Government and communities should rally to the cause of the disabled

Dear Editor,

The tenth anniversary of the shooting of Roxanne Winfield sees the courageous prison officer of the famous Mash Day jailbreak left to fend for herself without a wheelchair. Today, as we reflect on the courage and sacrifice of this noble lady, we should take stock of the situation existing among the disabled people in our country. Ten years after the shooting of Roxanne Winfield she has not obtained recognition from the government.

According to Mr Dale Andrews, Ms Winfield helps herself in many ways; she would sometimes venture out onto the verandah of the house by dragging herself along the floor. In addition to the grievous loss of one eye, part of her brain and speech, she faces untold hardship while her extended family is strained to the limit in trying to care for her.

Many disabled persons in this country are left to fend for themselves. Resources and support are vital if these disabled are to be protected. And to prevent another generation from suffering, government and communities must rally to the cause of disabled.

A culture of silence in which fear and discrimination thrive surrounds disabled people. Programmes are needed that foster openness about being disabled; awareness about it engenders respect for those affected by it. The convention on the rights of disabled people recognizes disabled should be informed about their health and development. Yet this right remains unrealized by the National Disabled Commission.

Yours faithfully,
Mohamed Khan

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