By Elias Hakizimana.
Under the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB), Persons with deaf and blind disabilities voted for a committee to help them raise their issues that still marginalize them in the community and seek solutions together.
The election was passed on November 7, 2018 during RUB’s General Assembly Kigali where deaf blind persons from various corners of the Country were gathered and sharing discussions.
Speaking during the event, Mathusalem Nshimyumuremyi the vice-chairperson of RUB Said that the existence of a representative committee of deafblind persons will help them to narrate their own problems as they are the ones to feel the bitterness of such issues.
“We want that deafblind people themselves be able to raise their difficulties,” Nshimyumuremyi said.
Elected leaders promised to advocate for the wellbeing of deafblind persons such as poverty eradication through eliminating stigma and put these persons together from wherever they are in the country.
Jean Marie Vianney Furaha was elected the president. Himself was born with only deaf disability and became blind later alone.
He said he will advocate for the rest of the community of persons with deaf blindness disabilities as most of them experience a threatening life of poverty.
“People with disability lack jobs and sometimes discriminated, they are still living with stigma and I will help them to move from that shadow and help them get jobs. You know that a deaf blind person cannot achieve anything alone. This will require much efforts to know first their families and we need to partner with them and we believe we will tackle their challenges gradually,” Furaha said.
He pledged a commitment to encourage families of these people to be the first ones to avoid stigma and work consistently together with the committee to tackle their challenges.
Jeannette Musabeyezu is the mother of three from Nyarutarama Cell, Remera Sector in Gasabo District. Her second born son was born with deafblind disability. She said as parents of such children face challenges when catering for them and in a poor condition as these children cannot control themselves.
“We confront with challenges like lack of enough equipment to help us care for children. We wish more advocacy and we hope that the leaders we voted for will help to raise such concerns,” Musabeyezu noted.
Vincent Munyaneza from Gasaka sector in Nyamagabe District has a 6-year-old son who was born deafblind. He said neighbours used to stigmatize the child. He said the situation gradually changed to good as they now understand it is not inability as any other child can be born like that.
He noted that they will benefit from the elected committee to reject any kind of stigma facing persons with deaf blind disabilities.
“My son was born death blind and the same day he was born I took him to the hospital and they told me to go and raise him. I know other parents who had a child like mine and they let him die of hunger because they did not want him,” said Munyaneza.
The 26-year-old Rutsiro District’s Resident Fabrice Iragena was born without any disability but became later deaf blind.
He highlighted that deaf blind persons from remote areas face another big challenges of not benefiting from sign language skills and he said he believed the elected committee will help them to find a solution.
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