A silent struggle

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Persons on Wheelchairs, Shedrack and Francis Farase at Mamana Water settlement, Central Honiara
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By EDDIE OSIFELO

TWO Persons living with disability have shared their experiences living in Mamana Water settlement in Central Honiara.

Francis Farase and Noela Olo related their stories when some participants including media of the the four-days workshop on strengthening inclusion of person with disabilities in Solomon Islands through communications and outreach, visited them yesterday.

Farase, 35 years, has developed spinal injury when he fell from a coconut tree in North Malaita.

He was 13 years old when the incident occurred.

After the incident, he has spent about 20 years on wheel chair until today.

Farase said he has experienced climate change because his home is closer to sea and needs relocation.

He said accessing decent water is also a problem and sanitation plus community recognition towards person like him needs to be changed as well.

People Living With Disability making a site visit to Mamana Water in Central Honiara yesterday

Furthermore, Farase said there is no pathway for him to move around in the community and towards the road.

Farase is the first born of four in the family, which includes 3 boys and one girl.

His father, John Filia said he plans to move out with his family to a new land.

“I am still struggling to start a foundation on our new home,” he said.

Noela, 30 years, has also supported the sentiment raised by Farase.

She has also come across the similar problems experienced by Farase in the community.

However, Noela, who won about 8 medals in Para tennis competition in Fiji and different states in Australia, said there was little recognition received from the community and the government towards her achievement.

“I am still living in a small house and struggle on my own to develop tennis sport in the community.

“When I want to develop the sport in the community, there is lack of support from the community to assist with balls, bats and rackets,” she said.

Office Manager designate for People with Disability Solomon Islands (PWDSI) Casper Fa’asala said the constitution (Article 56) has clearly stipulated that people with disability have the right to participate fully in society as they are able and that all citizens are entitled to the same right, privileges and benefits.

Mr Fa’asala said though this country’s constitution stipulates about the rights of the people with disability, in practice people with disabilities experience multiple and compound socio-cultural and practical barriers to their participation and exercise of rights.

He said traditional and religious belief systems, negative attitudes and a lack of understanding about impairments are significant barriers to the full participation of people with disabilities and equal access to services.

The policy on disability which is currently being reviewed has been poorly implemented for almost two decades.

The training was organized through the support of the United Nations Development Programs, PWDSI and the Australian Government.

More than 50 participants from People with Disabilities and the media have participated in the workshop.


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