Reaching the marginalised in Limpopo
Earlier this year Rolling Positive were requested by Bertha Bothana and Raymond Mabuza, local Blind SA leaders in Lephalale and Giyani (Limpopo) to facilitate Rolling Positive 2-day workshops on HIV/AIDS/STI/TB. Besides the challenge ofntravelling to these two towns, I was uncertain as to how to facilitate the workshops as I'd never presented to visually challenged people before.
During the first workshop, I set up the Power Point presentation as usual, but then realised that I was the only person who could see it! I had to draw on all my presentation skills to communicate with the participants and came to understand just how a "picture paints a thousand words"as I struggled to paint pictures in the participants' minds.
The most challenging part of the workshops was demonstrating the use of female and male condoms. Whilst most of the participants were familiar with the male condom, very few had ever heard of the female condom, let alone handled one.This made me realise just how unaware we are of the challenges faced by ourvisually challenged comrades.
Thanks to the willingness of the participants, who let this seeing person into their lives, and a huge helping of humour, we were able to communicate with each other. Thanks must also go to Philip Jordaan, Manager: Blind SA Braille Services and his team, as we now produce our training materials in Braille as well as large-print.
We trained sixty-four people with visual impairments in Lephalale and Giyani. We wish the forty, who completed their training as Peer Supporters, everything of the best as they reach out to other people with disabilities in theircommunities.
Promoting Gender Equality for Women with Disabilities and Mothers
Social, Economic and Political Discrimination against women and girls who have adisability, and their mothers, will be eradicated.
Self-advocates and family organizations recently identified many ways in which gender underwrites poverty and excludes girls and women with disabilities, as well astheir mothers and grandmothers.
Girls and women who have a disability are doubly disadvantaged in accessing education, health care and employment because of gender and disability discrimination, and they are more likely to be victims of violence.
Mothers who have a child with a disability are doubly disadvantaged. They bear the majority of care-giving responsibilities, which limits opportunity for paid employment and often isolates them in their communities and they are discriminated against because they bore a child with a disability which devalues and isolates motherseven more.
As the WHO Africa Study reports, increasingly grandmothers are carrying the costs of care, as their grandchildren with disabilities lose parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Studies show that gender matters. Across all of the factors that bear on poverty and exclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, girls, women, mothers and grandmothers fare far worse than males. This does not excuse or mitigate the discrimination that boys, men and fathers experience. It simply shows that to combat the poverty and exclusion ofpeople with intellectual disabilities and their families we must better understand the gendered ways that discrimination and disadvantage.