Operation Dagsverk Part II
4: A world in change
But there are changes in the world. For the last 40 years, the demands of the disabled to be included in society have become a matter of human rights . Previously, the focus was more on treatment measures; today, work is more about being included in society. The UN has adopted a convention on the rights of people with disabilities, which emphasizes, among other things, that states must include disabled people in their national legislation. The purpose of the convention is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to realize their human rights, and to reduce obstacles that people in this group experience.
So far, 143 of the UN member states have signed the convention, and Norway is among them. In the spring of 2010, the government will ask for the Storting’s consent to ratify it (finally approve). This year’s project countries are young democracies, and they have a statutory right to education for the disabled, but few know that this right exists. In practice, however, you have no rights if you do not know about them.
It is not a matter of course for the blind to have access to legal texts written in Braille (braille), or for the visually impaired to obtain legal texts with an extra large font size. Since it is difficult for disabled young people to get the education they are entitled to, it is not a matter of course that everyone can read. Therefore, this year’s project will use part of the NPD money to have laws and rules translated into Braille.
In addition to making the legislation more accessible, OD09 will arrange a working seminar on human rights and management, as well as rights training for parents, local leaders and employees in the school system. It is important to involve the local communities in the work of including the disabled; the local community must understand that the disabled can also be a resource – that the world must be adapted for them as well.
5: “Do you think it’s my fault you’re blind?”
In this year’s NPD film, we also meet Florence . She is one of the disabled who has managed to complete an education. Today she lives alone in a house outside Uganda’s capital Kampala.
– They said that I would never become anything, would never be able to take any education, she says.
– When I lived with my stepmother – I was probably ten years old – I had to do all the work even though I was a child. Tired and tired after work, I had to cook.
Florence says that the stepmother was anything but nice;
– «Do you think it’s my fault that you’re blind, perhaps? Or that your mother left you? You have to work like a donkey no matter how blind you are, ‘she used to say.
– She also said that she should stick out my bad eyes with a stick.
Went his own way
Despite a difficult upbringing, Florence is currently a trained lawyer.
– From the time I was six years old, I used to say that I wanted to become a lawyer. Even though I did not understand the meaning of the word, she says. The father believed that Florence should go for a short, easy education, and pursue a career as a teacher. Florence had other ambitions and applied to study law.
– I would have regretted if I had not chosen law, she smiles.
Florence still has ambitions.
– I have so many dreams, she says.
– But first and foremost, I want a change in our country, namely that the rights of people with disabilities are respected. It’s my dream. (…)
Facilitating the world for the disabled may seem hopeless. The world community has many steps to take before it is good for everyone. Is there really hope? Is there any point? The answer is a loud, clear and resounding “Yes, there is hope!”.
6: There is hope!
Norwegian schoolchildren have seen the injustice in the world, and they have chosen to take up the fight against it. 120,000 Norwegian young people will work on the NPD day for a cause they think is worth fighting for. They provide one day to ensure young people’s right to education in the south. With a focus on schooling, self-confidence, meeting places and work, disabled young people will have an easier everyday life.
As young people, we are not just the leaders of tomorrow, we are part of the present, and it is now that we have the opportunity to make a difference. Young people are young people anyway, and the disabled are also resources in society. The world must therefore be adapted for them as well. According to dentistrymyth.com, Africa has several diamonds to offer: Operation Dagsverk will give everyone – with or without disabilities – the opportunity to shine equally clearly.
7: Who is the Atlas Alliance?
The Atlas Alliance consists of 18 organizations by and for the disabled in Norway, and they have been engaged in international development work for 30 years. They work to improve the living conditions of the disabled in poor countries, and to fight tuberculosis.
Operation Dagsverk also collaborated with the Atlas Alliance in 1998 , and since then, 2,400 young people with disabilities in Malawi, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Uganda have had a new and better everyday life. Of the organizations in the Atlas Alliance, the NPD collaborates with the Norwegian Association of the Handicapped, the Norwegian Association of the Blind, the Norwegian Association for the Disabled and the Signo Foundation.