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Launch of Disability Awareness Month

Michele du Plessis

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, together with Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities launched Disability Rights Awareness Month on Sunday, November 3rd, in Pretoria, Gauteng.

Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) runs from 03 November to 03 December 2019. The month-long campaign aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects stigmatisation, prejudice and stereotypes have on the disability sector. The campaign also aims to celebrate individuals who have overcome prejudice, societal barriers, and hardship to excel in their chosen fields.

The theme for the month: Together Building South Africa Inclusive of Disability Rights responds to President Ramaphosa’s call to work together to grow South Africa. The theme for DRAM extends this mission to include persons with disabilities in achieving that goal, for a South Africa where everyone is included.

The month-long campaign carries weekly sub-themes which are reflected in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (2019-2024) of government. The following sub-themes are intended to focus conversations on priority areas identified by the disability sector, which also link to the seven priorities of government:

Week 1: Children and young people with disabilities empowered to chart their destiny through access to quality lifelong learning

Week 2: A built environment accessible to all persons with disabilities

Week 3: Persons with disabilities as equal players in building inclusive economies

Week 4: Children and women with disabilities – feeling and being safe as equal citizens in their communities

The government aims to pay particular attention to the economic liberation of persons with disabilities through expanded access to and participation in public procurement, decent work, business ownership and enterprise development and access to land. Another key area is improved access to universal education, life skills, skills development and training remains a priority for the next five years. “This will be supported by targeted measures to ensure early development screening of all children for developmental delays and disability, with concurrent individualized early intervention services for children with disabilities,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

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