World

the distress cry of the disabled, abandoned to their fate

They want to be considered as full citizens and denounce their exclusion. In many African capitals, people with disabilities demonstrate to claim their rights. To no longer appear pariahs, stigmatized by the rest of the population.

“We are disabled and not incapable.” This is the cry of distress of Malian graduates with disabilities. They were hundreds on June 12 to observe a sit-in before the Ministry of Labor in Bamako. They call for better integration into the public service, in line with a decision made by the government since 2012 that has not been implemented.

The protesters accused the authorities of having totally abandoned them: “We do not have work, we have nothing in this country. And then we are told not to beg “… “It's not because you're lame, because you're penguin. It's not because you're blind that you have to be considered a piece of Malian “, they go to the microphone of the BBC.

Technological advances in the service of the disabled
Mali has two million disabled people, 15% of the population. A law to protect and give them assistance Adapted has just been adopted by the National Assembly on May 10, 2018. The President of the Malian Federation of Disabled People, Moktar Bah, hopes that this law will not remain a rag of paper.

“Recent technological advances are an asset. They could facilitate the development of accessible workplaces and facilitate communication for persons with hearing disabilities related to speech or language, reduce intellectual disability, facilitate reading or use of a computer for people with visual disabilities, He pleads.

Stop the abuse of the disabled
In Senegal, a video posted on the weekend of June 9 has provoked many angry reactions on the Senegalese web. It shows a disabled lady abused by a security officer. This case provoked indignation until the presidency of Senegal. President Macky Sall has asked his government to roll out a special plan to combat the abuse of people with disabilities.

The disabled of Conakry: “woes”
In Guinea, they are considered a curse. Sentenced to beg for their livelihoods, people with disabilities are forced to live on the streets on the margins of society.

“In Guinea, the image of the disabled person is systematically associated with that of the beggar. For lack of appropriate sidewalks, they are forced to use the same routes as the vehicles with all the risks. No system is put in place to allow them to move “, testifies Fatoumata Chérif on the website of Observateurs de France 24.

For her, the deaf-mutes are among the most vulnerable to the security problems that lie ahead, she told AFP.

“With all the stories of theft and kidnapping that we know, the deaf-mutes are all the more vulnerable that they can hardly describe what happened to them, since many people with disabilities are illiterate and few people know sign language in Guinea “, laments Fatoumata Chérif. She hopes that a bill submitted to the National Assembly will enable people with disabilities to be identified and finally be taken in charge.

“There is also the gaze of others. It is complicated”
Whether they are Malians, Guineans, Ivorians … the disabled fear one thing: the eyes of others.

“The eyes of others are complicated, even in our families. Some reject us because we are disabled, is saddened Victoire Yao, an Ivorian student at Yamoussoukro University. Seriously handicapped in the spine since birth, she still lives with her head bowed.

“It's really difficult in Africa. For example, in our universities, infrastructure is not built for us “she explains. But Victoire Yao is very enthusiastic this Thursday, May 24, 2018. For the first time, she attended a great show: the Miss Handicap Côte d'Ivoire contest. A first.

Accompanied by a guide, a visually impaired candidate is on the podium during the first Missing Handicap competition in Ivory Coast in May 2018. (Photo AFP / Sia Kambou)

Ten young women, disabled, parade on the podium. One, visually impaired, is accompanied by a guide. Another walks with a crutch. Another still sways with orthopedic shoes and a 15 cm wedge sole. Their courage arouses the admiration of the spectators who acclaim them.

“The beauty of the world is the difference. We are part of a minority and we must be heard by the majority … Many disabled people are not in school. They stay locked at home. We leave these people without training, without studies, laments the singer Nuela, the organizer of this event. Born with a congenital malformation of the legs, she was operated 36 times and still walks with pain.

Côte d'Ivoire is the second African country to organize the contest after Cameroon, which is in its third edition. The organizers have promised to initiate a Miss Handicap Africa contest. It is hoped, they hope, to fight against “Double discrimination”, against women and against disability.

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