Sitting in the human right committee meeting make me to think back home, about HUMAN RIGHT. Particularly rights of person with different disabilities.
In this meeting the focus was on persons with disability right and privileges, especially person with intellectual/developmental disability. The agency I am training with, are very curious on every detailed issue about the People’s right, and most importantly they are involving the individual in all the decisions made about their life as they are not only becoming beneficiaries but also participants.
So sitting in this human right meeting and listing about a single individual detailed condition and discussing on how to improve the daily life of the individual without violating the right of the individual, make me think and desire this could happen in my country, but the question is where do we start to get here?
It just reminds me the conversation I had with a woman; mother of five children back home. I visited her home because one of her daughter has hearing impairment, in the project I was working for; we provided Technical training for women with sensory impairment.
The mother was a proud Mom, she was telling me with confidence how she raises her daughter with hearing impairment, to be strong and to understand the truth about herself, she said “I am not fool, I reminded my child her hearing impairment every day so that she cannot forget, and hurt by other people, if she is aware of her disability, she will know her limited capacity in everything.” I was not clear by the statement ‘I always remained her’ and I ask how does she remind her, the mother proudly went to the kitchen and bring five tea cups and one with no handle,( we call the handle ‘ear’ in our language) I was not sure if I see what I am seeing at the time, she told me every morning she will give all of her other children cup of tea with the cup that has handle, but for that particular girl, she will give her cup of tea with no handle so that she will be reminded she has no ‘ear’ “deaf” , that way she protected her from getting the wrong impression of this world, thinking she is like other kids. To make it worst that girl never attended school because there is no school nearby that has sign language speaker teachers and she does not speak sign language either.
Hearing and visual impairment is the easiest disability to deal with in the society but for people with intellectual or developmental disability, it is worst, parents will never show you there kids, they hide them, the society think the family is cursed to have a child like that and yet government did not do anything about it.
So to bring about the change in the society, to make the public service accessible, where is the starting point?
Should we start within the society? Since the issue of disability is associated with the prevailing societal myths and stereotypes in relation to different issues of their life.
Or should we start within the government? To put more pressure to place workable police, guidelines and programs. Because Too often, policy addressing these vulnerable group has overlooking them in making different implementation strategy that can support them to exercise their right in getting equal access to social services. One may imagine how the proliferations of “health service for all” “education for all” and etc. for “all”.
‘All’ could be a fluid idea given to the stereotype with regard to disability, gender norms, socioeconomic hurdles faced by people with different disability.
We need to start making policies, guidelines, programs focusing on which group and what for each group of society, young, adult, men, women, person with disability, or with no disability. The word “All” is easy to say but very difficult to implement since all include different segment of people.
This issue could be more critical to those developing countries like Ethiopia, where many socioeconomic problems intensify in the life of people with different disabilities.
Where to start? How do countries reach to this level? I guess not overnight but where did they start to reach to this level today.
With the question hanging in the back of my mind, I left the meeting, but I was happy I had the opportunity to be there, now I know in whatever way, it can be achievable, with my more involvement in the future programs, I am hoping I will get the answer and I will take something by the time I get back home.

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