Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Solutions not resolutions for disabilities

In developing countries, 98 per cent of children with disability don’t go to school. On this year’s “Day of The African Child”; African Union members focused on children with disabilities. The event was celebrated on June 16th 2012 at the African Union Conference Center with art, musical and drama performed by children.

Most African countries have signed onto multiple international treaties that address the issue of children living with disabilities, including the convention on rights of children, the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child and most recently the convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

And yet a 2010 study conducted by Handicap International and Save the Children in some African countries concluded that children with disabilities are especially vulnerable as a result of social and structural discrimination against them.

“African children with disabilities face serious challenges that are aggravated by economic and social instability in the continent. Besides the economic instabilities, social misunderstandings such as attitudes towards disabilities  among most African people still remains a great threat towards the wellbeing of children with disabilities,” said Chikwe Mbweeda, Operations Manager at Plan International.

Organizations who work with children with disabilities also participated in the event to showcase the different kinds of projects they are doing to help the children.

“We need new solutions instead of new resolutions,” said Isam Ghanim, Executive Vice President of Child Fun International, to shed some light on the false promises made in the past.

According to Save the Children, the main causes of disabilities in Africa are preventable disease, poor nutrition and a lack of parental and neonatal health care,(which also contributes to disabilities among newborns).

The celebration ended with a spirit of hopefulness towards a coming change for children with disabilities, which will no longer linger like another empty promise.