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"In Asia Pacific, there are 370 million persons with disabilities, 238 million of them of working age. Their unemployment rate is usually double that of the general population and often as high as 80% or more" - Debra A Perry ‘Disability issues in the employment and social protection, 2002 (sourced in the UN Enable Factsheet on Disability & Employment, 2011)
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Including persons with disabilities in emergency relief activities


Including Persons with Disability in Emergency Relief Activities

Linda Mwania Communications Manager CBM East Africa

CBM is an international Christian disability and development organisation and our mission is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and those at risk of disability in the poorest communities of the world. And one of our core values is building an inclusive society and we aim to see inclusion in every aspect of development, that people with disabilities are included in mainstream development.

Within their regular life people with disabilities tend to be isolated, to experience social isolation, they tend to be affected by poverty, they tend to be affected by discrimination.

In time of an emergency, this increases their vulnerability in the sense that you might find that there is limitation for people with disabilities to access emergency response services because of difficulties with mobility, difficulties with hearing and seeing, difficulties with being able to move around as other community members have been able to do.

So children with disabilities that are not in school will not be able to access or benefit from school nutrition programmes. And so the issue of vulnerability makes inclusion the way to go when it comes to addressing an emergency response.

Caroline Mukami Muguna,
Programme Coordinator, Diocese of Meru / SPARK

The situation during the emergency was very bad. Children with disabilities suffered the most and also the women.

When the relief food came from CBM, we organised the people and there was community targeting for the people who are most vulnerable. The community didn't even know that people with disabilities were there. They only knew very few and when the targeting was done the people with disabilities were left out.

Lucy Makena
Mother of two children with disabilities, Meru

At the time of the hunger I received food through SPARK. They gave me seeds and they built a house for me. They also provided me with farm tools and I have received a solar lantern to be used in the house. SPARK even installed a water tank and gave me special chairs for my children.

Geoffrey Kithaka
Head teacher, Nariango Primary School, Tharaka Nithi County, Meru    

The absenteeism of the pupils was very high, especially the pupils with disabilities because there was no one to bring them to school.

We were lucky to have a good cooperation with SPARK. They gave us food and we were able to bring back the children to school.

There was no longer malnutrition as it was earlier discovered by the Ministry of Health in this place. The health of the pupils was really improved.

Walter S. Odhiambo
Chief Executive Officer, The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK)

During the food crisis the specific activities that we partnered with CBM to provide included the identification of persons with disability, assessment of persons with disability, the medical assessments and provision of mobility aid because we realise mobility is a big challenge to enable most persons with disability to reach emergency response centres.

CBM's vision (An inclusive world in which all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential) being put into practice during emergency relief activities.


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