The founder of Cerebral Palsy Botswana Mysie Badenhorst is disappointed that the Botswana government has failed to implement the United Nations (UN) Convention on people living with disabilities.
In an interview with Mmegi, Bandenhorst said the country does not have laws that protect parents of children with disabilities and their children. She argued that the government was not doing enough to ensure that their well being together with that of their children was taken care off to make their lives better.
“The government keeps promising to put laws in place but it never does.
Our government unlike other countries doesn’t offer assistive devices we have to ask for donations for organisations like Lady Khama so such items. We need schools, better health care, financial assistance as caregivers as a child with disability only get P400 which is not enough to meet his or her needs.
Taking care of children with different disabilities and cerebral palsy is expensive,” she said.
“The government does not help us with wheel chairs and we have to rely on hand outs from NGOs. We also have to buy disposable nappies for our children throughout their lives, which is expensive. When we try to seek help from the Office of the President under the people living with disabilities department, we come back empty-handed.
Our rights are violated and we are not included in any decision-making concerning our children and us.
We feel we are not part of our own country.”
Even though she vowed to keep raising awareness on disabilities, she called on the community members to help them push the government into signing and ratifying the UN Conversation on People Living with Disability law.
She further said if government does not take their plea into consideration, they would be left with no choice but to seek legal intervention.
“Government promised to sign the disability laws in before the Parliament was dissolved. They lied to us once again. As we speak, the network is bad and there is nothing we can do about it,” she stated.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were adopted in 2006 at the UN Headquarters and were opened for signature on 2007.
The convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches toward persons living with disabilities.
It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as ‘objects’ of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as ‘subjects’ with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
Cerebral Palsy is a complex lifelong disability and is the most common physical disability among children.
Four out of 100 children in Botswana are born with cerebral palsy.