DRMF believes in the achievement of an inclusive society. We strive to work with persons with all forms of disabilities. We subscribe and support the Government of Tanzania as a signatory to the 2006, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. DRMF has identified four interconnected and interdependent goals through which persons with disabilities will achieve better and more sustainable future. These goals are as indicated in the below picture:
1. CHANGE OF PERCEPTION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Scientifically, it is believed that enduring change can come from within. Change of perception is our priority goal. We strongly believe that our mission of honoring, inspiring and empowering people with disabilities can be fully realized if they can stop looking at themselves as persons with disability instead consider themselves able. Self-esteem to persons with disabilities is crucial.
This requires accepting and viewing disability as one of the components of one’s life and not inability. It also requires one to stand up and deal with discrimination and stereotypes in the society. Self-esteem is influenced by a number of variables that contributes to socialization of human beings including parents, friends and society.
Sometimes disability is so much of a perception rather than being real. Lack of confidence does not necessarily mean lack of ability. It could just be a wrong set of beliefs that a person holds about herself or himself. Therefore the starting point of empowering persons with disabilities is to support them disentangle themselves from the “I can’t mindset to I can attitude” For them to believe in themselves. Therefore, in the next five years the Foundation will engage in various activities that are geared to building confidence of persons with disabilities in the country.
2. CHANGE OF PARCEPTION OF THE SOCIETY
Persons with disabilities frequently find their opportunities limited because of social rejection, discriminatory employment practices, architectural barriers and inaccessibility to transport. In this context, therefore, societal attitudes are significant since they largely determine the extent to which the personal, social, educational and psychological needs of persons with disabilities will be realized. We believe that our mission of honoring, inspiring and empowering persons with disabilities in Tanzania can be achieved if among other things societies change their perceptions towards them.
If societies can view persons with disabilities as individuals who with proper strategy to support them can equally participate in development agenda. This requires a positive change on how societies view persons with disabilities. Variations exist on how families and societies perceive persons with disabilities. The treatment varies from acceptance to total rejection and elimination. While there are positive changes on how persons with disabilities are treated and their status in the society, still some past traditions and beliefs continue to influence on how this group is perceived in the society. Throughout Africa persons with disabilities are seen as hopeless and helpless. This is purely a misconception that comes from lack of understanding of disabilities and how they impair functioning. In Tanzania such perceptions have contributed to evil acts to persons with disabilities including killings e.g. the killings of persons with albinism. Therefore, to achieve its mission DRMF will advocate for change on how the society perceive persons with disabilities, by promoting the “Enable not Disable” attitude.
3. ECONOMIC EMPOWEREMENT
There is a link between poverty and disability that creates a vicious circle. Poor people are more at risk of acquiring a disability because of lack of access to good nutrition, health care and sanitation as well as safe living and working conditions. And, people with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty due to discrimination and barriers to participation in all spheres of society – from accessing education, to employment, health care, and transportation – that can help them escape poverty and break down prejudices.
Disability and poverty have a complex and interdependent relationship. It is commonly understood that persons with disabilities are more likely to be poor and that poverty may contribute to sustaining disability.
This interdependency is revealed not only through an examination of poverty in terms of income but also on a broader scale through other poverty related dimensions. Inclusion in all development activities is critical to breaking this cycle of poverty and disability that makes disabled persons more likely to live in poverty than their non-disabled peers.
The inclusion of persons with disabilities in development programming also makes economic sense. In addition to heightening their risk of poverty, excluding them from the world of work has implications for societies, in terms of productive potential, the cost of disability benefits or pensions, where these exist, as well as implications for their families. According to an ILO pilot study of ten low and middle-income developing countries, the cost of exclusion is estimated to be between 3 and 7 per cent in Gross Domestic Product losses.
The Foundation is keen to promote Economic inclusive empowerment for persons with disability through self-employment or linkages to direct employment opportunities.
4. PREVENTIVE AND INCLUSIVE HEALTH CARE
The foundation will strive to promote both prevention and inclusive health care to attain high levels of physical and mental health of the PWD community. Prevention of health conditions associated with disability is a priority for the foundation, as we believe it will lead to reduced numbers of incidences leading to disabilities. Further, we believe that inclusive health care is paramount to the health of persons with disabilities to reduce further complications and deterioration of the disability. Early intervention of health care for children with disability highly improves the quality of life in the future of the child. Attention to environmental factors – including nutrition, preventable disease, safe water and sanitation, safety on roads and in work places – can greatly reduce the incidence of health conditions leading to disabilities. From the world report on disability by the WHO, infectious diseases account for 9% of the population living with disability in low and middle-income countries. While the infectious diseases leading to disabilities rates are falling down gradually over years since 1950s the disabilities due to Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases and environmental factors are in the rise and accounting for 66.5% of persons living with disabilities in low-income and middle-income countries (WHO report on disabilities 2011). Injuries like Road Traffic Injuries, Occupational Injuries, Violence, and Humanitarian Crisis have long been recognized as contributors of disabilities. According to WHO every year 1.2 to 1.4 Million people die in road traffic crashes, while further 20.0 to 50.0 Million more are injured. The number of people left with disabilities is not well documented but disabilities following injuries differ from 2% to 87% based on the counties. Keeping the facts and numbers in mind we do realize the importance of health care and Prevention of disabilities in the society. The WHO report also indicates that the 50% of disabled persons can’t afford health care. This percentage caries a message about how essential, health care is to PWD.
5. INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
The mission of the foundation is to honor, inspire and empower persons with disabilities in Tanzania. For this to be achieved it requires creating an environment that will ensure equal participation of persons with disabilities in all developmental matters. Education is key to equips individuals with skills and knowledge to fully participate in social economic and political activities. To ensure that persons with disabilities in Tanzania are socially, politically and economically empowered they need to be educated. Perceptions on the rationale for providing education to persons with disabilities have changed significantly. However, the challenge still lies on ensuring that educational facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
The UNESCO education policy adopted at Salamanca conference in 1994 advocate for inclusive education which emphasize on mainstreaming persons with disabilities in education instead of segregating them. United Nations standard rules on the equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities provides that states should recognize the principle of equal primary, secondary and tertiary education opportunities for persons with disabilities in an integrated setting. While Tanzania as a nation has signed and ratified these conventions, adherence to them is still a challenge. Most schools and other educational facilities do not provide for persons with disabilities. In this strategic goal therefore DRMF will focus on advocating for improved infrastructure and facilities that support learning to persons with disabilities in Tanzania.