On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.
The Disability Rights Unit was represented by Mrs Tariro Rufetu and Ms Vivian Kasunda, both Research Assistants for the Unit. Their presentations focused on explaining what psychosocial disabilities are, as this type of disability is often misunderstood. They further went on to outline the international and regional legal instruments that protect the rights of persons with disabilities; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of persons with disabilities in Africa (African Disability Rights Protocol).
Their presentation also touched on the theme for the 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference - ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion, and participation’’.
The conference will take place on 11 and 12 November 2019 at Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport Hotel, Kempton Park, South Africa.
In attendance were students with and without disabilities and staff from different departments within the University including the Disability Support Unit, the Department of Student Affairs as well as the Student Representative Council. The event featured presentations from Dr. Madiba (Director of Student Affairs), Juan Erwee (Technical Officer of the Disability Unit), Maria Ramaahlo (Head of the UP Disability Unit), Ms Yanga (a young motivational speaker who experienced a temporary disability), Mr Zak (a visually impaired student doing his Masters in Genetics), Mr David Kabwa (President of the Student Representative Council) as well as performances from Mr Kgotso and Ms Princess.
Some of the themes and topics covered during the event included “temporal but unbearable”, “from student to staff”, “demonstrating excellence” and “just because you cannot see it, it does not mean it is not there”. These themes demonstrated how there are ways to break barriers even though one may have a disability. The event which was geared towards giving student and staff without disabilities the experience of having a disability saw participants taking part in activities that involved reading braille, interpreting sign language and moving in a wheelchair.
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