The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Govt Rallies Support for PLWDs

The Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, yesterday, directed districts that have no officials responsible for services meant for Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to urgently recruit them to simplify the channelling of support to them.

He made the remarks during the national celebrations for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, in Kigali, yesterday.

"In the districts where there are no people charged with ensuring that government programmes or support reaches PLWD's, it will be very hard for them to benefit or even get information about them," Habumuremyi said.

He reaffirmed government's commitment to empowering PLWD's through various programmes.

Information from the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) indicates that out of the 30 districts, fourteen districts have no people through which support from the council can be channelled.

Among other districts with no such people include Rutsiro, Nyabihu, Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Bugesera, Nyamagabe, Burera and Muhanga.

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of NCPD, said the work of the council has in the past been frustrated due to the lack of focal points.

He said this has also led to the lagging behind of activities aimed at promoting PLWD's in these particular districts.

"The council works at national level, and having people at the district level is to ensure that this team coordinates, and even be able to implement some activities to uplift the lives of PLWD's," said Ndayisaba.

He highlighted on some of the programmes that the government through the council has come up with to support PLWD's engage in income generating activities.

Gaston Rusiha, the president of the NCPD said that, there is still need for the government to put in place measures that will see laws that protect PLWD's respected.

"Laws are in place, but there are only relevant if they can protect people so that their rights are not violated," Rusiha said.

He briefly highlighted areas where he believes members of the public violate rights of PLWD's. Among others, he said that the council is still receiving complaints of employers who are not ready to employ PLWD's.

Access to services by PLWD's in some of the modern buildings in the city is also still a major challenge, as officials from the council say many of these buildings have no special access for PLWD's.

According to the order by the Ministry of Infrastructure that was gazetted in 2009, all public and commercial buildings are meant to have the special access, but Rusiha says this has been ignored.

The celebrations that took place at the Petit Stade in Remera, Gasabo district, attracted PLWD's from across the country, representatives from the private and public institutions as well as ministries.

This years International Day of Persons with Disabilities was marked under the international theme, "Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all". The day also reminds governments and organisations to implement measures that improve the life of disabled persons across the World.

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