Children with disabilities neglected in education- official

Children with disabilities neglected in education- official
The Chairperson of South Sudan Union of Persons with Disabilities, Augustino Wudu. [Photo: Sawa Sawa Network]

The Chairperson of South Sudan’s Union of Persons with Disabilities, Augustino Wudu, said most children with disabilities have been deprived of education in all the 10 states and administrative areas.

Wudu was speaking at the closing ceremony of the extraordinary meeting of persons with disabilities organised by the African Disability Forum (ADF), Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and across from July 26 to 28, 2022.

The meeting brought together people with disabilities from the 10 states and three administrative areas.

“One of our challenges is the issue of education…”The national education inclusive policy was passed, but this policy remains a document,” said Wudu. 

He urged the government to fully implement the national education policy by increasing the enrolment of children with disabilities in schools training teachers.

He also appealed for the inclusion of sign language and braille in all the states and administrative areas to help persons with disabilities to learn.

“I appeal to the government that this document needs to be supported and translated into reality by training teachers, also training of sign language and braille in the states,’’ he said.

He challenged his colleagues to ‘‘persuade the government to see that learners with disabilities are enrolled in schools.”

He further advised people with disabilities to attend vocational training to acquire skills to work for themselves and their families.

 “Let us also encourage our members to attend vocational training so that they can acquire skills to sustain their livelihoods.” When the union is empowered, states will be empowered, and our members will also get the necessary services. “

The delegates from states and administrative areas validated the constitution and extended the terms of Interim Board Members, who were given two years. 

Also, members of the Board of Trustees were nominated to serve for two years as well.

Chandiga John of the African Disability Forum said there were challenges related to the lack of organisations for persons with disabilities (OPDs) in the states, which makes it hard to mobilise them for any activity.

“Most of the states have no umbrella unions, and even some of the counties have no OPDs, so it becomes very difficult to mobilise participants from the state. “The support from different partners becomes very difficult if they are not organized,” Chandiga said.

Taban Richard of “We Are Able Project” assured people with disabilities of their readiness to work with ADF and Light For the World to serve persons with disabilities. 

“We are going to encourage them to be very committed to what they are doing.”

Dr Stephen Dhieu, the Director for Disability Affairs in the Office of the Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster, promised to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

 “I am ready to take you where you want to go, even if it means going and demanding a civil right, physically, or demonstrating it on the streets. I am ready to go with you.”

In June, Wudu told Sawa Sawa Network—a YouTube channel that discusses South Sudanese issues—that the future was dull for people living with disabilities, saying most of them were living below the poverty line.

“The future is dull. “People with disabilities are living in extreme poverty with no access to better services,” said Wudu.

Light for the World is an organization that works for people with disabilities estimated that 1.2 million people in South Sudan are disabled.