My name is James Ochan. I’m from south Sudan. Southern Sudan, a country that is going to be born anew in Africa. By July 9th, 2011 it will be a new country in Africa. I joined the disability movement in 2009 with a group called young voices. It is a project of Leonard Cheshire disability. I joined this group in 2009 and I’m active in the same group and have become somebody knowledgeable about disability, especially in my country. Read more…

My name is James Ochan. I’m from south Sudan. Southern Sudan, a country that is going to be born anew in Africa. By July 9th, 2011 it will be a new country in Africa. I joined the disability movement in 2009 with a group called young voices. It is a project of Leonard Cheshire disability. I joined this group in 2009 and I’m active in the same group and have become somebody knowledgeable about disability, especially in my country. We used to carry out a lot of activities concerning disabled people in southern Sudan and from that moment I became somebody known to this movement.

 

We have a lot of experience but the community doesn’t understand what disability is. They take disability in terms of things that are cultural and they take disability as a curse or something that’s not supposed to be there. But according to their experience we are trying to put all of this understanding to the newest ways of how disabled people can be viewed. According to the conventions, it is also part of human rights.
We’re not supposed to be viewed, like we were in the past, as a cultural thing. They isolate people with disabilities. They marginalize. For example, in southern Sudan, people with disabilities are not yet accommodated. All of the items, the constitution, all of the buildings around, they are not friendly to people with disabilities. That’s what we can see. It is part of discrimination. No exclusion from what is going to be the newest country in the world. (note: delete ‘from now’ at front of caption) What we are trying to do is: people with disabilities should be included in all walks of life, especially when the government is designing programs for the nation, they should also think of disabled people. Since this country is still new, they should also think of disabled people. How to include them… how to mainstream them… how to make them participate in decision-making and the development of the nation…
For example, a few days ago we went on the street demonstrating on the new constitution, because the constitution doesn’t show the rights of people with disabilities. It doesn’t include people with disabilities. That’s why we went out to demonstrate so that they can include the rights of people with disabilities. They can also include what is called the South Sudan Disability Act, so ((note: uncapitalize ‘s’) that we can have the same rights in the country. (note: delete ‘as they need to’) They need to have rights… they need to have freedom. We need also the same rights,we need to have the same freedom.
So we mobilized ourselves, we went on the street with a petition, a written document, we went to the South Sudan legislative assembly. We handed the document, and they promised us after 7 days, they are going to call all of the DPO’s leaders, plus people who are experts in the rights of people with disabilities so that they can sort these things out. Up to now, I don’t know what has happened because I’m out of the country of course, I’m in Kenya right now.

Written by James Ochan

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