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Nyagatare: Persons with visual impairments undertake Self-Advocacy initiatives

By: DUSABEMUNGU Ange de la Victoire

Nyagatare: Persons with visual impairments in Nyagatare District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda have pledged to join efforts to do self-advocacy in order to find lasting solutions to the matters that are affecting their living conditions.

The pledge was made on Tuesday, 30th July 2019 after receiving a financial support from the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB) as part of the organization’s continuous efforts in capacity building of the beneficiaries.

Twenty nine visually impaired members of Humura Association which operates from Rukomo sector of Nyagatare District have received Rwf 170,000 from RUB to facilitate their advocacy planned activities in various sectors which include education, Justice and economic empowerments of the association’s members.

Speaking at the event which was held on Tuesday to officially hand over the financial support to Humura Association, RUB representative Joseph Munyurangabo said that the financial donation is part of supporting good initiatives of the Associations of Persons with visual impairments where members themselves drew a list of advocacy activities that they will conduct in their respective communities in order to come up with tangible solutions to their needs.

“Today we are giving them Rwf 170,000 to support their advocacy activities. RUB has first trained three people in each association on how to do advocacy. After that we requested them to go and meet other members of their Association, explain them what RUB has trained them and come up with a list of advocacy activities that they will conduct.” Munyurangabo explains.

Humura Association Advocacy campaign will mainly focus on three areas namely, Education, Justice and Economic empowerment among the members of the Association.

Speaking to TOPAFRICANEWS Nkuliyingoma Jean Baptiste President of Humura Association revealed that “RUB has trained us on how we can defend our rights through advocacy.

For our Association, we will start with those who have disabilities but their families keep them locked inside the houses. We want them to come out from those circles. Our role here will be teaching those families on the rights of persons with disabilities especially those with visual impairments.” He explains

“The whole community should know that persons with disabilities are people like others. Before, we thought we were not able to do the advocacy ourselves. But after being trained by RUB we have seen that we are capable. We will focus on education, justice and economic development among persons with visual impairment.” Nkuliyingoma noted.

On Education: The Association pledged to advocate for children with disabilities to study in nearby schools rather than walking long distances.

“Currently we have five children with disabilities who study in Musanze District in the Northern Province of Rwanda and two others who are yet to go to school” they said.

The Association’s Secretary Mahahiro Joseph revealed that “As part of advocacy, I went to their school and explained their problem and as result the school decided to keep them boarded at the school so they will return home at the end of the year.”

Although the main goal is to have those children in nearby schools,  parents were requested to pay them regular visits so they can feel in touch with them while the long-term solutions is still being look for.

More support still needed

Founded in 2011, Humura Association members are still faced with challenges that need more supports from various donors.

Apart from delay services to people with disabilities in Nyagatare, members complain also about lack of White canes which they consider as their eyes and life.

Uwingabire Beatrice from Mukama sector in Nyagatare District said “Really we need more support to reach another level of economic development. A person with visual impairment can work, he or she can cultivate, and she can do whatever,

“But in all of those I mentioned there some basic needs that we need. Some of us don’t have white canes for instance. So there are some basic needs that a person with visual impairment should have and others can come after.” She said.

Officials said “Let start with the little we have and we hope through advocacy more and more will come but we want you to be active in finding solutions and our Government and donors are ready to help you so you can live a better life as you strive for it.”

Some of the economic activities of Humura Association members include small domestic animals rearing, traditional agriculture and saving groups.

RUB has about 62 Association of People with visual impairment across the country.

The goal of capacity building in advocacy is to enable beneficiaries have basic skills in conducting advocacy for themselves rather than relying on outside advocates every day.

The advocacy Fund support was provided through DREAM RUB Project which is being funded by Disabled People’s Organizations Denmark (DPOD)


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