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TORIT - 28 Oct 2020

Eastern Equatoria PWDs petition government for better services

Persons with disability celebrating White Cane Day in Torit Tuesday 27th October 2020 [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]
Persons with disability celebrating White Cane Day in Torit Tuesday 27th October 2020 [Photo: Radio Tamazuj]

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Eastern Equatoria State have petitioned the government to provide them with services including education, food, and wheelchairs.

In a petition read during the White Cane Day on Tuesday in Torit, persons with disabilities said discrimination and exclusion are among the major threats to the realization of their rights. They also urged the government to improve roads to ease their movement.

Laduma Patricia, one of the PDWs who read the petition said, “Persons with disabilities undergo multiple challenges, and perhaps the most rigorous hurdle is accessibility to services. This ranges from education, health, communication, and through these persons with disabilities remain poor. Limited knowledge on the side of services providers impedes our equal participation in rebuilding South Sudan.”

“Therefore, we recommend the government of South Sudan to speed up the process of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This document is our lifesaver,” Laduma read. “It has been that since the independence of South Sudan our participation in the decision-making process in the state and participation in the political arena was not considered and we feel discriminated based on disability and it has violated our rights of citizenship and fundamental rights.”

The chairperson for PWDs in the state, Pastor William British, encouraged them to accept themselves and associate with the community.

“There is nothing that disabled persons cannot do. We need to encourage ourselves, let us be with people, talk with them, accept ourselves so that you will be fine,” British said. “The biggest challenge that we are facing are poor roads. The government needs to help repair these roads so that we can have access and move. “

The state director for basic primary and secondary education, Hillary Odumtulla Okumu, revealed that plans to establish a school for PWDs were put in place but later shelved.

“There are a lot of your complaints to all ministries, especially my ministry of education. This year we had put things in place and we wanted to employ teachers who can read sign language, teachers who can stand to teach these people,” Okumu said. “The school for disability would have opened but something interrupted the plans. Soon our government will be formed and we will sit with the new leaders so that the school will be opened because we had initiated already.”

White Cane Safety Day is observed in the United States of America and celebrated on October 15th each year since 1964 to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired. Eastern Equatoria State pushed its celebrations to 27th October due to financial limitations.