The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: New Programme to Fight Stigma Against PLWDs

Japan International Cooperation Agency-Rwanda (JICA), yesterday launched a programme that is expected to bridge gaps between People Living with Disabilities (PLWD's) and other members of the community.

Dubbed Disability Equality Training, the initiative is in line with the organisation's international programme currently being implemented in eighteen African countries.

It aims at creating a conducive environment for PLWD's, to interact freely and be accepted in their communities to work and improve their living conditions as well as effectively contribute to national development.

As part of the initiative, a training of trainer's programme kicked off yesterday in Musanze district in the Northern Province.

"It is the first time that we are implementing this programme in Rwanda, and this is based on the need to ensure that PLWD's are not left out especially at this time when the country is to implement the Economic Development Poverty Reduction Strategy 2," said JICA's Resident Representative, Hiroyuki Kobayashi.

The programme will initially benefit eighteen people including those in charge of social affairs and disabilities at the district level.

The first beneficiaries have been selected in the districts of Nyamata, Nyamagabe, Bugesera, Kicukiro and Gasabo among others.

The programme will be implemented in partnership with Rwanda Demobilisation and Re-Integrations Commission (RDRC).

Francis Musoni, the national coordinator of Rwanda Demobilization Reintegration Programme under RDRC, said that the move will compliment the already existing skills development project for ex-combatants and other people with disabilities.

"When combined, results of the two projects build a foundation of PLWD's to engage in income generating activities without fear of being under-looked by other members of the public," Musoni said.

He pointed out that discrimination frustrates PLWD's to effectively engage in community services and taking up employment opportunities.

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