Ever year on 3rd December, the word marks the annual observance of the international day of persons with disabilities. In Rwanda, it was celebrated at Kigali Marriott hotel and anniversary of 10 years of National Council of Persons with Disabilities.
The celebration was attended by different high-ranking officials like the State Minister in Local government ministry, Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, diplomats like the UN residential coordinator in Rwanda, and the European Union ambassador to Rwanda. In his welcoming remarks, the president of the National Council of persons with Disabilities addressed the milestones achieved in the last ten years of its existence. “During the last decade, the government of Rwanda developed numerous inclusive policies, programs and budget, mobilized support from different partners to raise our collective voice that make different policy makers to understand disability”, he noted.
A number of discussions that took place highlighted the achievements of the last ten years in different health sectors like health, education, labour, infrastructure and human rights.’ Infrastructure authorities warned some residential institutions that build toilets for Persons with Disabilities in caves of the apartments, claiming it gives a hard time for them to access it. The residential coordinator of the United Nations in Rwanda, commended Rwanda’s efforts including the legalising several aspects needed by people living with disabilities. “You have held yourself accountable for the inclusion of the persons with disabilities, and you did not abide by the political will, but solidarity and persistence brought about this political change we see”, He highlighted.
The head of UN agencies in Rwanda quoted Steven Hawking, one of the greatest physicist of all time, “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with”.
He also assured possible support of UN agencies to work with people with disabilities and their advocates.
The city of Kigali is one of the Rwandan provinces that has a larger number of people with disabilities, however, the Executive Secretary of Nyarugenge district dismisses the claims of stigma and says that more is being done to change the mind-set of the remaining people to also train them on the inclusive policy.
According to the Executive Secretary of Nyarugenge district, 800 persons with disabilities received capital funding, “We also introduced anti-begging campaign”, he said.
During the celebration, the National Council of Persons with Disabilities recognises the effort and high-level advocacy for disability inclusion and legalisation of dignity of persons with Disabilities in Rwanda made by the President of Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame, With others institution like UNICEF Rwanda, USA Embassy in Rwanda; Radio Inkoramutima; Humanity and Inclusion, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency; Episcopal Catholic Church in Rwanda and many more.