The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Focal Points for PLWDs in Districts Should Be Mandatory

editorial

Government has directed districts with no focal points for Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to urgently put them in place. The directive was given by Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi during the national celebrations to mark the International Day of PLWDs on Monday.

Government has instituted several programmes and initiatives to empower PLWDs. But it is very difficult for these initiatives to be implemented if there are no channels to deliver them at the district level.

Districts without offices of PLWDs should immediately institute them in order to facilitate government in empowering PLWDs. This action point should be compulsory. Information from the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) shows that fourteen districts have no people through which support from the council can be channeled to districts. PLWDs need special treatment yet they still face several challenges in their day to day lives. They need more representation at the grassroots level. Access to services by PLWDs in some of the modern buildings in the city is still a major challenge. Many of these buildings have no special access for PLWD's.

NCPD has in the past expressed frustration over difficulty in doing their work at district level because of the lack of focal points in some districts. The Council works at national level but it needs people at the district level to implement some activities to uplift the lives of PLWDs.

Society should treat the disabled with dignity and respect and help them become as independent as possible and live life to the fullest like other normal people. The disabled should feel that they are respected and their contribution to development is appreciated.

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