Disability Inclusion Matters

Boitumelo Maswabi
SHARING IDEAS: Dr Gilika and panellists

The African Women Leadership Academy (TAWLA), in collaboration with the Her Voice Fund, held a disability inclusivity walk and panel discussion in Otse village at Camphill Community Trust last Friday in honour of the young women and men living with disabilities .

Speaking at the event, TAWLA Founding Director, Dr Mpho Gilika, said the objective of the walk, themed ‘Disability Inclusion Matters to Achieve an Accessible Future for All’, “was to raise awareness about the need to include youth living with disabilities in all opportunities, more especially meaningful economic participation and higher education for youths.”

The panel discussion comprised Camphill Community Trust Teacher, Bakang Batshegi, whose office is responsible for readying students for work; Thapelo Moalosi from the Office of the President (Coordinating Office for People with Disabilities (CPWD); Guidance and Counselling Teacher, Boikhutso Majang, who is also an activist and advocate for people living with disabilities; as well as Lydia Ditsa – Accelerating Women Owned Micro-Enterprises (AWOME) Coordinator – Gender Office.

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Discussions centred on whether real opportunities for work and economic participation exist for people with disabilities, whether the working environment is readied for the participation and presence of people with disabilities, what Botswana’s accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) means for the disabled community, as well as what still needs to be done at individual level, socially and institutionally, to ease the hurdles faced by people with disabilities.

Guest of honour, Deputy Chief, Omphitlhetse Aaron Mhaphi, emphasised that indeed disability is not inability and appealed to attendants to do more to assist the participation of people with disabilities in economic activity.

The walk began from Camphill Community Trust to Otse main kgotla and back.

The African Women Leadership Academy (TAWLA) is a member of Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO).

Established in 2010, TAWLA exists to empower youth through life and leadership skills training, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Since inception in 2010, TAWLA has grown its programming to include boys and people living with disabilities.

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Programmes include an annual leadership and mentorship programme targeting youth in secondary schools; community and school outreach programmes tackling various social issues affecting adolescents in and out of school; an HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health and rights programme; youth development programme for young women living with disabilities; advocacy campaigns programme through sponsored walks and social media.

To date, TAWLA has reached 2 500 young women and men.

The HER Voice Fund has been created to support the meaningful engagement and leadership of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and community-based organisations who are serving AGYW, within Global Fund and other related national processes.

The Fund offers small grants to organisations in 13 priority countries where Global Fund is investing to contribute to the reduction of HIV incidence among AGYW.

The grants are to amplify the voices and priorities of AGYW in order to inform the decisions that affect their lives.

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Camphill Community Trust is a part of the international Camphill movement which was founded by Dr Karl König and a group of close associates in 1939 in Scotland.

The first Camphill community was a school for disabled children, set within the context of a shared communal life.

The school flourished and led to the founding of other Camphill centres, some offering schooling, some training for disabled people and others long-term employment and sheltered living.

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