The 2008 Summer Paralympics begin in Beijing this evening.
You know how the ‘elite’ are always harping about enforcing rights for all, an end to discrimination, greater social progress and so on? Explain to me why the same elite are not concerned (in Uganda at least) that our national public broadcaster, UBC, is not going to air the opening ceremony or any of the games of the world’s largest sports event for people with disabilities.
Apart from a handful of news briefs on the bottom of the sports pages, the print media has ignored the Beijing Paralympics.
According to the 2002 Uganda Housing and Population Census, about 10 percent of the population is disabled. So what the national broadcaster and the Ugandan newspapers are saying in effect is,
“2.8 million people? Only? They don’t need to be represented in our media. Our joint daily circulation and viewership may only be a 10th of that number, but we don’t care!”
As for radio … I despair! Go on, gather 15 radio program directors from around Uganda and ask them what the Paralympics are. If even five of them have an answer, I’ll build you a bridge over enengo. For the media platform that reaches the most Ugandans and which the majority of people outside of Kampala use as their major source of information, the level of ignorance of radio presenters and their managers is App Aling!
Okay, now I’ve alienated my entire client base …
… anyhoo …
A shout out to Billy Sengendo and Isma Mugenyi, the two members of Uganda’s team to the Paralympics! Represent!
Facts on disability in Uganda:
80 percent of disabled people live in poverty, making hundreds of thousands of people in Uganda are classified as chronically poor disabled.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health and Action on Disability and Development estimate that there are anywhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 mentally ill adults in Uganda. Of these 180,000 are estimated to have “severe mental retardation”.
The architecture in most schools continues to be a major physical barrier to participation of disabled children in education. In many schools with storied buildings, disabled children cannot be promoted to higher forms simply because upper classes are physically located “upstairs”.
Deaf and blind children are sometimes excluded from enrolling in UPE Schools because teachers lack the necessary skills to teach.
The 1995 Uganda Constitution makes specific requirements on disability. The Constitution emphasizes fair representation of disabled persons and recognition of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
I only know of one blog on this subject. I hereby kwanjula Disability Rights in Uganda.