Disability is not inability, Meet Rubavu District Land Administrator

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She has a permanent visual impairment since 2011! With a law degree, Mukantabana Epiphanie is working in RubavuDistrict District as Land Administrator at One Stop Center.

Born in 1975, Mukantabana lives with her caring husband with three children.

He became visually impaired after completing her University Studies in Law and before impairment she was in Social Affairs in Nyakiliba Sector of Rubavu District.

“In 2008 I have got headache” She says

“Since then I started feeling pains in my eyes and later I got a brain tumor which affected the nervous system.” Mukantabana explained.

She stopped working after getting visual impairment and that was her very difficult moment in her life as she told TOPAFRICANEWS.

“After being visually impaired, I will not forget the tribulation moment in 2011! I asked myself what I am going to do.” She explains.

“I really thank my husband! She took care of me and started looking everywhere searching associations that are assisting visually impaired persons!” Mukantabana said.

“In 2011 I was totally hopeless but my husband remained by my side. He is the one even who brought me at Rwanda Union of Blinds (RUB) and from then I started to regularly meet with other people who are also Blinds and we were sharing experiences which later led me to self confidence despite the blindness.” She adds.

Mukantabana was later trained to cope with her blindness. Since she was working as public servant, she was trained with regards to her work.

“Visually impaired I was sent out of my duty as a Public Servant, however I immediately wrote a letter to public servants Commission informing them that I am doing trainings that will enable me to assume my duties.

“After completion of the trainings, the district and the commission saw that I am capable despite my disability,” she says.

“That is when I assumed my public servant duty and currently I am working as the District’s land administrator at One Stop Centre.” Mukantana reveals.

Mukabana says “Many people were questioning if I will be able to handle my tasks and some had stereotypes that visually impaired people can’t do anything!”

“I proved them wrong! I work as a normal person; you cannot even discover that I am blind.

“Even When I attend other services I go there like rwandese woman! I don’t go there like a visually impaired women

“People should know that People with Disabilities can also work! It is a matter of mindset change. For instance the Government has allocated infrastructures meant for blinds. We learn how to use machines and computers which have significantly improved our performance.” She says with confidence.

She notes that there is a need for continuous advocacy and mindset change among people at all levels.

Mukantabana who is being trained on other software that will ease her work, adds that “For instance if someone is looking for Land title Certificates, to ensure the authenticity of the information provided, I use my scanner! It does everything and even when you lied names or try to cheat I immediately discover that.”

“We use ICTs in Land Management. As you know ICT is changing every day! When there is new software, I ask the district to be trained. To be clear on this we don’t use machines like those ones you use, we have our special machines.” She explains

She calls for the investment in educating and training people with disabilities.

“Today I am being trained with the software that will enable me to discover errors in the dossiers without taking much time and I am sure at the end of the training I will be able to adjust that without relying on the assistance.” She says.

Despite her life going well with her family, Mukantaba says there are still challenges that are still hindering the progress of visually impaired persons.

Mukantabana Epiphanie, Rubavu District Land Administrator/ Photo: Dusabemungu A. de la Victoire

She explained some are quitting jobs and others quitting schools due to visual impairments.

“We need advocacy so these persons feel they are able and no reason to quit their daily activities.” She recommends.

Based on her experience, she says that there is a need for continuous support in educating people with disabilities especially blinds.

“Education is key to visually impaired persons. Today we count many graduates who are visually impaired. They have arrived to that level because of education; there is a need to invest in their education.” Mukantabana emphasizes

Mukantabana envisions continuing advocating for her colleagues who have the same problem.

“We will continue to advocate for them at all levels” She concludes.

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