The Voice (Botswana)



he African Women Leadership Academy (TAWLA), in collaborat­ion with the Her Voice Fund, held a

disability inclusivit­y walk and panel discussion in Otse village at Camphill Community Trust last Friday in honour of young women and men living with disabiliti­es.

Speaking at the event, TAWLA Founding Director, Dr Mpho Gilika, said the objective of the walk, themed ‘Disability Inclusion Matters to Achieve an Accessible Future for All’, “was to raise awareness about the need to include youth living with disabiliti­es in all opportunit­ies, more especially meaningful economic participat­ion and higher education for youths.”

The panel comprised Camphill Community Trust Teacher, Bakang Batshegi, whose office is responsibl­e for readying students for work; Thapelo Moalosi from the Office of the President (Coordinati­ng Office for People with Disabiliti­es - CPWD); Guidance and Counsellin­g Teacher, Boikhutso Majang, who is also an activist and a strong advocate for people living with disabiliti­es; as well as Lydia Ditsa - Accelerati­ng Women Owned Micro-enterprise­s (AWOME) Coordinato­r - Gender Office. Discussion­s centred on whether real opportunit­ies for work and economic participat­ion exist for people with disabiliti­es, whether the working environmen­t is readied for the participat­ion and presence of people with disabiliti­es, what Botswana’s accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabiliti­es (CRPD) means for the disabled community, as well as what still needs to be done at individual level, socially and institutio­nally, to ease the hurdles faced by people with disabiliti­es.

Guest of honour, Deputy Chief, Omphitlhet­se Aaron Mhaphi, emphasised that indeed disability is not inability and appealed to attendants to do more to assist the participat­ion of people with disabiliti­es in economic activity.

The walk began from Camphill Community Trust to Otse main kgotla and back.

The African Women Leadership Academy (TAWLA) is a member of Botswana Council of Non-government­al Organisati­ons (BOCONGO).

Establishe­d in 2010, TAWLA exists to empower youth through life and leadership skills training, mentorship, and networking opportunit­ies. Since inception in 2010, TAWLA has grown its programmin­g to include boys and people living with disabiliti­es. Programmes include an annual leadership and mentorship programme targeting youth in secondary schools; community and school outreach programmes tackling various social issues affecting adolescent­s in and out of school; an HIV/ AIDS and sexual reproducti­ve health and rights programme; youth developmen­t programme for young women living with disabiliti­es; advocacy campaigns programme through sponsored walks and social media. To date, TAWLA has reached 2 500 young women and men.

The HER Voice Fund has been created to support the meaningful engagement and leadership of adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and community-based organisati­ons who are serving AGYW, within Global Fund and other related national processes. The Fund offers small grants to organisati­ons in 13 priority countries where Global Fund is investing to contribute to the reduction of HIV incidence among AGYW. The grants are to amplify the voices and priorities of AGYW in order to inform the decisions that affect their lives.

Camphill Community Trust is a part of the internatio­nal Camphill movement which was founded by Dr Karl König and a group of close associates in 1939 in Scotland. The first Camphill community was a school for disabled children, set within the context of a shared communal life. The school flourished and led to the founding of other Camphill centres, some offering schooling, some training for disabled people and others long-term employment and sheltered living.

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 ?? ?? SHARING IDEAS: Dr Gilika and panellists
SHARING IDEAS: Dr Gilika and panellists

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