Public Education and Awareness

Public Education and Awareness

Page Index
Sensitization
    UN Convention on Promotion and Awareness – Article 8: Awareness Raising
3  Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM)
    Wheelchair Awareness week
International Day for Persons with Disability (IDPD), 3 December
VISION
“Creating an enabling environment in which services to persons with disabilities contribute to a caring society”

  APD with the support of the Manager for Promotion and Awareness of the NCPPDSA undertakes ongoing promotion and awareness projects of which the main objectives are:

§   · To develop an open, informed society which allows a two-way communication between persons with disabilities and non-disabled persons.

§   · To develop a knowledge base regarding information to allow informed decision making to the benefit of persons with disabilities and their families.

§   · To empower persons with disabilities with knowledge in order for them to be able to represent themselves.

1      Sensitization for Employers

Unemployment remains a fundamental problem affecting the majority of people with disabilities and their families.  A number of initiatives have been undertaken by the government since 1994 in an attempt to redress this dire situation in a more affirmative manner.  The Labour relations Act 55 of 1998 have introduced important changes in the area of employment practices.  Some protection is provided for both employees as well as jobseekers against unfair discrimination on the basis of their disability, particularly in the areas of unfair dismissal and hiring practices.  The Code of Good Practice (www.labour.gov.za) provides some guidance to employers on the importance of not equating disability with ill health, and cautions employers against dismissing people with disabilities on the basis of incorrect assessment of health if they have the necessary capacity to meet the inherent requirements and are suitably qualified for the job.

Sensitization explores some of the myths about employing people with disabilities.  It provides guidance to those role players that are either required by law to employ someone with a disability or that have a current staff member who has recently been disabled or diagnosed with a disabling disease.  The sensitization session can be done in two ways; you can attend a session arranged by us, or we do the sensitization at your company.

Results to be expected:

·         Be introduced to aspects of the Employment Equity Act and the Code of Good practice.

·         Understand the impact of what it means to be a person with a disability in the workplace.

·         Identify new areas of improvement regarding the workplace.

·         How to be more sensitive towards people with disabilities.

·         Identify ways to accommodate people with disabilities in the workplace.

What will be addressed?

  • Information on disability in general
  • Accommodating wheelchair users/people with physical disabilities not using wheelchairsand other disabilities.
  • Accommodating people that experience hearing loss.
  • Accommodating visually impaired people
  • Emergency procedures
  • Accessibility issues

For more information and/or bookings of a session contact Johnny Graham, Public Education  & Awareness officer.

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2         UN Convention on Awareness Raising – Article 8

1.        States Parties undertake to adopt immediate, effective and appropriate measures:

(a)      To raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities;

(b)      To combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities, including those based on sex and age, in all areas of life;

(c)       To promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.

2.        Measures to this end include:

(a)      Initiating and maintaining effective public awareness campaigns designed:

(i)        To nurture receptiveness to the rights of persons with disabilities;

(ii)      To promote positive perceptions and greater social awareness towards persons with disabilities;

(iii)     To promote recognition of the skills, merits and abilities of persons with disabilities, and of their contributions to the workplace and the labour market;

(b)      Fostering at all levels of the education system, including in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect for the rights of persons with disabilities;

(c)       Encouraging all organs of the media to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the purpose of the present Convention;

(d)      Promoting awareness-training programmes regarding persons with disabilities and the rights of persons with disabilities 

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3          Disability Rights Awareness month: 3 November – 3 December

November of each year has been allocated as Disability Awareness month in South Africa celebrate and recognize people with disabilities; and disability as a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals with disabilities to live independently, enjoy self-determination, make choices, contribute to society, and experience the economic, political, social, cultural and educational mainstream of society; and family members, friends and members of the community can play a central role in enhancing the lives of people with disabilities, especially when the family and community are provided with necessary support services, and public and private employers are aware of the capabilities of people with disabilities to be engaged in competitive work in inclusive settings; and the most effective way to increase disability awareness is through everyone’s active participation in community activities and the openness of all of us to learn and acknowledge each individual’s contributions; and  the goals include providing individuals with disabilities the opportunities and support to make informed choices and decisions; live in homes and communities where they can exercise their full rights and responsibilities as citizens; pursue meaningful and productive lives; contribute to their family, community, state and nation; have interdependent friendships and relationships with others; and achieve full inclusion in society.

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4          Wheelchair Awareness week (Last week in November)

As you by now know November is Disability awareness month and therefore the last week is dedicated to wheelchair awareness, when we celebrate the achievements and challenges of persons using wheelchairs.

As part of awareness raising APD, Limpopo challenge people to spend an hour in a wheelchair while attending to their daily tasks.  For more information on how to participate contact Johnny Graham (Public Education and Awareness Officer)

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5.         International Day for Disabled People (IDPD) – 3 December

A major focus of the International Day of Disabled Persons (IDDP) is raising awareness through practical action in order to sensitize citizens about international norms and standards that guide processes which aim to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities.  Such standards should assist nations in facilitating the participation of persons with disabilities in the social, economic and political life.

The evolving UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will form a central international instrument that will guide access to development resources and opportunities and enhance protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities.

Background:

Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability.

Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society. Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice.

Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to their inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. Barriers faced by persons with disabilities are, therefore, a detriment to society as a whole, and accessibility is necessary to achieve progress and development for all.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes that the existence of barriers constitutes a central component of disability. Under the Convention, disability is an evolving concept that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

Accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities are fundamental rights recognized by the CRPD and are not only objectives, but also pre-requisites for the enjoyment of other rights. The CRPD (Article 9, accessibility) seeks to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. It calls upon States Parties to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others, as well as to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

In spite of this, in many parts of the world today, lack of awareness and understanding of accessibility as a cross-cutting development issue remains an obstacle to the achievement of progress and development through the Millennium Development Goals, as well as other internationally agreed outcomes for all.

The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society.

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