For so long people with disabilities have not had an easy life, especially when it comes to the stigma they face from the society and even more from the people who would have supported them like their family members.
In our society, it has even taken a further toll as a family with such children or people are sought to have been punished by the gods while it is not true.
Such a stigma could be clearly heard from a song sung by Tubiteho day care center beneficiaries on Tubiteho open day that took place on 27th November at Tubiteho Day care center premises. A day organized by RWW in partnership with Tubiteho organization and the embassy of Israel in Rwanda.
“…We were born like other kids, our parents didn’t want us, and our siblings are always asking questions about the way we are, take care of us!
We are Rwandans and we didn’t choose to be born this way, please take care of us! …” Those young people sang.
From their song, they did nothing wrong to deserve such an unfair treatment from the society, and as a matter of fact, them being disabled doesn’t mean that they are unable as the day’s theme reiterated.
Speaking to everyone at the event, the chairperson reflected how the day’s theme was incorporated even in the conception and preparation of the event.
“Normally, we used to do fundraising events, but this time, in line with our theme ‘Disability is not inability’, we choose to organize an open day where visitors would come and instead of handing out the support as charity,” said Tristan Murenzi adding that “we rather buy what they have produced from their sweat; as a clear sign that they are not beggars but rather humans who can work and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country while also earning a living.”
During Tubiteho Open day, children with mental disabilities had showcased different good quality handcraft products such as bags, bracelets and other utility items as well as some food at affordable prices for the participants to purchase.
Nevertheless, just like other children and young people, they too need and have a right to education, something that Tubiteho day center is helping them to access.
But, Tubiteho couldn’t do it alone without the help of partners such as donations that helped in acquisition of the property where the day care is located as well as the Ministry of Education in Rwanda that built some schools for the center, as highlighted by the president of Tubiteho organization while addressing the visitors.
However, he added, there are still challenges we face at Tubiteho Day care center such as transportation of our beneficiaries since they can’t use public transport due to stigma as well as the number of teachers who are still few vis a vis the number of beneficiaries at Tubiteho Day care center.
Among other challenges, MINEDUC and the City of Kigali representatives highlighted the scarcity of schools or centers that are able to provide education to mentally disabled people. For instance, there are only 3 facilities that can enroll children with mental disabilities in the city of Kigali.
Nonetheless, the officials promised that their respective institutions are aware of the challenges and they promised to advocate for more facilities and awareness to turn “Disability is not inability” into a reality and more in sensitizing parents to allow their mentally disabled children their right to education.
The center uses a backward training technique where after the assessment done upon the child’s admission, the teacher places the child in a class that suits the child’s disability. And the teaching begins with the teacher performing 100% of the tasks. As they progress, the teacher performs 70 %, and the child 30 % and so on until the child can perform 100 % of the task alone.
This is because at home, these children are thought as people who cannot do anything, and by the time they graduate from Tubiteho, they not only can perform the basic activities but they are also equipped with a mini-vocational training that can help them be able to make some handcrafts or work for a living.
With the mental disability classified as moderate, severe and profound; Tubiteho only caters for children and young people with moderate and severe mental disability.