Angelique is 19 years old. When too young, her right arm was amputated by rebels in RD Congo. Later her parents and she fled to Rwanda and now live in Gihembe refugee camp in Rwanda. She studied in the camp until 3rd year secondary school, but she could not continue studying because her parents couldn’t pay for her to go to a nearby host community school where 4th, 5th and 6th forms are organised.
Mrs. Josephine Mukantabana is an urban refugee woman who has eight children, her own children. Two of these children, Patient Amahungu – a 29 years old boy and Deborah Kunjiato – a 21 years old girl, live with disabilities. Each of them suffers both mental and physical disabilities due to meningitis that they contracted when they were around two years old. This is what the woman said:
“I’ve lived a painful life since my children got disabilities. I even prayed for their death, especially Deborah’s because her case is beyond what I can bear. I thank IRD for the training we have had on the rights of persons with disabilities and the introduction to the inclusive education. This training has helped me to love my children equally, and hate the way I had been treating Patient and Deborah. Although Deborah gives me much headache, thanks to your training I have developed a special love for her. Now I am able to bear with her ways and care for her like my other children. Regarding Patient, I have even started teaching him how to read and write because the school where he used to study failed to keep on helping him when he had reached 3rd form in primary school; so they sent him back to me. I kept him at home for many years during which he always asked me why he was not studying like his brothers and sisters without disabilities. So being aware that all children are equal, and considering that Patient is too old to go back to primary school, I decided to teach him at home. I hope God will help me reach my objective. My question is whether you can’t help me to find a school where he can study with other children. Thank you very much indeed.”
Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world.
The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”. This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
“Let us work together for the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in an inclusive and sustainable world that embraces humanity in all its diversity.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
This year’s objectives include assessing the current status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs and laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities.
The observance of the 2016 IDPD coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD – one of the most quickly and widely ratified international treaties put forth by the United Nations to date.