Disability and Inclusion Office host a Self-Advocacy Session for Persons with Disability in partnership with Light for the World
By Elizabeth Wanjiku
On Friday, October 6, the Disability and Inclusion Office in partnership with Light for The World and with the support of MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa, hosted a self-advocacy session for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to train and empower staff, faculty and students on the rights of PWDs as well as create awareness on the process and benefits of registration with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD).
Targeting the university community, the session was facilitated by Isaac Manyonge, Disability Mainstreaming Consultant & Performance Contracting Co-ordinator and Titus Yegoh, Chief Disability Services Officer, Head of Education Unit, from NCPWD who brought to discussion real life scenario of barriers and challenges that PWDs face while relating them to rights, empowerment and self-advocacy skills that the university community could apply to see to it that PWDs realize their full potential, access the necessary support services and engage more actively in academic and professional environments.
Mr. Manyonge highlighted that sometimes challenges that PWDs face are linked to some of them hiding and not accepting their disability, stressing that identification, self-acceptance and disclosure are important for PWDs to enable them fulfil their rights while accessing the benefits that come with their rights like exemption of taxation, accessing employment opportunities among others. Over the last few months, USIU-Africa through the Disability and Inclusion Office has been able to set up a self-disclosure process to guide on accessing accommodation for students, faculty and staff with disabilities.
“There are so many rights for persons with disabilities, but you need to work on your attitude, perception and register to be able to fully enjoy these rights,” said Mr. Manyonge.
He further said that living with disability is not an easy task, however through mentorship and institutions that create a conducive environment, PWDs can be empowered to achieve their target and become who they want to be. He also emphasized the importance of having a support system from people without disability at any given time pointing out that PWDs can help create that support system.
The session was an opportunity for staff, students and faculties with disabilities to realize their responsibility towards realizing their rights and personal duty to educate themselves and work on self-development so that their self-esteem would contribute to their overall success. Non-Kenyans were also encouraged to join hands with NCPWD and the Kenyan government to advocate for rights within their counties under the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Persons without disabilities at the session were encouraged to keep amplifying their voices for the rights of persons with disabilities, as their efforts as disability allies were important in providing the social support system that those with disabilities need in their everyday lives.
The National Council for Persons with Disabilities is a state corporation established by an Act of Parliament; the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 14 of 2003 and set up in November 2004. It has the chief mandate of promoting and protecting equalization of opportunities and realization of human rights for persons with disabilities.