It is evident that the lives of children with disabilities is vital. And the workshop that was held on 1 January 2018 showed just that. The discussions highlighted the University of Gondar and the CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) program’s dedication to upholding the rights to protect children with disabilities. Those who were present in the Science Amba conference hall were optimistic for the future.
Representatives from various sectors including culture and tourism, females and children’s rights affairs, and police station agencies took part in the workshop to share ideas about the way forward. Each governmental sector proposed what they would do to ensure a safe environment for children with disability. They even took it one step further by showing their dedication by explaining what their offices were doing, in the present time, to keep up with the effort.
When interviewed Adane Alemseged, who is from the emergency and risk prevention agency, expressed the eager and positive outlook of all the participants who were involved. Mr. Adane also reflected on those individuals who are often overlooked because of their handicap but referenced the resounding belief that one person’s weakness should be a burden for all people. “The problems and issues of the disabled youth,” he said, “should also be a problem of the society at large”.
The CBR program at the University of Gondar is working with numerous sectors, governmental and non-governmental, to access the right protections for children who are disabled.
In September of 2017 the University of Gondar in conjunction with the Mastercard Scholars Program and Queens University, Canada organized a major lifeline to talented disabled youth in the Horn of Africa. The project that is worth 24.2 million dollars will see 450 disabled students educated at the University of Gondar over the next 10 years.
A few months ago their education began. During the induction ceremony of the first batch of 20 students the CBR team informed the optimistic teens on their upcoming journey as university students.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) at least 1 billion people, which amounts to 15 percent of the world’s population, are disabled. To put this into perspective 17.6 percent of people found in Ethiopia are labeled as handicapped or disabled.
Therefore such discussions, such as the one conducted on 1 January, should be encouraged in the future. The rights of all people, including the disabled, are valuable. Hence, such workshops that connect various stakeholders and sectors to fight for a common goal will make a sizable impact.
By: Samuel Malede| Public and International Relations Directorate