By Edoue Valentine, in Buea
Young leaders of persons with diverse disabilities, drown from across all Cameroon’s 10 regions have undergone a rigorous leadership training in Buea, capital of the South West region.
The two-day-long training, TWIF NEWS gathered, falls within the framework of a 1-year youth disability project dubbed TamTam Leadership Development Program.
The initiative which is sponsored by the US embassy in Cameroon and implemented by the Hope Social Union for the Visually Impaired, HSUVI, a Bamenda-based association of blind and visually impaired people, seeks to empower 140 youth with diverse disabilities across Cameroon.
The intention, according to the TamTam Project Coordinator, Kasah Princely, is to expose the young leaders to resources and opportunities which will enable them militate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Cameroon.
The US Embassy-sponsored program comes at a time when the rights of persons with disabilities in Cameroon are increasingly being violated, with many a person attributing disability to witchcraft.
Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7, 2022 will forever remain historic dates as 22 youth leaders with diverse disabilities from across the country converged on Buea for a new dawn in the area of disability advocacy.
During the 2-day training, 8 facilitators walked the young persons with disabilities through vital strategies necessary in changing the narratives of PWDs in Cameroon.
Inclusive education, accommodation, employment, human rights, effective communication and building of self-confidence were some of the areas participants were trained on; an exercise which the 22 leaders will restitute in their various regions in the days ahead.
“I am fulfilled because most of the expectations raised by the trainees at the start of the workshop have been met. This is a trainers’ training, and laying a good foundation is nothing but our primary objective,” revealed the TamTam Project Coordinator.
Speaking to TWIF NWES at the end of the event, Marie Anasthasie, whose leg was amputated barely a year ago told TWIF NEWS that, it was the first time she was able to smile in a gathering since becoming a person with disability.
“I am happy and confident that I will use this knowledge and skills to equally put smiles on my peers in Bertoua,” she said, adding that such trainings are crucial given the negative perception people in her region have about persons with disabilities.
“We are regarded as beggars who have nothing to offer to society, but I believe that things will drastically change when I return from this workshop,” she hopefully revealed.
On his part, the President of HSUVI, Ngong Peter intimated that his led association is more than ever before ready to work with the young leaders toward building a disability-friendly society.
He appreciated the US embassy in Cameroon for accepting to work with HSUVI, stressing that it is a new dawn of disability advocacy in the country.
In her address to the youth, the Cultural Affairs Assistant at the US embassy in Cameroon, Karen Tang entreated participants to be ready to learn and better the situations of persons with disabilities in Cameroon.
She added that, the American embassy in Cameroon will continue to work with organizations such as HSUVI to empower persons with disabilities.
Meantime, participants were satisfied with the presentation of Prince Nsah Edwin, a Mandela Washington Alumnus who drilled them on how to apply for a life-enriching program, the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI.
Also present at the opening ceremony of the TamTam convention in Buea were the deputy Mayor and representatives from the regional Delegations of Social Affairs as well as Women Empowerment
The TamTam Leadership Development Program which started on November 01, 2021 will run until October 31, 2022.