The annual awareness donation-drive of the Nappy Run in October has kicked off and culminates on Sunday 3 November with a 5km fun run event at the Joburg Zoo – a pack of nappies is the entrance fee – to acknowledge and celebrate children with disabilities, following National Children’s Day on 2 November 2013.
According to UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children: Children with disabilities report, released in May 2013, children with disabilities and their communities would both benefit if society focused on what those children can achieve, rather than what they cannot do. This is exactly what the Nappy Run campaign aims to draw attention to through the month-long awareness campaign as captured in the Nappy Run slogan, ‘children with disabilities, our future with abilities’.
October is also transport month, and an ideal time to consider the universal access of all the public amenities and systems we come into contact with on a daily basis from access and ease on public transport to inclusion in the workplace, and more specifically for children with disabilities who have a right to be included and provided for in the state schooling system.
But first and foremost, children with disabilities should be considered as the valuable members of society they are, just like each and every other human being. They should be included and considered in system design as well as supported, embraced and engaged in our communities so as to achieve their full potential.
It is the basic human right of every human being, of every South African according to the Constitution, to lead a comfortable life and be treated with dignity, especially free from the long-term effects of negative stereotypes, discriminatory mindsets and systems, and stigmatization.
The South Africa government also has an obligation under the Constitution as well as national policy and legislation such as the Children’s Act, to take care of each and every child equally as well as to set up child protection services that are able to protect and safeguard all children. This is so needed in South Africa where almost double the number of children with disabilities, compared to their typical peers, lives at or below the national poverty line. And very often, children with disabilities receive day care from community-based and volunteer-driven centres that have very limited resources.
The observation of children at these day care centres not wearing nappies, and being ‘wet’, is a far too common occurrence. As a nappy is costly and mostly considered as a luxury item, there is this daily challenge of incontinence combined with a lack of resources which results in many of our country’s children with disabilities and special needs not being cared for adequately.
On top of this, every child with special needs or a disability has the right to an education and to be included in the South African school system. These basic human rights for children with disabilities are also stated in international law. South Africa’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1995 and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2007 has facilitated the implementation of programmes towards the fulfillment of the rights of children, and indeed people with disabilities in the country. However, significant knowledge gaps remain with regard to the situation of these children with disabilities, their family and community environment, the underlying causes of their situations, and the adequacy of efforts by government and non-government actors to fulfill their rights.
The Nappy RunTM campaign throughout October is set to make a strong and positive impact on the lives of thousands of children with disabilities, not only in terms of the difference that the donated nappies will make in providing in a basic need but in terms of the overall advancement of the dignity, care, development and social inclusion of many children with disabilities.
The nappy collection points in the Eastern Cape are at the three affiliates of the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA (NCPPDSA) – they are called APDs or Associations for Person with Disabilities. Here are their details:
- Port Elizabeth, APD Eastern Cape: Brian Bezuidenhout 082 450 3581 041 484 5426 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kouga, APD Eastern Cape: Jakkie Pieters 083 376 6764 email@example.com
- Mthatha, APD Eastern Cape: Zett Gqweta 082 870 0141 firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Nadia Rossouw
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