From rejection to respect: Persons with disabilities in Somalia * somalia, World News and Opinion.
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From rejection to respect: Persons with disabilities in Somalia

More than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability – 80 per cent of them live in developing countries.

In Somalia, there are no reliable statistics on number of persons with disabilities.

But experts estimate that the number is higher than the global average of 15 per cent of population, owing to the country’s prolonged conflict.

A person’s experience of disability is shaped by factors such as health conditions, their personal situation, and their local society’s capacity to understand and treat them with respect.

For hundreds of thousands of Somalis living with disability, access to adequate health care and facilities, education, employment opportunities, and social inclusion are vital.

While disability in Somalia takes several shapes and forms, the loss of limbs stemming from the country’s civil war and other acts of violence is a commonly-experienced one. For example, since 1982, the Somali Red Crescent Rehabilitation Centre has made more than 15,000 prosthetics, many of those during and since the war.

But aid for persons with disabilities covers a range of areas beyond providing much-needed tools and equipment. It extends into their rights, their hopes and their dreams.

Basira Abdi Mohamed was the only disabled child among nine offspring when she was born in 1992. Once a student of the Al-Nor School for the Blind in Mogadishu, she is now working with younger generations of disabled children to help them overcome their challenges and learn. More Photos click

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