Today, November 3 2022, is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the University of Gondar’s Disability Research and Service Directorate in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program celebrated the day in style in the university’s Maraki Campus. The day saw programs that included showcasing talents, athletics, research presentations and keynote speeches. The International Day of Persons with disabilities has been celebrated internationally for 31 years, and has been celebrated in Ethiopia for the past 30.
The Vice President of Administration and Representative of the President, Mr. Lijalem Gashaw, opened the event with a speech. The issue of people with disabilities should be an issue of the people of the world beyond the individual and the society. Disability may be created by chance or it may be created via natural circumstances, but we all need to be aware of its effects on the people and the overall society. “In our country,” stated Mr. Lijalem, “people with disabilities are excluded from political, economic and social services and this is something that is readily observed.”
Like any other marginalized group, people with disabilities are always fighting an uphill battle. However, in Ethiopia, this burden is magnified to a certain degree. Since our country is ever in a state of development, issues of accessibility, financing, assistive devices, and societal inconsistencies which culminate into marginalization have constantly hindered the successful path of our people with disabilities. This is no different in educational institutions. However, the University of Gondar is giving special attention to people with disabilities and is on its way to becoming a center of excellence in inclusion.
The University of Gondar’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Director Dr. Molalign Belay stressed that on this “International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Pwd students and all those who are disadvantaged should be commended for showing out on the colorful occasion. “When we celebrate the festival, we create awareness and social movements for the sections of the society that are continually marginalized, and show that if people with disabilities get the proper support, they can achieve great results and become useful citizens for the country and themselves” shared the director.
On his part the director of the Disability Research and Service Mr. Tarekgn Asnake shared, “The University of Gondar is an institution that pays special attention to people with disabilities. We are currently hosting more than 350 people with disabilities. The university is doing everything it can to ensure that Pwd leave with the appropriate knowledge and skills.”