national level, the State President has taken the lead in condemning these inhumane acts" he said.
He reported that a National Steering Committee consisting of all stakeholders, including the Association of Persons with Albinism, on the response to atrocities to persons with albinism was also established and has put in place a strategic implementation plan which includes: education and awareness; Intensifying internal security; carrying out an investigative research; strengthening administration of justice and victim support; and the enforcement of laws on human body parts trafficking.
"Mr. Chairman, Let me report that Malawi has finalized its initial and second report and will [be] submit [ted] to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in due course", Katopola announced.
Malawi ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in August, 2009. State parties to the Convention meet annually in New York to review progress in the implementation of disability related programmes.
The theme for this year is "Mainstreaming disability in reduction of poverty and inequality"
Egypt Urges Int'l Community to List Disability in Development Agenda
Egypt has urged the international community to list the disability issue on the final communique of the third international conference on Financing for Development that will be held in July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
On Friday 12/6/2015, the eighth session of the UN Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities wrapped up its activities at the UN headquarters in New York.
The Egyptian delegation to the session was led by Secretary General of the National Council on Disability Affairs Heba Hagras.
Addressing the session, Hagras stressed that there is no real agenda for development after 2015 without meeting the needs of people with special needs.
She said that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the only human rights convention during the 21st century to address the basic rights of the handicapped.
She pointed out at the participation of disabled people in the political life in Egypt and in the drafting of the new constitution.
Disabled Urges Zamfara Govt To Establish Boarding School
Jun 14, 2015 2:51 pm | 0 Comments
The Disabled Association of Nigeria on Sunday called on Zamfara Government to establish a special boarding school for the disabled in the state.
The Northern states Chairman of the association, Alhaji Sani Bakura, said the measure would encourage his members to go to school and contribute to national development.
Bakura, who is also the Zamfara state Chairman of the association, made the call at an occasion organised by the group to distribute grants to 170 disabled persons in Gusau.
He noted that establishing such schools would go a long way in reducing street-begging and provide an opportunity for the disabled to learn trades and businesses.
According to him, the association sourced the money it distributed from an undisclosed association.
“With time, other members of the association will get the support as we expect more assistance from some association.
“The assistance was given to only 170 members and we have over 5,000 members.
“Zamfara State Government has assisted us in different ways but there is much that needed to be done especially in the area of education which will provide opportunity for majority of our members,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, a representative of the state governor, who is also the State Vice Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lawalli Yabakako, commended the efforts of the leaders of the disabled association for introducing the empowerment scheme.
He assured them that the state government would look into their demands with a view to establishing the special boarding school.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each of the beneficiaries of the grant collected N10,000. (NAN)
Macoha trains Malawi media on Disability mainstreaming reporting
June 15, 2015
Ernest Mahwayo -Nyasa Times
Malawi Council for the Hand capped (MACOHA) has urgedjournalists in the country to use proper terminologies and language when writing stories of persons with disabilities.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after a daylong Media Orientation Training on Disability Mainstreaming Reporting that brought together Journalists from Balaka and Ntcheu districts, Ernest Zgambo who is MACOHA’s Rehabilitation Officer for Ntcheu said the training will help Journalists to use proper terminologies and language(s) as they will be writing their articles on people with disabilities.
“Sometimes what we hear from the radio or read in the Newspapers on persons with disabilities is very disgusting. The language used is not user friendly, so am optimistic that this training will act as an eye opener to our journalists when it comes to writing stories on persons or people with disabilities,” said Zgambo.
He further said the purpose of the training was to help the Scribes to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable disability terminologies and at the same time learn the importance of using acceptable terminologies.
“Am of the view that the training will help our Journalists to know the major forms of discriminatory language that we use and at the same time to learn about the appropriate language(s) to refer to persons with disabilities,” he said. The Rehabilitation Officer further said the words that Journalists use have power to influence the altitudes of others towards other people.
“Sometimes these words can create myths that can result into discrimination of certain groups in our society,” Zgambo said
Zgambo said it is sad that most terminology used on people with disabilities have actually been disrespectful derogatory or it has been abound with labels that stem from ignorance, suspicion or lack of love and hope.
“As journalists, you should focus on the individuality not the disability. Persons with disabilities should be presented as individuals with a variety of qualities. Disability should not be the focus of description,” he said.
Zgambo said Journalists as agents of change should also advocate for structures that are disability friendly in their writings.
“Most of the buildings in Malawi are not disability friendly and let me appeal to all Malawians to construct ramps whenever they are putting their structures.”
The training that took place in Ntcheu on 12th June, 2015 brought together 10 Journalists from both the Print and Electronic.
Kenya: Tech to deliver education to visually impaired students
IT News Africa
June 15, 2015 - Startups, Top Stories
visually impaired students
Sellah Adhiambo, student at St.Oda School for the visually impaired, with inAble Program manager, Peter Okeyo, during the official commissioning of two computer labs in the school.
A total of 356 blind and visually impaired students at St. Oda Primary and secondary School for the Blind - Gem District, Siaya County will benefit from assistive learning technologies through an initiative dubbed “Computer Labs for the Blind” courtesy of a partnership between InAble, AccessKenya, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The program seeks to train blind and visually impaired students as well as their teachers in basic computer skills such as accessing the Internet and online education content. According to companies involved, this will help students develop skills that will make them employable.
Irene Mbari Kirika, Executive Director, InAble Kenya stated that: “The scarcity of facilities and human capital for the blind and visually impaired have for a long time meant that they cannot compete equally with their sighted peers. They either find it difficult to start an education or complete the same under challenging conditions that make it impossible to build a foundation for self-reliance and contribution to the community, pushing them into begging and other forms of activities for their survival.”
According to the parties involved, the education of blind and visually impaired students has over the years faced obstacles ranging from logistics, availability of facilities and teaching resources capable of allowing them to participate in mainstream life. Traditionally, blind and visually impaired students who reach High School are excluded from taking up sciences such as chemistry and physics as the Kenyan educational system does not recognise them as a feasible part of the curriculum, and accordingly teachers are not trained in appropriate methods for teaching them to blind and visually impaired students, leaving them at a disadvantage..
“Braille textbooks happen to be bulky and expensive, requiring up to four or more students to share a single book, presenting a challenge in imparting knowledge to the students. For instance, whereas the cost of books required by a Form 4 student costs about KES 7,060 it would cost slightly over KES 61,000 in braille which is way out of reach for very many Kenyans,” added Irene.
“Other materials like the braille notepaper, a critical tool in the learning processes for the blind and visually impaired students. Unfortunately, as with the textbooks, braille notepaper is significantly more expensive than the standard note paper used by sighted students and as a result, blind and visually impaired students are often unable to take notes in class, yet they are expected to sit for the same tests and exams,” concluded Irene.
AccessKenya Group will be investing Kes 7.2 million over the next two years in the provision of technology resources and financial support to aid in the growth and adoption of ICT. From the fund, Kes 6 million will go towards the ‘Assistive Technology Labs” project by InAble Kenya with the provision of broadband internet and related technology support to bring online six public primary and secondary schools that cater to the blind and visually impaired in the next 12 months.
“Looking at most ICT initiatives around us, we realised that there was a lot of focus on the provision of hardware but little emphasis on skilling both for the teachers and students. We are therefore making it easier to access the curriculum and other resources such as digital books and applications all which available online in order to deliver value in technology studies.” Added Emily Kinuthia- Marketing Manager, AccessKenya.
High School students that graduate with braille skills are still at a severe disadvantage as they enter a world that is completely oblivious to braille. Reliance on braille thus significantly limits continuing educational and employment opportunities, and as a result the blind and visually impaired are often either hidden from society, or are forced into begging and prostitution for survival.
The school is the fourth beneficiary from this initiative targetting close to 1700 students countrywide. Other schools lined up to benefit include; Likoni Primary school for the blind in Mombasa; St Francis Primary school for the blind in Kapenguria; Kibos primary and secondary schools for the blind in Kisumu and St. Lucy Secondary School for the blind in Meru County.
The Rockefeller also donated $140,000 for the program that is aimed at enabling students and their teachers’ access creative teaching and learning.
Morocco: HRH Princess Lalla Asmae Chairs Deaf Children's School-Year Graduation Ceremony
Rabat - HRH Princess Lalla Asmae chaired, here Wednesday, the graduation ceremony of the 2014-2015 school year at the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children and Youth.
Her Royal Highness, Chairwoman of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children and Youth, attended a ceremony marked by the reading of verses from the Holy Qur'an, recited by a student of the Foundation, before visiting a class of third year at the middle school of the Foundation.
Speaking on this occasion, Badreddine Ababou, Delegate President of the Lalla Asmae Foundation for Deaf Children and Youth, highlighted the Foundation's pioneering role in supporting deaf children by guaranteeing them an education based on primary and middle school programs of the National Education.
He also expressed the happiness of the children of the Foundation to have new classes, new technologies and a multi-sports field.
Thanks to the high solicitude of HM King Mohammed VI and the constant assistance of the Sovereign, and thanks to the support and kindness of HRH Princess Lalla Asmae, "we continue to innovate and offer the best for deaf children and youth of the Foundation", he said, highlighting the various actions and initiatives of the Foundation.'
For his part, the head of training in the Foundation, Mustafa Fettouh, expressed his profound gratitude and sincere consideration to HRH Princess Lalla Asmae for the care she surrounds deaf children.
On this occasion, the Foundation students sang the national anthem in sign language, a first in Morocco.
They also staged a folk dance from the region of Zagora and performed a play "Al Amal".
The delegate president of the Foundation presented to Her Royal Highness a book highlighting the achievements and milestones of the Foundation since its inception.
Afterwards, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae handed awards to the best students, before visiting an exhibition of works made by the different workshops of the Foundation.
Upon her arrival at the headquarters of the Foundation, HRH Princess Lalla Asmae reviewed a detachment of the Auxiliary Forces who made the honors before being greeted by minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Rachid Belmokhtar, Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui and charge d'affaires at the Spanish Embassy in Rabat, Camilo Vilarno, as well as other figures.
Moroccan town’s disabled kids deprived of support centre
Screen grab from a video of a protest march of handicapped childrens' families. They walked to Jerada, Morocco.
Around 60 disabled children in the Moroccan city of Jerada have been prevented from going to their only local support centre for the past two weeks, after a dispute broke out between the centre’s managers. The incident has shed light on the fragile network of support available for disabled minors in the kingdom.
The centre for disabled people in the city of Jerada, in eastern Morocco, provides three classes for adults and two for children under the age of 16. But at the beginning of June, Jerada’s delegate for National Mutual Aid [Editor’s note: The body is linked to the country’s Ministry for Family and Social Development] ordered both children’s classes to be cancelled, on the grounds of a dispute with the teacher who runs them. Before the parents had even been notified, the classes were cancelled.
According to one mother, “we went there at around 8:30am like we do every day. And we were surprised to see that the locks had been changed. The director just told us that the teacher no longer had the right to give classes here.”
Families decided to walk to Oujda to protest against the classes' closure. However, their march was interrupted by police officers, who asked them to turn back. The families decided to head on foot to Oujda - a town around sixty kilometres away - to protest against the classes' cancellation. But on the way there they were stopped by police who ordered them to turn back. So the outraged families held a sit-in in front of the centre. Then a few days later, they headed back to Oujda to try to bring their plight to the attention of the National Mutual Aid’s regional office. But the protest didn't meet with any success.
According to the families that FRANCE 24 has contacted, there have been no classes for the past two weeks. Some parents whose children have been taught by the teacher, Fatima Boumansour, for several years said they would not return to the support centre if she is prevented from teaching.
Video of the march. Rabia, whose daughter has Down's Syndrome, is one of those parents.
This teacher has looked after my daughter since 2003. She was three years old when I started taking her to the teacher’s house. At the time, she looked after the children at her home because there was no centre for them yet. My daughter is now a teenager. She became really close to her, which is normal after so many years. That’s why I think it’s so wrong that they threw her out the door overnight, without even considering the children’s needs.
FRANCE 24 contacted Othmani al-Arbi, the regional coordinator for National Mutual Aid in Oujda, who oversees the centre:
“The teacher doesn’t get on with Jerada’s National Mutual Aid representative. These things happen. He decided to dismiss her and that’s his right, all the more given that she doesn’t have a contract with the centre. The children will still be able to take classes. But first management needs to bring in new teachers.”
"I haven’t got anywhere to take her"
In any case, the dispute has laid bare the inadequacy of facilities for people with disabilities, as Fatima - the older sister of a girl with Down’s Syndrome - explains:
This centre is the only support centre that exists in Jerada. It’s been horrible since it was closed, because I already look after my dad who has diabetes and now I have to look after my sister. It’s not very pleasant because she has to stay shut in the house all day. On top of that, there are no services for disabled children in normal schools. As a result, I haven’t got anywhere to take her.
My family doesn’t even receive any allowance from the government to help with her condition. Only a few local NGOs help us, by giving us clothes, food and toys. For several years we’ve been asking the authorities to provide us with a bus specially adapted to transport handicapped children to the support centre. The authorities have promised us on several occasions that they would give us one. But we’re still waiting. I had to take the bus four times throughout the day to accompany my little sister, one round trip in the morning, and another in the evening. That takes up half the day.
The last investigation into the living conditions of people with disabilities in Morocco and their education was carried out in 2004. UNICEF bemoaned a “lack of up-to-date, precise data on the education of disabled children” in a recent press release. The UN agency added that an “analysis of the current situation must serve as the basis of a strategy that will be developed to assure these children’s right to a decent education".
According to the investigation carried out in 2004, two out of three disabled children don’t go to school. It reported that while 96% of non-disabled children receive an education, that figure slumps to a dismal 32.4% for children with disabilities.
People living with disability deserve a chance, not pityK24 TV-
Mercy Mugure was left with a fused knee after suffering from Osteomyelitis when she was nine. But she never allowed this to kill her vision and went on to co-found Ability Society of Kenya. She shares her story
Tell us about yourself
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education arts (English and literature) and I am currently pursuing a masters degree in Gender and Disability studies at Kenyatta University. I also have a leadership certificate from University of Arkansas, USA. I am a trainer of trainers on disability rights and monitoring both locally and internationally.
What inspired you to work with the disabled in society?
I was mentored by my predecessor and co-founder of Ability Society of Kenya, Paul Mugambi who was representing students with disabilities. Later I was elected as the special needs secretary at Kenyatta University where I advocated for inclusive environment at the institution and sensitised the entire community that disability is only an aspect within persons with disabilities and does not define us.
What would you term as your biggest achievement as a student leader at KU?
My greatest achievement was to push for the adoption of Disability Awareness Day proposal in the University alumna calendar. This day has been celebrated since 2010. Today, Kenyatta University is the benchmark, with the highest admission of students with disabilities. Currently, the number stands at 385.
Do you feel you achieved your best in having students with disability recognised?
By the time I was graduating, I felt I had done my best. Most of my friends with disabilities who had graduated ahead of me were jobless despite the fact that they had graduated with good grades. So, the concern I needed to address was to find out why they were jobless.
What was your first step?
I discussed with my friend Mugambi who had sent out 385 CVs to different companies and was not called for a single interview. When he sent out the 386th one he was invited for an interview. However, they couldn’t offer him the job because they didn’t know how a totally blind person would work.
Systems were not adapted to suit his disability. We therefore agreed to come up with the Ability Society of Kenya, with one message: See the Ability Within Persons With Disabilities. We registered the organisation in 2009, the same year I graduated from KU.
What does the organisation do?
We write to organisations and institutions reminding them what the Constitution says about the employment of people living with disabilities. We also collect CVs of these people through Facebook. Currently, we have over 100 people living with disabilities who have been employed or at least appeared for interviews and career fairs through us.
How do you track their progress?
We often do career talks, visit them in schools and encourage them. So far, we have reached over 200 children with disabilities in different schools in the country.
Who funds your activities?
Our first funding was from AkiliDada. For our activities we fund our activities ourselves because we are employed. We also have volunteers who make our work easier. I work for my employer full-time and all my free time I work for Ability Society Kenya.
Malawi: MUA School for the Deaf to Close Abrupt
By Mphatso Nkuonera
Dedza - Mua School for the deaf risks an abrupt closure due to shortage of food stocks, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.
Mua is the only institution in the central region that accommodates students with hearing and speaking impairments from a total of 12 districts, nine at the centre and three in the southern region thus Machinga, Balaka and Mangochi.
The school's head teacher George Nanthiko who said, "there is immediate need for food assistance like maize, otherwise this term's school calendar would run staggeringly."
Nanthiko added, "for a single school calendar to complete requires maize grain stocks of not less than 400 bags, but there is no hope of getting maize anywhere else which risks closing the school just this term, until we will have secured some for the next two terms."
The Head said there were other difficulties the school was facing besides food shortage like insufficiency of learning and teaching materials which makes it hard to meet principle ways of service delivery by teaching staff.
"It's very disheartening, I can tell that presently we don't have a single teachers guide for standard seven; with very few text books in standards five and six respectively" he added wondering how students can perform well.
He continued that the school gets government funding perked at Four hundred thousand kwacha only (K400, 000) per month which caters footing water and electricity bills, stationery, vehicle maintenances and paying supporting staff among others.
In an exclusive interview with the school's two deputy head teachers, Happy Choka and Innocent Chakhwatha echoed this condition had occurred following the rising up of enrollments.
"We have class rooms and per as design each class was meant for 10 students. However the rising numbers of deaf children in the 12 districts is making the administration enroll at least 16 to 17 per class," they chorused.
However the head teacher appealed to government to erect more other schools for students with special needs in the country.
"We only get 15 students per every June, let me ask government to consider providing another school somewhere because many students are left unassisted out there.
"And again there is great requirement for constructing secondary schools, colleges so that these students proceed with school after completing their standard 8 here. Most of them have nothing to do after this school," he said.
Dedza District Education Manager, Billy Banda concurred with the head teacher's woes as realistic but attributed it to untimely and meager funding the school receives.
"Indeed it is true; we have a query from the school dated June 4, 2015 asking us for help. But all this is due to funding hitches that are always there. I wish the problem was sorted out soon so that classes progressed," said Banda.
Responding on the insufficiency of teachers at the school, Banda said it had become a common problem in many schools in the district.
Children with disabilities have the right to education for them to be responsible citizens in the future.
Al-Makura Urges NASS To Pass Disability Bill
Governor of Nasarawa State Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to expedite action on the passage of the Disability Bill.
The governor made the call in Lafia shortly after arriving from Lagos where he attended the first International Conference on Disabilities with theme “Creating An Inclusive Society For All” held at the civic centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to him, the society has come to the realisation that disability is no barrier to realising ones potentials in life if the right conditions for the wholesome integration of the society are met.
Al-makura regretted that, “disability has always been looked upon from a charitable perspective in this part of the world” which he says is dehumanising and retrogressive.
“I want to call on the National Assembly to speedily work to pass the disability bill, of which I am certain that President Muhammadu Buhari will have no hesitation in assenting to it”
“They should also work on domesticating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities which Nigeria ratified in September 2010; which has enabled us to have a Nigerian on the 18-member Committee of Experts.
Al-Makura maintained that, “Inclusive growth advances equitable opportunities for economic advancement by every section of the society’’.
According to him, despite all efforts by concerned groups including the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), of which he is a member, the physically challenged continue to be on the receiving end.
He said, “The disability bill is yet to be signed into law, PLWDs still remain marginalised and dis
Turning Nigeria's Disabled From Beggars to Workers
Voice of America-
June 26, 2015 5:04 PM
An estimated 20 million people in Nigeria have physical handicaps. With few opportunities for work, many have resorted to street begging. But a group of disabled men in Kaduna state are encouraging others to get off the street by empowering them with new skills.
These men are waiting for food from a local charity. It may be their only meal today. Disabled, most rely on street begging to sustain them. Unlike the others queuing here, 18-year-old Aliyu Yakubu is learning to fix tricycles and do other metal work to earn a living.
Yakubu remembers the moment he decided to quit begging.
“My former class prefect saw me begging on the street and didn’t recognize me. He gave me some money," he said. "When I stretched my hand out to collect it, then he saw my face. I felt ashamed, and, since then, I decided not to beg again.”
Instructor Isiaka Maaji, himself physically disabled, helps people like Yakubu get off the streets and learn a trade.
He got his own skills from a state-run vocational rehabilitation training program and has been training others since 2002. Five years ago, he began encouraging physically challenged people to abandon begging.
“We encourage people like us to learn skills they can do to become self-reliant to support themselves and their families, because being in the streets as beggars is a disgrace to all of us,” Maaji said. So far he’s helped and trained 30 people - some of whom now have their own metal workshop.
They make tricycles and motorbikes designed for the handicapped ? but also doors and windows to sell.
But a member of the Handicapped Association, shop owner Ridwan Abdillahi, says the general public is not buying despite the good quality of the products.
“I believe the society are seeing the goods or products made by persons with disability as disabled too,” he said.
These men - used to overcoming challenges - say this is one more hurdle the disabled face. They say they will tackle it by raising awareness, with the help of the government and the community.
Namibia: World Shuts Out the Deaf
AFTER obtaining a degree in travel and tourism from a Windhoek college in 2013, Sylvia Bathlomeus, who has a hearing impairment, thought her world would open up.
Now, two years later, although Bathlomeus (25) has applied about 15 times for jobs and been called for job interviews four times, she has not been lucky enough to find employment.
It is clear to her that, despite the struggle to complete her studies, her life will not be better any time soon because of her condition.
Bathlomeus is one of 27 000 deaf people in Namibia who could be facing the same predicament of being excluded from job opportunities.
For her, the struggle was hard, since Namibia only offers education for deaf children up to Grade 10, yet Bathlomeus managed to reach Grade 12.
She attended Eluwa Special School in Ongwediva where she learned sign language.
Eluwa is one of six schools in the country that caters for deaf children. The school, that is home to 341 hearing-impaired pupils, offers education up to Grade 10.
Bathlomeus completed Grade 12 in 2010 at Cosmos High School in Windhoek, where there are language interpreters.
Luckily for her, she was not the only pupil with a hearing impairment, as there were other children with the same condition as well.
In an interview with The Namibian, Bathlomeus said an illness she suffered at the age of four left her deaf. She also said the condition has not stood in her way of improving herself and that she hopes to make a difference in society.
This is why she is currently enrolled for an entrepreneurship and business management course at the Polytechnic of Namibia.
"People living with disabilities are not wasting time and waiting for government to give them employment. We do not depend on the monthly grants and spend our days doing nothing. We work hard and can do much more if granted an opportunity," she said.
Bathlomeus feels that the public needs to understand that there is more to their (hearing impaired people's) lives than meets the eye and that they should be given similar opportunities as those without disabilities.
"As deaf people, we are fighting constantly, seeking education to uplift ourselves. When we manage to be educated, we cannot find jobs. Deaf people can work as police officers. They know how to write and they can see, so it should not be hard to work as an officer, at least to certify copies of original documents," she said.
Last year Bathlomeus did voluntary work as a deaf association teacher at Usko Nghaamwa Special School in Eenhana where pupils go up to Grade 7.
Paul Nanyeni, the executive national chairperson of the Namibia National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), said deaf people all over the world are facing employment challenges.
"This is mostly attributed to the negative perspective the hearing world has about the deaf. One cannot wait for the deaf to prove that they are capable," Nanyeni said.
He also said those with a hearing impairment are mostly judged by their disabilities and that employers always ask themselves questions such as "How can I talk to him/her?" and "How will he/she lead the organisation? ".
"However, some deaf people are smart, well educated, have qualities most hearing persons do not possess, but because of the negative image the hearing society has of deaf people, it is always a difficult situation.
"We have some deaf people who went to South Africa and studied different skills but when they return after finishing Grade 10, the government is reluctant to hire them. It is disheartening," he said.
Nanyeni added that Namibia has an affirmative action policy about employment of people living with disabilities, but that there seems to be not enough mechanisms in place to ensure this is adhered to.
He requested the National Disability Council to ensure that the policy is operational everywhere and if need be, to be expanded, reviewed and strengthened so that people with disabilities can get jobs.
"In my eyes, every single individual has a disability, hence we all should look at one another as normal in our own skin and feel comfortable with what one is able to do," Nanyeni advised.
He said the stereotyping of people living with disabilities will not change in the short term, but they will nevertheless continue vigorously with their advocacy work.
The deputy minister for disability affairs in the office of the vice president, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, said they are aware that at times people with disabilities face discrimination in terms of employment.
Manombe-Ncube said it gets so bad sometimes that some employers do not even have interpreters to accommodate deaf people on their interview panels.
She said they have received appeals from people with disabilities to help them deal with this problem and her office will make sure they do.
Manombe-Ncube said although the affirmative action policy, which she says is supported by the national disability policy, has mechanisms that all people, even those with disabilities, are given a fair chance for employment although it is not enough.
Botswana: School for the Deaf to Enhance Learning
By Mpho Goitsemang
Francistown - Francistown Centre for the Deaf Education (FCDE) on Tuesday (June 23) received Clicker 6 software and a document reader from Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) to enhance learning.
Officially handing over the equipment, PEEPA chief executive officer, Mr Kgotla Ramaphane explained that the Clicker 6 is a special interactive electronic software that enables hearing impaired students to easily grasp and understand content through the use of sign language video visuals and still pictures.
Mr Ramaphane highlighted that after assessing the benefits of the software, PEEPA decided to donate the package which would better enhance learning at FCDE.
In addition, he said the package would make it easy for the teachers to prepare lessons using sign language and other motions in video format.
He said it would also make learning easier for the students because they would now visualise, memorise, learn by observation and remember contents even much better.
Mr Ramaphane mentioned that they also donated the same equipment to Ramotswa School for the Deaf in 2012, adding that it had benefited both teachers and learners.
Furthermore, he said the software together with its accessories could be used at all stages of the learning from primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
For her part, chief education officer North, Ms Angela Matlhape appreciated the donation on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development and all the contribution of all companies who had heeded government's call to assist schools.
She stated that the equipment would provide a long term benefits and relevance to the needs and aspirations of the learners.
Ms Matlhape encouraged other stakeholders to adopt schools, adding that the initiative would assist the school to improve their academic results.
She also encouraged teachers to continue moulding children to be great achievers.
Ms Matlhape noted that special education was "a highly demanding area of specialisation."
She said children nowadays need more guidance which was in line with spirituality.
The school head, Ms Chandabona Chida said the software utilisation was going to improve their academic results.
She urged parents and guardians of the children at the school to support their children to get a better education.