An event organized by the University of Gondar’s CBR program and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program took place to celebrate the International day of Disability with the theme “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable Post-COVID-19 World”.
The 2021 International Day of Disability was celebrated for 30th and 29th time both internationally and nationally respectively. UoG celebrated the event with 65 participants who came the Scholars Program (10), university students with disabilities (25), CBR (10) and MCF Scholars Program staff members. What the day even more special was the incorporation of numerous partners and stakeholders which include Gondar town & Central Gondar Organizations of People with Disabilities, Zonal & district Labour and Social Affair offices, UoG Disability research & service directorate, and UoG Associations of People with Disabilities.
To start the celebrations Dr. Solomon Mekonnen, the UOG CBR program Director and MCF Scholars Program Co-Director, made an opening remarks. Subsequently, CBR Coordinator Mr. Solomon Dawud and an inclusive education expert Wondewosen Mitiku presented the University of Gondar’s CBR program Short Report that included accomplishments, best practices, challenges, and future directions.
In addition to this a policy brief entitled The international and nation legal and policy frameworks on PwDs was presented and discussed constructively. Following these events, talented students with disabilities presented their works and displayed their many skills. To conclude, an open discussion among the participants took place on the major discussion agendas of the challenges of people with disabilities, the way forward and possible actions for the improvement of CBR as well as MCF scholars program, and the inclusion of PwDs during crisis and emergencies.
Some recommendations were also forwarded which were very insightful and pertinent to the theme and celebration. Mr. Seyum who works as a Special need instructor at the University of Gondar suggested that alumni with disabilities who gained services from the CBR program should be mobilized to enhance the service provision of people with disabilities. Additionally, Mrs. Belaynesh, who is the chair of the organization of Women with Disabilities in Gondar town, suggested brail writing and reading courses for the blind should be given much emphasis because of the current trend that shows that this part of disability education has been neglected.
What made the day the more special was when concluding those with disabilities got the chance to share their experiences with the people who were present. This in turn allows stakeholders and partners to gain a firm grasp of their successes and challenges that they faced in these trying times.