By Kesah Princely in Buea
Negative societal perceptions and physical barriers affecting the inclusion of children with Disabilities have increasingly become a cause for concern as Cameroon joins the rest of the continent to observe the day of the African Child.
While it is imperative to reflect on the well-being of every African Child, it is even more obligatory that the situation of children with disabilities be given more attention.
As it is a popular belief in Cameroon, every child is a blessing from God.
Why should the situation of children with disabilities be different?
Observed under the Theme “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy & Practice since 2013”, the 2022 day of the African Child presents a unique opportunity to think about children with disabilities who are stuck between negative societal perceptions and physical barriers.
It is painful to say, yet a bitter reality that, the African child with disability is not considered a blessing from God as is the case with the non-disable child.
Most people regard children with disabilities as a curse, financial drainer, and an omen of regression.
As reflections about the African Child crescendo, society must now know that children with disabilities are filled with potentials and only require an enabling environment to produce the fruit they harbor.
Stigmatisation, discrimination, and myths surrounding children with disabilities only add insult to injury because of the many physical barriers impeding their inclusion and full participation in mainstream activities.
The first barrier to inclusion is attitude, hence, changing the narrative of children with disabilities in Cameroon and Africa requires collective efforts from individuals, communities, Nations and before you know it, Africa will be disability friendly.
The day of the African Child which is commemorated every June 16, was first observed in 1991.
This first edition was in memory of several children who were massacred in Soweto, South Africa in 1976.