Disability issues in the spotlight

People from all walks of life gathered at Bongoweni Primary School.

In an effort to continue to raise issues of people living disabilities, Silikhaya Disability Centre in partnership with Mosaic held an informative session about disability at Bhongweni Primary school in Philippi on Saturday March 18.

Under the theme, Human Rights are Disability Rights, the session was aimed at creating a platform for the community to engage robustly on such matters.

Silikhaya Disability Centre manager, Akhona Majija, said as the country celebrates human rights this month, it was critical that the government highlights disability rights.

The Human Rights Day public holiday was marked on Tuesday, March 21.

He said such sessions were important in providing a platform for people living with disabilities and those not living with disabilities to have a heart-to-heart conversation and learn from each another.

He said living with disabilities does take away their human rights and integrity.

According to Mr Majija, their rights are well protected by the Constitution but that is not the case in reality.

He said if you could visit the municipal offices in Philippi you won’t find any disabled people working there.

It is for reasons such as these that they opted to establish such an organisation so that they could advocate for their rights.

“We feel that in many things we are sidelined hence we have decided to stand up and voice our own concerns. We formed the organisation in 2020 and I kid you not but even in community employment projects such as your EPWP (Expanded Public Works Programme) we are not considered for employment opportunities.

“’We have engaged several community structures about our missing voice in the community but our pleas continue to fall on deaf ears. We have no funds or anyone supporting us in this organisation.

“Through the event we also wanted to encourage those who were not born disabled but due to life circumstances they became disabled to know that its only your body that is disabled not your mind.

‘“We want to create a community that fights for us and that can stand with us,”he said.

Mr Majija said they felt that if they themselves do not make a noise about their matters, no one will.

Western Cape Liquor Association in Nyanga branch secretary, Nosicelo Gabula, said they provided catering for the event because they felt that they needed to extend a helping hand.

Ms Gabula said it was important for local businesses to help hand even though it was difficult to run their businesses.