Missing Voices: Children with Disabilities in Africa

Theme:
  • Children with Disabilities
Pages: 81
Year of Publication: 2011
Country: Africa

Children with disabilities are born into families in virtually every community in Africa. many more children and youth become disabled due to diseases, accidents, violence and armed conflict. Girls and boys with disabilities exist in africa - Un estimates place their number at 10% of all children.

So where are the disabled children of africa? 

Few infants with disabilities are seen in african health clinics. Few children with disabilities are seen in public schools. Few youth with disabilities are seen in youth clubs. Few if any children and youth with disabilities are seen at family or community social events. some children with disabilities can be found in special schools and fundraising events on their behalf. and children with disabilities can often be seen on african streets begging. But given their numbers, the invisibility of africa’s children with disabilities is disturbing.

Children with disabilities are also absent, or referred to only marginally, in government policy documents, national plans of action and pover ty reduction programmes. international and national nGos with child sponsorship programs or programmes supporting education, or working with children in local communities, rarely include disabled children. Child rights organizations and activists rarely speak of or defend the rights of children with disabilities. why? one reason why children with disabilities are often invisible in public policy, public  schools as well as in public life in african countries is the delay in awareness of the change in the global understanding of disability that has taken place. There has been a major shift in international understanding, propelled by organizations of parents as  well as persons with disabilities themselves. Disability was – and still is in many societies – understood to be a charity and welfare issue. But increasingly, disability is being understood as a social and human rights issue, where society must adapt and take  measures to protect the rights of, and create opportunities for children, youth and adults with disabilities to participate as equal citizens. It is this “rights-based” approach to disability upon which a new human rights instrument, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, was f ormulated and adopted by the Un General assembly in 2006. The new Un Convention will challenge countries, nGos as well as child rights organizations to re-orient their understanding about the rights of children with disabilities, and to initiate actions to ensure the protection of their rights.

Language: English
Published by: African Child Policy Forum (ACPF)
Author: Bob Ransom
Located in: Publications
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