ARUA. The people with disabilities (PWDs) in Arua city have expressed concern over what they called discrimination and lack of inclusivity in the society.
Speaking during a two days’ disability awareness training organized by ‘Light for the World’, a disability development organization, meant to create awareness among journalists from different media houses in the city, Mr Muzamil Ali, the disability inclusion officer (DIO) at Light for the World said in most cases, PWDs are discriminated against and are looked at as a last option in the society.
“Light for the World is a disability development organisation which works to see that PWDs live dignified lives. I urge you journalists to learn how to report and create articles about PWDs using the right language and avoid negative ones”, Ali said.
He said Light for the World works with the main focus on the thematic areas of inclusive economic empowerment for the PWDs, inclusive education and Eye health.
The organization also works hand in hand with other partners like ZOA, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) to achieve the goals of empowerment of PWDs and advocate for inclusive empowerment and involvement of PWDs at all levels in the society.
Mrs Alezuyo Desire Gloria, a disability inclusion facilitator with Light for the world defined disability as a failure to do something due to loss of function of a given body part but not inability adding that if barriers towards doing something are removed, then the PWDs are capable of doing anything just like any other person.
The United Nations (UN) defines disability based on the longtime and permanent nature of an impairment that cannot be treated.
Around 1 billion people in the world are people living with disabilities while 12.4 percent of Uganda’s population, (5,600,000) are said to be disabled.
But the majority of Uganda’s disabled population live in rural areas with limited access to information, low self-esteem and hardships in accessing social services.
Several legal frameworks that are meant to cater for PWDs such as Article 21, clause 1 which prohibits discrimination against PWDs, the PWDs act, the National Policy on Disability and equal opportunity act 2006 still face challenges of implementation.
Meanwhile, Baiga Godfrey, one of the trainers, advised media houses to advocate for the community to embrace the social model of defining disability so as to get the PWDs fully involved and participate equally with other people in the communities.
Baiga identified attitude, communication, accessibility and participation (ACAP) as the main barriers faced by PWDs in the communities, saying they account for how the communities abuse PWDs and make the PWDs look at themselves negatively as per their conditions.