By Kanamugire Emmanuel
UN Rwanda through UNDP Rwanda and UNFPA Rwanda in partnership with HVP Gatagara, has launched the ‘Disability Inclusion Initiative to promote innovative learning for Children with Disabilities’, ahead of the celebration of International Day for People with Disability, on December 03.
The event that took place at HVP Gatagara/Gikondo in Kigali this Monday, November 30, 2020 has brought together other different development partners, NCPD and Kicukiro District leadership who held discussion on how they can contribute to a disability inclusive society in Rwanda.
UNFPA has donated sanitary pads to girls in all HVP Gatagarara branches while UNDP Rwanda has supported to provide internet connection of schools in HVP Gatagara/ Nyanza and smart boards as a way to scale up the smart classroom initiative introduced by Rwanda government.
The Director of HVP Gatagara, Frere Kizito Misago has welcomed such a support, saying that smart boards and internet connectivity are of great importance for both the children with disabilities and their teachers.
“As technology advances, people with disabilities should not be excluded, the internet will help children and teachers to do research on the subjects. Smartboards in such a center for children with mental disabilities, are more important. When you use a chalkboard the children can be distracted but when it is a smart board they are curious to follow the teacher”, he said.
As the UN 2030 agenda has a principle of leaving none behind, the UN Resident Coordinator for Rwanda, Fode Ndiaye, said they will continue supporting the required frameworks to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and promoted.
He said: “The UN secretary general also has promoted the UN disability inclusion strategy that we are also implementing in Rwanda. Supporting the government in laws and policy changes, mainstreaming inclusion in our programs by putting together resources in supporting institutions retaining and recruiting people with disability even in our office making sure our offices are accessible.”
“The governments of Africa should first of all make sure that their laws, policies, strategies are in the line of respecting the convention on the rights of people with disabilities, having inclusive education because I strongly believe in the way that education could build better citizen making sure people can have access to equal opportunities and contribute better in the economy and socially.” Ndiaye reiterates.
Maxwell Gomera, Resident Representative of UNDP in Rwanda, affirms the commitment to ensure equality.
“Being connected can make a difference in the lives of Rwandan with disabilities, in the way they access broadband and education materials. I’m very pleased that together with Liquid Telecom, we are committing to provide internet to children of HVP Gatagara”, he said.
The District of Kicukiro commits to invest in inclusive education and health by increasing its capacity to provide people with disabilities with what they need to be empowered, the Deputy Executive Administrator of Kicukiro District, Rukebanuka Adalbert, has said.
Liliane Akadata, in charge of disability inclusion at UNDP Rwanda, says people with disabilities still struggle to access the labor market and major challenges are found in the recruitment process and the mindset of employers who think they will not be able to provide them with what they will need at work but that does not mean that disability is inability.
HVP Gataragara provides services that include physiotherapy, orthopedic surgery and care, special education, early stimulation, medical consultation and disabilities assessment among others.
The launch of the disability inclusion initiative is linked to the International Day for People with Disabilities 2020’s theme: Building back better: toward a disability inclusive, accessible and sustainable post covid19 world.