Tag Archives: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Disability in Filipino women

For one school of thought, women with disabilities face “double discrimination” because of their gender and disability. Another see it as a “triple discrimination” since women with disabilities also have to live in poverty as a result of inequality in hiring, promotion rates and pay for equal work.

In the Philippines, in particular, women with disabilities are more likely to be institutionalized. They experience difficulty in attaining access to adequate housing, health, education, vocational training and employment. There were conventions—the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the General Assembly resolution 63/150 of 18 December 2008, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to name a few—that ensure their rights and urges states to pay special attention to their needs but it hadn’t been enough.

Among of the disabilities common in Filipino women are poliomyelitis, blindness, and deafness.

Poliomyelitis—or simply polio—is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It can lead to paralysis and debilitate a person’s brain and spinal cord. It didn’t dishearten Gracia Cielo “Grace” Magno Padaca, though. She has become the governor of Isabela since 2004 and has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 2008.

A lack of vision brought about by a severe reaction to over-the-counter medications affected the eyesight of Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog when she was six years old. Despite her blindness, Roselle graduated with the highest honors from the Holy Infant Montessori in 1986, Batino Elementary School in 1993, Ramon Magsaysay High School-Manila in 1997, and Ateneo de Manila University in 2001. She is currently an access technology specialist working for software and hardware companies in Europe and North America while here in the Philippines.

Deafness is the complete inability to hear sound. Its only method of treatment is a hearing aid, a device worn in the ear that amplifies the volume of sound electronically. It’s what had afflicted Ana Kristina Arce when she was born, a class valedictorian at the Philippine School for the Deaf, a magna cum laude at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (CSB), and a degree holder at the Gallaudet University. She is currently the graphic artist in CSB.

Also deaf, Gilda Nakahara uses pen, paper, and the Filipino Sign Language to run the Nakahara Lodging and Travel Agency, a travel and tour business primarily for deaf people around the world. She has been recognized at the Go Negosyo Caravan for People with Disabilities in De Salle –College of St. Benilde in 2007 and has helped establish a deaf organization in  Eastern Samar.

“Everyone experiences disabilities one way or another; mine is just more obvious than yours. We are all fortunate to have loved ones, who help us bear the burdens brought about by our weaknesses. We may find ourselves in the dark, but we should not be afraid to move forward, because we have the light of our stars to count on, and to be thankful for.” ~ Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Osmosis

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Molly Burke

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Howcast

Advertisements

Inclusive Education in Bhutan

Bhutan has two policies ruling children with disabilities and special needs in the country: the Standards for Inclusive Education and the National Education Policy. Everyone with physical, mental and other types of impairment will be able to access and benefit from education alongside others.

In 2015, the small Himalayan country best known for its unique principle of Gross National Happiness has transitioned its educational system from being monastic to a public institution in the 1960s. It has devoted about seven percent of its gross domestic product to education, to enable free education up to the tenth grade.

Seven years ago, there are over 3,300 children with immediate special learning needs in Bhutan (UNICEF, 2008). The Individual Education Plan (IEP), which was particularly framed to assist learning of those disabled and diverse educational needs children was also still not implemented. That changed when the UNDO and GNHC formulated the National Disability Policy of Bhutan last January 5, 2016. They based it on international standards such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A day short to a year after—January 4, 2017—they finally endorsed the standards for inclusive education

Prior to that, in 2001, the Changangkha Lower Secondary School was established as an integrated school providing special needs education. The Drukgyel Lower Secondary School.also put up a Deaf Education Unit in 2003. Three more integrated schools were set up in Mongar, Samtse and Zhemgang by a division under the Department of School Education that started as a unit only in 2000.

Bhutan believes that “education has become the inalienable right of all Bhutanese,” therefore, in its developmental philosophy, persons with disabilities in the country have to “enjoy equal opportunities in all walks of life.” Even those with physical, mental and other types of impairment can access and benefit from education as well (Education Sector Strategy 2020). It has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), signed the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Millennium Development Goals, the Education for All -Dakar Framework for Action (1994), and the Proclamation of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) Commission on Disability on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities (2008).

Differently-abled people shouldn’t just be given charity, clothes, and food, and left alone. They should be made part of the society, part of the activities. They should be a contributing member of the society and not just recipients.” ~ Sanga Dorji

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Yellow Bhutan

Turning One!

Preposterous it will sound if The PWD Forum would claim a hand on how the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs) throughout the world has improved in the last 12 months.

In my home country, various sectors have realized that the disaster risk reduction and management programs currently in place there should be more responsive.

The PWD Forum has written about how necessary these kinds of plans are in the Philippines since the country is almost always plagued by typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis last July 14, 2014. It has 726 readers there.

In the place where I am now, a team has been sent to the United Nations to organize a series of events concerning PWDs and highlight the country’s policies.

The PWD Forum has reported how the United Arab Emirates provides an environment conducive for PWDs like Feras and Wael Al Moubayed last October 28, 2014 as well as Kaltham Obaid Bakheet last April 28, 2015. It has 212 viewers there.

Elsewhere, some corporations have called for “an inclusive society” together with the PWDs. Some educational institutions have taught job skills to them, and some politicians have taken it upon themselves to provide assistive devices.

The PWD Forum has been seen in 43 other countries. Among these are the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Lebanon, Germany, Australia, Japan, Jamaica, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland, Pakistan, member states of the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, Jordan, Bhutan, Spain, Indonesia, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Turkey, Thailand, Kenya, Bahamas, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Israel, Puerto Rico, Serbia, Austria, Poland, Vietnam, and Moldova.

Early on, The PWD Forum has wanted special education for all. But after sometime, it began to wonder if what it is advocating for is plausible especially in the third-world countries where PWDs are plenty. It has then thought to compromise: just another kind of special education for non-PWDs if they couldn’t be put together with the PWDs!

But Ashish Goyal didn’t learn numbers in a specialized school. Apolinario Mabini was able to study in two prestigious universities in the Philippines and had even set up a private school on his own. The mother of Tatyana McFadden had still enrolled her daughter in various sports activities even though Tatyana was born with spina bifida.

Special education must really be imparted to everyone then. Even the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has thought so. Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment among its members, which include 14 countries.

Moreover, the United Nations Development Program found out that 80% of the PWDs in the world live in developing countries. People also spend 8 years of their life span living with disabilities. The aim of The PWD Forum from the start should still hold after all.

 “The PWD Forum aims to increase the awareness of the ‘normal’ people—particularly those in governments—to the true situation of people with disabilities (PWDs). It would just be a plus if there would be PWDs and non-PWDs alike who would join the discussions and/or initiate the conversations themselves.”

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Perkins Vision

On Technology

Last year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities focused on the role of technology in (1) disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, (2) creating enabling working environments, and (3) disability-inclusive sustainable development goals. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) can benefit from it, the secretary general of the United Nations believed, only that ‘too many lack access to these essential tools.’

The special rapporteur on the rights of PWDs and the special envoy of the secretary-general on Disability and Accessibility even congratulated the organization’s member states ‘for promising advances in a post-2015 development agenda which is sustainable, inclusive and accessible.’ The 151 member states have been ensuring the realization of Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as the commitment of the special representative of the secretary-general on Disaster Risk Reduction; Japan; and the Nippon Foundation.

There really is no doubt that adaptive, assistive and inclusive technology can let PWDs ‘make the most of their potential in their communities and in the workplace.’ All of them can increase, maintain, and improve the functional capabilities of PWDs.

But 80% of the PWDs are in third-world countries. They have not much money to spend for food, more so for an electronic device that could help them do the most basic of things. Nothing else could alleviate this fact except for more understanding on climate change and special education for all.

PWDs have a higher prevalence of mortality during disaster situations—up to 2 to 4 times—compared to non-PWDs ‘due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts.’ Simply using mass transit, reusing a grocery sack, eating nutritiously, and unplugging electronic devices that are not in use can assuage the impacts of climate change.

Prevention is better than cure, too. And there’s no other way through it but an increased awareness only special education to everybody could bring. Each of the illness leading to disability has been caused by a factor or two. It would be wise to understand why it has been so. Moreover, all of us either are or will become disabled during the course of our lives. How technology can be accessed affordably should be thought of as well as how to solve climate change and how to provide special education to all.

“On this day in which we remind ourselves of the situation of persons with disabilities around the globe, it is important, first of all, to resist the temptation to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Instead we must remind ourselves that disability is part of the human condition: all of us either are or will become disabled to one degree or another during the course of our lives.” ~WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014 (IDPD, 2014)