Ubumwe community center, located in Rubavu district not only provides education but also give hope and life to children and adults with special needs.
Disabled children and adults, especially those with little or no functional speech, are at an increased risk of sexual violence. Perpetrators consider them the ‘best victims’ as they are silent victims.
Children are almost four times more likely to experience violence than others, while adults with some form of disability are more likely to be victims of violence than those without a disability.
They are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities. These include lower levels of education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, higher poverty rates, among other challenges.
“Which is why at Ubumwe community center, we decided to help our special souls in many ways.”
Teacher Pascal Bizimana, a couture trainer added that, “teaching this group of people requires patience since they learn at their own pace.
People living with disability are usually happy, peaceful and creative.”
“If you want to teach special people you need to first understand and learn their attitudes and moods.
I feel happy whenever one of my students is done with school and gets employed.
Especially the girls as they are vulnerable when they are not able to cater for themselves.
I would advise everyone to treat us with respect because living with disability doesn’t mean we are useless.” Says Umurerwa Sauda, a teacher of embroidery at the center.
The head master of UCC gave us a tour around all the classes and facilitations through journalist interviews on their journey, how they started and where they haver reached so far and what plans they have for the future.
“We receive children with special needs from the age of one year upwards, providing inclusive education from nursery to primary six, TVET programs where we train our adults to make different art pieces, embroidery and couture.
We have a musical band among other activities.”
When we started this center, we had a dream of reaching out to our community from which some of the children were being mistreated by their families, weren’t given equal chances but here we are a big family.
Our graduates are given jobs here at the center to help younger ones to adapt and cope with the environment.” Said Mr Dusingizimana Zacharie.
Widespread ignorance, fear and stereotypes cause people with disabilities to be unfairly discriminated against in society and in employment.
As a result, people with disabilities experience high unemployment levels and those who are employed often remain in low status jobs and receive lower than average remuneration.
The society should stop ‘Disablism’, which describes the negative attitudes, behaviours, practices and environmental factors that discriminate (intentionally or unintentionally) against people with disabilities, creating barriers to their equal participation in mainstream society.
Persons with disabilities experience three main types of interrelated barriers, namely; social (including high cost, lack of disability awareness, and communication difficulties),
psychological (such as fear for personal safety) and structural (including infrastructure, operations and information) discrimination.
It is our duty as a community to join forces and make the world a better place for people living with disability as much as it is for any other demographic to improve on equality as a collective, while promoting inclusivity & eliminating the idea of discrimination among our respective societies!
Twahirwa Umumarashavu Janat.