By Kesah Princely and Regis Che, In Buea
Leaders of some Organizations of Persons With Disabilities, OPDs in Cameroon’s Southwest region have taken a firm commitment to be part of humanitarian intervention processes as their peers struggle to survive the brunt of a deteriorating separatist conflict.
The leaders made their intentions to actively represent Persons With Disabilities, PWD’s, known at the end of a two-day workshop dubbed Inclusive Humanitarian Action and Disaster Preparedness, organized by the Christian Blind Mission, CBM in Buea, Friday February 25.
Rising unemployment, inadequate healthcare and hunger are some of the issues PWDs in Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions are faced with as a result of a protracted armed conflict.
The Buea training, thus, served as a milestone to accelerate the involvement of PWDs in the humanitarian intervention process while building their capacity to advocate for themselves by themselves, and not depend on others as has been the case.
“The training was very enriching and I believe it is going to help us rescue our fellow PWDs from the danger brought by the ongoing war and other disasters,” Mbah Gallus revealed.
Mbah Gallus is President of Foundation of United Handicapped, Orphans and Street Children of Ekona-Mbenge Area, FUHOSEA.
While appreciating the Christian Blind Mission and the Presbyterian Community Rehabilitation Services, PCRS for the quality of the training, the FUHOSEA boss regretted the fact that there were no Braille kids for participants with visual impairment like himself.
The main facilitator of the workshop, Itoe Innocent, National Instructor with the Cameroon Red Cross told TWIFNEWS that it was high time leaders of PWDs changed the perception of society about them.
“Each time most Cameroonians come across a person with disability, what comes to their minds is that they have come to beg. Rejection discrimination and stigmatization against the people is alarming, and these leaders can better reverse the situation,” he told TWIFNEWS.
“Results of a simulation exercise showed that the participants effectively understood what it means to champion inclusion in humanitarian action,” he added.
Meantime, the two-day workshop was part of a health inclusive humanitarian project for persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons and host communities in Fako and Meme divisions which is currently being implemented by PCRS in collaboration with CBM.
Speaking to TWIF NEWS at the end of the inclusive humanitarian action on the disaster preparedness training, PCRS’ Project Manager, Penn Julius expressed satisfaction with the turn out, stressing that it marked a turning point in mainstreaming disability in the conflict-hit Southwest region.
He entreated the over 25 OPD leaders to effectively maximize the knowledge and skills gained from the training in order to make the struggle for inclusion a reality.
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