People living with visual impairment can be assisted to achieve self-reliance instead of living dependent lives, the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) has said.
“There is wrong society’s perception that the blind do not deserve opportunities or assistance offered to other people engaged in income generating projects,’’ said Rachel Musabyimana, RUB communication and advocacy officer.
“Local leaders should include people living with disability in their development planning.”
Musabyimana was speaking, last week, in Kigali during a meeting with local leaders at sector level from areas where the cooperatives of the disabled people operate.
“It has been proved that many blind people have achieved personal economic development through agriculture. Some have generated income through cultivating groundnuts, cassava and maize and the same is seen in their livestock projects,’’ Musabyimana said.
Obed Rugerero, from Musenyi Sector, Bugesera District, blamed local leaders, especially at Cell level, for not involving the blind in government poverty eradication programmes such as Vision 2020 Umurenge and Girinka.
However, the in- charge of social affairs in Musenyi Sector, Joyce Murebwayire, who attended the meeting, blamed some people with disability for not identifying themselves to local leaders, saying it is not possible for the leaders to help people they do not know.
The families of the disabled are to blame when they keep the disabled at home without informing local leaders, she added.
Eugene Twizeyimana, who represented the National Union of Disabilities’ Organisations of Rwanda, said disabled persons should not take anything done for them as a favour, saying it’s their right.
Musabyimana said RUB has since 2009 financed small income generating projects of 26 agricultural cooperatives of people with disability throughout the country with a total loan of Rwf10 million.
“We must encourage the culture of self-reliance among the blind,’’ Musabyimana said.