Helping disabled know their rights

2013-06-19 00:00

CREATE set out on a mission to educate and empower those with disabilities, and after two years they have inspired people to stand up for their rights.

Create (Community-Based Rehabilitation Education and Training for Empowerment) started the advocacy project for the rights of women and children with disabilities between January 2011 and April 2013. They held training workshops around KwaZulu-Natal to teach those with disabilities and those without about the human rights of the disabled.

Even though the main aim of the project was to create awareness of rights for the disabled and how they can legally fight for those rights, an important outcome was self-empowerment for the disabled participants.

Speaking yesterday at a workshop in the city, Claire Kerry, the evaluator of the project, was pleased with this incidental outcome. “In the workshops, people had a chance to get together and talk about what hurt them, or when their rights were violated. It was a healing process. One of the participants said that they gained confidence in themselves, as they tended to look down on themselves.”

While the project did have some challenges, like forum members struggling to promote rights for the disabled and certain government officials at ward level ignoring disability issues, there were a number of positive outcomes.

One of the biggest positive outcomes was teaching people about the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair discrimination Act, which protects basic human rights. This, together with legal knowledge provided by the Legal Resource Centre have really empowered the people who attended the workshops.

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