New project to protect children with disability

Handicap International, a disability movement, launched a project dubbed “Ubuntu Care Project” to confront sexual violence against children with disabilities.
Disabled perform a skit on their rights at a recent function. The New Times/ J. Mbanda.
Disabled perform a skit on their rights at a recent function. The New Times/ J. Mbanda.

Handicap International, a disability movement, launched a project dubbed “Ubuntu Care Project” to confront sexual violence against children with disabilities.

The project, launched yesterday in Kigali, is a response to a research conducted in 2010 in Burundi, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania, which shows that children with disabilities are four times sexually violated compared to their normal counterparts.

The three-year project, which will operate in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya, aims at addressing the root causes and to mitigate the consequences of violence against children, especially those with disabilities.

Sofia Hedjam, the regional coordinator of the project, said they will focus on empowering children as actors in their own protection, empowering communities and families to better protect children, especially those with disabilities, among others.

Hedjam said emphasis will be put on families and communities, saying the institutions are the biggest culprits of violence.

Though there are a continuing mobilisation and fight against violence against children, especially those with disabilities, some disabled children argue that they still face various kinds of violence in families.

Jean Pierre Ntirenganya, a senor one disabled student of Ecole Secondaire de Kabuga, said though there is a clear improvement on the exclusion of disabled children, awareness exercise for family members must continue as some cases of discrimination are still evident.

Charles Karangwa, the country manager of Ubuntu Project, said they will on pilot basis focus on Rutsiro district.

He said the project will work closely with institutions targeting the children, including the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, the National Commission for People with Disabilities, the National Commission for Children and other stakeholders.

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