Tag Archives: PWD Orgs

Inclusive Education in Kenya

Aside from the magic its tourism board asserts, Kenya has provided for the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the country. It has paved the way for the establishment of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities, fining anyone who would offend PWDs with up to twenty thousand shillings or to a year of imprisonment.

The Kenya Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 has exempted PWDs as well from paying for the recreational facilities owned or operated by the Government. Materials, articles and equipment, including motor vehicles, could also be exempted from import duty, value added tax, demurrage charges, port charges, and any other government levy if they are modified or designed for PWDs.

In the country’s courts, Kenyan PWDs do not have to pay legal fees. The latter—may they be the victim or the accused—have been entitled to free sign language interpretation, Braille services and physical guide assistance.

All television stations in Kenya shall provide for a sign language inset or sub-titles in all newscasts. All persons providing public telephone services shall install and maintain units for persons with either hearing or visual disabilities.

Kenya’s respect for the PWDs in it started as far back as 1980 when it declared the National Year for People with Disabilities. Its Ministry of Education even initiated the Educational Assessments and Resource Services to improve its services for special education students.

Four years after the Kenya Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 has been passed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was signed. It was ratified the next year and became the basis for the National Kenyan Constitution in recognizing disability rights.

Locally, Kenya has been helped by the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) that consists of the Kenya National Association of the Deaf, Kenya Society of the Physically Handicapped, and other organizations. It has appointed a taskforce to review the laws related to PWDs and collect the public views.

Internationally, it has five international organizations to assist PWDs: the Christian Blind Mission (CBM), the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), the Sightsavers, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and the Leonard Cheshire Disablity.

The CBM Kenya has been working against “blinding trachoma” and aims to eliminate the disease completely by 2019. It was funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust carrying out surgeries, distributing antibiotics, educating communities, and improving environmental conditions to prevent trachoma.

The DREDF, first established in Berkeley, California in 1979, is a legal service center backing up disability rights. It has started the Disability and Media Alliance Project http://d-map.org/ to bring the disability community and the media industry together, and continues to shape the legal and policy strategies needed to promote its vision in the United States and worldwide.

The Sightsavers, on the other hand, believes that 80% of blindness in the world is avoidable. So it has helped the citizens of India, Africa, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Sudan, and Ghana with eye problems.

It has also assisted 13-year-old Flash Odiwuor even though he has another kind of ailment: polio. He was struck down with it and lost the use of both his legs. Only through the Sightsavers’ inclusive education program was he able to go back to school—at the Nyaburi Integrated Primary School, to be exact—along with other Kenyans who can see.

The IFES has more or less the same vision as the DREDF: it aims to empower the underrepresented. But unlike the DREDF that focuses on everything that entails a legal process, the IFES has provided technical assistance to election officials so that everyone can participate in the said political process.

The Leonard Cheshire has pioneered inclusive education strategies for girls with disability in Kenya. It has targeted 2,050 female PWDs in 50 primary schools in the Lake Region.

“I am so happy to be back at school. The headmaster gave me a wheelchair so I can now move around as much as I want.” ~ Flash Odiwuor

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Luke Sniewski

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Help in Bahamas

Dotting the archipelagic state of The Bahamas are eight organizations caring for persons with disabilities: the Disabled Persons’ Organizations, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Bahamas Down Syndrome Association, Bahamas Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Northern Bahamas Council for the Disabled, Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled, and Eyes wide Open.

The oldest is the DPO. It was founded in 1981 that advocates for the rights and equality of PWDs, and provides support and services where possible.

The youngest is the Department of Social Services Disability Affairs and Senior Citizens Division. It was instituted last year to provide opportunities for empowerment, as well as ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities.

In between are the Bahamas Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired, which supports and assists persons who are blind and visually impaired; the Bahamas Down Syndrome Association, which intends to change the mentality of the society regarding children with Down syndrome and educate those who do not have it; and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which carries out the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act.

After it was formally constituted and appointed in December 2014, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities has gone on amending the Road Traffic Act and Housing Act; initiating awareness; exploring policies and initiatives; addressing discrimination; and registering PWDs as well as the organizations for them in the Bahamas.

Other organizations for the PWDs in the Bahamas are the Northern Bahamas Council for the Disabled, the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled, and the Eyes wide Open.

“Every person with a disability — whether they have physical impairments, development or learning impairments, sensory or visual, hearing and speech impairments — every one, has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Every person with a disability has the right to be included and participate in society. Every person with a disability has the right to full protection under the law, and the right to equal access and opportunities to health care, education, employment and transportation.” ~ Melanie Griffin

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the ZNSNetwork

Help in Czech Republic

Established in 2000, the Czech National Disability Council (CNDC) has aimed to advocate, promote and meet the rights, interests, and needs of disabled people in the country, regardless of the type or extent of their impairment. It has collaborated with the state administration and local government at all levels as well as with organizations and institutions working in this field at both the national and regional level.

It is the advisory body of the Governmental Board for People with Disabilities. It is a member of the governing board of the national development programme Mobility for All. It is a member as well of the joint committee for the Programme of Development and Renovation of Public Transport Vehicles, and the two Boards of the Association of Cities and Municipalities.

Aside from those, the CNDC collaborates actively, too, with the Association of Regions of the Czech Republic, the Association of Employers of Disabled People in Czech Republic, and the Trade Union of Employees in Health and Social Service in the Czech Republic.

Comprising it are member organizations, among of which is the ARCUS Cancer Centre that was founded in 1993. It has helped cancer patients and their families since then under the chairmanship of John Koželská, winner of the Olga Havel signatory of the Paris Charter against Cancer.

There are also organizations specifically designed to cater Czechs with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cystic fibrosis, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Huntington Disease, chronic diseases, and deafness.

The Czech AIDS Help Society was established in 1989 as a self-support initiative of PLWHIV [people living with HIV]. Through finances from grants, donations, and fees in its own activities, the Czech AIDS Help Society continues to promote HIV prevention and awareness through anonymous and free-of-charge HIV testing; shelter accommodation services to PLWHIV in its own social center, the Dum Svetla (Lighthouse); on-site HIV/AIDS counseling service in Prague and Ostrava; a national toll-free HIV/AIDS hotline; legal assistance to PLWHIV that were discriminated against; and anti-stigmatization campaigns.

The Czech Cystic Fibrosis Organization was founded in 1992 by the parents of the children who has it. Originally, it was called the Club of Parents and Friends of Children Cystic Fibrosis. The parents pass on practical experiences to each other; in early days, the club voluntarily works for several mothers of sick children. It still involved in “active” parents till this day to handle the provision of the patients, and, together with the staff, promote cooperation among the center; inform the public about cystic fibrosis; protect the legitimate interests of the patients; secure funding for the activities of the club; subsidize the necessary equipment;  and support families of CF patients with low incomes financially.

Society CMT, on the other hand, is an association founded in June 1999. Its objective is to defend, promote, and fulfill the interests and needs of those sickened with Charcot – Marie – Tooth, a neurological disorder that affect the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, in coordination with state and local governments.

Widowed by the American folk singer Woody Guthrie who suffered from Huntington’s Disease, Marjorie founded an association for those with the rare inherited disease as well. It—the Czech Huntington Association—started to set up a self-help organization in May 14, 1991 to “map” the cause of an illness in Bohemia and Moravia characterized by progressive dementia, abnormal posture, and involuntary movements.

To prevent the “diseases of civilization” (e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, allergy, oncological diseases, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, severe renal and metabolic diseases, osteoporosis, vertebral diseases, etc.), the Union of Persons Affected by Chronic Diseases in the CR spread its network of 330 organizations in 290 towns and villages in the Czech Republic with its 55,000 members.

Those with hearing impairment, meanwhile, can go to the Czech-Moravian Unity of the Deaf. It was founded in Brno in 1998 and operates in Olomouc, Breclav, Jihlava, Pilsen, and Prague, aside from there. Its aim: unite the other associations for the hearing-impaired in the region to “effectively promote their mutual cooperation.”

This is not to say that Czechs with mental disability are neglected in the country. They are, in fact, encourage to “expand their opportunities in various fields of life” by the Society for Integration of Mentally Disabled Persons (DUHA); “live independently” by the Inclusion Czech Republic; and “take responsibility for their decisions” by the Pohoda (Comfort).

The Association for Complex Care of People with Cerebral Palsy would inform the public everything that has to be learned about the disease. The DEMKA Club would work with the families of PWDs in reacquainting themselves with the rest of the society.

The Czech Paraplegics Association (CZEPA) would protect the rights and interests of people afflicted with spinal cord injury (SCI). The Union for Rehabilitation of Persons with Cerebral Vascular Accidents would look after Czechs sickened with stroke.

Other organizations for PWDs in the country are the Association of Physically Handicapped in the Czech Republic, Association of  Persons with Disabilities and Their Friends, Helping Hand, Home For Me, Assistence O.P.S., Association of Parents and Friends of Handicapped children in the Czech Republic, and Czech Abilympijská Association.

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” ~ Scott Hamilton

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Flux Us

Opening, Minds, Opening Hearts

With the end-goal of promoting inclusive education in the Philippines, The Teacher’s Gallery is going to hold a summit—the first of its kind—that would empower teachers’ role in nation building.

“There are two main purposes for the summit. The first is to promote awareness for inclusive education in the Philippines, primarily for PWDs so that people are aware that we are people like them and that with the right support we are capable of learning and bettering ourselves and contributing to society just like persons without disabilities. This is part of our theme, I Am You,” shared Benjamin Almeda-Lopez, special projects officer of The Teacher’s Gallery, in an email.

“The second is to form a community out of teachers, education administrators, advocates, businesses and politicians by bringing many of them together for the first time at our event. We hope that by uniting all of these groups at our summit, we can form many new working partnerships between them beyond the three days of our conference,” he added.

The Teacher’s Gallery aims to “address the current challenges confronting the educational system in the Philippines.” It is advocating interaction between students with disabilities and to those without in “normal” schools.

“For one, the students without disabilities are able to interact with PWDs on a daily basis. This lets students without disabilities become familiar with their PWD peers and hopefully helps them become more accepting, tolerant and understanding as a result. Interacting successfully with students without disabilities can also help PWD children develop greater belief in themselves.”

“From an academic standpoint, inclusive education can prevent cases that still occur  where ‘separate but equal’ facilities for PWD students are actually below what is required to meet the needs of PWD students. It ensures that all children of the Philippines have the same opportunities to succeed and prevents alienating and disadvantaging PWD students socially, academically and emotionally provided both teachers and fellow students are willing to accommodate them.”

“The biggest change in the education of children starts through transforming the lives of teachers. Teachers have the power to positively change the lives of children. Every student’s success in learning is a step to contributing towards a better future for all.” ~ The Teacher’s Gallery

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of W-Dare as suggested by Benjamin Almeda-Lopez

Help in Israel

Three kinds of organizations for PWDs [persons with disabilities] abound in Israel: for those with developmental disability, for those with mental disabilities, and for those with physical disabilities.

Providing services to children and adults with developmental disorders are the National Association for the Habilitation of Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (AKIM), Beit Issie Shapiro, Chimesis, Sulam, Aleh, The Israeli Society for Autistic Children (ALUT),  Association Asperger—Israel (EPI), Beit Eckstein, Yated, and Kol Koreh.

Those with mental disabilities, on the other hand, can go to the Israel Association for the Disabled (Etgarim), The Israeli Mental Health Association (Enosh), Kfar Rafael, Ohr Le Nefesh, Somer, Seeach Sod, Association for the Advancement of learning Disabled Students in Higher Education (LESHEM),  and The Israeli Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities (Nitzan).

Physically disabled Israelites also have organizations to go to depending on their impairments. Those visually impaired can go to the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), Multi-Service for the Blind (Mercaz Rav Sherutim L’Eiver),  and Variety.

Conversely, the deaf in this country can find belongingness at the Association of the Deaf in Israel (ADI), Organization of Hard of Hearing People in Israel (Bekol),  Institute for the Advancement of Deaf Persons in Israel, Society for the Education of Deaf Children in Haifa and Northern Israel (Micha), and Shema.

Likewise, physically impaired Israelites suffering from diseases that affect the muscles and nerves such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases can seek refuge in Israel’s Foundation for Handicapped Children (ILAN).

Of all the centers that could alleviate the plight of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Israel though, The PWD Forum found out 13 more organizations that care for the overall well-being of the PWDs in the country. The Association for the Quality of Life for Individuals with Special Needs (ACHLA), for one, runs the HEYANUT Center, the country’s only holistic center that provides comprehensive support for individuals with complex special needs.

Although officially registered as a pediatric and rehabilitation facility, the ALYN Woldenberg Family Hospital is nonprofit, treating children who have been injured in road accidents and terror attacks, children suffering from congenital conditions, and children suffering from physical limitations due to various illnesses.

Parents of PWDs or children of PWDs in Israel are guided through these organizations: BeineinuJerusalem Special Education Center, Kesher, Shalva, and Yad Sarah.

Integration to the Jewish community has also been at the top of the minds of the people behind Avoda Negisha, Israel Elwyn, Center for Independent Living, MILBAT, Shekel, and Yachad.

“If we are to achieve a richer culture, we must weave one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” Margaret Meade

Video from the YouTube Channel of ALEH ISRAEL

Help in Serbia

The National Organization of Persons with Disabilities of Serbia (NOOIS) has these objectives in mind when it was established in Belgrade last June 22, 2007: centralize the republic’s PWD organizations, develop partnership with the “decision-makers” in the country, and establish cooperation with other PWD organizations in Europe and the world.

Under it are “full member organizations” that have as many as 450,000 members. These are the Deaf Union of Serbia, Union of the Blind of Serbia, Muscular Dystrophy Association of Serbia, Association of Paraplegics and Quadriplegics of Serbia, Union of Associations for Assistance to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Association of Labor Disabled Workers of Serbia, Association of Cerebral Paralysis and Polio of Serbia, Multiple Sclerosis Association of Serbia, Association for Assistance to Persons with Autism of Serbia, Association for Assistance to Persons with Down syndrome, and Center for Independent Living Serbia.

The NOOIS has helped in formulating the Law on Social Protection and its by-laws, the Law on the Use of the Serbian Sign Language, the Law on Rehabilitation and Employment, the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, and the National Disability Strategy.

It also assists the Council for Persons with Disabilities of the Republic of Serbia as well as in the Council for Persons with Disabilities of the Ombudsman’s Office in monitoring the implementation of the adopted regulations. It watches out for cases of discrimination for the Commissioner for Protection of Equality to solve as well as to the Ombudsman’s office.

Furthermore, the NOOIS has worked to inform the public of Serbia about the status and rights of PWDS in its midst through these publications: The Guide through the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, The Strategy of Development and Promotion of Socially Responsible Business in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2010-2015, The fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (proceedings),  The Proceedings of the Summer School, The Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, General Comments 1 and 3 of the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and project proposals in accordance with EU rules.

“Life is all about balance. Since I have only one leg, I understand that well.”  ~Sandy Fussell

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the International Labour Organization

Help in Austria

It counsels persons with disabilities (PWDs) till they get to be able to live independent lives. It supports them “no matter what kind of disability they have” till they get to be engaged in an inclusive society. It is the BIZEPS, the first center advocating independent living in Austria.

“BIZEPS is the name of the organization,” said Markus Ladstätter, board member of BIZEPS, in an online interview. “One of our core values is that the people who are in charge at our center have disabilities themselves. In fact, most of our coworkers have disabilities.”

The Zentrum für Selbstbestimmtes Leben, as its name goes in Austria, literally translates to “center for independent living.” It does so by trying to convince the legislators in the country to adopt rules and laws that would protect PWDs from discrimination and push inclusion.

“Furthermore, we have the leading news website for daily news about disability topics in German language in Austria.”

BIZEPS was founded in 1994 by PWDs who used to participate in disability movements themselves. It is modeled after the International Independent Living Movement after the members met in the autumn of 1990.

“We are a cooperative of persons with various impairments that have set them the goal to fight through the political process for a barrier-free, inclusive society in which each and every one can live an independent life in the community of all people.” ~ BIZEPS


Video taken from the YouTube Channel of WheelzOfFortune