A three-day national conference on inclusion in Africa is underway in Accra with a call on states to be accountable to the development of African children with disabilities.
The workshop is being organised by LINC-Africa, an inclusion network championing the promotion of a broader vision of societies where children with disabilities are fully included in all aspects of life and meaningfully participate in decisions that affect their well-being.
The Samuel Wellington Botwey (SWEP) Foudation is hosting the conference with financial support from the Liliane Foundation, a Netherlands-based Foundation working towards making poor children with disabilities stronger and their environment more accessible through various interventions and tools.
The Accra conference is under the theme, “An Inclusive Society where children and youngsters with disabilities enjoy their rights in a dignified manner” and has brought together partners from the member countries.
Mr Greaterman Chwandire, LINC- Africa Chairperson, said the conference has come at an opportune time for members to renew the milestone they set for themselves in 2018 in Kigali Rwanda.
Mr Chwandire expressed the belief that if they fused their knowledge and expertise, they could achieve their commitment towards children with disabilities.
He said LINC–Africa initiative, was a joint initiative of networks in 17 countries in Africa reaching out to children with disabilities.
He said the network was guided by the five aspects of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), namely Health, Education, Livelihood Support, Social interventions and empowering individuals with disabilities.
He said they reached out to about 18,000 children across different countries in Africa and were currently finding innovative and effective ways to raise funds to support the activities.
Mr Chwandire said they have a target to raise 20 million dollars over the next five years to support their initiatives and programmes within their partner countries.
He, therefore, expressed the network’s appreciation to the Liliane Foundation for their continuous financial support for the activities.
“Our appreciation also goes to SWEP for making our meeting in Accra possible,” he added.
Mr Henk Hofste, the Programme Coordinator of Liliane Foundation, said 2019 was very important because it was time for LINC-Africa to show quality of its work and progress so far.
Mr. David Norden Botwey, the Executive Director of SWAB Foundation, said the Foundation aimed at advancing disability rights and community based- inclusive development in Ghana.
He said SWAB works with its national and international networks created to support children with disabilities by giving support to their parents so they could be financially independent to take good care of their children.
“We also work with Liliane Foundation and other organized groups in Ghana to assist parents whose children are disabled to engage in businesses of their choice.
“We have over 70 organisations we are working with and we support them with social interventions. Most of these organizations work with parents with disabled children and our focus here is the Child not the mother,” he added.
Mr Botwey said the Foundation have 22 groups directly working with children with disabilities and another nine groups working directly with children suffering from cerebral palsy (CP).
He, however, accepted that their fundraising initiatives were quite poor, as they mainly depended on internal volunteers.
He said “aside that, they do well in proposals writing and most of their funds were raised through that medium”.
He said to enable them raised more funds for their activities, they came up with the SWAB Yensom Enterprise to help engage parents of beneficiaries in some form of enterprise so they could take care of their children within their means.
“We have many of such projects across the country for example a bakery at Amensie West, Mushroom programme in Osu, and Bee keeping in Northern-Volta, among others, to assist our partners”.
LINC-Africa was officially launched in Kigali in 2017 and is one of the most diverse, multi lingual and multi-cultural formation of African countries bound by a common thread, shared interest and objective of transforming the lives of African children with disabilities.