Sunday, November 17, 2013
A short documentary that highlights one of the very many and avoidable challenges People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria face when accessing public facilities.
In this video, I follow my friend Mrs Tosin Ishola on a trip around town, to witness first hand just how inaccessible the Nigerian built-up environment is.
"Not only did this year’s international day of the girl-child celebration hosted by Hacey Health Initiative spotlight the importance of girl-child education and empowerment, it potentially made an advocate for girl-child education of every girl present!"
"Even though it falls under the purview of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), to ensure the safety and protection of PWDs during emergencies, no one could give me the figure for the number of PWDs who were successfully rescued/evacuated or who have lost their lives during recent flooding in the State. This reflects the dearth of adequate record keeping at the very least and non-performance on the part of this agency towards ensuring the safety of PWDs."
Monday, October 14, 2013
I would expect that the seriousness of these issues should raise it to the top of the agenda in national debates, but this is not the case. It is as if as a society we are content with relegating PWD and their issues to the background of mainstream society, and in so doing further alienating and disabling PWDs, reducing their chances to be gainfully employed, earn their own income and lead as independent a life as possible.
Status of People with Disability (PWD) in Nigeria | World Pulse
Sunday, September 29, 2013
On the 26th of August 2013, Saudi Arabia adopted a law that criminalizes domestic violence and abuse.
I commend this effort, as It is indicative that the government has finally turned its face towards Saudi women and some of the issues that confront them.
However, I believe that there is still so much to be done, by the government to demonstrate its seriousness to see this through.
In a Kingdom where there is still controversy over women driving; where women have zero participation in politics; where women need at least six men to accompany them to court or to buy or sell any property, expecting women to freely come forward and report cases of domestic abuse is somewhat of a tall order.
How will these women drive to report these crimes against them?
And will they need credible men to testify to their legitimacy?
And if indeed they will need men to corroborate their stories, who will the men be? Her brothers? Her in-laws? Neighbours? I think it’s highly unlikely.
How will the issue of ‘honour’ or male guardianship/ownership affect the women who decide to speak out when abused?
Even in countries where the political climes are more favorable towards women, there is still a gap between reports of abuse against women and prosecution of cases of these abuses.
Often times, women who report domestic abuse or violence are brow beaten, ostracized and emotionally blackmailed or even threatened until they withdraw these charges against their husbands or partners who commit these crimes.
Some rural women I work with were banned from women groups in their places of worship and in the community; they were restricted from participating in family traditions and get-together. Some of them were thrown out of their homes and were forbidden from seeing their children.
Their family and in-laws saw them as responsible for the divisions in the family, they said.
For some of these women, close knit family ties, social interactions and a cordial relationship with their in-laws means the world to them. When there is an unwritten conspiracy against them, for other members of the family and community not to speak and associate with them because they 'sold their abusive husbands out' they may become depressed and deeply troubled.
It is even more difficult because many of these women do not earn their own incomes and have almost no formal education.
If the Saudi's government is really serious about putting a stop to domestic abuse, it must lift existing laws and innuendos that restrict women’s rights.
It must empower more women by educating them, employing them, allowing them equal opportunities as men. Employment rate of 17% for Saudi women as it is now is unacceptable.
Also, there is need for massive re-orientation and sensitization.
Men who perpetrate abuse of any kind against women must be called out for what they are: that they are disturbed and need intervention. When society begins to see abusers this way, they may be more open to reporting issues of domestic abuse and abusers, corroborating women’s reports of abuse and helping survivors of these abuses get back on their feet.
Older women and mothers must also be targeted says Mama Sunday, a rural woman who lives in Lagos. Many mothers have told their daughter’s, tales of how they endured severe beatings by their husbands during the first years of their marriages and how the beatings have suddenly stopped. They have grown deeply in love with their former abusive husbands.
That is not the story mothers or any one especially movie makers should promote.
Stories that tell the world how these women empowered themselves to end or escape these abuses are the ones folklore's or oral traditions and entertainment media should promote!
Monday, September 23, 2013
In my opinion, the disability mantra of “Nothing About Us Without Us” would not hold true for PWDs in Nigeria if there are no PWDs occupying key positions in the decision making process. Currently, most of our built-up environment is inaccessible to PWDs.
Quite aptly the declaration of the United Nations Accessibility for the Disabled; A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment rings true:
“We are all physically disabled at some time in our lives...As far as the built-up environment is concerned, it is important that it should be barrier-free and adapted to fulfil the needs of all people equally…planning for the majority implies planning for people with varying abilities and disabilities.”
People With Disabilities and Politics in Nigeria | World Pulse
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
"I feel honoured to know Abigail as I contemplate the little role I am playing in making her dream of becoming one of the best doctors the world may ever know, a reality."Abigail Turkson Goes Back to School | World Pulse