We Need Strong Advocacy For Those With CP

Different countries commemorated World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day, on October 6, 2019 to raise awareness and give people with Cerebral Palsy a platform to speak out.

Cheshire Foundation joined other countries on October 4, 2019, starting with a short celebration in Mogoditshane, ending at its headquarters still at the peri-urban village.

Commemorated under the theme ‘Go Green For Cerebral Palsy’, this year 74 countries observed the day to show support for those living with the complex lifelong disability, which does not have a cure.

While CP is a common physical disability, it does not get the attention it deserves. Although it is commonly known to affect physical movement, people with CP can also have conditions such as epilepsy, intellectual disability, speech impairment, issues with hearing and vision.

Research shows that there are 17 million people with cerebral palsy across the world. It affects one in 500 babies in high resource countries and many more in low resource countries.

While many governments have made efforts to be inclusive, there are some, which still lag behind in policies that will ensure that people living with CP enjoy the same rights, access and opportunities as other groups in a society.

In Botswana, we used to have some people in our society who would choose to hide children with disabilities from what they believed to be the prying eyes of human kind.

Some of course did not hide them because of shame, but rather to protect them from curious stares and those who will choose to pass unnecessary comments about them. But the world has progressed, and many countries have taken it upon themselves to educate their societies on different disabilities, with the hope societies will have a better understanding, and create more inclusive societies.

Non-governmental organisations are also doing their part, to get governments to put policies in place, which will improve the lives of people living with CP. We are a few days away from the elections and it is rare to hear politicians addressing the needs of those living with disabilities during their campaigns, but the needs to change has come for us to be an inclusive society.

While CP does not currently have any known cure, there is a lot that can be done to improve the lives of those with CP, and their caretakers. We urge the government and those aspiring to be the rulers of the country to treat challenges faced by people with disabilities as a priority.

Government has been lobbied for the longest time to provide proper resources for people living with disabilities, but the process seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.

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