PWDs’ forum raps gov’t

Claim stigmatisation, violence Persons with Disabilities(PWD) forum, National Association of Speaking and Hearing Disabled Women in Rwanda (ANFSMR), has lashed out at government for not doing enough to help them come out of their despair that results from communication barriers with other persons.
Pelagie Muhorakeye (L) communicates in sign language while Minister Mujawamariya looks on . Right is John Mutamba from UNIFEM. (Photo J. Mbanda).
Pelagie Muhorakeye (L) communicates in sign language while Minister Mujawamariya looks on . Right is John Mutamba from UNIFEM. (Photo J. Mbanda).

Claim stigmatisation, violence

Persons with Disabilities(PWD) forum, National Association of Speaking and Hearing Disabled Women in Rwanda (ANFSMR), has lashed out at government for not doing enough to help them come out of their despair that results from communication barriers with other persons.

Representatives of girls and women with speaking and hearing disabilities from various districts of the country, have cried out to the minister in Charge of Gender and Family Promotion, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, to curb what they called marginalisation and violence against them.

During their meeting with the minister, on Thursday, the group revealed that sign translation services were important to help them achieve their status in society. Communication barrier is as big a concern as the stigma they feel around them in their respective communities.

“You try to find a job, everyone says you can’t do anything,” petitioned one of participants, using signs to communicate and being translated.

“Everyone thinks we are there only for tailoring and making hair, which is too unfortunate. We can do more than just that.”

This is true. A case in hand is one Purcherie Muhoracyeye who has completed writing four books, all tackling problems faced by people living with speaking and hearing disabilities and how they protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.

In her thirties, Muhoracyeye testifies having survived her speaking disabilities, by finally deciding to pour herself out through her yet to be published books as she couldn’t finance their publication.

Rape and violence is another concern raised by these women, saying that in most cases they are violated by strangers, and when they reach out to the police or other institutions for help, either communication becomes problematic or they are subjected to stigmatisation.

Minister Mujawamariya who listened carefully to their concerns, comforted them and promised to do what it takes to make their concerns heard and resolved.

She urged them to feel proud of their courage since they have been able to live up their disabilities to make their lives better.
She added that those with any kind of disability have so far proved ability to perform even better than others, provided they are given enough facilities.

Mujawamariya, whose Ministry organised and facilitated the meeting, promised advocacy and support to the association to make up their strategic plan that is meant to help them progress systematically and become more successful in their cooperatives.

She also brought to them a message from the Minister of Information, that soon, Rwanda Television will provide a signs translator to help those with hearing disabilities follow news and other programmes.

ANFSMR was founded in 2005 and currently has over 200 members countrywide.

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