Monday, September 10, 2018

Reflection on Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Workshop

20th to 23rd of August 2018 was an exciting week, I participated in a workshop for indigenous persons with disabilities in Bomet Kenya as a co facilitator. The workshop was organized by the Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network (IPWDN), the Narok South Disability Network and International Disability Alliance (IDA).

The aim of the workshop was to impact knowledge on Indigenous leaders with disabilities in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP) and Agenda 2030.

My Reflection:

Indigenous persons with disabilities being at the grass root level of the community face multidimensional barriers and sharp effects are on children and women with disabilities from these communities. Some of the barriers include:
  1. Stigma and discrimination
  2. Negative cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  3. Access to education
  4. Access to health
  5. Not being counted during census due to nomadic life
  6. Women with disabilities in the communities being compared to women without disabilities
  7. Lack of national registration: like national identity card
Constitution of Kenya, Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Declaration on the Rights of persons with disabilities offer a clear legal framework that can support indigenous persons with disabilities in enjoying their rights on equal basis with others. Moreover, people from this communities need more developmental support from the government and civil society organizations without destroying or diluting their cultural identity.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Depression Common Cause of Suicide

Grace Wanjiku Matu owner of Mawingu Production (YouTube channel) is a youth with spina bifida who is involved in art for entertainment and educating the world.

She recently wrote a Poem entitled 99 problems that aims on raising awareness on depression a type  psychosocial disability that is overlooked... yet it is a common cause of barriers like exclusion and suicide among our communities. She describes depression in a poetic way, affirms that it is treatable and calls out for people to reach out!

I've got 99 problems                                                     
And happiness is one of them 
I've been feeling down lately 
But not the usual down
It goes beyond sadness and hurt
To a pit of loneliness and hopelessness
It's darkness really.....
Darkness that you somehow got yourself into
But you can't get out
It was entrance only but not exit
My energy plummeted to the floor 
My Confidence is non-existent
But I have this fa├žade that I have to keep up
See I've heard it before, even done it before
Thinking I could give you a glance to my world
In the hope you'll be my savior
But you turn your back with word like 
Snap out of it!
You're such a Drama Queen!

It takes everything in me 
To smile and to be normal
But sometimes I have nothing at all
So I stay away disconnect from you and your plans
I have no energy to dance, to work 
I have got no energy for life

I've got 99 problems and silence is one of them
I hate the name calling
I hate the whispers
The weird look from my peripheral vision
I don't want to be weak
As she blatantly put it
I just want to be me 
But I don't know how to anymore
How you have care for a broken leg or an infected wound
But I have none for my broken heart and infected mind
I have no idea
I will silently drown my pillow with tears
Silently fight a battle I'm loosing 
Until I find the courage to work with a permanent Solution

Let's support Grace by subscribing to her You Tube channel (Mawingu Production) and remember that all disabilities are not visible let's reach out!.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Is Termination of Spina Bifida Pregnacies Right?

In our current world, termination (abortion) of pregnancies with spina bifida is becoming a norm as parents are lured into it right after prenatal tests. In most cases this happens after medical professionals present one side of the coin that predicts challenges of lifelong care for children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. In some cases parents are denied the chance of making their own decision independently.

Some countries have gone to an extent of legalizing this process. However, NO ONE can predict the quality of life that an individual with spina bifida and hydrocephalus can have. This fact therefore leaves a space for children with spina bifida to live and be who they are meant to be.

Abortion of pregnancies on basis of disability like spina bifida and down syndrome eliminates the aspect of diversity in our world, this is also a way of hiding issues instead of solving them. Existence of people with spina bifida and other disabilities provides creativity and innovation.

International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus has gathered a number of personal experiences of people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and all the stories have one thing in common: Love for life

PS: Spina bifida is defect of the spinal cord that occurs a few days after conception

Life is divine!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Barriers Towards Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

There are many types of disabilities, some are visible while others are invisible. These disabilities are never an issue as they justify human diversity. The biggest issues are barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from being included in their communities.

Attitudinal barrier: This includes a negative perception of disability like discrimination, stigma and stereotypes. This barriers have misconceptions that tend to focus on inabilities instead of abilities for instance, when meeting a person with disability for the first time and you decide to ask "What happened to you?" that's an instant attitudinal barrier.
The concept of seeing disability as physical is also an attitudinal barrier that may leave out people with learning disabilities among others.

Physical barriers: These barriers come as a result of inaccessible infrastructure that hinder independence and mobility of persons with disabilities. This issue can be resolved by universal design in the architectural systems.

Communication barriers: These are obstacles towards effective communication and may include lack of easy read materials for persons with intellectual disabilities, lack of large print for people with visual impairments, lack of audio or braille material, lack of sign language interpreters for persons with hearing impairments and the use of disability unfriendly language.

Institutional barriers: These are obstacles within institutions these includes; the do's, don'ts, policies, bi-
laws and laws that prevent persons with disabilities from being included in their communities.

A barrier free society starts with you and me. Let's work towards it together.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Claiming Your Right as a Woman with Disability

Women with disabilities tend to get double discrimination; by the fact that they have  disabilities and secondly as women.This therefore makes them to be more vulnerable and marginalized in their communities.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provides legal measures that can protect, promote and fulfill rights of women with disabilities .

On 8th of March 2018 we commemorate international women day and  knowing certain factors can enable you to claim your right as a woman with disability:

  • Having a disability does not eliminate the fact that you are a woman;
  • Get registered as a person with disability by national disabled persons organizations;
  • Knowing legal framework that protect you locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Join women rights movements both for persons with disabilities and mainstream movements (unity is strength);
  • Grab opportunities that lie ahead of you;
  • Request reasonable  accommodation at work, learning institution, hospital and community;
  • Learn self defence tactics
  • Know where to seek help or to report when your rights have been violated;
  • And for the women with disabilities who have made it in life let's reach out by mentoring other women with disabilities.
Have a great women's day!

ps:photo of Carol Wanjira a young woman with spina bifida