People with disabilities plead for inclusion

While the World celebrates the International Day of Disability on every October 9th, Burundians living with disabilities still face some challenges like access to information, transport, buildings, health care…

Adélaide Nyigina: “We don’t want to always be assisted. We want to live like normal people”.

Adélaide Nyigina, Chairperson for the Union of people living with disabilities in Burundi-UPHB has said the rights for people living with disabilities are not respected in Burundi. She said people living with disabilities don’t have access to information easily. “There aren’t qualified people to inform them”, she said adding that it’s terrible when they go to hospital to benefit from the health care. “They are wrongly treated because health officials and people living with disabilities don’t understand each other”, she said.

She also said the same challenge is observed in schools. “There is a lack of teaching staff and materials for deaf and dump people”, she said. Nyigina said people living with disabilities are then underestimated and discriminated as they don’t benefit the same advantages like people without disabilities.

UPHB Chairperson also said to have access to buildings is a serious issue for people living with disabilities. “Few buildings have appropriate ways for them. Buildings on floors have stairs or elevators which are not suitable for them”, he said adding that they are discriminated when they apply for jobs.

Adélaide Nyigina pleads for the inclusion of people living with disabilities. “If we were consulted before implementing any project, those barriers would be removed step by step”, she said adding that decision-makers would also consider their views. “We don’t want to always be assisted,” she said adding that people living with disabilities should not be considered as good- for- nothing while they are able to work.

In 2014, Burundi signed the International Convention on the Rights for people with disabilities. In 2018, the country also signed a law governing people living with disabilities. “We are waiting for the establishment of a team that will follow closely the action plan for the implementation of both that convention and that law,” said Nyigina.